Tag Archives: 24-70mm

Soon, Soon ….

Just Before Sunrise

Usually, I don’t travel to any national park with high expectations. I even wrote an article in the National Parks Traveler about the rewards of lowered expectations.  I know it’s going to be rainy, overcast, snowing, probably the roads will be slick, and there might even be another f***ing government shutdown while I am there. Nonetheless, I am stoked to be returning to Yellowstone National Park in a few days for 8-1/2 days of  fall photography. For a portion of that time, I’ll be staying at the historic Old Faithful Inn, and will definitely get some interior architecture images of that beautiful lodge. I so wanted to do this during my short summer stay (2-1/2 days) during my road trip move from Texas to central Washington, but the inn was full, the crowds were YUGE, and I ultimately needed to get back on the road again to my sister’s home.

I’ll be taking 3 cameras with me and an assortment of lenses: my Canon 5DSR, Canon 1DX Mk II, and Pentax 645z. I’ll take the Canon 16-35mm, 14mm, 24-70mm, 24-105mm, 100-400mm with a 1.4x extender, Pentax 28-45mm, and Pentax 55mm lenses. No need to tell me it’s going to be a heavy backpack I take onto the plane with me. I already know that. I had to pack one of my lenses into my laptop bag, which will also be carried onto the plane.  Hey, I don’t know when I will be able to return to Yellowstone, so might as well bring as much as I can carry and that’s allowable on the plane, because I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Plus, I’ve broken lenses before while traveling (Hawaii comes to mind), so I’m being a little redundant with one of the lenses. I decided on this instead of trying to work around taking my Canon 500mm lens. As it is, I’ll probably forget something, even though I’ve written a list of things to pack.

Soon, soon, I will be back inside America’s first national park. Can’t wait!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under 1DX Mk II, 24-105mm, 24-70mm f2.8L II, 5DSR, autumn, Canon, Canon 14mm f/2.8L II, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, HD PENTAX-DA645 28-45mm f/4.5 ED AW SR Lens, National Parks, Pentax 645z, Pentax Lens, Pentax-D FA 645 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW Lens, Photography, Seasons, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Sunrise Over Desert And Mountains

Sunrise Over Desert And Mountains

Big Bend National Park is out in a remote portion of southwest Texas. But if you can get there, then you won’t be disappointed with what you see. This national park is full of interesting volcanic geology and gorgeous landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Chisos Mountains. Sunrises are lovely here. This shot was taken right off the side of the road, not looking toward the rising sun, but instead, toward the mountains and desert which the winter sun gilded.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 24-70mm f2.8L II, 5DSR, Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Geology, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, sunrise, Texas, Travel, winter

The Long, Dusty Road Through The Park

The Long Dusty Park Road

The long, dusty road through the park, Denali National Park & Preserve
 
Happy Monday! Hope the beginning of the workweek for the majority of you doesn’t feel like a long dusty road toward the next weekend.
 
This shot was taken a few years prior, during a trip I took to this national park. This was captured on a bus at the end of my stay there, on the day we were heading back to the visitor center. The road through the park is 92 miles long and gravel for most of the way, so the trip itself takes about 3-4 hours, including any stops along the way for photos.
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 24-70mm f2.8L II, 5D Mk III, Alaska, Canon, Canon Lens, Denali National Park, National Parks, Photography, Travel

Peering Into The Lowland Forest

Peering Deep Into The Forest

It’s Forest Friday! Yeah, still trying to work on those alliterative terms for the photos and days of the week. Sometimes it works, other times are iffy.

As for this image, when I was growing up, even into my early 30’s, I was never really interested in the forest. Hiking through it was boring and a means to an end of getting to some awesome mountain vista. Then, my digital camera days began, and things changed. I began to actually observe my interior forest surroundings. Even though green has never been a favorite color of mine, I began to discern all the myriad shades of green a forest possesses. I began to see the different mosses on the trees and nurse logs, and I began noticing fungi, from large, dish-shaped ones to teeny tiny delicate little ‘shrooms growing out of the side of a decaying log. That digital camera opened up a new world for me – one that had always existed but for which I never had much time or inclination to explore, and I began to actually *observe* my forest surroundings, which, in turn, has made me a much better photographer.

