by Sean Setters
A week ago, the wispy clouds drew my attention as I walked outside to water my garden plants. With sunset soon approaching, I decided to grab the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, a tripod and a selection of lenses with the hope of catching some sunset and/or blue hour shots in downtown Savannah, GA. I specifically chose the crop sensor 7D II because a) the crop sensor lenses are smaller allowing for a wider range of focal lengths to be carried in a small backpack and b) I didn't necessarily need the benefit of the 5D III's high ISO performance for sunset imagery.
My original plan was to capture a sunset behind a silhouette of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. After heading across the Savannah River to one of my favorite locations for photographing River Street, I realized that scene I had imagined was impossible to capture from the location I had in mind. And, unfortunately, there wasn't another easily accessible location on Hutchinson Island that would provide the angle I needed (without obstructions) to capture the sun behind the bridge. If I had taken the time to research the sun's position in relation to my intended shooting location, I would have realized that my imagined shot was not possible. Regardless, I decided to regroup and see what I could do with the beautiful sunset occurring before my eyes.
As the sun sank just below the horizon, the sky became striped with vibrant colors. Using a couple of cranes and the stacks of a building under construction to anchor the image, I chose a verticle framing and, using the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM and the 7D II set to HDR mode, captured the dramatic skies the sunset had created.
In post processing, I blurred the water in the bottom of the resulting HDR JPEG image to simulate a longer exposure, increased contrast a bit and increased saturation/vibrance to further enhance the colors in the sky.
Sometimes, things work out just as you plan them; other times, they don't. Always be prepared to go with a "plan B" option, even if your backup plan is created completely on the fly. By grabbing your camera and heading out the door when conditions look favorable, you'll likely find yourself with a myriad of options to frame in your viewfinder. And don't forget, having a go-bag ready can make heading out the door that much easier.
From the Canon Imaging Plaza YouTube Channel:
“Walking In The Air” was shot using the ultra-wide angle lens EF16-35mm f/2.8L III USM. The advanced aperture F2.8, ultra-wide angle zoom lens is popular with professionals and highly skilled enthusiasts. Enjoy the scenery of the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach in Australia.
In this video by Kodak Moments UK, Kodak pranks unsuspecting UK residents by pretending to accidentally wipe their smart phones' data. Why? To prove how important it is to print out important images.
Of course, off-site backup storage solutions offer similar (if not better) short term security for your images, but... a high quality printed image on archival paper can last for generations and can easily be enjoyed by those within close proximity.
Canon has released firmware updates for the EOS C700, EOS C100 Mark II, EOS C100 DAF, EOS C100, XC10, XC15, ME20F-SH, and ME200S-SH cameras. See below for details.
Canon EOS C700 Firmware v.188.8.131.52.00
Firmware Version 184.108.40.206.00 incorporates the following fixe and enhancements:
Download: Canon EOS C700 Firmware v.220.127.116.11.00
Firmware Version 18.104.22.168.00 incorporates the following enhancements:
Firmware Version 22.214.171.124.00 incorporates the following correction.
*The lens firmware also needs to be updated. If you have CN7x17 KAS S/E1 or CN20x50 IAS H/E1, please contact to Canon Support Center.
Firmware Version 126.96.36.199 incorporates the following enhancement.
Download: Canon XC10 Firmware v.188.8.131.52
Firmware Version 184.108.40.206 incorporates the following enhancement.
Download: Canon XC15 Firmware v.220.127.116.11
Firmwares incorporate the following enhancements.
* ND Filter can alsobe set manually.
** When using this setting 3G/HD-SDI 2 will output progressive signal.
B&H carries the following:
From Canon USA:
Thank you for using Canon products.
The latest firmware for the Connect Station CS100 is now available. In order to update the firmware, the CS100 device must be connected to the Internet. Please see detailed instructions below.
Firmware Version 2.5.1 incorporates the following enhancements:
*1 Requires the latest version of the Connect Station App to be installed on the mobile device.
*2 Proper playback is not guaranteed with movies captured with a mobile device.
*3 The orientation of the Movies captured with a mobile device can be converted for playback when imported to the Connect Station CS100.
*4 If the movie being imported has UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) date information, then that date information is saved after the movie is imported to the Connect Station CS100. If the footage does not have UTC date information, then the imported date will be the date information for the move file.
*5 When [Auto standby] is set to [Disable], and the monitor is displayed for a prolonged period of time, screen burn-in may occur.
For detailed information about the functions of the Connect Station CS100, please refer to the latest instruction manual which can be found on the Canon Website.
