YOUR SOURCE FOR CANADIAN PHOTOGRAPHY PY! O C E FRE
VOLUME 20, NO. 2 · SUMMER 2011 · $ 6.98
News ANDRé PICHETTE
Catch the Action! DR. WAYNE LYNCH
Traveller’s Camera Alberta Badlands
MICHEL ROY Night Magic DARYL BENSON Photo Communication LUC VILLENEUVE
Shooting Panoramas DAVID HEMMINGS Field Test:
Photo by André Pichette
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AF 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 Di VC USD model A005
Tamron’s Anniversary lens - the SP AF70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD. Tamron’s very own ultrasonic silent drive (USD) mechanism delivers faster focusing. The lens utilises an advanced optical design that features an LD (Low Dispersion) and an XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) lens element made from specialised materials that prevent chromatic aberration. As a result, it boasts sharper contrast and image performance than all others in its class. The lens features Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization to assist in hand-held photography. Compatible with full frame film and digital SLR and APS-C sensor-size DSLR.
fast-zoom SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro
macro SP AF60mm F2 Di II 1:1 Macro model G005
all-in-one zoom & wide-angle AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) PZD model B008
SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF)
SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di 1:1 Macro model 272
SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)
SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
SP AF10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II LD Aspherical [IF]
Fully compatible with Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony DSLRs
The Best Lenses Make The Best Images
Ready for everything.
VOLUME 20, NO. 2 · SUMMER 2011
VOLUME 20, NUMBER 2 Summer 2011 YOUR SOURCE FOR CANADIAN PHOTOGRAPHY
VOLUME 20, NO. 2 · SUMMER 2011 · $ 6.98
News ANDRé PICHETTE
Catch the Action! DR. WAYNE LYNCH
Traveller’s Camera Alberta Badlands News
MICHEL ROY Night Magic DARYL BENSON Photo Communication
Two models to choose from: Safari GT2540F Tripod with GH2780FQR Ball Head (background) or Safari Traveler Kit GK250FT (inset)
Shooting Panoramas DAVID HEMMINGS
Safari is Gitzo’s new range specifi-cally dedicated to bird watchers and outdoor photographers. A premium selection of tripods and heads completely resistant to natural elements, thanks to advanced-
technologies and materials.
by Amplis Foto Inc.
Photo by André Pichette
Ready to adapt to your challenges, ready to give you the best results.
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Cover Photo: Olympian Alexandre Despatie, by André Pichette. “I conceived the idea for this photo because I had never seen a picture of the instant a diver touched the water - it took five dives to capture this photograph of Canadian World Champion and Olympian Alexandre Despatie.” Canon EOS 1, 400mm f/2.8 at 1/1000 second, f/6.3, ISO 100. Publisher Jacques Dumont email@example.com Editor Norm Rosen firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Design Jean-Denis Boillat email@example.com Contributing writers/photographers Dr. Wayne Lynch; David Hemmings; Daryl Benson; Michel Roy; Eli Amon; André Pichette; Luc Villeneuve ADVERTISING firstname.lastname@example.org Published by
Zak Media 189 Rue Alfred-Desrochers Saint-Augustin, QC, Canada G3A 2T1 Tel: 418 871 4294 Fax: 418 871 4295 www.zakmedia.ca PHOTONews is published four times a year (Spring; Summer; Autumn; Winter) by Zak Media, and distributed to 90,000 photography and video enthusiasts throughout Canada. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material appearing in this magazine in any form is forbidden without prior consent of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTIONS – ADDRESS ChANGE visit www.photonews.ca or contact Amplis Foto, 22 Telson Road, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 1E5 Tel: 905 477 4111 Fax: 905 477 2502 Subscription rates: One year (4 issues) $27.92 CDN, two years (8 issues) $55.84 CDN. Single copy price: $6.98. © 2011 PHOTONews Magazine, Zak Media Printed in Canada ISSN 1185-3875 Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40040669 Undeliverables to: Amplis Foto, 22 Telson Road, Markham, ON L3R 1E5
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It’s a Matter of Time A number of years ago, when SLR cameras began offering shutter speeds of 1/2000 second and faster, I took a look at my Kodak Master Photoguide to see what speeds were required to stop various types of action. The chart showed 1/30 second for people walking, 1/60 second for jogging, 1/125 second for runners, 1/500 second for cars on a city street, and 1/1000 second for cars at highway speeds. I knew the obvious reason for using shutter speed faster than 1/1000 second, in order to match a specific aperture setting to the ambient light level to control the depth of focus in the picture, but what if you decided to concentrate on shutter speeds for a series of photographs? I asked my good friend Larry Frank what you could possibly photograph at speeds in excess of 1/1000 second - if the propeller on a WWII Spitfire could be frozen in time at 1/500 second, and the wings of a hummingbird showed no movement at 1/1000 second, what could possibly happen at a fraction of a “blink of an eye” that we would be aware of? Larry had just finished shooting for the “Day in the Life of Canada” project, and he showed me a photograph of a 747 jetliner landing on the runway. Every lug nut on the wheels of the landing gear was clearly visible. The photograph was shot at 1/2000 second. I began to explore the world around me in terms of things that happened at speeds faster than the human eye could perceive, and at speeds slow enough to collect movement as an art form. The headlights and taillights of passing traffic tracing paths across the frame; the full red, yellow, and green cycle of a traffic light; scenes that required a slow shutter speed and a tripod to record a combination of sharp detail and the passage of time. I shot long exposures that turned night into day, and expanded my photographic
horizons - it was a new adventure that produced many interesting results. As we prepared this issue of PHOTONews, I was thinking about the long telephoto images of André Pichette and David Hemmings, and reflecting on the progress we have made during the past few years. The best of the long lenses in the film era were very expensive, because you had to have very wide maximum apertures to record viable images at speeds fast enough to stop action, and the pros usually shot with low ISO film to achieve the best possible images. Today, the sensors in many of the current DSLR cameras produce very good images at ISO 1600 or faster, opening the door to a wide range of affordable telephoto and zoom lenses that deliver excellent images. Of course, you can still shoot with the ultra-fast professional lenses, if they fit your needs and your budget, but the shutter speed and aperture limitations of the film era are no longer as critical a factor in the digital age - we have, through technology, conquered the telephoto lens shutter speed barrier – you can now shoot at a shutter speed of 1/focal length and achieve great results thanks to the high ISO capabilities of the camera bodies. This summer, as you explore the many photo opportunities that present themselves, take a minute to experiment with the fourth dimension – and let your camera capture the subtle nuances of time. Norm Rosen, editor email@example.com Visit the website at www.photonews.ca Join the flickr® group at www.flickr.com/groups/photonewsgallery/ Questions or comments? Please send me an e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Luc Villeneuve specializes in panorama and virtual reality tours. Hereâ€™s how he shoots spectacular images!
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Wayne Lynch takes us to one of Canadaâ€™s most fascinating locations.
Daryl Benson goes beyond the image to explain how communication can be the key to photographic impact.
38 André Pichette – Keeping an eye on the action! For almost a quarter of a century, Montreal photographer André Pichette has thrilled Canadians with images of the leading personalities in a wide range of Olympic and professional sports. He shares his techniques in this special portfolio.
Tamron SP AF200-500MM
The Tamron 200-500mm is a well-made, versatile, and affordable super-telephoto!
Cool new products for the modern photo and video enthusiast!
Michel Roy explains how to capture magic after dark.
Summer 2011 | 7
CINEMATIC TOOLS FOR DSLR & VIDEO CAMERAS
genustech.ca PHOTOGRAPH BY : CW3 JUAN GUZMAN
David Bowering is a professional photographer / videographer based out of St Albert, Alberta, Canada.
What are you working on right now? Recent travels took me on a four month trip embedded with the ISAF troops in Afghanistan. What would you take to photograph in a situation like that? I decided it was important to shoot video as well as stills, but didn’t want the extra bulk of carrying video-only cameras. I decided to pick up a
couple of Canon T2i’s, along with my 5DIIs. To make the Canons work as effective video cameras I added a Genus shoulder mount rig to my kit
“The Genus equipment was amazing in the field.” How did you like working with Genus gear? The Genus equipment was amazing in the field. My gear took a lot of abuse in Afghanistan. From constant dust & sand, to being dropped, smashed into, fallen on or subjected to the extreme rotor wash of the helicopters. My Genus gear never let me down once.
