Category Archives: Photography

General photography natter — gear, thoughts, ideas, and the odd photo.

New Gear: Canon Extender EF 1.4x II

Canon Extender EF 1.4x II

When I got the 100-400 yesterday, I also picked up the 1.4x teleconverter to go with it.

With this teleconverter, the lens is turned into a massive 140-560mm f/5-8 super zoom. I can’t imagine how using this lens with the 2x would be!

So, after happy hour tonight, I took the lens out and shot some images of the moon, for comparison to the one shot yesterday with the teleconverter. You can see the difference in the size of the disc yourself. (I still need more practice shooting the Moon to get the exposure right.)

Luna  (Click to enlarge)

The other thing that was pretty amazing was that I was able to shoot Jupiter (which was in conjunction with the Moon tonight) and see the moons on the image! No scope, no nothing extra. I am shocked! I need more practice, and to figure how best to do this regularly, but with a dark sky (which tonight wasn’t), I bet shooting Jupiter and it’s moons would be easy pickings.

Simply amazing!

Obviously, f/8 at 560mm means that a tripod is helpful, although the IS helps with that, and it means that a lot of light is needed, but…. wow!

New Gear: Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L USM IS


Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L

I’ve been selling a bunch of things on eBay, and finally got up enough money to buy the long lens I’ve been wanting for a while: the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L!

Being L glass, this lens was touted as one of the best for airshows, birding, and other nature photography. Supposedly the IS (Image Stabilization) technology really made the lens nice to use, hand-held, even at the 400mm. I have to admit that I was skeptical that it could live up to all the claims.

I brought it home, and the first thing I noticed was that it was sharp — really sharp — through the viewfinder. And, as I shot more and more with it, I realized that what I had read was right. This was a great lens, and really delivered on the promise of high quality optics (L glass), fast, accurate focusing (USM) and the ability to keep the “wiggle” out of hand held photos (IS).

Luna  (Click to enlarge)

This is really a remarkable lens.

So what am I gonna do with it? Well, our vacation’s coming up in just a week, and I would really like to shoot all manner of flora and fauna with it. I’ve been practicing, and I think I’m getting better at using it, and figuring out how and when to use the IS, and how to focus manually when needed.

New Gear: Domke F-2 Camera Bag


A co-worker of mine is simplifying his photography setup, and is selling one of his bodies, and a Domke F-2 bag.

Now, I’d never heard of Domke — although I understand now that they are one of the better bags out there.

Anyway, I picked up his F-2 today for $60, and I feel like I stole it — that is one nice bag! There’s more than enough space for my 10D, even with a lens on it, plus four lens, filters, batteries, and a little room to spare.

I really like that it’s canvas, rather than nylon. It just has a better feel to it — more sturdy, and ready for the big ol’ outdoors.

Wow. Absolutely wow.

New Gear: Canon 16-35/2.8L


Today, I got a little sharper… well, a little sharper wide angle lens, anyway!

I finally traded in my trusty Sigma 17-35/2.8-4.0 wide angle lens. It’s been a good lens, but there are times when it just doesn’t perform like I would like. In particular, I’ve noticed that group photos (15-20 feet away) were soft around the edges, which created quite a bit of work for me in Photoshop to correct.

So, I took that lens, my $60 gift certificate from Creve Coeur Camera, and bought a Canon 16-35/2.8L. Yes, I have succumbed to the hype and salesmanship, and purchased L glass. Admittedly, it’s not the most expensive lens in the world — I’ll never have those! — but it is reportedly a good lens, very sharp, and not as prone to softness around the edges.

Given that we’ve got a big trip to the desert southwest in about five weeks, I’m sure I’ll have a good chance to give it a workout on landscapes.

Of course, now I have a whole bunch of 82mm filters that are surplus to me…. need any 82’s?

Soaring Eagles

Beck and I went to Winfield again this today to watch and photograph the eagles. We also took Sio — her first eagle spotting, I think.

They were still there, despite the warmer, calmer weather. I expect they’ll be gone soon, as they were listless, almost bored and not fishing much. I assume they’ll continue north to cooler climes soon.

I keep running into other 10D owners, and notice that I have the smallest lens of all. I have lens envy! Seriously though, my 200mm and 1.4x teleconverter (280mm effective at f/4.0) just don’t cut it for the faraway stuff. I think a prime 400mm would be great, but I may try a little 500mm f/8.0 cheap lens and see what that buys me before investing the kind of money a 400mm prime will run.

So, the photos aren’t quite as good this time, but that’s the way it goes!

Digital Camera are Dangerous!


ABC News is tonight reporting that the use of digital film and media is threatening our photographic memories and photographic history.

Ok, so it was just a sensationalistic “headline” to get you to watch to the end of the news — I guess it worked, ’cause I stopped to watch.

As it ends up, they were really trying to get their hands around the issues of archiving digital images, especially given changing formats over time. The other issue they brought up was that of “on the spot” editing — deleting images at the time of shooting, and throwing away images that, at the time, seemed to have no value. With negatives, there’s less of a chance of a casual deletion, so it was reported, because the negatives were filed away in toto, so you kept the bad with the good, the valuable with those shots not quite so “on target”.

Myself, I save almost anything that is in focus and not terribly washed out or darkened. I have three copies of my archive on three different disks that live in three different devices, and I burn copies on DVD or CD. I guess that’s why I’ve got 30,000+ photos archived from the last year or two!

So, toss out your digital cameras! Crush your CF’s and SD’s beneath your heel, and move backward into the morass of film-only in the off chance that just might threaten history with your actions in the present! 🙂