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Canon 5D Mk II Photography Blog

Phase One at Rottnest

February 7th, 2011

I was over at Rottnest the other day and i had borrowed the medium format Phase One camera and P30+ digital back.  This was the 30.5 megapixel version, the P30+ not the mega huge 60.5 mega pixel P65, but none the less, its an impressive file size and it works just the same.

The first thing i noticed was how good it feels in the hand, its well balanced and weighty enough to feel substantial but not too heavy, with the aperture and shutter dials in just the right places for the thumb and forefinger.  The one i tested had the 80mm lens on it, which is the 35mm equivalent of about a 50mm lens, rather than the wide angle lenses i prefer, but a very nice lens none the less. (click here to read about the Depth of Field dilemma of medium format)

Rottnest Island sand ripples, Rottnest Island Western Australia

Rottnest Island Sandscape 1

The auto-focus is a bit agricultural compared to DSLR like the Canon 5D Mk II, but then medium format has always been bigger and slower and the Phase One focuses where you point it so it does the job required.  There is solid thunk when you press the shutter, so you’ll never be in any doubt you’ve taken a picture and it does take a while to write to the card before you can take a second shot, so its not ideal for sports photography, but then why would you use a camera like this for sport photography? Read the rest of this entry »

More from Fourni Island

January 9th, 2011

Just for fun, here are a couple more images from Fourni Island in Greece.  Its been a quiet day here at the gallery, so i’ve had some time to play around.  More to come!

Fisherman on the Greek Island of Fourni

Netmending, with hands used to hard work

This is one of the very Friendly locals of Fourni, it’s amazing how much communicating can be done, even without a common language if you are both open to it.  I sat with this fellow for hours, had a coffee and watched him quietly mending nets.

And of course, the Churches, little chapels everywhere, some of them smaller than my bedroom.  Gorgeous!

These images were shot with the Canon 5D Mk II and the 24-105mm f4L lens

Church on the Greek Island of Fourni in the Aegean Sea

Churches are one of the many things Greece is famous for

Greek Island of Ikaria

January 7th, 2011

Last year in June/July i had the opportunity to go to Greece with my girlfriend Electra, who is Greek.  Greece is one of the places i’d always wanted to go but had never made it to… it’s a long list!  We stayed only 4 weeks, which is not long enough to really explore Greece, but seeing all of it wasn’t the objective, but to experience the life and culture of Greece a little, hear the language and eat the food…  and eat more of the food… Greek food is great, usually quite simple, but really good!

One of the places we visited was the Island of Ikaria, not one of the main tourist islands, and right over near the coast of Turkey. Ikaria was quite different to what i expected Greece to look like, and very different to the other Greek Island we visited on that journey, more on the other island later.

Trapalou Bay, on the Greek Island of Ikaria.  Greece

Trapalou Bay, on the Greek Island of Ikaria. Greece

I had always thought Greek Islands would be more like Rottnest Island,  off the coast of Fremantle, and many of them are, very rocky, dry and windswept with low scrubby vegetation and small white painted houses.  In contrast to this Ikaria is green, forested and has beautiful gorges with rivers and waterfalls, and the houses are not painted white!

One thing that was as i expected it to be was the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea with it’s amazing deep aquamarine blue colour that just invites you to jump in, which i did on many occasions, including just after making this image here, which is the bay of a tiny fishing village at the end of a long rough dusty dirt road (it was a hire car…).  I cant remember the name of the place, but when we finally arrived it was around midday and the whole town (all 15 houses) was asleep for the afternoon, so it was quite eerie, like a ghost town, we had the whole place to ourselves.  So, we went down to the bay and swam around naked! It was lovely.

By the way, this shot was taken on the Canon 5D Mk II with the 16-35mm f2.8L lens and the awesome Really Right Stuff pano head.  It’s composed of 13 portrait format shots stitched with PT Gui Pro and the finished file comes in at 1.9Gb…  It makes nice big sharp prints.

