After a month of using the camera, I have to retract my statement about the top-side LCD being "old school". I have found the top-side LCD handy when needing to quickly change the AF modes between One Shot, AI Focus and AI Servo.The alternate way to change the focus mode, is to use the rear LCD via the QuickControl menu (after pressing the joystick).
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Beautiful models, beautiful, hair, beautiful makeup, beautiful clothes, beautiful lighting— all the ingredients (plus a good camera and lens) necessary for beautiful fashion photos (without beautiful clothes, the photographs become erotica).
My guess is that she uses a Nikon.
If you look at the model's eyes in the closeup photographs of the third shoot, you can see the photographer's lighting rig.Her black and white shoots are also superb.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Both the bench and the war memorial look better after having been converted to black and white. For some reason, the reflection of the train windows onto the concrete is more prominent in the thumbnail than on the actual photograph.The parking lot signs look good in both modes. The VIA Rail sign looks a bit better in colour. The contrast has been tweaked on some of the photos.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Stunning black and white photography of the animal kingdom from Nick Brandt. Try to guess the lens he's using for each photograph.Black and white photography is my holy grail. I see the world in colour, not as shades of light and darkness. One exercise I perform when I review my photos, is to preview them all in black and white, just to see how they would look— there are some that I think will look great in black and white, but they don't; then there are ones I don't expect to look good, but they look surprisingly good.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
During some housekeeping on my Mac, I found a New Yorker magazine ad from the 70s (I didn't note the issue) for Polaroid Land (
I assume it means "landscape") Cameras, ranging in price from $200 for the top-of-the-line camera with a f/3.8 lens and 1/500s shutter speed (top right), down to the $25 el cheapo (bottom left).
Friday, November 21, 2008
After a suggestion by a faculty member, I am considering the Canon EF 17-40mm L wide-angle lens. Pricing is quite varied:
The reviews are very favourable, as is the comparison with the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L (twice the price for twice the light). The primary advantage over the 24-70mm f/2.8L is the weight (approx. half) and the wider angle.
He also suggested that I could likely negotiate it down to $700, or if I waited until Boxing Day, I could avoid the sales taxes. My lack of people skills make negotiations impossible and I have a low tolerance for shopping-frenzy crowds.
I am hesitating on the purchase because I prefer a versatile lens— usable both indoors (meaning faster than f/4) and outdoors and I prefer a prime (less glass means more light). Canon's wide-angle prime lenses, however, are quite "sucky".
Update Sat Nov 22 16:15:07 2008: David responds with some suggestions:
What's your budget? Canon has a 24 mm f/1.4L for $1300, with a less expensive f/2.8 at $500. 28mm f/1.8 and f/2.8 can be had for $600 and $300. I don't see the half-stop going from 1.8 to 1.4 being worth $700 IMHO.
Note that once you get into the f/3.5 range getting any kind of bokeh is difficult at these focal lengths. You probably want to stay below f/ 2.8 if you want any meaningful blur.
Remember that you'll replace your body before you replace your lens, and if you ever stop being interested in photography, lenses don't depreciate as much as bodies.
My budget is virtually unlimited, but at this early stage, I refuse to buy a lens that cost more then the body ($1400) just as a sanity check— I don't want to buy optically fantastic lenses that collect dust at home.Eventually, I want a (indoor/outdoor) wide-angle lens (24mm or less), a 50mm (I'm happy with my f/1.4 USM) and an indoor sport lens— 85mm (f/1.8 or f/1.2L) or 100mm.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Jim brought his EOS3000 and I got a chance to use his EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens which was the camera's kit-lens.
The wide end (35mm equivalent at 1.6x), is a deep breath of freedom when compared with my 50mm (80mm equivalent at 1.6x). However, being used to shooting at f/1.4 indoors this lens takes some getting used to. Today was a pretty bad day to test this lens outdoors as it was mostly overcast. In general, I would say this lens lacks crispness.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Some more desktop backgrounds (I have configured my Mac at work to rotate them every hour and my Mac at home to rotate them after every wake from sleep).