If you look at this image and keep peering at it and through it to as far as your eye can make out, you’ll see all sorts of different colors and textures and patterns, thanks to the waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 24-70mm f2.8L II, 5DS, Canon, Canon Lens, Equipment, forest, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, nature, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Travel, Washington State

Sunrise Saturday

Sunrise Over Inspiration Point

Upper Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

No, I’m not in Bryce Canyon. I’m instead going through a few archived shots and using them to create HDR images.

For those of you who have never been to Bryce Canyon National Park, sunrises at Upper Inspiration Point are amazing. Actually, sunrises anywhere in this park are amazing. There’s Inspiration Point, and there’s *Upper* Inspiration Point, accessed via a very steep, but short hike on a very well-maintained trail a little further up along the Rim Trail from the regular Inspiration Point view area.

I used a single image and then copied it a couple of times, using different exposure settings. I then combined all those images into HDR. The reason for this is because I did not bracket my original shots (which I should probably do more often, for when I want to use HDR), and because I handheld the camera. The fence at Upper Inspiration Point is just a little too tall for me to stand on tiptoe with my tripod, trying to look through the viewfinder. There was a tall guy standing next to me with his tall tripod, and he didn’t have any problems. I did. So, instead, I handheld the camera and used the “burst method” of holding down on the shutter button for several clicks. I knew out of all those shots, at least one of them would be nice and sharp. The caveat with the burst method is that it takes up space on the memory cards, so I always bring lots of extras with me, in varying sizes of 16GB to 128GB.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under 24-70mm f2.8L II, 5DS, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, HDR, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, summer, sunrise, Travel

Waiting For Sunrise In HDR

A North Rim Sunrise HDR

Waiting for sunrise on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

In an article I wrote for future publication in the National Parks Traveler, I mention HDR, what it is, and what it produces. I had to create an example, so I used the free download of Photomatix. I’ve used Photomatix before, pretty much with all the computers I’ve ever owned. Of course, I didn’t have it on this laptop I’m currently using, so I bought it and downloaded it in order to not have their watermark show up on the finished product. While I am not a huge fan of HDR, I will admit it can produce some very nice results, if the hand wielding the preset controls is judicious with the edits. Most of the time, though, I see more overdone HDR images than nice, naturalistic HDR images. Practice makes perfect, in everything including working with HDR, so I’ll be working on this aspect of photography a little more, hence today’s example.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under 24-70mm f2.8L II, 5DSR, Arizona, Canon, Canon Lens, Grand Canyon National Park, HDR, National Parks, North Rim, Photography, Seasons, summer, sunrise, Travel

The Dawn Of A New Weekend

The Beginning Of Sunrise

The beginning of sunrise at Upper Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
It’s the dawn of a new weekend, folks. What are your plans? Eventually, mine will include a trip up to Mount Rainier, but for *this* weekend, my plans are to help around the house with some rebuilding while feeling thankful that I have an intact home,  electricity and that I’m not surrounded by the aftermath of a hurricane.
 
The weather is beginning to feel more like fall, here in Central Washington. It’s 46 degrees F this morning! Soon, the leaves will begin to change color. I’m loving it.
 
As for the photo, this shot was captured handheld. Usually, I’d have a tripod with me for sunrise images, but on this morning, I just didn’t feel like lugging a heavy tripod up a steep trail to reach Upper Inspiration Point. Instead, I used my hiking pole to help me get up to this view area, then set the camera’s ISO to 320, the aperture to 7.1 and the shutter speed to 1/30 and used the burst method of holding down the shutter button to get several shots. 320 is not a very high ISO for a handheld shot in low light, so I was surprised, myself, that the photo turned out well. I did have to do a little post-process lightening to bring out the geologic structures below the horizon, and I also applied some noise (grain) removal to the shot. Because I was using the 24-70mm lens, there was no image stabilization I could apply. While this speaks well for just handholding a camera, I still am a strong adherent of using a tripod under most circumstances – particularly since there are some techniques that require a tripod (like time-lapse photos and slow shutter speed images for silky water or surreal clouds or most low-light situations, really).
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, Equipment, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, summer, sunrise

Capturing Color, Pattern and Texture in your Images

Colors Textures And Layers

Layers of sunset colors, patterns and textures at Sunset Point in Bryce National Park, Utah

Back in April, the National Parks Traveler published my latest photography article, which dealt with finding color, pattern and texture in your national park images.  In the article, I described several techniques I always use when highlighting one or all three of these properties in my photos.  If you want to know more about those techniques, click on the photo above to be taken to the article.