Stay tuned for more on the Greek Island of Ikaria and Greece in general.

Redgate Beach

January 5th, 2011

Finally i got some time to work up that image from Redgate Beach, Margaret River, though actually its not the same image that i posted a few months back, its a differant series a few minutes earlier, the other one i may work on some more tomorrow.

Redgate Beach in the Margaret River wine region of Western Australia

Clearing Rain, Redgate Beach, Margaret River

I  love the water movement across the foreground of this image, as the water from the previous wave rushes back out from the left to the right.

This image is 6 pairs of vertical exposures stitched and then manually HDR blended to get the light in the foreground, its shot on the Canon 5DMk II with the 17mm f4L tilt shift lens.   Its still a work in progress, but i think its coming up nicely, i may put this one up in the gallery to see what the response is.

Happy New Year by the way, they seem to come up more and more often the older i get!

Camping on the Murray River

December 22nd, 2010

Well i’ve been a bit slack lately, its been over a week since my last post,  Christmas is always a busy time though, everything seems to happen at once.  I managed to get away camping for a couple of days again, this time to a magic little spot on the Murray River just out of Dwellingup, a small town South East of Perth in the middle of the Jarrah Forest.

As a young kid we used to go camping on the Murray river at Dwellingup, its really the place where i first developed a love of the Australian bush and nature.  The forest around Dwellingup and the Murray River have a particular smell, one i have not smelled in quite a few years, yet as we drove through the town and out into the bush the smell of the forest brought back a host of childhood memories, good memories of what this place represents for me.  Its amazing how a smell can connect with so many other things in our lives, it is the key to many memories and experiences and all we have to do is catch a faint sniff to be brought back to other times past…

Wandered off the point a bit there for a while, back now.  Had a great weekend, wandering through the bush, canoeing up the river, swimming and reading books.  I gave the new F Stop camera bag a thorough field test, filling it full of camera gear tripod and water and went for a nice long walk, it passed with flying colours, great bag, highly recommend it.  I only took one photo all weekend, and this is it…

The Murray River at sunset in the forest at Dwellingup, Western Australia

Ah... beautiful. Explain to me again why i can't just stay here?

It is an 8 shot pano stitch shot on the 5D Mk II (of course) with the 16-35mm f2.8L  lens at 16mm, of the Murray River at Sunset.  actually its a 24 shot, cause it was bracketed and then manually HDR blended.

The Redgate beach pano is still coming, i’ve been a little distracted… there is also several hundred shots from Greece, Chile, Brasil, Argentina and Central America still to come, Stay Tuned!

Redgate Beach turns it on

November 16th, 2010

I just had a few days camping around Margaret River, something i haven’t done for ages.  It really is a beautiful place and a very odd site to try and build a coal mine…

The first couple of days were a bit rainy and grey, which is the perfect weather for stuff like this…

Twisted tree at Contos Beach, Margaret River region of Western Australia

Weathered Wood

Shot on the 5D Mk II with that really cool 17mm f4L tilt shift lens i keep writing about.  Seems its almost permanently glued to the camera these days, in fact most times i seem to leave the rest of my camera gear at home or in the car (heavily locked and secured of course).  I just love the texture of the weathered wood in this shot, it was really  an experiment to see just how much depth i could get with the lens tilt and an extremely close subject, and this old gnarly tree was a great subject.  By tilting the lens so the focal plane was parallel with the tree trunk i was able to keep all of it pin sharp while dropping out the background very nicely, its almost like having a field camera again, but not as big or clumsy.

By Friday afternoon the weather started to clear and i found myself down at Redgate beach again, where the sunset was just amazing!

