Monday, 31 December 2012

Olympics - London 2012

A little late perhaps, but I thought I'd share some of my London 2012 Olympics images, before the year is out!  After a little persistence and a large spattering of luck, I managed to get tickets to several events and thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle which was delivered.  I also bumped into the torch relay a few times too...

The images below aren't going to be anything like the ones which professional photographers would have been able to take from their privileged positions (and better skill and equipment!), but help remember a unique fortnight.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Waxwings in Surrey

Having missed out on seeing Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) on several occasions in the last couple of years, I had a free morning and thought I'd follow various sightings mentioned on Twitter (e.g. from Matt - @mostlyscarce, thanks!) - and head to North Camp railway station on the Surrey/Hants border.

Earlier in the day, around 28 had been spotted, so I was pleased to see about 40 fly into a nearby tree...

In smaller groups, they then proceeded to head down towards the red berries, where they were greeted with a clatter of shutter releases from the long-lens crowd that had gathered.  As well as the 'classic' shot of berry-in-mouth, I also tried to get some with a simple composition and/or flying.

The waxwings would often fly-off and not be seen for over 30 minutes, but during these times, I was also lucky enough to find a couple of Roe deer, as well as a Redwing.

You can click on the photos below to see them slightly larger.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@UK_Richard) and/or 'like' my Facebook page.

All photos taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS II and 1.4x teleconverter.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Ethiopia - Wildlife

I've recently returned from a fortnight in Ethiopia (for my honeymoon!).  Although photography wasn't the main focus, I took the following kit out with me:
  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 5D Mark III Manual (camera was only a week old!)
  • Canon 70-200 L f/2.8 IS II
  • Canon 1.4x extender II
  • Canon 24-105 L IS
  • Sandisk memory cards (lots)
The objective was to return from the trip, not only with my wife, marriage and photography equipment intact, but also hopefully some nice images of the trip.  In particular, I wanted to get images of the following endemic (only found in Ethiopia) wildlife:
The first two I'd hopefully see during a (very exhausting!) four day trek in the Simien Mountains; the wolves I was hoping to see in the much more accessible Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountains, towards the South of the country.

With very limited time (there was plenty of other things to see and do in Ethiopia), I obviously didn't have time to wait for the perfect shot/light, but please find below a link to the images I did capture (YouTube compression really doesn't do justice to the image quality from the 5D)

I'll write another post soon with impressions of the 5D Mark III.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Nikon News: New D5200 DSLR announced

NIkon have just announced a new DSLR, the D5200:

  • Newly developed Nikon DX-format CMOS sensor with 24.1 effective megapixels
  • High-density 39-point AF system features superior subject-tracking and subject-identification performance in combination with Scene Recognition System
  •  A choice of three body colors and a vari-angle LCD monitor that offers flexible shooting
  •  Special Effects that enable you to enjoy various creative expressions in still images and movies by setting prior to shoot.
  • High-speed, multifunctional and high-performance image-processing engine "EXPEED 3", equivalent to that of the Nikon's flagship model, D4
  • Wide sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6400 (expandable to ISO 25600 equivalent) that delivers sharp images with reduced image blur even in low-lit situations or sports scenes. 
  • High-speed continuous shooting at approx. 5 fps that surely captures decisive moments.
  • Stereo microphone employed [NEW], Full HD (1920 x 1080) D-Movie with selectable 60i/50i frame rate.
  • Easy-to-understand and easy-to-operate, new GUI that effectively utilizes graphic processing. [NEW]
  • Large, easy-to-view, approx. 921k-dot, wide viewing angle (170°), 7.5-cm (3-in.) horizontal-opening vari-angle LCD monitor. 
  • Energy-saving design that achieves approx. 500 shots* per charge (with EN-EL14, in single-frame mode) *Based on CIPA Standards.
  • Compatible with the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter (optional) that enables transmission of images to smartphone or tablet PC wirelessly.
  • Compatible with the WR-R10/WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controllers (optional). Remote control is ensured even if there are obstacles in the way. [NEW]
  • 16 options of Scene Modes that enable selection of the most appropriate mode according to the shooting scene or subject.
  • Variety of image-editing functions that allow you to retouch images easily after shooting, such as NEF (RAW) processing, Trim and Fisheye.
Loads more details here.