Read the rest of David Bowering’s interview at genustech.ca GENUS PRODUCTS ARE MARKETED AND DISTRIBUTED BY AMAYA FOTO, A DIVISION OF AMPLIS FOTO INC. | WWW.AMPLIS.COM
Genus Wins Black Diamond Award at NAB DV magazine, published by NewBay Media, announced its Best of Show Black Diamond Awards at the 2011 NAB Show. NewBay Media’s Broadcast & Video Group of products, which also includes DV.com, Digital Video Expo, Videography magazine, videography.com, DigitalContentProducers.com, Millimeter.com, and the Creative Planet Communities, was uniquely poised to recognize the full spectrum video technology on display at NAB. A select panel of engineers, editors, and production and post professionals joined the magazine staff to judge the Best of Show awards for DV. The Genus Hurricane 3D Camera Rig is the winner of the DV Black Diamond Award for Best of Show NAB 2011. The DV Black Diamond Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the advancement of the art and science of video technology. The award winning Hurricane rig was designed by Alister Chapman from the outset to be a cost effective, entry level 3D Mirror rig. Beam splitter - or mirror rigs are the most versatile type of stereoscopic 3D camera rigs currently available. They can be used in an extremely broad range of 3D applications, however traditionally they have been very expensive devices only made in small volumes or to special order. The Hurricane rig , through clever design and large scale production will make high quality 3D accessible to video enthusiasts, owner operators and others that would have previously found the cost of a mirror rig prohibitive (a typical professional 3D mirror rig will cost in excess of $40,000USD). In order to keep costs down the rig does not feature the electronic controls often found on high end 3D rigs. Instead the rig has simple, easy to use manual control of camera alignment and camera adjustment. The use of manual controls makes the rig particularly well suited to educational users, training establishments and experimenters as they are simple to operate and easy to understand. The Hurricane rig adjusts to suit a broad range
of cameras, from small consumer style camcorders through to video equipped DSLR’s up to entry level professional video camcorders such as Sony’s XDCAM EX product range. Typical camera pairs would be a pair of Canon XF105’s, Canon 5D MKII’s or Sony XDCAM EX3’s. The maximum payload is 4kg per camera. One of the major advantages of the Hurricane 3D rig is the ease of changing lenses. By simply sliding the cameras back on the base plate, you have enough space to remove and mount lenses on the cameras alignment following the lens change becomes a relatively simple process, compared to the procedure used with more complex rigs. Another advantage of the rig’s simple design is that this helps keep the overall weight of the rig to a minimum. At just over 6kg for the rig plus between 3kg and 6kg (typically) for the cameras, it can easily be used on low cost pro tripods. Most of the currently available professional 3D rigs weigh in excess of 10kg and when combined with broadcast cameras the total weight requires the use of
expensive, high payload professional tripods that in many cases would cost more than the target price of the Hurricane rig itself. The Genus Hurricane rig will make high quality 3D affordable to entry level customers through the use of clever design combined with light weight construction. It’s manual controls make it simple to use and particularly well suited to inexperienced users, experimenters and educational establishments. Suggested Cameras: 2x Sony EX3’s or Sony EX1 plus EX3 (at least one EX3 required for genlock); Sony PMW-F3’s; Canon XF105’s Canon XL H1’s; SI 2K Mini’s; Canon 5D MkII’s (non-sync); Canon 7D’s (non-sync); Sony HDC-P1’s (may require rod extension kit); Panasonic HC1500, HC1800 (may require rod extension kit). For more information on the Genus line of video accessories, visit www.genustech.ca
Genus Products for DSLR Videography
Shoulder brace kit
Shoulder mount kit
The Hurricane 3D rig is one of the more complex products in the Genus line of DSLR video accessories, but the core technology of the Genus line includes a range of products ideal for use in DSLR and conventional videography. The most popular of the Genus products include the Shoulder Mount Kit, the Shoulder Brace Kit and the Matte Box. Aircraft grade aluminum is used throughout - no plastic (except for actual matte box shade). The Genus products, designed and engineered by videographers, require no tools for assembly or adjustment. Setup and assembly of the various kits is quick and solid, and the completely modular design lets you start with a simple kit and build up to transform your Genus to adapt to changing camera designs. You can, for example, transform a Shoulder Brace kit into a Shoulder Mount kit with the addition of a few parts.
Summer 2011 | 9
The Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD
First Impressions and some in the field testing by David Hemmings
I have had the Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC lens sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks waiting for a test run in the field. Problem is that it has been raining, windy, cloudy and cold for almost the last two weeks where I live. Finally today spring seemed to arrive suddenly and it was a beautiful sunny and temperate day outdoors. So I grabbed the Tamron and headed out to a local pond in search of one of my favorite subjects, Wood Ducks. When I arrived at the pond I was elated to see that there were five or six couples out and about enjoying the early morning sun.
I reached into my bag and pulled out my Canon 7D and proceeded to attach the Tamron 70-300. The Canon 7D has a 1.6 crop factor sensor so I was effectively using the Tamron at 112mm-480mm in 35mm sensor terms. The lens attached smoothly and the turn and click was tight and solid. One of the first things I noticed about this lens is the solid build quality as well as the sleek and quality look it has. I picked out my first subject, a colorful and vibrant male Wood Duck, and proceeded to track and focus on it as it swam towards me. This lens is the first Tamron lens to incorporate the Tamron USD technology. This stands for Ultra Sonic Drive and provides for fast and silent auto focusing. This new technology did not disappoint as the lens quickly and quietly locked on to the target time and time again. In addition to the USD system, Tamron also has equipped this lens with VC or Vibration Control. This is a
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welcome addition when shooting anywhere below 1/250th of a second as I was quite often early on this particular morning. Another welcome bonus for me of this lens is the relatively light weight compared to my Canon 100-400mm. I felt as though I could hold onto this unit pretty easily for the better part of the morning with little or no arm fatigue. This tells me that this lens would be perfect for hiking and backpacking all day. It has an extremely useful focal length range that would cover a myriad of shooting possibilities. As I continued to track and focus my little friends on this morning I gave the zoom ring a real brisk workout. I found the zoom ring to be very smooth and responsive with no creep at any focal length. It was very easy to operate and was just the right tension in my opinion. As I continued to zoom in and out I was constantly aware of how well the auto focus system was reacting and re-acquiring focus. The auto focus is speedy and spot on accurate. I would say that this system can rival the Canon USM and the Nikon’s Af-S technology. Another very useful feature of this lens is the IF (internal focusing) mechanism. This means that the lens will not change length when auto focusing and the front element does not rotate, allowing for easy use of a
filter such as a polarizer. The hits just keep on coming with this lens. After having a chance to view some of my images from the day that were shot at speeds as slow as 1/15th of a second, I was pleasantly surprised to see just how well the Vibration Control or VC works on this lens. My images were sharp, being hand held. As the sun started rising I decided to attach a polarizing filter and found the threads very smooth and well machined. I decided to attach the very well built lens hood that comes with this lens. It attached quickly and easily and again I was impressed with the build quality of this product. One of the lesser talked about but nevertheless important features of a lens is button placement. I found that Tamron has smartly placed the VC and AF/MF buttons for easy reach. In addition, the buttons have good tension so you don’t always keep changing the settings inadvertently. So, after a couple of hours of shooting it was off to the computer to have a look at how the lens performed in regards to image quality. I have shot with just about every high end Canon and Nikon lens out there and I have to say that I was duly impressed with the quality and sharpness of the images that the Tamron
produced. I noticed almost no chromatic aberration at f/5.6 and none at all at f/8. Unless you are an extreme pixel peeper this will not be an issue with this lens. These images in my opinion compare very favorably with the Tamron professional 70-200mm f2.8 lens. I noticed no vignetting as I was using a 1.6 crop sensor. I suspect that it would be unnoticeable on a full frame sensor under most conditions. Let’s talk about value. For the price tag of around $500 this may well be the best value bang for the buck lens that I have ever tested. This is quite simply a piece of lens art that Tamron has put out. It is full of high quality useful features that all performed beyond my expectations. The lens is good for all kinds of photography including birds, nature, flowers, sports, car racing, landscape, portraiture, you name it, this lens can do it. In closing, I would not hesitate to highly recommend this lens to anyone including some of you pros out there. It is a great lens to have in your bag. It won’t break the bank – it is very portable as well as very functional. I can’t really think of anything negative to say about this lens, it has certainly put a smile on my face this fine spring morning. Well done Tamron, well done.
Summer 2011 | 11
SpringContest – “Walk on the Wild Side!” Congratulations to the many readers who participated in our PHOTONews Spring Challenge - “Walk on the Wild Side!” More than 230 images were submitted, creating an incredible gallery at the flickr® group – so far, the Spring Challenge thread has had more than 3,000 page views from 900 avid photographers in 17 countries. Here are the top images, as selected by our PHOTO News crew – please visit the flickr® site to enjoy the entire challenge gallery!
Goodbye For Now Dianne Monette of Sudbury, Ontario, captured this moose with a Canon 40D and 70-200mm lens @ 70mm, shooting @ 1/400 sec., f/11, ISO 400. “This shot was taken near St Charles, Ont., early morning with the sun still rising and a bit of fog. Luckily a collision was avoided.”
The Battle Rages On Marian Dragiev of Mississauga, Ontario, captured this image of two fighting male mallards using a Nikon D7000 and a 70-300mm telephoto lens, shooting at a speed of 1/1250s and f/5.6, ISO 1100. “This photograph shows a scene from the wildest fight I witnessed during the mating season. Both of the male ducks bit each other, and even attempted to drown one another for the contested female. The loser was lucky to escape with his life! Due to the poor lighting conditions I had to use a high ISO value of 1100 to get enough speed to freeze the action. I used continuous shooting in order to capture the most dynamic scenes of the fight.”
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Mom and Baby Shirley Davis of Calgary, Alberta, photographed this mother Mule deer cleaning her newborn in Waterton Lakes National Park with a Canon 40D and a 70-300mm zoom lens, shooting at 1/400 second and f/5.6, ISO 400. “After approaching slowly, I was able to photograph a series of loving moments like this between the mother and her new fawn. I was honored she allowed me to be so close. My lens was only at 240mm for this photo.”
