Just another WordPress.com site

Welcome

I have been photographing for the last 23 years and nature is my inspiration for creating photos. Finding beauty in the small world of nature is my favorite discipline when photographing the natural world.

Latest

Weekly photo of 17 April 2016

This week it’s not a photo from the Natural world as usual, it’s a photo of humans. I took that photo of my 11 years old girl at the Rossetti store with Mr. Sean, her pointe shoes needed some adjustments before her next ballet lesson.I love that store, it has a lot of “cachet”, very photogenic (It’s on St-Denis street). I waited until my girl talked to Mr. Sean to explain where her shoes were hurting her. The first shots were OK but then i saw their reflections in the mirror and zoomed my lens to a wider setting and adjusted my composition.

mg_4441poiu76_zps5la4wtbw

Canon 7D with my 10-18mm STM set at 11mm, ISO 800, 1/6 sec. at f/5.0, handheld with IS activated. 

One of my photo in a Canadian Geographic article.

Today I received an E-Mail from the Canadian Geographic society that one of my Beaver photo was published in an article on their web site ! You can read the short article by following this link: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/blog/posting.asp?ID=1946

My photo is the one with the Beaver swimming on a foggy morning, my name is at the bottom of the photo.

Weekly photo of 28 March 2016

I went to the Omega Park with my wife and my 2 girls on Easter day, we like to visit that ZOO at least twice a year. It’s different than a regular ZOO, you drive your car in the forest while the animals are free to go where they want except some animals like the predators (wolves, bears, coyote and arctic foxes). The animals are very tame so you can get close to them in general, at around mid point during the visit you can stop and get out of your car and walk with the White-tailed Deer close to the road. Around my house it’s difficult to get close to a Deer to get a good photo even with a 400mm lens, so I decided to get a different view and used my 10-18mm zoom lens to show the Deer in it’s environment.

mg_2716kjhgf_zpsbqcb2upp

Canon 7D with 10-18mm STM, at 15mm, f/7.1, handheld.

Weekly photo of 20 March 2016

This week the temperature was up and down, the morning I took that shot it was very foggy and the Old Canal was particularly interesting. I waited until the sunrise so i would be able to include it in my composition. I didn’t push the contrast too much during the processing since I wanted to keep the mood of that morning.

mg_9936-3iugfd_zpsmglxeerm

Taken with my Canon 7D and 24mm STM, ISO 100 at f/10.

Weekly photo of 12 March 2016

Spring is coming and the Ice is melting on the lake, so I stopped on the shore of a lake to see if I could photograph something interesting. I found that ice pattern with an Eagle head that you can see in the upper right corner of the ice. I had to take the photo handheld at arms length, so I took short burst of 3 to 4 shots. When I took the photo I knew I wanted to convert it to B&W, I played with the curves and contrast as well as the dark slider in LR.

mg_9648lkjhgfd_zpsc3zvgpqc

Taken with my Canon 7D and 24mm STM, 1/25 sec. at f/9.0, ISO 800

Canon 24mm STM review.

I love “Pancake” lenses because they don’t take too much space and don’t add a significant amount of weight in my camera bag ! A Pancake lens needs to have some compromise optically to be so small, so you can’t have it all for such a small lens and low price. Usually they are slower lenses, it’s inevitable if you want a pancake lens, if you want a fast lens it will be bigger and heavier. I’ve owned some Pancake lenses over the years, very good ones like the Fuji XF 27mm and some not so good like the Sony E-mount 16mm.  Pentax makes some great Pancake lenses in the DA Limited series, currently I own the Pentax DA 40mm/2.8 XS which is a derivate of the Pentax DA 40mm/2.8 Limited but even smaller …. it’s the smallest lens available for an APS-C camera.

Canon finally came-up with two Pancake lenses, the 24mm STM and 40mm STM. For me the 24mm was more interesting since I already had the Pentax DA 40mm XS in my bag and also because of the close focusing ability of the 24mm which is interesting for it’s focal length. So I bought one last fall (2015) and I now have enough experience with it to share my thoughts with you.

The built quality is not as good as the Pentax Limited lenses which are all metal construction, even the front lens cap is made of metal. But for a plastic lens at that price it’s quite good, especially if you compare it to Canon’s 50mm/1.8 or the 18-55mm kit lenses !

Here are my two Pancake lenses that I have in my camera bag: on the left side the Pentax DA 40mm/2.8 XS and on the right side the Canon 24mm/2.8 STM.

This photo was taken the next morning I bought the Canon 24mm. It was -4°C and all the vegetation was covered with a thick layer of frost. Taken at f/11 on a tripod.

This photo of an old canal was taken on a cold morning, I used a Polarizer to obtain a longer exposure. Taken with the Canon 24mm at f/11 on a tripod.

I arrived at the Rouge River in Grenville before sunrise in late October, suddenly close to sunrise the clouds behind me took a pink/orange color that casted that warm glow on the landscape. Taken with my 7D and 24mm STM, ISO 100, 25 sec. at f/11, tripod.

The IQ of the Canon 24mm STM is quite good at normal distances and also at the closer focusing distances but some distortion can be seen. It’s not as good as my Pentax DA 40mm XS but it’s not the same focal length, maybe I should try a head to head battle between my Pentax and the Canon 40mm STM ( would have to buy one first) !!! So, in term of sharpness I would rate it as very good.

mg_9297jhgfd_zpsoukc4iyk

It was useful at the ZOO to take close-ups of more accessible animals.

 

mg_929720eye20crop_zpss16yihri

This is a crop of the previous shot after processing and some sharpening, it was taken at 1/640 sec. at f/6.3, ISO 400.