Redgate beach Sunset as the storm clears, Margaret River region of Western Australia

Clearing sky at sunset, Redgate Beach

I had brought a very heavy bag with all my Canon gear and the 6×17 down with me (and mostly left it in the car), and although my brain told me i should take out the 6×17 and use that… stitching not being so great for beaches and moving waves… i just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Really i needed 2 tripods set up next to each other so i could shoot with both at once, oh yeah, and an assistant to carry all this gear, and a second assistant to set it all up…  Working on these lovely clean digital files has really spoiled me, its hard to go back to spending hours dusting huge scans, removing fingerprints and chemical smears that turn into whole continents when enlarged to 100%… maybe i need an assistant for that too…

This image is of course shot with the canon 5D Mk II and the  17mm f4L tilt shift lens… its actually one image of a 7 or 8 image stitch, which i haven’t done yet.  i’ll play around in the coming days and see if i can get it to work, stay tuned.

Wedding Photography and Auto Functions

October 12th, 2010

Yesterday i shot a wedding for the first time in about 7 years. It was the 10/10/10 and apparently that is a great day for a wedding, because despite the terrible weather, there were al least another 4 weddings taking place within a stones throw of the one i was photographing.

I’ve been trying to be a little creative with ways to get out from behind the gallery counter more and back behind the camera, where i love to be, so when a friend asked me if i might shoot his daughters wedding, not really expecting me to say yes… (him understanding my love of empty quiet places and general dislike of crowds.) i surprised both of us when i said, sure, why not?  Well, i had just bought the Canon 5D Mk II and was having fun taking pictures of anything and everything so it seemed like providence. Read the rest of this entry »

A question of Pixels

October 1st, 2010

All  the images on my site are shot on large format film, except one… can you pick it?   I have many thousands of negatives of all formats from 5″x4″ to 35mm in folders all over the place… so much for organised security!

I’ve had a lot of fun with film, and used more than my fair share of it over the years.  Time i moved on, so,  about 8 months ago  i bought my first real digital camera, a Canon 5D Mk II  and  i am loving it.  I recently took it with me to Greece and i just had a ball, shooting HDR images (manually blended with layers) and stitched Panos with this awesome  pano head from Really Right Stuff that i picked up a while back.  This camera is not just my first real digital, its my first camera with auto focus!  I’ve been sitting on the fence for quite a while it seems.

The last 35mm gear i had was a Leica RE with a whole bag of beautiful prime lenses, all manual focus and full manual exposure.  I think the camera had some auto exposure functions on it, but i never used them, so i have no idea if they worked or not.  I just sold this camera recently, it’s helping pay for the new setup.

I remember 12 years ago when i worked for Fremantle Black & White (Black & White lab here in Freo), and using one of the first serious professional digital cameras in the studio, it was about 1.5 mega pixels and hugely expensive.  It had a viewing screen the size of a postage stamp and was awfully slow, but even then it was clearly the way forward, though it had a long way to go.

South Beach sunset in Fremantle Western Australia

Check out the depth of field

A couple of days ago i picked up the latest addition for the Canon 5D Mk II kit, a 17mm f4L Tilt Shift lens. its a bit more like what i’m used to, being a prime lens with manual focus.  Although it’s really designed for architectural style work, the tilt and shift capabilities make it ideal for landscape due to the almost infinite depth of field possible.  I took it down to South Beach yesterday after work and had a bit of a play around, takes a bit of getting used to, but i think its going to be awesome for stitching pano images.

I think it’ll still be a while before i replace the 6 x 17 film camera, but not because i think it’s better than digital, rather, i can’t yet afford the camera that can replace it.  Anybody want to lend me $50,000?

Sunset at South Beach in Fremantle Western Australia

Both these images shot at f5.6

Manly Pool in Sydney – Without a permit!

September 1st, 2010

Sydney is such a beautiful place it’s hard not to take photos, and the clouds this afternoon were spectacular… Now where is that permit…

Tomorrow it is back to normality.

This image is Manly Pool in Sydney,  shot on the Canon 5D Mk II with the 16-35mm f2.8L lens at 16mm.

Manly Pool with looming sky

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