Monday, July 20, 2009

Quick Hit Monday: Weddings Bells (Alarms); Cincy PhotoWalking; Canon 50D; and More

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I hope everybody had a great weekend. Our weekend around here would be hard to top.  After getting home late from Chicago Thursday night getting a few hours of sleep, we were back at it again on Friday and Saturday.

Had A Great Wedding On Friday!

I have to tell you, on Friday I had the honor of photographing one of the most beautiful brides for 2009. As I mentioned last week, this beautiful young, lady that worked for me a number of years ago. I was flattered when she said that when she got married, I would be the only photographer she would consider. Anyway, making a long story short, I think I got one of my best collection of wedding images ever this weekend.  I can't wait to show you some of the photographs in this week's posts.  I’ve posted one today.

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide PhotoWalk Recap

Wow, what a great photo walk we had on Saturday. When the Scott Kelby Worldwide PhotoWalk was originally scheduled for July 18, the first thing that crossed my mind was high humidity and high temperatures. I thought we would be “cooking” for the entire walk.

Cincy PW Group-0004-DZ_Cincy PhotoWalk Z09As it turned out, our weather was perfect. When we finally pushed off at around 10:00 a.m., temperatures were hovering around 72°. We had white puffy clouds filling a beautiful blue sky which really added to the vistas that we got to photograph from some very cool vantage points along the way.

They were actually three photo walks in the vicinity so I hope the other other walkers had just as good of a time as we did.

I did learn a lesson this year in planning my photo walk. Last year I planned a 3 mile walk -- but it was in a straight line! Much to my chagrin, after the walk we had to walk back again.  Oh well, live and learn. This year I lead the group in a circle – this made much more sense!!

Anyway, this year's Photo Walk took us through one of Cincinnati's very picturesque historical neighborhoods, then on to an overlook from which you could see the entire Ohio River Valley, then through a beautiful little park, and then back to our starting location.

PhotoWalkZ09-0200-DZ_Cincy PhotoWalk Z09In my opinion, I thought we had one of the most visually exciting PhotoWalks anywhere.  I think everybody had a great time and I sure hope we get a chance to do it again next year.

A few of our walkers come up with a few ideas for the next time around. I particularly like the idea suggested - the Photo Pub Crawl – now there’s an idea;~) Just be sure the cameras are on auto focus for that one!

I do have one suggestion for the Photo Walk planners for next year. Last year everyone uploaded all their images to a Flickr group. On that next Sunday morning following the PhotoWalk, LaDawn and I  fired up the laptop, connected it to the big screen TV, and sat fascinated seeing the hundreds of images posted from the other PhotoWalks around the world.

It was an exciting peek into the life and times of photographers, people, and places. I sure hope next time around we all get a chance to do that again because it was a very exciting experience to take the virtual world tour of photo walks around the world on Flickr.

My buddy, and Ace #1 assistant, Nicholas Viltrakis (more on Nicholas later in this post – a must read, by the way) did a nice job covering our PhotoWalk here in Cincy. Here is a link right here to a gallery of images he posted this morning.  I’ll plan to post a few images later this week.

Sirens, Police Cars, Fire Trucks And More – Oh No!!!

There we were in the middle of the wedding the wedding ceremony Friday night. The minister, with his well-chosen words, was building to a wonderful climax which captured the beauty, and joy of this very special wedding day. The 150 guests listened attentively hanging on each holy word.

That's when it happened! The fire alarm went off all over the building! The shrill pitch of the sirens surprised everybody.  The wedding guests didn’t know what to do.  The loud shrieks of the sirens caused many of the very young children present to start shrieking and crying too. It was chaos!!! What happened? Nobody knew it first except for my assistants Mark and Nicholas.

It seems that Nicholas had just grazed the emergency exit lever on the fire exit door and that was just enough to set off the alarms. So now we have the babies crying, the sirens screaming, and a  "What am I going to do now?” look on Nicholas’ face.  The the laughter began.  So here we were – sirens, crying, laughter during the most solemn moment of the wedding ceremony. 

Nicholas - Fire Alarm-1707-DZ_McCaanW09I had Nicholas find the management personnel who could turn off the fire alarm which he did quite promptly. Within a few more minutes everything was quiet, peaceful, and sort of back to normal. The rest of the service proceeded pretty much as expected.

Needless to say, Nicholas was the butt of many jokes for the rest of the evening. The bride and groom along with their parents were great sports and actually insisted we reenact the event so actual photos could be captured. We still captured some great shots of the wedding ceremony and reception.

