Tag Archives: Canon 50D

Early Morning Shoot: Downtown Albany, OR

downtown Albany - low res-2 Up on Saturday morning at pre-dawn-thirty for a self mini-assignment: walk around downtown Albany and shoot a few pics – and be home before 9AM.

Note to self: Starbucks doesn’t open until 6AM on Saturdays…downtown Albany - low res-1

A beautiful morning – but it seems that I was just a bit flat – regardless of what I pointed the lens at.   Though – I did like the “cash for clunker” advertising from a downtown dealer – which definitely put a time stamp on the morning’s shoot.downtown Albany - low res-3

Gear?  The 50D and the 70-200mm f/4L.

From top to bottom:  (1) downtown Albany (2) new mural in-progress downtown (3) “cash for clunker” advertising (4) shadow on brick wall.

downtown Albany - low res-4

Bareback Riding (aka Bareback Bronc)

bareback for blog-5 8 seconds.  On the back of a horse with no saddle – the rider holds on with only one hand and spurs.

Simple, right?

Well – I can’t speak as a rider – but from  a photographer’s perspective – I think about three primary shots in bareback (as well as for Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding): (1) Pre-ride (2) Ride (3) Post ride.bareback for blog-2

Pre-ride: Pretty straight forward.  Horses, riders, gear, gates.

Ride: I look for classic, rugged, gut-wrenching, crowd-pleasing frames.

Post-ride: There’s a few options here: (1) the crash – where the rider is in the process of exiting his comfortable seat atop the horse (2) the walk – where the rider is either soaking in the glory of an 80-point ride – or is still trying to calm the ringing bells in his head or (3) the runaway horse – the scene where the horse is running around the arena (or edge of the arena).  Sometimes – the rider is still attached.

bareback for blog-6Bottom line: Bareback is a great photo op.

Gear: Long, fast-focusing lenses will really help here.  Often, small rodeo arenas put the audience close to the action.  If you’re only packing a 100mm – no worries – a little cropping will often help with that nice tight shot.

bareback for blog-1The arena in Philomath has lighting – but it’s not that bright.  In fact – from a photographer’s view – it’s startling how little light there is in there.  This year I picked up the Canon 85mm f/1.8 for when the sun dips – and the fast aperture really helped.  The rest of the time – I’m typically shooting the 70-200mm f/4L.

And frames / second can increase your chances to capture the decisive moment.  The Canon 50D shoots 6.3 fps.  That puts me at something like +50 images for an 8 second ride – and that’s OK.  I’ll typically only use 1 photo from the ride – but hopefully – it’ll be a compelling pose.  As for filtering through the images – Lightroom 2 is the tool I use.  bareback for blog-3

Keep shooting: As you shoot and make mistakes – you’ll get better.  Funny thing – I’ve been shooting this rodeo for 3 years – and this year I was still able to make a lot more mistakes.  And we’re not talking simply out-of-focus frames – we’re talking good ol’ fashion “Rats! – I should have known that”.


You can check out images from the 2009 Philomath Frolic and Rodeo here – and three years of PFR portfolio here.

Book Review: Canon 50D – From Snapshots to Great Shots

It seems lately that the books just keep flowing.

Today – I have the recently released Canon 50D – From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.  Jeff is a 25+ year pro and is also the writer behind Photowalk Pro Blog – a good blog to have in your RSS reader.

50d book coverHis new book is a solid introduction to the 50D and a guide to help you get comfortable with the custom options locked inside the little black box.

Now Revell explains more that just buttons, menu trees, and photography rules – he walks his reader through shoots.  For example – Revell introduces action photography – and then explains how to set up your camera to get the best results with a specific subject and set of conditions in mind.  He then follows that up with a topic specific assignment.  The gem here is that he’s only talking about the 50D – and can take you straight to the buttons and menus you need to be successful.

Q: S0 – who’s the audience?

A: If you happen to have a 50D and are new to DSLR’s – or if your camera is still set to the factory default settings – this book could really help you get more out of your camera.

Q: Anybody else?

A: If you’re jumping to the 50D and are not yet comfortable with it – this book just might help with that “aha” moment – and teach you how to better attack a range of shooting environments.

Q: Experienced photographers?