This firmware update is for Connect Station CS100 with Firmware up to Version 2.0.4.
Cautions Regarding Use of the CS100
Movies larger than 4GB captured with the EOS-1D X Mark II cannot be imported to the CS100 using a wired connection. Please use a memory card to transfer such movies.
Cautions while performing the firmware update:
Firmware Update Procedure
If you have not already done so, please register your Connect Station CS100. By registering, we will be able to notify you via email about future announcements.
This information is for residents of the United States and its five territories only. If you do not reside in the USA or its five territories, please contact the Canon Customer Support Center in your region.
Customer Support Operations
Canon U.S.A., Inc
If stepping up from a crop sensor camera like the EOS 80D or a Rebel-series camera, there are two full frame Canon DSLRs outside of the 1-series that one might consider – the EOS 5D Mark IV and EOS 6D. Both offer a step up in high ISO image quality afforded by a larger full frame sensor, but feature gap between them is as significant as the price gap. Let's dig a little deeper to see which body might be the better option for your needs and budget.
Before we analyze the differences between the two bodies, let's first take a look at the features they have in common:
From an image quality perspective (assuming a properly in-focus subject), the two bodies perform very similarly (disregarding differences in resolution). And from that standpoint, either body can serve as a very compelling upgrade for those stepping up from a 1.6x crop sensor camera like the **D or Rebel/***D/****D series. With that in mind, let's take a look at the specific benefits of each DSLR.
Benefits of the Canon EOS 6D over the 5D Mark IV
Benefits of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV over the EOS 6D
While it's obvious from above that the EOS 5D Mark IV is a full featured, advanced DSLR with numerous benefits over the 6D, the 5D IV's superior feature set results in a significant price differential in respect to Canon's entry-level full frame DSLR. How significant? Considering current manufacturer suggested retail pricing (without rebates), you could purchase two Canon EOS 6D DSLRs in place of a single 5D Mark IV (and still have a little money left over).
It's difficult to deny that the 5D IV is a general purpose powerhouse, with the ability to cover a wide range of situations including sports (thanks to its faster frame rate & flicker avoidance), wildlife (due to the advanced AF system and cropping ability afforded by its higher resolution), architecture, portraiture, event photography and... well, just about everything else. But if you're upgrading to a full frame camera for the first time, or otherwise are looking to add a backup camera to your full frame capable kit, then the EOS 6D represents an excellent value for the feature set it does have and the image quality it is capable of.
Of course, the 5D IV would be an easy recommendation for many enthusiast/advanced/pro photographers. However, one's budget and primary photographic disciplines must be considered. For instance, if you're a wedding photographer, you could easily make the case for investing in two EOS 6D bodies rather than purchasing on a single EOS 5D Mark IV (we recommend always having a backup body for wedding/event photography purposes). Or, if you're a hobbyist who is uninterested in DSLR video recording and does not intend on needing/wanting the majority of the 5D IV's benefits, then the EOS 6D will ultimately be the better choice.
For everyone else, there's the 5D Mark IV.
Preorders for the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens are now live.
From the B&H YouTube Channel:
B&H is proud to present its Women of Influence series. Kirsten Johnson is a documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. After years in the the industry, she made her directorial debut with 2016's Cameraperson.
I think that you are going to like what you see here. Check out the Tamron G2 vs. Canon IS II comparison.
MELVILLE, N.Y., March 29, 2017 – Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced today that its parent company, Canon Inc., announced that the Company’s interchangeable-lens digital cameras have maintained the No. 1 share of the global market for 14 consecutive years from 2003 to 2016*.
Canon Inc., which develops the key components featured in its interchangeable-lens cameras—CMOS image sensors, image processors and interchangeable lenses — employs these cutting-edge technologies across its entire product lineup, from entry-level models that achieve high-image quality with easy operation to professional-use flagship cameras, effectively responding to the needs of a wide range of users.
In 2003, the dawn of digital SLR cameras, Canon introduced its breakthrough EOS Digital Rebel. This groundbreaking camera, which was competitively priced and featured a compact, lightweight design, captured the top share of the global market and set the stage for growth in the digital SLR market. Since that time, Canon has continued to launch a range of epoch-making products, including the professional-model EOS-1D series and the EOS 5D series which paved the way for digital SLR video recording.
