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 Friday, January 1, 2016
by Sean Setters
 
Happy New Year from Bryan and me! I hope everyone had an enjoyable and memorable New Year’s Eve gathering with friends and family. With each new year, we have the opportunity look back at what we've accomplished in the previous year while also looking forward to what we want to accomplish in the year ahead.
 
With that in mind, we want to know – What are you focusing on this year? (pun intended)
 
We want to know about your photography goals for 2016. Are you going to attempt an up-until-now unexplored branch of photography like landscapes, architecture, portraiture, or macro? Or is it your goal to refine and hone your skills to become a recognized master in your already-chosen specialty?
 
Do you want to check off some of your bucket list locations and travel to far-flung destinations? Or do you want to concentrate your efforts on documenting family events, immortalizing a child's growth and youthful exuberance? Maybe your goal is to shoot more, possibly even every day?
 
As for me, my goal is to use my photography equipment to complete more video projects this year. With that in mind, I have purchased a Tascam DR-40 to augment my audio recording capabilities and I'm planning on getting a DJI Phantom 3 in the not-so-distant future. We'll see how that goes...
 
So, what is your focus for 2016? Let us know in the comments.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 1/1/2016 9:11:10 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, December 30, 2015
by Sean Setters
 
My use of Allen wrenches/hex keys probably increased 10-fold after taking up photography. Hex bolts are everywhere – tripods, quick release plates, ball heads, sliders – if your photography gear has a bolt, there's a good chance you're going to need a hex key to loosen or tighten it.
 
Until recently, my method of being prepared involved a small zip-top plastic bag kept inside my main camera bag's outer compartment which held every different hex key, bolt or miscellaneous part I thought I might ever need. And while the system worked, I often found myself without the hex key I needed when I needed it (having forgotten to replace it after use), or simply wasting time trying to sort through the assortment of tools to find the exact one I needed.
 
Then I came across a video by Mark Wallace entitled "Gear and Tips for Overseas Travel" where he mentions keeping a small bicycle multi tool in his gear bag to cover his photography tool needs. I thought it was a good idea, so I thought I'd pick up something similar.
 
The bicycle multi tool I chose was the Crank Brothers Multi Bicycle Tool (10-Function). It's a little larger than the one Mark carries, but it also includes a flat head screwdriver which I thought might come in handy at some point. So far, it's proved to be a very useful addition to my kit. If reduced size and weight are priorities, Mark's choice would be a better option overall.
 
Of course, hex key sets have been around for a long time; they aren't anything new. However, the addition of a few other tools – like the Phillips/flat head screwdrivers and Torx T-25 wrench – makes the bicycle multi tool a photographer's best friend.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/30/2015 9:33:59 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, December 29, 2015

 
Leaning out the side of a helicopter, held only by a harness and his sense of connectedness with the earth's endless sea of light, Vincent Laforet captures cities from above, in a way that resembles pathways on a circuit board, or a network of neuronal synapses. The AIR series began as a creative idea for an image to accompany a psychology article, and turned into groundbreaking aerial photography techniques that have helped define Vincent's own style.
 
Vincent Laforet is a French American director and photographer. In 2002 he shared the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography with four other photographers as a member of The New York Times staff's coverage of the post 9/11 events overseas that captured "the pain and the perseverance of people enduring protracted conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan." He has been sent on assignment by Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, and Life.
 
In 2002, PDN named Vincent Laforet as one of the “30 photographers under 30 to watch?. In 2005, American Photo Magazine recognized Laforêt as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Photography.” He is a DGA Director (Directors Guild of America) and of the ICG (International Cinematographers' Guild – Local 600.) Laforet has been awarded 3 of the prestigious Cannes Lions (Platinum, Gold, Silver) for his commercial directing work.
 
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/29/2015 6:13:32 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, December 28, 2015
Just posted: Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 Lens Review.
 
This is my favorite Milvus lens.
 
B&H has the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/28/2015 8:06:52 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
From the B&H YouTube Channel:
 
In this video Chase from Zacuto gives seven simple steps on how to shoot a video interview on location and in the studio. Topics discussed include assessing the physical space, any ambient and/or lighting considerations, setting up lights and the types of lights you might want to use,’ choosing the right type of mics based on the shooting environment, camera positioning, and other details required to produce professional-looking video interviews.
 
B&H carries all the gear you need to help create professional looking interviews.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/28/2015 6:27:33 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
According to the Egami Blog, Canon has filed a patent for a CN-E 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for APS-C and Super 35mm sensor format cameras. Note that the lens will likely be marketed as a T2.8 lens to match their CN-E 15.5-47mm and 30-105mm lenses with the same image circle.
 
