Canon EFS 10-18mm IS STM Wide Angle Lens

Its been a while since I posted anything on here, been sorting out my images but recently I acquired a new lens, a Canon EFS 10-18mm IS STM wide angle. I’d been looking for a new addition to my equipment and since I concentrate predominantly on landscapes I’ve always fancied a wide angle lens that would go beyond the limitations imposed by the 18mm setting of my current lens. Cost was always a problem however, everything I found was far beyond my budget until I found this one, the EFS 10-18mm IS STM. Reviews for it were very promising and met everything that I was looking for then made even more interesting when a camera store in the city discounted it.

Couldn’t wait to try it out, spring was just around the corner but winter wouldn’t go away. the following were taken in the Barossa Valley just before the big storms hit, devastated the state and tried to flood everyone out. The images were taken at the 10mm and 18mm setting on ISO 100 for comparison.

10mm-1

10mm (1) taken at f/8 1/320 sec

18mm-1

18mm (1) taken at f/8 1/250 sec

10mm-2

10mm (2) taken at f/8 1/250 sec

18mm-2

18mm (2) taken at f/8 1/200 sec

Ok, at the 10mm end there is some distortion as can be expected from any ultra wide angle lens but choosing the right subject this can be acceptable or even corrected for with a photo editing tool. Overall though I’m really pleased with its performance, for the last two days the sun has been shining here in the valley so its time to really check it out.

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The Race is on

For the fans of bicycle races out there my village in the Barossa Valley (South Australia) became the centre for the international bike race “Santos Tour Down Under”. We had the luck of hosting the men’s event Stage 1 on the 19th January and the previous day we also hosted the women’s event stage 3 as they raced around the southern Barossa. As a photographer an event like this was one not to be missed, as you all can expect the village was packed solid for the 3 lap circuit which saw them clocking up 130 Km as they hit the finish line. The bikes were only in view for seconds so this was a good opportunity to try out the sports mode capability of my Canon EOS 760D. Standing at the barrier with an 18-135mm lens attached gave me a good viewing choice but the speed that these bikes were travelling demanded more control than judgement. I set the camera to sports mode, the drive mode to continuous and the autofocus to AI Servo, this meant that once a bike rider was chosen the lens auto tracked him while the camera recorded 5 frames a second as long as I kept him in the viewing pane. I was quiet pleased with the results and have attached a couple for your comments. Even though I’m predominantly a landscape photographer I’m still trying out new functions on this camera as the opportunity arises.

Santos Tour Down Under

Santos Tour Down Under

Santos Tour Down Under

Santos Tour Down Under

Camera HDR Feature

After much debate, (in reality convincing myself that I needed it) I’ve finally bought myself a new camera, its the Canon EOS 760D and will replace my trusty Canon 550D which has done great service up to now. So why the change, well the increase from 18 to 24 Megapixels was a big decider plus a swivel screen and a host of new features which I wont bother everyone here today with, for the techies the specs are easy enough to look up. One of the interesting features however is a Special Scene selector which incorporates HDR backlight control.

HDR is to quote Wikipedia “High-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a technique used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging or photographic techniques. The aim is to present the human eye with a similar range of luminance as that which, through the visual system, is familiar in everyday life.” If you want to look it up the link is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-dynamic-range_imaging

The HDR technique is something I’d read about but never tried so was pleased to find the capability within the camera which takes then combines 3 shots at 3 exposures to improve highlight/shadow detail.

2015-(189)

Having found it I had to try it out, the attached shot was taken on a beach in Queensland in late evening light where deep shadows on the beach competed with bright patches in the sky, (ISO 100, f22, 1/10 sec), often the camera doesn’t capture what the eye sees but I was pleased with the final result, the image height has been cropped slightly for presentation. Now I need to try this again in a few more locations, anyone else tried HDR? open for comments.

Favourites

No matter what you do everyone has a favourite, with me and photography its no different, of the thousands of images in my archives there are some that I keep going back to over and over again, the ones I show when people ask me what I’m up to, the ones I choose the pc background from, the ones I print and frame for display. The more I get into this the larger the collection becomes and better cameras don’t necessarily make it easier as I still include images that I took with my first DSLRs.

