Thursday, November 27, 2008

Playing with video on the Canon 5D Mark II

In playing with this new camera, one thing is for sure ... video is a game changer!

It's a whole new world. And it's not as simple as it sounds! Especially if you're playing with shallow DOF and needing to put the focus on a specific individual out of a group of people. I didn't discover the AF controls for the video until I read the manual. There are three modes: Quick AF, AF Live and AF Face Recognition.

Quick AF slaps the mirror back down, uses the normal AF focusing points to quickly focus and then brings the mirror back up. Obviously you can only do this at the start of a video otherwise Quick AF would interrupt the video.

AF Live lets you place a square anywhere on the image and it will use contrast detection to focus (it does this at the time you press the AF-ON button). You need to keep in mind that the camera may decide to totally de-focus and refocus the lens. Not necessarily a good thing if it's in the middle of an action sequence.

AF Face Recognition lets the camera try to pick out a face in the scene and focus on the face. The trouble you may run into here is if you have multiple faces in view, and one of them is more important than the others to keep in focus. The camera may not pick the face you want. It also may move back and forth between faces on its own.

Manual focusing is always active -- assuming you have a lens that lets you focus while AF is engaged (all of my Canon lenses let me do this). The trouble is, if I hold the camera far enough away so I can see the LCD to determine what is in focus, then I'm more likely to bounce the camera around while I'm recording.

Like I said ... video is going to be a challenge. And shallow DOF only makes it more so.

Here is a video from yesterday's birthday party where I was using AF Face Recognition to focus the camera.

Click here for a high resolution version of the video.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Camera: Canon 5D Mark II with Canon 24-105 f/4.0 L USM lens

So I picked up a brand new camera yesterday. This camera is SO new there are probably only 20 of them in the state of Utah at this point in time. Canon unleashed this new 21mp beauty on the world yesterday and the good folks at Pictureline contacted me first thing in the morning letting me know that they already had one in stock. Woot! :)

This new camera has several unique features:
1) It is a full frame camera (meaning the sensor is the same size as the film used on 35mm SLR)
2) The sensor has 21mp resolution - that's 3744x5616 pixels!
3) It is even capable of shooting full resolution 1080p HD video (I believe that is 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second).

As I had to work during the day, and had Pictage User Group meeting at night, I really didn't get much of a chance to play with the camera yesterday. I'm hoping to remedy that over the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend!

In the mean time, here are a few of my first images. This image was shot this morning on my way in to work:

Click for full resolution

Straight out of camera jpeg:
Click for full resolution

Or here is a 100% crop of the image to show the detail:

Here is a straight out of camera ISO 6400 shot:
Click for full resolution

And here is a video shot in room light with the camera last night.

Click here for full resolution video (and click the monitor button on bottom right for full screen)

(note: at the end of the video I purposely defocused the lens to see what it would look like)

I haven't decided yet how (or if) video will make its way into my workflow. But it is interesting to see such high resolution video and even more so from an DSLR!

Look for more posts in the future as I play around with the camera some more.

Monday, November 10, 2008

St. George and Las Vegas

This past weekend we had a chance to visit St. George, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada, courtesy of my son, Devon, and his swimming and marching band competitions.

Taking advantage of the fact that we were there, two of my daughters (Cassie and Brandy) and I visited the temples in each of these two cities, cameras in hand. And here are some of the images that I captured while there:

St. George Temple











Las Vegas Temple











Wednesday, November 5, 2008

First Snow of the Season on Temple Square

Today we had our first snow storm of the season. As I left home (in West Jordan), the snow was already deep and still coming down. I grabbed my camera and headed for the bus thinking how great Temple Square was going to look! Imagine my disappointment as we arrived downtown only to find that the snow had pretty much skipped downtown Salt Lake. Oh well, I thought... maybe I'd stop by Temple Square on my way home for a few shots of flowers with a light dusting of snow on them (if the snow survives that long).

THEN... the weather changed! By noontime the snow had begun to fall. It got dark and dreary as the snow came down heavy. So much for taking pictures, I didn't want to be in the middle of a dark gloomy snow storm taking pictures.

THEN... the weather changed again! Just before time to go home, the sun came out! It not only made the fresh fallen snow look fantastic, but it immediately started melting the snow. So I knew I had to hurry. I left work and ran for Temple Square. And here are some of the images:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Buffalo Roundup and More!

Cassie and I have been hanging out with a couple of photography groups lately. Today the Photowalking Utah group got together at Antelope Island to attend the annual Buffalo Roundup where the tag and vaccinate the buffalo.

Here are some of the pictures from today's event:

After watching the buffalo for awhile, we decided to drive around the island to see what we could find. Our first stop was at the beach:

It was a LONG walk along the sand (and salt) to get to the water!

At one point, Samantha put sand (which had salt on top of it) into her mouth. I have no idea why she did this!!! It was funny just how quickly she decided to get that salty tasting sand out of her mouth! :)

Still walking... did I mention it was a LONG walk to the water?

After we left the beach, we drove a little ways and found this buffalo just off all by himself grazing... nobody was around so we stopped to take pictures!

Then we went to the farm on the other side of the island. Do you have any idea how big this island is? I swear it took us 20 minutes or more (of driving!) to get to the other side of the island!

Cassie modeled for us in front of this old truck that reminded me of Tow Mater!

There she goes, modeling again! :)

Samantha climbing a tree! (one of many)

An owl that we find hiding in a tree:

A new friend! Diana was so patient and kind with the kids. It was amazing how they responded to her!

Driving home, we're on the road that connects the island to the main land. Those are the rocky mountains (east of Layton) across the water:

These, and many more images, are available on my website here.