Tag Archives: Canon 5D Mk III

That Last Texas Sunrise

That Last Texas Sunrise

As I was driving west along Interstate 40, between Amarillo and Adrian, I saw all these cool wind farms.  The sun was rising behind me and I just couldn’t resist pulling over onto the shoulder in order to capture some images of the wind turbines and that sunrise.

At 7:20am on July 20th, I officially crossed the border out of Texas.  I whooped for joy then burst out crying.  My Texas departure and Pacific Northwest return have been 21 years in the making.  This is the beginning of an interesting adventure.

The sunrise was a nice send-off.

Wind Turbines And A West Texas Sunrise

Today, I’m heading into Petrified Forest National Park.  I arrived yesterday afternoon in the Painted Desert area, and after about 2 hours, decided the heat and driving was wearing me down enough that I needed to go on to the hotel down the road.  I’ll get back to the park early this morning while its “cooler.”

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Life, Photography, sunrise, Texas, Travel

Photographing Kevin and Amber’s Big Day

Bride-Groom-Pink Shoes

Gads!  I know!  It’s been forever since I last posted to this site.  So sorry!  I’ve had two weddings, a trip to Hawaii, and two airshows that I’ve photographed since my last post.  Oh yeah, and a day job in addition to all of this photography stuff.  I’d come home from work, eat a little dinner, try to watch the national news, then sit down to process anywhere from 4 – 10 images each weeknight before going to bed around 10PM and then getting up at 4AM to start my day over again.  Sometimes, I’d even take my small travel laptop to work with me so that I could sit at my desk and edit photos during my lunch time.  Weekends after each event have been spent at home, making the big push to get as many photos processed as possible, from the time I wake up around 5AM to the time I go to bed around 10-11PM.  My home is a pig sty because I haven’t had time to pick anything up and clean, and I still have luggage opened up with stuff strewn about on my floor because I haven’t had time to really unpack.

But now, I’m done!   And to prove it, I am posting here the results of the wedding I photographed September 27th, for Kevin and Amber.

Bride and Groom in Front of The Alamo VIGNETTE

Some of you have asked what my wedding workflow entails.  One of the tasks I try to do for each wedding is to Google the wedding venue and then personally drive (if in-state) to the venue to scope it out for photo ops as well as just the general lay of the land.  I also introduce myself to the venue staff so they know who I am, why I am there, and what I look like in order that they recognize me on the wedding day.

Kevin and Amber’s wedding was held at the Northwest Forest Conference Center, Cypress, Texas.  The conference center is a large area of acreage with several venues as well as hotel rooms on site.  The venue Kevin and Amber chose was The Alamo (a replica thereof, where the ceremony was conducted outside the building and the reception held inside).  You’d need to have met the couple but this venue was absolutely perfect for them.  Soooo very Texan.

The Ceremony at The Alamo

Every wedding is different.  While there are certain shots that are de rigueur (ceremony, bride and groom kissing, posed shots, cake cutting, etc.), each wedding also opens itself up to numerous photo ops singular to that couple’s day and event.

Amber was the first bride ever who told me up front that it was all about the photos.  She acknowledged that the ceremony would be over in minutes, but the pictures would last a lifetime.  With that mindset, she had a number of images she definitely wanted me to capture, and she even had examples for me to use as go-by.

While the venue differed (of course) from the example images Amber showed to me, the idea regarding what she wanted remained unchanged.  Plus, I now have these ideas in my photo op repertoire for future nuptials.

Boots-Bouquet-Rings

Rings Line of Sight

Engagement Ring and A Rose

Rings and A Rose

Generations

Picture Frame - Bride and Groom in Focus

I used my Canon 1DX and 5D Mk III bodies along with a rented Canon 6D (really cute little camera easy for my little hands, but not so great with low-light, I freely admit).  I used all L lenses (except for the 40mm pancake lens to which I affixed the Canon close-up lens filter):  85mm f1.2, 24-70 f2.8 (since destroyed during my Hawaii trip, blast it), 16-35 f2.8 (also destroyed during the Hawaii trip), and 70-200 f2.8.  I also used my Canon Speedlite 600 EX/RT flash.

For outdoor shots, I used an ISO of 640 and for indoor shots, I used an ISO (in general) of 3200.  I captured indoor and outdoor images both with and without flash.

