Photography

Peggys Cove-8214

Winter Storm at Peggys Cove

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This picture has become very popular on FaceBook and was featured on Canada AM today, February 6, 2015,

Peggys Cove-8214

There was a major winter storm overnight on February 2 and very high waves were predicted for the following morning. I had checked the weather and clearing skies were forecast for sunrise. Although these are ideal conditions for dramatic images, the sky was overcast and it was very windy when I left the house before dawn to go to Peggys Cove.
The sun was rising when I arrived at Peggys Cove and the waves were incredible. There was no traffic so I parked on the road to capture this image. It was extremely windy and difficult to stand still in the wind. I wear thin gloves so I can operate the camera in the winter but they offered little protection and my hand soon went numb. My time was limited to create an image. Fortunately the dawn light was beautiful and I was able to capture a massive wave breaking near the lighthouse.
It was definitely worth the early start that morning.

Comparing AdobeRGB and Premium Lustre on an Epson 3880

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In the past I always used AdobeRGB as the colour space for my photos. It worked well when I was printing images at work on a digital press. AdobeRGB is a much wider colour than the output of a digital press. Now I use an Epson 3800 for printing and my favourite paper is Epson Premium Lustre. The Epson 3880 can print colours that do not exist in the AdobeRGB colour gamut. About a year ago I switched to ProPhotoRGB when exporting images from Lightroom for printing so I can use the full colour gamut that is available on the 3880.

This quicktime movie compares the colour gamut of Premium Lustre paper from an Epson 3880 with the AdobeRGB colour gamut. The AdobeRGB is represented in blue. You can see many yellows and teals that the 3880 can print on Premium Lustre that are outside of the AdobeRGB colour gamut.

Storm Clouds at Peggys Cove - July 2, 2012

Storm Clouds at Peggys Cove

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Storm Clouds at Peggys Cove – July 2, 2012


I live near Peggys Cove and I often go there to take pictures. I usually go early in the morning or in the evening when the light is better and there are no tourists. Rarely do I get an interesting sky.
On July 2, I was shooting in the garden because there was no wind and clouds were gathering making conditions ideal for pictures of flowers. The sky started to darken and within ten minutes the wind was blowing and the rain was pouring down. It was a startling change. It rained for about 30 minutes but the clouds were very interesting after the downpour. I decided to go to Peggys Cove and it was worth the trip.

X-rite ColorChecker tagged sRGB

Colour Management Check for Browsers

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Conventional wisdom says you should convert your photos to sRGB for display on the web. This was certainly true in the past. Modern browsers support colour management and if you have tagged your images to embed the colour profile, they will display properly. In Photoshop select embed color profile when saving an image. Lightroom automatically embeds the colour profile when you export images.

Tagged Images – Colour Profile Is Embedded

Each of the following three images is tagged with the colour profile that was used to create the image. The colour is accurately rendered in a modern web browser that supports colour management. If the colour looks similar in the following three images then your browser supports colour management. If the top three images look like the bottom three images where the colour becomes more unsaturated in each image, then your browser does not support colour management.

X-rite ColorChecker tagged sRGB

X-rite ColorChecker tagged AdobeRGB 1998

X-rite ColorChecker tagged ProPhoto

Untagged Images – Colour Profile Is Not Embedded

The following images are the same files but the colour profile was not embedded. These images are untagged and the browser cannot identify the colour space that was used for the image so the colour is rendered incorrectly. The browser assumes the colour space is sRGB. Note that the last image is in the ProPhoto colour space but it looks very faded when the browser assumes it is sRGB. If the images above look similar to the images below then your browser does not support colour management.

The actual image is sRGB but it is untagged.

The actual image is Adobe RGB 1998 but it is untagged.

The actual image is ProPhoto but it is untagged. This image will be very faded compared to an sRGB image.

The start of the 10K race for Skate the Common Marathon.

Canada Winter Games 02-2011

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The start of the 10K race for Skate the Common Marathon.

The Canada Winter Games are coming to Halifax from February 11-27, 2011. I’m one of the volunteer photographers for the event and like any of the athletes it takes preparation to capture successful images. The speed skating is open to the public and Saturday was the Skate the Common Marathon. There were 100 skaters registered for both the 5K and 10K events. I spent the morning with another photographer Joyce who is good friend mine, photographing the races. It was a great warm up for the games.
I’ll be shooting at more preliminary events and during the games. You can see more of my images in my Winter Games collection on Flickr.

