Saturday, April 30, 2011

My newest Canon 80-200 2.8L is MINT!

Just found another Canon 80-200mm f2.8L here in Japan. This time in pretty much perfect condition all round. This one also comes with the tripod collar and other regular included accesories.

I will be putting this one up on Ebay in a week or so after I've had enough time to have a quick play with this beautiful bit of rare Canon history.

Here by request is a little video review of the Canon 80-200mm f2.8L. Also known as the Magic Drainpipe.
I will apologize in advance for the bumping sounds from the lenses near the mic. This is a new mic set up I'm trying also. With the Audio Technica condenser mic I bought to use for podcast recording and videos etc.. plugged into the iPad. Also just got Power Director 9 to edit video with and I'm still a total beginner when it comes to anything video. But its kinda fun and something new to play around with.

After all I have both the Canon 5D mkII and Canon 7D here which are both capable of amazing video recording (in skilled hands of course). Anyway without any further ado...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spider Holster on the way!

I was recently introduced to the Spider Holster from fellow photographer and long time mate back in Australia Dale Travers (check out his blog here). I was surprised I had never heard about this new camera carrying system, considering the amount of podcasts about photography I listen to. I guess I just missed it somewhere.
Anyway so what is the Spider Holster? Its a new way of carrying your camera body or bodies on a belt system without the need for any pesky neck straps that are forever getting in the way.

I have tried various solutions from the R-strap/Q-strap, dynamic and static slings but I have not been 100% happy with anything so far. Bring in the Spider camera holster.
Now this is something totally different. Shifts all the weight from my two Nikon D3 bodies or Canon 5DmkII and 7D bodies off my neck and on to the padded belt.

I already use the Think Tank pro speed belt so I was very reluctant to fork out the $280 odd American dollars this thing has cost me in total for the shipping to Okinawa, Japan and the Dual camera system itself. But if it works as well as they are saying it should, well it will be money well spent.

For someone like me who shoots an insane amount of weddings per year its always important to find the best way to carry our gear around and to make life/our jobs easier for ourselves. (By ourselves I mean me and maybe the 2 others in the world who can handle shooting 300+ weddings and bridal fashion shoots per year lol)

So really looking forward trying out the new Spider Holster hopefully in a few days. I will do a more thorough review then. Maybe a video review also. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Photo Mojo podcast episode 47

Dropped in for a quick chat with Mitch and Willis on the Photo Mojo Show podcast again a few days ago. Still getting used to talking on podcasts but having good fun talking shop with the boys.

This week we talk a bit more about wedding photography and Willis is psyched to get a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX in his hands to play with.

Heres links to some other topics covered on the show.
 Download the full show here

Or subscribe on iTunes here

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day in the life of a Wedding Photographer

This is so funny and true!

Long live Mortal Kombat!!

The classic fighting game Mortal Kombat has been revisited and revamped for our latest generation of HD consoles and I must say it looks EPIC!

I've been a big fan of the game since I was a little kid playing on the Sega Master System if I remember correctly.

Anyway the latest game goes back to its roots and looks to be just as gory and fun as ever!

Here's a review of the new Mortal Kombat. But be warned, this is not for the kiddies, faint of heart or weak of bowel!

Video Review: Mortal Kombat. Watch more top selected videos about: NetherRealm Studios, Video Review: Mortal Kombat

Needless to say, I'll be picking up this one for PS3 very shortly!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Teaching a flash workshop on Kedena Air Force base

I was recently asked by my good friend Denise at Rising Sun Memories if I would teach a small flash and strobist type workshop on the U.S Kedena Air Base the other day so I happily obliged. A few more than expected turned out for the workshop including some of my other good photographer friends on the island. 

I had only taught one other Speedlite workshop before and that was all in Japanese so I was looking forward to teaching this time in my native English. There ended up being 6 participants and of all different skill levels. Trying to cater to the varying skill levels proved to be quite tricky as I knew I would be easily going over some peoples heads while probably talking about stuff that might be too easy for others. So I tried to keep it on a middle ground for the most part. 

We covered everything from the basics of bouncing on camera flash right through to off camera flash fired via radio triggers and using various defusing techniques. Everyone got to ask a lot of questions and all seemed to gain a better understanding and enthusiasm in using flash and to go out and try some off camera lighting techniques.

