Archive for April, 2014

Create a Mood


Today’s photo editing software has a great many ways to alter the mood of a photo without dramatically changing its details. I shot this photo of Old Downtown Vancouver at 6th and Broadway. This was just a typical evening scene with a soft glow of twilight in the sky and enough color to know it was still technically daytime. The original photo was used for a Condo I was marketing. This was the view out the living room window. It was a cool damp December day and the shot showed the view well. But it didn’t really have any character. There was no story being told. I feel like this image evokes Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, looking at the Grand Canyon, yep… OK let’s go to Wally World! There is somewhere else to be. Another story to be told.

Long after the Condo sold, I stumbled across the raw images and decided to play around with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I played with the color, saturation and all the typical enhancement tools. I realized that the photo didn’t need to be enhanced. It was what it was, a decent shot of the view out the window of a 5th Floor Condo in Lower Downtown. This photo needed to stop being a photo and become a mood.

So the above “original” was cropped to a 4:3 format to fit the local MLS standard but other than that not much was done to the image. I began to use color and luminance tools to alter the mood of the image. The finished product became nearly devoid of color save for the late autumn hues of yellow and orange. With a little highlight control the sky became angry and formed a more ominous blanket over the wet streets below. The photo began to take on a life of its own. It started to look like something was about to happen. What twisted tale or diabolical plot would begin to unravel with this as the opening long shot to set the scene. Sometimes an image needs more color, sometimes less, sometimes none at all. I ended up with about six or seven variations of the same shot. But this one is the dtcouv-6one that seems to stick the best.

When I was shooting back in the eighties I would take a dozens shots with a variety of filters and camera settings then choose the best one after the film was processed. Now I can take one shot and process to the image I want. Six of one, half-dozen of another? Perhaps, but the real fun is making something cool out of something ordinary.




Read Full Post »


Waterfall, Hand held with IS on, 0.6 sec@f8 ISO 80 9.8mm (45mm)

I spoke in detail a few posts back about my Canon Mirrorless body, the EOS-M. After I acquired that camera I realized that I would probably not find a need to use the G9 I had. After all, the G9 was nearly as big as the EOS-M body and did not offer interchangeable lenses and an APS-C sensor. So I decided to sell the G9. My good friend and camera store owner, Graham Law at Seawood, Inc. had used the Canon S series cameras for quite a while, touting the fact that they had comparable quality to the G series with a much more compact design. So after a kind person helped me depart with my G9 on EBAY, I decided to buy a new S110. Fortunately the slightly improved S120 had just come out and the 110s were available brand new in the box for under $200. I managed to snipe one on EBAY for substantially less than $200.


The tiny but powerful Canon S110

The S series cameras are very small. They are not the smallest compact cameras, but they are pretty slim. They offer the same sensor as the G series which at 1/1.7 inch is larger than the typical compact camera sensor at 1/2.3 inch. The S110 offers a 5x zoom with an 35mm equivalent focal range of 24mm-120mm. (actual focal range 5.2-26mm) The maximum f-stop is 2.0 at 24mm and drops to a dismal 5.9 at 120mm. The S110 will shoot high-definition video at the full 1080p and 30fps. It has all the nice filters and custom settings to keep any camera boffin delighted for weeks on end.

My only real complaint other than the dismal maximum aperture at the tele end is the even more dismal minimum aperture at any focal length of f8. F EIGHT that’s it! Hey boys and girls, can you say “neutral density filter”. The camera performs amazingly well at high ISO settings. The quality at 400 is impeccable and up to 1600 is very good. Even photos taken up at 3200 ISO look fairly good.

I have always been impressed with Canon’s image stabilization technology. They really wrote the book on that tech. This camera does not disappoint. The IS works well and when you are stuck with a max aperture of 5.9 at 120mm it comes in handy. Another feature that the S series has that was awesome, and absent in the top end G series was the multi-function ring just behind the lens. This could be used as an aperture ring or exposure compensation and other handy uses. when using it for either of those it harkens back to the days of old film cameras and turning the aperture ring to change exposure settings. It is really a fast and intuitive way to perform a change in settings.


My neighbor’s 1970 RS SS Camaro shot with S110 in RAW 1/1000@f4 ISO 80 at 5.2mm (24mm)

As good as my Android phone is at taking magnificent photos, it cannot compare to the quality of the S110 and it cannot take RAW photos which the S series cameras can. RAW gives you amazing exposure latitude and is unparalleled in image quality. The camera is quick and handy and offers some serious capability in a compact package.

As much as I adored my G9 and I had that camera from the day it was new (and current) until just recently; the S110 is really a game changer. It has the performance of the G series with the size and convenience of the ultra compact models or camera phones. My friend, Graham was right about these Canon S series cameras and I am truly enjoying the ability to use a true pocket-sized camera and get professional caliber results.

Much of the reason I write this blog is to encourage people to get out and shoot pictures. Use this amazing technology to unleash your inner artist. Get out and have fun. Why the hell not? Life is too short to miss out of great photo ops.



Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: