Tag Archives: Texas

March For Science Houston, April 22, 2017

Righteous Bella

Righteous!  My friend’s daughter keeps changing her mind from being a vet to an ornithologist and loves photography.  From her love of birds, she’s already identified over 300 species.  She’s 10.  Go Bella!

I know there will be a huge number of March For Science and Earth Day blog posts out there, so just add mine to the fray.  The premise of this march meant enough to me to actually join in – at age 56 – my first protest march ever.

Was it a “protest”?  The March for Science was meant to be a bipartisan event, promoting the scientific method, fact-based approaches to the study of the environment and climate change, and the benefits to humanity which have resulted from science.  As my friend’s daughter points out in the photo above:  her little brother would not be alive were it not for the accomplishments of medical science.  He was born 3-1/2 months early.  He’s now a sweet, happy, laughing 15 months old (11-1/2 months adjusted – they do that for preemies).

So, back to the March.  Was it a protest in addition to a celebration of all things and people scientific?  Ultimately, yes.  We probably should be having marches like this every year in celebration of scientists and all the things they’ve learned and created through science that aid us in our daily lives (Hubble telescope, space shuttles, internet, radio, iTunes, cell phones, velcro, medicine, photography, coffee makers, planes, trains, automobiles, etc).  We should be doing this not just because of the current administration.  It’s this current administration, however, that impelled these world-wide marches.  I still find it mind-boggling there are people out there (including the elected president) who deny climate change and want to cut funds to health and other scientific research.  America has been at the forefront of so many scientific discoveries, and now we should take a back seat??  I’m uncertain as to how this is “making America great”.   Whenever I think about this, I become that “mad scientist” you’ll see in one of the signs below.

Ok, enough of politics.  I leave you with images I captured during this very short, but very transformational march for me.

The Crowd Getting Ready

The number of marchers 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the event.  And more people kept streaming in.

Evolution SignPolio SignsBill Nye SignScience Knows No CountryResistors AndTransformersCoffee Wine Beer SignBrewed With Science

In all honesty, I’d be kinda lost without coffee, wine and beer.  Just sayin’ 😉

A Scientist Who Votes

A scientist who votes.  Somebody in government should be getting a little nervous, I should think.

Science Marchers Of All Ages

Marchers were there of all ages.  Made me proud to know so many people care about fact-based research and the scientific method.

CO2 Sign

Let’s see … I was born in 1961 so the CO2 level was probably around 318 – 319 ppm, approximately.

Princess Sign

My favorite sign was the “Mad Scientist” sign.  The next time I reach that boiling point of anger, I’ll think of this sign.

The Planet Dress

The Planet Dress

The New Ghost BustersThe Brain Hat

The Brain Hat.  I saw a number of them in varying  colors during the march.  And they all looked very neat, and very hot.  While it was not particularly humid, it was quite warm and sunny (thankfully, since thunderstorms were predicted).

Looking Toward City HallCity Hall Crowds

The march ended at the Houston City Hall.  So many people!  It’s estimated as many as 15,000 people participated in this event.

4-22-904-22-70

Let’s not forget that it was Earth Day, as well.  This gentleman saw me with my camera and came up to me to tell me he’d worn this same shirt during the very first Earth Day march.  I told him that definitely merited a photo.

For those of you interested, I used my Canon 1DX and 24-105mm lens to capture these images above.  The 24-105 is the perfect walking-around lens with a good number of focal lengths from which to choose.  All this, courtesy of science.

Becky and Bella_IMG_6589Becky & Maegan_IMG_6590

Your’s truly with a couple of friends she walked with at the march.

Science Becky TwinsScience Beckys

Twins? Triplets? The science of cloning?  Nah – well, not really – actually it was the science of Photoshop!

 

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Filed under 1DX, 24-105mm, Canon, Canon Lens, Events, March For Science, Uncategorized

My Favorite Photos of 2016

Sunrise At Lake Louise

The National Parks Traveler has published my January photography article.  Click on the photo to check it out.

 

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Filed under Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, Canada, Canon, Canon Lens, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Uncategorized

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

Red-Wing Blackbird

Red-Wing Blackbird

I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to capture a good image of this neat bird.  I know, blackbirds are blackbirds are blackbirds (aka ordinary), but those chevrons of bright orange-red are quite the eye-grabber.  And these birds have such a pretty song.

