An interesting little 'system' this. Review and comments to follow shortly.
My trial ended early April 2013, and I decided that I liked the benefits and features that this service provided (admittedly without a deep analysis of other vendors offerings) and signed up for two more years at around $A45 total.
One day in, I still feel good and no buyers remorse so far. In fact I am now uploading more of my Aperture albums and have started sharing more albums in the last 24 hours than in the last 3 months.
Follow my Flickr sets here.
Readers of this site will know my Apple Aperture preference, plus my entree to Lightroom courtesy of included software with my Leica D-Lux 5 purchase.
I have always held a desire for the NIK Software suite of plug-ins, particularly Silver Efex Pro 2, the (almost) industry standard for Black and White processing. The problem always was the price. Serious $$$, for serious software.
Recently NIK were purchased by Google and the doom and gloom merchants were predicting the quick (or slow) death of the software. Well, maybe not.
Last week, Google announced a minor re-branding plus a major price reduction. A 50%+ reduction to widen the customer base and boost revenues seemed like a smart commercial decision, the likes of which Google are not always famous for despite their obvious skills & strengths.
So I bought the suite, six plug-in modules in all, for Aperture AND Lightroom. The same plug-ins for use on both of my major photo editing platforms.
I am a really happy camper!
Sony HDR-CX190 Digital Video Handycam
The next day I just happened to see an ad for a cost-effective Sony HandyCam, a runout model, HDR-CX190. Seemed OK, SD-card storage, 20x optical zoom, small form factor, 5 mp still images (if necessary) and according to reviews it has an OK battery life. So we bought one from an electronics store barely a kilometre from home. Too easy!
Stay tuned for some sample vids.
The music is based on the old Chicago and delta blues styles of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and others and was right to my tastes (and the guy in the top hat was a 'mean' harmonica player). The band members were also really friendly and grateful that we were there willing to help them get their message 'out there'. A very nice day indeed.
The results were just OK. More practice required but at least they are a starting point. I found focusing difficult, so might try manual focus next time as the AF struggled with the black background and the contrasting glow. Can't even remember if I used a remote shutter release or not. Speaking of focus...
I thought it would be plug and play and zap photos from your camera to a PC/iOS device. Definitely not P&P, not because it is badly designed but due the the almost overwhelming array of options, features and configuration possibilities. Also I am still getting my head around when to configure the 'card', when to configure Eye-Hi server and when to change options on the receiving device (PC or iOS). Again, not Eye-Fi's fault just to say that this is a very 'complete' solution.
The 8GB Pro X2 geotagging version was my card of choice as it is capable of transferring RAW as well as JPEG files. I have it now up and running to my PC and about to start my iPad & iPhone 'Direct Mode' implementation. The card is recognised by the Canon 5D Mark III and even adds an Eye-Fi menu item to the Tools section on the Canon's Menu system. Pretty cool.
This is a poster made from snaps of a 2012 Porsche Club of Victoria track day at Sandown Raceway. A few filters, add some blur, some sepia, the odd crop and 'voila!'.
Benalla showgrounds and bridge - 2012
I have only been out & about a couple of times so far but the camera feels great in the hand and of course works perfectly with my existing range of Canon lenses.
To ensure that I get the most out of the camera, I have purchased two e-books from Amazon to read on the iPad. They are both well reviewed and I really hope that they will help get my usage of the 5D to the next level. Plus increase my enjoyment as well.
The new menu system, and quick buttons on the rear make finding frequently used functions quickly accessible.
The National Golf Club - 2012
I am loving the camera so far!
The venue was St Michaels Church in the city. Traditional from the outside, and even more spectacular inside with outstanding acoustics. Emily and Michael looked superb, the entire wedding party were most photogenic making my job a little easier.
Unfortunately it took me too long to adapt to the conditions and I missed a number of shots by having the wrong lens, with the wrong settings at the wrong time. File one for education…
Saturday was the track event at Winton Raceway no major incidents and a good day was had by most…
Sunday was a motorkhana style event at the DECA driver training facility just out of Shepparton. The drivers really enjoyed the skid pan sessions if tyre smoke was a gauge of satisfaction!
