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: Six Icicles


Fri Feb 06 00:02:22 2010

Icicles on a TTC shelter at Front and Bay. This photo straddles the boundary between Nature and Urban. Although the subject is naturally occuring, its location is urban. I finally decided on Nature because at first glance, it's not obvious that there is a man-made object in the photograph; the only clue is in the filename.

Macro Kingdom


Fri Feb 05 16:09:31 2010

A movie of macro scenes filmed with a Canon 5D2 and an MP-E 65mm (a lens I'd never heard of until now.)

Watch in full screen.

Fixing in Photoshop

technique photoshop

Sat Feb 06 09:25:29 2010

Two (mis-named) Photoshop tutorials (the Golden Hour is not a myth.) by Peter Flynn, on using Layer operations to enhance photographs taken in non-optimal light; i.e. outside of the Golden Hour.

The first tutorial, using layer multiplication, can be done in Photoshop Elements. In the second tutorial (in two parts), only the individual channel enhancements are not possible in Elements.

I tried the technique demonstrated in the first tutorial using one of my photos with harsh lighting (taken with the Canon S30 in Landscape Picture Style) and it worked relatively well. The improvement is more evident in the enlarged image. I haven't decided whether I prefer the second photo (simple contrast adjustment) or the third (layer multiplication) where the buildings in shadow are darker and the sky is bluer.

A comparison of the original photograph (left) with one where the contrast has been adjusted (middle) and the other where the layer multiplication technique has been used (right; note that even though the perspective has also been corrected and the image sharpened, it shouldn't affect the comparison).

Update Sat Feb 06 15:51:19 2010: Since I wanted the sunlight glinting off the tower on the left to remain in the photo, I stopped the prespective correction just short of vertical.

Toronto Before/After: Public Phones


Sat Feb 06 13:36:07 2010

From Friday Foto: Downtown

The photograph of the public phones at Church and Shuter, at left, was taken in Feb. 2005; the one on the right was taken yesterday (left, Canon S60; right Canon S30). It seems the location has regressed technologically as a telecommunications hub— from telephones to carrier pigeons.

Looking back at the 2005 photograph, I regret not taking a wider photograph that gave a better overall feel for the corner.

There are fewer public phones in Toronto than before. They are typically located on public parking lots. I only know of one phone booth (which I should photograph before it too disappears); the others are kiosks. The long banks of telephones at Union Station have also disappeared.

Filice Quinto, R.I.P.


Wed Feb 10 09:34:47 2010

Filice Quinto, a renowned celebrity photographer who is said to have inspired the character Paparazzo in Federico Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita, has died aged 80.



Wed Feb 10 17:06:57 2010

A featurette from the Criterion DVD of Ché, about the RED Digital Cinema Camera.

Friday Foto: The Spectator


Thu Feb 11 23:28:32 2010

When I arrived at Union Station, on my way home one evening, I noticed this couple at the corner and took a few shots. The woman noticed me and glanced over, and then laughed, but the guy ignored me completely. I didn't even notice the spectator until I was reviewing the photograph on the computer. He adds a completely new dimension to the composition.

I should also note that the bus shelter in the background was featured last week, in the photo with the icicles.

High-Speed Video Technique


Thu Feb 18 07:34:43 2010

A really clever technique (still in the research phase) for recording high-speed video using consumer-grade equipment, invented by Gil Bub of Oxford University.

Friday Foto: Ladybug on a Branch


Fri Feb 19 00:19:20 2010

Life moves pretty fast. You donít stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
—Ferris Beuller

This was a completely lucky shot. On my way to the GO Station I spotted this bush and I liked the way the sun fell on it, so I went over to photograph it and there was a ladybug on the tip of one of the branches. I only took one photograph (I typically took three photos and picked the best one) and it turned out absolutely perfect.

Taken in 2005 with my Canon S60, after three years of photography, it was the first photograph that I used as a desktop background and one worthy of printing as an 8x10 or poster sized.

