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.

World Series Gigapan


Sun Nov 01 09:26:03 2009

Apropos the previous post, David Bergman gives us another Gigapan panoramic image shot with Nikon equipment; this time it's of Yankee Stadium during a game of the World Series. The photograph took 53 minutes to complete.

The irony of the Canon ad in the bottom right corner is "priceless".

Friday Foto: Fall Morning


Fri Nov 06 14:33:07 2009

Leica f/1.0

gear lens

Fri Nov 06 23:47:13 2009

David sent along an email about a Leica f/1.0 lens:

There's a 50mm f/1.0 lens available for Leicas. They look to be about US$ 6500 new.

It also fits on Panasonic's LUMIX GF1 so you can take (HD) videos.

Leicas may be expensive, but they have lens compatibility going back farther than Nikon (whose F-mount goes back fifty years).

I am waiting for the reviews of the Leica X1 because I am considering getting one. The only thing keeping me from getting an M9 is the lack of autofocus— can a visually impaired person manually focus a rangefinder camera?

Leica X1 Gallery


Sun Nov 08 12:12:22 2009

DPReview has a gallery of Leica X1 photographs.

The first photo at ISO1600 looks very clean, but looking closely at the subject's eyes, there seem to be two softboxes (used for lighting) reflected in her eyes. So my question is, was that photo naturally lit or not? (I love peeking at the eye-reflections to see the lighting setups and sometimes, with a high enough resolution, the photographer).

The indoor portraits look great (modulo any extra lighting); the landscape photographs however, are not vibrant as Canon (the colours look true but blah) and the camera isn't as compact as I imagined or would prefer; i.e. (jacket) pocketable— it looks large even in the man's hand.

Leica X1 Review


Wed Nov 11 23:13:00 2009

Review of the Leica X1. I would have liked the review to have covered its macro capabilities.

The more I read about this camera, the more un-impressed I become. Perhaps I expect more for $2,000. I definitely expected ISO 1600 to look better, given my price/ISO correlation curve.

Friday Foto: Approaching Storm


Fri Nov 13 12:23:27 2009

From Friday Foto

This is the original photo which illustrates the post-processing (prespective correction, unsharp mask and contrast adjustment) that was done.

Today's photo is of the Toronto skyline looking West from Front Street. I took the photograph because there was a storm approaching from the west while the EDS building reflected the sunny skies behind me.

The contrast adjustment was too agressive as evidenced by the bright halo around the tops of the buildings.

Leica S2 Review


Sat Nov 14 23:16:02 2009

David Farkas reviews the Leica S2, a medium format 37MP camera in a 35mm-style weather sealed body. He was one of photographers invited to Leica HQ for a tour and preview.

Even if you have no intent of getting this camera, just marvel at the photos.

I wasn't really impressed with his M9 photographs as I was with the S2 photos which are noticeably "better".

Butterfly Portrait Lighting


Sun Nov 15 12:28:03 2009

Various lighting techniques, including butterfly lighting, are illustrated using a mannequin and lighting diagrams.

The annual Student Awards ceremony is coming up next week and my boss will be doing the photography again. I was hoping he would buy either the 50mm or the 28mm lens instead of using his 70-200 again but instead he opted to see if he could borrow either lens from the school of photography's student equipment rental depot. I was also unable to convince him to purchase a hot light and a stand or an umbrella and flash.

"Photographers and Their iPhones"

technique gear

Tue Nov 17 16:10:00 2009

PopPhoto has an article profiling photographers who have begun to shoot with their iPhones.


technique gear

Wed Nov 18 09:34:48 2009

Bob Atkins wrote an article on photographing the Moon and Jupiter using a 500/4.5L with a 2x extender tube (1600mm equivalent with 1.6x FOVCF). The Jupiter photograph is surprisingly detailed.


Wed Nov 18 18:35:45 2009

PHOTOVIDEO magazine is available for reading on Google Books.

According to the editor's comments in the last issue, the magazine stopped publication in 2008, but the past issues going back to 2005 are available for viewing.

Update Thu Nov 19 18:52:06 2009: August 2005 issue has an interview with the Woz (who used a Canon 20D (released mid-2004) at the time of the interview). Once again proving that Canon is the engineer's camera; conversely, Nikon is the artist's camera.

