Sunday, August 30, 2009
I was out playing with my little LX3 and some off camera flash today trying to document with some futility the huge size of my daughters sunflower plant. The thing is nearly as tall as our house and finally decided it couldn't bear its own weight and fell over onto our fence. I gelled an off camera flash with CTO gels, set my camera to tungsten and fired away with a pocket wizard attached. But ultimately it was too tight between the house and a hedge to get the whole mammoth thing framed the way I wanted with a big blue sky behind it, so it was a good idea gone bad.
Which leads me to Canon. What is this I hear that the 18 megapixel 7D is going to have an APSC sized sensor??? I honestly thought Canon had learned their lesson with the G10. The G11 was a turn in the right direction, but now this? I'm dumbfounded. Hopefully either it is just a bad rumor or they have figured out some wonderful new technology that negates the noise and other issues associated with jamming too many megapixels on a small sensor. I was at least hoping for an APSH sensor. Oh well.
On that note, I was in Lens and Shutter yesterday and tried out the Olympus EP-1 with the pancake lens and viewfinder that sits in the hotshoe. First off, set up like that it is hardly bigger than my LX3 and is sweet to hold. The eyepiece, while it doesn't view through the lens, give information electronically or allow for visual focusing is big, bright and super cool. I love this camera. If I didn't know that the EP-2 was coming out soon with the possibility of a proper viewfinder I'd replace my LX3 with it in a heartbeat. Plus all the rumor sites keep seeming to point to a small Panasonic camera to match the size of the EP-1. There could be some awesome small camera choices out there really soon.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 7:48 PM
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Went to Victoria today to scout out the Bear Mountain resort and Legislature Building for our next wedding as we hadn't shot there before. There was an ultra cool Mustang Cobra parked in front of the resort, so I had to photograph it of course. Without a tripod, and wanting to do an hdr I just set my LX3 on the ground and let it do its thing.
Scouting out locations before an event like a wedding is very helpful to me when I'm unfamiliar with a venue. I now don't have to think as much on the fly as I know where I want my lights for a reception, where the best locations are for shots, etc. It takes the stress out of a day and allows me to just be creative and relax.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 5:21 PM
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I've been incredibly busy with weddings lately, so haven't had much time to post here. Just a quick note to say that I'll be donating photography services again for the Crisis Society's annual Suicide Memorial Walk. I'd encourage anyone who's lost a loved one to suicide to come out for a very moving and important event on September 13th.
I'm still looking for guest bloggers! Be a Guest Blogger! Contact me.
Also, while Sony has announced officially their full frame A850 (kind of a snoozer if you ask me) I find myself really getting into the Canon 7D rumors. It all sounds very promising. Slightly fewer megapixel than the 5D MkII, faster focusing and frame rate and excellent high ISO. I'm loving the sound of it.
By the way. Love Lucis Arts software for detail enhancement on your images but don't want to pay the ridiculous price for it? Try Topaz software. For $40 US you get software with the detail enhancer that in my opinion does more, gives more control and costs a small fraction of the price of Lucis.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 9:59 PM
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Inspired by one of the blogs I read every day I've decided I want to have 'guest bloggers' on this blog. Why? Well mostly because I'm curious if I can get anyone else to contribute, but also because I get bored of listening to myself blog, talk, type or whatever. I spend a lot of time looking at photos online, reading about photography and generally geeking out on the subject, so I know first hand how inspirational and helpful it is to hear from other photographers. For me though, unlike that other blog (which is awesome btw) it is just as important to hear from everyday photographers. I'd like amateurs, people absolutely new to photography as well as seasoned pros, maybe editors, whoever.....so long as they are involved in the photography world through profession or personal interest.
If you are interested, please email me through Flickr (link on right) or just leave a comment in the blog. Guest blog entries must be:
- Photography related
- free of profanity
- contain an image of the writer and your real name.
- may contain images by the writer (please no more than 10)
- may be written by anybody from anywhere regardless of age, or whether you are a working photographer, an amateur, or just involved in the industry.
That's it! Looking forward to hearing from someone. Oh, and in case anyone is interested in who reads this blog (or if anyone does) I'll just say I have no idea. Could just be a tree falling in the forest, but its fun to write anyway so speak up and be heard!
Guest bloggers will be featured on Sundays (should I have any!)
Also, I'm going to try and interview some of my Flickr contacts for the blog. If I can find any takers, the interviews will be posted up on Saturdays.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 11:35 PM
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wow, Canon seems to have learned from Panasonic (and their LX3) that more megapixels isn't always better. The G10 was horrid in my opinion with almost 15 mp, and their new camera, the G11 is announced with only 10! I'm thinking it will have really good image quality as far as noise goes. That and they took a page from Olympus' book and introduced a swivel screen. It seems to me that the big boys are starting to realize that image quality might be more important than megapixel marketing. Yeah! Now lets hope they learned their lesson with the 60D that will replace the over-megapixeled 50D.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 10:37 AM
Monday, August 17, 2009
Well, we just found out that we lost out on a bid to get the annual photography contract for our local hockey league. It is a huge disappointment as we put a lot of work into our bid. Problem was that we are new to sports photography and they had a really bad experience last year with a photog who gave up after he got in over his head. The league finally went with the sure thing of the huge sports photography company despite the generic approach it has to take. Now, we haven't been in business for even a full year yet and have landed some big jobs, so this isn't going to kill us but it does humble us. Time to learn to roll with the punches.