Bride on The Bridge

Bride and Bridesmaids On The Bridge

Groom and Groomsmen - Alamo

I’ve never much cared for using a flash, but that dislike has lessened as my experience wielding it improves.  That, plus a flash is an absolute MUST for reception / indoor images because of the low light.  No way around that.

Grooming The Groom

Wedding Cake

Feeding Her Cake

Last Dance

Reception Hall

Dancing Inside The Circle

Everything was hand-held and with the exception of the 70-200mm lens, none of the others had image stabilization (IS, VR, whatever your camera brand calls it).  This meant I used the “spray and pray” method (holding down on that shutter button and letting the camera click away).  With this particular wedding, time was really tight and a tripod setup would have taken too long.  I was constantly on the move, changing between cameras.  Actually, I used each camera for the same scene just so there would be at least 1 good image between the 3 cameras – sometimes there were 2-3 good images of the same scene, so I processed them all because I like the newlyweds to have a choice – especially since each camera sported a different lens.

I made certain I whitened and brightened the smiles and I used Imagenomic’s Portraiture plug-in for Photoshop to smooth out skin creases and blemishes.  I also utilized OnOne’s Perfect Effects to add a little variation to the standard color images.  Some poses just begged for sepia or other interesting effect.

The Groom His Men and Texas Flag

The Groom and His Father

While I am always a little tired after spending 3-5 weeks on wedding photos (I cull through thousands to get anywhere between 150 to almost 400 really good shots, depending upon the length of time I am photographing), I also feel a huge sense of satisfaction with my work; that satisfaction grows in proportion to how pleased the newlyweds are with the images.  I must ALWAYS keep in mind the desires and expectations of the clients, so I am always a little nervous as to how they receive my work.

To see more images taken during Kevin and Amber’s wedding, click on this link to be taken to my photo website.  And feel free to browse around the other galleries and folders as well.  My site continues to be a work in progress.

Pinkie Promise

Next post:  Jennifer and John’s wedding.

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Filed under Canon, Canon Lens, Equipment, Events, Life, Photography, wedding

Meet Kyle & Adrienne

Kyle and Adrienne - Color

Hello everybody! I know, long time, no post. I’ve been a busy gal. I’m getting ready for a late April 2014 return trip to Big Bend National Park.  I’ve also been  putting together my packing list for my August Alaska 2014 trip, and I just purchased a plane ticket for an October visit to Hawaii where I have a reservation for 4 days at Volcano House in Volcanoes National Park. On top of that, I am trying to get into better (waaaayyyy better) shape in order to do the hikes I want for all of these trips. And, I admit, it’s been a little “dry”, photographically, since my last post.

A week ago, however, I traveled north and west of Houston to a lovely home for some engagement photos with Kyle and Adrienne. I’d been hired to photograph their June wedding and Adrienne told me her mother wanted an engagement photo session.

The day dawned overcast with a few sprinkles; the photos were supposed to be taken in Adrienne’s parents’ backyard garden. We’d scheduled a time of 11:30AM, so I knew the light would be flat, but I figured we’d still get some great shots and I’d bring along some fun umbrellas as props to keep the couple dry if it rained. As soon as I parked my car in front of their home, the sun came out; an auspicious omen.

I used my Canon 5D Mk III and Canon 1DX. I placed the Canon 85mm f1.2L lens on the Mk III and the Canon 24-70mm L II lens on the 1DX. I brought along my flash, too, which was good since several of the settings were interior shots. For those of you who have been following my posts for awhile, you know that I generally eschew flash because I simply don’t like it. I did use it for a couple of shots, but I also used just the ambient lighting and increased the ISO to compensate for the low light.

Below are some sample images from the morning’s session.

Multiple Kyles and Adriennes

Multiple Kyles and Adriennes - Garden Closeup

I’m starting to get the hang of this multiple-shots-in-one-image thing and thought it would be a fun trick for a couple of images.

Kyle and Adrien Azaleas - Color

The pink azaleas perfectly matched Adrienne’s sundress.

Kyle and Adrienne - Yucca - Original

Adrienne and Kyle - Tree BW

Among the many images taken, I also made sure to get some poses that might make for a nice photo to put into the engagement section of the newspaper.

Kyle and Adrien at Piano

This image was taken using a high ISO and the ambient light.  I chose to keep it the golden color of the interior lighting.  That beautiful charcoal drawing in the background was done by Adrienne’s mother.

Kyle and Adrien at Piano - Vignette

This image was captured using a flash.  I processed the image in Photoshop then applied some presets from OnOne’s Perfect Effects to soften and create a bit of a glow to the scene.

