TrulandPhoto

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Five Favorites for 2013

Here are five of my favorite shots from 2013 shown here in chronological order, along with some technical information.

The first shot, from April 15th, was made with the EOS 5D Mark II and EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens. Aperture was f/8 and shutter speed was 1/2000th of a second. ISO was 800


Crocus

The second shot, at a high school production of Grease, was made on April 17th, again with the 5D Mark II but with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens at 115mm. Aperture was f/2.8 and shutter speed was 1/350th of a second, ISO was 1600.


The Teen Angel

The third shot is a three file HDR image of Cohoes Falls made on June 12th. I used the 5D mark II and EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 31mm. Aperture was f/11 and the shutter speeds were 1/10th, 1/30th and 1/90th of a second. ISO was 100. I believe that I also used a 3 stop neutral density filter to obtain the slow shutter speeds.


Cohoes Falls Rainbow

The fourth image was made with a Canon EOS 7D and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens plus an EF 2X Extender II at a focal length of 342mm. Aperture was f/5.6 and shutter speed was 1/1500th of a second. ISO was 400.


Hummingbird Moth and Bee Balm

The fifth image was made with the 5D Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 102mm. Aperture was f/8 and shutter speed was 1/250th of a second. ISO was 100.


Sandscape in Maine

Of the gear used for the photographs, I no longer have the EF 300mm f/4L IS USM, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, EF 17-40mm f/4L USM or EF 2X Extender II lenses. The 300mm and 70-200mm lenses were sold to purchase the IS II version of the 70-200 f/2.8 lens. I rarely used the 17-40mm lens wider than 24mm and I have the 24-70mm f/2.8L lens. Proceeds from that sale were used to purchase an EOS M and a couple of EF-M lenses. I was seldom pleased with the quality of images made with the 2X extender and found that I was frequently using it in the range that could be reached with the base lens or the lens with the 1.4X extender anyway.

I have decided to keep both camera bodies I've used for these shots, at least for the time being. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Out Of Focus Treetop Star

I was playing with some gear this morning and decided to attempt some out of focus shots of Christmas lights.

Using the EOS 7D and EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, I set the lens to the closest focusing distance and aimed at the star at the top of my yet to be completely decorated Christmas tree. After trying out various settings I decided that f/5.6 gave me a nice blurred subject and ISO 800 enabled a hand holdable shutter speed of 1/60 of a second given the image stabilization on this lens.


200mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec., ISO 800

And here is what the star looks like in sharp focus:


200mm, f/8, 1/30 sec., ISO 800


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Playing With the EOS-M

I had a chance last evening to play around a bit with the EOS-M at a high school holiday concert. I knew what the lighting would be like as this was the same auditorium where I had shot the high school play last month. I also wanted to be able to isolate groups of kids and get the entire groups without having to move around. I chose the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens which gave me a field of view of 38-112mm in 35mm camera terms.

This is what the setup looked like, with the EF to EF-M adapter between the lens and the camera.




Here are some samples. The only post processing is a slight reduction in highlights. The EOS-M handled the white balance in this auditorium better than did the 5D Mark II that I used for the play.


35mm, f/2.8, 1/500 sec., 1600 ISO

70mm, f/2.8, 1/750 sec., 1600 ISO

70mm, f/2.8, 1/500 sec., 1600 ISO

50mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec., 1600 ISO

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Big Change in Gear

I haven't been posting much on the blog recently as I work through some significant changes in gear. I'm sticking with Canon but streamlining my lineup of both bodies and lenses.

I'm part way through the process, having sold my EF 17-40mm f/4L lens and purchased an EOS-M kit with the proceeds. I have decided to sell my EOS 5D Mark II body and use the 7D and M as my bodies going forward.

The 7D will be paired with the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, EF 40mm f/2.8 STM and 1.4X II extender lenses, 430EXII speedlite, 500D closeup lens and filters. The EOS-M will be paired with the EF-M 22mm f/2 pancake and 18-55mm STM lenses together with the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens via EF to EF-M adapter. The 270EXII speedlite will be used with the EOS-M

For sale also is my EF 2X Extender II. Items that may or may not be sold in the future are my 580 EXII speedlite, Promaster extension tube set and ThinkTank Photo and Lowepro backpacks.

I hope to have some EOS-M samples soon.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Another High School Musical

I did my local high school musical Pro Bono shooting this week. Last Spring it was a production of Grease, and you can view my blog entry about that experience here. This Fall the school is doing a production of You Gotta Charleston which is kind of a jukebox musical from the 1920's.

While this was a "dress rehearsal" so that I could walk up and down the aisles and in between rows of seats, parents were still working on uncompleted sets and instead of the performance microphones singers were using hand held microphones.

Like last time I used the EOS 5D Mark II and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for the performance shots although I now have the IS II version of the lens and went without monopod for mobility purposes although my left arm was sore after a bit. This setup weighs about six pounds.

