donderdag 23 december 2010

Whooper Swanns.

Spent 4 hours of today walking in a dune area at subzero temperatures, trying to get a "Fox in snow" photo. Too bad the fox didnt show up.

Came across a group of Whooper Swanns instead;

Loads of young fallow deer about, trying to find food under the snow;

All pics taken with the Eos 7D with 300mm F/2.8 IS USM. Handheld. (didnt bring the 3pod again...)

zondag 19 december 2010


Pretty soon after i got into photography i bought a tripod; A Giottos MT9251, with a MH7001 ballhead. Price/quality was excellent in my opinion. Certainly for the starting photographer. It came in a cordura carrying bag, which i still use today.

I still have the tripod and the ballhead, but they are separated these days. Ive placed the ballhead on a Manfrotto 679B Monopod, and the tripod is equipped with a Naturestuff NEK-4 Gimbal head. When i got more and more into wildlife photography, and added the 300mm F/2.8 IS USM L to my lens line-up i bought the Gimbal.

I attached my 100-400L for picture purposes;

Attaching the lens this way to the gimbal served no other purpose then to see if it was possible".

It uses regular Arca-Swiss compatible lensplates. The gimbalhead comes with one plate. If you want more, i recommend E-bay. The loose plates are a tad overpriced compared to the gimbal itself, in my opinion.

I did loads of research on the web on many brands of gimbalheads. Jobu, Redged, Wimberley... All great stuff. But at a hefty price. So, when a dutch
webshop offered these NEK-4's, i thought id take a chance. For half the money of a Wimberley i got this one. At first inspection i found it to be very well
made, with tight tolerances. Not the piece of chinese cr*p i was halfheartedly expecting, really.

After my purchase i found out the one of the dutch wildlife photographers i admire endorses this product, but under a different name.

Since then i havent taken it with me as often as i would have liked/needed it. I usually carry the monopod for quick shots. Downside of that being that
you can never take your hands of the camera. One of my 2011 new years resolutions; Carry it along more often, quite being lazy. ;)

I believe that these are made by Triopo in China. Really sucky website alert! The quality of the website does not resemble the quality of the gimbal..

If you are in the market for a gimbalhead, you might want to look at these. The difference in price is staggering.

You can get it here. Im not affiliated with this site in any way.

The Manfrotto 679B monopod coupled with the Giottos ballhead MH7001 is with me pretty much allways when im out shooting. It supports the heaviest combo that i have, a gripped 7D with the 300mm F/2.8 perfectly.

Canon White.

When i got the 100-400 F4.5/5.6 L one of the first things i noticed, besides the awesome build quality, was the ugly black lens hood. I know the colour of that thing doesnt do anything for the quality of your photos, but...

Its ugly, man.

So i started an internet search for a white one. Many shady Hong-Kong based firm passed by on my screens, but no luck..

In the end i decided to get a cheap re-placement lenshood off e-bay, and have a go at it with my modelling supplies. After all, all you need is some fine grit sanding paper, an airbrush, a turntable and the right paint, no?

I started with sanding the hood with a fine grit paper, so the paint would adhere. After that i applied the masking tape.

The re-placement hood didnt have the felt on the inside that the Canon original does, so i wasnt afraid the tape would damage anything.

Then it was time to prep the paint. Canon does sell a touch-up paint for its white lenses, but thats pretty hard to come by over here. So i decided to try and mix it myself. I read somewhere on the web that the modelling paint Tamiya "Deck Tan" XF-55 is a pretty close match for the Canon shade of white. With a little drop of Tamiya XF-2 "flat white" added, i checked it under a daylight lamp. Spot on!

I sprayed the hood in several layers, allowing the paint to dry in between. Since the Tamiya paint is acryllic based, it dries really fast.

When i was satisfied with the paintcover, i let it dry for a couple of hours. Then i sealed the paint with a matte varnish by Vallejo modelling paint.

Im very pleased with the result;

Again, this is done purely for cosmetic reasons. It improved my photography by the factor 0.

But the curious looks i get from other photographers are priceless..

Bags Bags Bags!!

Like many photographers, ive fallen for the bag-trap. You never have enough, you always see another model that is bigger, better, more versatile etc...

At the moment i have 6 bags. Not an overwhelming amount, but still..

Here is the list;

A Tamrac Expedition 8

A very comfortable big rucksack. Has been with me on many journey's, where i need to bring a lot of gear. Airline compatible, fits in overhead luggage bins. Only thing missing is a dedicated raincover, but ive never had any water leak through despite that.

A Tamrac Pro 8 shoulderbag

Nice compact shoulderbag. Not really my thing though. I usually carry a tele-lens and 1 or 2 other lenses. That just doesnt fit snugly into this bag with a gripped camera. If you are a one lens or a 2 short lenses kinda person... Get one.

A Lowepro Vertex 100 AW

As far as im concerned; The best bag i have. Nice and compact, comfortable to carry, and with enough room to bring along a ton of stuff. Comes with a dedicated raincover, as with most Lowepro bags.

A Lowepro Slingshot 100

Neat little bag for a 1/2 shortlens setup.

A Lowepro Pro Trekker 600 AW

When i bought the 300mm F/2.8 i thought i might need a new bag to hump it around in. Well... Lets just say that the 300 fits nicely. With room to spare for every other lens i have. It is a great backpack. Comes with a detachable fanny-pack, a hydration pocket and a neo-prene sleeve for a laptop. Its almost awesome.


One of the shoulderstraps tore within the first week. Still functional though, but...

