Tag Archives: 24-70mm

Capturing Color, Pattern and Texture in your Images

Colors Textures And Layers

Layers of sunset colors, patterns and textures at Sunset Point in Bryce National Park, Utah

Back in April, the National Parks Traveler published my latest photography article, which dealt with finding color, pattern and texture in your national park images.  In the article, I described several techniques I always use when highlighting one or all three of these properties in my photos.  If you want to know more about those techniques, click on the photo above to be taken to the article.

Note:  The image above was captured with a Canon 5DSR and 24-70mm f2.8 lens at Sunset Point this past April, 2018

 

 

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Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, National Parks Traveler, Parks, Photography, Travel, Utah

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 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

Low-Light Photography and A Night at the Museum

Cyborg Rex

The Cyborg Carnivore – that light looks like a laser eye

I am not a big partier.  I used to go out more during  my college days, but that was eons ago and I would now much rather do something sans crowds….unless, of course, it’s an interesting venue and I can tote along my camera.

My company’s 2014 Employee Appreciation Party  was held at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  With the exception of a few exhibits, we had the entire place to ourselves.   I couldn’t refuse the photo ops, now, could I?

Greg Hills Talk

The Dance Floor and The Welcome Speech

I knew the light would be low or bright only in spots, but I did not want to take along a flash because I did not want to ruin the ambience that available light bestows.  Flash would have created shadows and would have destroyed any of the neat available-light colors seen in these photos.

Hall Of The Dinosaurs #1

Hall Of The Dinosaurs #2

Hall Of The Dinosaurs #3

The shots above are of the Paleo Hall, where tables and food stations were set between the skeletons of pre-historic denizens

So, I set the ISO high – varying it between 1000 and 2500 on my Canon 1DX and used my Canon 24-70mm version II lens.  The shutter speed was between 1/40 and 1/60 and the f-stop was set to 4.

I applied what  is called  the “spray and pray” method of image capture (I’d never heard this before until just recently).  It means you hold down on that shutter button, clicking away  (the “spray” part) and “pray” that one of the images comes out the way you want it.  I’ll go with that.  It’s always worked for me in the past and I have plenty of memory cards.

The View From My Table

A View of the Dance Floor from My Table

The Foucault Pendulum

Foucault’s Pendulum

Hall Of The Egyptians

Hall of the Egyptians

The Paleo Hallway

The Paleo Hallway

Ready To Do Battle

Face Off!

Stegasaurus

Spotlight on the Stegosaurus

Triceratops

My Favorite Dinosaur:  The Triceratops

I applied noise-reduction software to all of these images because the high ISO settings required elimination of the inherent grainy look.

Becky And Friend_H5T7981

Me and A Friend

I joke that someday, when I become a famously-recognized (and wealthy) photographer, I will rent this museum’s Paleo Hall for a reception.  Winking smile

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Filed under Canon, Canon Lens, Equipment, Houston, low light photography, Photography

A Wedding In Galveston – The Bride Getting Ready

Taking A Break

Judging by the room Josh and Maegan had, I’d say the San Luis Resort penthouse suites are – well –  sweet 😉

I entered with all of my gear, set it out of the way of the ladies in the room, and began picking up cups and plates off of the coffee table and moving chairs and other things around the room to make space for forthcoming photo ops. I decided there would be no need for any flash as the ambient light from the balcony windows mixed nicely with the interior shadows. The bride finally returned from the salon and the photography process began.  And this, folks is where the art of photography really comes into play when capturing the beauty of the Bride and her Ladies.

Bridesmaids On The Couch

Bride and Bridesmaids Robes

I first saw Maegan in her little “Bride” robe when she waltzed down to the salon for her hair appointment. She told me the bridesmaids and matron of honor each had robes as well only they were in the bride’s color (aqua) with white embroidery writing on the backs.

Showing Bella The Locket

I’ve noticed this about the “getting ready” sessions I have photographed prior to the actual wedding ceremony: they are all very relaxed and intimate, with hugs and fun chatter and quiet excitement of the ceremony to come. Talk centers around family. In the image above, Nana was showing her granddaughter the locket that will someday belong to her.

When you are hired to photograph a wedding, it’s so very important to get to know the couple prior to the Big Day.   Why?  Because having the couple  feel comfortable with you and your style is worth so much in terms of the kinds of photographs you can achieve on their behalf.  When everybody feels comfortable around you, then they tend to not feel so self-conscious and worried about having a camera around them on a constant basis.  They relax in your presence and the photographs you capture reveal the love, affection, and emotion of the day.