Also like last time I used the EOS 7D for head shots although instead of the 50mm f/1.4 lens I used my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens zoomed out to 70mm. My 430EXII speedlite was bounced off of a Rogue FlashBender above and to the right of the subject while the on camera flash of the 7D provided fill from the left.

All shots are wide open at f/2.8 to get the background of the head shots out of focus and to get adequate shutter speeds for the performance shots. Head shots were made at ISO 400 and the performance shots at ISO 1600. Here a few examples and you can view my shots of this event on my Zenfolio site here.












Thursday, November 14, 2013

One Scene, Six Ways

The Fall foliage season is pretty much over in upstate New York but certain trees hang on longer than others. I don't know the name of the variety, but there is a maple with leaves that turn yellow but not orange or red and much later than other maple trees are bare.

Where several of these trees are bunched together, they can provide a last burst of color in the later Fall. The shots below were made on November 11th, long ofter most other maple trees had lost their leaves, on the old Champlain Canal, North of the Village of Waterford, New York.

I particularly liked the strip of sky reflected in the water that follows the curve of the old tow path along the canal. I was carrying my EOS 5D Mark II with the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens.

These first two images are the normally exposed single files with the shadows lifted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) as much as possible.






The next two images are three file images processed with DPP's High Dynamic Range tool. The files are bracketed +/-1 EV and the normally exposed file is the same RAW file which was processed for the images above. While the colors are more saturated and the shadow areas are brightened, the overall look is still mostly natural.






The last two images were made with the same RAW files as the two images above but processed with PhotoMatix Essentials, resulting in a less natural look.






Sunday, November 10, 2013

Going Small[er] for Closeups

As I mentioned in the previous blog post, I wanted to go back and shoot some of the same close up subjects using a different setup, namely the EOS 7D and EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens. I got a chance to do this yesterday morning.

The combination of the EOS 5D Mark II with battery grip, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM lens and 77mm diameter 500D closeup lens which I used on election day weighs about 6.25 pounds. The EOS 7D without battery grip and EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens I carried yesterday only weighs about 2.5 pounds. I handheld the camera, as I did on election day, and the lighter weight helped make up for the lack of image stabilization as it's easier to hold a lighter camera steady.

The 60mm lens creates a field of view equivalent to that of a 96mm lens on a full frame camera. The working distance is less than that of the 70-200mm zoom with the closeup filter but for static subjects that isn't really a problem. Here are some of the results:

EOS 7D, EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro, f/8, 1/180 sec., ISO 800

EOS 7D, EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro, f/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 800

EOS 7D, EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro, f/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 800

One advantage of the macro lens versus the closeup filter method is that you are ready to focus from macro to infinity without having to take anything on and off of the lens.

EOS 7D, EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro, f/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 100


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Election Day Closeups

I currently have two effective ways to get closeup to nature subjects. The first method is the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens attached to my EOS 7D body. This combination has the field of view of a 96mm lens on a full frame camera but a very short working distance.

The second method is Canon's 500D closeup lens attached to the front of my EF-70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. While I can use this with either the 7D or my 5D Mark II, I would normally choose the 5DII, as I did this morning for a hike around Peebles Island.

Serious closeup photography calls for tripods and remote releases but that's not conducive to exercise so I just carried the above referenced setup around, relying on image stabilization to hopefully capture some sharp images.

Here are some of the results and I'll share some thoughts following the images. All images were made with the EOS 5D Mark II and EF-70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens with 500D closeup lens attached.


120mm, f/8, 1/60 sec., ISO 200

200mm, f/8, 1/500 sec., ISO 200

88mm, f/8, 1/180 sec., ISO 200

155mm, f/8, 1/350 sec., ISO 200

As is very evident from the photo of the American Bittersweet the depth of field, even at f/8, with this combination is extremely narrow. In addition, as the last photo shows, the edges of the frame can be out of focus with a flat object.

The 60mm macro lens may well be a better option for certain closeups although it doesn't have the advantages of zooming and image stabilization. I think I'll repeat today's exercise with the other setup to hopefully make a comparison.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

White-tailed Deer on Peebles Island

I've shot a lot of deer on Peebles Island and lately I usually just wave and walk past looking for Eagles or something out of the ordinary. Today, though, I used the deer as subjects to test out the image quality of my EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens with the EF extender 1.4x II with the EOS 7D.

I've decided that the image quality with the EF extender 2x II is not good enough to use on a regular basis and have taken that out of my bag. The 1.4x extender is sharper but it's borderline quality as to whether it's worth it or not. I'll keep it in the bag for unique occasions but don't expect it to see a lot of use. I actually find it more useful for extreme closeups than to bring distant objects closer.

Autumn is a great time to shoot deer as the colors in the environment are warmer and antlers are at their peak. Here are three shots from this morning. The first two shots were landscape orientation compositions cropped to a 3x4 ratio portrait orientation composition. The third is only cropped from 2x3 to 3x4 format. I actually had to back off the zoom to get the deer in the frame. I would have had a better quality photo without the extender.

