Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Goodbye to 2014

2014 was a year of gear transition, as I've written before. When I decided to sell my EOS 5D Mark II back in February, it began a migration from full frame Canon L lenses to Sigma EX DC lenses designed for APS-C sensors.

My lenses for event coverage (sports, plays, concerts, conventions, etc.) now are the 10mm f/2.8 fisheye, 17-50mm f/2.8 and 50-150mm f/2.8 lenses from Sigma paired with EOS 7D bodies. I did miss, however, the ability to correct lens aberrations in Canon's DPP software, my image processing tool of choice, for more exacting purposes. So, with some Canon EF-S prime lenses I had not sold, I have assembled a group of sharp, compact lenses for shooting other than event coverage (landscapes, street, closeups, etc.).

Completing this group of lenses is Canon's cheap inexpensive EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens. Combined with Canon's two pancake lenses and the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, this collection fits nicely in a small shoulder bag with an EOS body without grip and a small flash.

I utilized this kit yesterday morning at Cohoes Falls during one of the rare appearances of the sun over the past week. Below are images made from roughly the same location at both ends of the 10-18mm zoom range and with he 24mm and 40mm pancake lenses.

All four images are five file HDR composites bracketed +/- one EV for each image. Exposure information is for the normally exposed image.

EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM at 10mm, f/8, 1/750 sec., ISO 100

EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM at 18mm, f/8, 1/750 sec., ISO 100

EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM, f/8, 1/750 sec., ISO 100

EF 40mm f/2.8 STM, f/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 100

One resolution for 2015? Shoot more images and post more blog entries. Only 30 in 2014 versus 73, 65 and 50 in the prior three years, respectively.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2015 Calendar Photos

You can view a gallery of my 2015 wall calendar photos with detailed shooting information here.

You may also view an embedded slide show of the cover and each month's photo:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Nice and Cold in Albany, New York

I had occasion to bring a camera to what was billed as the tree lighting ceremony next to the State Capitol at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York. Despite being a nice sunny day the temperatures were in the mid 20's with a wind chill in the mid teens.

 I brought along a Canon 7D with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lens. It was too cold to hang around for the actual tree lighting but there were other attractions taking place both inside and outside. Here a couple of shots from right around sunset.

The last shot is a 3 image hand held HDR +/- 1.5 EV with the caption information being for the normally exposed image. Processing was with HDRSoft's Photomatix Essentials using the Painterly 5 preset.

Canon EOS 7D, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC at f/2,8, 1/4000 sec., ISO 800

Canon EOS 7D, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC at f/2,8, 1/750 sec., ISO 800

Canon EOS 7D, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC at f/4, 1/725 sec., ISO 800

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shrek, The Musical

I came close to filling a 32 gigabyte CF card last evening shooting the dress rehearsal of a school production of Shrek. On Monday, I got most of the head shots but the lighting for the production itself was not yet ready.

So last evening I returned to shoot the dress rehearsal and ended up with 1,056 files taking up over 26 gigabytes of space. It took an hour to load the files from the CF card to my MacBook Pro via a USB card reader. I have yet to upload the 150 JPGs I'll be putting in a Zenfolio Gallery. Once they're uploaded you can view them here.

For the head shots I used an EOS 7D with a Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens. I mounted a Canon 430EXII Speedlite to a light tripod off to the right of the camera and bounced the light off of a Rogue Flashbender. I used the built in flash of the 7D to control the Speedlite and provide fill flash from the slight left of the lens.

For the production shots I used the same camera body with the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 lens. At ISO 1600, shutter speeds ranged from 1/15 to 1/1000 of a second depending the lighting of the scene. Some scenes were simply too dark to get a useable image with moving subjects.

Here are a few examples:

And here is an embedded slide show of the gallery which the school district is putting on their web site:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Post Halloween Pumpkin

An Eastern Gray Squirrel has figured out what to do with a pumpkin left over from Halloween decorations. On a very overcast day I watched it carve out the insides to get at the seeds.

