Halloween Night

The rain did not let up all that much tonight.  However, at least it was not that cold.  It was a bit of a challenge getting photos, since i was holding an umbrella in my left hand.  But, i was able to manage it with the X10.

In my last post, i set out some baseline numbers for my settings on the X10.  Those numbers worked worked just fine for me.  Though, i realized fast that i had to be around 4-5 feet away from the subject for the flash to be really effective.

With the AF illuminator doing it’s job, i had no issues with locking focus.  For most of the photos, i had my lens at 35mm, which gave me the best FOV for what i was doing.  It allowed my to get close enough for the flash to be effective.

All in all, i am very pleased how the X10 performed in such low light conditions.  Compared to my Nikon D80 (which I sold to buy the X10), the X10 renders colors far better in my opinion.  As a matter of fact, I would say the X10 is a better camera.

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Are You Ready For Fright Night?

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Photos in this post are from last Halloween.  They were taken with my D80 and 18-55mm, with flash.

It is that time of the year again!  Halloween is just a few days away and if you have kids, you will want to take pictures of them in their costumes & trick-or-treating.  But, are you ready to take those night photos?

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I am not a pro and will never proclaim to be.  However, I can give some good advice on how you can get good night shots of your kids on Halloween.

Flash:

You are going to need one or you will have to use the one built into your camera.  I would not try to take photos without one, you will be disappointed and you will get frustrated trying to get the right settings.

You may be able to pull off a few shots if you have a really fast lens and if you have a camera that performs well at very high ISO.  But you are most likely going to have more “throw aways” than “keepers”.  Of course, if your street is really well lite up, you just may be able to get away with not using a flash.

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Lenses:

I would say you really only need one, but is should be one that is relatively fast.  Secondly, I would suggest you don’t use one with a long focal range.  If you have a 18-55mm or a 35mm or a 50mm, I would suggest using one of these lenses.  You don’t really want to be standing to far back from your subject.  If you are to far back and are using a built-in flash, your flash will just get eaten up by the night, especially if there is nothing behind the subject.

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ISO:

Well, this all depends on your camera and how well your sensor and lens can handle low light conditions.  If you have an Auto ISO feature, I would set it at Auto1600.  This means that your camera will determine what ISO to use, but will never go above 1600.  This saves a lot of guess work.

1600??  Some people may be worried about “noise” in their photos.  As I stated above, it does depend on what camera you will be using.  Many mid-level cameras today will be able to handle ISO 1600 quite well.  The only way you will really be able to notice it, is if you pixel peep.  If you are a pixel peeper, please return your camera back to the store for a full refund.

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Shutter speed:

Again, this depends on your settings and what Mode you will be using – I would use Aperture Priority.  Your shutter speed is also determined by what ISO you have your camera set to, as well as the aperture you have your lens set to.  I would say that the minimum shutter speed that you would want to use, is 1/30s.  Though, I am sure your camera will give you more if you are using flash, a high ISO and a wide aperture.

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AF Illuminator:

Turn it on, it will only help.

Spare batteries:

Bring them.  As simple as that.

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Test:

If you don’t want any surprises, I would suggest you go out on a test run before the 31st.  If for some reason you can not go outside, you can always do the test indoors with a bit of light.

What you are really wanting to achieve here, is to get a sense of how your camera will perform in very low light.

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Last night, I took both my X10 and XP1 into my dark kitchen.  Now, the XP1 is wonderful in low light conditions and high ISO.  But, since it does not have a built in flash & I don’t have a flash for it yet, I was not getting acceptable shutter speeds.  I could have gone all the way down to f1.4, but the DOF is so thin.

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Therefore, I opted for the X10 as my camera for the 31st.  I set the auto ISO to 1600, the aperture to f8 (gives a nice DOF) and I popped up the Intelligent flash.  I went around my dark kitchen and started to snap photos.

The AF illuminator lite up the scene, the AF locked onto the scene, took the photo.  Results: ISO was around the 800 mark and shutter speed was around 1/60s – went down to 1/40s when I adjusted the aperture.  All in all, great results.  I had no problem locking onto the subject, had a good shutter speed, ISO was below what was set and the flash did it’s job.

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A few words about Fuji’s intelligent flash.  The flash on the X10 does not need to be thought about, that is why it is called an “intelligent” flash.  It does all the thinking for you.  It “measures” the scene in front of the camera and with that information, it will give you the exact amount of flash that you need.  Nothing less, nothing more.

Obviously, testing how my camera functions in a dark kitchen is a lot different from doing it outside.  However, it does give me some baselines to work with. With the light from the moon and other light sources, my settings will be just fine.

Please keep in mind that what I have written above, is from my own personal experiences.  Furthermore, keep in mind that I am using Fuji X cameras, specifically an X10 for this post.  Your camera may perform very differently from mine, that is why you should test you camera in low light situations before you go out on the 31st.

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In sum:

-Test your camera before

-Use auto ISO.

-Use your flash.

-Keep your focal length short.

-Try to maintain a good shutter speed.

-Use your AF illuminator.

-Bring spare batteries.

Other then that, go out and have fun and take some good photos.  Remember, keep you and your kids safe by staying visible to motorists.