Digital Photography Basics Workshop – September 18 at SMU

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Every year in September I organize a workshop for the Photo Guild called Digital Photography Basics. The hot topic this year is HD Video and most new dSLR cameras will feature HD video. The last episode of “House” this spring was shot using a Canon 5D MkII dSLR. This offers new creative opportunities for photographers and new skills to learn.

We will be featuring a presentations in the morning on High Definition Video as well as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. In the afternoon we take everyone out in the field to practice the new skills they learned in the morning. I’ll be leading a group in the afternoon. We will be learning how to use the basics like aperture, shutter speed and focal length creatively. Other groups in the another will be working with video, macro photography and other skills.

Registration starts at 8:30 am, Saturday, September 18. The morning seminars are at Burke Auditorium at Saint Mary’s University. Everyone is welcome and admission is $40 for a full day of workshops.

Check the Photo Guild website for updated info as more details are announced.

Big Comfy Couch Session

Using a Cybersync to Trigger a Camera

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Big Comfy Couch Session

Ashley is home from Queen’s University and Friday night she and her some of her old friends from high school and new friends from Queen’s came over for a lobster boil. Her friends learned how to eat lobster and I had chance to test out some new gear.

After supper, the kids spent the night in the photo studio having a blast creating some classic images which I’m sure they will enjoy the rest of their lives. Ashley, the laughing blond on the left, has a Cybersync remote radio trigger in her hand which she used to trigger the camera for this image. The camera was connected to my computer and one of the monitors was turned to the couch so the kids could instantly see the results. This generated a lot of laughter!

While the kids were emptying my beer fridge, I setup the leather couch in the studio with a new 14″ x 63″ strip light softbox above and just behind the couch to use as a hairlight. The softbox came from Studio 98 on Ebay. I am pleased with the quality of the softbox¬† and it did an excellent job of lighting the full length of the couch. I also ordered a 2×2″ grate to go with the softbox but it is starting to come apart. The softbox was an excellent value at $59 but I can’t recommend the $20 optional grate.

I recently bought a cable from Flash Zebra that allows me to use one of my Alien Bee Cybersyncs to remotely trigger my camera. I bought it to trigger my camera for wildlife photos in our backyard and woods. To set it up, I connected a Cybersync to the Alien Bee AB800 flash above the couch and connected another Cybersync with a AB800 and beauty dish in front on the left. At my camera, I connected another Cybersync using the cable from Flash Zebra. The cable from Flash Zebra has a mini-plug on one end to connect to the Cybersync and the standard Canon remote jack on the other end.

I clicked the remote trigger and checked the camera but I had a black frame. After checking my settings on the camera, I tried it again and verified the flashes were triggered. Although the flashes fired I still had a black image on the camera. Apparently there is a slight delay as the camera focuses so the flashes do not sync with the camera shutter. To make it sync, I would need a second trigger on the camera using a different radio channel to trigger the lights. I only have one trigger.

I solved the problem by using my Canon 430ex flash on my camera to trigger the optical slaves on the Alien Bee flashes. I set the 430ex to manual and minimum power. I had to remove the Cybersyncs from the Alien Bees as the optical slaves do not work when the Cybersyncs are connected. This worked!

The camera was tethered to my computer using a USB cable so the images could viewed immediately on the monitor. The monitor was turned towards the couch and the kids had a great time seeing their pictures. They were laughing all night!

Adobe Lightroom 3 now supports tethered shooting and I tried it with my Canon 50D. The transfer times were very slow so I switched to the Canon EOS Utility. Transfer times were faster so we used it. I don’t know if Lightroom is just slow or I was using the wrong settings. I need to investigate.

The only cable used with setup was the USB cable from the camera. I’d like to use a wireless connection to the camera but I can’t afford Canon’s $700 wireless adaptor for the 50D. Eye-Fi has a “Pro Wireless” memory card that can transmit the images through your wireless router to your computer. While the Eye-Fi Pro version supports RAW images, it only comes in a SD card format. It seems to me that a pro version should come in a compact flash version. I know you can get SD to CF converters so I may get one sometime.

