Friday, December 30, 2011

PAW 2011


The “Picture a Week” (PAW) project began as a challenge to myself to get at least one picture every week that was worthy of publication in my LightDescription blog. My original intention was to minimize family photos; however, my granddaughter is so photogenic, so active and, well, so cute that she was still my main subject. In addition to this blog, my PAW photos are “published” in a SmugMug gallery.  This picture, PAW 6, was the most popular picture – by far -- in that gallery.

Of course, producing a picture a week would be much more difficult if film were used. With film, to keep on schedule, the photo would have to be taken early enough in the week so that it could be chemically processed, scanned and post processed for publication in the blog. Instead, all of my PAW were digital and post processed in Photoshop.

To determine popularity, I relied on SmugMug statistics. That is, the assumption was made that anyone sufficiently interested in my PAW would click through the current PAW to the SmugMug PAW gallery, see the thumbnails and look at an enlarged version of the picture. There is a major problem with this method for my PAW project because, naturally, the first images in the SmugMug portfolio tend to have more views than the images that were added later in the year.

The High Dynamic Range (HDR) PAW were always popular and PAW 25 was the most popular of the HDR images.

PAW 25

This “fog” picture – almost an afterthought—was popular, PAW 30.


I really liked this picture of kids playing in the fountains, PAW 15, and thought it to be one of my better efforts for the year.

Baton Rouge

Not as popular as I thought it would be, this Swiss Army Knife adventure, PAW 28, was a good one to add to my Swiss Army Knife collection of photos.


The third most popular picture was the first one posted, my granddaughter about this time last year, PAW 1a.

2nd Christmas

The second most popular picture was PAW 3.



Did any of the PAW replace one of my previous “Top Ten”? No and this was sort of frustrating as I really hoped that the PAW project would generate a Top Ten Photo.

The PAW project will end with PAW 52. Instead of PAW, in 2012 LightDescription will regularly feature a photo – could be recent or from the past – along with the processes and thoughts that went into it.

Have a Happy New Year with much good photography!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Year at LightDescription

Although not quite the end of the year, today I have the time and inclination to summarize 2011.  I blame this timing on my real job for which I must submit a monthly report before the end of each month.  First, some background and statistics.

LightDescription began five years ago with a variation on a joke and true story; it now includes 356 posts – some 70 posts per year.  I usually do at least one post per week.  This year, there have been 92 posts – primarily because of my PAW commitment. Except for PAW, LightDescription has become mostly about my adventures in learning to use equipment and technique.  Next year the PAW (as such) will be dropped; its replacement will be photographic but non-geek in nature.

For many readers, LightDescription is about the G series of Canon PowerShot cameras; however, it really is not.  I happen to find the G series to be a good fit to my needs, purposes, and preferences and therefore have chosen to use them as my primary cameras (although I have, uh, many other, cameras).  By “using” a camera, I really mean to become proficient with (nearly) all its features and doing so takes me quite a while.  Organizing my thoughts for a blog post helps me in the process – hence LightDescription.

In much the same way as becoming proficient with a camera, I want to learn to use a flash.  This “want” has led me to many flashes, add-ons, gadgets, techniques, etc.  In many ways, flash is even more geek-like than a camera and lens.  I have a long way to go in the learning-about-flash process.

In 2011, there have been nearly 60,000 visits to LightDescription.  Most days there are between 100 and 300 visitors.  Most visitors are new to LightDescription and find their way here through a search engine looking for information about a piece of camera or flash equipment.  On average, a visitor views two posts before exiting. 

The most popular posts for the past 30 days are shown on the left hand side of the blog.  The most popular post during 2011 has been about the Yongnuo 460 flash which still works well for me and is used regularly.

I’ll summarize the PAW experience and popular pictures in another post.

As for being the “G12 blog”, that almost certainly will change in 2012 as will the need for focusing on the G12. I could continue using the G12 for my photography or, based on past choices, I could be getting and writing about a G14 but who knows what Canon will be doing and when they will be doing it? 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

PAW 51


My wife made this Nativity set years ago in her ceramics club and we’ve displayed it every year since. 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

S100 Review – New G Coming?

