Have had a very unique looking visitor in our yard the past month or so. Their marking’s are very odd to me.
Have had a very unique looking visitor in our yard the past month or so. Their marking’s are very odd to me.
This summer I spent a couple days in the Olympic National Park. The weather wasn’t the greatest, my assistants didn’t want to go to Hurricane Ridge early in the morning to get the best light, so I figured the solution was to go big. So I took a series of photos and stitched them together in Lightroom.
We took the ferry back and I did the same with the Seattle skyline.
It’s hard to know or remember all the “rules” of photography. One big rule is the “rule of thirds,” followed closely by the rule of “remove the lens cap”.
There are also lesser known rules, such as the rule of 500. The rule of 500 dictates how long a night sky exposure can last before star trails form on a full frame camera. For example, taking a night sky picture using a 50 mm lens, divide 500 by 50mm and the answer is ten. Ten is the maximum amount of exposure, in seconds, before star trails form. With a 500mm lens expose for 1 second or less, or trails will be present. On a 22mm lens, 22.7 would be the maximum length of exposure for sharp stars.
For a crop body, like the Canon M5, you need to multiply the lens factor by the 1.6 sensor crop factor. Since a 22mm lens on the Canon M5 is effectively a 35.2mm lens, it needs (500/(22×1.6))=14 seconds or less of exposure for no star trails.
For further thought, you might check out Lonelyspeck.com. They have an interesting article on setting ISO for Astrophotography.
While vacationing on the Colorado River, I was told of a lovely white egret. I thought to myself, “This will be a great test for the Canon 100-300 F5.6L.”
It’s a 30-years-old lens. It was one of the first two L lens for the Canon EF lens mount. It didn’t get the standard L series weather sealing. It was pretty much the same lens as the EF 100-300 F5.6 only it had a red ring around the lens. Canon also upgraded the lens elements for the L model. It had synthetic fluorite lens elements in the first lens group and ultra-low dispersion elements in the 2nd group.
It’s hard to find one that hasn’t been abused during the past 30 years, most have some scratches, and the push-pull zoom design weakens over time and you tend to get barrel creep so if you are shooting at an angle; the lens will zoom-in or zoom-out depending if you have it tilted up or down. Some sound like they are dying as they try to seek auto-focus. I looked at two or three of them and walked away, actually I might have ran away because I didn’t want to catch whatever lens fungus was growing in them.
Then, I saw one for really cheap on eBay. At the price it went for I figured even if it’s as bad as the others, it’s still a decent price. I was shocked when I got it. The rubber ring had some oxidization, but the lens elements were clean and clear, it came with the hood, and the barrel was tight. It was like I had bought a goat to clear the blackberry bushes from my yard and instead they sent me a goat unicorn. One thing to note: unicorns and Canon 100-300 F5.6L lenses do not have Lightroom correction profiles. But it’s not a huge deal because the lens has the least distortion of any lens I own. Since it’s a full frame lens, you won’t get much vignetting on a crop sensor. But the AF speed is horrendous, and if the light is bad, it will search and search and search.
This egret was the bane of my existence the week I spent there. He loved to hide under an outcropping to bask in the early morning sun. I couldn’t approach him from the sides since the outcropping as surrounded by water and it was an overhang he would hide under. I’d sneak up on him, and away he would fly. Then he would go hide in a cove I couldn’t reach. We played that game every morning for three days, then he decided to find somewhere else to get his morning sun.
So I was a bit sad I didn’t get the picture of the egret’s face. On the last night, we headed out to dinner at one of the floating bars on the river on a friend’s boat. I took a few picture of the bars with the Canon 100-300 f5.6L. At 695 grams, it’s not too lightweight. But for a telephoto zoom with L glass it’s a good balance.
The sun was just starting to set as the boat went around the last bend headed back to home. Just as I was finishing putting all my gear back into my bag, someone started tugging on my arm and pointing wildly. I looked up from closing my bag and there the bird was resting on the bank. I reopened the bag and put the adapter on the Canon M5 then attached the lens, knowing the egret was going to fly away while I was playing with my gear. But finally, it was all assembled and I dialed in the settings. The AF locked onto the bird, and I took two shots as the boat passed him.
