Trip to Arizona Part II – The Grand Canyon

Well, I crossed off another item on the bucket list in April with my visit to the Grand Canyon. I woke up at 5AM at the hotel in Flagstaff and hit the road before the sun rose so that I’d get to the canyon in the early morning light. I probably don’t need to say a lot about the place. It was epic and vast. I was there early enough that I was totally alone in some spots, without a person in site. That all changed a few hours later when it was teeming.

I walked down the Kaibob trail about 1200 feet and experienced a 15-20 degree (Celsius) temperature change compared to the top. The hike down was easy. The hike up was strenuous and parching.

I stayed past dark and parked myself at Lipan Point for the sunset and night sky shots. Unfortunately I ran the batteries out in the D700 but the X100s was up to the task! The night sky shot here is a panorama of X100s shots. Here are my 22 favourites spanning 7AM to 10PM.  D700 and X100s, AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G and Sigma 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8G.

DSC_7628 DSC_7649-Edit DSC_7682 DSC_7679 DSC_7676 DSCF2222 DSC_7703-Edit DSC_7755 DSC_7781 DSC_7799-Edit DSC_7812 DSC_7831 DSC_7680 DSC_7838 DSC_7882-Edit DSC_7905 DSC_7940-Edit DSC_7960 DSC_7973 DSC_7989 DSC_7997

7 shot panorama with X100s

7 shot panorama with X100s

Advertisements

Trip to Arizona Part I – Everything but The Grand Canyon

In April one of my best friends, Mike, married Laura in Scottsdale, Arizona and I was lucky enough to get to fly down and shoot the wedding. After the wedding I hung around Arizona for another few days and headed north into the desert in a white Corolla. While the highlight of the trip was the Grand Canyon, the drive there and back was awesome as well! Here are my photos of Phoenix, Sedona and Flagstaff plus a few more from along the highway. Shot with the D700 and X100s.

DSCF1990-2 DSCF2013 DSCF2033 DSCF2124 Sedona1-Compatible DSC_7353 DSC_7366 Sedona after the Storm DSC_7412 Flagstaff Mountain1-compatible Flagstaff Mountain2 - compatible DSCF2316 DSCF2325 DSCF2340 DSCF2365 DSCF2368 DSCF2372 DSCF2385

Studio Cat Portraits

Last weekend I tried using my new background kit (stands + white seamless) to shoot some portraits of our cats, Gracie and Professor Noam Chomsky. For the key light I used an Alien Bee B800 with gridded beauty dish from camera right, somewhat close to the posing stool. A Paul C Buff Brollie Box on a 2nd B800 was the fill light, set back from camera left. Both lights were set to equal output power, so distance controlled the intensity on the cats. The background light was a 3rd B800 with barn doors to control the spill.

“Posing” the cats was an exercise in patience. While Gracie eventually chilled out on the stool and let me get a long series of shots, Chomsky had no interest. The lamb skin helped but I still only had 10 seconds after setting him down before he’d run away to the bedroom.

I shot withe the D700 + AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G on a tripod and cable release, allowing me to shoot from the floor between the camera and cats.

lighting-diagram-1424550337DSC_5827 DSC_5819 DSC_5832 DSC_5822

Simplifying Travel with a 35mm Lens – Part 2: Vancouver, BC

When getting ready for a work trip to Vancouver last week I must have re-packed my camera bag at least 5 times before settling on the Sigma 35mm f/1.4. Vancouver is a city with big views and as much as I wanted to simplify the travel kit I knew that there would be many occasion where a wide field of view would be needed. In the end I stuck with the 35 for its simplicity and beautiful optics and thankfully I had no regrets.

In the woods I shot at f/1.4 and ISO 1600. For epic landscapes I shot panoramas at tiny apertures. Again the focal length was perfect for capturing scenes just as I saw them.

All below are D700 + Sigma 35mm f/1.4. Some here are of my co-worker, Connor, trying to capture the perfect selfie. Others are of Clevelend Dam, English Bay and downtown Vancouver, Lynn Canyon, TRIUMF, and Granville Island.

DSC_4339 DSC_4484_stitch DSC_4490-Edit DSC_4505 DSC_4515-Edit DSC_4542 DSC_4546 DSC_4547 DSC_4557 DSC_4584_stitch DSC_4585 DSC_4587 DSC_4598 DSC_4599 DSC_4658_stitch DSC_4670_stitch DSC_4671 DSC_4674 DSC_4689 DSC_4693 DSC_4708 DSC_4709_stitch

Simplifying Travel with a 35mm Lens – Part 1: Toulouse, France

I recently travelled to Toulouse for work and naturally had a tough time deciding what lenses to bring for my time off. Wide + tele came to mind and is something I’ve done in the past with the AF-S 18-35/3.5-4.5 and AF-S 85/1.8. Or just the wide, or maybe a 50/1.4. In the end I chose the Sigma 35/1.4 as the sole lens for 6 days.

35mm has a nice, natural field of view for travel and often captures a scene similarly to how we remember it. It’s not so wide that the framing becomes difficult and not so tight that information is left out. In the cases where a wider field of view is needed it’s not a big deal to snap off a quick panorama and stitch later at home. The Sigma version has excellent sharpness and contrast, even at f/1.4, and has snappy and accurate autofocus – something equally as important as image quality i situations where you need to capture fleeting moments.

Here are a few shots from the trip with the D700. The weather was absolutely outstanding and the city had just decorated for Christmas.

DSC_4171 DSC_4173 DSC_4190-Edit DSC_4203_stitch DSC_4236_stitch DSC_4249 DSC_4277_stitch DSC_4285 DSC_4289 DSC_4299_stitch DSC_4309 DSC_4315-Edit DSC_4310 DSC_4329

Deltron 3030 – Starlight, Waterloo – July 11, 2014

Better late than never, some photos from the Deltron 3030 show at the Starlight this past July. Shot with the D700 and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art. I processed these by reducing the blue saturation in the Lightroom’s Camera Calibration, something that really helped with the super saturated blue lighting.DSC_7998 DSC_8059 DSC_8073 DSC_8123 DSC_8165 DSC_8177-Edit