So what makes a particular image a favourite?, well sometimes its the time of day, that occasion when the lighting is just right and the image comes out just as I imagined it and you know that the odds are very high against ever being able to take it again. For others it could be the amount of work that I put in afterwards to create a mood that didn’t exist at the time, that took so many steps in editing that I’d lost track of what I’d done yet I remained pleased with the final result. Whatever the reason these are the images that I copy into a separate file so I can access them immediately, if you haven’t then I can only recommend you start one.

Wind driven water pump

Wind driven water pump

I’ve attached two favourites, the first of the water vane in the wheat field brings back memories of how it was taken, the position I’d chosen was the home of hundreds of persistent flies that I had to ignore until I’d achieved the image then run to chase them off, so glad the final result was worth it.

Return from Patrol

Return from Patrol

The second Return from Patrol was a lot of work considering the subject, I knew what I wanted and it took so long editing to get it there, there are lots more on display in the Favourite Photographs Gallery, take some time and look around…

Macros, or getting in a bit closer

stampAs well as taking wide angle shots of landscapes I’ve always wanted to get in close to my subject, to do this properly takes a dedicated macro lens but most lenses on digital cameras will have a macro capability so until I’m rich enough to buy the lenses that I need like most I must make do.2014-(110) Flowers seemed the most obvious subject to try first as shown in the examples attached. 2014-(133)Obviously stability is a prime here as I found that the slightest movement when in this close can cause a lot of movement on the image so a tripod is considered essential though it can be one of the smaller desktop models as the subject is only inches away from the lens and it allows a larger f stop to be set. 2014-(132)If you haven’t thought about it then I can only recommend giving it a try, you might surprise yourself.

Flowers

Flowers just ask to be photographed, I’ll bet that there is no-one who has bought a camera who has not taken a photograph of a flower at some time. Although you can take them outdoors on the plant itself I find that setting them in a studio type environment works much better, to start with there is not all that background clutter of other plants, fences etc and they are not always in the best position to be photographed or lit and of course you would need to get down on your knees in the flower bed. I did say studio environment but this doesn’t mean you need a studio.

I use sheets of black or coloured mounting card as a backdrop and natural daylight, often on the patio. With the flower in a suitable holder it can be rotated to achieve the effect, the backdrop is far enough away that the card doesn’t come in focus and the composition can be better displayed to suit.

Floral display

Floral display

Carnation

Carnation

I’ve attached examples of flowers using the black background as examples.

More flower images can be found in this sites galleries as well as high definition versions available through my online shops.

Digital Cameras

Digital cameras, don’t you just love them, I was a sceptic at first where the best image was 6mp and couldn’t stand against 35mm when printed above 6 x 4 (that’s 150mm x 100 mm for the metric fraternity). I was still old school, 35mm colour and black and white negatives plus 35mm slide film, a fairly expensive hobby where you couldn’t see your results until you spent time in the darkroom. Being expensive and limited (max 36 shots to a roll) also meant that you thought a lot more about the shot before you took it, there wasn’t a wide margin for error.

My first digital camera was a 3mp compact (a Ricoh Caplio G4 wide) and at the time considered a toy against my 35mm Olympus SLRs but the advantage it did have straight away was the ability to view the image and if necessary take it again. Image quantity was limited to the space on the SD card and given the choice then of taking hundreds of low quality images or a few high quality images the choice was clear, high quality every time, if I took a shot then I wanted the best I could get, there wouldn’t necessarily be the opportunity to take it again, after all I could always get another memory card or just dump it to a computer file. It became a great little camera to carry around in the car and given it was early days still for digitals it did produce some really nice images at 2048 x 1536 pixels.

Cable Car in the Blue Mountains

Cable Car in the Blue Mountains

That digital camera was only the first of many (attached is an image taken on it in the Blue Mountains New South Wales) and I still have it to remind me. Currently I have a Canon 550D digital SLR and wouldn’t trade back to the roll film version for anything, these modern cameras are serious tools. This one is 18 mp giving 5184 x 3456 pixels and I’ll probably upgrade again one day but we all have to work within our abilities and for the moment this works really well for me.

More images can be found in this sites galleries as well as high definition versions available through my online shop.