Seems that as much as the established companies might gripe about the new guys coming in and undercutting bids, the new guys have to worry about getting painted with the same brush as other new photographers out there doing poor work. Have to think about how we are going to tackle that.
Oh well, we still have booked jobs to concentrate on! In the meantime, I'll try and not disappoint my daughter, and go out and help her learn to ride her bike again. One day we will be able to take off those training wheels.
BTW, I think there is some sort of Canon announcement coming this week. I've heard lots of rumors about what it will be, but it does have me curious.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 12:31 PM
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I took my 1969 Canon Canonette 28 film out camping with me this weekend with some friends. I put Kodak 400 b/w film in it and hoped for the best. Focusing took some getting used to as it is one of those cameras that you have to line up the images in the viewfinder. I also had lots of overexposed shots (but thankfully a great lab that took care of that for me) so ISO 400 wasn't the best choice for outdoors on a beach or campsite. But in the end I had 21 images that were keepers from a roll of 24. Wish I had that kind of luck with digital. The feel and look of the printed images is so great. I really love it. It was also enjoyable to have that rationing feeling again of only having 24 shots, so only using your camera for those great moments, vs just constantly. You can't machine gun it and hope for one good frame, unless you have unlimited film budgets. Picking up printed photos at a lab (and a CD of the shots) is so exciting too! I forgot that feeling of not knowing what you had, of sitting in the car and breaking out the envelope to see the images for the first time. There was no lcd preview, no photoshop. Just you, your camera, and a relationship with a great lab tech. And they still exist. I was so impressed with London Drugs. I took my film in there and they dealt with my over-exposure, hand corrected each image, and did it all in one hour.
I can't go back to film for my everyday photography work, but I know now that film has to become part of my life again. It is just too enjoyable to ignore. Film cameras are being sold now for next to nothing everywhere you look. I see nice film slr's with lenses and flash for under $100 on every used online website. If it interests you at all, now is a great time to go against the digital grain.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 4:36 PM
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Went to the Nanaimo air show tonight down at the harbor. What a great show! It cost me a hockey practice as I couldn't get out of the crowd in time, but it was worth it. Took over 600 photos, so I think I overdid it a bit. Can't wait to go through them all, but I was really impressed with this Sabre jet. It was so powerful, loud and cool. I had to edit it to feel nostalgic and powerful.
Went to see the new GI Joe movie tonight as well. Great show! Lots of stuff getting blown up, not much for a plot or acting to worry about, great fights, cool special effects. Good flick.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 11:50 PM
Monday, August 10, 2009
I just finished a book by Jay Dickman and Jay Kinghorn called "Perfect Digital Photography" volume 2. I was initially attracted to this book as it was written by two Olympus photographers which is exceptionally rare. Dickman is a prize winning National Geographic photographer and Kinhorn is a Adobe Photoshop Certified Expert and Olympus Visionary Photographer. The book is basically a complete start to finish manual on getting the best images in the digital world. They talk about equipment at the beginning of the book, and while it was cool to see and Olympus E3 used as the example camera, there was no apparent bias as to which brand you should buy. The book then evolves into a discussion of photography theory with light, composition and telling a story with your photos. There is an interesting chapter on photographing people which was nice for me as it's my main focus and I was admittedly worried that the book would be all about landscapes and animals. They then wrap up the theory with a chapter on Travel photography before heading into the technical bits of the modern darkroom which is Lightroom and Photoshop. For someone using Apple's Aperture or an editing piece of software other than Photoshop this would be disappointing, but if those are your tools you are going to be surprised with the depth of the information. I learned stuff in this book about Lightroom that I missed in my highly regarded Scott Kelby Lightroom 2 book. I've always thought that too much software talk dated these books (and I'm right!) but in this case it seems appropriate. The book is trying to take novice or semi-pro photographers through the world of digital photography from start to finish (capture to output). They finish it all off with printing and other output methods.
The book was really very good. I'm going to admit to some bias as it was nice for me to read something written by 'Olympus guys.' Having said that, there is nothing here that is brand centric. A Nikon shooter would benefit from this book as much as a Pentax, Canon or Sony shooter. There are nice contributions from guest writers in the book as well, some very well known. You can find a link to the book on the right hand side of the blog as our current featured book if you are interested in it. If you are looking for a very complete, very robust book about all areas of digital photography, filled with beautiful full colour images, then you've found it.
Photo in this post is not from the book I should add. It was one I took last weekend in a fit of boredom with no weekend photo jobs booked. Yes, I resorted to my tripod and a landscape!
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 6:32 PM
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
We went out to Pipers Lagoon to get a shot of a friend walking her dog today for the Parks and Rec catalogue. It was great. Got the shot nailed right away so we did a short photo shoot of her before we left. That was nice too, just grabbing some cool shots of a friend. Included a black and white grainy sample her in the blog. I was so happy that she likes black and white images, so I went with it.
