This journal documents my experiences with a Canon 50D, my first DSLR camera, purchased on Oct. 16, 2008. It is a showcase for my photography, includes comments about the camera's usability, with suggestions for improvement and discusses photography-related topics.

Friday Foto: Sunflower with Bee 02


Fri Sep 04 11:02:10 2009

This photograph is actually a close crop of the original photograph. I tried several different crops— I wanted to keep the sunflower petals intact on all sides— but, I found that keeping the petals on the left and right, while cutting off the top and bottom, worked quite well.

From Friday Foto

Again, I used a shallow depth-of-field and regrettably, the center of the flower is not in focus. This photograph is also rotated CCW (you can just see the main stalk on the right) because I wanted the bee on the right hand side. I don't think anyone would notice unless it's pointed out. The shadows, hilights and mid-tone contrast levels were adjusted in PS Elements.

24 iPhone Photo Apps


Sun Sep 06 11:15:03 2009

A selection of 24 Apps for the iPhone (and iPod, soon) related to photography.

Cellphone Macro Photography


Sun Sep 06 22:37:48 2009

It is possible to take macro photographs using a cellphone and a DIY macro lens hacked from a CD/DVDROM drive.

Robert Frank's The Americans


Mon Sep 07 00:42:06 2009

The New Yorker reviews The Americans, an exhibition at the Metropolitan, of Robert Frank's famous photographs from the 1960s.

Looking in: Robert Frank's the Americans by Sarah Greenough (who curated the exhibition) and Robert Frank is available in both hardcover and softcover; the softcover edition does not include the contact sheets showing the unused photographs.

Leica M9

gear philosophy

Mon Sep 07 10:38:55 2009

The world is still deceived by ornament.
—The Merchant of Venice

The Leica M9 camera (successor to the craptacular M8) will be announced on Wednesday. It is expected to be priced, "the same as a small car".

Why do some people buy this camera? For the same reason people buy Rolex watches. Though there may be far more capable watches and cameras, the brand is more important than the product itself to those who prefer form over function.

There are a few companies that successfully balance luxury and functionality— Apple, Sony, Braun, etc.

Friday Foto: TD Tulips


Fri Sep 11 12:24:37 2009

A Tragedy Remembered

photo journalism

Fri Sep 11 12:43:33 2009

Since this is the anniversary of a tragic day, I am including a couple of photography-related links about that day. If you are easily depressed, please do not read them as they are very, very sad stories.

The first link is about Bill Biggart, a photo-journalist who died photographing the Towers and the second is about the photograph which has become known as "The Falling Man".

Friday Foto: Single Tulip


Fri Sep 18 12:56:18 2009

EF 24-105/4L at 47mm, Aperture Priority f/4, ISO1250, 1/80s, AWB.

From Friday Foto

My favourite flower-based desktop background because the entire background is nicely blurred with the flower in sharp focus. This was taken on a cloudy day (which is why the tulip is only partially open) at the parkette on Richmond, next to the Bay.

Fun Cameras: Minox, LEGO


Sun Sep 20 12:40:29 2009

Minox, who makes miniature replica Leica and Rolleiflex cameras, has announced the Digital Classic Camera 5. It is a 5MP camera with a 42mm f/3 lens.

The LEGO digital camera, 3MP, will ship in October.

Belstaff Colonial as a Camera Bag


Mon Sep 21 05:25:27 2009

I found Aaron Lam's review of the Belstaff Colonial 556, a bag I have been coveting since 2006, used as a camera bag (it is exquisitely photographed). The photographer uses a padded insert to protect the camera body and lenses.

I use a piece of stiff foam, curved into a U-shape, inside my messenger bag; there is no protection at the ends, though. I find that the foam gives the bag shape, more than provide protection for the contents— I still have to wrap my banana and apple in some bubble wrap lest it become bruised.

Wed Sep 23 02:02:48 2009 I took my camera and 50mm yesterday but didn't take the Tamrac bag— I put the camera in a Tyvek envelope, wrapped it in a piece of large-sized-bubble wrap and dropped it in my messenger bag carryall. It survived. I got some nice photos (surprisingly) despite taking only single shots.

A Photo Explained


Wed Sep 23 01:57:36 2009

Andrew Biraj, a Reuters photographer, explains how he got that amazing photograph of the woman riding the train while sitting on the couplings between two cars.

