Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Photos of 2009

Once again, it’s that time when we customarily review the best, worse, etc., etc. of the past year. I now get to be judge, jury and the only contestant in my personal photo contest. While searching for potential entries, I was somewhat disappointed to find I’ve spent more time on testing and technique than on producing “fine art” photographs. On the positive side, I’ve taken even more photographs of my granddaughter.

I sure like my new 7D. For a couple of weeks I was concerned that my own 7D had the focus problem that had so occupied Internet discussion forums. I finally realized that my apparent problem was actually a combination of Canon’s focusing logic, lens calibration, depth of field and (in my opinion) the 7D’s need for additional capture sharpening. I’ve calibrated my lenses and now use center point focusing, higher numbered f stops and more capture sharpening. Perhaps the 7D update to ACR helped a bit as well.

In the above picture, the on-camera flash of the 7D was used to trigger a 580EX with Stofen diffuser that was above and slightly behind her. The room also gets good light from the doorway. The ratio of 580EX to 7D flash was set at 4:1. A good picture, if I do say so myself and extremely popular within the family. The song? “When Christmas comes to Town”.

With the G9, I rarely attempted action photography and am on a steep learning curve with the 7D. The above photo of a white pelican landing is one of my better efforts. Previously, I posted other photos of white pelicans at LSU. Notice that the pelican in the background is out of focus even though the aperture was set at f8; the depth of field was simply too shallow with the 100-400mm zoom at 400mm. This is not a focus problem.

I worked hard to make the above “real estate” photo of a large bathroom using the G9 plus wide angle converter, many wireless flashes and stitching to get the final image. Alas, when entered in a Strobist contest, it did not get even an honorable mention. I suppose I shouldn’t call it my best shot of 2009 but I do like it.

I really like the above pier in sunrise image and posted it previously. My original thought was HDR techniques so I used auto bracketing in the 7D to capture several exposures. Somehow, my HDR efforts just did not appeal to me so the above image is from a single shot. Yes, the colors are not particularly true; however, the colors are nearly the same as the 7D in-camera JPEG using auto white balance (meaning that the white balance is actually wrong). However, it was a beautiful morning.

Back to the G9 for my best shot of the year. Again, I thought to make an HDR image but quickly reverted to processing a single file. My wife likes it – always a good sign – and it was a winner in one of the monthly competitions at our photography club. I liked it enough to post previously.

Equipment wise, if 2008 was the year of the G9 for me, then 2009 was a transitional year to the 7D and 2010 will be my year of the 7D. I’ve resolved to focus more on content than equipment and was pleased to note that some of my better photographs had been previously posted. I plan to continue posting my better efforts. We’ll see how this resolution works out.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Tenset

At the Online Photographer, Mike Johnston is pushing his followers to make a "tenset" of their top ten photographs. Mike's idea is that a website should begin with the tenset so that the viewer can quickly get an idea of the photographer's style and quality. Mike is a strong believer in the redact and reify process. My own Top Ten is at SmugMug instead of a personal site -- not exactly as Mike recommended but much easier to set up and perhaps avoids some of the operational and interface problems he describes.

G11 Review at DPReview

The long awaited review of the Canon G11 is now available at DPReview. I took this as a very positive review; however, judging by some comments in the discussion forum, others were disappointed. Meanwhile, I still have my G9 and am learning the 7D.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

G11 Review by the Strobist

The Strobist, David Hobby, has been a fan of the G Series Powershots since the G7 in spite of his otherwise devotion to Nikon DSLRs. Now he has replaced his G10 with a G11 and writes about it here. He also explains the concept of overpowering the sun and tricking the G11 into high speed sync with non-Canon flashes. I learned to do this with my G9 by following his examples (and am missing that ability with my new 7D).