The coldest walk of 2015

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Thought it’s a good idea to start reminiscing about the great winter weather we’ve been having this year. This way when winter strikes again I’ll be in a good mood.

This one is the coldest shot I’ve taken. It really goes to show how great the Sony A7R is working in these conditions. This is regularly a popular spot for joggers and people looking to take a nice walk by the canal. But this day the weather was -25 °C ADD in the swift WIND on top of that! Needless to say the two minutes it took to get to this part of the park from the car was a long and tedious one. The only parts of me exposed to the weather where my cheeks and nostrils and boy did they feel it. Like that stubborn kid that doesn’t listen to advice and got his tongue stuck on a frozen pole.

So here is the final result. It’s a vertical panorama.

Coldest day in Canada

Taking a portrait of Montreal

Best sunset of the year

Well I was sure glad to have found my way towards the old port for this amazing sky. Finally the conditions where perfect especially for a shoot in Montreal where only a week ago I missed out on another spectacular sunset.

Zeis 55mm f/1.8 fastest lens ever!

At least that I’ve ever owned. I was looking to take pictures of the city and sometimes the wide angle just doesn’t cut it. You want to zoom in and for that I’ve found to work perfectly is the 55mm portrait lens. The amount of detail and sharpness it can capture is something I’ve never seen before.

How to get the most out of the lens

Coupled with the Sony A7R you’ll get the best of both worlds. Here’s a trick to get the details you want. Keep the aperture at the highest (f/1.8) and use focus peaking (built in the Sony A7R just change to manual focus) this way you can have the focus at the maximum exactly where you want. Afterwards just move the aperture to a lower value (usually between f/10-22 for cityscapes). This ensures you will get the sharpest possible image at longer exposures.

best sunset in montreal

Testing limits, saying goodbye

Crop-frame for Performance shows?

Up until now I’ve been shooting all the photos you see here on my trusty Nikon d5100 with the kit lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 that came with it. That’s all I’ve ever needed to create everything you see in the galleries before you. Well I’ve figured I’d give it a test for the JFL Sister Act show and see how things turn out.

What I’ve learned

Shooting interiors is a whole different ballgame where frame speed and ISO sensitivity is the most important factor. You can still get good results but you need to keep your ISO at the highest you are comfortable with until too much noise takes over. In my case I went up to 1250 and that would be with a lot of post ei: smoothing of the skin etc. You will get best results when the performers are still, especially if you plan on combining exposures into HDR. If you are going to combine to HDR, the trick is to find a frame that has no ghosting, tone map it and blend it on top with Photoshop.

Just for laughs Sister Act

Old photo of Old Montreal revised

Double tone map action

As the title implies, you first process a 3 exposure tone map image as you would normally do for an HDR. Then you would process it again. To do this prior to version 5 of photomatix you would need to just press tone map again after processing the image. Now with the new version there is a button for that “Double tone map”. This brings out greater textures and makes it look a bit surreal. I would advice using it lightly and only on architectural/heavy textured shots.

Old Montreal in the rain

Here is one of my first photos when I just began taking photos about 2 years ago. It was a rainy day and I was excited to take pictures with my new camera and see how they develop in this weather. Turns out HDR works quite well, giving the type of textures and mood that I was looking for.

Fast track about 1 year later and I just had to see what it would look like given the techniques that I know now.

old montreal hdr

The dreadful wait of the train crossing

I originally stopped by the tracks hoping to catch the light trails from the passing trains in Montreal-West. One of the only places where that almost aligns perfectly West towards the sunset. As I made my way towards the station and started taking pictures, I was greeted by a security guard. He informed me that is a place where you are not allowed to take photographs. A little silly as you can just take out your cell phone and do it. But he was cool about it and let me take a few more shots. As I made my way towards the edge to where the street crossing was, the rails went down and so I turned around to shoot a couple of shots of the people stranded in between as the train was passing by.

Long exposure limited print

Striking news!

Good news! I’ve finally got around to updating the website and adding new functionality. You can now purchase any print listed online!

Here is the latest addition to the landscape page:

striking lighthouse