Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens Sample Pictures

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
Fire Over Shawnee Falls, Ricketts Glenn State Park Fire Over Shawnee Falls, Ricketts Glenn State Park

Beach trees in their fall colors appear to blaze over the dark, rain-soaked rocks around Shawnee Falls in Ricketts Glen State Park, near Benton, PA. This was a perfect situation for the B+W 82mm XS-Pro MRC Nano Kaeseman CP Filter I was reviewing.

24mm  f/11.0  5s  ISO 100
Night Sky in Maine Night Sky in Maine

In this picture, the Milky Way is reflected in Island Pond in the North Maine Woods as a pair of ... satellites streak through the night sky.
Island Pond is in the Deboullie public area of T15-R9 in northern Maine. This location is a 1 hour drive from the grid and from paved roads. Along with natural beauty, what you get here is a dark sky.
The Milkway itself is beautiful and with the right gear and settings, it is easy to capture a beautiful picture of the Milky Way. Taking this simple picture to the next step means adding foreground. For this example, a silhouetted tree line provides a very nice and not-too-hard-to-find foreground. The reflection of the Milky Way and tree line in the completely calm Island Pond takes the image to the next level.
By coinciding the trip schedule with the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, the hope is to get streaking Perseids as another detail to add to the image.
Adding all of these pieces together results in one of my favorite images from the trip. Here are some considerations from the making of this image:
One of the biggest issues with shooting stars at night is that it needs to be very dark. Obviously, the sun must be set - that's easy to schedule around. The moon phase and its location in the sky (no moon is best) can also be scheduled around. I had about an about-2 hour window to capture my star photos prior to the moon lightening the sky on this night.
Because it is dark out, a wide aperture lens is strongly prefered. I recommend an at-least f/2.8 lens and the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens is typically with me when I travel to dark sky locations. Wide angle focal lengths work best for this type of shot.
Even when using a wide aperture lens, long exposure times are needed. While the night sky appears very motionless when looked upon, stars are a subject in motion (from our perspective - due to a rotating earth - the earth is really doing the moving) and subject motion blur becomes apparent at the exposure times needed to generate a bright-enough night image. While an equatorial mount solves that problem, this solution does not work as well with a foreground included in the frame. These mounts are also a significant added cost.
High ISO settings are what I use. You need to select an ISO setting high enough to allow an exposure short enough to control the star trails. At 24mm, I prefer to keep exposures at 15 seconds (though I can accept 20-25 second images). Wider angle lenses will tolerate longer exposures - Longer focal lengths will show star trails more strongly at 15 seconds. Longer exposures also make a meteorite more likely to become part of your image. Or satellites (as shown here). Or an airplane (I cloned one out of this image)
I used ISO 3200 for this image, but pushed the sky exposure an additional stop and the foreground an additional 2 stops during post processing. An f/2 aperture was used for this image. The lens used has an f/1.4 max aperture, but I was experimenting with the reduced vignetting at f/2.
I highly recommend enabling long exposure noise reduction (an in-camera setting) when shooting the night sky. For each image captured, the camera takes a second, same length, exposure without the shutter open. The dark frame is then used to mask noise out of the first frame. Of course, all of the meteorites will show up during the dark frame.
Long exposure noise reduction, when used in conjunction with very long exposures, means that there is a lot of time spent waiting. Getting to this particular location had a relatively high cost - especially including time and energy. So, having two cameras simultaneously in use nearly doubled my take home from this night shoot.
The Canon EOS-1D X, with its incredible low light performance, was my primary DSLR for this shoot. Again, you are looking at an ISO 3200 long exposure picture that was pushed by 1 and 2 stops. I used the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens on this camera.
On my second tripod was a Canon EOS 5D Mark III - another excellent-performing camera. The 5D III had a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens on it much of the time.
The two camera setups gave me more compositions and more meteorite captures per hour. Both performed spectacularly. The viewfinder horizon level feature found in these two cameras was especially useful when framing the extremely dark scene.
I use Live View manual focus (find a bright star at 10x) and the 2-second self-timer with mirror lockup for shoots such as this one.
Shooting the night sky is a lot of fun - both from a results perspective and from the simple experience of watching the beautiful starry sky.

