Sunday, 14 December 2014

EOS Utility v2 and 5D2

I bought one of those light tents for table top product photography the other day, I blogged briefly about it before, now though, I thought I'd get my 5D2 out and give it a more serious play with.

I also used the opportunity to try some tethered shooting. I tried Lr but found that Canon EOS Utility v2 was better at controlling the functions of the 5D2.

I used the same subject as the other test but used a couple of remotely fired Canon 430 EX flash guns as the light sources.

The 5D2 was connected to my Mac Book Pro with a USB cable and the shutter is fired with the Space Bar

Canon 5D2 Canon 24-70 f2.8 L ISO 1600

Canon 5D2 Canon 24-70 f2.8 L ISO 200

Canon 5D2 Canon 24-70 f2.8 L ISO 200

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Olympus 3040 Z

My first digital camera was an Olympus 4030 Zoom. 3.3Mp, 7.1 - 21.3 f1.8 - 2.6 lens.

It uses SmartMedia cards for image storage.

I still have it and use it for Ebay photos, for which it is perfect. Set on P and point and shoot, the built in flash will fire if required.

I recently bought one of those light tents from Ebay, it cost around £12.00, basically four spring hoops with translucent nylon covering them to diffuse the light.

To try this out I popped a silver pocket watch in the tent and used the old Olympus as it was to hand.

Illumination was by a 60W lamp hanging about 40cm directly above the light tent.

The watch is a key wind/adjust Open face pocket watch by Thomas Russell & Son, Liverpool. Made 1893, Stirling Silver case hallmarked Birmingham.
Silver Fetter+one half Albert chain.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Lightroom DSLR Guru Cross Process presets.

DSLR Guru was a short lived outfit who briefly offered a free set of pre-sets for Adobe Lr.

The website is now dead and it appears that DSLR Guru are as well. This is a shame as the presets are the ones I use the most in Lr.

Here are some recent images processed with the DSLR Guru Cross Process C41 presets.

Canon 5D2 Canon 20mm f2.8 USM

Canon 5D2 Canon 20mm f2.8 USM

Canon 5D2 Canon 70-200mm f4 L

York cemetery with Canon 5D2, Canon 20mm f2.8 USM, Canon 70-200 f4L and Canon 50mm f1.4 USM

I've not been out with either the Leica or the Canon kit for quite a while. I have been using the Canon kit for work but those photos are terribly boring and will never appear on this blog.

As we were enjoying a mild October weekend I thought I'd take a spin down to the old York cemetery and give this new lens a quick go.
Unfortunately for me there was a quilt exhibition in the old chapel with lots of cars parked outside so I was unable to use the 20mm for the shots I had planned.

Instead I went for a walk around and used a selection of my lenses.
Since my purchase of the Canon 70-200 f4 L in the summer I've added a Canon 20mm f2.8 USM to my kit.

I'd used one of these 20mm previously as my brother has one, and despite the rather negative reports on this lens on the internet (there are some positive ones as well, its not all bad) I rather liked it. After all Canon have been making this lens since 1992 and it is still in the current line up so it can't be that bad!

Almost all internet reviews of this 20mm lens report on the vignetting and corner softness, however according to a couple of websites this is apparently intentional as Canon designed the lens with  "Intelligent Field Curvature (IFC), although Canon make no mention of this in any of their literature that I've seen, which if it was unique I'm sure they would have mentioned it somewhere? IFC is supposed to help with getting real-world wide angle subjects in focus across the frame. 
Now, I have no idea if this is the case or not or even if such a thing as IFC exists. What do know is though is that in Lightroom if I apply lens correction the vignetting vanishes and the resulting images look fine. I've always liked the way very wide angles lenses render an image, and this Canon is the nicest one I've used/owned (previous favourite was the Zuiko 21mm f2.0).

I'm aware of the infinite number of internet debates about clear/UV/Skylight filters on lenses in digital photography. My use of filters is that when outside in conditions where I feel the front element might get damaged I'll use a filter to provide a bit of protection. Shooting inside I generally remove them. Having decided to use a filter we then enter into yet another debate on the best make of filter to use, Hoya, B+W, Heliopan or others. Each make has its supporters and they ague passionately for their chosen brand. 
I like Kood filters. Kood are a UK company with the filters made in China or Japan. They work fine for me, I can't see any degradation to the image.

Canon 5D2 with Canon 70-200mm f4 L

Canon 5D2 with Canon 20mm f2.8 USM

Canon 5D2 with Canon 70-200mm f4 L

Canon 5D2 with Canon 50mm f1.4 USM

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Aberystwyth University Graduation 2014 - Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS

I bought the Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS for use during the graduation ceremony. I set the ISO to 3200 on my Canon 5D2 and just went for it.

While everyone was seated we were entertained by a Clarinet and Harp.