I’m not happy about the leaves behind his head, but at least he gave me a side shot of his face and that golden light is fairly decent. But I was happy with the quality of the picture. The details in the rocks, the feathers in the shadows show up, the AF worked. I was happy I had a set of lenses that let me cover just about any situation in my bag.
Would I recommend a Canon 100-300 F5.6L to someone? With the caveat the AF is slow, it doesn’t like to AF in low light, and the barrel sliding around might drive you crazy. For less than $300, it’s an incredible set of optics. For more than $300, you can probably do better.
As for the moral, sometimes when things look like they are over, they aren’t. You can apply that to both the Egret and the Canon 100-300 F5.6L.
If I had a dream job it would be as an investigative reporter/photographer. I wouldn’t cover current events; no, I would cover news stories 20 years after they had occurred and try to find out what we got right and what we got wrong. It would be to remind people of the names of the Challenger and Columbia astronauts, to recall mistakes, and to celebrate the sacrifices and triumphs of events and to look at how they have changed the world or one person. It would also be for a major publisher so I wasn’t afraid of being sued for libel.
News reporting is hard work, finding two reliable sources to corroborate a story can be a fairly monumental task, especially under a deadline. All too often you are not reporting the truth, but a viewpoint. You go in with a preconceived notion, or your source is promoting their own agenda.
With print journalism’s slow death, and smaller newspaper budgets, investigative journalism has mostly disappeared. We tend to get sound bites and copies of press releases as our news. Being unbiased in reporting is nearly impossible, even watching football the announcers always seem to favor the other team.
17-year-old me recalls turning on the news in mid-April of 1989 and hearing about a massive explosion in the number two turret of the USS Iowa. Forty-seven crew members lost their lives in a training accident. An open breach caused five powder bags to exploded inside the number 2 turret center gun crumpling the bulkhead doors and killing everyone in the turret’s upper levels, 12 men in the lower turret survived when their blast doors held.
Over the next five weeks it turned from an accident into an alleged act of sabotage. And then the news cycle ended. The Navy had named a crew member for planting a explosive timer into one of the powder bags. I went to college, the Gulf War started and I forgot about the tragedy on the USS Iowa. Instead we heard about the USS Missouri and Wisconsin firing nearly 1200 shells into Iraq and watched a new reporter on CNN named Wolf Blitzer report the nightly war status.
Meanwhile, a second investigation and a congressional inquiry into the Iowa were initiated. Almost a year and a half later in October of 1991, the explosion was ruled an accident.
Two officers had convinced the captain that Naval Sea Systems Command (NavSea) had authorized gun testing using experimental loads. It was later revealed the contact at NavSea didn’t have the authority to allow such testing.
The crew had been testing the 16 inch guns using 40 years old powder. It had been adjusted to correct for the difference in burn times due to age and improper storage. Their testing was to see if they could increase the ship’s firing range. The bags stated not for use with the 2700 lbs shells they were firing. The bags were intended for the lighter high-explosive shells weighing 1900 lbs. In initial tests they they recorded the longest shots fired from a battleship.
In an earlier test a bag had start smoldering as it was loaded into the gun but they closed the breach in time and the gun only misfired, lightly damaging the ship. In later drop testing of these bags, using the same load as the Iowa the entire test setup was destroyed in an explosion.
Also, as the ship was returning to port after the explosion the captain instructed the crew to throw damaged parts overboard and repaint the interior of the damaged turret. This matter greatly complicated the investigations.
As a result of this testing and additional investigation, the accused crew-member was cleared, the Navy offered its regrets to the family, and the cause was determined to be an accidental explosion. No senior officers were officially reprimanded or reduced in rank. The best friend of the sailor they had named as the saboteur was denied re-enlistment likely due to his vocal objection to the initial report. In a Washington Post article in 2001 the captain was quoted as saying, “Only God knows what really happened in that turret. We’re never really going to know for sure.”
The USS Iowa was decommissioned the year following the explosion and the turret was never put back into service. She is currently a museum ship in Los Angeles, CA.
The USS Iowa is a ship rich in history. She took part in many battles and shore bombardments in WWII and the Korean War. She served as Admiral Willis Lee’s and Admiral Halsey’s flagship. She has carried presidents Roosevelt and Reagan.
My family went on the tour several weeks ago, it was a great experience. And it’s a great way to pay your respects to the 47 sailors who died serving their country.
