Earlier this month I asked the question “How Far is Too Far with HDR?” in one of my posts and the answer I got back most often was “it’s up to the photographer to decide”. Well, that got me thinking and playing around with Photomatix Pro to see what kind of really far-out effects I could generate.
Last weekend I attended the Wings Over Houston air show and used a Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens for most of the day. Normally for an event like this I’d shoot with a telephoto zoom but in this case I wanted to try out Canon’s 300mm prime to see just how sharp this lens really is.
All I can say is Wow!
This lens is incredibly sharp as you can see in the image below. It’s also fairly light (2.6 lbs), relatively small (3.5″ x 8.7″) and very easy to hand hold for long periods of time. The ring-type USM drive is whisper quiet and fast. I used this on AI Servo mode for almost six hours and got some incredibly sharp images at the air show. One thing I didn’t like about this lens was the built-in lens hood which would not stay extended when I panned up to follow a plane in flight. However, that may have been due to the fact that this is a rental lens and has seen considerable use.
My only other gripe is that this lens uses Canon’s first generation “IS” (Image Stabilization) with Mode 1 (stationary) and Mode 2 (panning) operation and provides roughly a 2 stop gain. Newer lenses like the EF 200mm f/2L IS USM use Canon’s third generation “IS” technology and provide 4-5 stop gains. I’m a little surprised that Canon hasn’t updated this lens but I suspect it has to do with it’s very (VERY) reasonable street price of $1200 (USD).
A few months back I posted about Mark Krajnak’s Jersey Noir photo gallery and his “K-Man” posing for Joe McNally’s post entitled The Hot Shoe Diaries. Since then Mark and I have become friends, emailing back & forth, commenting on each others’ images and discussing new photographic projects.
I’ve been trying to get Mark to start a blog so that he can not only display his work but share his techniques, thoughts and adventures. A few minutes ago Mark posted another comment on my blog and a link to another incredible image in one of his Flicker streams. I’m not really a big fan of Flicker but I am a big fan of Mark’s work, so I’ve decided to take matters in my own hands and “out him” in front of the photographic blogging community.
Take this beautiful image for example (Click on the link to see a larger version).
- Don’t you agree that Mark should start blogging and share not only his images but also his insights, experiences and techniques as an amateur photographer?
- Don’t you think that he ought to share some juicy stories about posing in his “K-Man” attire for the famous shooter, Joe McNally?
- Wouldn’t you like to see the images and hear more about his “100 Strangers I’ve Met” photo-project?
- Aren’t you a little bit interested in knowing how Mark got this incredible exposure?
Mark, I hope you’re not embarrassed by this post but I figure that anyone brave enough to photograph 100 strangers and tough enough to pose for Joe McNally wearing a 50′s suit and hat couldn’t be afraid of a little free publicity. And you met Moose! I’m so jealous :-)
Here are another two images I took last Saturday at the Wings Over Houston air show. The first was inspired by an image I saw on Moose Peterson’s Reno Air Races Begin post. The second image shows just how precise these pilots are during their maneuvers. These F-16 fighters were less than ten feet apart during takeoff.
Watching the Thunderbirds prepare for their demonstration is amazing. It’s a precision dance of man and machine unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed. It starts with Leadership. It depends upon Trust. It takes Teamwork.
Here’s Thunderbird 1 (Lt Col Greg Thomas) the Squadron Commander opening the ceremony.
Here are all the enlisted men performing a runway check (for debris) to ensure the safety of the pilots and crew.
It all comes down to teamwork between the pilots, crew and support personnel.
You can find more information on the United States Air Force’s elite “Air Demonstration Squadron” on their web site at http://thunderbirds.airforce.com
Got up pretty early Saturday morning for a chance to photograph this bird on the flight line before things got too crowded. Given the size of this beast it’s a good thing I brought my wide glass along. It’s amazing what a little High-Speed HDR magic can produce.
I was reading John O’Connor’s blog the other day and he mentioned that Sam Abell’s latest book The Life of a Photograph was soon to be published. Amazon was taking orders and I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived only a few days later.
I’ve been a fan of Sam Abell’s work in the National Geographic and in his collaboration with Stephen Abrose in Lewis & Clark: Voyage of Discovery, a wonderful book with incredible images.
I’ve just started reading “The Life of a Photograph” and the images in these pages are really incredible. Many were taken during Sam Abell’s assignments with NG and they provide a wonderful glimpse into his unique approach to creating photographic art.
If you’re looking for a little photographic inspiration this weekend, stop by your local book store and pick up a copy. It’s money well spent!