Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The recent evolution of my camera

Canon 5D Mark II DSLR

Finally.  After semi-what patience, my dear, dear, dear Canon 5D Mark II came to me, waiting all wrapped up on my front door step, as I got out of work yesterday evening.  It was as if the camera stork came to visit!  And it is quite lovely.  Having gone to RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), I've been spoiled enough to have been able to rent out a 5D Mark II through RIT's camera and equipment cage throughout my college schooling. 

So now having left RIT, I've had to dust off my Canon 30D, now passed on to my parents, and had used that for studio and personal shots.  I'm not saying that I was "roughing it", but there was a clear difference in image quality between the two models.  And somewhere in-between the 30D and 5D, I made the stupid mistake of "upgrading" to a Canon 50D.  It was silly because I only owned that camera for a maximum of maybe four months?  I should have been more patient at that time in November and waited to just upgrade to the 5D a little while longer. 

But coulda, woulda, shoulda!  Now I'm here and the wait has paid off.  Today I went into the studio with great enthusiasm.  I really am a photo dork because I am literally drooling at the image quality and how great it really is.  Perhaps my only complaint with the 5D is the loud shutter?  But that's nothing to scoff about. 

I also tried an image comparison to further make my point on image quality.  Below here I photographed my bright green coffee travel mug by two different cameras, my Canon 5D Mark II and my work camera, a Nikon D70S.  I do realize there really shouldn't even be a comparison seeing that the Nikon D70S came out in 2005 and the 5D just came out in 2009 BUT I really just want to drive my point home that Canon is the best.  :-P  Joking.
I'm excited to see the HD video capabilities too, so expect to being hearing more of that to come in future posts.  Has anyone had a chance to try out the 1080p video capabilities?  I've heard mixed reviews on it so far.
Both images are taken with the same lighting set-up and with no post process editing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feelin Antsy

So lately I've been out of sorts and not really feeling myself.  And no wonder since I haven't held my camera in little over a week.  I should back that up now and premise that by saying that I recently sold my Canon EOS digital 50D camera for a nice upgrade, the Canon EOS digital 5D Mark II!  (This is probably the biggest reason why I haven't posted anything over the past week!)  I really can't wait for this camera to get here!  (Tomorrow)  I really am quite an impatient person.  Impatient of people.  Impatient for answers.  Impatient for my new camera!  But alas, I must wait and try to fill this weekend in with a nice blog post of other fairly interesting things.

Things like the great Chema Madoz.  Or really, rediscovering him again.  I had almost forgotten the famous Spanish surrealist photographer.  I love his very creative and illustrative work.  I love how he makes you look past what is there to what is created in the space of a frame.  Wonderful.  Pure.  And provoking.

And his work really was lovely to look at again.  He always inspires me to create beyond such materialistic restrictions.  A hat is a hat is a hat is not a hat.  Does that make sense?  I suppose what I'm trying to say is that some things can be something beyond their bound definition.  An artist will always and never forget that.

All creative photographs by Chema Madoz

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In the name of Love

So it's February 14th.  A day supposedly dedicated in the name of love or some form of consumerism, whichever you choose.  Usually Valentines Day comes around so unannounced that I scarcely think of how to treat it.  What I mean to say is that I woke up this morning and it seemed no different from the previous.  I still got up and brushed my teeth.  Cupid wasn't clearly rapping on my door, standing there in a diaper with a bouquet of flowers and heart shaped box of chocolates.

I will admit that this year, Valentines Day has been on the brain.  I'm not sure if it's from the constant reminder at work, tv or my imagined Cupid poking his unruly arrows at me.  So a few weeks ahead of the date, I teased of presents and flowers.  A week before, I made reservations to a dinner so lavish it included wine, chocolates and five courses of preselected foods.  A couple days before, I went out and bought a lovely little dress that fails to meet the finger tip rule on length...and now that that day is here? 

Well I can say that it's noon, I'm on my couch and Thom and I just ate a couple of hotdogs for lunch.  I canceled the dinner plans and we both picked through a simple box of chocolates made locally in Rochester.  Tonight?  We'll make dinner together like we do most nights and perhaps we'll watch a movie.  But other than that?  Not much else...O!  Wait!  I might go downtown and return a pair of snowshoes...I know.  Romantic.

But really, as that Oh-so-familiar saying goes:  "It's the thought that counts".  And it's all that really matters, at least to us.  Sometimes there is a need to show love through generous gifts and presents and that really is OK.  I won't down that idea or complain how people fall under feelings of false love and relationships.  Because actions and efforts like those can really show how a person feels for another when they cannot use words.  And on the other side of things, sometimes just sitting together on the couch and catching up can be just as good and usually better.  There's a time and place for everything and chocolate can't really make things worse right? 