EVIL cameras


Sun Feb 21 15:35:27 2010

When I shoot with the DSLR, I miss the features of a point-and-shoot— unmistakable focus lock, portability (having it with me every day), simple controls; when I shoot with the point-and-shoot, I miss the DSLR features— large sensor, low noise, interchangeable lenses, excellent low-light capabilities.

Up until a few months ago, my next camera was going to be the 1Ds4, but recently, after taking my old Canon S30 out and about, I began re-considering my decision. (I would have bought the Leica M9 but I cannot use a camera without autofocus as I am practically blind.) My next thought was either the Panasonic or Olympus M4/3 with Leica lenses, but from I've read of the Luminous Landscapes field reviews, both cameras have shortcomings and a camera that combines the best of each hasn't been released yet.

Samsung's announcement of a point-and-shoot with an f/1.8 lens and Sony's recent announcement of a mirrorless, APS-C sized camera with interchangeable lenses started me wondering when Canon would enter the arena.

It's only a matter of time.

Update Sun Feb 21 20:08:53 2010: The Canon S90 is not in consideration (despite the f/2.0 lens) because it doesn't shoot HD video.

Photographing Roger Ebert


Mon Feb 22 09:18:57 2010

Ethan Hill describes the process.

Rule No. 1


Mon Feb 22 12:36:41 2010

The Big Picture has a look at the backstage antics of Fashion Week. Photograph No. 20 illustrates my first rule of photography perfectly— one photographer with a ring flash and the other with a softbox, while the model holds a home-made reflector.

Pentax Optio W90 Rugged Camera


Wed Feb 24 21:25:32 2010

I'm keeping an eye on the the Pentax W90 camera to give the kids, who are prone to dropping everything and otherwise abusing their "toys". I also considered the Olympus Exlim rugged model but the rubberized panels on this camera and the LED lights are an interesting feature.

I don't really care about the quality of the photos; the camera's longevity is more important.

Friday Foto: Clockwork-motif Awning


Fri Feb 26 08:14:49 2010

A new condominium complex in downtown Toronto with clockwork-related architectural details. It is rare to see a developer adding purely aesthetic details to a project.

DIY Garage Photo Studio

technique gear

Sat Feb 27 08:01:02 2010

A detailed article with details about setting up a product (bicycles, in this case) photography studio in a garage, at minimal cost.

Sony Interview

Sat Feb 27 21:41:39 2010

A great interview with two Sony executives covering various topics ranging from sensor technology (back-side illumination), camera usability (most consumers shoot in full-auto (green rect) and don't even bother with the preset scene modes so now, Sony cameras try to automatically determine the scene) to Twilight Mode, "Hand-held Twilight Mode is a Sony feature whereby the camera snaps several short exposures in rapid succession, then micro-aligns and combines them to add the brightness and reduce the image noise. The result is that users can hand-hold exposures as long as a half-second or so, without blurring from camera shake."; what a great idea!

Portfolio: Trey Ratcliff

photographer hdr

Sun Feb 28 08:39:39 2010

HDR is about light; itís not about color.

HDR photography done really well. Trey Ratcliff was recently invited to Google to promote his book, "A World in HDR"; of course, he took HDR photographs of the Googleplex.

He also has a tutorial.

Sun Feb 28 15:15:23 2010: David writes:

I find most HDR cartoonish and silly-looking, including just about all of the pictures on Ratcliff's page. The lantern photograph on Jeffry Friedl's page is an example of a good use of it.

Agreed that Friedl's photos are far more natural looking than Ratcliff's but I think they had different aims. Like computer-generated special effects in movies, the best use of HDR is when it goes unnoticed and appears quite natural. Most of Ratcliff's photos have the "HDR look" but I think it is deliberate; they are not at the extreme end of the HDR spectrum.

luis fernandes / / Feb 2010 Canon 50D Journal