Monthly Archives: February 2016

Canon 14mm & 24mm Lenses and A Trip To Brazos Bend State Park, Texas

(Note:  this is not a full, thorough, pixel-peeping review of either lens.  If you are looking for that, you won’t find it in this post).

14mm View of Creekfield Lake Other Side2

A 14mm View of Creekfield Lake, Brazos Bend State Park, Texas (Canon 5DSR body)

I recently purchased a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II lens from Lensauthority and wanted to try it out at Brazos Bend State Park, here in Texas.  I live about 25 minutes away from the park and this was the perfect venue for some super-wide angle shots.  I loaded up the Canon 5DS and 5DSR camera bodies with these lenses and hit the road.

You might not think there is much difference between a 16-35mm and 14mm lens, but there actually is.  It’s not huge, but it’s still a difference.  And, in retrospect, what I should have done was take along the 16-35mm lens to show that difference.  Maybe next time.

I like prime lenses.  I know that many reviews say the newer versions of the zoom lenses are just as sharp as the primes.  But I still think prime lenses are a teeny bit sharper (although I do love my 24-70mm and 16-35mm  lenses which I travel with exclusively).

I like the 14mm lens for the interesting perspective such a super-wide gives.  It’s perfect for landscapes and for architecture (interior views, especially).  This lens is going with me on my late March Big Bend National Park trip to photograph the cactus blooms.

14mm View of Creekfield Lake

Another  14mm View of Creekfield Lake, Brazos Bend State Park, Texas (Canon 5DSR body)

I also purchased a Canon 24mm f/1.4L II lens from BH Photo.  It’s not the super-wide angle that the 14mm lens is, but it’s a gorgeous lens nonetheless which produces wonderfully sharp images, and I find that I use the 24mm focal length quite a bit for my landscapes.  As I mentioned earlier, I do like the primes (although the zooms are far more practical to take on a trip, I admit).

24mm View of Creekfield Lake Other Side

A 24mm View of Creekfield Lake, Brazos Bend State Park, Texas (Canon 5DS body)

So the 24mm lens is going along with the 14mm lens to Big Bend National Park.  As is my Canon 100mm macro lens and my Canon 100-400mm lens.  Aside from the telephoto, this next Big Bend trip is going to be a prime lens-kind of trip.

24mm View of Creekfield Lake

Another 24mm View of Creekfield Lake (cropped just a little to make it more panoramic-ish), Brazos Bend State Park, Texas (Canon 5DS body)

 

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Filed under 5DS, 5DSR, Brazos Bend State Park, Canon, Canon 14mm f/2.8L II, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon Lens, Equipment, Landscape, Parks, Photography

Happy New Year, London – It’s 2016!

Happy New Year From London

My last post described my New Year’s Eve experience in London.  This post shows you the results.  The fireworks display lasted around 11 minutes. I used my Canon 1DX and 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, set the ISO to 5000, shutter to 1/50 of a second, aperture was f/4 and I just left it at that for these photos.  I had to use some noiseware (Imagenomic) reduction software during the editing phase.

Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year Longon 2-15-2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016

Some of these images bring to mind an abstract painting.  All of these images bring to mind an incredible event.

 

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Filed under 1DX, Canon, Canon Lens, holiday, London, New Year, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Vacation

Countdown to 2016

Countdown

I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a previous post or not (without going back and re-reading my posts), but the main reason I took a December vacation to London was because I saw a photo, earlier in the year, of the 2015 fireworks over the London Eye. I was so taken with that image that, as a photographer, I knew I had to be right there for the 2016 fireworks.

In case you aren’t aware, they now ticket this event (£10), and if you don’t have a ticket to present at the event, you don’t get in.  After I’d purchased and received my ticket to the Embankment (blue) section, it turns out the hotel at which I stayed bestowed to its guests wrist bands to the same section, lol.  I definitely was assured entrance to the event.

I spent about 45 minutes waiting my turn to go through security at the first checkpoint, and then went through a couple more checkpoints before being lucky enough to squeeze in between a Chinese tourist on one side and a family from the Midlands on the other.  I then waited 4 hrs 15 minutes in that same spot (no, I never once felt like I had to pee, thank goodness).  I could feel the press of the crowd behind me.  I had a nice visit (should I say “chat” instead?) with the young lady behind me and the father of the family beside me.

Color On The ThamesColor On The Thames

During the long, chilly wait, a kaleidoscope of colors kept splashing against the London Eye and the buildings beside that iconic landmark.