Autumn Lake, Algonquin Park Stephen Elms of Waterdown, Ontario, photographed this idyllic scene with a Nikon D3S and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, shooting at 0.6 seconds and f/22, ISO 200. “This was the view from our campsite on a canoe trip into the Algonquin Park Interior in September.”
Clowns of the Sea On a trip to Newfoundland last summer, Megan Lorenz of Etobicoke, Ontario, captured these comic Atlantic puffins performing for the camera with a Canon 1D4 and 500mm lens. 1/100th of a second at f/6.3.
Don’t miss the Summer PHOTONews Challenge – see page 58 for details, and post your best shot at the PHOTONews flickr® group – www.flickr.com/groups/ photonewsgallery/
Summer 2011 | 13
Chinatown Bike Lisa Couldwell of Calgary, Alberta, took this HDR image of a bicycle in Fan Tan Alley with a Pentax K7, 18-135WR lens, shooting at f/13 and ISO 800. “One of my favourite strolls when I am Victoria is Fan Tan Alley and it was a great find to come across this old bike parked in front of a curio shop.”
Zen Canoe Justin Floyd of Quispamsis, New Brunswick, captured this shot using a Sony A330 with the 18-55mm kit lens shooting at 1/160 sec and f/3.5, ISO 100. “This Image was shot on a very dark and cloudy day, The weather alone created an excellent atmosphere and when I saw my girlfriend Emily sitting cross legged and perfectly content as we floated down the glassy river I knew it would make a great shot.”
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PHOTONews Magazine is delighted to recognize the work of the following Canadian photographers, whose vision and creativity brightens our Reader’s Gallery this issue. Our flickr® group includes a special gallery (pool) section, where all readers can view the work submitted and post comments… we encourage you to post your favourite image, no larger than 600 pixels tall – a selection of the best of the images will be published in each issue of PHOTONews! Readers participating in the published gallery will receive a special gift. Photographers will retain all copyright to the images shown in the gallery, both online and in print. Take a few minutes to review your favourite images, and visit http://www. flickr.com/groups/photonewsgallery/ for complete instructions for submitting photo files to the PHOTONews Reader’s Gallery!
Baltic Seashore Andy Zeltkalns of Bracebridge, Ontario, photographed this rocky waterfront scene in Latvia, using a tripod-mounted Nikon D300 and a 12mm wide-angle lens. The image was captured at 1/25 second, f/10 and ISO 320. “I took this photo to capture the beautiful evening light on the rocks of the Baltic sea shoreline.” Big Sky Ryan Gardiner of Kitchener, Ontario, captured this image on a Trip to Toluca, Mexico,on a dormant volcano called Nevado de Toluca. “I call this Big Sky - it was at an altitude of 4680 metres above sea level, and the thin air was very noticeable, but in some areas you could actually look down on the clouds - so there were endless photo opportunities.” Ryan bracketed three shots with his Nikon D90 and an 11-16mm f2.8 lens, shooting at 16mm. The shots, f/13 at 1/125sec; 1/500sec; and 1/30sec time exposure were processed in Photomatix and LightRoom 3 to achieve this HDR effect.
Summer 2011 | 15
Hugues Gervais ‘’U Bein Bridge’’ at sunset. Young monks in Amarapura, Myanmar (formally Burma), walking across the ‘’U Bein Bridge’’ at sunset. This is the longest teak bridge in the world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amarapura). Nikon D200, AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED, @400mm, ISO100, f/13, 1/640, AWB, Pattern metering, Auto focus. Shot without filtration, handheld, from a small boat. No post-processing, no crop. Untouched file that came out the camera.
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Summer 2011 | 17
SpecialFeature BY LUC VILLENEUVE
PA N O R A M A !
Expanding your ph
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otographic horizonsâ€Ś My first panorama was a real challenge. It was far from what I do today, but it was a real thrill â€“ and I would like to show you how to expand your photographic horizons to see the world from an entirely different perspective!
Summer 2011 | 19
Panorama! [ by Luc Villeneuve ]
For the past five years I have been tweaking the technique, and today shooting and publishing panoramic images has become a specialty. Each assignment is a visual and intellectual challenge – but the results are always stunning. To create your own portfolio of panoramic images, you have to build each project with care – a predictable and refined workflow is essential to capture the critical details. It takes patience, but the result will be well worth the effort. When you take a picture of a nice landscape, you can check the image or even verify the histogram immediately. You can then change the depth of field (DOF) or add a filter and shoot the scene again and again until you are completely satisfied. When I create a spherical panorama, my landscape could comprise from 63 to 72 different images. When I photograph a restaurant full of guests, or a street scene with people moving around, I limit the number of pictures to six around and one for the zenith (6+1). Even after all these years, I am still never 100% sure that all the variables have been managed perfectly until… I wave my magic wand over my computer and see the results. To tell you the truth, there is no magic wand involved in the process. Planning is a big part of the workflow. Some panographers do it handheld with surprising results. Others, like me, never leave home without a tripod, a calibrated panohead, and a whole bunch of accessories (see the sidebar “What’s in my bag”). Do you need all that gear to start creating your first 360° images? Of course not! But I can tell you that if you want to create stunning spherical panoramas, on top of mastering your camera and light control through HDR, you will have to calibrate your panoramic head. Of course, the post-processing is critical and when it is time to publish the panorama online, you will need specialized software because your usual image editor can’t do it alone. Sound interesting? The table is set. Let’s build a workflow.
First things first, the equipment The more robust your equipment, the more predictable your workflow will be. If your tripod is too light and the wind is strong, you might get a surprise – it could take a lot more work to stitch all these images. It is always a good idea to have a sand bag handy to add weight to your tripod. There are always rocks around to fill the bag and keep your tripod steady. I have a few tripods, a small one that can be disassembled and placed in my suitcase; my heavy-duty one, that I use whenever I can; and finally, a Manfrotto Neotec when I have to shoot on ice. The Neotec tripod allows me to tape 10-inch nails to the tripod legs. That way, my gear stays steady on the ice. Besides the DSLR and the lens, the panoramic head and the rotator are your most important pieces of equipment. Don’t cut corners when you select this gear – if you buy sloppy equipment, you are in for additional work to stitch your images. Unless your panohead has a built in rotator, you will need to add one to your list. Manfrotto has many products for panographers. I have bought many panoheads over the years, but only one rotator, the 300N. This rotator will allow you to take sequential images, up to 72 around, with great precision. It is also going to be a valuable tool if you use a pole or a monopod to shoot your panoramas.
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For the panoramic head, there are two options: adjustable and nonadjustable. Some manufacturers offer panoheads that will work for one specific camera and lens combination – like a Nikon D3 with a 10.5mm lens. You own a 16mm lens? Don’t even try to use it – it will never work. If I were starting again, I would choose an adjustable panohead that can work with a few lenses. Again, Manfrotto has a few products like the 303, the 303PLUS and the 303SPH. They will all allow you to use a variety of lenses. Each lens will have to be calibrated to locate the “entrance pupil” also mistakenly called the “nodal point” of your lens. This is an essential calibration – there is no work around. The entrance pupil is a very precise location within your lens. The panohead has to rotate around that point to keep objects in the same relative position to each other no matter which image you compare. You will find on the Internet many ways to determine the entrance pupil of your lenses and calibrate your panohead. These images cannot overlap each other perfectly. Look at the pictures 1 and 2 and compare the details. The arrow at the bottom right might look OK, but it’s not. Things become worse when you look at the roof of the brick house, it is truncated in the left image. On the right image, you can see the roof and a window of the wooden house appearing on the right of the column. These two pictures have been taken with the wrong calibration of the panohead. The images 3 and 4 have been taken with accurate calibration of the panohead. The references on the left image maintain their relative position to each other. This is a very well calibrated setup. The image 5 has a detail to show how good the calibration has to be. If you do not want to go through the calibration process, you can substitute a panohead for a device attached to your lenses. This device uses a parabolic mirror and you only need one shot to create a 360° image. When I saw this, my first thought was… that’s great! One shot. The reality is that there are two important drawbacks
with these one shot gadgets – the resolution of the final image is very low, and there is quite a bit of loss of quality because of the additional “optic”, the mirror. Dust is actually piling up on my parabolic mirror, as it reflects the interior of my closet! One day, that mirror will end up in my photo museum with the label “worst buy ever”. There might be a place for it, but not in my camera bag. When you begin to shoot panoramas, start with the DSLR you currently have. The lens is, as always, very important. The sharper the lens, the more detail you are going to get on the final spherical panorama. This is important because when people zoom in your panoramic image and the image becomes blurred too quickly... well, it’s the usual situation – you get what you pay for. If you use a wide angle like the popular Nikon 10.5mm, you could take 6+2 frames to create your spherical panorama. With an 8mm lens you will need 4 images around. The wider Manfrotto panohead the field of view (FOV) of the lens, the 303SPH and Rotator 300N smaller the final sphere. At the opposite end of the lens selection list, with a 200mm lenses you will end up with a very large sphere made out of thousands of images! You might already have a lens that you can use for your first pano. I suggest that you use a wide angle for your first panorama.