Next time we will do a beach location flash/strobist workshop with a model also so everyone can practice employing the techniques I'm teaching.
Looking forward to putting together more workshops on Okinawa in the near future!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hand holding slow shutters

Washed up by Shenanigans in Japan
Washed up, a photo by Shenanigans in Japan on Flickr.
Why is it I never have my tripod with me when I need it??
Shot an American and Taiwanese couples wedding today at the Coral Vita chapel at Manza's ANA intercontinental resort.

After I was done shooting that I had the perfect chance to shoot my fav kind of photography for my hobby which is seascapes with slow shutters. I was lucky to have a nice sunset and also found this barnacle riddled bottle washed up on the shore so decided to try some hand held slow shutter shots of around 10th/second ~25th/second as I didn't bring my tripod with me. It was very hit and miss but I did manage to get quite a few keepers out of the 250 or so I shot in about 10 minutes on the beach.

The trick to shooting slow shutters hand held is to brace yourself as much as you can to stabilize the camera. Here I was down in the wet sand on me knees and elbows getting wet. I was also shooting in continual burst mode to increase my chanced of a steady shot.


Another one from a bit further along the beach. Ended up getting my shoes totally soaked from this but it was still fun.

I finished the shots with editing in Lightroom 3 and Nik's color efex pro.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rogue Flash Benders mini review

Recently its hard to listen to a photography podcast without them mentioning the new Rogue Flash Benders from Expo Imaging. So I thought I better find out what all the fuss is about.
The idea behind them being that they are a bounce card with bendable rods running through them so they can be shaped into all sorts of positions to "bend the light" from your flash.

They come in 3 sizes so I ordered a couple of the largest ones as I wanted to see if they would soften the light up and be quick enough to set up and use for my fast pace wedding shoots.
The first thing I noticed about them was the excellent build quality. They are not going to fall apart anytime soon even after some heavy use on the beaches and in rain.
They do mount to my larger speedlights (Nikon SB900 and Canon 580 EXII) perfectly via the attached Velcro. But I did find on smaller flashes like the Nikon SB600 and SB800 that the fit was not quite as good. Also you will feel like a bit of a twit at first if you have your flash gun attached to the hot shoe on your camera with this large bounce card sitting high above that as you walk around nuking peoples eyes. It really does spread the light out over the entire white side making the small harsh light from the flash much softer as the size of the light has increased.

I found it particularly useful to use just as a little bit of fill and to give a nice catch light in the subjects eyes. Even possible with group shots outside the chapel etc..

The only other downside to using this large Flashbender that I noticed was that if move about quickly the flash head will just flop down at its tilting section from the weight of the attachment. Its not a major problem though and only happens if I'm rushing about too much.

All in all I really love these things. They are great for when you need to work quickly. If I have more time I would probably just go with my shoot through umbrella or small softbox set up as they can of course spread the light out even more to make it softer but when time is of the essence I will throw on a Flash Bender every time. Oh by the way I almost forgot, they can also be rolled to make a snoot for throwing a very narrow beam of light just in one spot!

The best place I found to buy these were on I first checked on which is my local Japan Amazon where the prices were a crazy 7,800yen (about $94US) for one large FlashBender. Then I checked in the States where they were only $39.95US plus $10 for shipping all the way to here on Okinawa, Japan. And whats more they arrived just a few short days after I ordered. Faster than I have received things from mainland Japan before!
What the hell is that all about??? Amazon Japan should be ashamed of themselves. But anyway I'm getting off topic now.

So in conclusion I give them 2 thumbs up! I will post some actual test shots maybe on my next day off so you can see the difference of the bare flash vs. with the large FlashBender.

Pick yourself up a Rogue Flashbender from Amazon at this link.
Rogue Photographic Design ROGUEXLPRO FlashBender XL Pro Lighting Kit (Black/White/Silver)

To find out more about the product check them out at ExpoImaging here
That's it for today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blogpress iPhone app test

I had been looking for a little app that would allow me to blog easily from my iPhone or iPad when out and about. After a quick search on the app store I came across blogpress which seemed to be about the best according to all the reviews so here we are.

All the menus and the actual writing is simple and well thought out. It's even quite easy to enter HTML code as well.

Ok let's try an image then. Hmm

Here's a cute shot of my daughter Jenna asleep at the wheel of her shopping cart. Ah guess it had been a long day.

Ok now for another random image.

