Samyang-Rokinon AF 35mm F2.8 FE – Field Testing

Two days ago I received the AF 35mm F2.8 for Sony Full Frame manufactured by Samyang from Rokinon and tested it on the Sony A7R last night. The images in this post are from that test shoot. I was on the phone today with the Rokinon letting them know about a concern I have with the autofocus noise that is coming from the lens. There’s been some complaints about it according to some reviews, and videos posted on Youtube.  This is not normal according to Samyang/Rokinon and they are working quickly to resolve. I will be getting a corrected copy from Rokinon with the next batch that comes in the next few weeks.

Rokinon is a great company in my opinion. I will be collaborating with them with some of my work using their gear. I look forward to working with them in limited capacity as a potential ambassador. So, I’m starting this off with some of the work I’ve taken with the new 35mm normal wide angle. It’s sharp! From what I’ve seen so far, I really have no complaints about the quality. Yes, there is some purple fringing and some chromatic aberration but it’s only noticeable at pixel level. I’m not worried about it, and all images were shot with the Sony A7R.

Initial first impressions of the lens is that it leaves very little to be desired where image-quality is concerned. It’s top-notch sharp and better than the first impressions I experienced with the budget Sony AF 28mm F2 FE lens for Sony Mirrorless. This lens seems to perform alright other than noisy autofocus which is being fixed in future copies from Samyang.

Let me know if you have any questions and leave them in the comments. I will try to respond in a timely manner.

Area 51 Tours & Research

My life is starting to revolve around government secrets, ufo conferences and taking friends and strangers out to Area 51. The Alien Head above is part of the Grand Alien Shrine inside the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, Nevada. I take people to this heart-filled stronghold out in the high desert near America’s most secretive military base known as Area 51. Pat and her daughter, Connie are the owners of this esteemed cafe that has become world-famous in it’s 28 years of operation. The owners have their own stories to tell about ET Life and what goes on at the base. Anyone can stop in for an alien or saucer burger and look at hundreds of pictures of ufos or check out the evidence room. There’s plenty of conversation about UFOs at this central gathering place along Extraterrestrial Highway – A stretch of road that runs 150 miles without any services except for this ET Oasis!

In the adjacent valley next to Rachel, is one of the side access roads that lead to two different Northeast entrances to the base. Somewhere at the convening intersections between the unmarked dirt roads pops this directional sign signaling that the base is close by.

Dave Rosenfeld of Utah UFO Hunters gave me one of his emblems and here’s a photograph of my Suzuki named Badger at Area 51. We are planning a trip to Tikaboo Peak, the only legal vantage point where you can look into the base from the mountain tops and I’m looking forward to meeting up with fellow researchers and adventurers!

As a photographer, there are few places that I love to do photo safaris at that can compare and compete with Area 51. The minimalism of the landscape makes it so easy to practice composition and the history of the base really ads a silver lining to the whole experience. You can also stay at the Little A’Le’Inn if you wish to set up camp near the base. The starry skies are hard to beat in this far outpost on the Earth.

Rural Decay Along Route 66

The shot below is of a hotel in #Holbrook, Arizona, where rooms are caricatured teepees that  guests spend the night. This is an old hotel, run-down, and along old Route 66 in #Arizonaland.

I’ve often been asked; where is the best place to find Rural Decay in the American Southwest? My answer would most certainly be to go visit New Mexico.  I dub the state, The Rural Decay Capital of the Southwest. Of course, my all-time favorite places to photograph with historical charm is along any stretch of #Route66. Most of the highway is gone now and wherever you can find a patch of it anywhere along the historical route you will certainly find old abandoned buildings, homes, gas stations, restaurants, automotive repair shops, etc. Whenever you can find any remaining stretches of the highway that are still in-tact, this is where you will locate hidden treasures along the roadside!

Route-66 was known as the Mother of All Highways, and the trail that inspired John Steinbeck’s masterpiece; the #GrapesofWrath. After all these years I have spent photographing it, there is strong spiritual and emotional attachment that I have developed to this beautiful highway. Many a time, I have stepped into the past and remembered these simpler times in American History and the charm of the 1950s.

The photograph above is of Route 66 as it snakes through the frying pan of the blistering #MojaveDesert just shy south of the tourist trap of #Oatman, #Arizona (where donkeys still roam the streets) which seems to have a long-held tradition of inviting tourists feed oats to the donkeys.  It’s on the way to Lake Havasu! If you have never been, I highly recommend paying Oatman a visit! My grandparents once witnessed the unique views, the beautiful vistas, and these bygone little towns. It’s a beautiful experience, walking in their shoes, or should we say driving down their old road?

Talking Tree is doing UFO Hotspot Photography Tours!!! :)

When I, Nathan Cowlishaw aka Nathan Arizona, offers UFO tours, I don’t do crazy stuff like psychic readings and the hocus-pocus new age stuff; I teach photography. I was a national parks tour guide for 10 years working for various independent tour operators. I worked as a Grand Canyon river swamper and a wilderness guide on the Arizona Strip which is the most remote part of the North Rim at the Grand Canyon. I know a thing or two about REAL interpretation. Let’s skip the questionable charlatanism, what do you say?

When you are interested in capturing better photos and have an interest in the American Southwest, and hearing stories of crashed flying saucers and other worth-while folklore, this may be the tour that’s right for you?