By the end of the weekend I was very jealous of the drivers having so much fun and I am really looking forward to getting on track again soon.
And here is my implementation with a GorillaPod and a headphone set whose in-line volume control acts as a remote shutter release.
See the glif advertising video below.
Too cool for school! What a life-changing device…
The 70-200 f4L has come 'home', the 200 f2.8L prime has now been traded on a 24-70 f2.8L that I can now use as a walk around lens on the 1D. My initial test shoot was extremely positive with the lens, while weighty' feels really well balanced on the 1D.
Suzy posing - 2012
I am really looking forward to getting out and about and I am sure that I will enjoy using this lens for many years to come.
It was a nice autumn late afternoon yesterday so I thought I would wander down to the dam to take a couple of pictures. Nothing special came out of the adventure, but it was an enjoyable hour or so just the same.
Young Lily, helping… - 2012
The Dam, April 2012
Mardi & Doug - 2012
I had a planning session with my 'customer' to get a feel for the outside event layout and landscape and for the type of shots she wanted. The happy day duly came around and loaded with lenses (4), cameras (3), spare batteries, memory cards and a tripod I arrived on site. The car park was 800 metres away from the ceremony location and I needed to make a decision regarding what gear to take to the specific location, what I could keep dry in the (likely) event of rain and of course what I need to get the shots.
The outdoor ceremony was informal and communal with lots of stories told about, and advice given to, the newlyweds throughout. The bridal party and guests coped admirably with the weather I must say.
I think my pictures were well received and I even managed to keep out of the way of the 'official' photographers.
Thanks for the vote of confidence and opportunity Julie, but I needed some serious medication and a long lie down to recover!
Brett, Mardi, Julie & Chris - 2012
I like the tones in this picture. Darker foreground and pastel layers as the image progresses towards & beyond Mt Coolum.
This little guy did a superb job of posing as we went for a beach side walk one day. Lace monitors are common apparently on the coast.
One afternoon I wandered down to the beach and tried a few surfing shots. This was probably the best action shot of the set.
Not a great technical picture, but the surf and the flag conjures up a real Queensland vibe.
The net result is that I am very happy with my purchase and the image quality matches my skill level perfectly. For once, I haven't over invested...
The downside is they 'steal' your gear. Robin has grabbed the Canon 5D and the 24-105 zoom lens, leaving me with a 50mm and 200mm prime(s). As good as they are, my skills need something with a little more reach and flexibility. For everyday use, at some point I will get a 24-70 f2.8 Canon lens...
Even so, something we can perhaps 'share' with a little extra range would be welcome, hence this week's arrival of the Sigma 70-300mm DG OS tele-zoom lens below.
For a modest financial outlay, it is light weight, has a reasonable aperture and with image stabilisation it will fill a void I hope.
This is my first Sigma (and in fact non-Canon) lens but I have friends who are happy with them, so I am optimistic.
The new Sigma is already packed in the backpack for our annual Queensland holiday so I sincerely hope I can bore everyone senseless with some great images from the Sunshine Coast upon our return in a couple of weeks!
Why the Leica? I like the classy look of the camera, the reports of great image quality, an ability to take HD video, the solid (mostly) metal body, the two year warranty, and it ships with a copy of Adobe Lightroom 3.
Photo courtesy Leica Website
I haven't had a chance to take many shots yet given some lousy weather here in Melbourne recently but I am looking forward to trying it out very seriously shortly. One observation so far is that images taken and processed as Black & White in Lightroom look absolutely fantastic.
Always good to get the owner in front of the new camera! - 2011
Update : My initial impressions of the camera were favourable with respect to image quality, but not so much from an ergonomic / usability perspective. After some research, it appeared that two Leica options would help alleviate these concerns significantly. One is the Electronic Viewfinder which removes the issue of trying to frame the shots in he screen in bright light; and secondly a handgrip, making the tasteful but smooth / slippery body much easier to hold. I fully realise that these additions make an expensive point & shoot now very expensive, but in my view the camera is a keeper and these additions will only add to my enjoyment.
Will post more usage comments as they come to hand.
