Friday, May 18, 2012

This Mornings Wake Up

Good Friday from Prospect. 

Here's an fresh, early morning shot to share today. Fog is such a beautiful veil to reveal natures beauty. I do enjoy shooting with and through it.

6:49 am today in Prospect NS

Have a great long weekend.
Enjoy, Derek.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Angels of Prospect?

Between the fog, Angels 0ne (5D Mark II, 16-35 II f2.8)

Good Wednesday from Prospect.  So here are the two winners in the shoot on Friday the 11th.

One thing you should take into consideration when viewing, I'm shooting from a cemetery. Oooo, ha,ha.

I may just title them angels of Prospect, noting the history of the village.

Anyway, you'll also notice the difference in lighting on the buildings from the last time I shot here. The time of day is a little later so they aren't as pronounced. The available sunlight is now slightly forward and to the right placing this side of the buildings in the shadow, and the spread of fog doesn't help.

Between the fog, Angels Two (5D Mark II 50mm f 1.4)
I think you'll recall I had 13 minutes to get these so the time of day wasn't a choice. Rules are made to be broken I say, especially if mother nature says so.

BTW, these will at some point be printed and for sale. They will undoubtedly be around 42" wide, (with a max or 72" I'd expect).

I'll post when ready.

Enjoy, Derek.

Friday, May 11, 2012

After the Storm continued OR Timing, timing, timing!

May 11 Teaser

Good Friday from Prospect. Hey, got another chance at prospect. Not sure if this shoot will top the last one. I'll just have to go through them and see.

In the meantime, here are some teasers. 

The one thing about shooting these is "TIMING". The fog started to lift, at 11:00 am, so I grabbed my gear (always packed to run), got in the car and flew to the village, It's about 4 miles (6.5k) from my house and that may give me enough time to catch the light and clearing.

You see, one thing you need to be aware of about eastern coastal landscape photography, you may get 15 or even 20 minutes for the shot (just like sunset and sunrise). If you're not there you don't get the pic.

13 minutes later
I arrived at 11:22am this morning. Grabbed my camera and through lens one on (50mm f1.4). Set the filter, placed it on the monopod, (no time for tripods today), got to my favourite knoll and started shooting. Between 11:22 and 11:35 the available shooting view went from great to socked in. See the teasers I posted. I did get through two lens changes to grab everything I could.

Note, I left my house at 11:19 where it was just clearing. By the time I got back to my place (11:48) the fog had already moved inland 4 miles.
By the time I got back home

The point here is simple. Landscape photography takes patience and timing. You can either sit and wait or be prepared to run to the spot to get that pic. For these I could: A: Sit and wait for the midday sun to burn enough off to get that shot. B: Move there and set up a permanent tripod or C: Just be aware of when the change will occur and run when it's ready.

But ultimately, the successful photographer is the one that's there.

Have a great weekend.

Enjoy, Derek.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Shooting Architecture

National Library, Ottawa, Canada
f11  1/20  ISO100  27mm

Good Monday from Prospect.

National Library, Ottawa
f13  1/60  ISO 100  94mm
Okay so here's the thing. Been a little busy working for the last few days. We all need to put bread on the table right?

Well Friday afternoon found me in Truro NS. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to do a photo walk but did get a quick chance to scout it out. Now I know Mahone Bay is known for it's three churches, but wow, Truro has what must be the highest concentration of church architecture of anywhere in the Nova Scotia at least.

I quickly counted at least 6 in a 2 block radius. I'm not sure of the denominations but it seemed pretty diverse to me, at first glance anyway. I plan to make at least one trip to solely walk the area and shoot the architecture.

2007 Rib Fest, Ottawa
f4.5 1/30 ISO 200 at 36mm
But in the meantime, maybe that can lead into a topic. What glass to use when shooting those churches?

Hmm, I could use an ultra wide to grab more up close detail or maybe a good middle prime and focus on the details. Hey what about a fisheye? 180 degrees can be pretty cool if it's composed right.

Hmm, maybe I could get some comments on this one from some of you out there. Maybe votes?

Woodlawn Library, Dartmouth NS
f5.6 1/45 ISO 400 at 18mm
1 - 16-35mm or 24mm ultra wide

2 - 50 or 85mm prime for some detail work

3 - 135 0r 200 for even closer work

4 - fisheye like a 15mm (180 degrees of stuff packed into the frame)

Maybe the fisheye could be the discussion.