However, she is in dire need of new decking.
For more information about the explosion aboard the Iowa there are two books A Glimpse of Hell : The Explosion on the U. S. S. Iowa and It’s Cover-up by Charles C Thompson II and Explosion Aboard the Iowa by Richard L Schwoebel. There is also a movie called A Glimpse of Hell.
When Gene Siskel reviewed Attack of the Clones he gave it a 2/4 and mocked the romantic dialog, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.”
When he was asked what the greatest film of all time was, he answered, “Citizen Kane…That’s the official answer.”
Unfortunately, the Canon EF-M 15-45 f3.5-6.3 is not the Citizen Kane of lenses, The Canon EF-M 15-45 f3.5-6.3 is a lot more like Attack of the Clones. I’m not going to search for the Blu-ray copy I received as a gift, but if it’s on TV, I might sit down and watch it. Sure, the dialog and acting can be stiff. Some of the scenes look like a cheap sets with expensive CGI backgrounds. But on the other hand, you have Yoda’s fight scene with Count Dooku. Overall, it makes for a very average film.
It’s not a terribly fast lens at f3.5, of course it’s even worse zoomed at f6.3. The image stabilization helps a bit, but unless it’s a sunny day you will be shooting pretty close to open or at a high ISO leading to distortion/pincushioning, vigneting or lots of noise. Most of these can be fixed in Lightroom or Photoshop, but getting a blurred image because your subject moves while you are shooting at 1/15 of a second due a lack of light makes it stay in the bag more than it should. Sharpness also doesn’t seem to be it’s strong point as you might be able to see in the next image or by looking at the utility pole above.
Even stopped it down, at the zoom end it’s still softer than I would like. However, my macro shots with it seem to usually turn out, it might still be soft, it’s just taking up the whole sensor so it’s not as noticeable.
Below are two comparison shots, the first with the Canon EF-M 15-45 f3.5-6.3, the second with the Canon EF-M 22mm f2 (review link). These are direct from camera with only cropping and lens adjustment done in Lightroom. The 15-45 was set to 21mm. If you look closely at the nearer middle support, you can see the bullet holes from when the bridge was strafed in WWII.
If you compare the railings near the top you can see a bit of softness and lack of detail in the 15-45mm vs. the 22mm. At this end of the zoom, it compares very well to the 22mm.
I had anticipated using the lens for video work with it’s built in IS and nearly silent stepper motor, but I’d have to use a selfie stick (adding more weight) to get the lens back far enough so I wasn’t just a massive head filling the frame. Walking around in the woods with a selfie stick seems like a good way to smack my camera into a tree.
One nice feature is the lens can retract bringing the front element to a fairly compact 4 cm/1.75 inches. It has a plastic body and a plastic mount, weighing in at 130 grams. Mounted to the camera it doesn’t fit into my coat pocket nearly as nicely as the Canon EF-M 22mm f2. So it stays in the bag or in another pocket unmounted a majority of the time.
One other important factor to consider is the lens is really a 24-72mm lens due to the 1.6x effect from the camera’s APS-C sensor; which is actually a really useful range for traveling if you can only take one lens. But it doesn’t hit the sweet spot for portraits or really go wide enough for small crowded rooms. I would venture to guess it was a lens designed by marketing so it wouldn’t sabotage the Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 and also be a more affordable kit lens then the Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM.
If you have infinite money, I’d suggest you buy a Sony a7R II and a lot of Zeiss prime lenses and carefully select which ones you need for each trip. Also, please buy me one for recommending it to you.
If you don’t have ten thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you could buy a Canon M5 with the 15-45 kit. Perhaps, later on get a Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 and/or Canon EF-M 22mm f2. The 15-45 is the affordable jumping in kit lens, it covers a nice range, it has some softness issues but it’s small and light and it has good color and little lens ghosting. I wouldn’t plan on making posters with the any of the zoomed images, but for viewing on a 1980×1024 computer or tv screen, it will make a nice image.
Now that I think about it, maybe the Canon EF-M 15-45 f3.5-6.3 it isn’t Attack of the Clones – Maybe it’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Siskel gave that film 3 stars. Nah, overall, it’s a very average lens, but zoomed…here everything is soft and smooth.