A Line Of Lit Smartphones

At one point, to keep the crowd from getting too restless (remember, it was a 4-hour wait), the speaker challenged us all to turn on our smartphones and show the bright screen to the sky and the BBC helicopter.  To the right of the London Eye in the image above is a line of bright smartphones all along Westminster Bridge.

And then, the countdown …

OneHappy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016

The show was INCREDIBLE!  And I was right there in front, taking it all in.  I can’t describe what a cool feeling that was – all I can say is that every time I stare into space and think about the fireworks, my smile gets wider and wider.  When I do this at work, people wonder what the hell is going on with me (grin).

Oh, and that white semi-circle you see in the mid-left portion of the photos:  that’s the waning gibbous moon.

Happy New Year London 2016

I’d capture a series of photos with my Canon 1DX and 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, then take the camera away and drink the experience in with my eyes, then take some more photos.  I did this for the next 10-11 minutes as the fireworks and music and cheers and ooohs and ahhs carried on around me.  At one point, I remember looking down at the young son of the family next to me standing a little bit in front of me, who in turned looked up at me to see me with wide eyes and a silly grin on my face as I watched this spectacular pyrotechnic display.

These photos are just the start.  I captured a gazillion different fireworks images that I’ll publish in the next blog post (ok, maybe not all gazillion of them, but a few).

Happy New Year, London and Everybody!

 

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Filed under 1DX, Canon, holiday, London, New Year, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography

Tour Eiffel: Variations On A Theme

Becky In Paris

For almost 20 years, I’ve wanted to go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower.  Nothing else – all I wanted to do was just see in person that iconic landmark.  While staying in London, I knew I would be so close to Paris that I might as well just book a seat on the Eurostar and hop over to France for a couple of days.  Below are variations on a theme, from sunrise to sunset over the course of 2 days (actually, just a day-and-a-half, not counting the travel time from London to Paris).

Sunrise In ParisSunrise At The TrocaderoEnjoying The View At The TrocaderoTour EiffelMorning Light On The Eiffel TowerThe Crowd Under The TowerThe Eiffel Tower And The Trocadero BeyondThat Which Makes The Eiffel TowerThe UnderbellyA Morning Walk Along The SeineTour Eiffel At DuskTour Eiffel At NightEiffel Tower Theme 3Eiffel Tower Theme 2Eiffel Tower Theme 1Sparkling Tour EiffelSparkly Tour EiffelEiffel Tower Theme 4Night View From My Paris RoomBecky And The Eiffel Tower At Night

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Filed under Night Photography, Paris, Photography, Travel

A Visit To The Shard – Day 4 Dec 26

Splitting The Sky

Continuing my 8-day stay in London.  The museums and many of the other sights were closed the day after Christmas, “Boxing Day” in the UK, but I had tickets to the observation floors in the Shard.  Yes, that’s two tickets.  As a photographer, I naturally wanted to see the view during both the day and at night.  Worth the price, IMO.  The view is amazing, both day and night (although I believe I liked the day view better).

During the first visit, I walked all the way there, stopping at Southwark Catherdral to capture a photo before continuing on. (I wised up and took the Tube for my night visit).

Southwark Cathedral

Morning is an excellent time to go to the Shard.  Crowds are minimal to practically non-existent.  My ticket was for 10:00am and I think during my time there, I could count maybe 10-15 people at most.  By the time I left, the crowd was starting to build.

Within The ShardThe View To The WestThe View Towards The East

Soft new-age mood music played both during the day and night.  You could visit two floors.  One is the main observation floor, totally enclosed.  Heading up a couple of short flights of stairs brings you to the 72nd floor where, while you are still safely enclosed, the top and sides have open spaces and you can feel and hear the cool wind filtering through.  It’s a neat feeling and I was a little sweaty after my walk there, so the breeze was a welcome relief.

Night View From The Shard Looking WestNight View From The Shard

The night view was lovely, but a little more crowded.  The inside of the viewing areas is lit with a little bit of mood lighting (as well as mood music) in the enclosed observation area, so photos without reflections are a little more difficult to achieve.  I brought along my polarizer filter thinking that would help, but it did not.  Artful cropping helped to an extent.

If you ever visit London, I recommend a trip to the Shard. It’s not free, but the view is amazing.

Becky In The Shard

 

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Filed under London, Photography, Travel