Combining and commenting on two newsy items …

An extensive and largely positive review of the new PowerShot S100 has been posted by DPreview. It appears that Canon’s upgrade of the popular S95 has been successful.  In particular, Canon’s CMOS version of the 1/1.7 inch CCD used in both the G12 and S95 enabled new features to be added to its compact enthusiast camera.

About the same time, CanonRumors began speculating on a successor to the G12.  Interestingly, follow-up discussions in the CanonRumors Forum  vary widely with respect to a wish list or even the need for such a camera.  The points made by Canon and interpretation by CanonRumors seem to point to  a new “G” (variously being called G13, G14, Gx)  being introduced in 2012. 

My own opinion about the “G14” (my previous guess about the product name)  has changed and is changing again.  I’d made my own wish list and then decided that the days of the G series as we know it were over.  When the S100 came along, I began to think that the next G would really be a souped-up S100 and use the same sensor.  Later, I again decided that the days of the G were over but that Canon would introduce a compact  “mirrorless” camera with interchangeable lenses.  Now I’m back to believing that the “Gx” will be a non-interchangeable lens camera with CMOS sensor but somewhat larger than the S100 sensor.  Surely the “Gx” will have virtually all the features of the S100.  I hope it will include the features from my own wish list.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

PAW 50

Ski Side Lights

This was a fun picture.  More precisely, it was a fun day and a picture quickly assembled from my iPhone and G12 photos.  My granddaughter and I put up a few Christmas lights outside my house.  In the process, I grabbed a quick shot of her with my iPhone.  Later I got a shot of the lights using the G12 at ISO 80, f4, 1/4 second – tripod mounted of course.  Actually, my original thought was to do an HDR assembled from several shots.  Fortunately, one of those shots underexposed everything except the lights and I didn’t even attempt the HDR.  Although this particular selection was processed from RAW, the JPG version (shooting in RAW+JPEG) was nearly the same.  The iPhone photo was simply pasted into the G12 photo and then partially erased.

Although I don’t use the iPhone as a camera frequently, I do use it and have been wondering if and when one of the iPhone photos would make it into my picture a week series. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

PAW 49

Wesleigh Christmas Program

Perhaps not one of my more artistic photographs but one that I suspect will be treasured for many more years.  This is from my granddaughter’s Christmas program.  She is singing her heart out (top row, 3rd from left).

Photo taken with the 7D plus 580EX II flash direct mounted on the camera.  Camera settings were ISO 1600 and manual exposure of 1/60, f5.6 – which gave a very slightly underexposed histogram without the flash.  The flash was set for +1/3 flash exposure compensation.

Monday, December 5, 2011

YN565EX Cross References


Here are cross references to previous posts on LightDescription about the YN565EX flash:

Introduction to the YN565EX
External power
YN565EX with the Canon G12 
YN565EX with the Canon 7D

Posts on LightDescription about the older, simpler YN460EX flash:

Introduction to the YN460-II
YN460-II with the Canon 7D

Additional articles and information on the YN565EX:

Speedlights Review
An ongoing discussion on POTN forum

I continue to use and like both the YN460EX-II and the YN565EX. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

PAW 48

OS Beach

When I undertook the picture a week challenge, my intention was to avoid “manipulated” pictures such as “Photoshopped” and especially
“HDR” post processed images.  In the course of doing this for nearly a year, I’m reminded that I do like HDR post processing for certain situations and images.  On the other hand, my HDR preferences are now tending towards less dramatic contrast and saturation. 

This particular picture was taken on an overcast day with the handheld Canon 7D (although set for high speed) using Av mode and auto bracketing at +/- 2 stops.  Processing was done first in ACR and then Photomatix using the “Adjust” method.  After processing three images in Photomatix, the final version was slightly tweaked in Photoshop.