The first one is yet another example of how I remain used to my long lenses being single focal length lenses and keep forgetting to zoom out to the long end. If I had zoomed out I would have been at 280mm and would not have had to crop as much. The background and foreground would also have been more out of focus.


215mm, f/4, 1/125 sec., ISO 400

280mm, f/4, 1/180 sec., ISO 100

155mm, f/4, 1/125 sec., ISO 100

Friday, October 18, 2013

Foliage Documentation 2013

It's time for this year's photo comparison of some maple trees I began photographing in 2009. This year I'll repost all of the photos with a brief summary of that year's weather statistics.

Weather statistics are for the period June 1 to September 1, are obtained from the National Weather Service and are taken at the Albany International Airport, only a few miles from the photo location.

Interestingly, each photograph has been made with a different camera body, which I will identify in the caption along with the date the photo was made.

2009

18.5 inches of rain - mean temperature .5 degrees below normal

October 22, 2009 - Canon EOS 30D

2010

9.25 inches of rain - mean temperature 2.5 degrees above normal

October 19, 2010 - Canon EOS 50D

2011

18.12 inches of rain - mean temperature 1.5 degrees above normal

October 20, 2011 - Canon EOS 5D

2012

9.16 inches of rain - mean temperature 1.8 degrees above normal

October 20, 2012 - Canon EOS 5D Mark II

2013

16.77 inches of rain - mean temperature 1.4 degrees above normal


October 20, 2013 - Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Friday, October 11, 2013

Daytime High School Soccer

All the games I've shot so far this year have been under the lights. The constant lighting makes it easy to set a manual exposure and not worry about it the rest of the evening. Yesterday, however, I was shooting a late afternoon game on an overcast day. The changing light meant that I needed to use an auto exposure setting but even though it was overcast I was able to use lower ISO settings and higher shutter speeds than under the lights.

Backgrounds can be more distracting during the day as the light falloff at night renders most of the background too dark to be distracting. Accordingly, a wide aperture is needed to blur the background. I find that anything slower than f/2.8 results in too great a depth of field and the shots look like they were taken with a point and shoot camera.

So, you need f/2.8 under the lights to get a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action at an acceptable ISO setting and you need f/2.8 during the day to isolate backgrounds. I used various ISO settings so as to keep the shutter speeds generally between 1/1000 and 1/3000 a second. Slower than 1/1000 and a higher ISO was needed and faster than 1/3000 and I could use a lower ISO for better image quality. There are ways to set aperture and shutter speed manually and have an auto ISO setting to adjust the exposure but I haven't played around with that as yet.

 All images were made with an EOS 7D and the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens.


200mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 sec., ISO 800

70mm, f/2.8, 1/3000 sec., ISO 800

200mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 sec., ISO 1600

125mm, f/2.8, 1/1500 sec., ISO 1600

120mm, f/2.8, 1/4000 sec., ISO 1600

Friday, October 4, 2013

Back to Sports

I finally got around to shooting some sports after almost a year. Last year, I was using a 1D Mark III and a 70-200mm f/2.8L non IS lens for high school soccer. This year, both those pieces of gear are gone and I'm using a 7D and a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens.

Using a monopod, I could keep the lens image stabilization on, but I turn it off since it isn't really necessary with the shutter speeds required to freeze action, it uses battery power and the lag while it engages and disengages can be distracting.

I find I get more reliable results deciding on exposure settings for the conditions and setting those manually rather than having the camera's meter constantly changing shutter speeds. For night games at the new artificial turf field where I was shooting this week I found that f/2.8 at 1/750 second at ISO 3200 were good settings. I would have liked to have a 1/1000 second shutter speed but the lighting was not good enough and ISO 3200 is as high as I will push the 7D.

You can view the entire gallery of this year's soccer photos at http://trulandphoto.zenfolio.com/soccer2013. Here are a handful of shots from the past week:












Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Maine Finale

It wouldn't be a trip to Maine without stopping off at the Cape Neddick Lighthouse, better known as Nubble Light, on the way back home. This lighthouse located on a small island just feet offshore and it has to be one of the most photographed sites in the United States. Even in a pouring rain in October you will find more than a handful of cars lined up in the overlook parking lot.

With yesterday morning's fog in the background and obscuring the sunlight, the lighting at the location was flat and even. I decided to play around with HDR processing to get the colors to stand out a bit and to get some texture in the rocks while keeping an overall natural look.

I only bracketed +/- one EV since the brightness of the overall scene was fairly even. The first shot was processed with Canon's DPP software HDR tool using the Art Vivid presets and the second shot was processed with HDRSoft's Photomatix Essentials using the Natural presets. As usual, exposure information is for the normally exposed file.


EOS 5DII, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L at 35mm, F/5.6, 1/750 sec., ISO 200

EOS 5DII, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L at 70mm, F/5.6, 1/500 sec., ISO 200