Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Temporary Alternative to a Macro Lens

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro lens is on my wish list. Yep, there are a lot of things on my wish list. But, for now, my priority is on getting an everyday lens, one that I can use extensively for portraiture and my daily photo requirement. So, the macro lens would have to take a back seat for now.

So, how do I tide the need for a true macro lens?

From David A. Ziser's book, Captured by the Light, a great book for wedding and portrait photography I should add, I got the idea of not putting the camera on a portrait orientation when my external flash is on the camera (The section in the book that I am referring to is "Shadow Problems with On- and Off-Camera Flash.). You have a lesser number of options for bounce flash if the camera is on portrait orientation. So, instead of getting the picture vertically, David suggested to get the shot horizontally and just crop the picture in post. With the large pixel count in current camera models, you will still be left with a lot to work with even if you crop the picture.

So, this made me think: right now, I'd like to get an all-around portrait lens first before I start thinking about  getting a macro lens. But since I get 18 megapixels worth of image with my 7D, I'd still be able to get a decent picture if I crop a certain shot tightly! So, I set out getting shots of flowers and insects with this in mind.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Lens That I Wish I Have Right Now (Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L) - Part 1

Canon just had a press release for a new DSLR camera, the Canon Eos 60D and a slew of lenses also. But despite this press release, there is something else that I am aspiring for, something that has been on the Canon catalog for a long, long time:

The Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L lens.

The Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L, can be found on my wish list. It is an L-lens (for luxury) so that is a really good quality lens. However, it is also one of the expensive ones. So a lot of thought process will be involved on whether I will take the plunge with this one or not. If ever I buy this, this will be my first L lens.

There is another alternative, the Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS lens. With the f/4 lens you get a longer reach and the image stabilization (IS) will give you about three stops of hand-holdability. However, the aperture of the IS lens is one full-stop smaller and that factored into whether I'd go for the f/2.8 lens or for the f/4 lens if and when the right time comes.

So how does that one full-stop bigger aperture compare? Well, the closest I can do to answer this question is by using my Canon EF 50 f/1.8 because this is my only lens that can go bigger than f/4. I took several shots of one of my books, The Physics of Superheroes, and compared how the different aperture openings stack up.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Physics and Sports Photography

I wrote this last week. But the environ around our house was devastated by a storm so we lost power, was displaced from our house for a couple of nights and, up to now, have intermittent wifi signal.


Once upon a time, I wrote a physics book being used by high school students in the Philippines. Several years later, the book is up for revision. After submitting the revisions I asked my editor if I can change the cover of the book. She told me to submit photos for consideration.

With that, I thought of ways to convey motion and dynamism in my book cover. I thought that the wife would be a perfect model for this venture since she is, after all, also into physics. So, I made an outline of what I wanted to do and presented it to her. She agreed and we went to a basketball court.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Captured by the Light

When I want to learn about something, the first thing I do is read stuff in the internet related to the topic, then I buy books and magazines to read about it. Photography is no different.

When I started to shift my focus onto portrait photography, I looked for books that would be able to help me with posing subjects, lighting, etc. But, as with some of my endeavors in life, I started out with this on the wrong foot.

I thought that I made the right decision with buying a certain book but it turned out that it wasn't a big help for me because:
  1. It would have required me to buy about a hundred speedlites (I may be exaggerating, but not by a lot).
  2. There were no illustrations on how the shots were made. It would have been much easier to learn about posing and lighting if there were illustrations on how the shots were made. It is learnable, but not that easy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ricketts Glen, Outdoor Camping and Silky Water

A friend was able to convince (force) the wife and I to take a three-plus hour drive to do some hiking and waterfalls-sight-seeing. So, after driving for some 170 miles, the longest one-time drive I have taken so far, we arrived at Ricketts Glen State Park. The wife and I are not really outdoorsy type of people, though the wife said she had done some camping when she was in Girl Scout. I like having my TV, Macbook Pro (with wifi, of course), my coffee maker, fridge and bed close at hand as much as possible. This is the reason why I said that it took some forcing and cajoling for me to agree to take the trek. Good thing there was a cabin though some people in our group slept in their tents.

Anyway, I took the most out of this experience by doing some silky water shots. I set up on the bank of the water stream and took my time in making the shots.

Here you can see me with my Benro tripod and ballhead plus my trusty Lowepro flipside 300

Monday, August 2, 2010

Canon DSLR Grip

From my previous blog post, I mentioned that I have two clients now in the bag. When i re-started my photography, I thought I'd focus on landscape photography. That's why most of my photos from about two years ago are mostly of buildings and sunsets and trees and flowers. But the more I go deep into photograhy, the more I am inclined to shoot portraits and people photos - people are, of course, more interesting. But unlike shooting landscapes, where, most of the time you shoot in a "landscape" orientation, shooting portraits are, most often done in a "portrait" orientation. (Doh!!!)

But the thing is, I am too much a product of my time - too much typing and mousing (I do freelance science writing too) gave me this splint-casted wrist. So, having the camera on a portrait orientation puts too much stress on my right wrist.


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