My toy box

If you want to keep your cameras and lenses in good working condition and not get mold growing in them like the lens in my former post, get yourself a clean dry cabinet. This will keep the humidity at a controlled level thus keeping all that expensive glass in prime condition for years to come. You'll notice it says 53% on the LCD panel in the shot but I usually have it at around 30%. Not sure if there's any magic number it should be set at.

One last thing I'll mention is that I'm up to day 3 now of zero smoking! Not feeling too bad as far as cravings go as I have had a steady supply of patches to help me. It will sure be a welcome change to get past that nasty habit!

Ok that's it for now. Time to go shoot a wedding now. Have a great day!

In case you  are wondering whats inside, from top left: 
Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS, 24-105mm f4L IS, 80-200 f2.8L, 
100mm macro, 50mm f1.4 , Powershot G9, Sigma EX 15-30mm f3.5, 
Speedlites 430exII,550ex, 580exII, 5D MKII, 7D.  
Theres some other stuff in there also but thats the bulk of it. 

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, April 11, 2011

Canon 80-200mm f2.8L test shots

Thought I would do a couple of test shots with the most recent Canon 80-200mm f2.8L Magic Drainpipe I have for sale. Unfortunatly when I bought this lens it did come with some small imperfections on a few of the inner elements. I think it is some kind of fungas or mold perhaps. But it resembles a tiny spiders cobweb for lack of a better description.

Here is a macro close up shot of one of the problem areas. Click on the image to view larger.

Luckily this does not effect the quality. Here are a few test shots and 100% crops.
Click on the images to view larger.
 Shot at 200mm @f2.8
 100% crop

 Stopped down to f16 @ 200mm
 100% crop

Here are a couple of examples of the front and rear elements in nice scratch free condition. 

The lens is currently for sale on Ebay. Follow this link if you would like to bid on it.

Four Years of Flickr Fav's

Thought I would share with you all one of my best places for photographic inspiration. They say if you want to get better at photography you should look at as many photos as you can and Flickr is just the place to do that.

Here are just a few of my fellow Flickr friends images that I have marked as Favorites over the past 4 years. Some of the images in there are just AMAZING!

So make sure you have some free time and have a pursue through my....

Four Years of Flickr Fav's

Saturday, April 09, 2011

190 Mega Pixels of Okinawa

Beautiful weather yesterday so before my wedding shoot I stopped off at one of my favorite spots, Beach 51 to try and improve on past free hand pano attempts.
This time I didn't use a wide angle but a prime 50mm f1.4 on Nikon D3. This image was made up of 3 rows totaling 61 images for a total of 190mp.
Rendered in Autopano Giga and finished in Lightroom 3.

Autopano did a fantastic job at stitching and keeping everything straight.

To view this image a little larger please follow the link below.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Long exposures with an iPhone

I had always wondered if it was possible to make long exposure photography with an iPhone and as it turns out, you can!

A quick search in iTunes returned a few apps aimed at the task so I decided to give Slow Shutter a go.

The app seemed to work pretty good but the problem was how to keep the iPhone steady for the long exposure. Then I remembered I still had a spare mini Joby Gorillapod around that I had won in a photo contest for Joby last year. This combined with a shutter delay timer was perfect to eliminate any motion blur on the camera. The app allows up to 30 second exposures in a shutter priority and manual mode. There is also a dedicated "light trail" mode where you can actually see whats being recorded on the iPhone's sensor in real time. Very cool!

So this is my first test using the app in its "Automatic" shutter priority mode with shutter speed set to 30 seconds and a 3 second shutter delay timer. The image was finished in the Camera+ app also for iPhone where it had the border added and saturation increased slightly.

Looking forward to playing with it more on car trails and water etc..
This app has lots of potential and only costs 99c from the US app store on iTunes.

Highly recommended!

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Back on The PhotoMojo Show again

Sat down and recorded another show with the lads at the Photo Mojo show photography podcast again. This time we discus the Fujifilm X100, 40gigapixel images, an iPhone Leica M9 skin, Digital Rev.TV, answer a few more questions and much much more.

Download the show at these links.

iTunes link

Direct Download in mp3 format

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Canon L Magic DrainPipe (80-200mm f2.8L)

This rare Canon 80-200mm f2.8L just arrived today. Nice to hold one again as its been a while. Anyway this one won't be here long either as its for sale.

Feel free to message me or leave a comment if you want one!