So perhaps this V Day was more of a fine balance between a natural kind of easy going-ness and formality.  Either way, I don't really mind and tomorrow I'll wake up with the same feelings as I did today and still get up and brush my teeth.  I guess what I'm saying is that recognizing how someone feels for another isn't such a mushy-lovey-dovey thing that people make Valentines Day out to be.  If meant genuinely from a true place of the heart, then Valentines Day could be the day that helps surface those feelings in all kinds of ways, whether it be with flowers and chocolates or just sitting together watching tv.
My silly attempt at making pink pancakes

Andies Chocolates, made locally and sooo good!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Butterflies and Ice Rinks

Today, Shinay and I had the opportunity to shoot a newly engaged couple, Heather and Craig.  We had recently put out a call for any engaged couple in Rochester willing to pose for a winter photo session with us for free!  Fortunately Heather and Craig responded describing themselves as fun, energetic and very much in love.  There wasn't anything else that would have sold Shinay and I even further!  So we met up downtown and ventured around.  We made our way briskly to the Rochester Museum of Play and bought some tickets ($3.00 each) to enter the famous butterfly exhibit. 

Let me just say that entering a 81 degree glass house with winter coats and sweaters is just...impractical.  Shinay and I ended up juggling coats around with each other trying to get shots, not running into hyper children and/or killing any poor butterflies in the process.  It was quite an act.  But the photos came out great and we left a little sweaty but happy with the kind of photos we captured. 

Later we went back outside and walked over the ice rink.  Heather and Craig rented some skates while Shinay and I avoided some very friendly skating employees.  ;-)
But in all, it was fun and we really enjoyed meeting Heather and Craig.  Thanks guys!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Sweet Food of the Gods

Photograph from Vegan Yum Yum
In the beginning of every photographer's journey, they must figure out what kind of photographer and sense of identity will they hold?  When I was still trying to figure out myself in the photography sense during my junior year in college, I had always known that there were two kinds of photography that I would never get into.  Food and sports.  Now both of these I love very much, specifically the first but photographing them?  Not so much.  I believe that there are certain types of people out there that can just understand how to make food look tasty on film.  And as for sports, I can't help myself but watch and observe a game, anyway game for that matter, instead of capturing the action packed moments. 

This used to frustrate me a lot.  Knowing and not being able to achieve a certain level of competence because all my food shots looked unappetizing.  Once, I even went to my school's studios for a whole Saturday, trying to figure out lighting and food prodding and arranging to achieve a decent food shot.  I ended that day with my mind buzzing and some wilted looking vegetables. It's always been hard for me, and maybe anyone else, to try and better oneself with practice and not see any hard earned results.  And I can hardly say I'm being modest.  When critique day came and we hung our work side by side for others to see, the level of experience and understanding dropped when my photograph appeared to others.  Ughh.  Food Photography!

But when I do happen upon some great looking food shots, I truly am impressed and respect the photographer and food stylist for their patience and ability to shoot food.  Their sense of composition and theme come out successfully with good food shots.  Natural looking light plays a big role and proper color balance gives food that appetizing appeal.  One food photographer, Bananagranola, on flickr, has such a great eye for detail.  Her work continually impresses and stirs the appetite.  Check out her work and you'll see her painstaking effort for detail.

Another great portfolio is from food photographer Michael Ray.

And a great blog article on food photography set-ups is at Vegan Yum Yum.

Bon App├ętit!
Photograph by Michael Ray
Photograph by Bananagranola

Photograph by Bananagranola

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Photoshop Craze

Now that the new year has gone well under way, I've started up teaching classes once again at Community Darkroom at the Genesee Center for the Arts.  And whenever a new session starts, I am always finding myself looking for new tutorials to teach, scouring blogs for the faint hints of CS5 news and more candidly, finding interesting articles on Photoshop manipulation.  The other day, the BF found me some great sites that show advertisements with horrible Photoshop work done.  It's quite fun to really look at an advertisement and see the mistake there.  Sometimes it takes a good long moment to really see the mistake.  I suppose that says something about society and how we accept certain fantasies as realities...but that's another Freudian post that I don't think I'll get into now.

Check out Photoshop Disasters for more fun here.

Or read more on Newsweek's article of Unattainable Beauty here.

Where's her leg?  A photo from the Burberry Ad Campaign 
Nice clipping path.  Cover for V Magazine