During 2016, Canon introduced an impressive lineup of interchangeable-lens camera products that supported the Company’s achievement of a 14th consecutive year at the top of the global market. In March, the Company released the EOS 80D for advanced-amateur users, which features excellent still image quality and superb operability when shooting video. Then in April, the Company released its flagship model, the EOS-1D X Mark II, ideal for sport photography thanks to its 14 frame-per-second continuous shooting capability. The EOS 5D Mark IV, capable of 4K video, was then released in September. Additionally, the Company’s interchangeable-lens camera lineup expanded with the introduction of the high-end EOS M5 compact-system camera in November.
Canon will continue to respond to the needs of its wide range of customers by further bolstering its lineup in 2017. Already this year, the Company launched three new interchangeable-lens cameras equipped with the highly accurate autofocus technology, Dual Pixel CMOS AF – the EOS M6 compact-system camera, the EOS 77D and EOS Rebel T7i.
* Based on a Canon survey
According to B&H, the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens will be available for preorder at midnight tonight. Pricing has yet to be published.
To support this site, please check back with us at midnight to use our links for your preorder.
New JumpDrive USB Flash Drive Combines a Rugged Yet Stylish Look with Secure, High-Speed Performance
MILPITAS, Calif., March 22, 2017 — Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory products, today announced the Lexar JumpDrive Tough, a high-performance JumpDrive USB flash drive created to withstand life’s challenges, all while protecting the contents of your drive through an advanced security software.
A fast and secure offering in the JumpDrive USB flash drive performance lineup, the JumpDrive Tough combines a rugged yet stylish look with secure, high-speed performance. This stylish, lightweight drive is impact/pressure (up to 750 PSI), weather (-13°F to 300°F), and water (up to 98 feet) resistant. The drive comes equipped with EncryptStick Lite software, an advanced security solution with 256-bit AES encryption that helps to securely protect files against corruption, loss and deletion. This tough USB 3.1 flash drive allows users to securely transfer photos, videos, and files with speeds up to 150MB/s read and 60MB/s write.* Users can quickly transfer a 3GB HD video clip in less than 1 minute, compared to the 4 minutes it takes using a standard USB 2.0 drive.** For added versatility, the drive is also backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices.
“Tough conditions have met their match with the Lexar JumpDrive Tough,” said Yeon Kim, product marketing manager, Lexar. “From accident-prone kids to adventure enthusiasts, users can rest assured that their content stays safe and protected even in the most intense conditions. So whether you work or play in harsh conditions, push your devices to the limit, or just want to protect against the bumps and bruises of everyday life, it’s got you covered.”
The Lexar JumpDrive Tough USB 3.1 flash drive is compatible with PC and Mac systems, backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices and comes with a three-year limited warranty. Furthermore, all Lexar product designs undergo extensive testing in the Lexar Quality Labs to ensure performance, quality, compatibility, and reliability with more than 1,200 digital devices. The new Lexar JumpDrive Tough is available now at MSRPs of $19.99 (32GB), $34.99 (64GB), and $59.99 (128GB).
It is early spring and, at least here in the mid-Atlantic and farther north latitudes, the outdoor landscape is looking rather bleak right now. The snow is gone and the green has not yet come. That makes this is a great time of the year to focus on indoor photography and interior architecture is one great option. And when photographing interior architecture, an ultra-wide angle lens becomes especially useful.
Most of us photographers love curves and the Italian architecture in the Pennsylvania House Chamber is filled with them. While cameras are not permitted in this space when the house is in session, selecting a non-session day cleared that roadblock. Moving to one side of the balcony gave me an angled view across the room that sent ceiling lines arching into the frame.
Got 12mm in your kit? That is the full frame focal length you will need to capture this image and many others like it. The Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens on a full frame body executes this image (and those similar to it) extremely well. Even though the aperture used was not extremely narrow (f/8), the entire image is within the 12mm depth of field and the Canon EOS 5Ds R's extreme resolution was fully utilized with essentially no visible impact caused by diffraction. This image is tack sharp from corner to corner.
Notice that the columns on the sides of the image are vertically straight (or very close to being so)? While it is easy to have these lines angling inward or outward when using a focal length this wide (and that is sometimes a desired effect), a vertically level camera will render vertical lines parallel to each other and these lines can be parallel to the frame borders as long as the camera is horizontally leveled.
Spend your money on gear, not admission fees. One of the great things about the PA state capitol building is that admission is free. While you may not live close to this specific capitol building and will not likely find it alone to be worth a plane ticket or all-day drive to get there, your own state capitol building may offer the same deal. I didn't check all 50 USA state capitol buildings (or any outside of the USA), but many others also have free admission.