24mm  f/2.0  15s  ISO 3200
Winter Landscape Picture Winter Landscape Picture

Layers of strong lines run through this Winter landscape picture. A narrow aperture is standard fare for the deep depth of field needed by a typical landscape photo.

24mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 100
Dog Guarding Bones Picture Dog Guarding Bones Picture

The unbroken, curving lines of this Golden Retriever lead the viewers eye to the two fresh rawhide bones she is guarding.

24mm  f/2.8  1/160s  ISO 200
Violin Recital 3 Violin Recital 3

A young lady plays the violin at her recital. The lighting at this venue is quite good relatively speaking. Good indoor lighting (almost an oxymoron) combined with a fast lens results in a lower ISO setting being able to capture the image.

24mm  f/2.0  1/160s  ISO 500
Ricketts Glenn Falls in the Fall Ricketts Glenn Falls in the Fall

It is amazing how fast a day disappears when photographing in Ricketts Glen State Park. I have been making a fall trip to this amazing park an annual tradition. Overcast days are best – and mid-week is the best time to go for low competition. The B+W 82mm XS-Pro MRC Nano Kaeseman CP Filter made a big difference in my shots on this day - cutting glare and reflections for rich, deeply-saturated results.

24mm  f/11.0  2s  ISO 100
Christmas Horse Picture Christmas Horse Picture

A little girl in her Christmas hat poses with her Christmas present horse. Lighting is ambient from windows and skylights. The wide aperture and shallow DOF helps eliminate the background clutter.

24mm  f/1.4  1/500s  ISO 100
Standing on the University Wall Standing on the University Wall

The wall this young subject is standing beside subtracts some light from her right side. The cloudy day's broad, flat light then has a little more direction - showing facial features better. The tunnel-like entrance in the background creates a frame for her head and the various walls add lines runing through the image.

24mm  f/1.4  1/3200s  ISO 100
Ice Skating Accident Ice Skating Accident

This photo is destined for the "How NOT to Ice Skate" manual. A wide angle lens allows shooting down on your subject - which often allows a less-cluttered background and a different-from-usual perspective.

24mm  f/2.8  1/1000s  ISO 200
Harrison Wright Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park Harrison Wright Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park

There is a lot of advice to be found regarding photography during the autumn season, but the primary visual difference of fall is the color of the foliage and to capture that color, one must go outside.
While that tip might sound simple, it is easy to sit in front of a computer or TV instead of making the effort to go out. You can DVR the football game to be watched later. Darkness comes earlier in the fall, so you have some time to catch up on the game or what is going on in the photography world after the light is gone. You can catch up on your post-processing backlog in the winter (what I'm telling myself).
A great fall location is Ricketts Glen State Park, near Benton, PA. With 22 named waterfalls in this park, along with many other photogenic woods and stream scenes, it is not hard to find wall-grade compositions. Located just below Waters Meet on the Falls Trails, Harrison Wright Falls, shown here, is one of my favorites.
Don't let the weather keep you inside. My favorite weather condition for shooting in RGSP is a light rain or immediately after any rain. The rain provides more flow in the stream, but it serves a couple of other important purposes. It keeps the other hikers and less-serious photographers out of the image (they stay home). It also makes everything in the scene wet, giving the surroundings a deep, rich color when photographed through a circular polarizer filters.
You will not capture images like this one indoors. Get out and find the colorful fall foliage. Get some exercise and breathe in the crisp air while doing so. Your body and mind will be rewarded along with your portfolio.

24mm  f/8.0  1s  ISO 100
Sitting in a Huge Stump Sitting in a Huge Stump

No, this huge stump is not that of a Sequioa - it is the remains of a very old evergreen in the Tall Timbers Natural Area in Central Pennsylvania. It makes a great playhouse. Wait, everything seems to make a great playhouse at this age.

24mm  f/2.8  1/125s  ISO 100
Winter Landscape II Winter Landscape II

A horizontally oriented version of another sample photo on this site. Shooting in different orientations is just one of many methods of gaining a different image from the same scene.