A: Likely not.  If you’re comfortable flipping through the menus, understand spot metering, have already experimented with curtain sync, and after a bit of shooting you’re still waffling on the benefit of the Auto Lighting Optimizer – you may not be a candidate for this book.

Now that said – I did enjoy picking through some of Jeff’s tips.  A guy with this much shooting experience – as you might imagine – has some great photography insights.

Bottom line – if you have a 50D – and you’re fairly fresh to DSLR photography or still uncertain about all those buttons – this book could really help you get more comfortable with your camera.

OHSUR 2009

The UPA Oregon High School Ultimate Championships were held here in Corvallis yesterday – and, fortunately, I was able to shoot most of the games.

ohsur 2009 - low res for blog-6 ohsur 2009 - low res for blog-5Five Open teams traveled from Portland (1), Eugene (3), and Dallas (1) to play in a round robin style tournament.  At the end of the day, Churchill HS walked out with 1st place, South Eugene HS took 2nd, and first year team, Jesuit HS, took home the SOTG (Spirit of the Game) trophy – given to the team that best exemplifies sportsmanship throughout the tournament.

A full tournament write up can be found here.  The gallery I posted for the players can be found here.

As for the photography?  Well – it was the 50D + the 70-200mm f/4 L.  And I have to admit – I’m beginning to really like those 6+ fps.

ohsur 2009 - low res for blog-1But – I did find that I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the custom in-camera Picture Style settings that I had previously selected – which are much more important for JPEG than RAW (about the only time I shoot JPEG is for sports – as it helps with fps and buffer).  Though I was able to touch up a bit in LR – a lot of the images were just a bit saturated for my taste – even though I had most everything set to +/- 0 or –1 in the Picture Style menu (I like very neutral images off the camera).  Not a show stopper – but something to keep tuning (and to monitor).ohsur 2009 - low res for blog-3

Tulip Season 2009

tulip fest 2009 - low res - for blog-3 Here in the Northwest – it’s tulip time.  Locally – folks like to head over to Woodburn for the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm.   In addition to the flowers – I also try to get a sausage from the Mt Angel Sausage Company – last Sunday they were serving their Fricadelwurst – very good.

Bottom line – I take my camera to flower festivals to remind myself that I’m not much of a flower photographer (and some hope that if I keep shooting – maybe I’ll get one or two reasonable pics) – but as my wife very much enjoys gardening and flowers – these sort of events make for a fun excursion.

If you’re set on going – I’m just warning your – at these festivals – there are a bazillion folks with cameras of all shapes and sizes – you’ll see big lenses and wide lenses, camera phones, point & shoots, tripods, reflectors, flashes, and huge photo backpacks filled with photo widgets.

Me?  Just the 50D and the 70-200mm, the Lensbaby, and the 24mm (just in case…).  This trip I only used the 70-200 and the LB – all packed into a small Patagonia shoulder bag (now discontinued) that had a small pocket for my water bottle.

A couple of notes on the day:

Note #1: A sea of yellow tulips will be troublesome to your meter.  Double check your histogram – you may need to overexpose those images to get a good shot.

For example – this B&W image of “girl in tulips” started with a girl in a sea of bright yellow tulips.  Bright yellow tulips fooled the light meter into thinking there was way too much light – and the next thing we have is a B&W image.  OK – I skipped a few steps – but you get the idea.tulip fest 2009 - low res - for blog-1

Note #2: Tulip fields are big.  Sometimes a panorama can help give viewers a sense of place – or size.  This is a Lensbaby Composer panoramic image.  I think there’s about 16 images here.   Stitched together in Adobe Elements 6 – along with some exposure and color adjustments in Adobe Lightroom 2.tulip fest 2009 - low res - for blog-4

Note #3: Likely don’t need a tripod if it’s a sunny day – unless you really have some sort of creative long exposure in mind or if it’s just easier for you to keep a camera steady with the extra support.  Halfway through the day – I kicked myself for not having the little tripod with me – it would have been fun trying to capture movement in the fields.

Note #4: Circular polarizer.  Could be very useful.  Consider putting it in your bag – especially if it’s “partly cloudy”.

So, if you’re in the NW – and you’re looking for a challenge – the tulips will be out, I think, for another week or two.

Jeremy @ Bombs Away Cafe

Jeremy at Bombs - 4 April 2009 - low res-11Saturday night had Jeremy (+ friends) down at Bombs Away Cafe – up on stage playing a mix of covers and originals.  I haven’t had a chance to catch him play in years – and fortunately – this time – I had a camera.

