Inside Sainte Anne de Beaupre Basilica

Photos taken with the Fuji X10 using ETTR (Exposure To The Right) in order to not blow the highlights; therefore, being able to see the colors and patterns of the stained glass.

Once again, the little X10 amazes me with what it can produce, with such a small sensor.

Who dares wins.

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Low Light With The TG3

Doing low light photography, really puts a cameras sensor to the test.  Essentially, you get so see how much noise appears at certain ISO levels.  From there, you are able to determine how far you can push your camera, before the photos fall apart and look like a dogs breakfast.

The TG3 does not have the biggest sensor around.  As a matter of fact, it’s no bigger then the sensors you find in today’s smartphones.  On top of that, it’s about 2 years old in terms of technology.

But, the real downside to the sensor itself, is the fact that Olympus decided to cram 16 million pixels on such a small surface area.  In my opinion, they would have been wiser to stick with 12mp, which they had with the TG2.  I suppose Olympus got caught up in the pixel race, like so many other camera manufacturers.

What do you get when you try to cram so many pixels onto such a small sensor? Noise at low ISO settings.

Is that a bad thing?  Yes and no.

Yes, if you are a pixel peeper, it is a very bad thing. Once you perform your habitual pixel peeper habit of zooming in at 100% , you’re going to have a brain aneurysm when you see the amount of noise and artifacts in the JPEGs.  This camera is not for pixel peepers.

Thank God i am not a pixel peeper.

Therefore, no, it’s not a bad thing if you are not going to zoom in at 100% and examine every pixel in the JPEG file.

Seeing as though i knew what to expect from the sensor before i bought the camera, i am actually pleasantly surprised at the performance of it in low light.  There were no real shockers and considering that the interior of St. Josephs was quite dark, i think it did very well.

For the above photos, i used a scene mode called, “Hand-Held Starlight”.  This scene mode is supposed to reduce blur when shooting in low light/illuminated scenes.  However, to do that, the camera pumps up the ISO considerably.

For an example of a photo taken at high ISO, take a look at the photo of the the stained glass window.  That was shot at ISO 3200, which the camera automatically chose based on the lighting conditions.

Am i happy with the results?  Yes, i am very happy.  I did not expect anything more.  The TG3 is a keeper in my mind.

A word of caution:  if you are thinking about buying a TG3 or it’s suceesor, the TG4, take some of the reviews with a grain of salt.  If you start reading reviews that start of by saying how horrible the noise is and end in a “don’t buy” statement, don’t take to much stock in it.

For what the TG3 really is, i don’t think it disappoints.  DPReview gave it a silver award and i think they are bang on with that conclusion.

Who dares wins.

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From The Outside

I was really hoping to have another chance at photographing the inside of St. Patrick’s Basilica in Ottawa, but it was not meant to be.

I walked up to the doors with enthusiasm, eager to put my 27mm to work, and pulled on the doors only to realize that they were locked.

I went around to the side doors and they were locked as well.

Seeing as though i was not able to get inside, i decided to take a few photos of the outside.

Photos taken with the X-Pro1 and the XF 27mm f/2.8.

Who dares wins.

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St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kingston, Ontario

Wherever we go, we always do our best to visit a local church and Kingston was no exception.

While driving down to the water front, we noticed a cathedral tower poking above the surrounding buildings.  Seeing as i love documenting the interior of churches, it was a given that we would stop by.

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I was able to get some photos right before the mass started.  Photographing inside a church with people in prayer, is best done with a leaf shutter.  Don’t try this with a DSLR, you will have everyone turn their heads.

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This is the tower that we saw rise above the other buildings around it.

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Walking along side the church to the back, you will find a cozy little chapel (St. James Chapel) where you can get away from the hustle & bustle of life and just let everything go.

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Inside of St. James chapel, it is even quieter then inside of the cathedral.  Once again, my leaf shutter proved invaluable for this type of situation.  No one even knew i was taking photos.  Even i don’t hear anything!

This is not an environment suited for the mechanically clunky DSLR; unless of course, you want people giving you the evil eye.

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It was really nice to be able to spend part of beautiful summer afternoon here.  The environment was so peaceful and we were afforded a nice rest before we hit the road again.

Thanks for looking.

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Saint Benedict Abbey, Quebec

Prior to making our way over to the sanctuary that i wrote about in my previous post, we stopped at the Saint Benedict Abbey or Abbaye Saint Benoit du Lac in French.

I also wrote about the Tour St. benoit, which can be found on the grounds of the Abbey (https://d7100shooter.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/the-tour-st-benoit/).

