Posts Tagged ‘canon’

…have been in a cave for the last month, you might want to think about sending your camera to Canon service immediately. Seems this model has a problem with the mirror falling off. Apparently this has happened enough to warrant a recall and free repair by Canon. Check this link for more info: http://tinyurl.com/dennisblog

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Having all the photo gear in the world won’t get that once-in-a-lifetime photo. It will help, but luck and planning will play a bigger part in whether you succeed or fail in getting “the shot”. Plan well and you’ll be ready when luck happens.

A great example of “planning for luck” happened during a recent vacation. I was staying at a state park adjacent to the Potomac River. Bald eagles were seen nearby. My self-assignment was to get photos of them feeding on the fish in the river.

I needed to come up with a plan.

I knew I’d need a long telephoto lens. I decided to use the loaner Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens I brought along as well as a 1.4X teleconverter. That would give me the equivalent of a 560mm lens on my Canon 5D DSLR. Knowing eagles fly high and far away from people, I hoped that would be enough.

I also needed to find where the eagles were active…and at what time of day. When shooting wildlife, it’s helpful to know their habits (day feeder vs. night feeder, etc.) and, of course, where they hang out. This can be the hardest part of the plan, especially if you don’t know the area. With binoculars in hand, I started watching the eagles. After a couple days, I had a good idea of where they caught fish as well as the location of their nesting area. I also noticed they were more active in the early morning hours.

With all that in mind, I decided to stake out a spot near their nests and wait for luck to happen. In getting ready for action, I set my camera to a high shutter speed (since I wanted to be able to react to birds from all directions, I left my tripod in the car and trusted a high shutter speed and image stabilization to keep things sharp). I chose 1/1250th of a second.

I also set the camera to manual and adjusted the exposure and color balance to match the morning light. I used manual metering because I figured I’d probably be shooting the birds against sky, woods and water and I didn’t want exposure errors caused by shooting against a bright sky or reflected water to ruin my shots. I also set the camera to RAW format to give me more flexibility in post-processing and set the autofocus to servo mode to better follow the birds. Manual focus is so…20th century!

So, with camera in hand, I waited. And waited. The morning light was glorious and there was a lot of activity on the river. I was afraid this activity would keep the eagles away and, as I was preparing to leave to find another location, a young male flew overhead. I tracked him for a couple minutes as he circled the river (he had spotted a fish) and, since I had everything ready, was set for what happened next!

lucky catch

I love it when planning and luck play nice together!

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I have come up with a way to make sure the memory card I pull from my memory card case is blank, formatted and ready to use.

Before I go into that, you might wonder why I’d use a case to carry around something as small as a CF memory card in the first place. Two words: washing machine. Yep,  I’ve left cards in my pants pockets on laundry day — with predictable results. Don’t believe the stories about folks using their cards after taking a spin (sorry, I couldn’t resist) in the washer. They may appear to work fine but would you trust them to hold images from your next paying assignment? I won’t.

So, I picked up a freebie Canon card holder at a photo convention and have been using it to hold my CF cards ever since. Now that you have the backstory, here’s the system I came up with to manage my memory.
Memory card case

All blank, formatted cards go into the case with their labels facing out. As the cards are used, I take them from the camera and put them into the card holder with their labels facing in. That simple routine allows me to quickly grab an empty card when needed and also provides a visual way to determine when I’m out of memory and need to fire up the laptop and transfer files to my computer.

No muss, no fuss.
I like that. The time saved can be spent checking your pockets before you do laundry!

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In an effort to post more frequently, I’ll share this tip with you. If you use Canon gear, buy and use Sandisk cards. I use a Sandisk Extreme IIIs in my Mark II and 20D. Lexar cards, while they’ll work, are optimized for Nikon gear. You’re still shooting in RAW format, right? GOOD. Go and sin no more. 

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