I am surprised at the amount of trial and error involved (a combination of the limitations of the 5D AF system and the shaky environment?). Would this have been a missed shot 20 years ago or would the photographers have gotten it in one or two takes (with no preview)?

Photoshop Elements 8


Wed Sep 23 06:57:49 2009

Macworld has a brief review of Photoshop Elements 8. The latest version has HDR capabilities in addition to some nifty new tricks.

Tips for Selling to Microstock Sites


Fri Sep 25 16:47:59 2009

Macworld article gives tips on the types of photographs that microstock sites are looking for.

Friday Foto: Subway Duet


Fri Sep 25 17:25:29 2009

Musicians at Union Station. EF 50mm/1.4 @ f/2.2, 1/160s, ISO1600, +1/3EV, adjusted for skin tone, cropped.

FromFriday Foto: Downtown

Returning to photography after the Summer Hiatus, my skills are a bit rusty. I forgot that for f/2.8 and below, one is supposed to focus with the center AF point.

Fri Sep 25 20:58:07 2009: This photograph is not representative of the dim lighting in the station; it is deliberately over-exposed by 1/3 stops. In the debate between photographing how something really is and photographing how I think it should be, I am beginning to lean towards the latter.

Please note I have a new album Friday Foto: Downtown, dedicated to street photography, as I did not want to mix my nature photographs with other genres.

5D2 or 7D?


Sat Sep 26 00:21:21 2009

This post by Philip Bloom may or may not help you decide between getting the 5D2 or 7D.

In the comments, I was surprised to read that the crop-factor also affects the aperture!

Sat Sep 26 13:05:58 2009: David writes:

It doesn't affect aperture, it affects depth of field (calculations):

As sensor size increases, the depth of field will decrease for a given aperture (when filling the frame with a subject of the same size and distance). This is because larger sensors require one to get closer to their subject, or to use a longer focal length in order to fill the frame with that subject. This means that one has to use progressively smaller aperture sizes in order to maintain the same depth of field on larger sensors. [...]

As an example calculation, if one wanted to reproduce the same perspective and depth of field on a full frame sensor as that attained using a 10 mm lens at f/11 on a camera with a 1.6X crop factor, one would need to use a 16 mm lens and an aperture of roughly f/18. Alternatively, if one used a 50 mm f/1.4 lens on a full frame sensor, this would produce a depth of field so shallow it would require an aperture of 0.9 on a camera with a 1.6X crop factor-- not possible with consumer lenses!

Depth of field is determined from two variables: X DoF <= Y focal length, Z aperture

If you want the same X, and your focal length is different because of the crop factor, you need to also change Z in a proportional way.

Aperture is an absolute value: f/1.8 will alway be f/1.8. It's just that focal length changes with crop factor, and so equivalent depth of field will require a different aperture for the "new" FL.

Thom Hogan: Nikon Photographer/Analyst


Sat Sep 26 13:24:33 2009

I was searching for a website I had seen many months ago which showed, graphically, how a camera metered a scene. I still haven't found it but found another one instead. That site also points to and quotes a photographer I had never heard of: Thom Hogan. In his most recent post he has thoughtful responses to reader email about his analysis of Nikon financials in a previous post:

"Nikon anticipates...the yen will continue to rise [until] March 2012." The yen has already risen over 5% from Nikon's last predicted figure for the current period. Bottom line: price increases are ahead (Canon is about to raise prices 10% in the US on lenses, more on accessories). And those price increases may be substantive if Nikon doesn't get the production costs down.

If the Canon statement is true, then I should buy the 70-200/2.8L IS now rather than later.

Sat Sep 26 20:38:48 2009: I checked the historical trend of the yen against the dollar on Wolfram Alpha and the yen is climbing.

Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967


Sat Sep 26 21:51:32 2009

A collection (signed and numbered) of photographs by Dennis Hopper is available for pre-order from Amazon.

Apocalypse Now casting makes even more sense.

Steichen Exhibition at the AGO


Sun Sep 27 10:43:55 2009

An exhibit of Edward Steichen's fashion photography (1923-1937) opened at the Art Gallery of Ontario yesterday and continues until January 3.

I am considering taking a day off and visiting.

Book Review: Understanding Exposure


Sun Sep 27 12:28:27 2009

My review of Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure gives it a score of 3/4.

luis fernandes / / Sep 2009 Canon 50D Journal