The best photography gear that is not photography gear

  I have had quite a few gear posts to my blog recently. Well… Here is one more. Winter is on the way out. I am looking forward to spring. Once the temps start warming up and the trees start budding up I will be heading out for a little hiking and camping and a ton of photography. I often plan trips that are not possible or feasible to do without an overnight camping trip. For example, this spring I am planning a trip to a local landmark; it will be a 3-mile walk to the subject. Not very far really; but I want to photograph it just after the sunsets. That makes things a little more difficult. I, generally, do not like, or recommend hiking on unfamiliar trails after dark. It is very easy to get lost, or hurt. So, I will end up making this trip with an overnight stay at the intended photography location. In my youth, I did quite a bit of hiking and camping. It was one of my favorite pastimes.  As I have gotten older, things like a comfortable place to sleep have become far more important to me. I used to use a North Face Tadpole 23 Tent. Which is a legendary tent by itself. A good friend gave it to me when he got to old to go out on the trail any more. I used the hell out of that tent for about 15 years, and it still works as good now as the day I received it. There is only one problem with that tent. I just got tired of lying on the...

Everyday Carry

The best camera is the one you have with you. I am sure that you have heard that statement before. Usually that argument is made to justify the use of a small point and shoot or camera phone. I tried really, really hard to like my camera phone. I even had a phone with Zeiss optics and an 8 megapixel sensor…. I just never could get behind the (much) reduced image quality and the lack of depth of field. I mean, I really tried hard to like the camera phone. Tried android, iOS, and even windows phone, Instagram or not…. Did’t really matter, the horrible colors, heavy noise and artifacts and other undesirable elements just made it intolerable for me. The real reason for me comes down to prints. I know, I know. I must be a little old fashioned, but the is something special about a big print. Camera-phones just don’t make good prints. IMHO. Here is a little background: I was primarily a wedding/portrait photographer. I try to use available light where I can. I started of shooting a 35mm film camera, i had a 28/2.8, a 50/1.4, and a 100/2. i spent 3 years learning on that set up and it was good. i found i really could shoot most anything i wanted. Then, I discovered auto-focus zooms. At one point a 24-300 was one of my go-to lenses (looking back, what the hell was I thinking). Fast-forward a few years, I am still using zooms, I am shooting professionally now, so the 24-300 went away. I am shooting 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 at this point. A...
Fun at f/1.2 on a budget

Fun at f/1.2 on a budget

Seems like everyone wants to shoot images with a very shallow depth of field (Dof). Depth of field is defined as: “In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. Although a lens can precisely focus at only one distance at a time, the decrease in sharpness is gradual on each side of the focused distance, so that within the DOF, the unsharpness is imperceptible under normal viewing conditions. In some cases, it may be desirable to have the entire image sharp, and a large DOF is appropriate. In other cases, a small DOF may be more effective, emphasizing the subject while de-emphasizing the foreground and background. ”  –Wikipedia There are a few ways to get that look. The closer your subject is to the camera, the shallower the depth of field.  You can also achieve a shallow depth of field by changing the aperture. DoF will be less at 1.4 than at 2.8 and so on, and if you combine a very large aperture with a very close subject, you can achieve a very shallow depth of field. Sounds simple, right? There is one catch. Large aperture lenses are expensive. Canon’s 85/1.2 retails for around $2000.00, the 50/1.2 sells for $1300.00. Used copies of these lenses are not much cheaper, either. So, game over, right? Maybe not. If you are a canon user or use a mirror-less camera system there are some very interesting options to get fast glass at an affordable rate. Canon has been making really fast glass for quite some time. There are several 50/1.2 and 85/1.2 lenses for the older FD mount. There...

Canon’s New 6D

  The first of the year I broke down and purchased the new 6D from Canon. I have been shooting a Canon 5D and 7D for quite sometime. The 7D is about 2 years old and the 5D is a little more than 7 years old. It was probably about time for an upgrade for the 5D, but that camera has served me so well over the years, and I had a tough time finding a camera that I thought warranted an upgrade. I had originally set out to buy a 5dmkiii, and i actually tried to buy one, but they were out of stock, etc. I borrowed an evaluation 5dmkiii, and tried it out for 2 weeks, and that made me decide to wait till I could find one to buy. Shortly afterwards, Canon announced that the 6D would be released and I decided from the specs, that it might be worth waiting for. Long story short, after seeing some images from the 6D, and after MUCH deliberation, I picked one up. At the list price of $2099.99, it is a great camera. It is very similar to the original 5D auto-focus. Auto-focus speed seems just a tad quicker, but the accuracy is much improved. It more accurately lock focus than any other Canon i have used (other than the 5dmkiii). The real difference for this camera is the image quality. It has very similar image performance to the 5dmkiii. High ISO noise is very well controlled. Here are some sample shots The first one is at 3600 ISO, the second one is at ISO 100.   Here are the same images with a little noise reduction/sharpening :...