Archive for May, 2013

Yesterday May 26th I traveled to Cornell University to shoot pictures of the 2013 Materials Science and Engineering Commencement.

First off you should find out how to get to the place that the event is located at. I used google maps on my phone and it sent me to a dead end road in the middle of now where. Luckily I had some idea of where I was going, so I made a adjustment and arrived in plenty of time.

My camera bag was full of everything I owned and plus I brought a tripod with me as well. There where around 60 student taking part, plus some special awards to be handed out. So the shoot wasn’t going to be a huge memory problem and I didn’t have to worry about batteries either with such a small group. Last week I did buy a battery pack for my flash, increasing my recycle time between shots. I wasn’t sure how fast the students would be called up to receive their diplomas.

When I arrived I met with the lady that had hired me for the job. She was very nice and seemed to be laid back and not to worried about the days event. This eased my nerves a little, because I was a bit nervous about how I was going to have to shoot this huge day for the graduating students.

The big event was going to take place in a big tent outside Bard Hall. The weather was sunny and a little cool, but at least it wasn’t raining or snowing.


Inside the tent was pretty dark and out side was very bright giving me a challenging day of shooting. So I popped a flash on my Canon 7D and set it to manual mode. I took a meter reading of the bright sun outside of the tent and then used the flash to fill in the front of the students.


A fellow photographer was shooting next to me in another tent, I went over and talked to him about how he was dealing with the conditions. He had a big flash on a stand shooting straight up bouncing off the tent onto the stage. He also didn’t have the bright sun behind him, he was lucky enough to have a wall behind the stage. After seeing his setup I thought about setting up my stand with a flash on it but, I didn’t think I had enough power to over power the sun.

I went with speed lights on both of my cameras. On my 7D I had my 70-200 2.8 lens, and a 24-75 on my 50D. This setup gave me a good range to shoot all kinds of shots throughout the day.


After all of the diplomas where handed out we went out side for some group shots. This proved to be a challenge as well with the sun beating down making shadows and blown out highlights.

I moved the students to a partly shaded area for the big group shot. We packed everybody in trying to get them close for a nice shot. As I was getting them together the parents where crowding around not allowing me to get back far enough to get everybody in the shot. So I had to ask them to step back so I could get the shot. After that was finished I continued to shoot some small groups which was much easier to shoot. The only problem that I had was the big bright white diplomas acting light bounce cards in the midday sun.

This was a good experience for me and I’m glad it worked out good for me and the students. I learned that you must be ready for every kind of condition and be able to make changes to overcome those curveballs.

The Canon G15

Posted: May 25, 2013 in Photography
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About a month ago I went out and purchased a new Canon G15 Point n shoot camera. I needed to replace my much loved G12 that had a chip in the front glass.

This 12.1 MP camera has a 5x optical zoom and uses the DIGIC 5 image processor. This camera is a little smaller than the G12, and feels better in my hands as well. I miss the swivel LCD screen on the back, but other than that I love this camera.

I take it with me everywhere I go, hoping to see something that would make a great image to add to my collection. Lately I have been using it on my Barn Scapes project. It is much easier having this with me than my Canon 7D, or 50D. Each of the images that I have taken with the G15 have been fabulous image quality.

I shoot RAW in both manual and AV modes. The controls are pretty easy to access using canons menu system. The pop up flash is decent in a pinch, and the view finder is a little small but you can zoom while looking through it.

Canon put some of their fun filter modes on this gem which are fun to use when trying to be creative on social networks, like Toy camera, Miniature effect, Fish Eye, Nostalgic mode (which I love), you can adjust the saturation and go from blk n white to a faded washed out look.


Last weekend my son Cruz and I where shooting some Flat Track Motorcycle Racing at Square Deal Riders. I handed Cruz the G15 to shoot some video of the nights main events. I cut the handle part off a old mono and screwed it the the bottom of the camera for shooting video. The main events started after the sunset. This was going to be a good test for the little point and shoot. Cruz shot the first main from the infield in full 1080 HD. The focus got lost a couple times, but when he figured it out I think it was very good in the low light. The second main he shot from out side of turn four and it worked great as the bike flew by down the front stretch.

So far I really love this Camera, the size is great and the quality of the images are very good as well. I recommend that it to anybody that is looking for a nice carry around camera.

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