I found the originals dull and boring (through no fault of the camera; it was the lighting in the store) so I tweaked the settings to make them more delicious. The green beans need a lot of "healing" as the bit of sugar, visible as white spots, are too distracting at such a close distance. Perhaps if I had stood further away...I'm sure you will agree that the adjusted images look better than the originals.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The previous night, I played with the camera in Manual mode and learned about the light-meter and what happens if you ignore it. So, here are the steps (I have used) to take a photograph in Manual mode:
- Set the camera in Manual (M) mode
- Set the White Balance (sunny, cloudy, etc.)
- Set the ISO; e.g. outdoors, sunny=100, overcast=250, etc.
- Set the f-stop; e.g. for a close-up, use f/1.4 where center is in focus; for a landscape, use f/8 or f/11 to get everything in focus
- Look through the viewfinder; along the bottom should be (left to right) shutter speed, f-stop, light meter, ISO, shots remaining and the camera-ready indicator
- Look at the light meter; it will indicate a number to either side of 0.
- Spin the upper dial (which changes the shutter-speed) so that the indicator moves to zero (the indicator will move in the direction of spin; that's a nice UI touch)
- Look at ths shutter speed and ask yourself, can you shoot at that speed? e.g. if you're shooting hand-held and the shutter speed is at 1 second, the photograph will be blurry.
- If you can, take the shot; if you can't, do one of two things:
- Reduce the f-stop (spin the back dial) until you get a shutter speed to can shoot at, or
- Increase the ISO (press appropriate button on top and spin the dial or press joystick on back and navigate to the ISO setting) and try to get a shutter speed you can shoot at.
The conditions you want before you can take the shot are: first, for the light meter to be centered at 0 and second, for a shutter-speed that is fast enough to capture your photograph.
So, being used to taking photographs where the camera is ready to shoot in under 2s, you can image why I thought shooting in Manual was so terrifying, especially when I was trying to capture the GO train pulling into the station at 20km/h. I would say it took me more than 10s to set the camera and take the first photograph, see it was blurred, under-exposed, etc. and then a few more seconds to re-compute the settings and re-shoot.I'm sure there are short-cuts to my method, especially if I memorize the exposures/shutter/ISO settings based on known conditions (and note them down in my moleskine notebook) and set the camera before attempting my first shot.
Arnold Newman passed away on June 7, 2008. After looking through his portfolio, I realize that many of the iconic photographs of artists I have seen, were taken by him.I now realize why it's called "portrait" mode. There's a photograph of Woody Allen that is framed in portrait mode even though he's lying horizontally on the bed (99% of photographers would have framed it in landscape); Claude Shannon's portrait is also interesting.
You don't take pictures with your camera. You take them with your hearts. You take them with your minds. The thing is, if you find a good tool to use, that's nice, and it's good to use it...but you still have to have a heart about what you're doing. And again, learn photography, don't learn subject matter. There isn't a single thing about subject matter that hasn't been photographed. Subject matter is older than the hills.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
David emailed me about BestBuy having a Sandisk 8GB Ultra II on sale for $49.99. I dropped by this afternoon and picked one up.
I find that the Ultra II is fast enough for my needs. What I need mostly is a week's worth of storage as I shoot about 150 pictures a day (typically three or more of each scene) and only have time during the weekend to look thorough them carefully and decied what to keep.
I think the Extreme III is likely useful for those that need to shoot 6fps continuously.
I also got a couple of good desktop background photos from the candy section, while I was shopping for groceries at the local Metro (aka. Dominion). Photos forthcoming if they turned out well.Jim also mentioned that Henrys has $50 off the 50D body which means I might be able to get $50 back since they have the Price Gurantee. Update Thu Nov 13 12:06:03 2008: I Dropped by Henrys this morning and got a $56.08 credit on my card. Essentially, I got a free 8GB CF card out of all these deals.
