Last Wednesday I found myself sitting on the court at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo. with two different camera bodies and three different lenses. So, what’s the problem? The 7D and the 1D Mark IIn see colors differently. Add to the equation that the glass in a lens affects the color rendered in the final photograph. For newspaper photography, usually captured in JPEG instead of RAW, this is just something you would normally “live with.”
Maybe you’d just take two identical bodies and figure no one will notice the difference once its printed on Charmin, any ways. But online, the differences can be stark. Take, for instance, this Columbia Missourian slideshow where I was using my 7D and a 1D Mark III on loan from CPS, but my colleague Chris Dunn was using an older D2Xs body at the football game between MU and Kansas State. This is an extreme example, but it is amusing to watch Kansas State’s jerseys suddenly jump from purple to blue depending on which camera was used. Hint: Nikon didn’t figure out what purple “looked” like until the D3 and D300 came out.
I’m at home in Racine, Wis., and have begun the process of filling in the missing keywords, re-ranking, and re-organizing my photographs from fall 2009 in my Lightroom database. I keep finding images that only got one star that should have been two, four star images that should have been three, and so on. When I got to my photos from MU’s homecoming parade, the eyes in this image lunged out at me. I had to work up the image (tone and crop, mostly) and post it up here. I’m sure I’ll uncover a few more “lost images,” and will be sure to post them here.
On Thursday I went over to the Mizzou Arena with Stephanie Hinkle to photograph the University of Missouri’s women’s basketball team demolish Texas – Pan American 83-34. I haven’t photographed basketball much, but have found that I can at least find the occasional feature photo even if my action images haven’t yet developed to the point where I’d like to have them.
After scratching my head for a while to figure out what I was going to do for my final project in Staff Photojournalism, I realized that I should expand on the month-long architecture project that began back in October and ran in the Missourian last week. And unlike the other slideshows this semester, I made this one at home, using Premiere Pro (the school only has Final Cut Express, which, unlike it’s bigger brother, cannot handle square pixels, meaning that all images are warped). All comments welcome!
I haven’t photographed much basketball before, so I didn’t exactly know what I was doing when I went to photograph Hickman High School’s women’s basketball team play Helias High School. I have no doubt that I am at the bottom rung of the totem pole, but even so, I had fun. Especially when Hickman’s junior guard Aqua Corpening dove down to the floor after shooting for a two-pointer with only a minute left to the game. Just as she’s about to hit the hardwood floor, the ball starts to go through the net.
I also thought that the way that the Helias team was swarming around the same player, Aqua Corpening, was fun in this image:
Usually I’m told to find a good sports feature in addition to the usual sports action. Most of the time I can find interesting people in the crowd, but I had forgotten that a better opportunity would come at half time, when people can go out onto the court and shoot baskets themselves:
Last Friday I was assigned by Vox Magazine to go to a pseudo rave at a Bassnectar concert held at the Blue Note, a theater-like venue here in Columbia, Mo. I decided to pack the 1D Mark III and the new 7D, leaving my 5D II on the shelf at home. While it is a great camera in low light, I was more interested to see how the other two would perform as they are both relative “unknowns” to me. Risky? Sure. But I figured it made sense to have one pro body with me, and my own 1D IIN is terrible in poor lighting conditions. The only rule imposed on me was “no flash.” This was going to be ISO 3200+ territory.
Tonight at 7:30 pm, “The Dixie Swim Club,” a play written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, will be performed at Stephens College at the Warehouse Theatre (Missourian article here), and again every night through Saturday. I photographed a tech rehearsal last Thursday, and this photograph struck my editor, Stephanie Hinkle. I had dismissed it as it is a photo of the house manager coming onstage to welcome the audience to the theatre and to announce a raffle to be held at intermission, it does have a graphic quality to it. It’s funny, as I’ve been trying to focus so much on content-driven photos that I sometimes forget about having a little fun with graphic elements in the frame. Some day I can better blend the documentary with my other styles of photography, but maybe this is a start.
I have not yet formed a clear idea in mind of what I think of the performance of the new Canon EOS 7D dSLR. I purchased it specifically for action photography–sports and wildlife–to accompany my aging 1D Mark IIn, and I photographed the college football game between Missouri and Baylor with these two bodies this past Saturday. I made about 800 frames on the 7D (about 700 too many), and was happy with the focus on several, but certainly not all of the frames. I will be photographing another football game this weekend, Missouri Vs. Kansas State, to be held in the “Little Apple.” I will go into further detail about what settings I am using in a future posting, but I will make a few remarks about the camera here.
Without question, I think that this camera feels better in-hand than any other, with the exception of the 1D series. The grip is, for once, contoured for a person’s hand. It is very well constructed, and the buttons are easy to find and also “stick out” a bit more so that a gloved hand can actually manipulate them. As a native of the Midwest, this is particularly important, as our winters seem to last about six months! Strangely, while virtually every button is improved over the xxD series, the depth-of-field preview button has taken a turn for the worse. It is almost flush with the camera body, and does not push in very far. Disappointing.
The viewfinder is a joy to look through with this camera. Not quite as nice as the 5D II (which, frankly, is not as nice as Sony’s Alpha 900 viewfinder), but worlds beyond the 40D or 50D.
So far I am unimpressed with the RAW/JPEG button, which enables whichever format you are not using by default, but only for one frame. Nevertheless, it is better than the “direct print” button than it was in the original 5D, and I suppose I should be thankful because it could well have returned to that state of stupidity when Canon moved the “Live View” button from that position, where it is on the 5D II, to a spot above the joystick controller.
What I will also state, to a great deal of dismay, is that this camera feels worlds better in-hand than does my 5D Mark II, which carries a $1,000 premium over the 7D.
I really haven’t photographed food before–not in any serious fashion–so when I found myself confronted with a silver platter of chocolate-covered potato chips yesterday at the Candy Factory in Columbia, Mo., I was thrown for a loop.
There was no chance I would use existing light: it was a mix of daylight and tungsten, and exposing for the chips coated in which chocolate would have meant underexposing the others significantly. So I set up two lights bouncing into umbrellas at either end of the silver tray. It took me a while for all that I learned about photographing metal–and look how little of it wound up in the final frame!–and its family of angles to come back to me (about 50 chimped frames) but once the reflections were under control, it just became a matter of the ratio between the key and the fill lights.
Ultimately, the SB-80-DX, on camera left, was fired at a third stop under 1/2 power, and the 550EX on camera right was fired at 1/16 power. Could I have balanced those a bit? Probably. The shadows cast by the milk chocolate potato chips bother me a bit. I’ll file that in the “next time” category.