 

 

crop2024mm20ca_zpsiotlp1c3

If you look carefully you can see that the Canon 24mm STM still produce some CA along the edge of the ice even when stopped down to f/11. But it’s easily removed in LR.

mg_5399poiuy_zpsq5s0tqpd

Another shot taken at sunrise along a frozen river, at f/11.

 

mg_6483kjhgf_zpshtq9kkbl

A more abstract shot, this is a rock covered with snow. Taken at f/11

 

I find the new STM AF system “strange”, it take some times to get used to it, the lens tend to hunt in some situations. I’m using it mainly in LV and on a tripod so even if the AF is not top notch I don’t mind. Keep in mind that i’m using it on a 7D, so a more modern 70D or the new 80D certainly are better cameras to take advantage of the STM motor.

With this photo I was able to test the close focusing ability of the Canon 24mm. The Bokeh at f/7.1 is not too bad.

Again, the close focusing ability of the Canon 24mm was useful to get the composition I wanted. I usually don’t place my subject in the center but this time it was what worked the best to my eye.

A small river in a forested area, I used a Polarizer to remove the reflection off the water’s surface. Taken at f/11.

What I like about that lens is when i use it for “close-up” shots, it produces a feeling of being more intimate with the subject compared if I had used a longer lens like a 100mm Macro lens which produce a more compressed look due to being a telephoto lens. The minimum focusing distance of 0.16 meter gives you a maximum magnification of 0.27, which is very good for a 24mm lens. Most of the 24mm lenses don’t focus close enough, i think manufacturers could make an effort to design more lenses with a closer minimum focusing distance. Tamron new SP 35mm/1.8 VC and 45mm/1.8 VC are very good examples of lenses that focus closer than the competition and really interest me.

mg_6558kjhgf_zps4gd6sdgc

This photo of Cedar leaves was taken on a cold Canadian morning (-28°C and with the wind chill factor it was -38°C). Another good example why I really like that lens for more intimate shots. Taken at f/11.

 

mg_5452poiuy_zpsiasjk25e

A leaf on a road covered with ice. This is the kind of subject that I really like to photograph and the 24mm STM is a very good choice to render the perspective I want. Taken at f/11 on a tripod.

 

mg_6389-2poiuytfdfg_zpstxxot9jl

Ice fishing cabins in B&W, taken at f/10.

mg_8463lkjhgfd_zpsifn4kj46

Freezing rain was still falling when I took that shot of a frozen Blueberry shrub with a rock in the background. I converted it to B&W and processed it until it looked how I wanted. I was able to handhold it at 1/100 sec. at f/11, ISO 200

Update on CA

I wanted to update my review about the CA that I didn’t talked much about. It might not be evident on regular subjects or even on more prone subjects like high contrast but during this winter I was able to find some CA on ice and snow shots. Sure it’s not visible at regular viewing but when zooming in you will see it but it’s easy to correct in LR.

As you can see there is more to a lens than sharpness, sure I like very sharp lenses but when buying a lens i also look at the lens in general, not just how much details it can resolve. Usually i prefer a lens that will focus closer to a lens that is the sharpest lens on earth but can’t focus close enough for my needs. It’s because of my shooting style, it will probably be different for another photographer.

Conclusion

The more I use that lens on a crop sensor camera the more I realize that I like shooting at that focal length. It’s a very useful FOV and especially with the closer focusing of the 24mm STM it makes a great all around lens. I now see more and more potential photos as I become more familiar with it. At one moment it’s a “Wide angle” lens and then it becomes a Close-up lens.

Canon came out with a very good lens with some compromises (CA and distorsion), but because of it’s small size, very good IQ and minimum focusing distance, it now have a place in my camera bag with my other Pancake lens, the Pentax DA 40mm XS, especially since I paid less than 300$ Canadian for 2 lenses ! I can’t wait to use it for photographing Frogs up-close next summer and I think it will do a great job even if there is no IS incorporated. The only thing i’m missing now to take full advantage of it’s small size …… is a Canon SL1 !

mg_5404poiuyt_zpshbaavs6f

This shot was taken around sunrise along a frozen river. Taken at f/13.

Little details makes a difference in your photos.

I’m starting a new series of articles on tips to improve your photography, i will use photos that i took and show how i got them, how i made changes in the field to get what i wanted or how to improve them during the processing.

Little details can make-or-break a good shot, you have to pay attention in the field while you compose before you press the shutter button. If you wait until your subject have a better posture or better light falling on it, this is part of becoming a good photographer. Another way to improve a photo is during the post processing by adjusting the levels, color balance etc….. but also cropping to fine tune your composition.

I selected a photo of a Jaguar that i took at the Granby ZOO this week to show you some of the things that I did to end up with the finished shot. I had no choice but to shoot through a thick and dirty glass and handheld (I didn’t take my tripod with me). I used my Canon 7D with the 400mm/5.6 L, 1/250 sec. at f/5.6, ISO 400.

mg_918620oeil20reflet_zpstjo7bse1

On this photo the head of the Jaguar is turned just enough that we don’t see all the details of it’s eye and the photo loose some impact.

 

mg_919320compo20pas20bon_zpsesgxnvyp

I took several shots of this Jaguar and finally got a good one that we can see all the details in it’s eye. This is before doing any Processing, see below for the final resulting image after the processing.

 

mg_919320final20pp_zps1syqshul

After selecting the photo with my subject in the best position, I needed to do some Processing, i adjusted levels and contrast as usual. The OOF background in the upper right corner was distracting to my eye, so I cropped the photo to eliminate it, now the viewers eye don’t get distracted by it.