Since I haven't posted anything in over two weeks I figured I'd take some shots with a 7D and the Sigma 50-150mm lens. All shots were made at 150mm, f/2.8 1/500th of a second and ISO 800. The first shot is the un-cropped version.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

On the Sidelines with the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8

Last evening I travelled to Oneonta, New York to shoot some of the action at a NCAA Division III women's soccer match between Hartwick College and Union College. I was positioned to one side of the goal right off of the goal line behind the dasher boards.

This positioning with the Sigma 50-150mm lens allowed for nice framing of action in and around the eighteen yard box and from the box to the sideline on my side of the field. I stayed put for both halves to get both defensive and offensive players.

Lighting was somewhat typical for artificially lit outdoor fields. At ISO 3200 and wide open at f/2.8 I was able to shoot at 1/500th and 1/750th of a second. Here are four examples. I added 33 images from this match to my gallery at http://trulandphoto.zenfolio.com/hartwick2014.

All images are made with a Canon EOS 7D and the Sigma lens.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Greater Than the Sum of It's Parts

After making some shots at a night time outdoor party last evening I concentrated on a Halloween luminary sitting on a wooden retaining wall, hoping to get a nice shot to use as an iPhone background. I hand held the camera with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM wide open at f/1.4 and ISO 800.

For one sequence I bracketed 5 shots +/- 1 EV. Shutter speeds ranged from 1/15th of a second to 1/250th of a second. I then processed the files in HDRSoft's newest version of Photomatix Essentials, choosing the "Balanced" preset.

Just for fun, here are the five individual images followed by the end result. A version of the final processed image has been added to the iPhone 5 and 5 [s] wallpapers page which you can visit here.

normal exposure 1/60 sec.

-2 EV 1/250 sec.

-1 EV 1/125 sec.

+1 EV 1/30 sec.

+2 EV 1/15 sec.

HDR processed image

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fall Continues on Peebles Island

Here are a few shots from this morning's walk around Peebles Island State Park in Waterford, New York. All are five file HDR processed images +/- 1EV using HDRSoft's newest version of Photomatix Essentials.

These images were made using Sigma's 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens mounted on a big Bogen tripod and magnesium ballhead with remote release. The exposure information is for the normally exposed image. The shutter speed varies with each bracketed image so the shutter speed for the -2 exposed image would be four times as fast and the +2 exposed image four times as long, etc.

118mm, f/8, 1/125 sec., ISO 100

150mm, f/8, 1/90 sec., ISO 100

50mm, f/8, 1/180 sec., ISO 100

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall on Peebles Island, Again

Yes, I've made a ton of photographs on Peebles Island over the years. Particularly during the year long trails scenic project which began in March, 2012. This morning's trip is different only to the extent that I used a different camera body, a different lens, different processing software and was careful to use a tripod and cable release.

Each of these images was processed with HDRSoft's Photomatix Essentials 4 which was released only yesterday. Each image is a composite of 5 bracketed files, each 1 EV apart.

The location is Peebles Island State Park in Waterford, New York, at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Transitions, Transitions

So, I've been migrating from some good Canon L lenses to Sigma lenses designed for crop sensor bodies since I made the decision last Winter to concentrate on that type of camera and sell my EOS 5D Mark II. Whether all this was wise or not is sort of irrelevant as it's done and over with.

Sure, logically, a changing interest from sports and wildlife photography to event coverage, photojournalism type photography might suggest just the opposite migration from crop bodies to full frame bodies. Can't argue with that.

If I'd kept my Canon lenses I might just be doing that but Canon has been bugging me with things like releasing the latest version of their image processing software so that it will only work with files created by newer full frame bodies. And they haven't supported the smaller sensor DSLRs with good quality lenses designed for those bodies like Sigma has. There is one exception, however, the new EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens which will sell for $149 when it's available in November.

I love the kit I have built with Canon EOS 7D bodies and Sigma EX DC lenses. The 7D is, however, a five year old design and while it excels at many things, it has fallen behind in some other respects. Which brings me to my point. With Canon announcing the EOS 7D Mark II recently, the path forward from this five year old camera is clear. Or is it?

Since I no longer have weather sealed lenses, do I need weather sealed bodies? If I don't have lenses for action sports and wildlife, do I need the ten frames a second shooting speed of the Mark II? And If I don't, what is the alternative?