I have also changed the head on my tripod to a pistol-grip ball type, also from Manfrotto. I am looking to make my tripod usage as simple as possible so that I use it more to take better and crisper photos in a wider range of conditions.
Manfrotto 322RC2 Heavy Duty Grip Ball Head
The National Golf Club - 2011
The Boxster in a Hunter Valley Autumn - 2011
I am thinking more and shooting slightly less, but multiple shots of 'good' subjects to try to get the 'best' shot at the right time.
Bedroom window rose - 2011
Old Shed, Wollombi, NSW - 2011
Also, I have to say for the first time in a long time I am not thinking about equipment, but thinking about the shot. Robin 'stole' my 24-105 zoom, so I need another zoom lens of some sort, but I now just want to use what I have better, and smarter. It takes some of the complexity of learning new gear out of the equation, you can just shoot with what you have / what you know. Obvious to many I am sure...
Rowers on Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra - 2011
Tyson in reflective mood... - March 2011
So, thanks to the guys at the Peninsula Camera store who spent an hour or more with me over a couple of visits, discussing various Canon / third party options, tele zoom or prime etc, I finally lucked onto a used Canon 200mm f2.8 L lens they had in store. It is the original version, with a sliding lens hood, rather than the more modern screw-on style. Works just fine and makes access to the lens cap much easier.
Canon 70 - 20mm f2.8 L w/Canon 1D body - Photo by EOS Magazine Forum
Relatively light, with the aperture and focal length I needed for Robin's indoor riding events and a modest cash outlay made it a wise choice. Even if it is not strapped to the camera all day every day, I won't feel that I have over-capitalised on this piece of equipment.
Japanese Windflowers (but you all knew that already...) - March 2011
After one evening's shooting, I don't have much that is too exciting to share yet (a couple of samples above), but I am very happy so far and for the future.
Melbourne early autumn Skyline - April 2011
The 2.8 sounds great but could I make it work for me to justify the purchase? So the following week, I went back to the store with my 1D MK3 body and tried the lens on for size. Wow, is it heavy or what! I tried a few hand held shots in store and was shocked by the brightness and clarity indoors, hand held with no flash. See my sample image below.
And now here is the clincher. This week I accompanied Robin to one of her events with my 24 - 105 f4 lens and tried to photograph the 'Hunter' event indoors at the Werribee Equestrian Centre.
Overall, the results were just awful. This image and the one on the home page were the best of a very ordinary lot. Not enough zoom and not enough light. Bumped the ISO to 800 and the results were grainy & poor. I felt sorry I couldn't get some better shots for her. I think I see the 2.8 in my future!
What I have to show for some recent effort is a whole bunch of bird & animal pictures. For example:
Exhibit A - This silly chicken and....
Exhibit B ... a ferocious Porsche-protecting cat!
Exhibit C... The ever photogenic Suzie
Exhibit D... The lovely 'Miss Della'...
My plan for the day was only to take pictures for my own 'personal' interest and practice, and share perhaps a few if appropriate. I was a bit daunted when advised during the day that our regular photographer was unavailable and that I would be 'the photographer of record' for the event! No pressure then.... I perched at Turn One and got a few nice shots of some excellent cars and drivers coming through, almost always pointing in the right direction!
I actually enjoyed being an official for the day, signing my life away for a yellow vest and the freedom to wander around any part of track, inside the ropes as it were. Interestingly, the pictures turned out pretty well considering I had the camera on the wrong settings! Aperture Priority instead of Shutter Priority for the moving subjects... I guess the pressure got to me, but the 1D saved my bacon. I really do like this camera. A lot.
More pictures can be found at my Picasa gallery here.
It is an entry-level, dual still / video device and as such is marginal on weight and balance for my 1D with the 70-200 lens, but much better than either of my current options. And weighs almost nothing, 0.98kg. Given the tripod is so light, pressing the shutter would probably shake the gear, so I have started using my remote cable shutter release.
The heavily cropped picture below was taken at f4.5, ISO 200 at 200mm and 1/250sec at 5.50PM in pretty low light on a late winter's afternoon. The building is at least 1000 metres away and still the 'NorthCliffe' building name is legible on the tower of the brown building. More (and better!) pictures to come, I am sure.