Description of the patent literature
 
Patent Publication No. 2015-230449
 
  • Published 2015.12.21
  • Filing date 2014.6.6
Example 1
 
  • Zoom ratio 2.86
  • Focal length 70.00 118.30 200.00
  • F-number 2.80 2.80 2.80
  • Half angle (in degrees) 12.52 7.49 4.45
  • Image height 15.55 15.55 15.55
  • Overall length of the lens 277.01 277.01 277.01
  • BF 44.72 44.72 44.72
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 12/28/2015 5:26:26 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, December 24, 2015
1. Install Christmas tree and clean up (this is the hardest step)
 
2. Wait for dark
 
3. Mount the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens on a full frame DSLR camera
 
4. Mount the camera to a tripod, zoom out, move in and level the camera (both pitch and yaw)
 
5. Turn off all regular lights, turn on all Christmas lights.
 
6. Take some test shots to determine that 15 seconds at f/16 (to get the starburst effect from the lights) and ISO 200 is right
 
7. Wait for the kids to go to bed (to avoid any floor vibrations)
 
8. Shoot until you run out of new composition ideas
 
9. Brush your teeth
 
10. Make one more attempt at finding new compositions.
 
My family and I wish you and your family a very "Merry Christmas!" May all of your photos be amazing!
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/24/2015 3:07:11 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
From the Canon Australia YouTube Channel:
 
The most important tool for any photographer is the mind. To prove this we invited 6 photographers to a cemetery to capture “eternal life” in a single image…without a camera.
 
A big thank you is in order for the photographers who took part: Nancy Liao, Adriana Glackin, Bill Roberts, Murray Bell, Mike Falconer and Jeremy Shaw
 
Note from Sean: Camera companies don't generally advise you to put your camera down. But in this video, Canon demonstrates that planning and brainstorming without the camera in-hand can be an excellent technique for ultimately capturing the image that conveys an idea or tells a story in a more complete or unique way.
 
What perspective should we approach the scene with? What elements do we include? What elements should be highlighted and which should be insinuated? Great images more often than not require a vision, and taking a moment to mold that vision without the camera in-hand may prove beneficial.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 12/24/2015 8:55:56 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens Review.
 
With the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 Lens in my hands right now, this is the comparison I wanted to see.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens in stock with a $100.00 instant rebate.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 12/23/2015 8:52:26 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
In this video, a photographer's detached lens hood is mistaken for a "second puck" in a game between the Ontario Reign and Bakersfield Condors hockey teams.
 
Warning: If you plan on sticking your lens out of the photography port, be sure the lens hood is taped on securely or else leave it in the gear bag.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/23/2015 6:05:57 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
According to the Egami Blog, Canon has filed a patent for a 16-40mm f/4 lens design.
 
Might the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM's successor be in the works with an even wider focal length? Only time will tell.
 
From the Egami Blog (Google translated):
 
Description of the patent literature
 
Patent Publication No. 2015-206976
 
  • Published 2015.11.19
  • Filing date 2014.4.23
Example
 
  • Zoom ratio 2.36
  • Focal length 16.48 24.40 38.90
  • F-number 4.12 4.12 4.12
  • Half angle (in degrees) 52.70 41.56 29.08
  • Image height 21.64
  • Overall length of the lens 177.74 162.40 159.73
  • BF 38.00 45.51 63.40
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/23/2015 5:21:33 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Can't figure out what to get a special photographer in your life? Need a last minute gift idea?
 
A B&H eGift Card may be exactly what you're looking for.
 
Each year my mother asks me, "So, what do you want for Christmas this year?" And for the last several years, my answer has always been the same – "A B&H gift card. You know it'll get used." I always said it with an involuntary smile because I knew it would help fund whatever was on my wish list that year (which of course was priced too high to actually request for the holiday).
 
Buying a B&H Gift Card is now easier than ever with their new eGift Cards. Choose your delivery option ("Email" in this case), the card design, amount and fill in the recipient's information and your own. After purchasing, the eGift Card will be delivered to the recipient's email address within an hour (fast and simple).
 
Not only is the eGift Card a perfect gift for any photographer to receive, but it's an equally perfect gift option for those whom might have procrastinated a little too long thereby missing the opportunity to ship a special gift by traditional means.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/22/2015 11:08:18 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
If you look through Bryan's and my own favorite images, you won't see many abstract images. Typically speaking, our subjects are clearly defined and discernable (although our backgrounds may not be). When focusing on a specific subject (pun intended), the quality of your equipment and the sharpness your lenses deliver take center stage. Also, your subject and/or background must be visually compelling to grab the viewer's attention.
 
