Category Archives: photography

Real World Test: Capturing the Saskatoon Blades with a Nikon D750, a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and an Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

This is kind of fun.  I work with Derek Elvin and he is a great sports photographer.  He tested out a full frame Nikon D750, a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and an Olympus OM-D E-M1 II at a Saskatoon Blades game last week at SaskTel Centre.

Real World Test: Capturing the Saskatoon Blades with a Nikon D750, a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and an Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

He brought in some photos to work and a write up on all three cameras.  I edited and I think the result is a good look at three competing camera systems.  What surprised me was Derek’s conclusion that the mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M1 II out performed the Canon EOS 7D Mark II which is a camera that designed for sports photography.  If you are sports shooter, it’s worth a read.

Also, I’d like to take a moment to say that the Calgary Hitmen have one of the ugliest jerseys and logos that I have ever seen.  They are the worst in the WHL if not all of hockey.

Purchasing a Drone

I have wanted a drone for a long time.  I was going to purchase a DJI Mavic Pro drone this spring.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, check out the video below.

Wendy (and Mark) were totally supportive of my decision to get one of these.   I get questions all of the time for how we afford the gear.  It’s a weird question because people who ask me often have expensive hobbies of their own.  Photography is our hobby and it is less expensive than ATVs.  That being said, Wendy and I will sit down and figure out what gear we want to buy in a year and then save towards it.  I have a “lens fund”.  Every time I get paid, I put some money in the “lens” account and that goes towards buying a couple of lenses each year for Wendy and I.  Mark does the same thing now that he is working.

With us going to Lake O’Hara this summer, I wanted an ultra-wide angle lens for this summer.  I haven’t decided if I want the Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM lens for my Pentax or if I want an Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0 – 5.6 for my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II.  Either way that was above and beyond what I wanted to spend for my drone.

Then while out and about this Christmas, I saw the Yuneec Breeze.  It is small and portable like the DJI Mavic making it easy to take places but less capable.  While it says it shoots 4K video, it really used that 4K video to shoot 1080p video that is stabilized.  That isn’t bad because I don’t generally shoot 4K UltraHD video anyways.  What I like about it is the price and the fact that Oliver could even use it.  The trade off is speed and altitude.

Initially I wasn’t that excited about it.  The initial real world tests sucked in part because no one was doing anything cool with it and didn’t know how to fly a drone.  It was nerds talking about a drone while struggling to fly it.

The other day I saw that DJI was still selling the DJI Phantom 3 Standard for about the same money as the Yuneec Breeze.

It is way more powerful the Yuneec Breeze which is both really cool but I realized Wendy and Oliver would never use it.  Wendy likes it but as she said last night, “I would not feel comfortable using it”.  It also isn’t nearly as portable.  Both the Breeze and Mavic fold down really small.  The Yuneec Breeze is compact enough to fit in a 10 inch by 10 inch case and has the sensors to fly and hold it’s position inside.

If you have any muddled thoughts or ideas, let me know in the comments.  I am not buying until March so I will probably change my mind and then change it again many times between now and then.  Also you don’t need to point out, “You can’t use these in any Parks Canada parks and you don’t know seem to be vacationing anywhere other than a National Park in 2017”  I know, that is a big issue for me right now too.

Buyers Guide to Pentax Lenses

A Pentax Lens Buyers Guide for Pentax DSLRs

Pentax is behind Canon and Nikon when it comes to market share.  One of the things that I keep hearing while the cameras are great it doesn’t have the lens option to allow you to put together a decent photography kit.

As Pentax user I have always denied that but I decided to put together a buyers guide for lenses here back in 2013 that I felt was pretty impressive.  When I started doing social media for Don’s Photo in 2015, I moved it over to their blog but every time I looked at it, I realized that I had forgot a few lenses.  I finally got around to updating it today and I am blown away at the options that Pentax users have to put together a solid set of lenses from Pentax, Sigma, Rokinon, and Tamron.

I got asked a while ago how I pick what products I choose.  Stock levels some times play a small factor.  If I know the store can’t get a product because it is backordered for months, I generally don’t write about it because what’s the point of getting someone fired up about something that they can’t get until 2023.  Basically I need to get fired up about it or a colleague is fired about it and that gets me excited about it. 

