Why High ISO and Multi-Autofocus Matters

Atotonilco & Vicinity #13 by rdonovan
Atotonilco & Vicinity #13, a photo by rdonovan on Flickr.

One of the more interesting locations I visited in San Miguel was the Church at Atotonilco. It is a World Heritage site – and upon perusing its interior it is easy to see why.

However, it is anything but a museum. It is a working Church – and services are held regularly. And there are many worshippers present even when services are not being held.

And, there is no flash photography allowed – for good reason.

Hence, it poses something of a photographic challenge – as there is no loitering around to setup a tripod for a long-exposure. I managed to capture this and other photos simply by using the high ISO and multiple auto-focus points on the camera to get a good shot – in a big hurry with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens with no image stabilization.

The results were fantastic. I have rarely succeeded with these types of shots with my previous gear.

The San Miguel Photo Set

I have the first round of photos edited and uploaded. Whoa – there is a lot to do here…everything will ultimately be posted in this Flickr set. So you can start looking now at this URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rdonovan/collections/72157626351549717/

And check back often as I’ll be updating it as I can go through the rest of the photos. I’ll also do some specific posts on specific photos or sets as well as I have time.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did throughout the entire photographic process!

Back with Photos – now the processing begins…

I am back. Had a wonderful time. Took several thousand photos. Some of the highlights included dusk, the downtown skyline, walking around downtown, the churches at Antonilco, and the botanical garden. It will take me some time to process it all and upload – especially given that my DSL is too slow (thank you Bell Canada) for doing this at home. But stay tuned – I think this is some of the best yet…the new 24-70 and 70-200 lenses with the 1D Mark IV absolutely rocked – as did the old standbys of 16-35 and 100-400.

Preparing for the Next Photography Project

Over this past year, I have considerably retooled my photographic tools repertoire. The goal of this has been to highly improve the quality and ability to take pictures versus where I started at five years ago.

First, the hardware has now been rationalized to:

  • Canon EOS 1D Mark IV – The low-light and 48-point auto-focus make it a no-brainer. I have loved the first 6 months of ownership so far versus the original EOS 5D.
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – This is my newly-acquired general-purpose lens. The clarity and speed make it the top-choice.
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM – This is my newly-acquired general-purpose zoom lens. The clarity, IS, and speed are amazing.
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.6-5.6L IS USM – This is my old-standby super-zoom and it works very well – especially with the auto-focus on the 1D Mark IV.
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM – This is my old-standby wide-angle zoom. It works very well – and even better with the 1D Mark IV.
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM – This is my macro lens. It is not top-end but does the job for the rare occasions I use it.
  • B&W UV Haze + Circular Polarizer filters – To be used on the 24-70mm, 70-200mm, and 100-400mm lenses.
  • Hoya UV Haze Filter – To be used on the EF 16-35mm lens.

On the software front, using 64-bit MacOS X Snow Leopard as the basis on my original first-generation Mac Pro and last-generation MacBook Pro – I am leveraging:

  • Adobe Lightroom 3 – basic workflow/RAW processing/touch-ups
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5 – advanced touch-ups (e.g. – dust removal) or filters
  • Flickr (public galleries) and iPhoto/MobileMe (private galleries) – viewing on the Web
  • Streaming and storage on all of my Apple devices (AppleTV, iPhone, iPad) – viewing on devices

With this, I feel that my next set of photographic endeavors will definitely be a step-up from those in the past. I can’t wait!

An Experiment in Macro-Photography


Greenhouse Tour #45

Originally uploaded by rdonovan

Before this fall, just about the only photography I have done this year was my first foray into macro-photography. It was also the first time I opened my 100MM macro-lens – which had been sitting in a box since 2007! Whoops! I have finally gotten around to posting everything; you can now see my entire Greenhouse Tour 2010 set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rdonovan/sets/72157623994257795/.

Time for Pictures Again


Lanark County Fall 2010 #28

Originally uploaded by rdonovan

I have largely ignored my photography hobby over the last year. But, fall in Ottawa is simply too good not to miss. This year, instead of the usual downtown and Gatineau Park venues – it was time to head southwest to Lanark County – and see the sights of the Ottawa Valley around Mississippi Mills. Here is an amazing barn scene taken on top of the Munro Line – near Clayton, ON. Enjoy the rest at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rdonovan/sets/72157625052685991/.

Fall Colors

Ottawa in the fall is extraordinarily beautiful. Especially if sunny weather coincides with the leaves turning color. This year, I managed to get lucky. I was able to view the fall colors from my balcony in Wellington Village/Westboro; Chelsea, Quebec; Gatineau Park in Quebec; and Bate Island on the provincial border of Ontario and Quebec. Enjoy at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rdonovan/sets/72157622557830744/.