This photo was taken out at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, here in southeast Texas, not too far from where I live.  I had my Canon 1DX attached to the 500mm prime lens.  Thanks for my efforts at losing weight and building up some arm strength, I was able to hand-hold the camera/lens combo (IS turned On) and grab some shots of this red-wing blackbird.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Brazoria NWR, Canon, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, Canon Lens, nature, Photography, Texas, Uncategorized, Wildlife Refuge

Morning Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds In The Morning

I finished every single one of my errands/chores yesterday so I could drive out to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge this morning to see what might be there: tall grass and reeds and cattails with lots of water but not much birdlife – at least, not in the area in which I found myself and nothing near to me and my 500mm lens. The clouds on this morning, however, were dark and fluffy and big and presaged the coming storms predicted for today. So I pulled out the other tripod and my Canon 5DSR with the 16-35mm f//4 IS lens, affixed a circular polarizer to it and used my grad ND filter to bring out the texture in the clouds.

Clouds are a photographer’s best friend. They add drama and character to an already lovely scene and can really spice up an otherwise ordinary or ho-hum scene. The thing about photographing awesome clouds, though, is that you also need a frame of reference or some scale. So don’t just photograph the clouds themselves. Your viewers won’t know whether this was a horizon-filling scene or just a small spot in the sky. Add some ground or buildings or *something* to the cloud scene.

Copyright Rebecca L Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 5DSR, Brazoria NWR, Canon, Landscape, nature, Photography, Texas, Uncategorized, Wildlife Refuge

Canon 14mm & 24mm Lenses and A Trip To Brazos Bend State Park, Texas

(Note:  this is not a full, thorough, pixel-peeping review of either lens.  If you are looking for that, you won’t find it in this post).

14mm View of Creekfield Lake Other Side2

A 14mm View of Creekfield Lake, Brazos Bend State Park, Texas (Canon 5DSR body)

I recently purchased a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II lens from Lensauthority and wanted to try it out at Brazos Bend State Park, here in Texas.  I live about 25 minutes away from the park and this was the perfect venue for some super-wide angle shots.  I loaded up the Canon 5DS and 5DSR camera bodies with these lenses and hit the road.

You might not think there is much difference between a 16-35mm and 14mm lens, but there actually is.  It’s not huge, but it’s still a difference.  And, in retrospect, what I should have done was take along the 16-35mm lens to show that difference.  Maybe next time.

I like prime lenses.  I know that many reviews say the newer versions of the zoom lenses are just as sharp as the primes.  But I still think prime lenses are a teeny bit sharper (although I do love my 24-70mm and 16-35mm  lenses which I travel with exclusively).

I like the 14mm lens for the interesting perspective such a super-wide gives.  It’s perfect for landscapes and for architecture (interior views, especially).  This lens is going with me on my late March Big Bend National Park trip to photograph the cactus blooms.

14mm View of Creekfield Lake

Another  14mm View of Creekfield Lake, Brazos Bend State Park, Texas (Canon 5DSR body)

I also purchased a Canon 24mm f/1.4L II lens from BH Photo.  It’s not the super-wide angle that the 14mm lens is, but it’s a gorgeous lens nonetheless which produces wonderfully sharp images, and I find that I use the 24mm focal length quite a bit for my landscapes.  As I mentioned earlier, I do like the primes (although the zooms are far more practical to take on a trip, I admit).

24mm View of Creekfield Lake Other Side

A 24mm View of Creekfield Lake, Brazos Bend State Park, Texas (Canon 5DS body)

So the 24mm lens is going along with the 14mm lens to Big Bend National Park.  As is my Canon 100mm macro lens and my Canon 100-400mm lens.  Aside from the telephoto, this next Big Bend trip is going to be a prime lens-kind of trip.

24mm View of Creekfield Lake

Another 24mm View of Creekfield Lake (cropped just a little to make it more panoramic-ish), Brazos Bend State Park, Texas (Canon 5DS body)

 

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Filed under 5DS, 5DSR, Brazos Bend State Park, Canon, Canon 14mm f/2.8L II, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon Lens, Equipment, Landscape, Parks, Photography, Uncategorized