The software When you sit down at your computer, with your memory cards full, you will have to process your images. Even if your image editing software has a feature to create a panorama, don’t spend too much time trying to stitch a spherical panorama with conventional photo processing
programs – you will never get it. You have to use a stitcher. The stitcher will generate a raster file that you can import into a “tour builder”. Some stitchers can process HDR images as well. This feature can speed up the whole workflow. Which program should you use? Well, you can “try before you buy” most software, so please do it. While trying them, you will no doubt find one that you feel comfortable with. Are you the type of person who enjoys typing numbers and adding stitching points manually, or do you prefer a solution that does everything automatically? Sometimes, I can spend a lot of time to get a prefect job, but that’s me. Do you need a specific output format like QuickTime, Flash, or HTML5? Do you need a soundtrack with stereo effect? Do you want to program your own “skin” for the tour? There is only one way to find which software best suits your needs. Build your wish list of features, and check which software program includes them. There is an extensive list of companies involved in that specialized area of photography. For this article, I used a software suite from Kolor (www.kolor.com). Check the sidebar “Software”. If you want to follow my workflow, download AutoPano Pro, which is available for Windows, Mac OSX (Intel only) and Linux. But that’s enough words, let’s import pictures and build a 360° x 180° image. To import your images, click on the far left icon on the top to select the folder containing your images (figure 1). Choose the folder containing your images and click the OK button. Then click on “Detect”. The software will analyse the images and will automatically stitch your panorama. After these two operations, you will end up with the list of the 7 images on the left (figure 2) and on the right the stitched image done by Autopano (figure 3).
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Panorama! [ by Luc Villeneuve ]
Is that all it takes? Not really. I told you that patience would be an asset, so bear with me. Click on “Edit” to edit the panorama. If you didn’t level your gear precisely, you can now adjust the horizon and many other aspects of your panorama (figure 4).
• Autopen Pro and Panotour Pro from Kolor (www.kolor.com) • PTMac, PTBatch and Calico Panorama from Kekus (www.kekus.com) • PTAssembler (www.tawbaware.com) • Hugin panorama tools GUI (hugin.sourceforge.net) • VR Toolbox (www.vrtoolbox.com) • Panoweaver from EasyPano (www.easypano.com) • KRPano (krpano.com) • PTGUI (www.ptgui.com) • Pano2VR (gardengnomesoftware.com)
What’s in my Bag • • • • • • • • • • •
X-Rite Colorchecker My GPS Color Meter (Sekonic C-500R) Photometer (Sekonic L-758DR) Additional memory cards Cleaning kit Notebook Extra batteries Remote control (wired+extensions) Remote control (wireless) Flash light
You might end up with some stitching problems mostly for interior scenes where even the smallest shift of an image becomes noticeable. If you have a stitching problem, open the control point editor (Ctrl Pts). You might have to spend time adding control points if your gear is not calibrated properly or if you shot your panorama images handheld. You will have to learn how to add control points. In the next image, I am in the control point editor and I decided to add a control point (the blue one in figure 5).
When you are happy with the result, you can render the panorama. Hopefully, you will get a perfect stitched image on your first time out… and add a new perspective to your view of the world! In the next issue of PhotoNews, I will show you how to create a spinning 360° spheric image.
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www.360-image.com You can find many spectacular 360° images on Luc’s website. Among other projects, a virtual tour of the track of the RedBull Crashed Ice 2011 and a full interactive visit to the Ice Hotel 2011.
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BY WAYNE LYNCH
A l b e rtA b A d l A n d S
In the treeless prairie, many birds resort to nesting on the ground, hidden among tufts of grass or buried under bushy shrubs. The western meadowlark is one such bird, and one of my favourites to photograph in the spring, when its cheerful flute-like song bubbles across the prairie. By the early 1990s, I had often photographed meadowlarks but I had never found one of their nests. On a May 1995 trip to the badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park, my luck finally changed. As I trekked across the prairie, a meadowlark flew up in front of me, carrying a tiny white blob in its beak. Aha! Now I had it. The blob was a faecal sac. Young meadowlarks, as well as
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most other young songbirds, excrete their faeces in compact little packages surrounded by a gelatinous membrane, which the parents carry away from the nest to discard. I knew that, the meadowlark knew that, but the meadowlark didn’t know that I knew that. I quickly found the hidden nest, tucked at the end of a 20-centimetre-long (8-in.) tunnel of grass. Five naked, little, gaping gargoyles clustered inside. I wanted a photograph of the chicks, but I wanted it later when they would be larger and fuzzy-headed, so I hiked back to the nest a week later. When I first gazed down the tunnel of grass I couldn’t see any of the nestlings. My first thought was
that the nest had been predated. Skunks, coyotes, red foxes, magpies and crows locate many of these nests and gobble up the nestlings. I felt sick, and for an instant, I blamed myself for the loss, believing that perhaps my scent had attracted a predator. I parted the grass for a closer look, and froze in fear. The head of a large prairie rattlesnake was poised on the edge of the nest, centimetres from my hand. The snake’s body was noticeably swollen with distinct bulges. It had probably swallowed the entire family of fuzzies without wasting a single drop of venom. I thought, if a snake can smile, this one has a good reason to do that.
Many people believe that French fur traders were the first to coin the name badlands. They described the rugged topography as mauvaises terres, possibly because the land was difficult to traverse. The name could have also arisen out of the frustration of settlers who found the rocky badlands impossible to farm. Whichever you believe, the badlands are still only bad from the viewpoint of humankind. Tucked within the prairies, the badlands are a unique environment, rich in wildlife and one of my favourite prairie haunts. In the badlands, I
like to drift and wander, for to introduce a pace or a purpose would lessen the experience. I am drawn to the badlands by their grandeur. A grandeur that humbles me, and fills me with a comforting sense of insignificance. Badlands stretch along many rivers in the prairie regions of Saskatchewan and Alberta, but the most spectacular are those that shoulder the shores of the Red Deer River where it cuts through Dinosaur Provincial Park in southern Alberta. Here, a visitor is immersed in a moonscape of gullies, pinnacles, mounds
and flat-topped mesas that have been sculpted and worked by millennia of hot dry summers and long, cold winters. The badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park boast a terrain like no other, and in 1979 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the park as a World Heritage Site. In so doing, Dinosaur Provincial Park joined the ranks of such globally significant areas as the Serengeti Plains of East Africa, Ecuadorâ€™s Galapagos Islands and Australiaâ€™s Great Barrier Reef.
A female mule deer silhouetted against the Alberta sky.
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[ by Wayne Lynch ]
Dinosaur Provincial Park has one of the highest densities of nesting birds of prey in Canada. Here golden eagles and ferruginous hawks (a threatened species in Canada) build their large stick nests on remote badland slopes or inaccessible cliff ledges. Merlins (medium-size falcons) choose the groves of cottonwoods that grow along the Red Deer River, while prairie falcons, kestrels and great horned owls find nesting sites in cavities and caves eroded high up in the bedrock. The caves and crevices that permeate the badlandâ€™s bedrock benefit many animals besides the birds of prey. Within the park,
extensive subterranean, water-eroded channels lie hidden beneath the smooth contours of the slopes. The ceilings of these channels are fragile and can suddenly collapse if you walk over them. When they do, a sinkhole results. One park ranger recalled a time when he looked into a sinkhole and a bobcat leaped out and bolted away. The cavities are also used by long-tailed weasels, striped skunks, coyotes and Nuttallâ€™s cottontails as hideaways and birthing chambers. Badland cavities are also used by snakes. All snakes in Canada
must hibernate in winter to keep from freezing. They den in cavities deep below the frostline. Garter snakes, bullsnakes, and prairie rattlesnakes may hibernate together in the same underground cavity.
Eroded badland slopes.
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On the Net Follow Wayne’s adventures at his website – www.waynelynch.ca and don’t miss his latest book - Planet Arctic - Life at the Top of the World - now available online and through better bookstores everywhere.
A bullsnake climbs a cottonwood tree, possibly searching for nesting birds.
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The hoodoos, formed by eons of erosion.
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[ by Wayne Lynch ]
Dinosaur Provincial Park is best known for its dinosaur fossils. The park is a 70-million-year-old bonebed of tremendous importance. To date, paleontologists have identified 35 different species of dinosaurs, and the slopes of the badlands continue to yield surprises as new species are unearthed by erosion every year. I have photographed the park in every season and there are subjects to challenge almost every photographer. For those who like landscapes there are the sensuous curves of hoodoos, the slow meander of the Red Deer River flanked by forests of cottonwoods, and the
graphic beauty of erosion channels. Add sunshine and snow to the mix and you have a wonderful blend of highlights and deep blue shadows under an azure sky. For macro lovers there are butterflies, spiders, and beetles, as well as crimson and golden cactuses, the bobbing heads of purple crocuses, and a range of delicate blooms in almost every shade of yellow. For those whose interests lie with avian subjects the park boasts a bird list with over 150 species. Besides the meadowlarks I mentioned above, there are mountain bluebirds whose feathers glint like burnished sapphires, handsome spotted towhees, yellow-breasted
chats, high-flying nighthawks, and majestic eagles and falcons to name just a few. For shutterbugs who like to focus on creatures of the furry kind there are jackrabbits, cottontails, coyotes, mule deer and white-tailed deer. The namesakes of Dinosaur Provincial Park have long disappeared, but you can still feel the rush of the wind up a steep-sided coulee, you can still smell the aroma of summer-warmed sage, and you can still watch a mule deer buck atop a butte, its profile ablaze against the setting sun. If you dream only of the past, you will never discover the present. The badlands are waiting. ď‚ž
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BY DARYL BENSON
Communication Landscape Photography Any type of light can be used creatively as a source of illumination and inspiration. My vehicleâ€™s high beams were directed across this field, casting a shadow on the bale. Pentax 645, Pentax 45mm lens, Fuji Provia 100 slide film.
