Archives for category: Cameras

To most casual observers, the pursuit of upgrading your camera becomes more of ‘how will the stranger standing next to me react to my shutter sound’. So in case you were wondering, here is a sample clip of the shutter sound and speed of the new Canon 5DM3.


This is a quick lighting tutorial for those wanting to get started with off-shoe strobe lighting.

Backyard shots in the middle of the day are seemingly idea for most people, but the challenges are dealing with mixed exposures of the sun’s powerful direct light and shadows.

In the shot below, I grabbed a closeup shot and had my camera center-weighted meter to properly exposure for skin tones. The distant background house produces a drastic highlight that could be distracting. I could’ve retaken the shot and compensated a half stop, but then the house in the background would’ve been more bleached out.

Zooming out in aperture priority mode, the camera exposes for a mixed composition and averages out the shot to expose mainly for the sky, and less on my subject. Again, I could’ve compensated 2 stops to brighten my subject, but then the background would’ve been very blown out.

I setup a studio strobe off to my right and made a shot while exposing for the blue sky.

Then I moved the light to my left and took another shot.

I added a second accent light to my right slightly behind my subject. Ideally you would put this on a light stand, but used a chair to improvise.

Here’s a final shot with both lights in action.

Here’s a look at the setup.

Why go through all of this?

1. It highlights your subject by underexposing the hard sunlight and sky.
2. You get greater detail in your image.
3. It adds depth to the image. A wider gradient from highlight to shadow.

Here are 100% cropped views to show the detail.

This shot below is without lighting:

This shot below is with lighting:

Additional Details:

These were taken on a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-70 2.8 L lens. The main strobe was a Profoto AcuteB 600R, Acute D4 head with 22″ white beauty dish. The 2nd strobe was a Canon 580EX. The lights were triggered using a cheapo Blazzeo MegTrig from hotshoe to the 580EX, the Profoto was triggered via built-in optical slave from the 580EX.


I’m far from a master of lighting, and the obviousness is that you can actually tell I used lighting. True masters will set this up and you won’t even be able to tell that tons of artificial lighting was used.

The creators of the new R-Strap by Black Rapid features something very clever – a strap that’s easy on the shoulder, less cumbersome than a conventional strap, and offers quick fire-style of grab and shoot – all from a sliding coupler in an across the shoulder configuration.

The single camera strap fits across the body and I’ve used this for a couple months now. The shoulder pad stays on the shoulder, and when you bring up the camera, the coupler slides along the strap so the pad doesn’t move when you bring up the camera from your hip.

The double-camera version offers a harness and will be fantastic for weddings when I need to wear both cameras and have them up ready to fire at a moment’s notice. If you shoot a lot with 2 cameras, you will often complain that once shooting with one camera, the other camera is still worrisome, as the strap begins to slip and sometimes get in the way. With a conventional strap, the actual strap links to both sides of the camera, and often gets in the way of the grip and screen, so the new Black Rapid strap eliminates all of this. I would recommend this to anyone with a DSLR.

Sebastian in HD
The 5D Mark II will need to be surgically removed from my hands after shooting video of my son. This is one of the first clips I took and is hosted at SmugMug, and available at 1080HD. You take this 170MB clip and after uploading it, comes down smoothly – amazing!

Using the video mode is nothing like using a consumer camcorder. You’ll need to setup and plan your shots to keep things in focus, when and where you want them. Because the focusing is such a challenge, there’s a 2-stage digital zoom so you can spot focus. Focus points are movable, and autofocus is available, but will be less desirable for professional use. The built-in microphone still records the sound of focus stuttering and the chopping focusing as well as the Image Stabilization echoed through the barrel.

The rest of the still camera features are solid – a few new LCD display features that I’ll probably never use. It does seem, however, slower in shutter response than the 40D – but I haven’t truly measured the difference. Overall, it’s a slower camera, shutter speed-wise, but the 21 MP sensor probably has something to do with it 😉