You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.
It’s been quite a tiring week. I’ve just finished uploading and backing up thousands of photos from various events on the external hard drive and DVDs.
Now, sorting through and post processing the photos will commence. But for now I will leave you with this…
Featuring Lea Salonga as ‘Grizabella’, Begins Run 7/24/2010
After 29 years, Pinoys will be able to see the award winning play on home turf. The tickets are a bit on the expensive side but savings on airfare makes pricing tolerable. Besides Cats has closed on Broadway in New York and London’s West End. Lets hope for the best that the production is up to par.
See you at the theater…
Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. It introduced the song standard “Memory”.
The musical first opened in the West End in 1981 and then on Broadway in 1982. Each time directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, it won numerous awards, including both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for Best Musical. The London production ran for twenty one years and the Broadway production ran for eighteen years, both setting long-run records. Actresses Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley became particularly associated with the musical. One actress, Marlene Danielle, performed in the Broadway production for its entire run (from 1982 until 2000).
Cats has been performed around the world many times and has been translated into more than 20 languages. In 1998 it was also made into a television video. -Wikipedia
More info on the Manila play dates with an extended run.
A SIMPLE REAL WORLD SHOOTING REVIEW
I had the pleasure of testing out this lens through Canon Taipei, Taiwan. Mounting the 15mm on my dslr a test shoot inside and a walk outside the store ensued. For 20 minutes frame after frame of downtown Taipei was captured on my Canon 50D.
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye (Canon Taipei price NTD24,000-approx. PHP36,000) is equivalent to 24mm in full frame numbers when used on a 1.6x crop body (EOS 550D, 50D or 7D). This lens first produced in 1987 still holds up to today’s dslr technology. It was fast to focus albeit with a buzzing sound for lack of USM, small, light weight and is the only lens in Canon’s line up with an intentional distortion (fisheye).
I was surprised at how fast the Canon 15mm focused on AF without having USM (Ultrasonic Motor) but the whirring and buzzing sound of yesterdays lens technology was pretty obvious when used indoors. It doesn’t have full time manual focus so switch flicking is necessary and the MF ring was a tad too small to operate with my stubby fingers. It doesn’t take much though to go to infinity with this wide a lens. Focus ring is not as smooth like other old EF lenses (85mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4). The coarse rotation of the focus ring is quite evident. I can relate this to my EF 28-70 f/3.5-4.5 from 1987 (I still have today and yes, it works on dslr’s).
The front element of the lens is convex and sticks out of the lens. It won’t hold any standard screw on filters (it does have rear slots for holding up to three gelatin filters). To protect the convex element a metal hood is permanently attached with front lens cap being metal in construction that fits smoothly over the hood.
Based on the time I had, the EF 15mm fisheye is very pleasing to use. Both indoors and out I had no trouble with focusing. I always use the center focus point, and corner to corner sharpness is excellent. Very solid feel when mounted on the 50D much like the weight ratio of EF85mm f/1.8 mounted on. The photos were not examined at 100% pixels as I want to keep this review as real world realistic as possible.
One other aspect to think about is this lens can not be used on a x1.3 or x1.6 crop dslr to achieve the full fisheye effect. A crop sensor uses the middle part of the sensor and it would just be restricting the 15mm’s full potential. True Ultra Wide Angle lenses are much better alternatives made for crop sensors like the Canon EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM an equivalent of 16-35mm on full frame. Or wait for the upcoming Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM (approximately 12-24mm on full frame) which I’m eagerly waiting for more performance reviews and hoping to get an actual hands on with.
The final verdict- I would love to have this lens for a full frame cam to get the funky cool view. But would not see much use on crop dslr’s. On the business end, the UWA’s would fare better in the long run for events and client acceptability. In the meantime, the Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye will have to go into the wish list.
All photographs captured with Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye mounted on a EOS 50D x1.6 crop sensor dslr.
SHOOTING A SUNSET AT LOW TIDE
So, it’s low tide, I mean really low tide. Where I stood at sunset during the day it’s about a few feet of water.
Don’t be afraid to get the tripod wet. Just clean it up after with bottled water and a clean soft rag. To get rid of the salt that is already on your gear from both the air and water spray. Having those rubber air blowers will come in very handy as well to get small particles of sand off the camera and lens before you wipe.
Use aperture priority and play with the numbers from f/11-f/20 and shoot until you are satisfied with the photo. On aperture priority you manually set the f-stop (lens opening) and the camera sets the shutter speed. More importantly do wait for the sun to sink into the horizon first. A big no no though, is flash-either shut if off or throw it into the water. Shoot a series of photos with varying apertures.
After downloading photos into the computer study the photos and compare the 3 triumvirate of photography-aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Compare the effects that each has on the sunset shot. The exif of photo above: EOS 50D, 35mm, f/16, 0.4 sec, ISO 100, RAW.
Gear you will need for a proper sunset landscape photograph:
- Any wide angle lens. Yes, even kit lens (Canon EF-S 18-55mm)
- Sturdy tripod-any brand will do. I suggest getting one with a price point of no less than US$100 or PHP4,500. Don’t go el cheapo on this one. Remember it’s support of your DSLR and you’d want one to keep it off the beach.
- Remote for steady shooting
- Rubber air blower-available in camera accessory shops
- A dark cloth to cover up viewfinder for long exposures
- A bubble leveler to go on the hot shoe
- Bottled water/snack
- Flashlight to use so you can stay til dark
- A good bag to hold everything in
And most of all, have fun.
PS- if lens have IS (Image Stabilizer) turn it off. Don’t need it with a tripod.
PHOTOS CAPTURED WITH CANON EOS 50D+580EX II SPEEDLITE
When on vacation try not to carry so much photography gear. A good point and shoot (Canon S90 or G11) would be more than enough. But, a big family reunion on vacation calls for the gear and then some.