If you've never shot with a fisheye lens then you should watch 
Gene Ho on BandH's YouTube page: LINK.

f5.6 1/60 ISO 100 at 15mm
The Art of the fisheye. His is a wedding photographer and is almost covert in his approach and technique. Almost fits into the street photography with a G1X story (which by the way uses a 15.1 - 60mm f2.8 - 5.8 piece of glass). Sorry, I had to stick that in. I was going to go on about that camera again, but I realized, who wants to hear about that.

Anyway, the only problem with fisheyes are you need to get UP CLOSE as in Macro distance, like this beetle. I was probably only 6 inches from the fender. Bridge only gives me "close view" for the distance. That gets a little tough if you want to be covert.

Anyway, hope I left you with some food for thought today. What would you pick?

Not sure where I want to go tomorrow, I'll figure that out then.

So, till tomorrow remember, the successful photographer is the one that's there. So go take some pics. Enjoy, Derek

Parliment Hill, Ottawa, Canada  f5.6  1/180  ISO 100 27mm
Note: This is what to avoid when shooting with ultra wides. Notice how the light pole looks like it's falling over?  Oops.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A little beauty on the Halifax Waterfront

Good Wednesday from Prospect. 

Today I'm going back a bit in time, September 26, 2007 to be exact. I was shooting a Pentax K10 with an smc Pentax 12-24 f4.0 This camera was a C-size, CCD sensor at 10 mp. I think I had it for a year or two before I sold it.
CSS Acadia on the Halifax waterfront  f8.0, 1/125, ISO 100

Anyway, I was hired to produce some Interpretive displays for the HMCS Sackville by the ships trust. The Sackville is the only surviving Canadian Corvette from the second world war. She has been painstakingly restored and stands as a floating museum here in Halifax Harbour.

After my initial meeting I made a point of shooting her and the ship that is berthed just down the Harbour in front of the Maritime Museum, the CSS Acadia. (If you're interested in these two vessels you can board the HMCS Sackville when she is open during tourist season and the CSS Acadia is part of the Maritime Museums exhibit.)

I wanted to be dramatic with these and accentuate the length of these hulls. So I brought out my ultra wide for the job. I thought the fisheye would be way too much and I wasn't interested in the curvature that that lens would have produced. As a matter of fact these are shot at the 24mm end (36mm in full frame).

I just wanted to capture all the vessel without getting too far away. Yes, I probably can go into Photoshop and pull the Acadias bow forward, but what I wanted is what the camera saw through that lens. Could have grabbed a 50mm and stepped back in the parking lot too, but once again I wanted to get up close and personal with these.

They were both shot in the early afternoon. One of those beautiful first days of fall, here in Nova Scotia, and the start of our Indian summer. Sometimes the weather is nicer here in the early fall than all summer and, if you are a photographer, the light is beautiful this time of year with the fall foliage putting on it's best colours for the show.

Although these are shot around 1 pm, the sun has dropped enough to give me a little longer shadow for depth, since, after all, it is September.

I shot these with a slightly warmer white balance and a 2 stop ND to cut the bright sun off the hulls. But it was bright enough to hand hold the camera. Although I think you're allowed to use a tripod on the waterfront I'd recommend against it during the busier times of day. The Halifax water front can get pretty hectic from June to the end of October.

Until then...
Enjoy, Derek

HMCS Sackville on the Halifax waterfront    f8.0, 1/125, ISO 100

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Direction of the Camera?

f2.8, 1/5 sec ISO 100 hand held   B&W converted in Photoshop (that's Clapton on the tube. "Crossroads 2010"

Good Tuesday from Prospect. Today I'd like to talk about where we're going with the technology of Photography.

As some of you know, I've just done the switch over/ upgrade to Canon. Specifically a 5D Mark II a bunch of the good glass needed to use one of these "pro" set-ups.

To be brief, for those of you out of the know, I studied using Pentax gear like everyone else in the 70's. It was the camera of choice to learn with. All manual with no gimmicks to get in the way of great pics. Well many years later, when I finally decided to go digital, Pentax seemed to be the logical choice. Especially since everything was C-size sensor, I had some good Pentax Glass and I didn't need big fast sports gear (didn't have those 10s of thousands of bucks to invest anyway).