Nikon News: AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR lens announced

Nikon have announced a new 70-200mm lens, the  AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR.

  • FX-format telephoto zoom lens with 70–200mm focal range (105–300mm when used with a Nikon DX-format SLR).
  • Constant f/4 aperture throughout the zoom range.
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) system: minimizes camera shake and lets you shoot at shutter speeds up to five stops slower.
  • Nano Crystal Coat greatly reduces ghosting and flare.
  • SWM (Silent Wave Motor) enables quiet and accurate autofocus.
  • Two focus modes: A/M (autofocus with manual override, AF priority) and M (manual focus).
  • Minimum focus distance: 1 m.
  • Lightweight body for a telephoto zoom lens.
  • RT-1 tripod collar ring (optional accessory): enables the lens to be rotated freely for smooth transition between vertical and horizontal orientation.

More details here.

Canon News: New 24-70mm and 35mm lenses

Canon have launched a couple of new lenses, details below:

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM

A versatile 24-70mm f/4 L-series lens with macro mode for up to 0.7x magnification. Ultrasonic AF provides fast, near-silent focusing. UD and aspherical elements deliver superb image quality.
  • Versatile zoom range for a variety of subjects
  • Macro mode for up to 0.7x magnification
  • Up to four-stop Image Stabilizer
  • Two aspherical and two UD lens elements
  • Fast ultrasonic AF
  • Sealed against dust and moisture
  • Nine-bladed aperture for soft bokeh 
More details here.
 Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM

A 35mm prime lens with a four-stop Image Stabilizer and f/2 maximum aperture – ideal for low-light photography. Ultrasonic AF is fast and accurate. An aspherical lens element boosts image quality.
  • Up to four stops of image stablisation
  • Fast f/2 maximum aperture
  • Ultrasonic AF for quick and accurate focusing
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Eight-bladed aperture for smooth bokeh
  • Moulded glass elements for consistent sharpness
  • 0.24m minimum focus distance
More details here.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sigma News: Trio of new lenses and USB Dock

Over at Sigma, they've been busy designing some new lenses and have announced three new ones, outlined below.  Words below from Sigma.

35mm F1.4 DG HSM

Many avid photographers will definitely prefer this 35mm lens to the more conventional 50mm. Using a leading-edge design and state-of-the-art production technology, we've honed its performance to the point where it can do full justice to the expressive power of the very latest digital cameras. At low apertures, for example, it can perform like a wide-angle lens, while if it's opened up to F1.4, it will give the background a pleasing bokeh effect and make the subject pop like a mid-range telephoto lens. What makes this lens so desirable is the wide scope it provides for artistic expression.

17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM

Mainly used for general-purpose photography, this everyday lens covers a range equivalent to 25.5-105mm on a 35mm camera. A large-aperture lens that opens up to F2.8, it's surprisingly compact in size. Great for treasured snapshots of travel or family occasions, it also handles shots that are a little bit more creative. Designed to be the kind of lens you carry around with you all the time, it delivers simplicity and is so user-friendly it's sure to satisfy even the most demanding of users.

 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM

Although high-function digital cameras now deliver improved picture quality at high-ISO settings, adjusting your lens to a large aperture is still the most effective strategy for action shots. And even if you have to take the shots from a less-than-ideal position, as is so often the case when shooting sports or on-stage action, this zoom lens, with its maximum focal length of 300mm, lets you open up the aperture all the way to F2.8. In other words, when conditions are difficult, this high-performance lens gives you more scope to express yourself in the shots you take.

More details here, which also introduces a 'USB dock', for updating firmware, etc. on the lens - an interesting idea to make it available to the end-consumer.