Photography is all about communicating. Ideas, inspiration, location or sales pitch, an image can often communicate where words flounder. For that communication to be successful the photographer should know several languages, not verbal but conceptual. You must first be able to communicate to the camera what you see.
This language takes place by understanding the language of film or digital sensors. They do not speak the same language your eyes do (not even close). Film or sensors are far less capable of recording the range of light our eyes perceive. You compensate for that with filters, flash and post-production digital techniques. Our eyes can see detail from shadow to highlights, covering the equivalent of about 12 f/stops; compare this to slide film that was about 2 Â˝ f/stops, digital sensors at 4 to 5 f/stops and post production techniques like HDR (High Dynamic Range) that can surpass the range of human vision - covering whatever spread of multiple images you expose for.
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PhotoInspiration [ by Daryl Benson ]
Reflection Reflections are another way of including yourself in the composition. Glass buildings, looking down onto the surface of a lake, rear view mirrors or the mirror on a compass are some possibilities. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 16-35mm lens @ 16mm, f/8, polarizing filter.
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Another language you must learn, that’s just as critical, is how to communicate what you have seen to the viewer. This one is a little trickier, as it often runs counter to our understanding. I am sure that you have had the experience of showing friends a favourite image, only to receive rather unimpressed reactions from the people you proudly showed that image to. First of all, there is nothing wrong with that - don’t let anyone tell you what is “good”. Hold to your instinct - if an image captures your heart, but no one else’s, you may assume that everyone else is heartless. However, keep in mind that one reason no one else seems to enjoy the image as powerfully as you do, may be because communication has broken down between you and the viewer. There are many ways this can happen, but it usually it has to do with context. You have the full range of context because you were at the location, and you recall all the sensory input, memories, emotions and experiences that accompany that image. In your mind, those are all woven into
Paris Nothing needs to be said. This image communicates very clearly the scale, subject and place. Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35mm lens @ 16mm, f/2.8, polarizing filter.
Lighthouse, Peggy’s Cove Location and subject are very clear in this image, although scale might be a bit difficult to gauge as there is nothing close to the lighthouse to draw reference from. In this example, however, I felt content trumped scale, and it was far too windy to use the inflatable people. Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35mm lens @ about 16mm, f/2.8.
the image and are almost impossible to separate from it. Your viewer has none of that wealth of background information - all they have is a print, or an image on a monitor, or a projected photograph. If the image was of the Grand Canyon, you might have memories of smelling juniper, you might feel the pounding of your heart from racing to the edge of the canyon to capture the last light of a fading sunset, or the spectacular beauty and scale of that grand landscape. Once you return home, you will no doubt excitedly show those images to friends and family and if you don’t communicate the scale of the scene effectively, they may not be able to tell if they are looking at the Grand Canyon - or a ravine in a gravel pit by the side of the road. SCALE is one of the elements that is most frequently miscommunicated between photographer and viewer. This trick of perception can also be used to creative advantage when trying to engage a viewer’s interest, by making scale ambiguous, but it is more usually a mistake because the sense of scale that was meant to be seen is lost to the viewer. That image of the Grand Canyon that was so massive and made you feel so tiny standing next to it is completely lost on the viewer if there is nothing in the image that lets them interpret scale. It doesn’t take much, a few trees, something in the foreground, or, the absolute best thing you can ever include in an image to help convey scale, another human being! We are intimately familiar with the human body and can recognize its’ form at great distance - often being able to tell male or female, child or adult. We are hard-wired to recognize this shape and make immediate connections to an image based on seeing another human in it.
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PhotoInspiration [ by Daryl Benson ]
There are other elements that can get lost in translation, a sense of DEPTH and SUBJECT are often lost in the communication between photographer and viewer. It is a difficult language to learn, but if you can try to separate all of your emotional context to an image, and attempt to see it alone from memory, you might be able to imagine how others see your images and possibly recognize where the breakdown in communication can occur. One of the troubles I often have comes from travelling alone. There is rarely anyone around to include in the landscape. I tried carrying around some of those blow-up inflatable people but they turned out to be very unreliable. Any kind of wind at all and they would just blow over; nailing them to the ground caused deflation, and when travelling abroad, customs agents always gave me weird looks when they found a family of inflatables in my baggage. I have since resorted to finding ways to include myself in the image to either help communicate scale, or add a human element into the composition. There are many ways to do this: set your camera on a tripod with a self-timer; include your shadow; look for your reflection in a mirror, or get your hands or feet into the scene by using an extreme wide angle lens. I always enjoy images more when I recognize a mind at work behind the camera. It is not just a matter of being at the right place at the right time with an understanding of how to use technology - thatâ€™s expected these days, and is just the price of admission. Finding ways to creatively include a human element in a photograph goes a long way to connecting and communicating with the viewer, and helps to show that there is somebody present and thinking on the other side of all that technology! ď‚ž
Boardwalk to Western Brook Pond, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland At sunrise and sunset the skies can be very dramatic, but not just in the direction of the sun - sometimes the most interesting images can be behind you. Image cropped to create a panoramic. Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, Canon16-35mm lens @ about 16mm, f/11.
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Keeping an eye on the action! Photo by Valérie Blum
For almost a quarter of a century, Montreal photographer André Pichette has thrilled Canadians with images of the leading personalities in a wide range of Olympic and professional sports.
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Camilo Villegas Since my trip to cover a PGA tournament, I have seen many photos of Camilo Villegas crouching close to the ground to envision the path of the ball, but I have never seen a photo of him in this position. It was necessary to analyse the movement to find a spot where I could capture this perspective, and the definitive moment for the photo. In the photo, the ball is just in front of the golfer, and I had to shoot at ground level to see his eyes, lined up with the ball. I shot at 1/500 second at f/7.1, ISO 200, and used the 400mm lens. In a situation like this, you have to shoot fast because you have very little time to catch the essential moment.
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Bromont Photos in action – the cyclist was effectively frozen in time by the speed of the fill flash – I created the illusion of movement as I panned from right to left during the relatively slow 1/30 second exposure.
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André Pichette’s unique perspective and perseverence in difficult photographic situations has produced images that have appeared in many of the leading publications of the world - including, among others, Paris Match, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times,
USA Today, Gala, and, of course, a long list of photo enthusiast magazines! We asked André to share some of his experience with PHOTO News readers - his suggestions will help you enhance your skills for a range of sports and action photography this summer!
Rafael Nadal vs Mathieu 436 â€“ The moment of victory - captured at 1/800 second, f/3.2, ISO 400, with the 400mm f/2.8 lens.
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Gregory Arkhurst This action photo was shot in ambient interior light with a 400mm f/2.8 lens. I set the camera to 1/250 second at f/2.8, ISO 800, and waited for the definitive moment to trip the shutter.
How does a sports photographer pick the best vantage point for each sport? Above all, you have to understand the sport, because you must not forget that you are a photojournalist - your photo tells the story of the event that you are covering. Of course, this does not infringe upon your artistic perspective, and the creation of a beautiful image. Adapting a different point of view for your photos can often produce a very different image, that covers the sport from a new and imaginative perspective. What technique do you use to track focus? I use the AF Servo mode on my Canon system, which works beautifully - but you must always anticipate the movement to capture the best results. What are your basic tips for setting ISO, shutter speed, and aperture for the various images? It all depends on the sport - whether it is indoor or outdoor, and what quality of ambient light is available. With a fast /2.8 lens you can use the highest possible shutter speeds combined with a low ISO setting. Today, with the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, almost every shot is possible with good results up to ISO 12,000, but I always try to keep the ISO as low as possible for the best image quality.
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Do you shoot RAW, then post process each image, or shoot JPEG? I always shoot RAW because the quality of the image is so far superior that it makes a big difference in the final photograph. With the large image file you retain the highest quality, and you have the greatest amout of latitude for colour correction and post-processing the image. Can the average photographer achieve similar results with consumer level DSLR cameras and lenses? The images and the quality of the photographs can be obtained with a wide range of equipment, but each camera system will produce slightly different results. Personally, I can see a difference in the colours rendered by the various cameras and lenses. There are other differences as well - for example, if you use a lens with a slower maximum aperture (f/5.6 rather than f/2.8) you may have to use a higher ISO, or a slower shutter speed, and this may produce a less impressive result, even on a pro-level camera. On the other hand, some cameras may not have autofocus capailities as effective as the pro-calibre models, and this may produce fewer successful images, even with the best lenses. ď‚ž
Alexander Wurz Crash This dramatic image of Alexander Wurz crashing his car was shot at 8 frames per second, 1/2000 second at f/8. I was able to capture the complete sequence of the accident while holding the camera with one hand! I had two cameras at trackside - one with the 70-200mm zoom, and the other with a 400mm telephoto. In the days of film, we were limited to 36 exposures per roll of film, and a sequence shot at 8 frames per second could only cover 4.5 seconds of action. As it happened, the accident spanned only 4 seconds, and I was the only photographer out of a group of about 50 who caught the full sequence on film, from start to finish.
