Saturday, April 23, 2011

PAW 16

Ocean Springs

Getting this week’s picture was a matter of being in the right place with the right camera and lens – in this case, the Canon 7D with 100-400mm zoom maxed out.  At ISO 400, the Av exposure was f8 at 1/800 second.  I sure appreciated the 8 frames per second firing rate.  This one was the third shot in a five shot series.  Converted from RAW in ACR and slightly cropped.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

G12: Unused Features

SAK Campfile composite4 (web)

The G series Powershot cameras have so many features that they are a veritable “Swiss Army Knife” of cameras. I really like Swiss Army Knives and have, uh, quite a few. Like my Swiss Army Knives, my G12 has a number of features that I don’t actually use but am glad to have around because, well, you never know when they might come in handy.

Before anyone gets upset, I’m not saying that the features about to be listed are useless. I’m just saying that I haven’t used them – yet.

G12 CameraFor starters, look no farther than the Mode Dial on top of the G12. I never use Auto because Program mode is preferred for automated shooting (although I rarely use Program mode either). Somewhat surprisingly, I’ve never used the “Quick Shot” setting – no particular reason, I just haven’t. Perhaps I’ve missed something useful. Also on the Mode Dial, I’ve rarely used the “Low Light” setting but this rarity seems reasonable. I’ve used the “SCN” (think of “Scenes”) setting on occasion, especially the HDR and Nostalgic features but that’s about it. I’ve used my G12 to make videos but have yet to use the Miniature mode (although I intend to play with it).

Also on top of the G12, I rarely use the Exposure Compensation dial although I’m glad exposure compensation is provided. My usual practice is to shoot in Aperture Priority (Av) mode and, instead of using the Exposure Compensation dial, switch to Manual Exposure if the Av exposure isn’t quite right. I probably should use Exposure Compensation more often.

On the back of the G12 at left top is the Quick Print or Shortcut button. I agonized over which feature to assign to it as a shortcut and finally selected i-Contrast; however, I promptly forgot that assignment and have never used it. I don't use i-Contrast either. Also, I never print directly from the G12 so the Quick Print feature is wasted on me.

There are Dynamic Range and Shadow corrections that can be accessed through the Function button on the back of the G12. These adjustments do not apply when shooting RAW or RAW + JPEG – my normal practice – so they remain unused.

In the Main Menu, I immediately turned off these features: Digital zoom, AF-Point zoom, Servo AF, Continuous AF, Safety MF, Red-Eye Correction, Red-Eye Lamp, Blink Detection and Date Stamp.

After taking a picture, I’ve never used the G12 for editing. That is, from the Playback menu, I’ve not used these features: Smart Shuffle, Protect, Rotate, Favorites, My Category, i-Contrast, Red-Eye Correction, Trimming, Resizing or My Colors. (Actually, in finding these features, I should learn more about them.)

Well, my list of unused G12 features is shorter than I thought it would be. Plus, I’m now curious about some of these unused features and will be learning more about them.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

PAW 15

Baton Rouge

I’ve been wanting this picture – or one similar to it – ever since I saw children playing in these fountains in front of the Shaw Center in Baton Rouge.  After a few trial shots, I set the G12 in manual exposure mode at 1/640 second and f4.5 using ISO 80.  Because the G12 suffers from shutter lag, I used the half pressed shutter button technique to lock exposure and focus, waited for the right moment and finished the shot.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

G12: Hot Shoe Cover –> No Flash

Hot shoe cover

From time to time there are reports of the G12 internal flash absolutely refusing to work in spite of (almost) every possible corrective action – including resetting – that could be imagined. Frequently the problem is related to a small micro switch located in the hot shoe, see the above image. The purpose of the micro switch is to inform the G12 that an external flash has been attached but if the micro switch has become stuck or unintentionally depressed then the G12 is misinformed. Result: no flash.

Hot shoe cover

The problem is not confined to the G12; the micro switch is used on all the G series Powershots. The photos in this post are of the Powershot G9. The image above shows the G9 hot shoe with a cover designed by Richard Franiec. Notice that Richard cleverly engraved his design with “G” for “Gordon” (although some believe there were other reasons).

Knowing that the G series hot shoe has a micro switch,Hot shoe cover the Franiec cover is relieved along one side so that the micro switch is not activated when the cover is in place. There are other hot shoe covers available but all are not compatible with the Powershot micro switch. The G series internal flash will not work if an incompatible hot shoe cover is placed in the hot shoe.

I bought my G9 hot shoe cover directly from Richard and the G12 hot shoe cover from Lensmate. The same cover is used for G7 through G12.  My G3 and G6 also have the micro switch but the Franiec cover is just a bit too wide to fit.

There have also been reports of a stuck micro switch but more often the “flash doesn’t work” problem seems to be an incompatible hot shoe cover.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

PAW 14

GSB and computers

When I first began my Picture a Week project, one of my ideas was that the picture would tell a story, be complete in itself, etc.  I did not intend to fully document the details of the picture, equipment or technique.  Of course, I can hardly help doing just that!

From time to time I like to take on the challenge of making a self portrait and this week’s PAW is my latest effort.  It represents quite a bit of effort.  First, I wanted a self portrait that showed me doing something and not just a head shot.  So, what do I do?  You see me at one of my major activities.  I decided to use the computer screens as the light source; this both to provide a different look and also to minimize my cleanup efforts.  A piece of black art board was placed behind the laptop to further hide my junk.  My Canon 7D with 15-85mm lens was placed on a tripod to be triggered by the Yongnuo RF-602 wireless remote.  A little rearranging, a few trial shots to set exposure and the rest was up to the model. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

PAW 13



Sun and bridge

We were riding down Front Beach in Ocean Springs, Mississippi hoping to get in a sunset shot or two but running late when I saw this scene developing in the rear view mirror.  I pulled over, grabbed the camera and fired off a few shots.  This one was the second shot with the old Canon 20D and 100-400mm lens at full telephoto.  When I pushed the button, I could see the print as being cropped to square but it actually cropped to an odd aspect ratio.  I don’t particularly believe in commercial aspect ratios anyway – although they certainly can be beneficial when shopping for frames!

When people ask if a picture has been “Photoshopped”, I’ve learned to just say “Yes”.  I normally shoot in RAW and consider the conversion process from RAW as a second chance to get it right (meaning the way I want it).  This one was a bit difficult to process because of the very bright sun.  It definitely was a big yellow ball and the RAW conversion required some extreme settings to retain that yellow sun.