In the photography world, we all have our biases in regards to what manufacturer of camera equipment we prefer. Anyone who has spent any amount of time reading this blog knows that I am a big proponent of Canon gear. However, it wasn’t always this way.
In my film shooting days of the eighties and early nineties, I was a large fan of Nikon. My primary cameras were the FE and FM2 models. I loved the sturdiness of these cameras plus they were “just right” in the size department. I shot literally thousands of photos between these two bodies and never had any type of failure. These were great cameras.
When I decided to make the move to digital SLRs a few years back, I did a bit of research. I knew that I would be “marrying” a manufacturer and wanted to make the right decision. It was a close call between Nikon and Canon, but Canon ultimately won. The deciding factor for me was the selection of bodies and the room to grow. This was a hard decision for me, since I had always been such a “Nikon Guy”.
Here it is a couple of years later and I am still pleased that I went with Canon. However, if I had gone with Nikon I am sure I would be nearly as happy. Nikon’s lack of a full-frame sensor is the only thing I think that would be holding me back.
Today, most of the photographers I know shoot either Nikon or Canon except for the occasional Olympus. The Canon Rebel line (especially the XTi) is very popular as is the Nikon D80. These are all great cameras.
What brand/model did you choose? And why?
Canon 30D, Canon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 – 1/60 second, f/8, ISO 100
Comments Off on Diggin’ the Visitors
It’s been a busy couple days for my photostream over on Flickr. The set of photos I took Saturday detailing the 337 Project was one of the top stories Sunday on the popular news website Digg.com. The Digg story resulted in over 70,000 visitors clicking through to the photo set in just a 24 hour period. Of those visitors, over 2,000 clicked on through to this site.
This serves as another reminder of the power of the new media. One guy with a camera and a website (me!) is able to document an event and share it with the world in a very short period of time. As for the 337 Project, it was extremely creative and I’m glad so many people got to see a small piece of it through my camera lens and the power of the Internet.
I went in to Salt Lake City yesterday to check out the 337 Project. This fairly large scale work involved 144 artists adding their artistic interpretation to a soon-to-be-demolished building. Literally each of the building’s 42 rooms and every exterior surface has been given a unique style and feel by the creations of the participating artists.
It was exciting to see the effort that these dedicated artisans put into a project that is actually very temporary. After the completion of the public showing, the building will be razed to make way for a new condominium/office building.
It you are in Northern Utah and want to check it out, today (Sunday) is the final day. There is no cost to enter, though if it is like yesterday there will probably be a slight wait (around 30 minutes for me). The building is located at 337 S. 400 East. There is plenty of free on-street parking.
Photo 1: Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/400 second, f/6.3, ISO 100
Photo 2: Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/15 second, f/4, ISO 160
Comments Off on Red, White, Blue and Green
If you’re in the US, enjoy your three-day-weekend!
Canon 30D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/500 second, f/4, ISO 100
One of the quickest ways to ruin a good shot is to use too slow of a shutter speed in relation to your lens’ focal length. A fast shutter speed is not only useful in capturing action shots, but it also will eliminate camera shake blur in your photo. We all love a long lens, but with that length comes the potential for blurry shots. When you are using a telephoto lens, every little bit of movement of the camera gets magnified many times over in the viewfinder.
Back in my 35mm film SLR days, I used the simple rule of placing “1/” over my lens’ focal length to determine my slowest shutter speed to safely shoot handheld. For example, if I was using a 200mm lens, the slowest I would set my shutter speed to is 1/200 second. But now that we are in the digital age with cameras that have “crop factors” of 1.5 or 1.6, we have to amend this rule a bit. If you are shooting with one of these cameras, simply take your lens’ focal length and multiply it by 1.5 and then convert it to a shutter speed. So now that 200mm lens needs a shutter speed of 1/300 of a second or faster to safely shoot handheld.
Over time, many photographers develop a steady hold and can amend their handheld shutter speeds to allow for less shake of the camera. I find now that I can safely handhold a shot at one to two f/ stops longer of a shutter speed than this equation recommends. Today’s image of a Red Panda taken at Utah’s Hogle Zoo is an example. I handheld this shot with a shutter speed of 1/50 second and a focal length of 280mm. While the image is not as “tack sharp” as I would like, it is definitely usable.
Like most rules in photography, this one is not set in stone. Feel free to experiment with combinations of shutter speed and lens length. I believe that it is better to have a slightly blurry photo (due to camera shake) than to not have taken one at all.
Canon 5D, Canon 70-200 f/4L lens with 1.4x extender – 1/50 second, f/5.6, ISO 160
Today’s capture was a fun one to shoot. What you are looking at is my youngest daughter’s favorite pair of socks.
To create this shot, I had Sarah stand on a seamless roll of white backdrop paper with her pant legs rolled up. To isolate her feet against the white background, I lit the scene with three lights.
First, I placed a softbox as the main light directly above the camera. This served to provide even lighting to bring out the color of the socks while creating a slight shadow below the feet. I then placed a light (diffused with a white umbrella) on each side of the subject feet. These lights were aimed at the backdrop behind the feet. This worked to completely overexpose the background creating the pure white.
In post-processing I bumped the brightness a bit using a ‘LEVELS’ adjustment layer in Photoshop to ensure the background was completely white. Finally, to remove the legs I simply painted over them with a white brush, leaving just the socks.
I like how the socks (with Sarah’s feet still in them) take on a strange appearance when her legs are removed. It’s almost a bit creepy.
Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/60 second, f/10, ISO 100