Initial impressions are always important. If feels really well balanced when you hold it in your hand. Very comfortable to shoot with, particularly helped by a very 'large' and bright viewfinder. I seem to be able to read the settings easier with the 1D than I can with the 5D.
Robin riding Scooter at Drouin - 2010
Battery life is excellent (as is the 5D) enabling extended shooting sessions without needing to worry about running out of juice. Of course for critical sessions, it is always worth having a spare battery nearby.
Porsche GT1 and Martini Porsche 935 at Bathurst - 2010
I am still learning the camera and related controls, but one setting that has proven valuable so far is the 'AI Servo' focusing system. With some of Robin's riding shots, this function holds the focus really well while I wave the camera around trying to follow the horse's movements. I probably shouldn't be surprised that this works as advertised!
Cowra Japanese Gardens - 2010
Finally, the weight of the camera is really confidence inspiring with respect to it's durability and robustness. I spoke with a working photo journo who was photographing me (!) recently and he was most effusive in his praise of the 1D and it's dust and weather sealing and ability to handle day-in, day-out handling & punishment. Sounds good to me.
Red Sunset at Mt Eliza - 2010
The most praise I can offer on this camera so far is that I want to take it with me everywhere. Nuff said!
The latest 'black beauty' is a Canon 1D Mk III. Used, but a well cared for, low shutter count example previously owned by a photographer in Sydney. All accessories, plus a spare battery was included in the package. A full review and specifications of the Mk III can be found here.
It is my intention to use it with my existing 'fast' lenses but when funds allow I will get a f2.8, 70-200 IS 'L' lens. It will the perfect combo for the indoor, distance riding shots. Not to mention some nice pics at motor sports events....
Of course all of my existing Canon lenses and memory cards will work, as will the Speedlite 580 EX II. Not sure about the remote trigger yet.
The 5D will of course remain. Robin and I can share / use it. The old, trusty Olympus E-10 will have to go. A sad day as it was my first DSLR and takes great photos with it's excellent fixed zoom lens.
A more detailed review will follow shortly after I acquire a detailed user manual and possibly do some lynda.com online training.
On the fence - Tatura 2010
The event was mostly held on an indoor arena with the crowd kept a little back from the arena sides making close-up and detailed shots a little more difficult.
I suspect that I still don't have the right lens for these indoor environments. My f4 24-105 lens being a bit on the slow side and not quite powerful enough to capture shots on the other side of the 30 metre plus wide arena. The 700-200 f2.8 'L' IS lens from Canon would do the job just fine, sadly at a price point somewhat north of $2,000. I spoke to the professional photographer covering the event, and while she was using a Nikon (!), she was using an f2.8 70-200 Nikkor lens but said she wanted the f1.4 version. Her photos must be expensive or else they soon will be!
I am not just a shoddy still photographer, I take really bad video as well. I shot both of Robin's dressage tests with the Sony Handycam, but unfortunately I suspect I didn't do such a great job in the second test as an insect got down the back of my shirt and I don't think the the Sony Image Stabilisation is going to help enough!
As for results, Robin and 'Scooter' had an equal first in the Novice Horse Dressage, a third i the Preliminary Dressage, a second in Showmanship and a number of lesser placings in other events. A great haul of results for their first time out at a State show.
A smile for the camera - Tatura 2010
Your humble correspondent in (futile) action - Photo by Julie Mason 2010
I duly turned up with the Canon 5D and plenty of kit that was too heavy to carry and seemed mostly superfluous. So I put it in the car. As the sun went down, I found I had the wrong lens on the camera, then my tripod seized after some conflict with sand and as I tried to find a 'shot' my recurring issues with composition popped up. Again. Just fabulous! Of course, everyone else was sitting, leaning, composing, clicking, talking, relaxing, enjoying and more.
A few of my 'least worst' shots are attached for information, not ridicule!
Hire Boat Beach Box
Dredge Outlet Pipe
Shallow Rock Pool
Albatross on Weed
I really promise to read more books, talk to more members and do a much better job at representing the FPC in the future!