For additional tips and techniques, please see Andreâ€™s notes accompanying each photograph. To savour the visual impact of Andreâ€™s favourite images, please visit his website at www.andrepichette.com
Summer 2011 | 43
BY DAVID HEMMINGS
In the Field with the
Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) The Tamron 200-500mm is a well-made, versatile, and affordable super-telephoto!
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David Hemmings is a world-renowned bird photographer, and President of Nature’s Photo Adventures, specializing in unique tours for photographers of all skill levels. David’s photos have appeared on the cover of National Geographic, Canadian Geographic, and many other internationally famous publications, including Audubon Magazine, On Feathered Wings, and Birding Essentials. We asked David to take the Tamron 200500mm zoom into the field for this special report - just in time for your summer wildlife photography adventures! One of the most common questions that my photography students and other budding bird and nature photographers ask is “what is the best all-around lens for bird and nature photography?” The second most common question is “what is the best lens when traveling for the purpose of photographing birds and nature subjects?” These are not simple questions to answer, as there are multiple factors that will determine which lens is right for you. Some of these factors include whether or not you will be shooting handheld while hiking; how close you will be able to get to your
target species; how much weight you are willing to carry around with you, and last but not least, your budget. If I were asked to select only one lens for serious bird photography I would have to answer that it would be a 500mm prime lens. When photographing birds, it is not uncommon to need lots of focal reach for your intended subjects. For me, 500mm represents a good all-around focal length for most situations. It can be coupled with a teleconverter for even more focal length, and still produce crisp, sharp images. However, the 500mm prime lens comes with some inherent traits. These are heavy, expensive lenses. It most cases, they require the use of a very sturdy tripod along with a gimbal or ball and socket style head that can support the weight of the lens and camera and believe me, that can be quite a heavy combination. Another unavoidable characteristic of the 500mm fixed focal length prime lens is that it is just that - a fixed focal length. Proper composition will often involve moving forward or backward to properly frame your subject. So even though I use my 500mm lens often,
there are times when the weight and the fixed focal length just do not make sense for where and what I am shooting. This leaves the bird and nature photographer often looking for something lighter, less expensive and more versatile than the 500mm fixed prime. This is when a lens like the Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) can really shine. Here we have a lens that is very light in comparison to a prime 500mm, it has the luxury of having a focal length that gives us a 2.5:1 zoom ratio, and it costs about one fifth of the price of the camera manufacturer’s 500mm prime lens! The obvious question arises - can a lens that offers so much for such a low cost perform well and give us good results in the field? This is what I set out to determine for myself. Without a doubt, one of my favorite destinations as a bird photographer is the state of Florida. For me, it provides an opportunity to see and photograph a wide variety of bird species in a relatively short amount of time without having to cover a lot of ground. So, it was off to Florida for a field test of the Tamron SP AF200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) lens.
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SpecialReport [ by David Hemmings ]
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I have a good friend in Florida who owns a pontoon boat that is well suited for photography. It provides access to some great shooting locations, and provides a roomy, stable shooting platform while out on the water. This was to be the first testing ground for the Tamron 200-500mm, which I mounted on a Canon 1D Mk 1V camera body. The first thing that I noticed when I reached for this lens was that it was very well made, and it comes with a useful carrying bag. The bag is well padded, has a quick and easy to use drawstring, and a very handy carrying strap. I really liked the finish on this all-black lens, and the quality feel of the rubberized focus ring grip. The one thing that really amazed me though, was the small size and light weight for a lens that can give you 500mm of reach. After a few years of handholding my 500mm prime lens, this was certainly a welcome bonus. The next thing I noticed as I attached the well constructed lens hood was a feature that Tamron calls “Filter Effect Control”. This allows the user to adjust a filter such as a polarizer without having to take the time to detach the lens hood - what a wonderful innovation this is! You simply attach the filter to the adapter and then attach it to the lens. The hood then mounts on the front of the adapter and allows the filter to rotate by turning the lens hood. The lens has a well-placed and solid tripod mount that is easily detachable. Manual focus is smooth and easy to use. The autofocus switch is well placed so it is unlikely that you will accidentally flip it back and forth without the intention of doing so. One thing that is very important to me as a bird photographer is the ability of a lens to auto focus quickly and accurately. The Tamron did not disappoint in this regard. The AF performed very admirably even in lower light, low contrast situations. There was very little hunting and the AF was smooth and relatively quiet.
The Tamron SP AF200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) is only 19” when fully extended with the hood attached, and is only 9” at 200mm without the hood. This is a very manageable and flexible lens when it comes to maneuverability and ease of use. At one point, I was standing at the front of the boat, about 100 feet out from a reed bed where a few Limpkins were moving about, sometimes flying around. I had to watch for movement out of the reeds, and then quickly position the lens to lock onto a pretty fast moving target on a busy background. The lens performed well above my expectations in this situation. The thing I liked best was the lack of arm fatigue I experienced while waiting for my next shooting opportunity. I could hand-hold this lens all day long, something highly unlikely with a heavier fixed focal length 500mm f4 lens. Yes, you can avoid arm fatigue by putting the fixed 500mm on a tripod, but this greatly decreases your chances of maneuvering quickly enough to catch all of the action. A 500mm lens that you can handhold easily to capture action and flight shots is a thing of beauty. I also had the opportunity to use the lens resting on a beanbag on the boat railing. Bending down and standing up with this lens was fairly easy, and most of us could do it all day long without issue. The lens was easy and quick to get onto the beanbag so as not to miss any photographic opportunity that presented itself. The unit quickly and easily attached to the ball head on my tripod and allowed for simple relocation of the tripod without a lot of exertion or concern over the unit toppling over while repositioning the camera and lens - something that is a great concern when using the long and heavy prime lenses. After I had used the lens in the field, it was time to go back to my hotel room and download some images for review. I looked very
closely at the images enlarged on my screen to examine things like critical sharpness, chromatic aberration, etc. I must say that I was very pleased with the digital quality that this lens produced. It is not my intention to do a myriad of technical tests here, I look at the details in the feathers of birds in flight rather than pixel peeping photographs of rulers and dollar bills. It was my intention to use this lens in the field and give a report on its functionality, flexibility and usefulness in different shooting situations. So, with that in mind, here is a summary of my findings on this Tamron lens. The Tamron SP AF200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) is a very good telephoto lens for the money, with a great range of focal lengths for bird and nature photography. It is solid and well put together. The manual and auto focus both work well and are very accurate. Optically, the lens does a good job for the price range it is in (around $900). It is not as sharp as a 500mm prime lens but that would be an unfair comparison to make as it is less than one-fifth of the cost, and very few zoom lenses ever match the sharpness of a high quality prime lens. For most of us, this lens will produce great images for printing average size prints and sharing images on the web. It is wonderfully versatile with the 200-500mm zoom range. I would say that this would be close to a perfect safari lens in places like Africa. The lens hood is very functional and the supplied filter effect control adapter is a very useful and ingenious feature. In closing, I would recommend this lens to anyone looking for a super telephoto zoom that is well made, very versatile and quite inexpensive. Tamron has done an excellent job at putting so much into a very affordable piece of photographic equipment.
Take a look at David’s image gallery at www.davidhemmingsbirdphotography.com
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PHOTOGRAPHIC TRAVEL LEARNING ADVENTURES
The ultimate PhotoNews is proud to announce that we are now offering Photographic Learning Travel Adventures to some of the most wonderful photo destinations on earth for birds, nature and landscapes, led by our newest columnist, nature photographer David Hemmings.
The PLTA series will begin with the “Beautiful Alberta!” workshop, from September 9th – September 15th, 2011. This tour will be featured once again from June 10th – June 16th, 2012. This is the ideal opportunity to photograph Canada’s wildlife, under the supervision and guidance of some of the nation’s top professional photographers.
To maximize the photographic learning experience, each PLTA tour is limited to 8 participants, who will enjoy expert photo instruction and guidance in the field, and a special workflow and digital image processing seminar. The tour includes a participant welcome gift and all park entrance fees. The cost of this PHoToNews PLTA is $2,385.00 CAD. Prices do not include: accommodation, meals, alcoholic beverages, any items of a personal nature, or transportation to Waterton Lakes.