Kyle and Adrienne Stairs

Once again, I used only the ambient light and a high ISO to capture this image.  Then, I added a very little bit of vignetting to focus the eye more on the subjects.

Kyle and Adrienne On Stairs

I used a flash for this image, then cropped it a little more tightly around  the couple.

All-in-all, it was a fun morning and I’m glad I was able to meet the couple prior to their wedding.  By the end of my hour with Kyle and Adrienne, we were all feeling more relaxed in each other’s company.  Engagement photos are a fun way to introduce the photographer to the prospective bride and groom, discuss what kind of images they have in mind, and get everybody comfortable with each other.

If you would like to see more images taken on this day, click on this link.

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Filed under Canon, Canon Lens, Photo Shoots, Photography, Portraits

Full-Frame Goodness; A Comparison of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 1DX

5256_Cameras Together

5348_Cameras #1

5326_Cameras Back

I love full-frame cameras.  I own a Canon 5D Mk II, and before that, I had the Canon 5D.   Almost all of the prints I make are enlargements up to and beyond 16×24.  At times I also do a fair amount of cropping.  I like the extra clarity a full-framer can provide for such purposes.

In addition to landscapes and portraits, though, I photograph stuff that moves (dancers, birds, stage performers out at the Texas Renaissance Festival and other wildlife of the 2-legged and 4-legged kind).  My 5D Mk II is a wonderful camera, but it’s quite slow.  Also – in addition to this whole speed thing – I realized I needed something tough and reliable under unpredictable circumstances.  You see, if things work according to plan (fingers crossed, knock on wood) I will be traveling to Alaska’s Katmai Peninsula in July 2013.  I really wanted something that could withstand the elements.   Oh, ok, plus I really really wanted the 1DX – sort of like a guy wanting a Tesla Roadster.

For these reasons, I bit the bullet and purchased the 5D Mk III and the 1DXto get the latest digital improvements as well as satisfy that need for speed and solid construction. Yeah baby, It’s gonna be Ramen noodles every night for dinner for quite awhile….

Since I have both of these awesome cameras, I thought I would do a little comparison of the two, hence this post. Bear in mind, please, that while I consider myself a fine photographer, I am not an expert nor am I a technical person.  I don’t really pixel-peep too much either – I just want my images to look great, no matter what the pixel count. I write this post simply as a photographer using both cameras.  Everything you read here is my own personal opinion.  Adorama or B&H Photo has the in-depth, technical descriptive stuff, so I won’t go into that kind of detail here.  Instead, I will tell you about my practical experience with each camera.

Out of the box:

Canon 5D Mk III:

5271_5dMkIII Front

5263_5D Mk III Back

The 5D Mark III with L-bracket and 50mm f1.2L  lens

  • It’s a little heavier than the Mk II; feels more “substantial”.
  • I like the feel of the plastic covering – its more “grippy”, which is a good thing since I have small, arthritic hands.
  • The On/Off switch is now on the top left of the camera, just below the Mode Dial.
  • The buttons and menu layout are somewhat different and I got a little lost trying to find my favorite settings; this because there are quite a few more “bells and whistles” on the menu (like the in-camera HDR which I haven’t tried yet but plan on experimenting with when I travel to Arches NP in February 2013).
  • The battery for this camera is the same as the battery for the 5D Mk II, which is nice, since I have a number of extra batteries and now, an extra charger, too.
  • This camera can accommodate two memory cards at the same time: a CF card and a SD card. Why Canon decided on using the SD card option rather than another CF slot is anybody’s guess. I had to go out and buy a number of SDs because of this. Of course, you really don’t need to use both card slots if you don’t want – I like it, though, because that means a little less time taken to switch out a full card with an empty card during moments when time is of the essence. With two cards, I can just keep right on shooting during key moments.
  • It’s much faster than the 5D Mark II (Yeah!)

Canon 1DX:

5275_1DX Front

5266_1DX Back

The 1DX with L-bracket and 85mm f1.2 lens

  • It’s Big!  Much larger and heavier than the 5D Mk III.  Surprisingly, neither the size nor weight bother my small hands; of course, I wanted the 1DX so badly that nothing about this camera would have caused me discomfort.
  • When I pulled the 1DX out of the box, I definitely had the instruction manual open beside me since I was in relatively new territory here.   Buttons are in different places, the menu is different, etc.
  • The On/Off switch is essentially in the same area as the switch on the 5D Mk II.
  • The memory card compartment opens in a totally different way from the Mk II or Mk III.   You have to turn that little latch you see below the On/Off switch, in order to flip open the CF card compartment door.