Schnapper Point - 2009
I was a bit disappointed in the Rose Garden as I couldn't seem to get an 'interesting' shot. All I could 'see' was a mass of albeit healthy and pretty rose bushes or the 'cheap shot' flower photo. Almost certainly speaks to my composition limitations I'm afraid.
Mornington Rose Garden - 2009
A bit more success at the beach, a couple of interesting 'DoF' efforts and a nice rich picture of the bathing boxes, as displayed on the Home Page of this site.
The Lonely Sailor, Mornington - 2009
Finally, the subject below caught my eye and makes for an interesting image, IMHO. There is big old Palm Tree of some indeterminate type (banana, date?) which I quite like at the end of Main Street, but I couldn't get the angles right to get a decent 'feel' for the tree, so got close to the patterned truck instead. I like it!
Palm Tree Trunk, Mornington - 2009
I must get out more often to improve my chances of better light, and to get more practice on composition.
Robin has, however, pressed me into service to video her riding competitions. I must say I have much to learn about the theory & practice of video photography and can barely pan & zoom with any sort of competence at all. As for post capture production, if it ain't iMovie it don't get done. And I am no expert in iMovie either.
It seems a lot harder to get a decent result with videos compared to stills, IMHO. More work to do!
It was the last time that I'd had the 5D out of the bag. I am really getting way out of practice and have forgotten most of what I had learned over the last year or so. On the spur of the moment I couldn't remember how to manually take photographs!!!
'Star' is a delightfully cheeky little girl. Sadly, with the warmer weather she is shedding her first coat, getting itchy, rubbing pieces out of her remaining coat and looking quite dusty and second hand! But lots of energy and presence. Hopefully she will stand still long enough for some more shots soon.
Two events recently have brought reality back with a thud.
The first was a 'commission' to take some indoor photographs of a business property to identify the condition of the premises for future reference. Just wander around taking photos of various rooms, how hard can it be? With the current owners (and others) looking over my shoulder every step of the way, dark-ish indoor shots of smallish rooms with a regular lens, only the second time my Speedlite flash has been on the camera, the pressure of having to get it right (rather than snaps for fun) and deliver output to someone who was expecting quality results made the whole experience daunting and somewhat uncomfortable. But it gave me clear insights on the pressures that the 'pros' work under day-to-day and a timely reminder of how much I have to learn. I hasten to add that it was a family job, and no money actually changed hands!
The second event was a family friends birthday lunch at a beautiful restaurant and gardens on the outskirts of Melbourne. I knew of the garden so I thought I would take the camera and get some good outdoor shots of the birthday girl. The weather was gorgeous at lunch time with (very) bright sunshine showing off the garden to great effect. So I enticed her into the garden, but she turned out to be a nervous and unwilling subject which forced me to take a few quick photos in various locations with the sun behind me. Oh dear. The results were a handful of over exposed, overly bright, camera-shake out-of-focus shots taken at wrong distances with busy and 'dumb' composition errors (a distant water tank appeared on top of the subject's head in two different shots!). A total disaster. But my friend will be happy as she didn't want any pictures to see the light of day anyway!
While I think I know some of my many errors on these outings, I need to use my network of resources to help me understand all of what went wrong and take appropriate steps to improve my chances of success in the future.
Early tests with the light tent tonight proved extremely positive. A plastic box to raise the subject, a white cloth over it and some happy snaps with the Speedlite and Voila!
The Light Tent
This is the very first (hand held) shot of my beloved 1972 Omega Speedmaster Professional. And it turned out to be quite fine!
1972 Omega Speedmaster - 'First Watch on the Moon'
More samples to come soon.
An Agapanthas Stalk
So much interest and beauty in the detail of the garden if one just only looks.
A pleasant hour was passed indeed. Until next time.
I didn't realise what was in store for the evening so didn't have a flash or tripod with me (doh!), which made the fixed lighting session a bit difficult and therefore the results not as crisp as I would have liked given my rather shaky hand-held skills.
But overall, I was not unhappy with some of the results, and I learned a lot about direct lighting, reflected light and the different exposure levels that flash and studio light impose on pictures taken. Hmmm, food for thought.
