I Dream

I Dream

…in color

No, really, I *do* dream in color.

And, I’d also like one of those painted “I Dream of Jeannie” bottles.  Until I decide to splurge, I’ll just have fun with my brown-glass Jim Beam bottle and festive Christmas lights.

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Filed under 50mm f1.2L, 5DS, Canon, Canon Lens, glass, Uncategorized

My New Little Mini-Studio and Fun with the Christmas Lights

studio-2_small

My unwavering goal in life is to eventually move out of southeast Texas and back to Washington State to live close to my sister and her family.  With that in mind and because it feels like I am actually doing something toward that goal, I have donated lots of clothing and other items to the local hospice thrift shop and  boxed up (and continue to box up) items in my apartment that I don’t use much but don’t wish to part with at this point in time.  Over the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday, I managed to move most of the boxes off of my apartment’s spare bedroom floor and into the spare storage closet, leaving enough room in said spare bedroom for a tiny studio, complete with 2 studio lights & umbrellas, black bedspread backdrop and a black covered table.  So tickled was I with this setup that I decided to take a break from housework for the weekend and have some fun with glass and Christmas lights.

DecantersStill Life With WineIlluminated WineIlluminationPrime IlluminationClear And Bright 2Glass And Pretty Lights 2Glass And Bright ColorsLots Of LightsColored Lights And Blue Glass - HorizontalBaubles And Lights CROP

I used my Induro tripod and Canon 5DS and Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II lens, ultimately switching over to the Canon 50mm f1.2L lens.  ISO for all of the photos you see was 100 and aperture was f11.  I played around with the shutter speeds, ranging from 1/6 of a second to 30 seconds.  For the plain glass images, I used my two studio lights.  For the glass with Christmas lights images, all lights were turned off.

 

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Filed under 5DS, Canon, Christmas, glass, Holidays, Uncategorized

The 2016 Christmas Tree is Up!

Beckys Christmas Tree

Becky’s little Christmas tree, with a suitcase on the right to hide the electric cords, and part of a studio light because – at the time – I had no other place to put it

I did not plan on putting up my tree this year.  After all, I’d be visiting my sister and her family for the holidays, so why go to the effort of putting up a tree I would not see for the final 1-1/2 weeks of December?

One afternoon, however, during the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, while on a long walk, I was thinking how nice it would be to see bright, multi-color lights.  My mind’s eye saw all sorts of photo ops….

Bell Ornament Non-HDRChristmas Lights And OrnamentsLondon OrnamentPresents Paper And BowsChristmas ColorsNo Solicitation

No solicitation, Santa.  Just leave the presents and don’t try to sell me anything.

Happy Holidays!

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Filed under Canon, holiday, Uncategorized

Focus On The Eyes – Focus On The Light

Portrait Of A Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

I feel like I’ve struck gold this month!  In addition to my 3 Days in Big Bend article, the National Parks Traveler has published my regular monthly photography article.  Click on the photo to go to that article (and no, the photo above was not taken in a national park – it’s just all I had access to this morning as I post this blog).

 

 

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Filed under Canon, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography

3 Days In Winter in Big Bend National Park

Moonlight Over The Window

I’m published – got a sweet 4-page article in the National Parks Traveler Winter Essential Parks Guide.  Click on the photo to go to the article.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, Seasons, Texas, weather, winter

The Canon 5D Mk IV and A Visit to The Texas Renaissance Festival

The Bordello Sisters Ready For Action

The Bordello Sisters ready for action in the King’s Feasthall.  Texas Renaissance Festival 2016 (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 24-70mm f4L lens, f7.1, shutter 1/40, ISO 3200, no flash)

I am staff photographer for The Merchant Prince – a vendor out at the Texas Renaissance Festival (aka TX Renfest).  I worked for him and his wife as a serving wench and then Feast Gift Shoppe store manager for oh, about 9 years, before “retiring” and then returning annually to focus on photographs for their marketing purposes.  It’s a sweet deal:  I do my favorite thing of photography on their behalf and they make sure I get access to venues both in front- and behind-the-scenes, as well as provide me food and beverages during my entire weekend stay.  It works!

I like to go during the Halloween-themed weekend, so the photos here reflect the occasion.

Pirates Performing in the Feasthall

Spooky pirates onstage in the King’s Feasthall, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 1DX, Canon 24-70mm f4L lens, f5, shutterr 1/40, ISO 4000, no flash)

Meaghan At The Photo Booth

Bartender at the Wonky Wally Pub, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5DS, Canon 50mm f1.2L lens, f8, shutter 1/125, ISO 640, no flash)

This year, in addition to my Canon 1DX and 5DS cameras, I rented the new Canon 5D Mk IV.  I wanted to run this camera through its paces – mainly its low-light paces.  My 1DX works quite well in low-light.  The 5DS and 5DSR are not that great at all in low light.  I was hoping the 5D Mk IV would be a game changer.

 

You won’t read about any pixel-peeping minutiae here, nor do I go into depth regarding technical specs.  I’m just going to tell you what I think about this camera based upon the shots I achieved after a full weekend of using the 5D Mk IV.   Would I purchase this camera to use alongside my others?  Should you purchase this camera?

The 5D Mk IV provides quite a bit more resolution than the 5D Mk III, but not as much as the 5DS/5DSR.  That said, the extra resolution (~30 mp) creates lovely sharp shots in good light. Actually, if you use a flash, it creates lovely sharp shots in low light as well.  And that extra resolution allows for nice crops and enlargements.