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The monastery is quite an imposing structure and far more modern then i expected.  If you are wanting to get the whole structure in your frame, you are going to have to use a wide angle lens or do some stitching.

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For the photos below, i had to walk a ways up the main road that leads to the abbey.  Walking some distance back would be your third option of trying to get as much of the abbey in your frame.

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Below are two granite slabs that have been used as a sign for the abbey.

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Going inside the abbey, you are met with absolute silence.  You can hear a pin drop.  The fact that it was so quiet inside, made me feel like i was hammering nails into wood when i was taking photos with my X-Pro1.

The shutter on my X-Pro1 is certainly not as noisy compared to the DSLRs i have owned, but it still makes noise.  I felt so conscious when i was taking photos and just could not bring myself to use it when we stepped into the church of the abbey.

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Luckily, i had my little X10 with me.

The X10 possesses a leaf shutter (http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Leaf_shutter) and is dead silent.  I remember when i first started to shoot with the X10, i thought i was not even taking photos, despite pressing the shutter button.  It is that silent.

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Despite it being silent, it’s small sensor – 2/3″ – is it’s downfall in low light situations.  It’s not terribly bad, but when shooting above ISO 800, things do tend to start falling apart.

Though it seems like a lot of light was coming through the windows in the church, i had to boost my ISO to 1000 to get a good shutter speed in order to avoid camera shake.

I did have to do quite a bit of work to reduce the highlights in the photos.

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Overall, the photos came out pretty good for the conditions that i had to shoot in.  I could have played around with them a bit more in post, but i think i did what i could.

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The photo below is compromised of 4 photos stitched together vertically.  As i said before, you really need a wide angle lens to get this structure in your frame properly.  The 18mm would have been wonderful in this case.

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There is a large amount of land surrounding this abbey and when everything is in full bloom, it must be absolutely gorgeous.

Thanks for looking.

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Making My Workflow A Little Easier

Yesterday, i went out to buy a new laptop.  I used the money that i made off of my two sales to buy it.

I did not get anything to fancy and i stayed well within my budget by not spending anymore then what i had.  Truth be told, any new laptop out there now is an improvement over what i had before.

I can now use Photoshop Elements without it hanging and getting that awful “not responding” message.  Stitching photos is going to be a breeze now and i won’t need to have a cup of java while waiting for my laptop to sort itself out.  Furthermore, the screen on the new laptop is bigger and displays my photos much better.

When i went downtown yesterday, i brought along my little X10 so that i could take some photos while going store to store.

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I was surprised at the lack of people downtown.  I am not sure whether it was because it was overcast or maybe everyone was having a lazy Saturday morning, but there was no one about and the stores only had a few people in them.  Though, it did make for a relaxing shopping experience.

One place that i am always attracted to, is Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral in downtown.

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

I have photographed the interior of this church many times, but there seems to always be new opportunities when i go inside.  There are so many angles and beautiful architecture, that it is like a gift that keeps on giving.

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

To get the photograph below, i had to get down on my knees.  Needless to say, i did receive some strange looks.  But, i was able to get the shot that i was after.

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

At one point, i was competing for shooting position with some guy and his mobile phone.  Hey, whatever camera you have with you, right…

 

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

Some of these photos were done below 1/30s.  Mind you, the X10 is not that big or heavy, so i can hold it pretty steady.  I shot at f/2 to f/2.2, depending on the focal length being used.

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

Mary Queen of the world cathedral

Below, is the Bishop’s Mortuary Chapel.  This is actually the new chapel that was built in 2005 next to the original one.  In here, they have prepared extra tombs to accommodate future Bishops.

 

Mary queen of the world cathedral

Mary queen of the world cathedral

I have never photographed this part of the Cathedral before.  In order to photograph it, you have to poke your camera lens between the bars of the steel gate that is blocking off the entrance to the chapel.  A wide angle lens serves you well in this instance.

Mary queen of the world cathedral

Mary queen of the world cathedral

Thanks for looking.

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Some Color Renditions

The nice thing about shooting RAF files with the Fuji, is that you can process them in-camera after shooting the photo.  Furthermore, you are able to change the film simulation.

For some time, i have been using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation because i like somewhat “contrasty” photos.

However, what i have noticed in low light, is that Velvia/Vivid seems to paint the darker colors, darker.  So, i have switched over to Provia/Standard, which seems much more suitable for every shooting condition.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Here are some photos from my outing at St. Josephs a few weeks ago that i converted into color, using the Provia/Standard film simulation.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory

I think i am sold on Provia/Standard as my new film simulation.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Thanks for looking.