The new gear worked great and the kids had a great time creating their own images in the studio.

Printmaking Seminar

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I’ll be speaking at the Imagemakers Saturday Morning Seminars in Truro on April 10th. The seminars are from 9:00 to 12:00 at the NSCC Lecture Theatre, 36 Arthur Street, Truro.

I’ll talking about to how create great inkjet prints at home. Some of the topics will include colour management, paper selection and working with your images in Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ll have samples of my work on different types of paper and different types of printers including inkjets and digital presses.

Colin Campbell will also be talking about landscape photography.

Imagemakers website

Martock RBC Snowboard Series

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Pictures from the RBC Series at Martock on March 7, 2010. One of the flight time pictures will be published in the next edition of the Hants Journal. It was a beautiful sunny, warm day and the snowboarding course was created the same person who built the snowboard course at the Vancouver Olympics. Martock is high enough to create a full size Olympic course.

You can select pictures by image number and post a comment.

Martock Gallery on Flickr. Select full screen in the bottom right for the best view.

Two Days – 1389 Portraits

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Two-Cute_580px

Original Image and Framed Print

Every year Xerox is a major sponsor for DND Family Days. DND hosts an annual carnival for the families of the Canadian Armed Forces at the Halifax Dockyards. The carnival includes fair rides, farm animals, displays, boat rides and more.

As part of our sponsorship we do free family portraits for the families of the Forces personnel that attend the event. Over two days we did 1389 family portraits of ~4200 people. We always have lines up for the photos and we even had some come on Saturday morning when it was raining. Many people comment on the photos we did for them in previous years.

How We Did It

One side of our booth is the “studio” and the other side is the processing area. I brought a backdrop from my home studio and we had two bails of hay for people to sit on as the event had a western theme this year. We also had some cowboy hats. Two Alien Bee AB800s with umbrellas provided the light and these were connected to my camera using Cybersync triggers. The Cybersyncs were very reliable and we didn’t have a single misfire.

Family Days Studio Setup

Family Days Studio Setup

We used my Canon 50D with the 18-55mm F2.8 lens. I think every picture was sharp over the two days. Fast focusing is very important when shooting kids as sometimes you only have a fraction of second to catch the pose. Knowing the child’s name really helps to get their attention. The camera was tethered to a Macbook Pro using a USB cable and Canon’s EOS Utility. The EOS Utility generates a preview and this was displayed on a second monitor attached to the Macbook. Each image tranferred to the Macbook in 1-2 seconds and was displayed automatically on the second monitor facing the crowd. This was a crowd pleaser!

The camera was set to medium resolution and high quality JPEGs. This was enough of resolution for a 8 1/2 x 11 print and everything processed faster. All the camera settings were registered to custom function C1 and duplicated on C2. This made it very easy to restore the camera settings when inexperienced photographers hit the wrong dial as we had several inexperienced people shooting.

The EOS Utility was writing the images to folder which we monitored using Adobe Bridge. This worked very well. When I was creating and testing the workflow I tried to use Lightroom but I encountered some limitations with Lightroom. It could automatically import images but everytime an image was imported it would interrupt anything else you were doing in Lightroom and this quickly become frustrating. I couldn’t set a default aspect ratio for cropping and I had to export images and use a Photoshop Droplet (action) to create the frame. I decided to use Bridge and Photoshop.

Cropping Pictures on the Macbook Pro

Cropping Pictures on the Macbook Pro

Pictures were selected in Adobe Bridge and opened in Photoshop. Each image was cropped manually and then a Photoshop action was run to size the image, add the frame and print two copies. We printed two copies as we received many requests for an extra copy for Grandma or someone else in the family. Additional copies were available on request. Of course all images are printed on a Xerox Phaser printer using Xerox Elite Silk 80lb cover.

Tethered shooting was very efficient and we had no line ups for prints this year. We were able to do each photo session in 10-20 seconds and completed prints were done in 1-2 minutes. Of course we had line ups for photo sessions all day.

Summary

It was a great event and a lot of fun for everyone. It generated a lot of good PR for Xerox and I expect we will be back again next year to support our troops.

The Team - Dan Benoit, Korinne Maclellan and Myself

The Team - Dan Benoit, Korinne Maclellan and Myself

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