On and off i also use a Maxpedition Jumbo S-type slingbag. Mostly when i travel light ie; only a compactcamera and an I-pad with camera connection kit.

This is also my everyday carry man-purse.. (I know) Its very rugged, and if you put some dividers in there its a great camera bag.

zaterdag 18 december 2010

The Canon G12 Compact Camera

Ive purchased the G12 this week. My Ixus 60 was getting a little long in the tooth, and didnt focus properly any more. Maybe i shouldnt have dropped it...

Anyway, browsing for a new compact with loads of features brought me to the G12. Its ability to shoot in RAW mode, and the ability to choose a wide range of settings was particularly appealing to me.

Its equipped with a 28-140mm lens with Hybrid IS. It can do some digital zooming, but i avoid that most of the time. In my experience digital zoom usually just adds noise to a photo.

Compared to the 7D it feels really tiny and plasticly, but its very sturdy. I was a bit concerned about the swivel-screen on the back, but i guess Canon knew what they were doing when they designed it. It works great, and is easy to use.

One of the settings for display gives you the entire range of info. Diafragm, Mode, which format you are shooting in, a level, a grid, etc. Very handy. I find myself using it a lot, instead of the viewfinder which i think is too small.

You dont have to dive into the meny to change most of the settings. Everything can be found on top of the camera. Exposure, ISO and shooting mode are at the tip of your fingers. The buttons give a nice "click", so there is little chance of mistakingly changing settings. (Which can happen on the 7D and 5D, for instance.)

One of the big plusses on this little camera is the ability to use one of Canon's flashguns. Since most photographers hate to use the built in flash, either on a DLSR or a compact, a very usefull feature. Files shot in RAW can be processed with Canon's DPP, which is provided on the CD.

I havent really been able to put it thru its paces yet, but here are two shots ive made;

A very nice add-on for my set-up. I have it with me at all times. I also got a Powershot 210IS for the missus, ill get to that one in another post.

zaterdag 11 december 2010

The illustrious I-pad

Probably the most talked about gadget of the last year, the Apple I-pad. These days there are a whole range of tablets available from many reputable manufacturers. Its use for photography is huge. Many applications (Apps) are available thru the App-store, some free, others for a small fee.

I use mine as an agenda, rolodex, portfolio holder and game console in one. Ive gotten the Apple Camera Connection kit that goes with the I-pad, which was a very good €25,- investment, if you ask me. It comes with an SD card reader and a USB connector.

Even the 25mb big RAW files of the Eos7D are fastly and smoothly loaded. Import them to the device and you can instantly see result! Very handy in the field, when you want to see on a larger screen if you are on a roll.

I now have the App Photogene installed, so i can do some editing in the field.

One of the Apps i use most is I-books. I download a hefty amount of PDF files every week, and reading them on the I-pad works really well. There are loads of books, magazine's available on the internet about pretty much every subject. For some you pay, some you can download for free.

I carry it around in a Neoprene sleeve by CaseLogic®.

donderdag 9 december 2010

Dial Lock 5D/7D

Canon announced that there will be a modification available for the 5D and 7D models. It can happen that during transport/use of the camera the Mode-dial switches to another setting. This modification should prevent that;

As always, it comes at a price...


Weapon of choice.

Every photographer has his or hers preferred lens. Mine currently is the 300mm F/2.8 IS USM L series. Light enough to carry around for extended periods of time, and tack sharp. I usually shoot handheld with this, but ive mounted it on a gimbal head or mono-pod too.

Ive fitted it with a so-called Lens Coat. Besides the camouflage aspect, it helps protect the lens from bumps and scratches. In cold weather it also keeps it a bit warmer to the touch. Since the lens is metal, it can get really cold really fast..

Ive only recently aquired this lens, when Canon announced the new versions of the 300 and the 400mm L series. I had planned on getting this lens at some point, but the increase in price for the new models made me get it sooner. Since i am an amateur, this is about as expensive as i could rationalize aquiring. Havent regretted it for a moment though. My photo's have improved, in my opinion.

This offcourse isnt the only lens i have. Since i like to do all sorts of photography... I have the collection of lenses to boot..

In this Pelican case are the Eos 7D with batterygrip, the Canon 100-400L F/4.5-5.6 IS, the Canon 24-105L F/4, a Sigma 150mm F/2.8 APO Macro DG HSM lens and a Sigma 10-20mm F/4 - F/5.6 DC HSM wide angle lens.

I dont carry around the Pelican Case when im in the field, but ill get to camera bags in another post.

Some of you probably noticed the white lenshood on the 100-400mm lens... "Hey! That aint right! Canon only makes black lens hoods!"

True. But from the moment i got that lens, that black hood annoyed me. Purely for cosmetic reasons i decided to go DIY on that sucker. That too will come in a future post.. (So you'll just have to keep coming back..)

When im out with this lens, a lot of people are looking at it. Trying to define the model of the lens. So far i havent gotten any negative comments. Photobucket

Pics taken with Ixus 60.

woensdag 8 december 2010

Some of my photos, should give you an impression of what i like to shoot;


Ive been actively taking photos since 2003 when i got my first digital SLR, a Canon 300D. Since then my photography and my collection of photography stuff has come a long way... At least, i think it has...
Lenses have come and gone, and these days i think ive got the best stuff i need, within my budget offcourse..

I mostly do wildlife photography, including Zoo's. Since i live in the Netherlands, there isnt much in the way of Tigers, Lions or Bears in the wild.. But i am fortunate to live near an area where lots of deer, birds and foxes live, so they will be featured here on a regular basis.

Enjoy your stay on this blog.