5286_1DX Card Slot

  • The vertical grip has its own set of buttons and dials (awesome!)
  • The spare battery is large and expensive.   Below is a comparison shot of the 1DX battery next to the 5D Mk III battery, both of which are next to a 77mm filter I threw in for scale.

5311_batteries

  • A spare charger is the price of a non-L lens (and no, I did not purchase a spare charger…..yet).
  • This camera accepts 2 CF cards.  Again, you only have to use one of the two slots, if you wish.
  • It’s WAAAAAYYYYYY faster than the 5D Mk II and the 5D Mk III (Double Yeah!!)

Neither cameras have on-camera flash (not professional, you know) – I personally think it would be helpful for fill-flash use, but whatever.

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I used these cameras for a family photo shoot, and the family graciously consented (and signed model releases) for me to use their photos in this post.  For this family photo session, I made sure the same settings were selected for both cameras, and I used three lenses:

I switched lenses between the two cameras (when I remembered to do so), in order to have comparison shots.  Naturally, there was still some change of position or movement, but not as much as there would have been with, say, photos of the Gypsy Dance Theatre performers at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Winking smile

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Ok, as everybody should know by now, it’s not always all about the pixels. Manufacturers have come a long way since my first 2MP point-and-shoot back in 1999.  Nowadays, a high-end camera is going to have great resolution, regardless of the pixel count, and fewer pixels mean they are larger  and thus allow more light to enter onto the image.  You will notice that the 1DX images tend to look a little lighter than the 5D Mk III images, even with the same settings on both cameras; I suspect the larger pixel size on the 1DX is the reason for this.

The 1DX has 18 MP (3MP less than the 5D Mk II) and the 5D Mk III has 22 MP (1MP more than the 5D Mk II). I was really, really pleased (read: ecstatic) with the resolution, clarity, light and depth from the resulting images taken by both cameras (no, I did not take any photos with the 5D Mk II at this session so I don’t have any comparison images between the three…..but….all of the photos you see here of the cameras were taken with my 5D Mk II and 40mm pancakelens, and I didn’t use any sharpening whatsoever for those images, so you can see just how good the 5D Mk II is).

Here are unedited, straight-from-the-camera images and their 100% crops for the 5D Mk III

_U9A1983

_U9A1983_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2048

U9A2048_100PCT

Lens used:  85mm f1.2L II

_U9A2067

_U9A2067_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2076

_U9A2076_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2080

_U9A2080_100PCT

Lens used: 24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2109

_U9A2109_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2113

_U9A2113_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_U9A2152

_U9A2152_100PCT

Lens used:  50mm f1.2L

Here are unedited, straight-from-the-camera images and their 100% crops for the 1DX

_H5T3370

_H5T3370_100PCT

Lens used: 24-70mm f2.8L II

_H5T3411

_H5T3411_100PCT

Lens used:  24-70mm f2.8L II

_H5T3431

_H5T3431_PCT

Lens used:  85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3437

_H5T3437_100PCT

Lens used:  85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3439

_H5T3439_100PCT

Lens used:  85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3467

_H5T3467_100PCT

Lens used: 85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3482

_H5T3482_100PCT

Lens used: 85mm f1.2L II

_H5T3516

_H5T3516_100PCT

Lens used: 85mm f1.2L II  I used the tripod for this image

As I look at the 100% crops of the images, I notice some of them look a little soft.  So when editing them, I did use a very little bit of Unsharp Mask ( but that’s because I am of the opinion that every image benefits from just a little bit of sharpening, anyway).   Based upon what I have seen from other raw images I have taken with these camewras (ex. images from the TX Renfaire), I attribute this bit of softness to camera shake (i.e. me)  –  I only used the tripods for one set of photos (the last photos listed for each camera, where the model is standing beside that gray & black painting – which she painted herself) and hand-held the cameras for rest of the time. Why, when I had the tripods there?  Dunno,  I just did.

H5T3329_Mommy-Baby-Camera

So there’s the probable camera shake, plus none of the lenses I used had IS.