Harpist, Aberystwyth graduation ceremony 2014
Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS

Clarinet player, Aberystwyth graduation ceremony 2014
Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS
My daughter receiving congratulations from the VC
Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS
Looking pleased afterwards
Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS

The honorary graduate on this day was the Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert
Rhod Gilbert looking bemused prior to receiving his honorary degree
Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS
Rhod Gilbert receiving his honorary degree from the President
Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS
Rhod Gilbert acceptance speech
Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS
I also used the Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS outside for portraits

My daughter post ceremony
Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non-IS

I had to change to my Canon L 24 - 70mm f2.8 for the hat throwing

Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non IS with Canon 5D2

I recently bought a Canon L 70 - 200mm f4 USM non IS lens to take some photos at my daughters graduation.
I bought used from MBP Photographic, who provided the usual superb service. The lens was described at EX+ but I could not find a single mark on it and it was indistinguishable from new. It arrived the day after I placed the order and came with original box and all paper work; to me it looked as if it had never been used.
Before buying this lens I must have read every article regarding this lens on the web at least twice. Nearly all these articles mentioned how sharp the lens was, as well as fast focussing without being too large and clumbersome.

I have found all this to be true, focussing is fast and nearly silent, and the images are sharp with excellent contrast and colour.

Shooting inside I had to increase the ISO to 3200 to get high enough shutter speeds to avoid camera shake (I use the old focal length = shutter speed rule of thumb) but the 5D2 is acceptable at this ISO so it was not really a problem. 

I tried the lens for landscape while I was in Wales. For these I used a Manfrotto monopod to keep things steady.

Canon 5D2 Canon L 70-200mm f4 USM non IS

Canon 5D2 Canon L 70-200mm f4 USM non IS

Canon 5D2 Canon L 70-200mm f4 USM non IS

Canon 5D2 Canon L 70-200mm f4 USM non IS

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Leica M8 in Iceland 3

The final batch of images from Iceland.
Processed in Ps, Lr and Nik

Leica M8 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm f2.8

Leica M8 Voigtlander 15mm f4 Heliar

Leica M8 Summicron 90mm f2

Leica M8 in Iceland 2

There is something about rusty corrugated steel that attracts me.

Processed in Lr and Nik

Leica M8 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton

Leica M8 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton

Leica M8 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton

Music to listen to whilst photo editing

In a slight departure from my usual posts I thought I'd mention the music I'm currently listening to whilst photo editing.

On rotation at present:
One World by John Martyn. A superb album, great playing and arrangements. My favorite track is probably 3AM, an excellent example of the trademark John Martyn Echoplex guitar. 

Fallen Empires by Snowpatrol. Big sounds, solid tunes and poetic lyrics. Not as well known as their previous albums but well worth a listen.

Up through the Woods by David Gibbs and Elly Lucas. Nominees for the BBC young folk awards in 2011, this duo play a catchy mix of original and traditional songs without a fisherman's knit jumper or finger in the ear in sight.

Lifeblood by the Manic Street Preachers. A much maligned album by this evergreen trio. Big tunes, big riffs and huge vocals. Some great photography on the CD sleeve too. So God is dead, like Nietzsche said ... usual cheery singalong stuff!

Tongues and Tales by Sophie B Hawkins. Underrated debut album from the bohemian Sophie B Hawkins. Highly original with imaginative percussion on many of the songs. In 1994 Bruce Weber famously got Sophie to strip for the camera, so there is a photographic link too!

And of course a cafetiere of decent coffee is also required. At the moment I favor the Espresso Blend from The Mecca, an excellent coffee shop in Aberystwyth.

Feel free to leave any comments about the music that you like to photo edit to.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Leica M8 Iceland 1

On a recent trip to Iceland I decided to take just my Leica M8 kit, its first real use since it has the shutter replaced and a CLA in Leica HQ.

The weather was wet and overcast the entire trip so all photos were going to be quite "moody".

Processed in Lr and Sliver EFX Pro as usual.

Leica M8 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton classic

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm f2.8 

Leica M8 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton classic

Leica M8 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton classic

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Canon 5D2 Windows

Some images of windows from Clonakilty.
Canon 5D2 24-70mm f2.8.
Processed in Lr.

Canon 5D2 Clonakilty colour images

Some colour processed images from my recent trip to Clonakilty.
Canon 5D2 with 24-70 f2.8.

Images processed in Lr.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Drombeg Stone Circle Leica M240 and Leica M8

One of our final photo shoots for the Michael Collins House Museum in Clonakilty was at Drombeg stone circle.
The forecast was for a reasonable sunset.

I used My Leica M8 and the loan Leica M240 with my Elmarit 28mm f2.8, Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton.

Processed in Lr, Ps, and Nik Suite.

Leica M8 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm f2.8

Leica M240 Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton

Timoleague Abbey Canon 5D2 50mm f1.4

For the Michael Collins House Museum we needed some photos of Timoleague Abbey.

Weather was dry but overcast so the sky is a bit flat but I've managed to salvage something with Lr, Ps and Nix suite.

I used my Canon 5D2 with the 50mm f1.4 lens. I really like this lens, its very sharp and has a lovely colours. For the wider shots I used my 24-70 f2.8.

Canon 5D2 24-70mm f2.8

Canon 5D2 50mm f1.4

Canon 5D2 50mm f1.4

Canon 5D2 50mm f1.4