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First Actuation’s Of 2015

We always go to church on the first or second day of the new year and this year was no different.

Today, Mother Nature decided that she would give us a taste of winter, finally.  It was around -9 degrees Celsius; but with the wind, it felt more like -17.  Despite the cold, the sun was out, which made for a beautiful day.

Standing on the upper deck of St. Josephs to take this panorama was very cold.  The wind was very strong and it was hard to keep steady.

I took 8 vertical shots and stitched them together.  I had to cut off more then i wanted to at the bottom because i caught the tops of some people standing on the lower deck.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

I chose to do these photos in greyscale because i have photographed St. Joseph’s in color many times before.  I used the monochrome film simulation with red filter and shot in RAW.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

I processed all the files in-camera and as needed, i pushed or pulled the exposure.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

One thing that i did differently while taking these photos, is that i used spot metering instead of the usual multi metering that i use.  This, however, did present a problem when i was focusing on a very brightly lite subject.  Though, i was able to compensate somewhat by using my exposure compensation dial.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Even though it was cold outside, my camera case kept my camera warm and protected from the harsh wind.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory

We were able to get to the chapel just as the mass was finishing.  It never ceases to amaze me how far people come to visit St. Josephs.  You see license plates from all over Canada and the US.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

The organs in St. Josephs are both very impressive and two of the most beautiful that you can find in Montreal.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory

St. Josephs is an impressive structure.  If you take the full interior tour of the oratory, you will come across some photos of St. Josephs in various stages of construction.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory

It was fun trying something new.  It was also nice to be able to go out and enjoy some nice weather, even if it was a bit cold.

Thanks for looking.

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Sepia

Sepia:  Sepia is a color, reddish-brown in tone.  It’s name is derived from the rich, brown pigment that is drawn from the ink sac of the Sepia, a common cuttlefish.  

In photography, Sepia is used to resemble the color photographs have after they have aged over time.  Sepia also resembles the color photographs have after being chemically treated for visual effect or for preservation purposes. 

I have not done many Sepia photographs.  I played around with it a few times when i had my Nikon camera, but i was not at all attracted to the visual effect.

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Mont Sainte Hilaire Parish

As i am getting used to shooting in RAW with my X-Pro1 and using it’s in-camera RAW converter, i decided to give Sepia another chance.

The nice thing about RAW files, is that you can manipulate them as many times as you want.  If you don’t like the result, just start over again.

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Mont Saint Hilaire Parish

With these photos, i converted them into Sepia JPEGs from RAW files.  I then brought them into NX2 to increase the contrast and sharpen them up a bit.

Personally, i like somewhat contrasty greyscale photographs and i think that that particular personal taste carries over well to Sepia.

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Mont Saint Hilaire Parish

Unlike greyscale, in which you can employ with pretty much every photograph, i believe that Sepia has a more limited use.

For me, i would not use Sepia for modern day settings.  However, it does quite well with the interior of St. Hilaire Parish, which opened in 1837.

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Mont Saint Hilaire Parish

The visual effect of Sepia has now kind of grown on me.  Since i don’t take many photos if i go out for the day, i will be shooting in RAW only from now one.  That way, i can play around with my photos a bit more.

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Mont Saint Hilaire

Thanks for looking.

St. Hilaire Parish, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, QC

We went to do a little apple picking today and along our way to the orchard, we stopped by St. Hilaire Parish, in Mont-Saint-Hilaire.

It’s a beautiful little town, with narrow streets that keep you hoping that no one comes in the opposite direction.

We arrived at the church just as the Sunday morning service was ending.

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It’s a beautiful church inside.  As big as it seems to be inside, i had a tough time with the 35mm inside this church.

The church itself is not very “deep”; meaning, from front to back, it’s not very long.  I found myself almost underneath the balcony that holds the organ in order to take the above photo.

If i went any further back, i would have had the underside of the balcony in the photo.  The 27mm would have definitely come in handy today.

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I shot all of these in RAW and converted them in-camera.  The staff working at the church were ever so patient with me, they actually waited for me to finish taking photos before closing the front doors.

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You can tell that this is a very small town where everyone knows each other.  We had to use the washroom and were able to just walk into the back of the church from the outside in order to do so.  A number of people walked by us and you did not feel that they were questioning your presence there.  Everything was open and accessible, not something we experience here in the big city.

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The trees around the church had not completely turned, but i can just imagine what it must look like in the middle of fall.  Adding to the beauty of this church, is the Richelieu River that runs in front of it.

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It was a great Sunday drive, with great scenery, beautiful weather, my beautiful family and to top it all off, some delicious apples.

Thanks for looking.