With Pentax being a brand of camera that both and I use and love, it’s probably a little more personal then other brands that Don’s Photo sells in that each of these lenses have been heavily debated and researched by Mark and I.

Photographer’s Guide to Saskatchewan

Photographer’s Guide to Saskatchewan

I needed this book for work which is convenient because we sell it at work.  I could have just borrowed it and gotten the information that I needed from it but that doesn’t see any money go to the authors.  I guess I could have written it off but I wanted to bring the book home and use it here.  So I did what I needed to do.  I bought it over the holidays and I am really happy I did.

After reading it, I have really enjoyed it.  It is only 208 pages long and has about 200 photos in it.  It gives one some great ideas on where to travel to and where to photograph Saskatchewan and have it looking it’s best.  It also helped me figure some things out about some trips next summer.  I want to visit Grasslands National Park but I had no idea what I want to see is not in the part of the park where I would have visited (sorry Val Marie, I’ll visit another time).

The book does talk about photography but it’s title could very well have been “Where to Find Everything Cool Looking in Saskatchewan”.  As a photographer in Saskatchewan, you need this but if you just like to travel and see our great province, you will want it as well.

You can get the book at Indigo/Chapters, McNally Robinson and as I mentioned, Don’s Photo.  I can’t recommend it enough.

My vlog gear

So back in October, I decided to shot a video for each day of 2017.  There is absolutely no way I am shooting 365 videos in 2017 but I am going to try.  Here is the setup that I am using for this project.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

Olympus OM-D E-M5 II camera

It is a great camera and I bought one used this fall.  Wendy has the Olympus O-MD E-M10 II but it isn’t weather proofed nor does it have a mic jack.

I know I was going to get the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 but… a colleague (fine, call him my boss) is upgrading to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II and was selling his.   Better video focusing than the Canon EOS Rebel SL1, smaller, and it has a flip out screen.  Since I can borrow Wendy’s lenses if I need them (more on that later).

Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Art

I actually gave this lens to Wendy for Christmas a few years ago but then when I gave her a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens for her birthday last year, it was redundant so we gave it to Sean Shaw with her Olympus PEN camera.  It’s a great lens for video and with the camera, is a great rig.  Wendy also has the 30mm and 60mm versions of this lens which means that if I need something longer, I can borrow that.

Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Lens

While I wanted this lens when I started to put together this kit and ordered it in from Don’s Photo.  It is an Art series lens so you know it is sharp.  Like all Sigma lenses, it comes with a seven year warranty.

Rode VideoMic Micro

Compact and inexpensive microphone.  Perfect for this.  It also comes with a dead cat.  Almost identical to the one Wendy gave me for our anniversary (which was for cell phones)

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Joby Gorillapod Micro

It’s weird.  Off all of the camera gear I have bought, this is my favorite thing ever.  It cost me almost nothing.

Joby Gorillapod Micro 250

 

I have a couple of them (worst thing about working at Don’s Photo is that because subconsciously I know that I can get some stuff there so I don’t always pack well and I pick up one at work.  That makes Wendy mad because it really is a waste of money based on lack of planning.  She uses the tripod as well so that saves me too).  Back to the tripod.  I also bought the Joby smart phone holder.  You can get small ones or even one for tablets.

Joby Grip Tight Mount

I attach that to the Joby Gorillapod 250 and use it to mount my cell phone on it for everything from time lapses to just short videos.  It’s great and small enough to go in every bag.  It also has a low centre of gravity which means that I am confident when I screw my Pentax K-3 to it that it is going to stay put.  If it won’t, it’s only falling less an inch.

Cullmann Magnesit Copter with CB-2 Mini Ball Head

I use the Cullmann Magnesit Copter Mini Tripod with CB-2 Mini Ball Head.  I have some cheaper mini-tripods but this thing is amazing.  Steady, durable, and lightweight.

Cullmann Magnesit Copter Mini Tripod with CB-2 Mini Ball Head

I can’t recommend it enough and as proof, I own two of them.

Top Photos of 2016: The Hike to Silverton Falls

Top Photos of 2016: The Hike to Silverton Falls

On the flank of Castle Mountain, there is a short hike to Silverton Falls.  This was found just before you head up the mountain and the stream that comes off the falls.  It’s a short but great hike with an amazing view of the falls and the Bow Valley.  Taken with my Samsung WB30F, a camera I had wished Samsung had kept making and updating.