Get your ultra-wide angle lens and go photograph some interior architecture!
by Sean Setters
It's no secret that Bryan and I use Canon DSLRs and Canon-compatible lenses in our daily lives. Bryan has much more experience with non-Canon camera systems than I do (though I have some), but neither of us has any experience with Leica cameras and lenses.
Regardless, we enjoy reading about all types of camera gear when they are introduced. Keeping abreast of the camera industry as a whole allows us to better understand Canon's (and Nikon's / Sony's) position in the marketplace. As such, I recently read an article about Leica's newest M-mount prime lens, the Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6.
And that got me thinking, "Why in the world would anyone buy this?"
Let me break it down for you. The Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 is a remake of a screw-mount lens that was manufactured in 1955. The optics have not been updated. In fact, the following is stated in the product description at B&H (bold and italics added for emphasis):
Classic symmetrical optical design uses six elements in four groups to achieve a distinctly analog appearance with natural contrast, fine rendition of details and sharpness, and noticeable vignetting for an aesthetic, unique image quality.So it features an optical design from the 1950s and the vignetting is so bad that Leica is advertising it as an "aesthetic, unique image quality" feature. Nice marketing. They were probably wise to skip over the part about the lens having an agonizingly narrow aperture for a prime. But negatives aside, I do understand the benefits of having a pancake-style lens that's very easy to carry. There's definitely some value in that particular aspect of the lens. But how much is that value worth to someone who owns, let's say, a Leica M Digital Rangefinder?
How about $2,495.00?
This is the part where my jaw drops and my head starts hurting.
Even I get nostalgic at times, and I can see why someone would enjoy using Leica cameras (even film cameras) for that reason. But for the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone would spend $2,500.00 for a moderately wide angle f/5.6 prime lens with an optical design straight out of 1955.
What do you think of the Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6? Let us know in the comments.
One of my jobs is to ensure adequate funding to keep things going here and that is the topic I need to bring to your attention at this time. In order for us to continue to serve you, we need your help. Asking for support is not something I like to do – I much prefer that that adequate support just comes in naturally, but ... we do need your help (don't assume someone else will provide it) and I need to make you aware of that. Hopefully you find the site of value and are interested supporting us!
Here are the ways you can help:
1. Use the Links on the Site for Your Shopping
This is our primary support mechanism and it is my favorite way to receive support as it costs you nothing extra and you are buying what you want/need. With each purchase made after clicking on one of the links on the site, we receive a small commission (or what equates to such) from the retailer. While buying camera gear may seem obvious, the purchase of anything else used around the home, office, shop, studio, farm, etc. also works. Especially Amazon and eBay carry far more than photo products, including tires, clothing, diapers, breakfast cereal, pet food, many other supplies that you buy regularly – even cars. Just remember to click on the links here before shopping for the win-win scenario.
Below are some of the site's most popular retailers and we list many more here, including many international retailers.
2. Direct Support
Prefer to shop elsewhere or off-line? Or, not shopping right now? You can still support the site through direct donations. The best time is right now before you forget. The process is very fast and easy.
Note that, if viewing from a feed reader or via social, these support forms may not work correctly. Simply visit the support page for a working form.
3. Tell Others
A no-cost way to support the site is to simply tell others about it. If you have a website, perhaps add a link to TDP from a relevant page on the site.
Are you using social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter? "Follow", "Share", "Like", "+1", "Tweet", etc. The-Digital-Picture.com and the various pages on the site to share with the world. You will find buttons throughout the site to make this process easy. Similar to the adding links to the site, using word of mouth, newsletters and other methods to tell others about the site increases the number of site visitors which is very helpful. And, hopefully they will find the information here to be useful and view your sharing in a very positive light for another win-win situation.
We are very appreciative of the opportunity to serve you and look forward to doing so long into the future! Thanks for your support!
While many cameras have built-in GPS these days, many older cameras do not. And even if your camera does have GPS, you may have forgotten to turn it on before your last shooting adventure. This is where a handy, easy-to-use feature of Lightroom can help.
The secret is to use your smartphone to take a picture at the same location where you're using your DSLR and copy the smartphone image's GPS data for use with your DSLR images. See the video above for specific details.
TTL without Boundaries! Cactus launches FREE firmware upgrades on the V6 II and V6 IIs to support wireless cross-brand TTL.
Hong Kong, March Hong Kong, March24, 2017 – Just nine months since the release of the Cactus V6 II and Cactus V6 IIs, Cactus is now launching a series of brand-specific firmware upgrades to transform the cross-brand HSS flash triggers to one that also supports cross-brandwireless wireless wireless TTL.