But what if you don't have the sharpest lenses? What if you have become uninspired by your immediate surroundings (a common problem I face)? In October, I posted the Top 6 Ways to Inspire Your Own Creativity, but I recently realized I missed a big one – Abstract photography.
 
My recent fascination with abstract photography began a couple of evenings ago when Amanda had fallen asleep on the couch, lit only by the faint glow of a TV left on in front of the room. Her arms and legs were humorously perched in awkward positions while our two dogs were cozily sharing the couch with her. It seemed like the perfect time for a personal snapshot that I never intended to share with the general public. But then happened...
 
Abstract Example #1

With my camera set to Live View (Silent Mode), Av priority at f/1.4 and ISO 800, It seems that I miscalculated just how slow the shutter would be even with -1 stop of exposure compensation dialed in (I wanted the scene to look as dark as it appeared to my eye). Soon after pressing the shutter, I raised the camera to look at the LCD preview only to notice the end of the exposure happening at that time. The resulting "accident" was oddly captivating to me.
 
That's what got me thinking about the benefits of abstract photography. Some of those benefits include:
 
  • You can easily create interesting abstract photos with inexpensive gear.
  • You can use very narrow apertures and significant motion blur to render subjects unrecognizable, yet still compelling.
  • The abstract images created can be used in many different ways.
The quality of gear used for creating abstract images is largely irrelevant as sharpness isn't a priority. According to dictionary.com, "abstract" can be defined as "expressing a quality or characteristic apart from any specific object or instance" or "difficult to understand; abstruse." In photographic terms, an abstract image is one in which the actual subjects are not clearly discerned, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to blur subjects through motion (my personal preference) or bokeh. When doing so, the incremental sharpness of one lens over another is practically meaningless.
 
And if our subjects are going to be blurred to oblivion, we can use rather uninspiring subjects found around the house to create interesting abstract images. At this point, I've photographed the flowers in my backyard about a dozen times over the past month. While they are still beautiful, they've stopped inspiring me to grab my camera for yet another shot of pretty flowers. But when focusing on abstract photography, the flowers become exciting again. Forgoing the tripod I usually use with macro subjects, I grabbed my 5D Mark III with the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM attached to capture the following images:
 
Abstract Example #2

Abstract Example #3

Abstract Example #4

And using motion blur and a macro lens, you can even create a relatively interesting image with something as mundane as a concrete patio (below).
 
Abstract Example #5

Of course, motion blur isn't the only way to render subjects unrecognizable. You can also use a wide aperture and unfocused subjects to create an interesting composition. The Christmas holiday seems to provide ample creative bokeh opportunities.
 
Out of Focus Christmas Lights

So what can you do with abstract images? Well, like any good image, a compelling abstract can liven up a blank space on your wall, but its usefulness does not end there. An abstract image can look great as a background for future portraits (either via post processing or via a Light Blaster) or they can be used for many generic stock image background needs and various typesetting projects.
 
At the end of the day, creating abstract images can be a fun and fulfilling way to spend time behind your camera.
 
Do you have abstract photos you'd like to share? Just add them to the site's Flickr group and tag them with "abstract".
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/22/2015 9:57:07 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Image quality results from the EOS 7D Mark II have been added to the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens Review.
 
I believe that this is the oldest Canon zoom lens still currently available new.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 12/22/2015 8:23:32 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Fresh on the heals of their Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM & Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA teardowns, LensRentals has now opeened up the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens to see how its construction compares to the other two.
 
If you don't have time to read the lengthy post, here's a small paragraph from Roger's conclusions that sums up the lens's construction succinctly:
"For the most part, there weren't many surprises in this teardown. We've seen how Sigma has remade themselves as a company making only superb optics at very reasonable prices in the last few years. This lens is constructed very well. There isn't the amazing heavy-duty construction of the Canon 35mm f/1.4. Instead, I'd characterize the construction of the Sigma as very efficient and carefully laid out. There's a solid metal core with other parts all connecting directly to that core. Little touches like pegs to make sure a part is inserted in the proper rotation and shields over critical parts didn't add much expense or weight, but show care was taken in the design. There's nothing in this teardown that looked like a weak point."
You can find links to the other 35mm lens teardowns at the beginning of the this teardown.
 
B&H carries the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens (review).
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 12/22/2015 5:50:35 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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