Greetings and welcome to Bob's Blog. Here you'll find comments regarding my various photo galleries and projects, photo equipment and technique, and who knows what else? I may even spout off on whatever issues are getting under my skin. Your thoughts and comments are welcome, too. Thanks for stopping by!
Photographing the nesting of the Leatherback Sea Turtle was a once in a lifetime event (for me, not for the turtle). It was also quite a photographic challenge.
All of this nesting activity took place in the dark. The illumination was from street lights quite a distance away. My initial attempt to capture an image was with my iPhone camera, as that's what I had with me when we discovered the nest. The iPhone produced an image that was almost totally dark. There was nothing in the image that looked like anything.
I ran back to the room to grab my "big guns", my Canon 7D, my fastest lens and a tripod. I quickly found that there was so little illumination that I couldn't focus the camera by looking through the viewfinder. Heck, I could barely even make out the subject through the viewfinder.
Although I could have easily used a flash, I didn't want to disturb Momma Turtle during this important activity. The last thing I wanted to do is to "spook" her, sending her back to the sea before she was done.
With the low illumination, almost no available light, I focused by taking an image, looking at the playback, magnifying the focus point, and adjusting focus accordingly. Then repeat. Fortunately, sea turtles move rather slowly.
I also used the "live view" feature of the Canon 7D to adjust the focus point. This worked pretty well, but was also time consuming.
The combination of a very fast ISO setting (3200 & 6400), a fast lens (50mm f-1.8), long exposures, a sturdy tripod, shooting in RAW format and using DXO Optics Pro image processing software made these images possible. The EXIF data is available for each image for all of you photo geeks to see. I hope that Momma Sea Turtle approves.
We just returned from a wonderful vacation during which we visited Barbados, then took a cruise aboard the S.P.V. Royal Clipper. The Royal Clipper is a magnificent sailing ship, the largest passenger sailing ship ever built. It's a modern version of the classic clippers ships built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Please check it out in the February 2012 Royal Clipper & Barbados gallery.
Although most of the photos taken on our vacation were shot with a Canon D-SLR, this trip marked the first time that a significant number of photos were taken with my phone. Since getting my iPhone 4S, I've been very impressed with the quality of it's built in camera. The iPhone camera actually has higher resolution than my old "point and shoot" standby, my trusty Canon SD1000.
There are times when it's just not practical to use a D-SLR. For example, when flying on an airliner, my "big guns" are safely packed away so they are inaccessible. I usually don't carry my big camera bag with me when we go to dinner at a fine restaurant. However, those may be occasions when I want to take a photo. Having a small compact "point and shoot" is essential. After all, the best camera in the world does you no good if it's not with you. And if your phone is all the camera you have, it's your best camera.
Accordingly, I've been pleased that my iPhone has really taken the place of my old point and shoot. Not only is it a decent little point and shoot, it's processing capability gives it almost as much capability as shooting RAW in the D-SLR and processing it with a computer. After all, that's essentially what's going on in there. The native output from the iPhone camera sensor is available to the phone's software and processor. The various photo apps available allow endless manipulation of photos, just like with the big toys. You can get very creative, all in the palm of your hand.
The other great feature of the iPhone as a camera is, well, that it's a communication device. With a 3G signal or a Wi-Fi connection, photos from the iPhone can be uplinked as soon as they're taken (or processed). This makes posting to a website or to a social media site almost effortless. Photos can be shared "on the go" rather than waiting 'till the voyagers have returned home.
I wonder what Alexander Graham Bell would think of his 1867 telephone invention today if he could see how it has been combined with a camera, a computer and a radio, all of which fits into a pocket. I wonder what the next 145 years will bring.