I love Christmas, it’s a time for reflection, a time for family and friends and a few days away from work to relax.
But, Santa doesn’t always step up and deliver some things because they are either difficult to find or just plain obscure.
So, in order to combat this I’ve bought myself a load of 35mm film to go with my old Canon 1V. There’s something about film that can’t be reproduced with digital. At least not yet anyway and although it’s time consuming, sometimes messy and always unpredictable there’s something quite genuine about it. Most of all, it’s fun and whenever I shoot it I find I keep looking for the non existent LCD screen!
Whilst always shooting digital when working I’m looking forward to killing time in the quiet parts of 2012 with some slide film and Velvia 50
Aside from this I’d like to wish all of those who follow my blog and well, everyone really a massive seasons greetings and prosperous new year. This year has been great for me personally and professionally and I couldn’t of done it without those who I’ve spoken to, taken advice from and worked for in the last 12 months.
As it is known in France, stands in the heart of Coutances. The building is 5th century and I had the pleasure of being commissioned for some photos there a few months ago…when it wasn’t so cold and dark!
There’s something about an old cathedral that’s quite awe inspiring. The design and shape is meant to invoke emotion and reach inside you. Couple this with the huge size and it’s almost as if a giant is towering over you. A twinge of fear and respect hits you through the viewfinder.
The images I took were with the Canon 1ds3 and the Canon TS-E 24mm lens.
Known as Notre Dame Cathedral, but not in Notre Dame
Coutances Cathedral – Inside
Inside Coutances Cathedral towards the centre is the ‘Lantern Tower’ or main source of natural light for the building. It seems to go forever upwards (making you feel very short at the same time). There are pillars amongst pillars and it feels as if it’s a church inside a cathedral. While there is the central part to walk down there is also an outer perimeter with various extensions that reach out into separate rooms.
This was taken from the far end facing back towards the entrance of Coutances Cathedral
If you are in France and near Coutances the Cathedral is free to enter with decent free parking all around. I really recommend having a look at this (on a sunny day)!
When I’m not taking photos for others I enjoy getting away and taking photos for myself. I’m best suited to taking pictures of people but I’m not the sort to walk around taking random pictures of someone in the street. It saw me chased across a pier one summer so I don’t do it anymore. No joke.
When on a recent break earlier this year I stumbled across Coutance Cathedral in France. Also known as Notre Dame cathedral. I used a Tilt Shift lens for all of the images in this post. A couple have been stitched together and here’s a tip. These places are generally empty between 12 and 2pm as the tour guides are always on lunch…which is two hours long in France.
This is also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, but not in Notre Dame
This was taken from the far end facing back towards the entrance
Astrophotography taken with the 1D4 and a 17mm TS-E Lens
I’m on location in France and in the evenings I’ve been graced with the clearest November skies and a low level of noise pollution, perfect for Astrophotography.
This has given me the opportunity to take pictures of the beautiful night sky. In the space of a few hours I’ve learnt how to locate Polaris, Betelgeuse, Orion, Orions Belt and where they are in relation to the milky way galaxy which is something I’m saving up for a dedicated trip.
Because it is so hard to nail down techniques to do astrophotography the following is mainly for the photographers who visit the site so I’m going to go into camera speak now!
The above image is a stitched one taken on a tripod with a Canon 1D4 and a 17mm TS-E lens. Now, this may sound like an odd combo to use with the TS-E being F4 but this is the very reason I used the Canon 1D4 and not the Canon 1Ds3, the high ISO made up for the smaller aperture. The 17mm TS-E also can be used for panoramic because of the shift feature.
I could of used the 24L but that would of been too narrow on the 1D4′s 1.3x crop sensor and I didn’t have the 16-35 MkII to hand. (Although I question if the image would of looked this nice if I had used it.
ISO 6400 was used, 20 second exposure and I think I was pushing it. There is a little bit of trailing on slower shutters so avoid 20+ seconds.
This wasn’t bad for a first attempt and I can’t wait for the new 1Dx to arrive as it’s going to improve things by a huge amount.
Wellington College Sandhurst - Another stunning aspect of the Canon TS-E 24mm II lens is it's ability to render colours beautifully.
Canon 24mm TS-E II
So, I decided to give Tilt Shift a go with the Canon 24mm TS-E II. I ordered this lens from Hdew Cameras. (Best place in the UK for lenses that I have used and their prices are great).
The lens is a bit of a beast. It doesn’t have autofocus and has the normal tilt shift function (tilts to 8 degrees). What many don’t expect is it also twists in two places so you can shift in four different directions as well as shift four ways too.
This makes the Canon 24mm TS-E II a exceptionally versatile lens…and complicated to use. Manual focusing isn’t a big issue as I switch on the ‘Beep’ notification on focus lock. Deciding on the right amount of tilt and shift is though. It’s easy to overdo things but it also leads to surprisingly good ‘accidental masterpieces’.
Canon 24mm TS-E II – Price and image quality
At £1449 from HDEW it’s not a cheap lens. However it’s aimed at professionals who charge professional prices for the work they carry out. It’s wider brother the 17mm is £1699 (also have that, review pending) and is maybe a little too wide for general use other that specific landscaping and architecture. Like I’ve implied the Canon TS-e 24mm II lens requires a lot of mastery and I doubt I have barely utilized the full potential of this lens.
The image quality of the Canon TS-E 24mm II lens is incredible. Wide open it’s amazingly sharp. The last time I noticed a lens this sharp was with the new 100mm Macro from Canon. The colours it pulled in are stunning too. Everything glows back at you because of the mix of sharpness and colour rendition.
Canon 24mm TS-E II – Conclusions
If you are looking for undistorted 24mm goodness this lens is for you. It’s sharp corner to corner and is more useful than you’ll realize. I think it’s a better buy than the 17mm as it’s almost too wide for ‘general’ use. I have to admit I already had the 24mm side of things covered with the 24mm 1.4, 24-70 and 24-105 lenses but I’m very glad I bought the Canon 24mm TS-E II now I have used it.
Residuals mean this lens will always be in demand and Canon only every updates each lens every ten years or so and as it’s just released the Canon 24mm TS-E II is a good purchase.
This doesn't look much on a small screen but this image from the 1DS3 combined with the Canon 24mm TS-E II lens as a full sized print is astounding.