Bride

Getting a photo of the wedding dress is almost a de rigeur photo nowadays.  And Maegan was cracking me up.  Pretty much everything she wore said “Bride”, from her robe to her tank top.

That quiet excitement began to build as the bride was helped into her gown and finishing touches were applied.

In The Wedding Dress

I made use of my 70-200mm, 50mm, and 24-70mm lenses for these images. All of them hand-held. No flash. In all of the photos with people (excepting the reception images), I added a touch of Imagenomic’s Portraiture. It’s all about looking good for the wedding, you know.

If you are in a situation where you can utilize side-lighting, then by all means do so, as it is fantastic for portraits.

Buttoning Her Dress

Putting On The Wedding Jewelry

Bride and Bridesmaids

Portrait of Happy

If you are in a situation where you can utilize backlighting for the bride, then this is another one of those “by all means do so” moments.

Maegan-Wedding Dress-Window

Maegan-Wedding Dress-Window

Bella And Maegan At Window

Yes, the backlit bride and her dress are clichéd shots that all photographers get, but nobody can argue they aren’t beautiful images and every backlit bride image is different from wedding to wedding, so it’s not *quite* the same thing as photographing a landscape that everybody else with a camera has captured.

Standing At The Window

Bella And Maegan At Window

Portrait Of The Bride VIGNETTE

I also made use of black & white with some of the photos. Weddings, IMO, were made for monochrome. In some cases, I noticed the black & white images bringing out more dress detail than in the color images.

Next post: Posed Shots – The Bride, Groom, The Bridesmaids, The Bridal Party

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Filed under Black & White, Life, Photography, wedding

A Galveston Wedding – The Big Day: Hairstyling and Makeup

Bride

My day of photography did not start until 10AM, when I met the bride, her mother, her daughter, and bridesmaids down in the resort’s spa for a morning of hairstyling and makeup.

The salon portion of the spa is relatively small – or rather, I should say it’s styling cubicles are relatively small, so one of the things I had to watch out for was accidentally getting in the way of the shot. I photo-bombed myself more than once, I’m afraid.

Working The Photo

Since this was an interior photo op, I increased the ISO to 500. I had my Gary Fong dome diffuser attached to the flash on my 1-DX, but never used it as it would have reflected in the salon’s mirrors.

Bella In The Chair

Hair and makeup sessions make for great ops, despite the above considerations. Make use of the mirrors and their reflections. Frame your compositions at different angles for some variety.

Reflection of Valerie

Bonnie Hair Mirrors Reflections

Valerie's Updo

And try to get images that the ladies would like (i.e. try not to take unflattering straight shots of faces without makeup – if you do happen to get those shots, then make sure you’ve added a little interest or humor to the comp).

Maegan and Bella at Hairdresser

Becoming Beautiful

I was there from 10AM to about 12:30PM. After that, I was off to photograph the groom and his men.

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Filed under Equipment, Life, Photography, wedding

A Wedding In Galveston: The Rehearsal

Stylish Shoes

Ok, so in my previous post, I gave you the lowdown on the wedding location and the gear I took with me.  I’d checked in that Saturday afternoon and proceeded to get my stuff spread out all over the room; when I was finished it sorta looked like my room at home (grin).

That evening, around 5PM, everybody met in the resort’s entrance hall and then headed to the gazebo for a very quick rehearsal run-through with the resort’s wedding planner.

Waiting For Everybody To Gather

I was not scheduled to take any rehearsal dinner photos, but I wanted to be there for the rehearsal prior to their dinner to meet the key players as well as to scope out the gazebo venue for photo op locations.  Since I was carrying my 5D Mark III with the 24-70mm lens with me, I figured I might as well take a few pics (can you imagine me *not* taking any photos if I have a camera handy?).  I had to remember to switch from a higher ISO for the above indoor shot to a much lower ISO for the outdoor images.

Practice Run

Rehearsal didn’t last but maybe 10 minutes max, and then they were all off to their dinner.  I had made a reservation at the resort’s restaurant called The Steakhouse.  I highly recommend this place for the food, polished and unobtrusive service, and ambience.   Pricey, yes, but it was a little splurge for me (my hairstylist returned from her Puerto Rico vacation with a huge cold and had to cancel my hair appointment for that week, so I instead blew that cash on dinner).  I figured what the heck, I had the whole night ahead of me to relax and get ready for the next day’s activities and figured I might as well treat the day as a nice getaway from home (spotted some neat birding photo op locations along the way to Galveston).

Bella

Bellas Pink Hat

Next post: the first photo ops of the Big Day.

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Filed under Events, Life, Photography, wedding