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Messages - drmikeinpdx

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Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM
« on: October 16, 2013, 09:44:40 AM »
This is a place where I always reach for my 135.  I added some vignetting, as I usually do.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: "Downgrading" for a very specific reason
« on: October 15, 2013, 12:24:47 PM »
I don't miss my 5D classic a bit.  The LCD screen was tiny, the autofocus system sucked and it was very slow writing to the memory card.   I did like the smoothness and color of the images, but I can get the same look from the Mark 3 with Lightroom when I want it.

It's really hard for me to make a valid image quality comparison with my 5D3, or with any two cameras, because so much is dependent on the software I use for post processing.

I've only been using Lightroom for two years.  It's fun to go back and re-process the old images from the 5D classic and see what improvements I can make.

Lenses / Re: How bad is the 24-105?
« on: October 13, 2013, 11:41:53 AM »
   I see no reason ever to sacrifice quality for laziness.
   Moments cannot be resurrected in post.

Interesting comment, but I find the opposite to be true more often.  I love my primes and will shoot with them when I can control the flow of a photoshoot.  However, there are situations where a zoom allows me to get more usable shots.  If you miss a shot because you were changing lenses, or did not bring the right prime with you, that lost moment cannot be resurrected in post.

I haven't had my 24-105 very long.  I bought a white box copy for around $700 last spring and I've been very impressed.  I always shoot it wide open.  I don't use a tripod too often, so the stabilization actually makes it sharper than my L lenses in actual use.  I have noticed no chromatic aberration and I haven't used it for shooting buildings so I haven't noticed any distortion.

I'm taking it out today for a waterfall/fall foliage hike.  Maybe I'll leave the tripod at home.

Landscape / Re: Fluffed it! Moon and ISS
« on: October 11, 2013, 03:58:15 PM »
I think you did great to catch it like that.  I tried to catch it one time without the moon and it was way too fast for me.   I'm not sure, but I suspect that even with a longer focal length, the ISS would still just be a dot.

Portrait / Re: Maternity shoot
« on: October 09, 2013, 08:31:16 PM »
I know what you mean, JM.  Combining sexuality with pregnancy is not politically correct, but I do find that some women wish to portray that combination in their maternity photos.  I suppose they seek me out because of my reputation.

I won't post any of my images here out of respect for the forum, but if you would like to visit my site and view the maternity gallery, the password is Columbia

Portrait / Re: Maternity shoot
« on: October 06, 2013, 10:44:07 AM »
Very nice work!

The first Yongnuo product I got was a simple RF-600TX radio trigger set that I use with my Alien Bees.  I've had it for over two years, used it weekly and had no problems of any kind.  I can't see a need to upgrade to the big name triggers, at least for my needs.

I have two of their speedlights, the manual  YN-560 and the YN-568 EX.  I'm not an advanced speedlight user, so I can't comment on the fancy features, but they have been reliable in light use.  My main complaint is that the instruction manual is almost useless.

I took the 588 EX along on an outdoor shoot a month ago, because I knew I'd need fill light and didn't want to carry an Alien Bee w/ stand and battery.  Here's the first test shot.  Do you see what's wrong?  I had the swivel head tilted up one or two clicks. 

When a model shoot is going really well, I like to click about every 1-2 seconds.  I was hoping that with the speedlight on manual at 1/2  or 1/4 power, that it would keep up, but it didn't.  I lost about one shot out of every 3 or 4 when it didn't fire.  That was with alkaline batteries.  I later tested with eneloops and it worked a little better. 

Obviously I'm still learning about speedlights.  :)

Lenses / Re: Do you usually shoot your lenses wide open?
« on: September 30, 2013, 03:58:02 PM »
I shoot mostly people, not sports and I use the Sigma 50 1.4 and a Canon 85 1.8 a lot.  They are both soft wide open, the 50 much more so than the 85.  I make use of that to soften the faces a bit in feminine portrait work.  The shallow DOF and nice bokeh look pretty too!

They both sharpen up dramatically at F/2.8, but you can still get some bokeh and subject isolation.

I don't think I ever use them at apertures smaller than 2.8 unless I'm in the studio and have to stop down because the strobes are already at minimum power.

My canon 24-105 is a different animal altogether.  It is plenty sharp wide open at F/4, so I pretty much just leave it there.  If I want serious bokeh, I'll grab a prime lens.

Each lens has its own personality, so you can't really generalize.  Oh, that reminds me, I should say that I'm shooting with a 5D3.  That makes a difference too. :)

Lenses / Re: Canon IS BINOCULARS
« on: September 28, 2013, 02:11:36 PM »
I've never tried stabilized binoculars.  How well do they work?

Lenses / Re: 70-300mm IS
« on: September 15, 2013, 02:42:48 PM »
I picked one up a few months ago when PriceWatch said the price dropped to around $400 at one of the second tier online retailers.  I figured for that price it would be a good backup or I could use it for rough outdoor situations where I did not want to risk my better lenses.

