Spreading Roots

Last weekend we had some work done inside our house which required us to stay in a hotel for a few days. As the kids were swamped with homework, I was bored out of mind. Luckily I had the foresight to bring my camera. So one afternoon I slipped down to Swift Creek Bluffs Nature Preserve, which was near the hotel. It's a small, but nice tract of land near Raleigh with a lot of tall old beech trees and some good hiking trails that let you escape the city for a bit. Candidly, winter is not the very best time to visit in my opinion, especially when there's no snow, but it did give me an opportunity to take a bit different photos than I normally do. 

This is the first photo published to my site that I took with the Tokina 11-20mm CF. The 11-20 is another lens that I bought recently in an effort to acquire the Nikon F lenses I want while they're still easy to find and preferably from folks who are moving on to mirrorless cameras. I like the lens quite a bit so far. It's much sharper and has less optical distortion than my previous ultrawide, the Tokina 12-24mm, I liked that lens too, but the 11-20 is a definite upgrade in image quality. And it's a full stop faster at f/2.8.

But it does some weird things to exposure when coupled with Nikon's matrix metering system. For some reason, when taking photos with this lens of daylight landscape scenes, matrix metering will increase the exposure as you increase the zoom, to the point where you may be overexposing by the time you get to 20mm. Initially, I was wondering if the lens' aperture blades were sticking, preventing it from stopping down properly. But I did some tests to validate that theory and the lens aperture is working fine. It only exhibits the problem in daylight landscapes using matrix metering. There's something about this lens in that shooting scenario that the matrix doesn't like. Fortunately, there are a few easy workarounds for the problem: 1) you can use spot or center-weighted metering; 2) you can dial in some exposure compensation; or 3) you can shoot in manual exposure and manual ISO modes. Any of those approaches work.