Note:  The image above was captured with a Canon 5DSR and 24-70mm f2.8 lens at Sunset Point this past April, 2018

 

 

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Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, National Parks Traveler, Parks, Photography, Travel

My New Little Mini-Studio and Fun with the Christmas Lights

studio-2_small

My unwavering goal in life is to eventually move out of southeast Texas and back to Washington State to live close to my sister and her family.  With that in mind and because it feels like I am actually doing something toward that goal, I have donated lots of clothing and other items to the local hospice thrift shop and  boxed up (and continue to box up) items in my apartment that I don’t use much but don’t wish to part with at this point in time.  Over the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday, I managed to move most of the boxes off of my apartment’s spare bedroom floor and into the spare storage closet, leaving enough room in said spare bedroom for a tiny studio, complete with 2 studio lights & umbrellas, black bedspread backdrop and a black covered table.  So tickled was I with this setup that I decided to take a break from housework for the weekend and have some fun with glass and Christmas lights.

DecantersStill Life With WineIlluminated WineIlluminationPrime IlluminationClear And Bright 2Glass And Pretty Lights 2Glass And Bright ColorsLots Of LightsColored Lights And Blue Glass - HorizontalBaubles And Lights CROP

I used my Induro tripod and Canon 5DS and Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II lens, ultimately switching over to the Canon 50mm f1.2L lens.  ISO for all of the photos you see was 100 and aperture was f11.  I played around with the shutter speeds, ranging from 1/6 of a second to 30 seconds.  For the plain glass images, I used my two studio lights.  For the glass with Christmas lights images, all lights were turned off.

 

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Filed under 5DS, Canon, Christmas, glass, Holidays

The Canon 5D Mk IV and A Visit to The Texas Renaissance Festival

The Bordello Sisters Ready For Action

The Bordello Sisters ready for action in the King’s Feasthall.  Texas Renaissance Festival 2016 (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 24-70mm f4L lens, f7.1, shutter 1/40, ISO 3200, no flash)

I am staff photographer for The Merchant Prince – a vendor out at the Texas Renaissance Festival (aka TX Renfest).  I worked for him and his wife as a serving wench and then Feast Gift Shoppe store manager for oh, about 9 years, before “retiring” and then returning annually to focus on photographs for their marketing purposes.  It’s a sweet deal:  I do my favorite thing of photography on their behalf and they make sure I get access to venues both in front- and behind-the-scenes, as well as provide me food and beverages during my entire weekend stay.  It works!

I like to go during the Halloween-themed weekend, so the photos here reflect the occasion.

Pirates Performing in the Feasthall

Spooky pirates onstage in the King’s Feasthall, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 1DX, Canon 24-70mm f4L lens, f5, shutterr 1/40, ISO 4000, no flash)

Meaghan At The Photo Booth

Bartender at the Wonky Wally Pub, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5DS, Canon 50mm f1.2L lens, f8, shutter 1/125, ISO 640, no flash)

This year, in addition to my Canon 1DX and 5DS cameras, I rented the new Canon 5D Mk IV.  I wanted to run this camera through its paces – mainly its low-light paces.  My 1DX works quite well in low-light.  The 5DS and 5DSR are not that great at all in low light.  I was hoping the 5D Mk IV would be a game changer.

 

You won’t read about any pixel-peeping minutiae here, nor do I go into depth regarding technical specs.  I’m just going to tell you what I think about this camera based upon the shots I achieved after a full weekend of using the 5D Mk IV.   Would I purchase this camera to use alongside my others?  Should you purchase this camera?

The 5D Mk IV provides quite a bit more resolution than the 5D Mk III, but not as much as the 5DS/5DSR.  That said, the extra resolution (~30 mp) creates lovely sharp shots in good light. Actually, if you use a flash, it creates lovely sharp shots in low light as well.  And that extra resolution allows for nice crops and enlargements.

Blackheart

Blackheart, 2016 Texas RenaissanceFestival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 100mm f2.8L lens, f9, shutter 1/60, ISO 400, no flash)

The Cannibal Tudors

The Cannibal Tudors, 2016 Texas Renaissance Fesstival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 50mm f1.2L lens, f9, shutter 1/60, ISO 320, flash used)

This camera, however, is not as great of a high-ISO, low-light performer as I had hoped for.  In reality, even with all of it’s technical upgrades, I feel it’s only marginally better than my 5DS cameras. Of the three Canons, my 1DX provides the best images in low light.  Judicious use of my Imagenomic Noiseware application helped to reduce the graininess, which I basically applied to all of my low-light images taken with this and my other two cameras.