I wasn't too impressed with it on the 5D3, but a few weeks ago I took it to Portland International Raceway where there was a British Car Field Meet going on.  I put in on my 7D to extend the reach and kept it at F8.  Here is an example taken at 300mm, F/8, 1/400, ISO 200.

Full frame:

(some sharpening applied in LR)

I later switched to my 200 2.8 L and it was noticeably sharper.  I used it wide open, but with a much faster shutter speed, which more than made up for the lack of stabilization.

My conclusion is that you get what you pay for!

Lenses / Re: How much are you using the 40mm pancake?
« on: September 14, 2013, 11:25:55 PM »
I use it as a walking around lens on my 5D3 when I don't want to have the weight and bulk of my 24-105 on my neck.  I find that the light weight makes it easy to stabilize the camera and give me sharp images.  I used to think that a heavy lens did that!

With the resolution of the 5D3, I can crop to simulate the FOV of a longer lens.  I can also use the high ISO capability to compensate for the modest aperture.

Here are some shots I took with the 40 several months ago.  It turned out to be the perfect focal length for an indoor motorcycle show.

1/200  F/3.2  ISO 3200

1/200  F/3.2  ISO 1600

Lenses / Re: Which Lens Canon 85mm 1.8 or 135 L
« on: September 14, 2013, 12:35:27 PM »
I have both of these lenses and sometimes use both as portrait lenses in the same photoshoot on my 5D3.  What I find is that I use the 85 1.8 a lot more than the 135L.

They both create nice bokeh, it just depends on how far away you are going to be from your subject and how much of the person you want in the frame.

Here's an outdoor portrait I did a few days ago with the 85 at F/2.0:

If I had used the 135, I would have had to stand too far away from the model. :)

Lighting / A timely topic for me!
« on: September 14, 2013, 12:20:32 PM »
I had a shoot in the Columbia River Gorge on Wednesday that would need some portable lighting.  The hike to the photo spot is a bit tricky, so I decided to take a speedlight instead of my usual Alien Bee w/battery pack, umbrella and stand.  The amount of light was fine as you can see in the test shot below...

Unfortunately, my rate of fire was a bit limited with the YN568EX.  I was only using 1/4 power (on manual) but I was shooting about one shot every second or two and exceeded the recycle speed.  So I lost about one of every three or four shots when the flash didn't fire. 

I haven't been a big speedlight user, so I've just been using disposable alkalines purchased in large quantities at Costco. 

Some research on the net tells me that speedlights will cycle faster with Eneloop type batteries, so I'm making the switch to Eneloops with a Maha 8 circuit charger.  Adorama and B&H had the best price on the C801d model, which has lots of good reviews on the net, including one by a Strobist contributor that was pretty convincing. 

I'm anxious to try out the Eneloops and see just how much faster they can make my speedlight cycle.

Sports / Horse Photography as a business?
« on: August 24, 2013, 11:57:17 AM »
Lots of great photos in this thread!  I'm interested in expanding my part time photo business into horse photography.  There are many horse owners in my area and my friends in the horse culture tell me that a photographer might find a good market for his or her services here.  I recently picked up a book on horse photography that is old, but very helpful.  It's "Photographing Horses and other livestock" by Darol Dickinson.  Apparently, doing good horse photography is pretty complex, which appeals to me.

Anyway, I'd like to know if any of you are doing horse photography as a business?  And if so, do you have any tips to pass along?  I have no idea at this point about what to charge and how to package my services to appeal to horse owners.

Here's a portrait I did last month.  This was inside an arena which was open on one side, providing nice soft light.  I used a Sigma 50 at 1.4 on my 5D3.  BTW, Darol Dickinson is a big proponent of using long lenses for horse photos in order to properly show the proportions of the horse.  He likes 135 and 200 mm lenses.  I was rather surprised at that. 

I guess I'll need a different business name and logo for the horses.  LOL

Lenses / Re: Help with a potriat lens
« on: August 17, 2013, 12:14:24 AM »
The combination of the 85mm 1.8 and the 135 2.0 is very hard to beat for people photography.  I also have the 100mm F/2.0 and it doesn't get used much any more.  I made an effort to find a job for it recently and found one... taking pix of classic hood ornaments at an antique car show!

The Sigma 85 F/1.4 is interesting.  I've been reading consumer reviews and there seems to be a high percentage of bad lens reports out there.  You would definitely want to buy it from a place with a liberal return policy and be prepared to test it extensively on receipt.

Here is a shot with the 85 1.8 at F/2.0 on my 5D3

Here is a shot with the 100 2.0 at F/2.8

And here is one with the 135L at F/2.8

Basically, any of the lenses will allow you to easily separate your subject from the background with shallow DOF.  It just depends on how big your subject is and how far away you want stand.

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