A Quick Sunday Afternoon Walk

Well, atleast it is not raining today.  Though, it is a bit cool with the wind.  Despite that, when you have to go out, you have to go out.

Took a quick walk to run some errands and ended up in the park for a few minutes.

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The photo (3 frames stitched) above had to be seriously rescued.  I had forgotten that my X10 was on spot metering.  Talk about over exposure!  Anyhow, at least it has color now, lol.

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I also tried my hand at batch watermarking.  Looks good, but I am not able to get the copyright symbol to turn out right for some reason.

(I now know why I was not able to make the copyright symbol.  To make the symbol on a Windows machine, you press ALT 0169.  However, it will not work if you use the numbers at the top of your keyboard.  You need a number pad.  Therefore, I just copied and pasted a copyright symbol.)

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Looking Back

It is always interesting to look back at the first photos that you ever took.  Below are the first photos (File number on one photo is 0007) I ever took with my very first DSLR, a Nikon D3000.  The lens that I used was the 55-200mm, a fantastic little tele-zoom.

Plane spotting was the real reason why I bought a DSLR in the first place.  I really had no idea that it would have carried me into other genres of photography.

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Some Old RAW Files

It’s a rainy day here today, so no photo treks for me.  Instead, I decided to search around on one of my hard drives and I found a folder with some old RAW files in it.

It’s pretty rare for me to have RAW files saved.  As a matter of fact, it’s pretty rare that I shoot in RAW.  Anyhow, the RAW files that I found, were shot with my D80 and a 35mm Nikon G lens.  They are of downtown Montreal.

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Thanks for looking.

© d7100shooter.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

The 343 Acres That Is Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery

***I did not know this before I went inside the cemetery, but you are supposed to obtain written permission from the cemetery if you want to take photos inside.  Please keep this in mind.*** 

This is going to be a bit of a photo intensive post, but you can’t really walk away from 343 acres of land without a few photos.

It may seem a bit weird to take a photo trek through a cemetery, but this is no ordinary cemetery.  Buried here, is the “who’s who” of Quebec and Canadian history.

To find out which prominent figures of Quebec and Canadian history are buried here, follow this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_des_Neiges_Cemetery#Notre-Dame-des-Neiges_Cemetery

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Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery is the largest cemetery in Canada and was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1999.

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Don’t kid yourself, you will never be able to walk this cemetery in one day.  It has 55km of lanes!!!  Below, is Robert Bourassa’s (former Quebec Premier) grave.  I just happened upon on it.  It may look grand, but there are thousands of other monuments in the cemetery that put it to shame.  I was actually quite surprised that it was just there, among everyone else.

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Below is a spot that really grabbed my attention.  At first, you think it is just an open area for the monument that you see.  But once you walk closer, you will see it is a special place for children to be buried.  There were some teddy bears and other items laying on the ground, but covered with leafs.

I did not check out the dates on the grave markers, but i can only assume that the kids buried here may be still-borns, pre-mature babies that did not make it or babies that could not overcome what ever illness they may have had.  It was very sobering to see.

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The one thing that was quite obvious, was the fact that the cemetery is segregated.  From what i could observe, anyone of who was Asian (Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.) seemed to have been relegated to their own acreage of land.  Same for anyone from Eastern Europe, Latino/Spanish, etc.  In other words, you did not have the Asians buried among the Russians for example.  Funny how we all live and inter-mingle together here on earth, but are segregated at death.

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I was not the only one there not visiting a loved one.  There were people taking walks, walking their dog, taking photos like me and bloody cyclists!  Of course, these morons all think they are in the Tour De France and whip around the lanes like no one else is around.  Just once, i would like to take a peaceful walk in a park or any green space and not come across cyclists.

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Below is Jean Drapeau’s (former Mayor of Montreal) grave site.  Again, very simple, not grand and in no special place.

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It was a really nice afternoon and the rain held-off.  In terms of a photo-trek, i would mark this one up as one of the best i have had.  It was very peaceful (obviously), serene, plenty of nature and plenty of photo opportunities.

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Thanks for looking.

© d7100shooter.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

Re-Sizing Photos

Pumpkins At Atwater Market.  Taken With X10
Pumpkins At Atwater Market. Taken With X10

Anytime that I have posted photos online, I have re-sized them.  This is one way to make it a waste of time for someone to steal them.  Most of the photos on my blog are around 800KB, which is a decent size in order to have a nice view.

The original files are around 5mb.  Though, if I were to upload these files, it would take forever.  Not only that, but full resolution photos are far more susceptible to being stolen since they are far more useful to be used.

Furthermore, as a fellow blogger just pointed out to me, having scaled down photos on your site will enable your blog posts/pages to load faster.  No one really wants to sit in front of a computer, waiting for photos to load-up.

To re-size my photos, I used a little batch re-sizing software called, “Fotosizer”.  When I use it, I scale my photos down by 50%.  But you say, “shouldn’t your photos then be around 2.5mb??”.  Logically, I suppose that should be the case.  But, they end up being around 800kb on average.  However it gets to that number, it works for me.

Here is the link to the software:

http://www.fotosizer.com/