Want to read Nicholas’ version of the event – here is the link to his post about it right here – a pretty funny read. So, what's the worst event, catastrophe that has ever happened to you at a wedding? I think setting off the fire alarms during the most solemn part of the ceremony is definitely one to beat.

Shooting With My New Canon 50D

I fired up my brand-new Canon 50D for my wedding shoot on Friday. There were two main reasons that I finally made the jump to the Canon 50D.  The first reason was the higher resolution viewfinder. I had been enjoying my 5D Mark II since last October but every time I switch to the 40D I just couldn't get used to the lower resolution viewfinder on the back of the camera.

The second reason I switched was because of the lower noise capabilities of the 50D. I wanted to see for myself if I would get one or two more stops of low light capability out of the camera.

Here are  my first five impressions of the Canon 50D.
1. Yes, looks like it will give me another stop or two of low light shooting. Yippee!!

2. I love the new high resolution viewfinder. The viewfinder also seems to give me fairly accurate exposure feedback on my shots too. I thought that the Canon 30D did a terrible job and was not very accurate, but the 40D and 5D MkII have been a big improvement in that department.  I'll have to plan to do a post on that topic down the road.

3.  My Canon 40D allowed me to set 3 custom settings for the camera. I was disappointed to find out that the 50D only allows for only 2 custom settings.

4.  I noticed that the focusing in the dimmer, softer light of the reception seemed to hesitate a bit. Here me out on this one. I'm not completely blaming the camera for this unexpected experience though. I did most of my shooting with the 18-200 MM IS lens that came with the camera. I'm thinking that because of the long zoom range of my optic, that the camera had a bit more difficulty focusing in the lowlight. That's my first guess anyway. I'll do a bit more testing but I suspect it should be as good as the lowlight focusing of the 40D.

5. The resolution of the new camera looks very good.

This was a quick first look - I’ll give you more in-depth comments as I go through the images over the last few days and continue to work with the camera.

Another Cool Technique Tuesday Heading Your Way Tomorrow!

Hey gang, look for another very cool Technique Tuesday tomorrow. I handed the Canon 5D Mark II to Nicholas to video a few of the images that I made for my bride and groom this weekend. You get a nice peek at how I use my off-camera flash in about three different ways and see some pretty cool images to boot. Be sure to stop back tomorrow.

Learning, Learning, and More Learning 

I want to remind all of our Kentucky readers and Ohio and Indiana readers that I will be doing a daylong program on lighting on August 18.  Here is the link right here. What's nice about these one-day sessions is the fact that the class size is quite small which really enhances the learning experience. I hope to see a few of you there.

Before I wrap the day, I want to let you guys and girls know about another great daylong program coming to a city near you in the next couple of months. My good friends Hanson Fong and John Woodward are presenting daylong programs in select cities around the country. When it comes to outdoor wedding imagery Hanson is one of the best teaching today. His programs always receives  rave reviews and I think if you get a chance to attend you will quickly see why.

My friend John Woodward is one of those digital master gurus that can really light up your brain cells for all things technical.  He will be bringing his expertise and insights into this informative daylong program. Here is the link for all the information. Want to take a peek at what goes on at their program? Then check out this quick video excerpt from one of their past programs right here.

Hey gang, on that note, I'm out of here. Once again, we have a pretty busy week around here. And, later this week I head to Oldsmar, Florida to visit with my buddy, Scott Kelby, and wrap the final details of my wedding book. So stay tuned and I'll fill you in on the details of our meeting. Got to go -- have a great one everybody -- David


  1. I would not call it a viewfinder(Reason #2). It is the LCD screen at the back of the camera. The viewfinder is the optical piece that you look through to take a picture.

    Also do you really thing that the 50D has less noise than the 40D. I've read reviews online that say otherwise. They bash the 50D for the increase in pixel density which results in much higher noise.


  2. I also upgraded to Canon EOS 50D from a Canon 450D to offer my clients a higher quality. I am happy with the new acquisition. It does it's job good. I am fond of the higher ISO even if the quality is low. But now I have this option of 1200 ISO so I can capture what I couldn't before.

    To answer to Ezra... the 50D has the same ISO noise as the 40D but higher pixels. I know that noise reduction is applied in the camera (you can set the level). But in the end you have the same noise quality but for a higher resolution. I need this boos in resolution because in our job we need to crop down some of our photos