Overall though, another most enjoyable and educational night and my thanks again go out to the members who were willing to help me and generously share their knowledge. Just when I thought my skills were improving an event like this showed me that I still have so much to learn about this fantastic 'hobby'. Thanks to those at the club who lent their equipment / props and organised such a valuable experience.
And the session has really stimulated my interest in flash / portrait photography.
Robin on the Rails - 2009
Although it was around midday, the light and colours were pretty good.
Robin & Cheryl Dressed for Action
The riding grounds at Merricks North are not a bad place to take pictures. Plenty of open space to wander around and stay out of the way, plus trees and vineyards in the surrounding area give a nice contrast to some shots.
The willows (or at least what is left of them), look serene in the early evening.
April has been a busy month with lots of opportunities to take some interesting shots at varying locations. The following items are a small sample of the output from a number of different events and outings, although cars are a bit of a theme. I am pleased to say that I am starting to be happier with the technical quality of my shots. Now I just have to improve my composition, understand light better and work on the 'wow' factor to make my pictures more engaging.
Update: I have now refreshed My Photo Galleries with more shots from the events below.
Greg at work (Photo by Rod Prior 2009)
In addition to joining the local camera club, I have also been fortunate to spend some time with James 'Jimmy' Cunningham, a professional photographer, and with Julie Mason and Rod Prior, a couple of keen & talented 'amateurs', who have all helped my technique, knowledge and confidence tremendously. Thanks for sharing!
Julie Mason and Rod Prior
GT3 Club Lunch
At a recent car club lunch, Linley arranged Jimmy of James Cunningham Photography to come over and do a 'professional shoot' with our cars. Wow. Some seriously great shots were taken by Jimmy. Plenty of gear + Plenty of talent = Excellence!
GT3's (Photo by Jimmy Cunningham 2009)
One from Me
Greg, Linley & Chris / Boys & Their Toys (Photo by Julie Mason 2009)
One more from me : A little pixel manipulation
Photo Outing to The National Golf Club
Rod and I took an afternoon down at The National Golf Club to hit some practice balls, then get the cameras out and try our luck in the late afternoon light. Some nice results were achieved.
Hole #1, Ocean Course, The National Golf Club
Sunset through the Green
Car club drive to Helena's at Parnassus
The Porsche Club went on a drive to a winery restaurant for lunch a couple of hours out of town recently.
Linley, Greg, Chris & Maurie at Helenas (Photo by Julie Mason 2009)
A historical line-up of Porsche heritage vehicles were gathered up for a photo op. The middle car, a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS is about the most sought after car ever made by the famous marque. It was a thrill to see it and photograph it. And the owner was only too willing to show it off.
19?? VW Beetle,1973 Carrera RS 2.7, 2000 911 GT3
I was able to pick up a mint used Canon EF 70-200mm f4L USM lens this week, to be used either stand alone or with a 1.4 converter to provide a little more magnification.
A couple of test shots showed that I need some practice on my technique to effectively hand hold this non-IS lens, but I am really looking forward to what I can achieve with this excellent glass.
Also added a Canon E1 Hand Strap to the 5D in place of the neck strap, which I found often got in the way when shooting. Probably my clumsiness but still.
Whether it permanently stays on the camera (it needs the optional battery grip attached) remains to be seen.
Tonight's meeting consisted of a presentation / discussion of the differing lens types (zoom, fish eye, macro, wide angle, prime etc.) and their impact on differing sensor sizes. Selected Club members were pre-organised to bring along the various lens examples for the group to see, touch and peer through. A fantastic selection was made available. Highlights were a 180 mm Canon 'L' macro lens. Unbelievably crisp and bright. A real eye opener. And full marks to 'Frank' who provided some sort of Sigma/Tamron 500 mm zoom and a Canon 'L' series 600 mm IS prime 'monster' (see below, sorry about the white balance.....) on two different Canon D-series bodies. Also a member was demoing the new Canon 5D MkII, including video, just to show a 50 mm prime lens. Even the tripods were impressive. There was some serious gear there.......
Another part of the night was the presence of a 'For Sale' area. Lenses, books, compact cameras, printers, various monopods / tripods were available at what could only be called give-away prices. Note to self: bring cash next time!