The new X-TTL firmware versions, apart from supporting cross-brand high-speed sync (HSS/FP), remote power and zoom control of Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Sigma flashes all at the same time 1, NOW support automatic TTL automatic TTL exposure in the same cross-brand environment, both exposure on-camera and off-camera.2 The first wave of firmware releases will be for Sigma, Sony ma Sony and Fujifilm Fujifilm Fujifilm. Other camera systems, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax, will follow one by one as we complete system integration on the V6 II. All these X-TTL firmware versions are freeof charge of charge of charge for V6 II / V6 IIs users. The new firmware is system-specific specific specific so users simply choose the corresponding system when updating with the Cactus Firmware Updater. Once installed, the V6 II / V6 IIs is transformed into a cross-brand wireless TTL flash trigger.
This unique function gives photographers an unprecedented flexibility. The need for matching flashes with the same camera system for on and off-camera TTL flash photography is over – TTL without boundaries.
The X-TTL firmware allows users to have wireless TT wireless TTL automatic exposure wireless TTL automatic exposure with camera L automatic exposure and flash that runs on the same system, such as a Canon camera triggering a Canon flash, and one that runs on different systems, such as a Sigma camera triggering a Nikon system flash.
Similar to the cross-brand HSS firmware on the V6 II, the supported flash systems for wireless cross-brand TTL include Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and flash that runs on the same camera system.
Two unique Exposure Locks
Cactus is unveiling a brand new approach in using TTL metering. Over the past, professionals who love the convenience from TTL metering often have to suffer inconsistency in lighting outputs, making post processing a pain. In view of this Cactus devised two types of Exposure Locks.
The X-TTL firmware will also support advanced TTL functions on the Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs, such as first and second (rear) curtain sync, on-camera TTL, group TTL metering and TTL lighting ratios.
New support for Sigma
We are delighted to offer firmware support for Sigma cameras and flashes. This includes remote power control, remote zoom control, wireless High-speed Sync, and wireless TTL with Sigma’s SA-TTL flashes. The same cross-brand support is also available on the Sigma X-TTL firmware.
Cactus expresses appreciation to SIGMA CORPORATION for their immense support in our development for Sigma system firmware.
Fujifilm TTL and HSS
With the introduction of Fujifilm new flash system launched on the EF-X500, Highspeed Sync (HSS/FP) is finally available. Besides adopting the new HSS platform, the upcoming Fujifilm X-TTL firmware also extends support for wireless TTL to Fujifilm flashes as well as Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Panasonic flashes. Fujifilm X-TTL Firmware release date will be announced on our website.
V6 IIs with Sony TTL
Existing Sony V6 IIs users already has a system-specific transceiver unit, and the upcoming Sony X-TTL firmware adds wireless TTL support for Sony flashes and other system flashes when paired with the Cactus V6 II. Sony X-TTL Firmware release date will be announced on our website.
Features at a glance
Price and Availability
System-specific X-TTL firmware versions are free of charge of charge of charge. Download the Cactus Firmware Updater and select the corresponding system firmware to install the X-TTL firmware on the Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs.
After launching the initial three systems, i.e., Sigma, Fujifilm and Sony, Cactus will continue to launch X-TTL firmware for the remaining camera systems.
I've wanted to add an image of a densely-packed flock of flying snow geese to the porfolio for a long time. But, it was not until this year until I accomplished this task.
The first priority for photographing a flock of snow geese is ... to find a flock of snow geese. For many of us, when flocks of snow geese arrive is based on the birds' migration patterns. Find where these flocks typically travel and time your visit with theirs.
A good method of determining when the birds have arrived (or are expected to arrive) is to use wildlife management area status reports, including the historical reports as history in this form tends to repeat. While these reports are great aids to finding the flocks, remember that an entire population of these birds can completely leave an area within minutes. A location that is great on one day may be completely empty the next.
With a warmer winter than normal, the snow geese migrated early this year and, at the urging of two friends, I too went early. The location was Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. Located at the border of northern Lancaster County and southern Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, this WMA is an about-2-hour drive from my house. While this is not a famous snow geese bucket list location that photographers most-target, the population at this location was estimated to be at least 50,000 on this day. And, that's a LOT of geese.