To hear a sample – grab the headphones and check this vid out – a long distance collaboration between Jeremy and Harold covering Moonshiner.  This is simply good stuff.

And just in case you were wondering – yes, the lighting is still bad at Bombs.  This time, I just simply went straight to ISO 2000 and figured (hoped) I could just manage the noise later.  Well – wouldn’t you know – the 50D handled it pretty well.  A little Lightroom touchup – and the photos were pretty much OK (as for noise artifacts) – though – I might stay clear of poster size enlargements…

As for lenses – pretty much my standard fare: 24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8, and the Lensbaby Composer + 0.42X wide angle attachment – at f/2.8.  And at the end of the night – many of the keepers had LB fingerprints on them.  The 0.42X wide angle attachment worked well in the small confines of Bombs Away.

Jeremy at Bombs - 4 April 2009 - low res-9

Jeremy at Bombs - 4 April 2009 - low res-14

Jeremy at Bombs - 4 April 2009 - low res-5

50 Million Lost Rally: Portland, OR

50 Million Lost - low res-9


Drove up to Portland on Sunday to shoot the 50 Million Lost Rally from 2-3 PM in Pioneer Courthouse Square.  The rally was to recognize the 50 million lives lost to abortion since the Roe v. Wade ruling in January 1973.  Police working the rally estimated the crowd at 5000 or so.

A pleasant day in Portland for mid-January.  Clear, blue skies and probably mid-40’s with a bit of breeze.

50 Million Lost - low res-4 As you might imagine, a rally this large for one voice draws an opposing voice – and sure enough, there were 50 or so protestors (my guess) talking up the other view.   Originally, they were behind the crowd, but the police had them move to the other side of the street.

Not sure who the band / group was that opened / closed the rally – but they were enjoyable.  The speakers were also good – but I couldn’t find a speaker list to post here in the blog (though I was able to get photos of many of them).

Surprisingly, I didn’t bump into too many photographers – only 6 or 8 others – and I imagine one of those was probably from The Oregonian.

50 Million Lost - low res-6Events like this can make for great photos – as they’re often filled with passionate people and signs.  Though I had three lenses in my bag – I stayed with the 70-200 f/4L – aperture priority at f/4 and ISO near 800.  I grabbed just under 600 frames over the 90 minute rally – a lot of them people with signs.

The panorama below was saved by Elements Photomerge.  I often shoot in aperture priority (and when I say “often” – I mean something like 95% of the time).  Well, in the midst of shooting from the corner of the stage – I see this probable panoramic photo in front of me – and I start grabbing frames.  I get home – and rats! – camera (of course) was in aperture priority – and, in turn, the shutter speed varies from frame-to-frame.  All I have to say is that auto blend in Elements Photomerge ironed out my oversight.

If you were there (or if you weren’t) – I’d like to hear from you – feel free to post a comment below.50 Million Lost - low res-3

The Svens

The Svens - 13 December 2008 - low res-2 The Svens are a local surf band from Corvallis, OR playing in the genre of The Ventures.  And, in between songs, they read cowboy poetry.  Seriously – I’m not clever enough to make this stuff up.   OK – maybe it’s not exactly cowboy poetry – it’s The Svens - 13 December 2008 - low res-6more cowboy story telling – an ongoing saga that is told in one hour installments – the length of one show.  On Saturday, 13 December – at Bombs Away Cafe – The Svens brought those heavy surf riffs and tales of Yukon gold to a pretty full house.  And a few times, they broke out part time lead singer, Scott.  If you missed this last show – pick up the CD – the price will be worth the surf influenced White Wedding with him anchoring those Idol-esque vocals (I’m making an assumption here that this track will make it into the final recording).  The Svens - 13 December 2008 - low res-9Story teller and lead guitar, “Viking” – is quite good – and there’s a Sven on bass, saxophone, rhythm guitar, and drums to round out the band.

The story telling is vivid and entertaining and just campy enough to be a bit witty.  After each live performance – the band jumps into the studio – gets the whole episode / play list recorded – and then moves on.  If you miss an episode (performance) – just pick up the CD at the next show – and you’re caught up!

