The Road to Utopia

The Road to Utopia

The Road to Utopia, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
EOS 5D Mark III w/ GP-E
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 unit attached, set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/13 for 1/80th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

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Hill Country Ranch

Hill Country Ranch – Medina, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
EOS 5D Mark III w/ GP-E
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 unit attached, set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/14 for 1/15th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

Autumn Ranch – Medina, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
EOS 5D Mark III w/ GP-E
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 unit attached, set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 67mm, f/14 for 1/3rd of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

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Autumn on the Frio River

Frio River in Autumn

Autumn on the Frio River – Leakey, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
EOS 5D Mark III w/ GP-E
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 unit attached, set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 47mm, f/14 for 1/3rd of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

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Using the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver

Canon 5D Mark III with GP-E2

I HATE READING THE MANUAL SO HERE IS THE CONDENSED VERSION

Geotagging Images and Adding the Shooting Direction
The GPS Receiver GP-E2 can geotag your shots and record the route you travel. Using the provided software Map Utility, you can view shooting locations and the route traveled. The receiver can also set the camera time via GPS.

Compatibility According to Canon
Automatic geotagging when shooting is supported by EOS-1D X and later cameras such as the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 7D. Manual geotagging after shooting (from logging information) is supported by all EOS digital cameras.

Compatibility According to Me
EOS 1Dx and EOS 5D Mark III — Fully Compatible
EOS 7D — Partially Compatible (requires included cable, missing some features)
All other EOS cameras — Not worth the price. There are other logging options on the market for a lot less money.

Canon GP-E2 Details

The GP-E2 Receiver is supported by all EOS cameras that display [GPS device settings] in their menu as shown below.

GPS Device Settings

  • Shots taken while the receiver is attached to the camera are geotagged, adding location information (latitude, longitude, elevation, and shooting time) to images.
  • Shooting locations of geotagged images can be viewed in Adobe Lightroom 4 or on Google Earth.
  • Images can also be tagged with the shooting direction using the receiver’s digital compass except for the EOS 7D.
  • For other EOS cameras, only the logging function is available. Using this information, you can geotag images later using the Map Utility.

Turning the Receiver On

GP-E2 GPS Receiver

<ON> Position

  • The receiver functions in this position only with EOS DIGITAL cameras that display [GPS device settings] in the menu.
  • Shots taken while the receiver is attached to the camera are geotagged, adding location information (latitude, longitude, elevation, and shooting time) to images.
  • Images can also be tagged with the shooting direction, using the receiver’s digital compass.

<LOG> Position

  • With the switch in this position, the receiver keeps a record of location information along the route traveled.
  • The route can be viewed on a virtual map. Logs can also be used to geotag images at a later time.
  • The images that can be geotagged after shooting with logging information are JPEG and RAW images (file extension: CR2) shot with EOS DIGITAL cameras.
  • Movie files can also be geotagged this way at a later time, when using cameras that display [GPS device settings] in the menu (except with the EOS 7D).
  • When the receiver is attached or connected to a camera that displays the [GPS device settings] menu item, the receiver will geotag images as you shoot, and periodically log location information. Images can also be tagged with the shooting direction.

* EOS 7D does not support tagging of the shooting direction.

GPS Information Display

GPS Device Settings Menu

GPS Details

GPS Information Display

Battery Life Expectations

GPS Battery Life

Here’s What the Map Looks Like in Adobe Lightroom 4

Adobe Lightroom Map

Now, wasn’t that a lot simpler than reading the manual?

The Results

The Big Valley

The Big Valley – Vanderpool, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 60mm, f/14 for 1/20th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

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Using Mirror Lock-Up for Landscape Photography

Water Power

Water Power – Austin, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 70-200mm f/4L USM tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 70mm, f/18 for 3/10th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Using Mirror Lock-Up
We landscape photographers will go to great lengths and expense to get truly sharp images. For most of us, “sharpness” is the holy grail in our quest and we will spend whatever it takes in new lenses, cameras, tripods and filters to obtain the sharpest image. And yet, I often see well meaning landscape photographers overlooking the most simple and effective technique for eliminating camera shake, the leading cause of “soft” images; vibration!

Every DSLR made in the past ten years contains a mirror lock-up function and I’d be willing to bet that 95% of all DLSR owners have never enabled this important landscape photography setting. To understand why this function is so important you’ll need to understand what takes place in your DSLR when you press the shutter release.