Adam and I went out for a walkabout today taking photos of stuff around town and looking for urban inspiration for portrait shots. We found a ton of them. Adam took one shot of me hanging out that I love (also included in this post). We also spent time looking for empty storefronts in areas where there was lots of foot traffic. The idea is to ask the realtor or owner if we can swap some free photography for the right to display some of our work in the window. We did find one place, now just have to ask, but if you reading this and have a window storefront email us!
Lastly, I caught a news story yesterday about the Department of Homeland Security in the US announcing that people in the public should report photographers to the police if they appear to be taking photos of infrastructure, or acting suspicious. I was thinking about this (and wow, the US must be taking lessons from the UK) and I can't help but feel that this is all a ploy to make us all feel better about doing something positive to stop terrorism. If I wanted a photo of some piece of infrastructure like the Golden Gate bridge, White House or Grand Central Station and I were up to no good I wouldn't have to show up with a camera. Just pop over to Google Images and do a search. It is all there for free and no need to break a sweat or buy a camera. Meanwhile, photographers (like me anyway) are seeing things they think make amazing images and have to now worry about idiotic security issues where they will be detained for repeatedly photographing a subject as they try and find the angle they see in their head. It is all so silly and witch hunt like that I can't believe it flies in todays world.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 11:14 PM
Thursday, August 6, 2009
We hit the links yesterday. Yup. Frisbee Golf. Or is it called Disc Golf? I've played it before but never with people that actually knew what they were doing. Each player had a bag full of different types of discs for putting, driving, and other things I didn't understand. Anyway, it is a developing sport, and one in which you can play for free at Bowen Park. We were there to gather more shots for our Parks and Rec catalogue, but now I'm thinking about playing myself. Looked fun.
Anyway, thanks to Ben, Jimmy and Pete for allowing us to tag along. If you are interested in playing disc golf, visit the Nanaimo website for some information.
Anyway, thanks to Ben, Jimmy and Pete for allowing us to tag along. If you are interested in playing disc golf, visit the Nanaimo website for some information.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 9:57 AM
Monday, August 3, 2009
My daughter text messaged me today. She is 7. It's a fast world. Information comes at us quick and updated to the minute. I had an instantaneous update from her that said "I love you daddy." I think we used to have to wait until we were home before we got the I love you update. Modern times are great eh?
We went and shot some photos at Beban and Bowen Park today for Parks and Rec. It was actually a lot of fun. Complete strangers are often really accommodating for photos which you come to appreciate when you are out and about trying to gather lots of images. Hopefully some of the photos get chosen by the City for publication so we can make some really nice strangers famous! Included in this post is a quick photo I took of my kid when she dropped in for a visit while we were out shooting today.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 3:51 PM
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I've always sort of prided myself on how Adam and I have gone against the tide that is Canon and Nikon.
Being a working photographer seems to be synonymous with being a Canikon shooter. Using Pentax and Olympus gear to the head scratching amazement of our peers is always quite amusing for me in particular.
To be sure, using Pentax and Olympus has its advantages over other brands. Namely the weather sealed gear and the in camera image stabilization that works with any lens. Plus the Olympus lenses are the best in the business and Pentax has some really cool primes. However with all that said Adam was always frustrated with how slow his Pentax gear focused. The new K7 brought no respite from that one annoying thing. And both Olympus and Pentax are not high iso miracle workers (though our post processing and lenses/image stabilization made up for much of that) as compared to the better of the Canikon cameras currently available.
So when Adam decided he needed a second camera to accompany his K20D he considered a Nikon D300 and an Olympus E3 but bought a Canon 40D (which in our humble opinion is better than the newer 50D) and a nice little 50mm prime. And so there you have it. We have a weed in our lawn. We can no longer claim to be a Canikon free zone. We are just like everyone else.
Part of me feels sad for Pentax. They had this newly minted working pro photographer excited about and using their gear. With the K7, which is a great camera, they had the chance to make him loyal for life but they just barely missed the mark. While improved, the focusing was just too damn slow.
I hope Pentax can keep it going. I know sales on the K7 are really good, and so they should be. Possibly their proposed medium format camera will be the answer to returning to the pro market, but for now they are a 5th place company behind Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Sony (in other news ... Sony is apparently about to announce another full frame).
As for me and my Olympus fascination, well it hasn't abated. At least for now. I have played with and was really impressed with the new EP-1. While it isn't a pro camera, its high iso images were truly impressive from the new sensor. The rumored to be released E4 (hopefully in September) could be the camera of my dreams and if it is I'm sure I'll be happy to stay an Olympus shooter for a while to come. If not, I think I will probably buckle and grab a full frame to compliment, not replace, my E3. And since Adam shoots Canon now, it will be a Canon so that we can (finally) share lenses on the same system.
So there you have it. A crack in the armor. A break in the chain. And so I include an image I took of a weed growing in my lawn. I hate this weed. I'm always trying to kill it. But I guess it's a flower so we should admire it for what it is ..... a Canon.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 7:01 PM