Blackheart

Blackheart, 2016 Texas RenaissanceFestival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 100mm f2.8L lens, f9, shutter 1/60, ISO 400, no flash)

The Cannibal Tudors

The Cannibal Tudors, 2016 Texas Renaissance Fesstival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 50mm f1.2L lens, f9, shutter 1/60, ISO 320, flash used)

This camera, however, is not as great of a high-ISO, low-light performer as I had hoped for.  In reality, even with all of it’s technical upgrades, I feel it’s only marginally better than my 5DS cameras. Of the three Canons, my 1DX provides the best images in low light.  Judicious use of my Imagenomic Noiseware application helped to reduce the graininess, which I basically applied to all of my low-light images taken with this and my other two cameras.

Regarding speed, the Mk IV’s 7fps is nicer than the 5fps provided by the 5DS/5DR.  The shutter is relatively quiet (nothing at all like the machine-gun sound of the 1DX). Nonetheless, you still would have a difficult time using this camera at a sporting event. I photographed birds at the Royal Falconer’s Show using the 5D Mk IV and really didn’t get any clear shots to speak of when the birds were in flight or getting ready to take off. I would have been better served using the 1DX, in hindsight. 7fps would certainly help for wedding events, even though you still might have trouble photographing movement to some extent without a flash.

Ronin The Lanner Falcon

Ronin the Lanner Falcon, Royal Falconer’s Stage, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L II lens, f9, shutter 1/320, ISO 500, no flash)

King Vulture Portrait

Rey the King Vulture, Royal Falconer’s Stage, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L II lens, f9, shutter 1.640, ISO 500, no flash)

I was impressed with the focus upgrades.  Even in extremely low light, the camera never once had to search for something on which to focus.  Where ever I pointed the lens, that’s where it focused.

Broadside Onstage

Broadside onstage, Pirate Pub Sing, Sea Devil Tavern, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 100mm f2.8L II lens, f4.5, shutter 1.40, ISO 6400, no flash, noise reduction applied during editing)

Fiddler Onstage

Fiddler onstage at the Pirate Pub Sing, Sea Devil Tavern, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 100mm f2.8L II lens, f4.5, shutter 1/25, ISO 6400, no flash, noiseware reduction applied during editing stage)

Melissa In The Prince Of Wales  Pub

Interior shot of the Prince of Wales Pub, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 14mm f2.8, f6.3, shutter 1/50, ISO 3200, no flash)

Because I had the GPS function turned on for about half the day on Saturday, it used up battery juice much faster than the analogous battery in my 5DS (the batteries are interchangeable).  If I had left GPS turned off – which I did later that day, the battery life would lasted longer and I would not have been forced to switch out batteries later that same day.  I do think the GPS function is cool and would be an awesome enhancement for landscape shots. I never used the WiFi function but think that’s pretty cool too – provided it works.

I didn’t really have much use for the touchpad, but it was kinda neat as well, and it was especially helpful during my microfocus adjustments for all of my lenses, which is the first thing I do with a rental camera to ensure my lenses focus clearly.  As I reviewed a shot, I’d zoom in and instead of having to use that little button to the side of the LCD to move around the shot, I simply swiped my finger across the LCD to move the image around for further inspection.

This post is not meant to be a thick-paged documentation of the camera, so I’ll bring this to a close.  All in all, I think the Canon 5D Mk IV would be a worthy upgrade to the Mk III, just for the extra 2 fps, the faster focus, the GPS/WiFi and all the other technical improvements. But if you own the 5DS or 5DSR, I don’t believe you really need to get this camera (I LOVE my 5DS/5DSR cameras for landscapes). For photographing action, you would be much better served with the 1DX or 1DX Mk II. Same for low-light imagery, I think.  For me, the low-light results were the tipping point to keep me from purchasing this camera.  Had I seen miraculously little noise in my images, I would have probably purchased that very camera I’d rented (you can do that with lensrentals.com).  Alas, that was not the case and all of the improvements were not enough for me to want to add this model to my existing gear.

I know this sounds critical of the 5D MkIV and I don’t mean it to be. Camera choice, like photography itself, tends to be subjective. It’s a very nice camera, has more resolution than the 5D Mk III, and has GPS and WiFi in addition to improved focusing. If you can rent it (I rent from lensrentals.com), then do so and try it out to see for yourself.  I recommend you do that with any camera or lens that interests you.  Try before you buy.

Bordello Sisters Iin The Feasthall

The Bordello Sisters in the King’s Feasthall, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 14mm f2.8L lens, f4.5, shutter 1/50, ISO 4000, flash used)

 

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Filed under 5D Mk IV, Events, Flash Photography, Tests, Texas Renaissance Festival, Uncategorized

Happy Halloween, Bitches – er, I mean – Witches!

Halloween Becky 3

Halloween Becky 

I recently received a new hand-made felted-wool witch hat from Etsy.  I decided to have a little fun with some self-portraits and studio lighting in my “studio”.  Actually, I live in an apartment and don’t have an official (aka proper) studio.  Instead, I have a couple of lights on stands with translucent umbrellas, all in my living room.  I covered the livingroom window with a black fleece sheet and set up my tripod and Canon 5DSR and Canon 85mm f1.2L lens at the other end of the room.  One studio light was above and looking down at me while the other light was below and looking up at me.  After I processed the photos using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, I ran them through Perfect Photo Suite 9 Effects presets and filters for the final product.

Halloween Becky 3

Halloween Becky – original shot

Halloween Becky 2

Halloween Becky #2

Halloween Becky 2

Halloween Becky – Original Shot

Halloween Becky 2

And for good measure, I decided to have a little fun with black & white (Silver Efex 2) and Adobe Photoshop’s history brush tool.

Halloween Becky 3

Happy Halloween, Everybody!  May you receive all the good candy (Kit Kat, Snickers, Starburst, Heath Bar).

 

 

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Filed under 5DSR, 85mm f1.2L, Canon, Canon Lens, Halloween, Portraits