One of the features I miss from my EOS ID Mark III is the ability to bracket more than three images. The EOS 7D mark II will bracket 2, 3, 5 or 7 images. But so will the EOS 70D.

The 7D Mark II has an upgraded 20 Megapixel sensor. But so does the 70D.

The 7D Mark II has a remarkable new autofocus system. But the 70D has the autofocus system from the original 7D, a marked improvement over the previous cameras in the XXD line and one I've never felt lacks anything.

The 7D Mark II has GPS but not WiFi. The 70D has WiFi but no GPS. Which is more useful? For me, I think WiFi.

The 7D Mark II new will cost more than twice what a used 70D will cost. My used 7D bodies with a grip, CF cards, remotes, etc. would bring in more than enough to fund a transition to 70D bodies. Worth thinking about.

In any case, I was out shooting yesterday morning along my usual walk and took in some fall scenery in Oneonta, NY in the afternoon. Here are some examples, all HDR processed.

Mohawk River from Van Schaick Island looking toward Peebles Island

Monument in Soldiers and Sailors Park, Waterford, NY

Yager Hall, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY

Elmore Field, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tugboat Roundup 2014

Last evening saw the arrival of the boats for this year's Tugboat Roundup at Waterford, New York, the Eastern terminus of the Erie portion of the New York State Canal System, located at the confluence of a branch of the Mohawk River and the Hudson River. The arrival of the boats is a colorful event which I always try to attend - at least in nice weather. Yesterday was warm, in the high 80's with a nice breeze.

Last year I shot this event with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. My blog entry from that occasion is located here.

This year I used my two Canon EOS 7D bodies, one with the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS lens and one with the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS lens. Captions will indicate only the focal length and exposure information. A full gallery of this year's shots is located at http://trulandphoto.zenfolio.com/tugboatroundup2014.

118mm, f/5.6, 1/750 sec., ISO 100

110mm, f/5.6, 1/350 sec., ISO 100

40mm, f/5.6, 1/350 sec., ISO 100

76mm, f/5.6, 1/750 sec., ISO 200

50mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 sec., ISO 200

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Women's College Soccer

One of the reasons that I decided to sell my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens is that I was no longer expecting to be shooting a lot of outdoor field sports. And while that is still the case, yesterday afternoon I did shoot a scrimmage between Hartwick College women's soccer and Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

As I was not directly on the field as I was used to when shooting high school soccer, I needed something longer than the Sigma 50-150mm lens with which I replaced the Canon zoom. Since it was an afternoon match I was able to get away with an f/4 lens so used my Canon 1.4XII extender with the Sigma lens. This now 70-210mm f/4 lens was long enough to capture action on my side of the field and the lighting was good enough that I could shoot at ISO 400 and f/4 or f/5.6 and still have shutter speeds of 1/2000 a second and faster. I have no complaints about the image quality of the Sigma zoom with the Canon extender.

If I were on the sidelines, I think the 150mm length would be fine with the 1.6x crop factor of my Canon 7D bodies. And the 50mm wide end would let me shoot closer action than I could with the 70-200mm lens. It's possible that at some point over the course of the season I could get that opportunity.

Here are five shots from yesterday's scrimmage. I did some cropping from 3:2 to 4:3 format to unclutter the sides of the images.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens

Completing my migration from Canon lenses to Sigma EX DC lenses is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens. So, my lens lineup now consists of the two Sigma zooms which give me focal lengths from 17mm to 150mm and the 10mm fisheye, all with a fixed maximum aperture of f/2.8 together with the 30mm f/1.4 lens.

Because of the change to third party lenses I will have to learn how to use Lightroom as the lens correction tools in Canon's DPP software only works with Canon lenses. I have dabbled a bit and have successfully fixed some purple fringing with Lightroom so it'll just be an adjustment period while I learn all the controls.

Here are two shots illustrating the focal length range of the 17-50mm zoom which has the field of view of a 27-80mm lens on a full frame camera These were made from Lock 4 looking toward Lock 5 on the Champlain Canal in Waterford, NY.



Here are a couple of shots along the trails on Peebles Island:

30mm, f/4, 1/60 sec., ISO 800

17mm, f/4, 1/45 sec., ISO 800

Finally, here are a couple of three file HDR images made from Peebles Island.