Yesterday I shot 144 photographs (not including ones I deleted because they were obviously blurry).
- Update Wed Nov 12 09:40:25 2008: I almost forgot— I took my first (usable) Manual mode photographs yesterday. I would only describe the experience as the most terrifying three minutes I have spent photographing. This will be a separate journal entry.
- I used Sports mode to shoot from the moving train, which seemed to work well for the most part.
- I shot some photos of a party going on in the Interior design building across the street. I used LiveView 10x multiplier to get a close-up of what was going on and used it to manually sharpen the focus. I rested the camera on a window sill.
- I also did some night photography on the way home (it was cold and my fingers were cold because of the wind (I wore wool-cashmere fingerless gloves), but the camera performed admirably). At the end of the day, I still had 50% charge.
If you held yourself up to the light
And the embers never fade in your city by the lake
All the photos were taken with the camera braced agains a lamppost. I selected the aperture (2.8-5.6), WB, and the ISO and let the camera calculate the shutter speed (which ranged from 1/8-1/15). I wasn't checking the histogram in the reviews, but if I had, I would have noticed the photos were underexposed. It took 4 tries to get the McDonalds photograph without blowups; by the 4th photograph, the pair of girls hugging in front of the restaurant had left.Update Sat Nov 15 15:00:57 2008: Perhaps subconsciously, I decided to re-watch The Godfather, Part II this afternoon. The film is famous for not only being better than the original, but for Gordon Willis' "under-exposed expressionism".
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This morning, walking up Bay street, I saw a film crew standing just in front of the Design Exchange. I took a picture and then I noticed the assistant cameraman (to the right of the cameraman in photo 1) picking up the camera and giving it the the cameraman, he started shooting high and I looked over to see what he was shooting. As I looked back to the crew, I noticed a EMS crew exiting the DX with a patient. I missed the shot because I didn't realize it was part of the shoot until the cameraman began photographing them. The woman in the last photo is also a character who exited the DX after the EMS crew.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The Boston Globe's feature, The Big Picture, features Obama.
I would guess that Dunand and Young use a Canon.No. 19 is pretty interesting from a photographer's point of view (and the photographer is pretty hot). You can tell she's using a prime lens because she's leaning forward to compose her shot.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I took several wide and close-up photographs of the brick wall for use as the desktop background but I found they are too busy and the icons get lost amongst the bricks. The corner photograph with the blurred edges, below, turned out to be the best choice for a desktop background.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails
—The Tempest, Epilogue
The first article, Basic Photo Tips: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO explains the relationships in the "photographic triangle". The second article, Exposure Basics: Correctly Expose Your Photographs explains why there are six possible ways to correctly expose each shot but only one or two are what you want.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The Digital Journalist has an album of photographs taken by Callie Shell, who travelled with Obama during his campaign; the Time magazine cover is suprisingly prescient.My guess is that the photos were taken with a Nikon (I'm not sure about the Time cover, probably because the colour-map was adjusted).
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Today, I was browsing through the manual and I discovered, Exposure Lock ("*" button on the back), that can be used when taking panoramas.If the panorama spans dark and bright regions, the camera re-computes the exposure between successive shots which makes the panorama look unevenly lit when it is stitched. Pressing the "*" button locks the exposure setting and keeping it pressed while panning the camera and shooting, ensures the same exposure is maintained across the entire panorama.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Did some night photography on the walk back home. Tried full auto (with flash) and Creative Assist mode (surpressed flash and reduced exposure). I would have to praise the CA mode for allowing those learning to use the camera, to take great pictures. Photos forthcoming. I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked as I wasn't dressed for standing around in 10°C weather.
Found another usability irritant: the CA mode settings reset after photos are reviewed or if the camera is switched to another mode.This afternoon, I took a 15MP photograph of a student, who was standing in the Atrium, from about 70 feet away; it was pretty impressive that you could zoom in and see she was holding an iPod Touch or iPhone.