Here are some of the final, edited images from the 5D Mk III

U9A1983_Valerie and Emmeline

U9A2067-3_Val & Crochet Umbrella VIGNETTE

H5T3475_Walking Away VIGNETTE

U9A2107-3_Family Photo CROP

U9A2113_Mommy-baby-HeartUmbrella

Here are some of the final, edited images from the 1DX

H5T3370_Mommy and Daughter

H5T3431-4_Val & Crochet Parasol VIGNETTE

H5T3439_Lovely Ladies VERTICAL VIGNETTE

H5T3511_Hands

H5T3516_Val & Painting VIGNETTE

I made liberal use of the Vignette sliders in the Photoshop Lens Correction filter because it just really worked well (IMO) with many of these images.

My Conclusions:

I LOVE bothof these cameras.

I love the 5D Mk III’s increase in resolution, clarity, sturdy feel, and amazing output.  I love the 1DX for basically everything.  Period.  But I especially love the 1DX for its speed.  I’ve managed to capture pics I could never have gotten with the 5D Mk II.

That being said, I still also love my 5D Mk II.  It takes awesome full-frame images.   It’s just not as fast as I truly need.  If you own a 5D Mk II and are contemplating the purchase of the Mk III or 1DX, I urge you to hold onto your Mk II a little longer – at least as a backup to your newer camera model.  If you are thinking of purchasing a full-frame camera (especially if you’ve never owned one before), the price has come down alotfor this model since it first came out about 3-4 years ago.

Also, before plunking down the equivalent of all the gold in Fort Knox (well, it was for me, anyway), think things through:  Are you like me and need a faster camera?  Can you affordeither one of these cameras?  Cameras are like smartphones, you know:  a newer, better, more upgraded one is always just around the corner.  You might be better served investing in an L-lens, instead, which retains its value no matter how many camera iterations come onto the market.

Because I haven’t possessed either camera for very long, I’m still just scratching the surface of all the photographic goodness these two models have to offer. I still have my 5D Mk II, btw, with a Canon 40mm pancake lens affixed to it that I carry around in a messenger-style camera bag (which doubles as my purse) for those just-in-case moments.

5339_Cameras_Final

I hope this little post was informative and helpful.  I’ll be publishing more comparison posts using these cameras with various lenses, so stay tuned!

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Filed under Camera Comparisons, Equipment, Photography

Fire Dancing

H5T2426_Goddess of Fire #1

As staff photographer for The Merchant Prince, it is incumbent upon me to travel up to the Texas Renaissance Festivalto capture images of this vendor’s various food and beverage establishments for marketing purposes. While at the festival, I like to take a little time off to go watch one of my favorite groups out there: The Gypsy Dance Theatre. I especially like their last show of the day, which is their Fire Dance performance.

H5T2307_Farashas Balancing Act

H5T2345_Farashas Flames_orig

H5T2553_Playing With Fire

H5T2564_Fire Eater

H5T2384_Kiras Fire

H5T2390_Katias Fire

H5T2495_Sword On Fire

H5T2400_Zara

H5T2409_Fire Flinger

H5T2604-2_Farashas Fire Tutu

H5T2667_Tsuras Fire Hoop

H5T2705_Fire Hoop

U9A1380_Smiling Florita

U9A1640_Tsura Onstage

U9A1443_Katia and Kira Onstage

The wide-angle images you see here were taken with a Canon 5D Mk III and 16-35mm f2.8L USM lens, while the other, closer shots were taken with a Canon 1D X and 70-200mm f2.8L USM II lens.  I’ll be comparing and contrasting these two cameras in a forthcoming post.

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A special FYI for all of you reading this post:

In honor of the coming holiday season, and to thank all of you who follow this blog, I am offering a 35%-off coupon over at my Rebecca Latson Photographywebsite. This coupon is good for 35% off of any print or merchandise from the galleries in the following selected categories:

Landscapes

Nature

International

Monochrome

Animals

There is no minimum purchase and this offer is good through 21 November, 2012. The coupon code is RLP35PCT and you enter this code in Step 3 of the checkout process. You’ll then see your discount applied.

ALSO

A special 50%-off Calendars and Greeting Cards sale is also going on at my Zazzle storefront Rlatson47. This offer is good until Monday, 12 November 2012.

Oh, and as incentive to check out my Facebook Page (see the link on the right sidebar of this post), if you become a Fan by Liking me, you will have a chance to be entered in drawings for three different give-aways (one per week for the remainder of November).

Yes, this is a marketing blitz. Woo hoo!!

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Filed under dance, Events, Photography, Texas, Texas Renaissance Festival