Playing With My New Toy

There is no other way to say it. This camera is my new toy. It is a very functional toy that I will use for a long time though. It arrived this morning via the wonderful UPS man, and I put it on my 300mm lens and went to the tennis center. This was a perfect venue for a first test because it is indoors with lights that vary a bit. This camera has a new flicker sensor that gets rid of that variation in the photo. I have no idea how it does it, but that it really seems to work. I can’t wait to try this out in a really bad flickering situation. Of course a new camera makes me wish for the awful conditions that I normally run away from. I will have a more in depth look at the camera next week. This weekend I have a few things to shoot to see just what this thing can do.

Bonus Photos

Below are a couple of other shots that I liked on the day.


Promises, Promises

For some reason I have let Best Buy lie to me multiple times before calling it quits. I actually had stopped going there for a while, but decided to give them another chance when my laptop went out on me. They performed well so why not give them my business again? I called up our local store yesterday to see if they had the Canon 7D Mark II in stock. I really think that the camera will shine during the Big Ten Soccer Tournament next week. I am shooting the tourney for the Big Ten, and the long days will be perfect to test out the camera. I reached someone on the phone in customer service who told me that they had one in stock. I asked him if he physically saw the camera, and he told me that he did. Once again I made sure that he had it in hand which he said that he did. I purchased the camera over the phone, and cancelled my Best Buy pre-order that had an open ended date on it still. I made my way to the store to pick up the camera. When it was not in the pickup area I wondered what had happened to it. How could it disappear so quickly. I found out that the sales rep that put me on hold to ‘go and look for it’ only punched it up on the computer. A search of the store led the crack team at Best Buy to just shrug that a $1900 camera was missing. No talk of where it could have went just that it was gone.

The rep who I talked to on the phone told me that he would make it right. I was told that it was a good news bad news situation. The good news was that they found out that some stock was missing. The bad news was that they didn’t have the camera in stock. None of that sounded good to me, and I am an optimist. He performed a quick search on the computer to find one ‘in Illinois.’ Again I was excited that I would have the camera, but just a day later. I asked if they would ship it to the store. He said yes, and that it would take about two weeks to get there. Two weeks to ship something in 2014? He said that it was the policy of the company to do this. I asked why the item could not be shipped via UPS or FedEx, and he acted like that was crazy. Why do something that would be faster? Against my better judgement I even offered to pay for the shipping. That was still greeted with a statement that they can’t do that? How do they ship things to your house?

I left the store not very happy. I packed up my one year old to take her there, and of course she was not pleased with waiting for the item. It was on the way home that I thought more about the shipping option. Why wasn’t this possible? When you have lied to me it would seem as if you would try and make it right. Why let a customer spending $1900 in your store walk away empty handed when you do not have to?

When I got home I called Best Buy customer support after a try at getting a solution via Twitter failed. From this point on everyone that I dealt with was super nice, but powerless to do anything. I talked to a nice lady that found a camera for me in Downers Grove, Illinois, but told me that my only option was to drive and pick it up myself. She said that there wasn’t an option in the computer to ship it to me. She did go out of her way to try and help me though, but the system was holding her back. The manager at the Downers Grove store also had a camera missing, but did have one on hand. She said that she could hold it for me, but that I would have to pick it up. Once again I offered to pay for shipping to get it here so that I could use it prior to the tournament. Shipping would be far cheaper than the time and money that it would cost to drive to the Chicago suburbs to pick it up. Once again that is not in the plan so I could not have this happen.

In the last month I bought a $2500 MacBook and was prepared to buy this $1900 camera. We are looking to upgrade my wife’s iPad, but I can tell you one place that we will avoid. It is a shame that people can’t help me think out of the box. I kept thinking of that car commercial where everyone is walking around with a script in their hands going through everyday life. Finally the one guy dumps the script to move on. I think that Best Buy needs to dump the script and do what is right.

