Sunday, July 31, 2011

PAW 30


“Turn around, look behind you.”  I’m always (well, attempting to) telling myself to look around and not to get locked into the scene or setting that I imagined would make the best photograph.  That was certainly the case for this photo.  I imagine a scene of a pier in the early morning fog but that scene simply did not “work”.  As I retraced my steps, the scene directly opposite from the one I had in one was by far the best shot and is this week’s featured photograph

Once again I was using the G12 – it is so convenient and easy to use.  This time, anticipating slow shutter speeds, the G12 was mounted on a tripod.  Exposure was 1/60 second at f5.6 as set by Av mode for ISO 80.  Processed from RAW in ACR, the histogram is shifted towards the right because there are few dark areas.  I did not attempt to salvage the dark and bright details because those details simply were not there in the actual scene.  Likewise, the colors are muted and unsaturated.

A different sort of picture for me but one that I like.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

PAW 29

Destin 7D

Returning from vacation, I was browsing through a thousand images for this week’s PAW but pretty sure that one of the photos of my niece, Elise, would be this week’s choice.  This one in particular just felt right when the shutter button was pressed.

I still struggle with flash but was careful to set exposure for the background and dial in the flash for fill.  We were on a balcony in the shade, the camera was my 7D and the flash was the 580EX mounted inside a Lumiquest LTp softbox on a lightstand to the right of the camera.  The flash was triggered and controlled by the little popup flash of the 7D.  This system worked well (in the shade) so long as the 580EX could “see” the 7D flash.  Exposure was 1/200 second at f8 for ISO 400; the 580EX was set at +2 (I think). 

My thanks to Elise for her patience as I fumbled and experimented with camera and flash.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Sand Castle


Swiss Army Knives are known for being technical and versatile – exactly the tool to have with you in a difficult situation.  MacGyver always had his Swiss Army Knife and I almost always have one with me as well.  I’ve enjoyed photographing my Swiss Army Knives in challenging and amusing situations.  Some of those photos have been featured in this blog and additional ones are in my SmugMug gallery.   I even made a book of my Swiss Army Knives.  Lately, though, I’ve had a feeling that something was going wrong – I was having to work harder and harder to get a good photo whereas the little knives were contributing little except to enjoy their celebrity status.

To prove my point, I secretly made the video below during a recent shoot in Destin, Florida.  Clearly, the Swiss Army Knife is not contributing except to pose as the “talent” and take all the credit!

The story behind the photograph

(Video shot with G12 in “miniature” movie mode and edited in Premiere Elements 9.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

PAW 28


One of my favorite subjects:  Swiss Army Knives.  This one is from a walk on the beach in Destin, Florida.  Picture taken with the G12 at f2.8, 1/1000 second, ISO 80, handheld to get a low view.  Processed from RAW in ACR and cropped in Photoshop.

Yes, he did get wet!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

PAW 27

Ski Side Fireworks 7D

This week’s picture is the composite of my fireworks shots using the 7D.  My various attempts to automatically use my fleet of old cameras are described in a previous post.  The individual shots making up this composite were all taken with the 7D.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks Fiasco

Ski Side Fireworks 7D

Well, almost, anyway.  I wanted to photograph the neighborhood fireworks display and play with a handful of cameras in the process.  Here’s what I did:

G3 using the built-in intervalometer at 1 shot per minute for 100 shots.  ISO 50, 2 second exposure, f4, manual focus at infinity.

G6 set up the same as the G3 but pointed in a different direction.

The G9 doesn’t have an intervalometer and no external connections to use one so the G9 was set in its “HD” movie mode (1024x768 at 15 fps).

G12 connected to a cheap no-name external intervalometer (worked fine).  ISO 80, 2 second exposure, f4, 1 shot every 4 seconds, manual focus at infinity.

7D triggered manually using wired remote, ISO 400, 2 seconds at f8. 

I knew I was trusting to luck on the G3 and G6 but it never occurred to me that my luck would be so bad.  Nothing.

The G9 movies were pretty bad and had lots of noise. 

Of the 298 G12 shots, a handful were OK.  That is, when the intervalometer got lucky, the photo was OK. 

I got by far the most keepers by triggering the 7D myself.  I used the old tried and true method of watching for a rocket launch and pressing the remote button – or just taking a random guess that it was about time for another launch.

The picture above is a composite of five shots that were combined in Photoshop.  Not bad but not what I hoped for.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

PAW 26

Ski Side Flowers

A simple photo of a bee hard at work in a magnolia blossom this morning.  The articulated screen of the G12 came in very handy for this shot as I was holding the camera above my head.  Shot in Manual mode, f4, 1/640, ISO 400 after a trial shot using Av mode.  A white handkerchief hanging below the camera bounced a little sunlight into the scene.   Cropped after converting in ACR followed by post processing in Photoshop.

Friday, July 1, 2011

GX: Wishin’ and Hopin’

In my G14 predictions, I emphasized prediction and not wishing. As a result of attempting to be realistic, my prediction is not particularly exciting but I’ll stand by it (even though rumors of the S100 indicate a new lens might be coming). Several readers have let me know that they hope I am wrong and, actually, I do too. I can’t imagine buying the predicted G14 but I could buy a “GX” if it were an innovative expansion and upgrade of the G12. Here’s my wish list.

Thinking in terms of photography, the four basic parameters need upgrading on the G12:

  • 1) Sensitivity – increase ISO, dynamic range plus reduce noise
  • 2) Shutter speed – remove 1 s max in Av, 15 s max otherwise
  • 3) Aperture – one more stop at all focal lengths
  • 4) Optics – wider and longer zoom

Of course, optics, aperture and physical size are linked so these wishes mean the GX would probably be physically larger than the G12. That’s OK with me as long as the GX remains smaller than, say, the old G3. One way to vary the optics would be interchangeable lenses. The GX could come with a small, inexpensive “kit” lens, say 35mme to 70mme at f4, and have three or four optional lenses available – including a small “pancake” design with fixed focal length. Ideally, a lens adapter would allow existing Canon DSLR lenses to be used on the GX. If the GX is to be adaptable to existing Canon DSLR lenses then image stabilization will be a part of the lens design and not the sensor. No doubt someone would reverse engineer the GX adapter so that lenses from other manufacturers could be used as well.

Why do we wish for a larger sensor? OK, I’m aware of all that stuff but my point is that we should ask for sensor features at high quality and not presume the physical size – let the Canon engineers worry about the sensor size. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Canon came out with new technology that produced APS-C results from the current sensor physical size?

And then there’s video. As a believer in the convergence of video and still photography, I almost included video in my basics list. It is easy and obvious to wish for the upgrade from 720p HD to full 1080p HD video as part of the GX feature set but don’t forget about manual controls. Give me an optical zoom, please (but a quiet one) and a plug-in for an external microphone.

Thinking of features, I’d like to see the following on the GX:

  • Dramatic improvements in focus and shutter lag
  • a manual “street” mode (display off, instantaneous response)
  • RAW + adjustable JPEG simultaneous shooting
  • Flash control like Canon DSLRs including master controller
  • Touch screen for menu-like settings (only)
  • Larger and higher resolution screen (articulated)
  • graduated neutral density filter (in addition to existing ND filter)
  • something cutesy that I won’t be able to imagine.

Things I can give up … well, why give up anything?  Maybe the optical viewfinder. 

I’ll accept all this in August but am not expecting it.

Oh, and keep the $500 price tag!