Mostly the white geese were swimming on the small lake, appearing as a large iceberg, or they were feeding in a nearby field, causing a small hill to appear snow-capped. While the huge numbers of geese in either of these two environments were interesting, the real show happened when they flew as a group. Even if one wasn't paying attention when the geese took off, a low thunder-like rumble was unmistakable and, if the flight path was overhead, the sky would darken (and an umbrella may be desired for protection from the strafing).
When photographing an individual bird, framing decisions are made in an at least somewhat more-controlled manner than when photographing a flock of birds. One reason that geese flock together is to make it more difficult for a predator to single out one bird as its prey and these flocks can have the same effect on photographers. With seemingly random chaos occurring, how does one create an attractive image?
Here are some thoughts for the flock:
The first thought is to simply go back to the basics. Start with focal length selection.
Perspective comes into play, but if you are photographing a flock of now-flying geese, it is likely too late to get a different perspective. Plan for that earlier, but ... geese always fly wherever they want to and predicting where they will fly will often be challenging. Predict as best you can (they like to take off and land into the wind) and react quickly to what happens.
How far away are the geese, how large is the flock and how wide of an area are the birds covering? If it is a small flock a long distance away and the birds are densely packed, a longer focal length will likely be best. That is, best unless more of the landscape is desired to be in the frame in order to create an environmental-type image. If the geese are close, the flock is large and/or the birds are widely spread out, a shorter telephoto lens might be a better choice.
For my Middle Creek WMA shoot, the birds went where they wanted to go, access was limited and even if it wasn't, moving fast enough to catch a flock of geese required some form of powered mobility. So, embracing what was available was, as often is, the thing to do. To handle this situation, I had a full frame Canon EOS 5Ds R and 600mm f/4L IS II Lens tripod-mounted using a Wimberley Tripod Head II. In the MindShift Gear FirstLight 40L at my feet was a second 5Ds R with a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II mounted. When the flocks were far away, I used the 600. When the snow geese storm moved overhead in big numbers, I grabbed the 100-400. And when the squall became widespread overhead, I had the EF-M 15-45 on the EOS M5 ready to catch that scene as well.
Note that I started out this day with a 1.4x extender behind the 600mm lens, but quickly determined that the heat waves were too strong and sharp results were not possible at this magnification. Even at 600mm, many of my distant images were not tack-sharp until after the sun went low enough in the sky to end the heat source creating the air disturbance. So, yes, it is very possible to have too much focal length even if that focal length is more ideal for the scene as the additional magnification may be wasted.
The shutter speed required for sharp birds depends on how fast their details are moving across the pixels on the sensor. A large-in-the-frame bird moving at high speed across an ultra-high resolution imaging sensor requires a much faster shutter speed than a small-in-the-frame bird sitting on the lake does when using a lower resolution camera. Aperture and ISO settings are then balanced for depth of field and noise with the desired brightness being the other side of the equation. In regards to brightness, use care to not blow the white highlights on the birds, leaving no details in the white. If the birds were flying, I was mostly using a 1/1600 shutter speed and an aperture of f/8 or narrower was usually best to keep more birds in focus. Once the light faded, I began experimenting with much longer shutter speeds for a panning motion blur effect.
Bryan's Law of Bird Photography: The frame in a high speed burst containing the perfect wing position, head position, background alignment and lighting will time perfectly with the bird's blink.
When photographing birds, using the camera's high speed burst mode is often the rule. Especially with multiple birds in the frame, having many images to select from is going to be a big advantage for many of the above reasons.
I usually use only one specific AF point or one point plus the surrounding points. But, when a huge flock of geese is filling the frame, using the all-points-active can work very well, allowing you to concentrate on composition while the camera figures out which of the closest birds should be focused on.
Composition always matters and usually, the goal is a balanced composition. When such a huge flock of birds is flying, you need to figure out what a balanced composition is very quickly and see that in the frame no later than as it happens. The bottom line is that, unless you are shooting for someone else, if you are happy with the image, you nailed it. But, we are always trying to improve our skills and there are some composition variants that work well for the snow geese storm.
If the goose density is extremely heavy, just fill the frame with the geese and shoot away. Singling out specific birds is very challenging if they are not large in the frame and you are unlikely to notice the background through all of the geese. The huge quantity of birds essentially becomes a pattern and everyone likes pattern images, right?
If possible, determine which direction (in relation to the camera) the birds are flying and focus on your preference. I prefer an approaching side view, but all of the other directions have their own photogenic advantages, showing differing views of the geese bodies. If a large flock is flying within a location, such as over a lake, they may fly in a circular motion and you may sometimes have a choice. So, be ready to identify what you are looking for.