Some wide photos in A-DEP mode came out blurry. I wonder why.
Verve Photo showcases documentary photographers.Documentary photography involves telling stories of people, with still pictures (the captions fill-in the details; the photos stand on their own). Photographing people without affecting the emotions in the photograph because of the camera's presence, is an art that cannot be taught.
Monday, November 3, 2008
David sent a link to the 50D review. Reading it was helpful as an supplement to the dry user manual.
I noticed that the charger that I got with the body-only kit looks different than the one pictured in the review. I still don't know what the AF-ON button ("The AF-ON button allows you to trigger auto focus independently of the shutter release 'half-press'.") is supposed to do— pressing it seems to focus the lens far and then close in small steps— more reading required. Page 10 of the review has a movie that shows AF operating in LiveView mode. Perhaps it's not working for me because I always have the camera handheld rather than mounted on a tripod or stabilized. Page 17 has an interesting comparison of the sensor noise levels of the various cameras; the Nikon D300 is unexpectedly impressive at ISO1600.
Update Sat Nov 08 12:55:45 2008: After re-reading the LiveView chapter, I have a better understanding of the auto-focus in LiveView mode now and it does work (for some values of "work").
Saturday, November 1, 2008
A list of things that I expect to work a certain way, or things that make me wonder why they are a certain way (perhaps later, as I learn the camera, I will understand why) and things that generally bother me about the 50d:
- No auto-focus with shutter button in LiveView mode (if a point-and-shoot can do it...)
- Blinking numbers or symbols (the shutter speed blinks, the aperture value blinks, a circle blinks when corresponding limits are reached; this is the 21st century: I want a message in English telling me what's wrong and I want it projected in the eye-piece and I want errors coloured red)
- Multiple ways of setting the same thing; the top-deck status LCD (for backwards compatibility to keep the old-timers happy, I suppose) and the rear status/Quick Control LCD menu (I have re-considered this irritant and accept that the top LCD is useful)
- The auto-focus points in the view-finder are difficult to see when shooting in low light
- the CA mode settings reset after photos are reviewed or if the camera is switched to another mode (Tue Nov 04 23:26:17 2008)
- A photo can be automatically reviewed (for a customizable period) after each shot; I would like to zoom-in to the picture being reviewed without having to press Review and explicitly entering review mode (Sat Nov 15 14:25:53 2008)
- With the rear LCD on, when you switch to a different exposure mode; e.g. from Shutter Priority to Aperture Priority, the LCD shuts off. In the dark, it's difficult to read the top dial, so the LCD is handy to see what mode you're shooting in. But I have to keep turning the LCD on every time I switch modes. (Sun Dec 21 12:53:27 2008)
- This is more of a wish— backlit buttons so I can see what I'm pressing in the dark given how much pressing Canon engineers expect me to do. A backlit exposure-setting top-dial would be nice too. Wed Dec 31 22:23:10 2008
- Top-side LCD
- RMS Photos
- Portfolio: Aneta Kowalczyk
- Black and White Photos
- Portfolio: Nick Brandt
- Ad: Polaroid Land Cameras
- Considering the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L
- "cannon elf"
- A LIFEtime of Photographs
- EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II
- Fantastic Foursome
- Gigapan Tripod and Panoramas
- "Imaging Resource" Review of the 50D
- Jelly Beans
- First Manual Shoot
- Portfolio: Arnold Newman
- Good Deals
- November 11th Journal
- Sigma Acquires Foveon
- Second Unit Film Shoot
- The Big Picture: Obama
- Another Brick in the Wall
- Manual Mode
- Portfolio: Callie Shell
- iPod Bliss
- Exposure Lock
- Thorny Hedge
- Night Shoot
- GO Solitaire
- Verve Photo
- DP Review: 50D
- Canon 50D Irritants
- ▼ Nov (32)