Good News in the End

There is a happy ending to the story. I kept calling, and found a cancellation at Adorama out of New York. They could ship me a camera next day via UPS! What a concept. I can now test it out this weekend before shooting the tournament this week. I plan on shooting it a little today at Purdue to test it out during the tennis matches indoors. I will post a photo of that as my photo of the day. Tomorrow night I will shoot the final Purdue soccer game of the season with the camera to really shake it down. Setting it up so that I have it just the way that I want it will make a long weekend of shooting go much smoother. In the coming days I am sure that I will have some samples for you to look at and see if it is the camera for you. Just don’t go out and buy it at Best Buy.

Traveling to Oz at the ZooBoo

While at the ZooBoo we had fun looking at the animals, but also the displays for Halloween. My step daughter really enjoys the Wizard of Oz so it was very cool to see the zoo’s take on the movie. A couple of years ago I saw a similar display at the zoo and made a photo of it. It seems as if some displays get recycled a bit. It really is amazing just how much of a lasting impact this movie has had. Initially it did not do too well, but then it took off on its own. It is fun to watch a new generation enjoy this movie. It is fun to explain how color was used to shock the audience who had not seen that yet in a movie. To a kid now that just seems crazy.

Willie McCovey and His Cove

Most players who have had the career that Willie McCovey has had would be known simply by their first name in their city. Unfortunately for Mr. McCovey he followed a man named Willie Mays who may have been the best that ever was. For most he will always be the second Willie in San Francisco, but he is very important in his own right. I had some fun with some different ideas with his statue outside of AT&T Park. The sky was not very good, but I used that to my advantage. By overexposing a little I tried to give the appearance of a  white background. I like the finished result, and it is something unique to my trip out west in 2013.

Enjoying the Last Ounce of Baseball This Season

I have really enjoyed watching the World Series the past few days. I am super excited that it will go to a game seven. That means one more night of baseball until we have to sit through a winter. I like both of these clubs, but I really had no rooting interest in either the Giants or the Royals other than the Royals are in the American League Central. I had great experiences at both parks, and I would love to visit both again.


wasabi lp-e6 clone

The Wasabi Battery to Replace Canon LP-E6

I have used off brand batteries in my GoPro since almost day one. I accidentally found the Wasabi battery on I originally bought the Wasabi battery just for the extra charger. Even with the batteries it was still less than half the cost of the OEM battery. I have come to really think that Wasabi has found something good here, and I bought some for my Canon G16. I felt that it performed just as good as well. I finally made the jump to by an off brand battery for my dSLR cameras. This battery will work in both my Canon 60D as well as my Canon 5D Mark III. It is not the optimal battery for the camera, but it will also work in the new Canon 7D Mark II when it comes out. I really need a lot of batteries when I will be shooting for an extended period of time. Buying the batteries that Canon makes can get expensive quickly.

A Cheaper Alternative

If you were to go out and buy a new battery from Canon for one of these cameras it will cost you anywhere from $100 at a camera shop to $59 on Amazon. I remember how cheap I thought the Amazon price was when I first saw it. When you need multiple batteries it adds up quickly though. If you want an extra charger you will pay around $53 or more. Right now on you can buy the Wasabi battery for this camera for $15. You can get two and a charger for $30. You really cannot beat that price. My only question going into this experiment though was are they as good as the Canon battery? Continue reading “Gear Review: Wasabi Batteries For the Canon 5D Mark III”

Trying Out the iPhone 6 at the Pumpkin Patch

One of my first times out with my new phone was to the pumpkin patch. I wanted to see what kind of detail it could capture. I was very happy with the results. When making photos of my step daughters class I used it for the group shots. I had the Canon G16 with me, but the iPhone performed just fine. It is nice to have a good camera with you at all times, and I am starting to really trust the iPhone for certain shots. Don’t worry though my dSLR will not be replaced just yet. It does way too much for me.