If the birds are not dense enough to hide the background, the background showing through must be considered in the composition. If the background is mostly a solid color, such as the side of a mountain, there may not be much concern in that regard. The background will be evenly colored and that often works well for flock backgrounds. It is hard to go wrong with a blue sky background for the white birds and images with birds flying against a sunset sky often look great.
Contrast draws the viewer's eye. If the background includes strong lines of contrast, such as where the land and sky meet or a waterline (often present where there are waterfowl), it is good to carefully position these lines in the frame. Use your landscape photography skills here – perhaps taking advantage of the rule of thirds.
When sitting or swimming snow geese flocks take off, they often peel away from one side of the flock in a surprisingly orderly fashion. The line between the stationary and flying birds can be incorporated into the composition.
When the birds are not filling the entire frame, additional compositional elements must be considered. Where the flock is positioned in the frame is a big consideration and again, the rule of thirds may be a good choice in these cases.
In the image I am sharing here, I could have filled the entire frame with a rather-high density of geese, but chose to include the water in the very bottom of the frame. I often like to keep a clean bottom frame border, giving the image a base to be built upon. Having the water in the frame in this case meant that some geese can be seen landing in addition to those still in flight.
When the flock was farther away, I often kept additional frame borders clean (void of geese) as well (especially the top border).
Especially if using an ultra-high resolution camera, don't forget that you can crop the image to create a better composition later.
Lighting always matters. At this location, I arrived early in the afternoon, giving me time to do some on-site scouting and planning to be ready for the late-day, low-angle, warm-colored light. Again, the birds fly when and where they want to fly and good images can be made at various light angles, but the sun at your back, your shadow towards the birds, early and late in the day is usually a sure-thing for wildlife lighting conditions. As mentioned earlier, shooting into the sunset can also work well, but be very careful to not look at the sun through a telephoto lens as serious permanent eye damage can occur. On a clear day, the sky opposite the nearly-set sun will also turn pink, creating a pastel background for your birds.
While a cloudy day will not provide the same illumination, the giant softbox effect from a cloudy sky results in a soft light with a lower dynamic range for greatly-reduced shadows and easier to control exposures. Ultra-bright, solidly cloudy skies may cause a background brightness issues when the birds are above the skyline. In this case, consider exposing the sky to be pure white for a high key effect. Or, there is nothing wrong with a gray background and silhouetting the birds is a strategy that can work.
At the onset of this trip, one of my goals was to capture frames densely-filled with geese, perhaps even with no background remaining. While I don't think any of my images were completely void of background, many images have multiple thousands of geese in them and some have very little background remaining. In addition to getting some fun images, it was a great learning experience and it was especially great to experience this phenomenal nature event.
Now, check the forecast and go find your own snow geese storm!
Update: Technically, you can't follow through with the preorder until tonight, 8:30 PM EDT.
by Sean Setters
While a sharp image is often most desireable, sometimes increased sharpness is counterproductive to achieveing specific photographic goals. For instance, lately I've been intrigued by slow shutter speeds and the motion blur recorded as a result of their use. Specifically, I've recently been using the RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform for automotive photography.
While I'm finding the camera platform to be an exciting tool to have in my kit, its not necessarily an inexpensive piece of gear and its uses outside of automotive photography are somewhat limited. But using the RigMount X4 got me thinking about other ways of capturing motion and the world of artistic possibilites at our fingertips, especially if nothing in the frame remains sharp as a result of one's chosen exposure variables.
With that in mind, I recently made set out with my camera in hand with a goal of creating a totally motion blurred image that looked more like "art" and less like "a mistake." With the goal of few (if any) details being discernable, I didn't have to go far to find a suitable location. The scene I chose was the normally-not-very-photogenic view seen across the street from my home. After about 20 attempts (using various panning/rotating techniques), I had a motion blurred image that intrigued me enough to post-process (seen above).
To capture the image, I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EF 17-40mm f/4L USM (with a 4-stop ND filter) with the following settings: 40mm, f/6.3, 2 sec, ISO 200. I held the camera level to the ground and panned from right-to-left while bouncing the camera up and down (as if it were a bouncing ball) during the 2-second exposure which created seemingly the intertwined flowing lines seen in the image. For post processing, I applied vignetting correction and increased the image's saturation/vibrancy/clarity in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CC. For what it's worth, I ended up liking the end result so much that it's now my smartphone's wallpaper (slightly croped and rotated 90-degrees).
We invite you to share your artistically motion blurred images in the comments below.