A w o n d e r f u l p h ot o d e s t i n At i o n photoNews presents Photographic Learning Travel Adventures to Alberta – a wonderful photo destination for birds, nature and landscapes. Dates: September 9th – September 15th, 2011 June 10th – June 16th, 2012 Tour is limited to 8 participants. Cost of this PhotoNews PLTA is $2,385.00 CAD 48 | PHOTONews
Prices include: Expert photo instruction and guidance in the field, workflow and digital image processing seminar, participant welcome gift and all park entrance fees. Prices do not include: Accommodations, meals, alcoholic beverages, any items of a personal nature, transportation to Waterton Lakes. Species Include: Elk, Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Moose, Big Horn Sheep, Spruce Grouse, Mule Deer, Wolves, Cougars, Coyotes, Fox, Pikas and Marmots. To learn more and to reserve your spot for this adventure please visit: http://www.naturesphotoadventures.com
photo adventures Join David Hemmings and his team of expert photo instructors for the PLTA Newfoundland Adventure “Photography At the Edge of the Earth”, July 19th– July 26th, 2012 Newfoundland, Canada is a photographer’s dream. This ancient and vastly unpopulated land has some of the world’s most accessible seabird colonies, endless rolling hills and majestic cliffs that drop down to the powerful Atlantic ocean. Home to over 60,000 seabirds! Newfoundland is home in the spring and summer to millions of seabirds, thousands of humpback whales and freshly carved icebergs that tend to pop up around the 29,000 kilometers of Newfoundland’s coastline. This photo education tour is limited to 8 participants. Cost of this Photo News PLTA is $3,995.00 CAD Prices include: Expert photo instruction and guidance in the field, workflow and digital image processing seminar, accommodations, participant welcome gift and all park entrance fees. Prices do not include: Meals, alcoholic beverages, any items of a personal nature, transportation to St John’s, Newfoundland.
Discover Newfoundland At t h e e d g e o f t h e e A rt h photoNews presents a Photographic Travel Learning Adventure to Newfoundland – one of Canada’s most spectacular photo destinations! Dates: July 17th - 25th, 2011 July 19th– July 26th, 2012 Tour is limited to 8 participants. Cost of this PhotoNews PLTA is $3,995.00 CAD
Prices include: Expert photo instruction and guidance in the field, workflow and digital image processing seminar, accommodations, participant welcome gift and all park entrance fees. Prices do not include: Meals, alcoholic beverages, any items of a personal nature, transportation to St John’s, Newfoundland. Species Include: Northern Gannets, Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Black-Legged Kittiwakes, Common Murres, Great Cormorants, Black Guillemots as well as Humpback whales and icebergs. To learn more and to reserve your spot for this adventure please visit: http://www.naturesphotoadventures.com
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Award Winners The annual meeting of the Technical Image Press Association to vote for the best photographic and imaging products in 2011 was held on 9 April 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. This year at the TIPA General Assembly 29 member magazines voted for the best product in each category. They also discussed and approved certain internal rules and most importantly the Board proposal of partnership with the Camera Journal Press Club (CJPC) of Japan that associates 11 photography magazines in Japan. In the same way TIPA will represent its member magazines in the CJPC. The General Assembly selected the best photo and imaging products in 2011 in 40 categories. So far in 21 years the association has given to the world photo and imaging industry over 430 awards for products from over 70 companies from 15 countries. TIPA has member magazines from nine European countries plus Australia, Canada, China, USA and South Africa. Today, with the affiliation of the CJPC of Japan, it is able to reach more than 10 million enthusiastic photography amateurs and professionals in the world.
Best Fine Art Inkjet Paper:
by Hahnemühle, series HARMAN Professional Inkjet by Hahnemühle offers a wide range of impressive archival papers in baryta, cotton base and canvas finishes in both warm and cold tone varieties. The photographer can choose whatever paper fits their visual tastes and needs. TIPA members were impressed by the papers themselves, as well as their appeal to traditional darkroom printmakers in that they have all the most laudable characteristics of the best silver papers of the past now available for inkjet printmakers.
Best Entry Level Lens:
Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD
This premium, state-of-the-art, telephoto zoom lens provides users of full-frame and APS-C format digital SLR cameras with a myriad of features that make it stand out in the telephoto zoom class. Built to exacting SP (Super Performance) standards, it features the firstever Tamron USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) for enhanced auto-focusing speed and responsiveness. To assist in handheld, low light shooting the SP 70-300mm incorporates VC (Vibration Compensation); Tamron's exclusive low-friction tri-axial image stabilisation system. April 21, 2011 Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) wins Best Entry Level Lens at TIPA Awards 2011 60th anniversary model that delivers both best-in-class resolution and easy operation Optical equipment manufacturer Tamron Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Saitama City, Japan / President and CEO: Morio Ono) that celebrates its 60th anniversary last year has won Best Entry Level Lens at the TIPA Awards with its SP 70 300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) telephoto zoom lens for full-frame digital SLR
cameras. That lens has won Tamron two of the top photography awards in Europe along following its winning of European Zoom Lens 2010-2011 at the EISA Awards. This telephoto zoom lens has been highly praised by editors and technical writers of Europe’s top photography magazines for its best-in-class resolution and great ease of use.
Reason for winning TIPA award This premium, state-of-the-art, telephoto zoom lens supports full-frame and APS-C format digital SLR cameras. It includes many features that make it stand out even amongst other products in the telephoto zoom class. Built to exacting Superior Performance (SP) standards, it features Tamron’s first application of an Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) for enhanced auto-focusing speed and responsiveness. The SP 70-300mm also incorporates Tamron's exclusive Vibration Compensation (VC) lowfriction tri-axial image stabilization system to demonstrate impressive capabilities even in handheld, low light shooting.
SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005)
Best Professional Flash System:
The broncolor Senso series combines easily controllable flash power and compact size. The Senso power pack is available in two power versions, offering 13 to 1200 or 26 to 2400 joules (Ws) flash energy for up to three lamps in two channels. Appealing and practical features include constant colour temperature over three f-stops and a built-in radio receiver. Jointly developed for the Senso power packs, the Litos flash head offers flexible handling with a protective cap that can quickly be converted into an umbrella or standard reflector.
The broncolor Senso series.
See the Senso in Action! Canadian photographer Ryan Enn Hughes, whose work with the Broncolor Senso system was featured in Photo News last Autumn, has a new project - “C Walk”. Take a look at Ryan’s website for a very cool experience in 21st century lighting! www.vimeo.com/21629691 “C Walk” features dancer Amadeus Marquez performing in the Crip Walk style. This project was shot entirely with still photographs (Canon EOS 1DIV) and lit with photographic strobe lights (Broncolor Scoro A4S). Frame by frame animation was used to achieve the final aesthetic. This fascinating use of strobe lighting was achieved with a very small crew: Ryan Enn Hughes Producer, Director, Camera, Animator, Colourist; Amadeus Marquez - Dancer; Alexis Honce Stylist; and Kyle Wilson - Editor.
MANFROTTO: A TOP PLAYER AT THE RED DOT DESIGN AWARD 2011 One of the most prestigious international design comp etitions has awarded seven prizes to the historic company from Vicenza, recognising the quality and excellence of Italian design. Manfrotto, the world leader in the design, production and distribution of equipment and accessories for the photography and imaging industry, has won seven prizes at one of the world’s most prestigious design competitions: the Red Dot Design Award 2011. The prizes were awarded to products from the new Imagine More collection: • Manfrotto Photo-movie head • Manfrotto Always-on for DSLR • Manfrotto 050 magnesium series ball head • Manfrotto Pocket Led light • Manfrotto Compact photo-video Kit • Manfrotto 504HD • Manfrotto LINO PRO V The Imaging & Staging Division of the Vitec Group, Manfrotto’s UK-based parent company, also won an eighth prize, which was awarded to the KATA brand for KATA Source.
According to the authoritative jury of the Red Dot Design Award, composed of top international design experts, the unique and innovative design of these eight products stood out in a competition that attracted 4.433 projects submitted by designers and companies from 60 countries. The significant results achieved at the Red Dot Design Award 2011 by Manfrotto – and the Vitec Group in general – represent further recognition of the quality of Italian design: a success that the company is proud to share with the entire sector, which has been the emblem of Italian excellence around the world for years. Manfrotto products reflect the qualities of a team of professionals who are unique in this industry and are committed, day after day, to developing innovative and state-of-the-art products. Ongoing research into new trends and technological innovation has helped the Manfrotto team gain the attention, favour and loyalty of a large national and international public, as demonstrated by the important recognition of the Red Dot Design Award 2011. For additional information, check the website www.en.red-dot.org.
Manfrotto 050 magnesium series ball head.
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KATA bag wins prestigious 2011 Red Dot award for second straight year For the second year in a row, a KATA bag has won the Red Dot award for design. This year’s winner is the KATA Source-261 Pro Light. This is KATA’s first bag dedicated to the HDSLR user and was designed specifically for the needs of professional videographers.
About the bag
additional DSLR body. Furthermore the Source-261 PL also fits additional lenses and video accessories in side pockets and most 17’’ laptops. The bag also features many of KATA’s signature technologies, such as the Spine Guard, ripstop fabrics, Spider Webbing straps, Gecko Harness and a double sided elements cover.
The Source was designed to answer the needs of professional videographers who use HDSLR and rigs. The bag’s large middle compartment fits your working HDSLR connected to a stabilizing system, a large padded pocket on the flap provides convenient storage and the modular Aeriform Dividers can be set up in remaining space to accommodate accessories you need often or an
MANFROTTO introduces 'STILE' a new collection of camera bags Manfrotto’s line of quality products is expanding to include a collection of bags for everyday use and media support. STILE, Italian for style, is one of two lines of bags being introduced by Manfrotto in early spring 2011. Designed in Italy with a focus on tripod and bag solutions – STILE was created to fit the everyday digital lifestyle. The STILE bag collection currently includes: backpacks, slings, messenger bags, holsters and pouches – all are available in three colours (black, star white and bungee cord) and cover most available camera styles. “The Manfrotto STILE Bag Collection started with a great story, the story of the incredible 21st century digital revolution. Today it seems natural for all of us to own mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, etc., but only 10 years ago most of us couldn’t have imagined the existence of half of these products. And none of us could have predicted our reliance on such products to support our daily lifestyles and guide our social activities and interactions” says Mr. Fabio Prada, Manfrotto Bags Line Manager. This collection was designed with the consumer in mind. The stylish Italian design and extra space for your camera and accessories, makes this the perfect multi-purpose bag.
