Gorge on Nature

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So. This is it! My new favorite photo! Yep. I am so happy with this photo. My personal favorite photograph that I’ve ever taken, to date.

Like my other recent photographs, this one was taken at Cuyahoga Falls, The Gorge Metro Park in Cuyahoga Falls, Summit County, Ohio(USA).

There’s a tiny, wooden bridge that takes you right over this scene on the lower trail at The Gorge, on the return trip.

I’m tempted to try a large print of this and frame it for my mother. 🙂

Gorge HDR

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Firstly this really wasn’t at The Gorge, but on a neighbor trail called The Glens. This is also my first attempt at HDR(High Dynamic Range) photography.

Funny enough, I’m not happy with this photo, but not because of the HDR aspect. I just am not happy with the composition, which might have a little to do with me being frustrated over a tree blocking my initial preferred view.

My Cousin and I were joking over seeing some terrific spots to shoot but trees were in the way.  We said we’d need a chainsaw to clear a view and that’d be a bit funny because we’d be destroying nature to capture the beauty of nature.

And then I found this awesome rock outcropping but a big tree was smack-dab in the middle of where I wanted to shoot from.

If I’m not happy with it, why did I upload it? Well. I am always fairly and openly critical of my stuff, using terms like “I’m not happy with [this] or [that].” But it’s not a terrible photo. It also kind of marks an occasion – being my first HDR photo. So it saves it for posterity.

Muck Farm

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Muck (also known as Black Soil) is a soil from drained swamplands made up of Humus. There aren’t many Muck Farms in the United States and likely won’t be anymore, because of wildlife conservation.

Muck is denser and can retain more nutrients and moisture. Humus is actually a material not fully understood. It’s different than organic matter – it can be almost like a jelly or spongy substance and stay that way for a long, long, LONG time – over a thousand years!

I had a couple other shots showing more contrast between the soil and vegetables, but I went with this one, because I really like the perspective.

I’m still deciding whether to crop-out the distant horizon-line and trees, or just leave it.

Why I’m thinking of Getting the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Ultra Wide Angle for Nikon

[Update 2: 08/16/2015] The Rokinon is an FX formatted lens that does not meter on older DX Nikons. This means you’d be guessing exposure and/or using the “Sunny 16” rule.

I imagine I’ll be doing even more updates in the coming days as I further learn, myself, what lens I really want. I will be sure to tie all ongoing dialog together and link between posts.

[Update] The Rokinon is purported to have a slight fisheye distortion affect, which could be a considerable factor in anyone wishing to buy or not buy this budget lens. I also don’t claim to be an expert. I just hope my Blogs help you on your path of photography. Please, be careful anytime you consider spending large sums of money on lenses and equipment.

I am of the mind that this is more pronounced at closer distances, enhancing the affect. My main purpose for wanting a 14mm is sweeping, distant landscape photography and feel the distortion affect is not as noticeable – at least as a “distortion”.

Compared to this affect, it could be a much more significant factor – especially in whether you’d try to pull double-duty with a lens like this.

There are also some other factors like edge-to-edge crispness and more worth weighing in. I will link this post to a new more thorough “review” at a later date and also link back to this post from that post once I write it.

Now back to the regularly scheduled post. Thanks!


In 2010, Ken Rockwell rated the near-identical Samyang as the poorest 14mm optically. It’s manual only, and closer to 21mm on my DX format Nikon. So. Why would I want this?

The Rokinon 14mm is cheap. Really cheap. I’d love that range for landscape photography. It’s better than nothing, right? Well. It’s not like there aren’t other choices out there.

For a few hundred more I could get a much better rated lens, like an 11-16mm. Perhaps the best alternative, though, would be the Nikon 24mm for FX and DX format cameras. It’s superbly rated and only $40US more than the Rokinon.

For me, I guess my obstinance plays a part. I likely will get the Nikon 24mm anyways. So. In my mind, I’ve already separated the Rokinon as an alternate or additional camera purchase. It’s also 14mm on FX format. I’m getting 21mm while it’s on my DX, but can move it to my FX and get 14mm out of it. It’s also manual only, but I already explain how auto-focus has become a lot less important to me now. Plus it does have an AE chip.

And although I’ve seen it rated bad optically; general, everyday user response isn’t terrible.  I believe this is a newer model though and maybe Rokinon upped its performance(?) And there really aren’t too many lenses that fill this market for close to this price.

For the value and range this lens fills, It kind of corners the market. Really – it’s not an “aweful” lens. I’ve seen it rated poorly and I’ve seen plenty of reviews recommending spending a few hundred more on a much better lens, but no one saying “don’t buy” it.

In a way, it’s king of its value-domain. Some of the Amazon reviewers even praise its quality.

In the end, I think it’s a fantastic purchase that I’m willing to shell out the cash for – even if I’ll only really be getting 21mm out of it for awhile.

Of course, I’ll report back my opinions and findings after I purchase it.