Fortunately for me, the club has a strong majority of Canon users, so much of the 'chat' is around Canon, much to the chagrin of the Nikon types. A couple of casual conversations revealed answers to a couple of questions that had been bugging me for a while. Excellent. Also I sense there is a strong competition focus, so I will need to lift my game A LOT.
Like all clubs around the country, a collection was taken for Bushfire Relief Fund, and from what I could see, all attendees were giving generously. Thanks for the welcome tonight and I look forward to returning to participate in what will be a most valuable resource in my photographic journey.
Update: Following another successful and enjoyable meeting this week, I am now officially a member of the FPC!
For storage and longer-type day trips, I have a LowePro Mini-Trekker AW backpack. Intelligent internal and external design, flexible configuration with soft internal dividers make this a very valuable piece of equipment. The more I use the backpack, the more nooks and crannies I find. External loops & flaps are available for things like monopod / tripod attachment. The AW part of the name relates to All Weather. I haven't taken the bag out in bad weather (and would prefer not to) but it is comforting to know the zips, seals and straps have some additional weather proofing to keep humidity and moisture away from my gear.
For a lens or two day trip type activities my bag of choice is a Crumpler '7 Million Dollar' camera bag. It is well made, soft internal materials, flexible configuration and attractive design which doesn't draw attention t itself and scream 'expensive stuff inside'. Apart from the bright red.
I have nearly filled the bags with 'stuff'. So better not buy any more.
Lexus @ Base Camp on Mt Baw Baw - 2009
Unfortunately not many of my shots were worth much. Robin has been taking an on-line photography course and took some photos with the old Olympus E-10 and some were pretty interesting. I am sure she will post a few on her website soon. We are looking forward to getting out again.
Port Philip Bay Storm (CB Mono Effect - 2008) & Diva (CB Helga Effect - 2009)
They are: CameraBag - an image editor and camera-style simulator; Photogene - digital photo editing tools; Pano - a panorama stitching application; Darkroom: enables better exposures in low-light conditions; ImageTouch - collage creation; and PhotoBuddy - assists in the calculation of camera settings. All for the princely sum of about $A14!
Gum Trees (iPhone Native - 2009)
Why bother? Well, I need all of the photography practice I can get, plus I have the phone with me most of the time so my chances of getting that perfect shot moment are increased! I am looking forward to playing around with the iPhone camera and taking interesting snaps in strange locations with different effects. Fun times ahead!
Of course, we all know the better the equipment, the better the photo. Right? See the excellent (IMHO) picture below of Mornington Pier as proof. Nice feel, good detail, correctly exposed, and well sharpened by image management software as well. Fantastic!
Old Pier, Mornington, f2.8 - 2008
Well, yes AND no. While I do like this image a lot, it was actually taken with my Apple iPhone! And it is straight from the phone, totally untouched by Photoshop et al. So perhaps it is not always the camera/software, but the subject, the light, the moment, a little luck and some care and attention from the 'object' behind the lens.
A sobering thought.
Robin riding ‘Diva’ @ Tonimbuk Equestrian Centre (ISO 200, f4.0, 1/200 sec)
The course accommodated only seven attendees and was very relaxed and informal. An excellent learning environment if you felt a little intimidated like I did.
The format of the day was understanding the intricacies of Aperture, Shutter and ISO, then learning about camera controls followed by Q&A in the morning. A relaxed lunch at a bayside cafe split the day. Then it was back to pick up the cameras and head outside to take some shots. All taken in Manual mode, reading our histograms and using the dSLR’s in-built light meters to ensure correct exposures. Both landscape and portrait subjects were available.
The Rocks, Mornington (ISO 200 f4.0 1/1000 sec)
The day really taught me the SLR photography basics and gave me the knowledge and confidence to use my camera in 'Manual' mode to get correctly exposed photos in most normal conditions.
Of course this does not make me a good photographer, but with more experience, practice and perhaps another of Tom’s workshops, I could be on my way!
The Photogenic Suzy in December 2008 (Canon 5D, 67mm, f4.5, ISO 200, 1/100 sec)