  1. The mirror flips up (wham).
  2. The aperture closes down to the selected F stop.
  3. The shutter opens.
  4. The sensor is exposed to light.
  5. The shutter closes.
  6. The aperture returns to wide-open for viewing.
  7. The mirror flips back down.

Most of these actions occur with very little vibration but the mirror’s movement is the biggest exception. Enabling your camera’s “mirror lock-up” function will cause the mirror to flip up several seconds before the aperture closes down and the shutter opens. This few seconds is critical and allows the vibration caused by the mirror’s movement to dissipate before the shutter opens. Using this technique along with your camera’s self-timer function allows you to press the shutter release and then stand back while the mirror flips up and the timer waits a few seconds (usually 2 or 10 seconds) before opening the shutter.

A Small Caveat
If you plan to use mirror lock-up on your EOS DSLR, to help to remove any trace of shutter vibration, you need to be careful on bright days when there could be a lot of light entering through the lens. This is because the magnification of the lens could concentrate the light onto the shutter curtains and scorch them. To avoid this, don’t wait too long after locking up the mirror before taking the picture. Equally, with the mirror locked-up, you should not point the camera at the sun as this could also potentially damage the shutter curtains.

Also, when you use the self-timer and mirror lock-up you won’t be able to see through the viewfinder since the mirror is blocking your view. That doesn’t mean that stray light can’t enter the camera from the viewfinder and affect your exposure, so it’s a good idea to cover the viewfinder opening with the eye-piece cover as shown in the image below or with a baseball cap (my personal technique).

Canon's Eye Piece

 

 

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Canon’s GPS Unit – It’s About Time!

The old saying goes something like this; “good things come to those that wait”. In the case of Canon shooters, this old saying should say “good things come to those that wait and wait and wait and wait some more”.

Canon quietly launched their first foray into the geotagging market earlier this year with the introduction of the GP-E2 hotshoe-mounted GPS unit. This unit gives “some” Canon shooters the ability to geo-tag their images with latitude and longitude data in the EXIF fields, a feature that Nikon shooters have had for several years now. For now, the GP-E2 unit adds this much-requested feature to the EOS-1D X, the EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS 7D cameras only, but Canon promises compatibility with future models as well.

Canon 5D Mark III with GP-E2

Features
For simple and accurate recording of time and location information, this compact GPS receiver is the perfect complement to the EOS 5D Mark III for landscape and wildlife photographers. The GP-E2 records location information such as longitude, latitude, elevation, direction and Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) as EXIF data, while also serving as an electronic compass on camera or off. Connectivity options include hot shoe connections with the EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS-1D X but USB connection only with the EOS 7D. The smart design and rugged construction ensures reliability plus the ability to be used as a standalone GPS logger.

Build Quality
To be able to endure a photographer’s travels, Canon designed the GP-E2 with much the same rugged and durable exterior construction as the EOS 5D Mark III DSLR body while still remaining compact and lightweight. Able to withstand harsh weather conditions, the GP-E2 is a great addition to the EOS 5D Mark III for those who take their EOS system out into even the most remote environments. It offers the same level of dust- and weather- resistance as the EOS 5D Mark III when connected to the camera’s hot shoe, but weather-resistance decreases somewhat when connected via the USB cable.

Canon's GP-E2 GPS Unit

Geo-Logging
Additionally, the GP-E2 can be used as a standalone GPS logger. It can be carried in its included case or users can wear it comfortably on their waist. The location information is automatically stored on the GP-E2 at specific intervals and logged information can be added to the EXIF information at a later time using the supplied Map Utility.

Batteries
The GPS Receiver GP-E2′s uses readily available AA batteries, so users can easily power up the receiver without worrying about recharging. Given that AA batteries are perhaps the most widely available power source anywhere around the world, I think Canon has made a good move here. Because the GP-E2 has its own power source, photographers can still get hours of continuous use with the camera because the GP-E2 will never drain the camera’s battery.

Canon's GP-E2 Top

Compatibility
Automatic geotagging when shooting is supported by EOS-1D X and later cameras such as the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 7D. Manual geotagging after shooting (from logging information) supported by all EOS digital cameras.

Conclusions
Canon shooters have waited impatiently for GPS capabilities while watching their Nikon friends enjoy the benefits of a hot-shoe mounted GPS unit for several years now. With the introduction of the Canon GP-E2 and now the new EOS 6D, it seems like Canon shooters are finally on par with their Nikon brothers and sisters. All I can say in conclusion is “it’s about damn time!”