Play With Your Gear

Many years ago I was advised by a far more experienced photographer that whenever I got a new camera, to play with it, fondle it and get to know how it feels, where all the buttons and switches are etc even when you have no intention of using it right at that moment. Oddly as cameras have become even more complex in the digital age with far more external controls plus buttons and switches that can be programmed by the user, this has become even more true.

Of course and in my case, I have taken this a stage further and broken it into several phases the first of which is to use a new to me camera in the field first and from those experiences, build up a series of questions for further investigations via the User Manual and the web to discover exactly “Why it does that …” whatever the ‘that’ might be.

So Moving On

My Canon 1DX MkII has proved to be an excellent upgrade and perhaps the most striking thing to me using it over these past couple of months purely for still photography and at the dullest part of the year where sunlight was a rarity, is just how well the 20mpx sensor handles high ISO with very little noise.

For post production editing I use ON1 Photo Raw which has very advanced noise reduction tools within it so the prospects going forward are rather good for ‘pushing’ my 1DX in the near future.

In fact it is not just the clarity of modern image sensors but also the advances made in current post production software that is quite remarkable. I was made aware of this last week as I put together a notice for my local church that had photos of the members of one of our committees where 7 out of 8 were female and of those, 5 were over 65. Always a bit sensitive as many people don’t like pictures of themselves and especially if they have lots of ‘facial character’ shall we say.

The solution wasn’t too difficult as I always shoot in Raw, edit the images at full size where a certain amount of visual massaging can be done but then reduce the final size to 6cm x 6cm, large enough to see, small enough not to see too much. Assemble the whole lot onto an A4 page, job done and everybody happy.

So for now, I will put my 1DX to one side as I use my other camera bodies and mull over what I now know about the 1DX and where I take it next and what other peculiarities I will need to check out. Rather more by accident than design, I will want to use it in it’s video modes, may as well because I’ve ended up with rather more memory card capacity than I will need for still photography alone …

Busy Season

Easter is of course the most important Feast for all Christians so it is a busy time of the year for us all plus the weather shows signs of improving and plants and trees are now showing buds and blossoms which means that my garden will be demanding lots of attention in the very near future. Of course, gardens also offer great photographic opportunities too !

Coming back to ON1 Photo Raw, which is an American company based in Portland Oregon, they do put a lot of effort into producing video training and ‘inspirational’ video that combine what to do projects with lots of technical walk through. Now as these videos are aimed at a very broad audience, some I will ignore because they might be a bit basic, very “West Coast” etc. etc. but there will always be some that are worth taking notice of and others that are worth following through on.

A couple of weeks back there was one on using flash to produce low key portraits and that really caught my attention as in “I want to try that out”. I was short only of some black boards to use as ‘flags’ to direct the flash light however ‘Mr Amazon’ delivered a box of A2 paper/foam core panels the other day so, full steam ahead when I can fit it in !