The Svens - 13 December 2008 - low resThe Svens, to date, have been without a website, without a mailing list, and without a MySpace page to listen to their latest tracks.  But, you can find out a bit more about them here – and listen to one song and some story telling here.  This is musician Rob Birdwell’s blog – a.k.a. Sven on the saxophone.

The Svens - 13 December 2008 - low res-4As for Bombs Away – the lighting, arguably, was worse than the Valleri and Andrea show.  But, as oddly as this sounds, it was easier to shoot with less options.  And this time, I did pack that 50mm f/1.8.  Pulled it out towards the end of the show – and I’m glad I had it to complement the 24mm f/2.8.  And the 50D?  Wonderful with the low light.  I was shooting at ISO 1600 or ISO 2000 all night.  As Will commented (a.k.a. Sven on bass) – “it’s like shooting from inside a dim rainbow…”  For a few shots – I played to the noise a bit (and maybe even coaxed it out) – but the rest – I was able to clean up much of it with a little slider in Ligthtroom.

Bottom line – if you’re in Corvallis, check out the Bombs Away calendar for their next gig (31 January) – drop on in for some vintage tunes and hear tales of high drama and action with the Marshall, the Blacksmith, and Mary, all from Drake, Missouri.

Update (8 March 2009): The Svens now have their own home on the web.  Go check ’em out.

Links: Best Photos, LR 2.2, and More!

Everyone, it seems, is posting their Best Photos of 2008 list.  Here are five that I’ve found the last few days:

LR 2.2.  By now – if you use Lightroom – you’ve likely read this elsewhere – but just in case you haven’t – LR 2.2 is now available.  Those camera profiles are now out of beta. 

Blog Bits from the dusty corners of the web:

  • Photojojo talks on the end of Polaroid as we know it – and points folks to Fuji’s new Instax
  • Rod Mar, it seems, has taken a severance package from the Seattle Times – and, in turn, his Best Seat in the House blog will be abandoned.  His new blog can be found here.
  • Pentax has announced a limited edition white K2000.
  • PDN has a nifty little article on how “green editions” of magazines have been slow on the newsstands.
  • Canon has published a white paper on the 50D.  If you have a Canon DSLR – the white paper website is here.
  • Radiopopper has announced their next generation of products.  These could be very cool.
  • Trendwatching.com has released their December report on “Half a Dozen Consumer Trends for 2009”.
  • And, if you just have to get yourself a warm cup of champurrado during the Christmas season – you can find a recipe here.

50D + Lightroom 2 = Noise?

“What the…?”

“OK – maybe there’s a knob to turn in LR2…”

“OK – maybe the camera was dropped in shipping…”

And then I started to rip through Scott’s LR2 book looking for answers. 

“Camera profiles… beta… Adobe labs website…” 

It wasn’t looking good for the home team. 

(Note: Speaking of the home team – the Blazers just got beat at the buzzer tonight by the Magic… rats.)

“Download and install camera profiles from Adobe Labs.”

Look at photos one more time.  “Whew!  That was a close one…”

So, what happened here? 

Uploaded a bunch of raw (CR2) “family goes hunting for Christmas trees” photos followed by raw (CR2) “family assembles captured Christmas tree” photos – followed by “Hey, wait a minute!  What’s up with that noise!  The 20D never did that.  Isn’t the 50D supposed to be better than the 20D?  What the…?  Doggone it.”

Then out came Kelby’s book and some DPReview forum hopping and a download of beta 2 camera profiles from Adobe and faster than Emeril can say “BAM!” – photos were looking better.

Also, note, I had previously updated LR2 to 2.1 (by the way – I kept seeing references to a 2.2 in December…) – but the beta profiles didn’t upload with the update.  You have to go get those yourself. 

Oh, and if you have Scott’s book – his images show the model number of his camera (pg. 212) – according to Adobe’s FAQ – newer versions went away from this (if I’m reading this correctly):

Are the new profiles camera-specific?

Yes. Every profile that we build is camera-specific. Even the older profiles (e.g., ACR 3.3, ACR 4.4) are camera-specific. In fact, the profile menu in CR/LR will only show profiles for your camera. Note that the profiles you see in the profile menu do not include the camera’s model name (e.g., Canon EOS 40D). This is intentional (for several reasons).

So, if you’re a 50D shooter and a LR2.1 user – save yourself some anxiety and go get those beta profiles.