Today I cycled the exact same route as I did last Saturday, only this time I remembered to bring my camera and the GPS thingie. I found this wonderful road just north of Atsugi which, going west towards the mountains, lead me through a tiny little value in between some hills. The road I followed was an industrial road, seemingly leading nowhere and inclining slightly all the way, and just when I was about fed up with it the slope turned downward and the industrial buildings disappeared and made way for farms, rice fields and tiny little Japanese houses. And a pig farm. Beeuh.
Since today is a national holiday in Japan (god knows why) I actually had time today to do some photography. Last Sunday I went to Tokyo to try out the new Canon 50D at the store, only to find out that it hadn't actually been released yet. Hmm. So I felt guilty today and stacked all of my current equipment in my backpack and started to cycle. The weather was kind of cloudy but besides that it was really perfect. Great temperature. It's starting to get colder now in the evenings and the sun sets before dinner time. I think the next time that I'll have to use my airconditioning again will be in winter, and it will be for heating.
It felt good to cycle around slowly for a change, with my camera around my neck, looking for picture opportunities. I took every lens and filter I could find, but I didn't use a lot of them, actually. I stuck mostly to my 17-85mm lens and occasionally used the infrared filter after I found a good spot. When cycling the wide angle doesn't seem to make sense unless stopping and approaching the subject to within 5 millimeters, and cycling with the 70-300mm only hurts my neck..
I am creating a new liking for the 17-85. The pictures I made with it always seemed a bit fuzzy, almost as if it couldn't quite get a good autofocus lock on something. Today's pictures came out strangely crisp, though, and I think I know why: I turned off the image stabilisation. The IS only works really well for certain shutter speeds, and even then I am wondering if it's a good idea to use it in full daylight. Anyway, I turned it off today and I found the results quite pleasing, and better than before in terms of average sharpness. The percentage of sharp pictures was just higher with IS turned off. I guess I was either using it in the wrong way, or I have a crappy lens. Either way, I'm glad with today's results.
Another note: I modified the picture settings on the 400D: cranked up the saturation another notch, and the contrast as well. I don't see a lot of difference when compared to the previous settings, but I didn't do a one on one comparison so I can't tell for sure. All I can say is, It seems to be better this way :D (note: sharpness=3, contrast+1,saturation+3,color tone=0)
You can find all the (good) pictures here on picasa, and more on the photoblog later.