4 Reasons for the still photographer to try Magic Lantern

4 Reasons for the still photographer to try Magic Lantern

I installed magic lantern on my EOS M a few weeks ago, and I am going to share 4 reasons why you might want to try it as well. Magic lantern is a firmware hack for canon cameras. You install it in a process very similar to updating the firmware on your camera. I am using the most up to date version of ML for the M, which is still not a stable release. There are some potential bugs, but they do not seem to affect every camera, and I have had no problems with it.  The EOS M is already a great little camera, and the Magic Lantern firmware adds even more functionality to it.  The amount of stuff added to the camera is initially a little overwhelming. For the videographer, there is some really nice stuff, most notably – HD Raw video. I have not been able to test out the raw video because I do not have a memory card that is big or fast enough. I just dabble in video, so I will be focusing on the features that I have found work for my needs. Focus Peaking If you use manual focus lenses like I do, this is probably the most amazing feature I have ever seen on a digital camera. There are 2 flavors here, the first is normal focus peaking, which overlays a color artifact on the parts of the image that are in focus. This makes focusing possible with out zooming the viewfinder in 5x or 10x. It work amazingly well if you are using a tilt-shift lens, or a very...
Is a mirrorless camera a viable replacement for your dslr?

Is a mirrorless camera a viable replacement for your dslr?

The debate has been raging for a little while as the mirrorless segment gains popularity. Obviously, if camera manufactures could create a camera that has all the good things that makes SLR’s awesome and no new negative points, we would all dump our dslr cameras in favor of the smaller mirrorless camera. But it is never that simple is it. So, let’s take a look at what makes the dslr such a great platform to work with in the first place. The single lens reflex camera is a fairly mature set of tools. It has been around since the 50s; almost every photography company has had a least a few SLR cameras as part of their portfolio. The SLR comes in many different sizes from large format camera to the small format 35mm to digital. The SLR has been battle proven over the years it is a great combination of portability and capability. Since almost every manufacturer creates the SLR as a modular system it is inherently adaptable to almost any shooting requirements. One of the biggest advantages of the SLR is that when you are shooting you are viewing through the lens that takes the image, so basically what you see is what you get. That gets to the heart why the modern SLR has become the gold standard for pros and enthusiast, fast accurate auto focus. Modern SLR cameras have a phase detection auto focus system built in to the mirror that sits inside the camera. Phase detection auto focus is the fastest and most accurate auto focus currently on the market, especially in low light. Other...
Photographing birds with Wifi

Photographing birds with Wifi

I have a ton of song birds around our property. If you have ever tried to photograph any songbirds you know that they can be tough to get a nice shot of, especially if you are not interested in “feeder” pictures. To get great shots of small song birds you must get close, and that is a problem. Many people will photograph from a blind, but i don’t have one. But, my canon 6d is equipped with remote control over a Wifi through a tablet or phone.  I set a perch up in our yard near a feeder that the birds tend to like, then set my camera and tripod up a few feet away and connected the wifi control over a tablet. I then went away, and waited up on our deck about 75 feet away and waited for the birds to come. It didn’t take too long before this little chickadee came around for some birdseed.  This is all just a proof of concept, and I think it worked pretty well, in all I sat out for about 40 minutes and only saw this little chickadee. Looking forward to trying it again. What do you think?...
Choosing the right focal length

Choosing the right focal length

  Seems like an easy thing to do, just point the camera at your subject, frame your subject and if it fits; shoot. If not, zoom out or zoom in. But, there is so much more to it than that. Different focal lengths provide different looks. Wide lenses will exaggerate distances, while longer lenses will compress distances and objects. The relationship of distance between objects will be compressed with longer lenses, and exaggerated with wide lenses. Now, most people will agree that longer lenses are great portrait lenses. They compress distances, framing the face in a very flattering way. Most, would also agree that wide lenses (especially very wide lenses) are not the most flattering for portraits. They tend to exaggerate the distances from the tip of the nose to the ears, etc, etc. They also tend to make people look   *ahem*….wider. Which if you are being paid to do a portrait, probably not the way to go. Now, most will also agree that the best (and most common) choice for a lens when shooting landscapes and such would be a wide lens. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my 14mm wide lens, but it is not always the lens I grab when shooting landscapes. Many compositions can benefit from the compression that a longer lens will give to a scene. Most photographers think of lenses only in the ability to change the field of view, but there is much more to the look of a than just field of view. Early spring we went on a short hike on the Rails to Trails Conservatory trail near the...
trying out my new tokina 300/2.8

trying out my new tokina 300/2.8

  Having fun with a new (to me) tokina 300 f2.8 AT-x Pro. I found a few Great Blue Herons on the White River, near Norfork Dam, that let me get close enough to get a few nice shots of them. If you are looking for an economical way to get into the fast super-tele lenses you should take a look at this lens. If you can find one, that is.   [nggallery id=7]...
What to do with an old camera?

What to do with an old camera?

I have been a canon user for some time, and I have either been very lucky with the cameras that I purchased, or canon makes awesome cameras. The first dslr that I purchased from canon was the canon rebel. The original one. I bought one in 2003, and at the time it retailed for $899.00. The unique thing about this camera is, it was the first dslr with an interchangeable lens to be offered at less than $1000.00. It was quite a bargain in its day. Fast-forward 10 years, (consumer electronics don’t hold their value over time very well) I have used the rebel to the max. It is dented, scratched, the leather/rubber handgrip is peeling away, it shows many battle scars, but it still keeps working like the day I bought it. I thought briefly about selling it, but I would only get (maybe) a hundred bucks. That amount just didn’t seem to be worth it to me. So, instead, I sent it off to Lifepixel (www.lifepixel.com). LifePixel converts cameras to “see” in Infrared light only. For a couple hundred bucks, they installed an opaque infrared filter over the sensor of the rebel. That filter cuts out almost all the visible light to the camera so it only can “see” infrared. My camera is now sensitive to light form 850nm to around 1200nm. Before the conversion it was sensitive from about 350nm to 850nm (here is a little more info if you want to learn more about light color). Here are some samples from my infrared camera....