Regarding speed, the Mk IV’s 7fps is nicer than the 5fps provided by the 5DS/5DR.  The shutter is relatively quiet (nothing at all like the machine-gun sound of the 1DX). Nonetheless, you still would have a difficult time using this camera at a sporting event. I photographed birds at the Royal Falconer’s Show using the 5D Mk IV and really didn’t get any clear shots to speak of when the birds were in flight or getting ready to take off. I would have been better served using the 1DX, in hindsight. 7fps would certainly help for wedding events, even though you still might have trouble photographing movement to some extent without a flash.

Ronin The Lanner Falcon

Ronin the Lanner Falcon, Royal Falconer’s Stage, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L II lens, f9, shutter 1/320, ISO 500, no flash)

King Vulture Portrait

Rey the King Vulture, Royal Falconer’s Stage, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L II lens, f9, shutter 1.640, ISO 500, no flash)

I was impressed with the focus upgrades.  Even in extremely low light, the camera never once had to search for something on which to focus.  Where ever I pointed the lens, that’s where it focused.

Broadside Onstage

Broadside onstage, Pirate Pub Sing, Sea Devil Tavern, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 100mm f2.8L II lens, f4.5, shutter 1.40, ISO 6400, no flash, noise reduction applied during editing)

Fiddler Onstage

Fiddler onstage at the Pirate Pub Sing, Sea Devil Tavern, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 100mm f2.8L II lens, f4.5, shutter 1/25, ISO 6400, no flash, noiseware reduction applied during editing stage)

Melissa In The Prince Of Wales  Pub

Interior shot of the Prince of Wales Pub, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 14mm f2.8, f6.3, shutter 1/50, ISO 3200, no flash)

Because I had the GPS function turned on for about half the day on Saturday, it used up battery juice much faster than the analogous battery in my 5DS (the batteries are interchangeable).  If I had left GPS turned off – which I did later that day, the battery life would lasted longer and I would not have been forced to switch out batteries later that same day.  I do think the GPS function is cool and would be an awesome enhancement for landscape shots. I never used the WiFi function but think that’s pretty cool too – provided it works.

I didn’t really have much use for the touchpad, but it was kinda neat as well, and it was especially helpful during my microfocus adjustments for all of my lenses, which is the first thing I do with a rental camera to ensure my lenses focus clearly.  As I reviewed a shot, I’d zoom in and instead of having to use that little button to the side of the LCD to move around the shot, I simply swiped my finger across the LCD to move the image around for further inspection.

This post is not meant to be a thick-paged documentation of the camera, so I’ll bring this to a close.  All in all, I think the Canon 5D Mk IV would be a worthy upgrade to the Mk III, just for the extra 2 fps, the faster focus, the GPS/WiFi and all the other technical improvements. But if you own the 5DS or 5DSR, I don’t believe you really need to get this camera (I LOVE my 5DS/5DSR cameras for landscapes). For photographing action, you would be much better served with the 1DX or 1DX Mk II. Same for low-light imagery, I think.  For me, the low-light results were the tipping point to keep me from purchasing this camera.  Had I seen miraculously little noise in my images, I would have probably purchased that very camera I’d rented (you can do that with lensrentals.com).  Alas, that was not the case and all of the improvements were not enough for me to want to add this model to my existing gear.

I know this sounds critical of the 5D MkIV and I don’t mean it to be. Camera choice, like photography itself, tends to be subjective. It’s a very nice camera, has more resolution than the 5D Mk III, and has GPS and WiFi in addition to improved focusing. If you can rent it (I rent from lensrentals.com), then do so and try it out to see for yourself.  I recommend you do that with any camera or lens that interests you.  Try before you buy.

Bordello Sisters Iin The Feasthall

The Bordello Sisters in the King’s Feasthall, 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival (Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 14mm f2.8L lens, f4.5, shutter 1/50, ISO 4000, flash used)

 

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Filed under 5D Mk IV, Events, Flash Photography, Tests, Texas Renaissance Festival