24mm  f/9.0  1/200s  ISO 100
Florida Keys Flats Florida Keys Flats

A mid-day sun turns the white sand in the shallow Florida Keys flats into one of my favorite colors. This location is many miles west of Key West.
I had a Lowepro Pro Roller x200 full of lenses to compare and evaluate on this 2-day private photo charter. The water, sky and clouds were my favorite targets.
A CP filter was used for this shot.

24mm  f/11.0  1/100s  ISO 160
On the Brick Wall On the Brick Wall

A flagstone-topped brick wall curves through the bottom of the frame, creating a solid base for both this image and the young girl standing on it. The 24mm perspective is one that adds depth to the subject while the wide f/1.4 aperture's shallow DOF (Depth of Field) softly blurs the background.

24mm  f/1.4  1/5000s  ISO 100
B. Reynolds Falls Background B. Reynolds Falls Background

The 40' B. Reynolds Falls in Ricketts Glen State Park is an extraordinary landscape photography subject, offering many great compositions. In this composition, I used the swift-flowing water well below the falls as a foreground with the major falls falling into the background. A circular polarizer filter was used to cut reflections and increase saturation on this very cloudy and wet day.
The Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens is an incredible landscape lens. I used this lens exclusively during the second half of this trip to Ricketts Glenn. All of my photos from this lens were exceptionally sharp.

24mm  f/11.0  .5s  ISO 100
Beginner Ice Skating Beginner Ice Skating

The lines formed by this young, fallen ice skater's brightly clothed appendages lead through an uncluttered background of scratched ice in this frame. BTW - Its easier to shoot ice skaters when they are down. :)

24mm  f/2.8  1/1000s  ISO 200
Everything's a Horse Everything's a Horse

For a young horse-loving girl, everything is a horse. That includes the small tree trunk growing beside this very large evergreen in the Tall Timbers Natural Area near Beaver Springs, PA.

24mm  f/2.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Behind B. Reynolds Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park Behind B. Reynolds Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park

B. Reynolds Falls in Ricketts Glen State Park is a falls that you can get behind. Be ready to get some water on you and your gear if you attempt this shot location. And watch your step. It bears mention that Ricketts Glen SP considers the Falls Trails "Most Difficult". You definitely have to watch your footing - people are injured here every year.

24mm  f/11.0  1.6s  ISO 100
Swinging on a Grape Vine Picture Swinging on a Grape Vine Picture

A little girl swings on a large grape vine that snakes through the frame. Her face shows the fun that this is.

24mm  f/1.4  1/2500s  ISO 100
Perseid Streaking Through Milky Way Perseid Streaking Through Milky Way

A clear night in northern Maine presents an ideal opportunity for shooting the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. They don't make lenses with apertures wide enough to be ideal for night sky photography, but the 24 f/1.4 L II's f/1.4 aperture is about is good as it gets. You likely noticed that this shot was captured at f/2. I was experimenting with stopping down to reduce vignetting.

24mm  f/2.0  30s  ISO 3200
Ozone Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park Ozone Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park

Ozone Falls is somewhat more challenging to capture than some other Ricketts Glen falls. Here I used wet, leaf-covered foreground rocks to lead the viewer's eye into the bright water framed by dark rocks. Brightly-colored fall foliage is always a bonus.

24mm  f/11.0  4s  ISO 100
Upright Ice Skating Upright Ice Skating

While upright is assumed to be the proper orientation for ice skating, this beginner understands that other orientations are often employed. This shot was framed so that the valley would form a "V" behind this young skater's head - drawing the viewer's eye to the subject. The ice forms the base for the image.

24mm  f/2.8  1/1000s  ISO 200
Sitting in the Woods Sitting in the Woods

A tired girl rests against a tree in the Winter woods.

24mm  f/5.6  1/60s  ISO 200
B Reynolds Falls, Side View B Reynolds Falls, Side View

B Reynolds falls is one of the more versatile photo subjects in Ricketts Glen State Park. This falls looks great when shot from the walking bridge just downstream, from the rocks near the bridge, from the path beside the falls (as illustrated here) and even from behind the falls (for the more intrepid). For sure, the beauty is there for capturing. A circular polarizer filter was used for this image.

24mm  f/11.0  4s  ISO 100
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