Saturday, 28 November 2009

Odd Phenomenon with Canon 7D at High ISO

This evening I decided to play around with the noise reduction settings for high ISO. The ultimate aim was to try to determine whether it would be better to switch the noise reduction off and control it in Lightroom instead and the tests would also determine for sure whether noise reduction had any effects at all in the RAW files, even if in theory it shouldn't.
It was full darkness and heavy rain, with the street lit by artificial lighting (i.e. street lights). I was using the Canon 50mm f/1.4 at 1/50th sec handheld on ISO 6400. Because I wanted to test the detail level, I was trying to focus on areas without the risk of blown highlights and as a consequence the contrast was quite low, making it a challenge for the AF system.
However, I didn't get as far as testing the detail level, as I noticed on the screen, that the camera just didn't focus properly when high ISO noise reduction was set to Standard, if it was compared to the focus when it was switched off.
While this is a static scene and therefore can't be extrapolated to wildlife such as birds in flight, it does make me wonder if this is one reason why there have been reports of some 7Ds not coping very well with birds in flight. Also, I can't judge whether it occurs at all ISO settings or just at higher settings. I do know though, that until I've tested further, I will be keeping the high ISO noise reduction switched off until I can test further.

Visit Avalon Light Photoart for nature photography prints and licenced images.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Event Photography and Carnival

When I went to Bridgwater Carnival a couple of weeks ago, little did I know that I would develop any sort of interest in event photography. I went mainly because my mum was coming up for the weekend and she had never been. It had taken me six years to decide to go and had it not been for my mum, I probably still wouldn't have gone. From a commercial point of view, it makes sense for me to go. The day is pretty much a non-starter where nature photography goes, as I can't get anywhere, with the roads being closed early and it doesn't take much effort to spend a few hours watching, so at least I can make some use of the day. However, since I looked at the results, I have been planning how I can improve next time. I even considered attending Glastonbury Carnival at the weekend and may have done, if not for the weather and logistical problems. While I'm happy with how most of the photos came out, I know I can improve and if I'm alone, I can get into position early, to get the best vantage point.
I'm not going to develop a full scale interest in event photography, but if the opportunity arises where it doesn't take up much of my time that could be better spent elsewhere, then I'll take it.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Bridgwater Carnival 2009

Last night, I went to my first Bridgwater Carnival, depsite living here for six years now. The last carnival I'd seen was about 20 years ago, which happened to be Burnham-on-Sea, so part of the same circuit and things are a bit different now. The lighting was nothing short of impressive on many of the carts, but that I expected from photos, but what really took me by surprise, was the movement, not just the performers, but also the carts themselves. It was also virtually impossible to see the towing vehicles on many of the carts. Some of the carts must have cost several thousand pounds to produce. The joint overall champions were Joust, by the Gremlins Carnival Club and Ramses Revenge (Curse of the Mummy), by Ramblers Carnival Club.
The other new experience was one unique to Bridgwater. Gone are the days of the home made fireworks, but the tradition of squibbing remains. It was difficult to see much through the crowds, but it was certainly worth the experience.
The first set of photos have been uploaded to the gallery linked below.

Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival 2009