Today I went on a photographic equipment testing and familiarization exercise. The goal of the exercise was pretty simple; get accustomed to the newly bought photography gear and check whether or not, everything is up to satisfaction.
This in my view is quite necessary before leaving for a trip. Because the last thing you want to do while traveling is to try and figure out, out on the road, what goes where and how something particular works or worse still, finding out that something you bought, does not perform to your satisfaction!
Main aim of this exercise was to test out my newly bought 3 stop soft Cokin Graduated Neutral Density Filter, Battery Grip and Benro T-800EX Tripod before my Winter Trip to Ladakh. Since I had never used a square filter in my life, let alone a GND, this was quite important and had to be done ASAP to ensure, that if the need be, I would be able to get a little more practice, before the due date of departure.
Since most of the monuments in Delhi fall under the protection and administration of Archeological Survey of India, there is a need for written permission, before one can use a tripod inside the premises and since this outing was only decided and finalized yesterday, I zeroed in on Lodhi Garden as the location of the shoot (tripods are allowed there) and Sandeep and Ankur decided to join in as well.
Using Cokin GND was quite an experience and managed to shatter my earlier assumption, that handholding the filter would be a better idea, than to use it, while fitted on the lens, with the help of a filter holder. And this was when the exposure was limited to a mere 30 seconds and that too in not so cold weather! It’s a good thing that I had ordered a filter holder kit from EBay.com a few days ago, which hopefully should arrive, before I leave for Ladakh.
Benro T-800EX seemed like a stable enough tripod, as well as lighter and better built than the cheaper Simpex one I was using earlier. Though I did miss the carry handle, which was present in both my earlier tripods and made walking while carrying the tripod in hand, quite an easy affair.
Battery Grip on the other hand, wasn’t so stable while mounted on the tripod! Since for some strange reason, the mounting plate wouldn’t screw in tight enough and in the end, I ended up taking it off for the duration of tripod based shoot. Add to that, it started showing half and then only one bar in battery status, even though inserting the battery directly showed that the battery was full! However this did not cause any other issue, apart from wrong battery status. Shooting vertically on the other hand was a breeze and I am very much in love with the battery grip. Even in the horizontal orientation, camera felt much better in hand and also somewhat faster while in burst mode, though I seriously doubt the last part, as it could just be due to somewhat changed sound.
Overall it was a nice and learning experience and I got some decent photographs as well, even though lighting was pretty flat and there was a lot of fog/smog.
Here are a few photographs from this outing:
Illuminated Tomb at Lodhi Garden
German Shepherd fetching ball
A kid playing football
Hopefully I will be going out next weekend as well for some more practice and would have hopefully received my filter holder kit by then.