Spending a Couple of Weeks With the iPhone 6 Plus

I have spent the last couple of weeks really trying out the photo features on the new iPhone 6. It is a great upgrade from the iPhone 5 that I was using prior to it. The size is something that you really need to get used to at the start. Once you do though the old iPhone just seems too small. I have posted a video that I made entirely on the phone using the new slow motion feature along with iMovie. You can really do some cool things from a video standpoint. What I wanted to see was how the phone handled low light situations, and how far the HDR function has come. When I first picked up the iPhone 4 the term HDR was new to me. Now after spending the early days of this blog using HDR techniques on food I know it all too well. I also know a certain look that I like from my HDR images. For some reason the iPhone just seems to fall short here. It works in small doses, but for a truly dynamic scene it does not do too well. I do like the burst mode on the camera though. This basically allows you to motor drive a scene and then pick the best one. I didn’t even realize what I was doing at first, but I was very happy to see the results. When you are trying to get that one expression from your child the burst mode really helps capture that key moment.

Photography is getting much more into a state of making your images and sending them on the go. For someone like me who likes to tweak them in post that can be rough. The new IOS 8 helps you perform some of the tweaks. It even makes it easy to tweak them in a program made by a third party. Adobe has really stepped up to the plate with their new phone and tablet apps. Lightroom mobile is great for performing most of the quick edits I like to apply to an image. SmugMug has really made it easy to upload from my phone or tablet as well. My workflow has the ability to become much more streamlined if I want it to.

Finding Color Where You Can

This fall has been about finding the colors wherever I can. Sometimes that means that you find them while standing on an old railroad bridge looking over the Wabash. I was disappointed when I got to the Davis Ferry Bridge and the color was not really on and around the bridge. When I walked out onto it though I noticed that it was beautiful looking out onto the Wabash. Sometimes you do not get the shot that you want, but another one presents itself.

The Calm Before the Storm

The next few days will not be very busy for me. Once the weekend gets closer though things will start to pick up and lead to a fever pitch by next Wednesday. There will probably be a lot of sports on this blog over the next couple of weeks. For now though we have a couple of extra days with some nice scenery. Then the madness will begin.

Back at Purdue Hockey Again

I am excited for this hockey season as the Purdue Hockey team now plays just an hour away from campus. That is close compared to where they have been playing when I have seen them in Kankakee and Danville Illinois. Last night they had their annual charity game for the Purdue Dance Marathon. Of course it was also against our in state rival Indiana. It was a hard fought game that was once tied at three apiece, but the third period belonged to Purdue. I had not been to a hockey game since the last Purdue Hockey game I was at last year. I love hockey, and I need to make more room on my schedule to shoot it. Now that Purdue plays a lot closer to home I think that I can make that happen.

Using the Fisheye Lens

Last night I had a simple rig walking around the stadium. I broke out my Black Rapid double harness to carry two cameras on my body at all times. I had my 5D Mark III set up with the Canon 70-200mm lens on it as my main body, and my Canon 60D with the Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens on it for shots at the glass. I love the look of this lens at the glass. Last season I got lucky and made a pretty good photo at the glass. You have to be lucky and have the action come right at you. This year I moved to make the shot above, but did not get the big hit right in front of me. That just gives me more reason to attend another game I guess. Continue reading “Purdue Ice Hockey Defeats Indiana 7-3”

Making Photos of More Than the Animals at the Indianapolis Zoo

While at the Indy Zoo last weekend I had a lot of fun making photos of my family and the animals. When you go to the Zoo Boo though they have other decorations that are also fun to photograph. They cover a lot of territory with the various decorations, but I liked this one for some reason. At first glance you think that someone is looking at you from around a tree. You have to get close up to see that you have been fooled.

The Zoo Boo

As I have said before we like to make the Zoo Boo a family tradition. It is a great way to get out and see some animals, but also a good chance for the kids to get some extra Halloween candy. The event is still going on this weekend at the Indianapolis Zoo so get out and see it if you can. While you are there check out the new Orangutan Center. You can get up close and personal to see that they are not much different than us.