Since then the technology has advanced so far we've pretty well reached what I think is the pinnacle of the DSLR. With Canon driving it's hardware to productive heights in still and video photography (I mean 14fps in full frame (1DX) and 4K video (1DC) and Nikon pushing at Medium format with the D800 at 36mp.

So where will this all go for the average joe? Just this weekend past I think I've seen it.

I was looking for a camera that would allow me a little more stealth in my photographic endeavours. If you've ever experienced the way people look at you when you are shooting in public with that honking DSLR you'll know what I mean. They either want in the shot, try to avoid you thinking you are on a shoot and don't want to ruin it for you or want something from you if you shoot them. Some actually are offended that they are being photographed at all.

The solution has always been go small and stealthy, so to speak. But, unless you could cough up a lung to pay for a digital Leica you were stuck with small point and shoots with their tiny sensors, awful lenses and awful controls. These won't do for anyone but the snap happy pic taker. You know the one. All pics are out of focus, heads are chopped off and scenes of mountains in ways I've never seen them in real life.(My mother in law has a million of these pics.) Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to offend anyone with one of these. In most cases it's the family camera that can be afforded and it does capture that birthday/christmas/graduation event even though a dozen years later no one can make out who's in it. It's the equivalent of the compact camera we had when I was young. Any way that's a whole story in itself.

I want to address what the serious photographer needs in a stealth camera and those just won't do, not for me anyway. 

A serious photographer is usually a little bit of a control freak. He/she wants to control how that shot is being captured and conscious of how to create the image in mind. He/she only wants it to make choices when we say so. And the quality has got to be there to print BIG.

 Off camera flash (Canon 580EXII) f2.8 1/15sec ISO 400

Well after reading all the hype over the Fuji X100 and the Canon G1X I had to check them out. All I can say is WOW. Full manual control of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, off camera flash with 1/250 sec sync 10 and 14 mps and JPEG and RAW formats. What more can I ask for.

These are just like putting that Pentax K1000 in my hands. When I walked around town with that camera nobody bothered with me and I shot just about anything. Along with that the picture quality is fabulous rivalling just about any entry level DSLR and coming close to a few Pro-consumer versions. And it fits in my pocket.

Lately, we've been hearing about "street" photography. This is supposed to be the next great genre of photography. Well sorry to disappoint, we've been doing it for years. It's just recent that photographers are understanding what they need in hand to get it done, inconspicuously.

f13, 1/60 sec, ISO 125 built in 1 stop ND filter

Well these new C-size point and shoots are making it happen.

Besides these two there is a raft of what are being called "mirror-less" DSLRs at price points that reach the pro-sumer DSLRs. These will do a great job as well but, sorry, regardless of how cool I would think it would be to have one, I can't bring myself to spend that much bread for another system with all the specialty glass needed to use one. STEALTH not more to carry around is the game here. The X100 and G1X have fixed lenses that can't be changed (G1X is a zoom (15.1 - 60mm) and will accommodate a 58mm filter set including polarizer with the adapter from Canon and X100 is 23mm I believe, 49mm filters with a few tricks to get it installed).

But to say that these new advances in point and shoots and mirror-less systems will replace the Pro DSLR is a bit of a stretch for me right now.

Sensor size, physical size to accommodate the buttons that easily control the camera are two factors that will hold them back for a bit. It's like using a "Motorola Krazer" in a hand of my size. Looks like a toy and don't even think I could use those tiny buttons. Thank goodness for voice recognition. I had one for a while and hated it. To my chagrin, It ended up wet I believe, ha,ha.

f2.8 1/125 sec, ISO 100 built in 1 stop ND filter

But mark my words they will slide in someday. In the meantime I'm going to shoot my 5D for everything serious and grab that G1X on my way out the door to have a camera in hand at all times. Who knows what awaits the "stealthy photographer" If he keeps his eyes open.

As I've always said, the best photographer is the one that was there.

The shots I've posted are from the G1X I picked up on Saturday. The black and white was the 8th frame.
If you want to find out more about these the guys I've linked to on the right, all have lengthy reviews. Rockwell reviews both.

Have a good one and…
Until then, Enjoy, Derek.