7D and 10D


Thu Nov 19 14:51:20 2009

Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 10D. The department chair bought a 7D with a 24-105/4L a few days ago, and yesterday my boss brought his ancient 10D with the 28-135 kit-lens. The photograph (cropped and reduced) was taken with a Nokia N95.

When he had asked for my advice, I had recommended the 5D2 and the 24-105/4L combination, but it was outside his budget. Playing with the 7D for about 10 minutes, I noticed a lot of changes from the 50D— it has even more buttons than the 50D (but engineers love more buttons); as a photographer, I would prefer less buttons.

The awards night photo album is now up. The photography was done by my boss with his 10D, a 580EXII and a flourescent light diffused with an umbrella. The department actually purchased the lighting equipment.

Uppdate Fri Nov 20 21:14:21 2009: I refer to the 10D as the Commodore 64 of cameras (a vintage piece of electronics).

Friday Foto: Raindrops on Green Leaves


Fri Nov 20 13:28:45 2009

Portfolio: Kevin Miyazaki ("Within Reach")

photos photographer

Sat Nov 21 09:17:57 2009

Proof that you don't have to leave the house or travel to exotic locales to find great photos. Kevin Miyazaki shows that they are for the taking if you just observe your home with a careful eye. There are about five pages worth (click on "Older Posts" at the bottom right of each page).

So inspiring.

(Oddly, I can't guess what camera he uses. I don't think it's a Canon. Update: In one of his posts, he mentions "sansCanon".)

Robert Cameron, R.I.P


Thu Nov 26 00:53:14 2009

Robert Cameron, an aerial photographer, passed away on Nov. 10th. I only found out about his death when I read his obituary in last Sunday's NY Times.

He is known for his Above series of books.

EF 50/1.2L


Thu Nov 26 21:59:43 2009

Another review of the Canon 50mm f/1.2L lens agrees that at wide open apertures, it does not justify the price difference over the 50/1.4.

The original review I read had similar conclusions.

I am quite happy with the quality of the 50/1.4 and I prefer it over the 24-105L whenever I want to travel light— I carry my camera in the messenger bag without the battery grip.

Friday Foto: Red Thorny Hedge


Fri Nov 27 12:34:26 2009

One of about 20 photographs, 3 of which were keepers. I wouldn't classify this as a good photograph because the background is too distracting. All the other photographs were similarily plagued with a busy background. I was just experimenting with shallow depth of field on the 50mm, hoping for a creative accident.

From Friday Foto

Rule of Thirds Gridlines

technique photoshop

Sat Nov 28 11:27:36 2009

In Photoshop Elements, you can get Rule of Thirds gridlines to help cropping photographs, by customizing the grid as follows: Edit Preferences > Grid >> Gridline every: 33 percent; Subdivisions: 1.

It helps if you choose a bright contrasting colour and solid lines.

Photoshop has a custom grid preset and the above is unnecessary.

31 Year Old Film Developed


Sat Nov 28 17:31:31 2009

Photographs of a Bob Dylan concert that lay undeveloped for thirty years were recently developed.

It remains to be seen if a CF card or a hard disk will be readable after 31 years. (Update Sun Nov 29 09:38:10 2009: or perhaps more importantly, will the information contained therein be retrievable?)

Sun Nov 29 22:40:18 2009: David responds:

Perhaps things will improve once the memristor becomes mainstream. The best introduction on how it physically works is a particular segment of this video.

"The Best Camera is the One You Have With You"

Sun Nov 29 02:37:04 2009

I wanted to find the origin of the quote, "The best camera is the one you have with you". According to my Google search, it is found in a 2001 press release for the Sony C702 and C902 Cybershot cameras:

You can use the C702 Cyber-shot in a range of different conditions, as its unique design means its both splash and dust resistant. This means that whether you’re off-road or just off to the mall, your C702 Cyber-shot phone can always be at your side wherever you go, whatever you do. After all, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Portfolio: David Solomons

photographer photos

Mon Nov 30 13:57:58 2009

Fantastic street photography by David Solomons (Flash required). He also has a album on Flickr.

I loved the sequence of photos in the Happenstance collection and the Brazil photos are amazingingly sharp; I don't know what camera/lens he used. The last photo in No Parking is very odd.

luis fernandes / / Nov 2009 Canon 50D Journal