With that date rapidly approaching (less than a week away), it seemed logical to get our expectations loaded on the Canon EOS M6 Review page, so ... we did just that.
What are the differences between the EOS M6 and the EOS M5? We list those differences right at the top of the M6 page – and the list is short. So short that much of the M6 page is the same or nearly the same as the M5 page. And, a short list of differences is very good in this case. If you are familiar with one of these cameras, you just need to read the mentioned differences list to be familiar with both.
by Sean Setters
In my review of the RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform, I demonstrated how the mount could be used to capture a vehicle in motion (with blurred surroundings) while attached to the car being photographed. The example I created can be seen below.
However, I knew that there would be several challenges involved in photographing a following vehicle, all of which can cause unwanted motion blur of the vehicle being photographed. To capture an acceptably sharp follow vehicle, the following would all need to happen simultaneously during the relatively long shutter duration:
Unfortunately, there was another challenge to consider – lighting. If photographing on a bright, clear day, the single primary light source would not likely produce great results.
For instance, if driving into the sun, the lead vehicle's shadow would likely cast a distracting shadow into the scene. If the sun were camera right, the broad side of the subject vehicle as seen from the lead vehicle would be in shadow with, yet again, another distracting shadow cast into the middle of the frame. If driving away from the sun, then the bulk of the subject car would be in shadow. With the sun camera left, the broad side of the subject vehicle would have been well lit, but... I still wasn't sure that I'd be happy with the lead vehicle's shadow likely being visible in the frame.
Shooting at night seemed to be the best solution to the lighting problem. With street lights (and possibly head lights) providing the bulk of the lighting required for an exposure, the car could be lit from multiple angles with any shadows cast being less severe. Also, the direction of travel would be less of a concern, meaning that a wider variety of shooting locations would be available for consideration. As ideal nighttime lighting conditions would likely be sporadic on any given route (aside from a well lit parking lot), it was necessary to add "good lighting" to the ever-growing list of variables that had to fall in line for the desired final image.
Before attempting a nighttime shot, Alexis (the driver of the following vehicle) and I did a dry run during the day to determine which focal lengths and shutter speeds might work best. Tests with a shutter speed of 1/2 second never created a sharp-looking vehicle. We found that wider focal lengths and a relatively close vehicle in an adjacent lane with a 1/3 second shutter speed provided the most promising results. At 1/3 second, there were still only a few sharp images compared to the total images captured. However, the blur created at 1/3 second appeared significantly better at comfortable speeds than when using shorter shutter speeds.
Before I go any further, let me be clear – please use caution if attempting to photograph moving vehicles. Do what you can to minimize risks and always be alert to potential hazards and/or traffic conditions. We are not responsible for property damage and/or loss of life if you attempt to replicate the results.
How I Got the Shot
Because of its wide angle of view and image stabilization feature, I opted to use a Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens paired with an Canon EOS 7D Mark II. The 7D II was not only a good camera choice because of its compatibility with the EF-S 10-18 IS STM, but it's built-in intervalometer feature made triggering the camera during the shooting runs very easy.
I mounted the camera and lens to a ball head attached to the RigMount X4 and – using the included (4) Long Magnetic Mounts – I affixed the rig to the driver's side back quarter panel of my car. With the road in front of my house free of traffic, I directed Alexis to a spot for optimal framing, manually focused on the car, made a few test shots to determine the proper exposure settings, and with the exposure settings determined, I set the camera's intervalometer to take a shot every second. With the camera triggered, I told Alexis to try and maintain a constant distance from the car when she could (while abiding by all traffic laws, of course).
The exposure settings used: 10mm, f/5, 1/3 sec., ISO 1000.
We ended up doing two 1/2 mile laps traveling down a four lane road featuring a decent number of street lights. After the first lap, we took a look at the images to see if there were any adjustments that might be made to improve our results. We determined that the follow vehicle needed to be just a little bit closer and a little more forward in relation to the lead car than the previous run. On the second lap, we got the shot atop this post. Out of the two laps, there were only a handful of acceptably sharp images (out of 400+) and only a couple of the shots featured decent lighting and optimal vehicle placement within the frame (making selection of the best shot a very easy task).
Can the RigWheels RigMount X4 be used to photograph a moving vehicle that it isn't attached to, with motion blurred surroundings and a sharp subject? In a word – "absolutely." However, planning, patience and persistence will be your allies in getting those results.
Changes from Firmware Version 1.1 to 1.2
Download: Nikon COOLPIX W100 Firmware v.1.2