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Category Archives: Motion Picture

Canon Is Developing 35mm CMOS Sensor For Video

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Canon is developing a new 35mm full frame CMOS sensor dedicated to video. It has 7 1/2 times more surface area than the current top-of-the-line Canon CMOS sensor. Read about the new capabilities, including low light improvements at this link.

Layover At Atlanta Airport

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Gods and Mortals

Gods and Mortals

Hello Friends and Bloggers,

During the past holiday season, I turned a bad situation into a good one. Long story short, my flight from Atlanta to Fayetteville, NC, was overbooked. I volunteered to take the next flight in exchange for a ticket voucher for a future trip. The problem was four hours of nothing to do but wander endlessly around the airport.

Santas and Soldiers

Santas and Soldiers

I gave myself a goal and decided to make a video. It ended up being a fun event, and I explored hidden corners of the airport that I never ordinarily would have. The four hours went by quickly once I had a purpose. The airline gave me a $12 dinner voucher, and my favorite traveling restaurant, Nature’s Table Bistro, happens to be in this airport. I got a great meal of balsamic chicken over brown rice and steamed vegetables for 8¢ – the price of the tax. All in all, I walked on to my next flight feeling like a winner. How can you argue with a free meal and free plane ticket? In addition, I got to shoot a video I never would have thought of doing. You can see the short video on You Tube.

In the Air

In the Air

Snow Day In Idyllwild, CA

Snow begins to fall in Idyllwild.

Snow begins to fall in Idyllwild.

There’s nothing like a snow day to make you slow down and enjoy the beauty of winter. There are always a hundred things you should be doing – laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and the like. But somehow a snow day is also a goof-off day. On December 13, I had just such a pause to marvel at nature, weather, and the things that are truly important in life. A roof over my head, a good wood burning stove to keep me warm, winter gloves, boots, and coat, and a strong manzanita walking stick.

View of the forest from my loft

View of the forest from my loft

I started taking videos of the snow fall from my deck. Take a look on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJuWzmqxW8I Then picked up my walking stick and headed out to crunch some snow. I hope you enjoy your next snow day as much as I did.

If you want to explore Idyllwild with your camera, take a look at my Idyllwild Mountains Workshop.

Send Your Best Images Competition

Hello Friends, Photographers, and Fellow Bloggers,

Just wanted to let you know that I am one of the jurors for the “Give Us Your Best Shot” competition. This photographic competition is hosted by the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. OCCCA has been in existence for 32 years, and has a exhibition space of more than 6,000 sq ft in the heart of the Santa Ana Arts District in California. OCCCA is on the list of 10 Best Museums in California, and award given by CBS Los Angeles.

The OCCCA Building below.

Image

The other esteemed jurors are Susan Spiritus, of Susan Spiritus Gallery, Kirk Pedersen, fine art publisher, and Jeff T. Alu, photographer and curator.

If you have read my past blogs, you know I am wary of photography competitions. I will never list a competition that I do not believe in. I have had a lot of experience working with OCCCA in the past, and curated “Wide Angle View” there. You can rest assured every entry will be looked at and we, the jurors will choose the best, most interesting submissions for a strong show.

So give it a shot. Expose your work to curators, publishers, and gallerists. Even if you don’t make it into the show, your photography will be seen and possibly remembered for future exhibits. The deadline is November 10, 2012. Good luck.

 

Memorial Day Gets Rained Out

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Happy Memorial Day to you.

I’ve put together a short video of the downpour that derailed my Memorial Day plans. Hope you are having better weather. Click here to view it on You Tube.

Relax – Watch A Calming Creek Video

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A creek runs through a tunnel.

Yesterday, I had the enchanting experience of sitting by a creek in the rain. The water meandered through a tunnel and emerged happily on the other side. A lonely male mallard bobbed by, unconcerned with my presence. The sound of the running water carried my worries downstream with it. Please enjoy this short video and slip away from your responsibilities.

New Generation Canon PowerShot G1X Camera

Camera lovers, I have some exciting news for you. Canon has released the new PowerShot G1X camera. It is completely redesigned from its predecessor, the PowerShot G12. I am happy that the G1X has kept a ton of manual controls. I am a photographer who uses them constantly for creative freedom. Here’s a quick run down of the improved features:

14MP 1.5″ CMOS sensor, 28-112mm F2.8-5.8 lens, Optical viewfinder, ISO 100-12,800, 3.0″ swivelling LCD, 14-bit Raw shooting, 4.5fps continuous shooting, 1929 x 1080p full HD Video in stereo sound.

There are times that it is impractical to travel with my bulky DSLR and heavy lenses. I see the G1X as a suitable substitute. I  received mine on March 5, and stayed up until 2:30 a.m. setting it up and making test shots. I can report it is a HUGE improvement over the PowerShot G12. Miles superior in low light conditions and clarity of images. I can hand hold it at much slower shutter speeds than the G12.

Take a look at the test shots and video below. Keep in mind my test shots are not attempting to be beautiful. Quite the opposite; I purposely pick bad lighting conditions to see just what a camera can handle. The photograph below was taken with Pattern Metering. No flash was used, and there was no HDR in post processing. I am pleased with the way the G1X reads the extreme lighting contrasts. This image was taken hand-held with an aperture of f13, at 1/10 sec, ISO of 400. Note I said hand-held. There is no way I could have hand-held the PowerShot G12 at 1/10 sec. The f13 aperture kept detail from front to back sharp. A note – all images were uploaded in 72 dpi, for web sharing, so unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the high res quality.

