Sunday, August 5, 2018

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Snowbirds and Fireworks

Gallery (50 images): Snowbirds and Fireworks

On Wednesday August 1st, I was at Hadden Park in the evening for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatic team's display over Vancouver. During some formations, the jets are well under two meters apart at the wingtips, which is very impressive to see indeed. Later that evening, at 10pm, there was one of the annual Celebration of Light fireworks displays, featuring Team Sweden, and I was up on the Burrard Bridge to photograph that. The linked gallery has images from both events...

Saturday, July 28, 2018

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Germany 2018 - Celle

Gallery (35 images): Germany 2018 - Celle

The city of Celle is a quaint little town north-east of Hanover, with the old town centre full of Fachwerkhäuser. In the above photo, one can see construction that is quite typical in many places in Germany, houses or buildings that have upper floors that progressively extend beyond the lower floors. There were likely numerous different reasons why this was done, perhaps to maximize living space without crowding the streets below or to shelter the lower walls from inclement weather. Another theory I've heard, was that it was done to maximize space but also minimize property taxes since those were once based on just the area of the ground floor.

See: All Germany 2018 Galleries

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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Germany 2018 - Hanover

Gallery (95 images): Germany 2018 - Hanover

In late June, my father and I were off on a three week trip to Germany, visiting lots of friends and relatives, as well as doing some sightseeing too. The gallery I am publishing here is actually from a day right in the middle of our trip, a day where we met up with my friend Julia and went sightseeing in Hanover. There are a few reasons why I am publishing this one first...

Just before the trip, I received my Venus Optics Laowa Zero-D 9mm f/2.8 lens for my Fujifilm X-system, and since returning, I have spent a fair bit of time examining images from that lens closely. While it isn't perfect, considering how wide a lens it is (equivalent to a 13.5mm on a full-frame 35mm), how compact and lightweight it is, and the fact that true to its name, it really does effectively have zero barrel distortion, I have been very impressed with its performance. The "new" city hall in Hanover, which opened in 1913 and took about 12 years to build, is an impressive building with a huge cathedral-like interior and lots of baroque detail. It was the perfect place to use the Laowa 9mm lens, which did a good job of encompassing much of the huge interior into single frames. Making an effort to keep the lens level eliminated the sloping perceptive distortion that any such a wide lens would exhibit, which is dramatically visible on a few photos that I intentionally shot that way. Overall,  I am very happy with how the 9mm lens performed, and generally speaking, it was a very successful day of photography, with a sky that cooperated as well, giving some nice, fluffy white clouds!

To read a more detailed evaluation of the Laowa 9mm, one that I wrote just before I left on the trip, see Beau Photo's July 2018 Newsletter - July 2018 PDF.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

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Happy Daylight Savings Day!

Finally, more light in the evenings again! I love the switch to daylight savings time, especially when it is accompanied by a gorgeous warm and sunny day! Despite the fact that I am still suffering from the aftereffects of a bad flu, I dragged myself out of the house and wandered down to Granville Island for a few hours later in the evening, carrying my X-Pro2 and Fujifilm's fantastic set of f/2 primes. Sunset was just after 7pm, and the warm colours and play of light and shadow was nice to experience.

After shooting with Fujifilm's new X-H1 on numerous occasions recently, as much as I really liked using that camera, there is still something about the X-Pro2 that just fits me better. The camera's controls are all readily available to my right hand, and I definitely prefer the offset, "rangefinder style" viewfinder too. That said, there are a bunch of things I really like about the X-H1 and I do hope that Fujifilm incorporates some of those firmware tweaks into an update for the X-Pro2 in the future! For my detailed preview of Fujifilm's X-H1, as well as an image gallery with lots of nighttime, slow shutter speed handheld exposures, taking advantage of the X-H1's new IBIS system, see the Beau Photo blog here...  (opens in a new window)

Another note: all the images in the above gallery (and in the X-H1 gallery) were only processed in the very latest Adobe Lightroom CC. I have to say, Adobe has come a long way in the last year, improving their X-Trans sensor demosaic a fair bit. Images are rendering really nicely, with minimal colour bleed and better shadow details and texture than I recall. Sharp branches against a blue sky are nice and crisp, natural looking without blurriness or weird outlining.

The above images were processed with Adobe's "Camera ASTIA/SOFT" profile, which mimics Fujifilm's out-of-camera colour fairly well, much better than the "Adobe Standard" profile does. I have tweaked the profile even further myself, incorporating some slight hue and saturation adjustments to some colours, to bring it even closer to Fuji's colours, probably more like a lower contrast "Velvia" setting in all honestly. I find that Adobe's "Camera Velvia/VIVID" setting is just too hard and contrasty to use as a starting point. In any case, I am liking the overall colour rendition, and even how fine details look in low ISO images now, so Adobe finally deserves some praise on how it handles Fujifilm's X-Trans raw images. I will say this though: it's about time!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

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Fireworks from the Empire Landmark (2016)

Back in July of 2016, I accompanied another photographer to shoot the Australian team's fireworks display during the Vancouver Celebration of Light. We shot from high up, a balcony at the former Empire Landmark Hotel, soon to be developed as the Landmark on Robson. For various reasons, I never got around to posting these photos until now.

As this is my belated first post of the year, let me take a moment to wish everyone reading this a Healthy and Happy New Year for 2018! Enjoy the fireworks...