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Wireless & Portable Lighting Kits
Introducing the NEW kit collections for location lighting from Photoflex. Portable, powerful – professional! For more information visit photoflex.ca®
Triton Flash Features:
• Extremely Portable & Compact • 300ws Power output • 19 Power settings in 1/3 stop increments • Lithium Ion Battery with up to 750 shots per charge • Fast Power mode up to 7fps • Triton battery can power two Triton Heads, each at full power • Metal swivel will support weight • Includes FlashFire Radio Trigger & receiver
The Complete Studio Kit PX607 MSRP
The Location Kit PX608
The Triton Kit PX617
Visit ca.photoflexlightingschool.com for FREE lessons in using Photoflex® products.
Photoflex products are marketed and distributed in Canada by Amplis Foto Inc. www.amplis.com
e es Fre Includ attery dB ) SeconTime $300 value d
BY MICHEL ROY
Night Magic! Summer is here, the weather is fine - itâ€™s time to have fun with night photography!
Michel roy, from Quebec City, is a professional photographer and videographer specializing in a wide range of corporate and portrait assignment. Michel is now the Official Photographer at the Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac. Michelâ€™s studio, digital direct Photos & Videos, is located in the lobby of this famous hotel. Michel specializes in corporate, weddings, portraits or any kind of work, professionally done, at a competitive price. www.digitaldirect.ca www.chateauphotos.com email@example.com
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Shooting after dark is a challenge for the avid photographer, but if you are well prepared, you can create amazing images after the sun goes down. I often wonder why so few photographers explore the world after night falls. Perhaps they feel that capturing light is a daytime adventure, or that night photography a mysterious and difficult assignment. In fact, night photography is remarkably simple - but you have to invest a bit of effort to achieve images that will make your friends open their eyes and say, “WOW!” Some photographers are naturally nocturnal. They instinctively know which scenes will produce the most spectacular images, and when the light produces the most magical effect. You may be a master of the dark - you won’t know for sure until you venture out with your camera. Here is how I create Night Magic.
NightMagic [ by Michel Roy ]
There are only two accessories that you really need for night photography. The most important is a good tripod. I use a Gitzo Explorer, made of carbon fibre with a 3-way Manfrotto head that lets me position my camera at every angle possible and immobilize it in every way. The carbon fibre construction reduces weight and vibration compared to a standard metal tripod, which really helps on a long evening assignment. The second key accessory is a remote shutter release, to eliminate camera movement and vibration. • For most of my night photographs of landscapes and city scenes, I find that a good wide-angle lens is invaluable. • I plan my night adventures very carefully, taking note of the way the weather affects the scene, the position of the moon as it moves through the night sky, and when the scene can be photographed most effectively. The better you are prepared, the easier the task will be. • Find a subject with interesting surroundings - city buildings, bridges, fountains, and trains are all great subjects. As usual, and especially with night photography, you will keep the ISO setting as low as possible to avoid unwanted noise in your pictures.
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• Frame the subject carefully - this is where the tripod becomes a tremendous asset, because it is very difficult to hand-hold the camera for the long exposures that produce the best night images. Don’t forget your lens hood! Lens flare is more obvious after dark. • Take the easy route to night photography by setting your camera to aperture-priority mode so all you have to do is to choose your f/stop, and the shutter speed will be selected automatically. If you have waterfalls or moving subjects in your scene, then you should try bracketing speeds and aperture settings to achieve a variety of effects. With waterfalls or fountains, trails of light,
and other moving subjects, the shutter speed is more important then depth of field, so using manual exposure mode is the best way to go to control the exposure perfectly. Remember that night images are magic - and some of the best images may be quite unexpected. I usually shoot night photos with aperture settings between f/11 and f/22. This assures lots of detail and precision in the photograph. Take advantage of the depth of field factor when focusing on a landscape scene. Focus 2/3 of the way to the horizon, and let this hyperfocal distance expand the range of sharpness from near to far. Night photography is the ideal opportunity to master the camera’s bracketing mode, for two reasons - you increase the chance of getting the perfect exposure, and you will have the shots you need to create an HDR image, which is always a fascinating option for post-processing. There is an almost unlimited range of subjects to shoot at night. Look for people in movement, fireworks, rain, snow, the moon, city lights - just get out there, and let your adventure in night magic begin!
Accessories to shoot night photos like a pro Get a great tripod, a quality tripod will last a lifetime, so invest in a good one that is easy to carry and solid – it is the best way to achieve sharper images. A flashlight, yes, having a source of light when you set up your night photo is essential, and it is a great tool to have fun with, for light painting techniques. You can also use a flashlight to add some light to a background. A cable release, a simple but very effective piece of equipment. It is amazing how this can make life so easy when it is time to take the picture. The main
reason I use it, is to keep my hands off the camera when shooting, to eliminate the vibration that your hand transmits to the camera when taking the shot. If you forget your remote, you can use the self-timer on the camera, put it on 10 seconds delay – this allows any vibration to settle down before the shutter trips. Bug spray! Mosquitoes have literally gotten the best of me a couple of times. Be prepared, the Canadian mosquitoes need to be taken very seriously! Wear a hat and bring insect repellent lotion with you. When the sun goes down, the insects come out to party… and you may be the guest of honour!
Cell phone. Having a phone with you is a good security precaution. If you’re going to team up with another photographer, both of you should take along your phones. Your brain. To my mind, you can have more fun taking pictures at night than in the daytime, especially during the summer. Use your brain, and your accessories. Try shooting reflections, look for cool lights and other bright subjects - your imagination is the most important element for successful night photography.
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The Captain Brandi Boutilier of Thunder Bay, ON, captured this image of “The Captain” on the north shore of Lake Superior near Thunder Bay, with an Olympus E-410 and a 14-42mm f3.5 lens, shooting at 1/200 second and f/9, ISO 100. “We went on a sailboat tour while the HMS Bounty (the ship used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) was docked in town. Our sailboat captain stayed true to the theme and dressed as a pirate that day.”
The PhOTONews Challenge fOr The summer Of 2011 is
Postcards In the early days of photography, people would share their favourite images with friends by sending picture postcards, often accompanied by a simple message, like “wish you were here”, “look at us now” or “scenes from this summer”. The PHOTONews Challenge for the summer of 2011 is to step back in time, and choose one photo that you think would make a perfect postcard. The theme lends itself to a wide range of subjects, and you may submit photos from previous summer adventures. To participate in the PHOTONews Challenge, please visit our flickr® group at www.flickr.com/groups/photonewsgallery/ and click on the discussion thread titled “PHOTO News Spring Challenge”. Post a 600 pixel wide version of your entry in this thread – please include your name, your location, a description of how you took the photograph, and why you feel it is a special image. Full instructions on how to join the flickr® group, and how to post photos, can be found at the flickr® site. The photo pool at our flickr® group will also be used to select images for our Reader’s Gallery – so take a look, sign in, post a few of your favourite photos, and enjoy our interactive photographic adventures!
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COMInG In tHe neXt ISSUe:
Autumn 2011 Our Autumn issue will continue the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of PHOTONews Magazine – Canada’s largest circulated photo enthusiast publication. Among the featured articles, we will explore the techniques of close-up photography and post-processing, travel the world with Dr. Wayne Lynch, and present a selection of the best images from our readers!
For in-depth information on the equipment and techniques featured in this issue, please visit the website www.photonews.ca. To participate in our flickr® group, please visit www.flickr. com/groups/photonewsgallery/ where you can sign up to exchange ideas and display your favourite photographs – it’s fun, it’s free, and it’s a friendly environment for photographers of all ages and skill levels.
MANFROTTO 055M8 PHOTO-MOVIE HEAD The innovative Manfrotto Photo Movie Head is the ideal solution for the new HD DSLRs with embedded video functions. In Photo mode the head provides speed and maximum freedom in all directions. An incredibly precise, smooth ball head thanks to the fluid cartridges and an adjustable counter balance control. In Video mode a fully featured video head allows for a precise and fluid movement for pan and tilt with all of the typical video settings, including friction control.
Manfrotto products are marketed and distributed in Canada by Amplis Foto Inc.
Ready for everything.
sealing elements G-lock core water & sand
Two models to choose from: Safari GT2540F Tripod with GH2780FQR Ball Head (background) or Safari Traveler Kit GK250FT (inset)
Safari is Gitzoâ€™s new range specifi-cally dedicated to bird watchers and outdoor photographers. A premium selection of tripods and heads completely resistant to natural elements, thanks to advancedtechnologies and materials.
Ready to adapt to your challenges, ready to give you the best results.
Manfrotto products are marketed and distributed in Canada by Amplis Foto Inc.