Unedited Canon PowerShot G1X test shot with pattern meter mode

The next photo was taken at the height of the day. Terrible lighting conditions from straight up above. The G1X came through once again. I used the built-in ND filter to block out some light. I expected the sky to look more washed out, but the G1X captured the pale blue just fine. Aperture Priority of f16 hand-held at 1/30 sec, ISO at 100. The front-to-back sharpness is quite good. Once again, there is absolutely no editing. This is exactly what the camera can do on its own. Keep in mind that you can use any of the wonderful color booster settings in JPG mode to give a punch to your images, but for this shot,  I wanted to see how the camera does without any of the extra settings.

Unedited Canon PowerShot G1X unedited test shot of very bright light on a landscape.

Below is a shot along the same creek, but taken late in the day with better lighting conditions. I used the camera’s Vivid color mode to boost the saturation. Aperture was at f11 with a shutter speed of 1/125 sec, ISO 400. You can see the punch it gave the greens and added a bit of warm tone to the dirt.

Unedited Canon G1X test shot using camera’s Vivid color mode

The next image displays how great the PowerShot G1X is in low light conditions. I tried this kind of shot many times with a PowerShot G12, and it just couldn’t make an image without a lot of noise and needing a tripod. The PowerShot G1X has no problem getting a clear shot in very dim light. This room was completely dark except for the light from the TV. I used Program mode that set itself to f4.5, at 1/60 sec. ISO was at 400. I used the pop up flash and set the flash exposure compensation to -2. The camera was hand-held. The resulting shot is clear and noise free.

Unedited Canon PowerShot G1X test shot of low light conditions

Next is an example of the accurate color you can get with the G1X’s White Balance settings. I took this shot in a horribly lit shower stall at a public pool. I used the Tungsten white balance setting, and you can see the clean whites & cool grays of the tiles, and vivid oranges in the swim suit. Shot hand-held with an Aperture of f2.8, at 1/40 sec, ISO 400. I am very happy with the white balance results in the PowerShot G1X.

Canon PowerShot G1X test shot using Tungsten white balance

Click here to see a short G1X test video on YouTube. This video was shot using the video setting mode, and no other adjustments. It is as if you handed the camera to your 6 year old. The results are nice considering I did absolutely nothing to enhance the video. Imagine what you can do when you utilize the advanced settings. The sound is better than expected. You can hear the whistling sound of the strong wind in places. After making this video, I added the furry gray Windjammers over the mic holes, and it stopped the whistling.

Now click here to see a video of my layover in the Atlanta Airport after editing images and using iMovie to put it together. This is a more advanced result.

If you are into nature photos and videos, click here to view a video that includes stills as well as video. This also, is a more advanced result after editing images and using iMovie.

I must say, carrying this compact beauty around was a pleasant experience compared to the heavy DSLR I normally have breaking my back. I walked 4 miles without even noticing I had a camera with me until I aimed it at a subject.

Check out the Powershot G1X and see if it is right for you. If so, here’s a link to order yours. For your information, I also ordered the following items for my G1X kit:

Extra Battery – highly recommended, as I found the battery life when using video is less that I expected.

Flash – although the pop up flash is adequate in certain circumstances, I find a hot shoe mounted flash gives much better results. This one is small and lightweight.

16 gig SDHC Card – You will need at least 16 gigs of a fast writing card for all of the photos and videos you will be taking.

Wireless Shutter Release – I use this wireless shutter release a lot. I like it because operates with radio frequency (RF), so you don’t have to have a direct line of sight. Radio waves pass through objects such as windows and walls. Be aware that there is a bit of lag time with this release, though.

Travel Tripod – This tripod is essential for travel or hiking. Very light, and folds up to fit inside a carry-on suitcase. It is designed to use for still and video. Important feature for those of us who want to shoot both without having to have two ballheads. Keep in mind this is an inexpensive tripod. It is not as sturdy or constructed as heartily as an expensive one. I recommend it for times you do not want to carry your heavy, sturdy tripod with you.

Audio Windjammers – These cut down the wind noise when you are shooting video. I shoot outdoors a lot. When it is windy, the whistling sound of the wind going into the camera’s microphone is annoying when you watch the video. Windjammers stop that sound.

Card Reader – I like this card reader to transfer my images to my computer. It reads any type of memory card out there. You don’t need to use up your camera’s battery with the USB cord if you use this card reader.

There are two things I would like to see changed. First, the battery/SD card slot is on the bottom of the camera. I use my G1X on a tripod quite often. When I need to change the battery or SD card, I have to take it off the tripod, unscrew the tripod plate, change the card or battery, screw the plate back on, then put the camera back on the tripod. Kind of a pain in the neck. Second, it would be nice if Canon bumped up the volume control play back feature for video. Sometimes I need to check what I just shot to see if there is undesired noise, like an airplane flying overhead or a car alarm going off. The volume is too low in play back mode when you are outdoors with other noises around you.

An in-depth review and lab test can be seen at Popular Photography by clicking this link.

The price is $699 USD.

Thanks for reading this review, and keep your shutter clicking.

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