Where was I?
I went off on a tangent on my last blog post but I really couldn't help myself. That video showing Denis Smiths' transformation from a salesman in a high pressure job to a successful pro photographer selling prints of his work was very inspiring. I had to give it a try and share his story in a blog post.
This post however is back to topic somewhat.
This week my Canon EOS 7d and multitude of accessories and lenses arrived including my Canon 70-200mm L IS USM MkII. I have had a quick play with them to see how they feel and must admit I'm very impressed by the auto focus speed on the 70-200. I have always been one to use Manual focus and have never been keen on the idea of relying on the camera to focus for me, however seeing how quick this lens focuses versus my old Canon 70-300mm IS USM I think I may try the auto focus out this weekend.
My 7d will serve as a replacement for my 500d (which I will be keeping in my bag as a backup). The old 500d had a great run taking some photo's that I myself am really quite keen on:
Click to enlarge: A shot from South Africa, September 2011
I've decided to keep the 500d instead of selling it; partially because I have was offered a pittance for it and partially because It's served me so well that I'm loath to just sell it. In all ways it pales in comparison to the 7d I've now got but I do have a feeling I may on occasion get it out for a few shots here and there. The 500d was my 'workhorse' camera for a good few years and it's only now that I think I've outgrown it and finally got the funds to upgrade.
I'm looking forward to a similar relationship with the 7d - early signs are promising.
One little hitch...
Unfortunately my Canon 580EX MKII Speedlight and it's battery pack are yet to arrive which is a real pain. I wanted to use that to take some shots for the Martin Bailey May Assignment: "Side Light". I have chased the supplier who have said that it is coming from a different warehouse. I'm waiting for an update as to when it should be arriving. If they can't give me an update by tomorrow lunch time then I will be cancelling that order very promptly and purchasing from somewhere that can deliver it in good time. Such a shame - my initial perception of this particular re-seller was very positive.
Finding the time
My challenge now is finding the time to give the 7d and my new lenses a try. It just so happens that my work schedule conveniently becomes more busy the more I want to do things in my personal life, frustrating. To fit a shoot around both work and the social schedule my wife has very kindly arrange for us I've made plans with Neil Graham, to go to Richmond Park in London early this coming Saturday morning. I've been there once before back in November 2011 and took some OK-ish shots in terms of the actual subject and composition, but none of them seem sharp at all! It's only then I remember how foggy it was that morning we went. The mist had descended extremely low to the ground and was incredibly thick. You could barely see 10 meters ahead of yourself. If you compare the image of the stag below to the image from South Africa above, there is a clear and obvious difference in the sharpness. I think the surroundings, light and general clearness of the air have a huge part to play in the much better quality of the above image.
Despite my best efforts I still don't think my shots from my last Richmond Park visit are sharp enough by any standards. Never the less I posted one to 500px - The idea of driving to Richmond park and taking all those shots with nothing to show people was very disheartening.
Click to enlarge: Richmond Stag in the mist
When you inspect this image at a larger size you can see that it's both blurry and noisy which really bugs me. I'm very much looking forward to getting out this weekend and doing much better.
I find it quite refreshing looking back on images I took a long time ago. I find that If I open the original in Adobe LightRoom I can do a better job of editing them today and often wonder what I was thinking when I edited it originally. I used to think that I was particularly good and that my editing skills were of a high standard, but looking back I can often easily see what I did wrong and correct those mistakes. Even now I still know I have a lot to learn. I'll continue to watch those instructional videos and read those monthly magazines to brush up my skills!
I'm yet to purchase Adobe Lightroom 4 but I used the trial extensively to re-edit images in my library and I must say I was blown away. The improvements from Lightroom 3 are massive. The noise reduction and clarity tools are vastly improved whilst I find that overall images just seem to look better when processed through LR4. It will certainly be my next software purchase.
I've also downloaded a trial of Silver FXPro. You get 15 days to try it out before having to fork out $199 (which is something like £130 I guess?). I'm thinking I may use it to edit the images I shoot at the weekend. It comes highly recommended by Martin Bailey but I'm not sure that price can be justified for a piece of software that just does Black and White processing. I guess I'll use it on some shots from the weekend and let you know what I think. From my experience if a photographer like Martin Bailey is a fan then we all should be too.
For now that's all I have to write about seeing as I haven't actually done a solid review of the 7d and lenses yet. Without some sample images and some extensive use I haven't got much I can comment on.