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Saturday 25 September 2010


Old abandoned house in Ontario
Old abandoned house in Ontario - Click for larger

I guess I think too much. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night. Not because I’m unhappy and full of angst but because of all the possibilities in my life. They are endless and I find that exciting. But if you listen to the news, you will think our society and way of life is in decay. Fear is such a powerful way to control a human mind. If we listen to just one side of things we will make conclusions such as crime is rampant and the murder rate is skyrocketing in our society. I don’t think that’s the case. In fact statistics show crime has been declining overall in Canada over the last decade. So why are we so afraid? When some people experience change, they feel negative about it. They want the world to stay just as they perceive it for all time to come. I like to think that change is all we really have. I came across a quote recently. It ties in well with something I have been working on.

"The most important question you'll ever ask is whether the Universe is a friendly place."

Albert Einstein

I think, how you answer the above question influences your overall outlook and affects how you embrace change. The project I'm working on is called Decay. It is about old abandoned places that are on their last legs.
Haunted House
Haunted House - Click for larger

When photographing these sites, I hear the voices and sounds of the past: a screen door slamming; a kid running out to hop on a bike; workers coming and going over the years to work and earn a living. They are places and things that represent our history.
Old Truck
Old Truck - Click for larger

They are in decay. They will soon be gone. With every fallen building or forest fire, there is first decay and then renewal. Change. It’s all we have. It’s all we are. Enjoy it.
Abandoned House and Canola
Abandoned House and Canola - Click for larger

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Wednesday 15 September 2010

The Canon 7D Camera

I considered getting the Canon 1D Mark IV camera for our trip west this year. But I was a little reluctant to shell out the $5K for it after hearing about the Mark III focus problems. This spring I ran into my friend Robert in Rondeau Provincial Park and had a chance to see his images from the 7D. They were wonderfully sharp. I found them a bit noisy but I miss having a fast frame rate and a large buffer, especially for wildlife. So I decided to give one a try. 7D Camera & 500mm lens
7D Camera & 500mm lens - Click for larger

My initial field test was a bit frustrating. I had all kinds of focus problems. There are many settings for this camera. To figure them out I needed to spend some time with the manual.

You can download a pdf of the manual here:


After setting up and trying the different focus point settings, I did a few more tests. But I still wasn’t getting tack sharp images. I had to try the micro adjustment feature. Once I did my results were much more consistent. Check out page 211 in the manual. Note you need to do this carefully!
pg 211 in manual
pg 211 in manual - Click for larger

It is so nice to have a fast and responsive autofocus again like I had with the Canon 1D Mark II. The 7D's buffer is great and I can’t remember ever waiting for the camera to catch up.Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle photographed on Canon 7D - Click for larger

Shooting at 400, the images show a fair bit of luminance noise. At this ISO setting the noise can easily be removed during processing with Noise Ninja or with the new noise reduction in Photoshop CS5. I have started using CS5/ACR for all my noise issues. It's that good. Here is an image I shot with the 7D and my 500mm f4 lens being opened in CS5/ACR:Screen captured in CS5/ACR
Screen captured in CS5/ACR - Click for larger

Using the Noise Reduction sliders in the Detail tab, I can correct noise very effectively:Crop showing noise on leg
Crop showing noise on leg - Click for larger

Leg after noise reduction
Leg after noise reduction - Click for larger

The camera is solid. The auto focus and frame rate are great. My only complaint? I would like to see a bit better image quality above 400 ISO. For an APS-C sensor, I think it works as well as can be expected.Yellow-headed Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird photographed on Canon 7D - Click for larger

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