After dinner cultural show where a dslr on ambient light just will not do. The Filipino dancers would just come out a big swirley blur.
Here an external flash comes in handy. Not the one built into the dslr body but those pricey ones that needs to be purchased separately.
These photographs were captured in an open space at around 8-9 pm with main light source being 2 sets of those four colorful direct lights on stands (second photo, right). Plus the other ambient lighting installed inside the tents and huts. The night sky was pitch black with stars all around and the moon half full not yet entirely visible. In come the handy flash-580EX II to be precise.
All that’s necessary is mount the external flash on the hot shoe and turn down the power level to -1. With lower power level you’ll be able to capture some motion to get a dynamic photo vs. the frozen shot with the flash on full auto. Almost all Canon dslrs released recently have flash control on the body as well. Just hit menu and look for it under external flash control.
If only a point and shoot is available then just turn on flash manually and turn down the power as well. Use your shutter priority mode for best results. Most importantly, don’t use p&s zoom. Walk up close to the subject and when you think you are close enough to get a good photo take 2 more steps for good measure. The photos below of the fire dancers were shot so close to the subject that heat could be felt and probably some arm hair was singed in the process.
If you have a Canon G series point and shoot then take advantage of the hot shoe. A Canon 270EX or 430EX II Speedlite on a G series would make quite a set up. My personal set up is on a point and shoot is a G7 (2007) with a 430EX II-more on this soon. Research on the web will show that many p&s’s now have a hot shoe for an external flash.
Just make the best of your photo gear. Learn it’s strength and weaknesses for proper experiments and have fun. It might be frustrating at first but don’t let this bog down those photo opportunities. Remember, shooting digital is way cheaper and more convenient than film. Not to mention the instant gratification of seeing the photo on the LCD.
Want to know more? Just email or stick it in the comment box. Thanks for reading.
CANON’S FIRST HS SYSTEM WITH DIGIC 4 SENSOR
Just released: May 11, 2010, the Canon IXUS 300 HS Digital Compact Camera. No big deal, right? It’s just another new point & shoot with another new gimmick.
The IXUS 300 HS is the first model to feature Canon’s new HS System, combining a high-sensitivity 10.0 Megapixel CMOS sensor with fast DIGIC 4 processing for enhanced low light performance and high-speed shooting.
High-sensitivity 10.0 MP CMOS sensor
A high-sensitivity, back-illuminated CMOS sensor gives outstanding image quality in a wide variety of lighting conditions. Even images taken at high ISOs feature low noise levels and a wide dynamic range.
The new HS System dramatically improves image quality in all situations. A powerful combination of DIGIC 4 processing and high-sensitivity sensor, the HS System allows full-resolution shooting at up to ISO 3200 (10MP) or up to ISO 6400 in Low Light mode (2.5MP).
More details on the IXUS 300 from the press release at Canon.
A high sensitivity, back illuminated CMOS sensor that will allow high ISO 3200 shooting with nearly no noise is a big deal. This is the first cam that Canon has released with this feature. High ISO shooting isn’t really a Canon camera strength. The evident noise that comes along with high ISO photos almost always mean running it through an image noise reduction software to make it usable.
On Saturday morning I go about my daily web routine and hit the bookmark on Canon Rumors. The page loads flawlessly as usual and CR guy is at the Henry’s Photography, Video and Digital imaging show in Toronto. Where he gets to shoot off a few frames from a pre-production Power Shot SD4000. Apparently with the same HS System like that of the new IXUS 300. Take a look at the hi-rez photo and what don’t you see?
At ISO 3200 the photo (right) lacks the noise common on Canon cameras. If this is an indication of Canon’s upcoming update on their sensor technology then we might be in for a significant improvement in the EOS lineup. Including the rumored replacement for the 50D where release date and specs are gathering more steam on a few sites.
Hopefully Canon does a major overhaul of the xxD line with the inclusion of the HS System and back lit sensor. This should be a tad more promising than just upgrading the EOS processor to DIGIC V.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE VERY MUCH ENCOURAGED…
Shot details: Canon EOS 50D, Focal Length: 26mm, Aperture: f/4.5, Shutter speed: 1/30, ISO 200, Speedlite 580 EXII/430 EXII, RAW
SEEING STARS AFTER 40 MINUTES
Going on vacation is a good thing. It gives the daily bump and grind a little break and lets your inner photographer do what it wants.
Doing star trails is an easy task so long as the necessary elements cooperate. And a few of those are controlled by mother nature. A clear night sky without too much light from the moon is as important as having a dslr remote for bulb. What’s a night sky without too much moon light? Well, a simple gauge is total blackness when you look through the dslr’s viewfinder. It would be a great plus without clouds as they reflect the light from the moon.
Composing, obviously will be difficult. So it’s either do a guesstimate or shoot test shots on bulb setting til you get it right. Opting for the latter an initial 2 minute exposure told me to adjust composition to include framing elements such as the trees.
Turn off AF and IS and manually focus to infinity. Plug in your choice of remote and use a steady tripod with a ball head.
Now that the dslr set up is raring to go make sure a dark colored cloth is handy to cover up the viewfinder so no ambient light will spill onto the sensor. And make sure to time the exposure (duh…).
Shoot in RAW when possible and adjust white balance in post processing. That way the white balance can be set to auto and keeping the settings as simple as possible. All you will have to worry about is the aperture. Start at f/5.6 and adjust accordingly.
This exposure was at 20 minutes (not bad considering this was a first try). The 50D then took another 20 minutes to process the exposure as the long exposure noise reduction was turned on. The camera produces a black background to counter the noise in that extra time. In total this single exposure lasted 40 minutes.
If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to use the comment box. Thanks for reading.