This winter is something special. Not only does it take it’s toll on all us Canadians but some of the states have been feeling the sting as well. With record breaking snow falls in Boston to covering the desert sands of Texas. What we can be sure of is how the weather can be unpredictable.
Not all Bad
Not to despair, the winter brings in unique opportunities to the city landscapes allowing us to capture some of the marvelous scenery around Montreal and especially the old district. Here is my take on the overshot Basilica by winter night.
This bridge is used by many to wonder into one of the few parks we have by the Lasalle waters. I usually prefer to go out shooting during the golden hour as the low sun creates some very nice colors. This time I went at noon when the light was at the strongest, the bane of photographers. The sky was full of clouds and the sun peaking out every now and then made for some great conditions to do a long exposure capture.
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.
This day I decided to go out to the old port for some day time long exposure tests with my brand new B&W 10 stop filter which I almost lost. More on what happens to it bellow.
Sometimes you’re at the right place, at the right time.
My first stop was in front of the Bonsecours marketplace since the weather was pretty interesting with the dark clouds forming overhead. As I’m passing on the sidewalk to my next angle, I notice a nice horse carriage heading my way. I had mere seconds to prepare and frame the shot before the horse could arrive. Happy to have been able to capture it!
Luck runs out
Next stop, the Clock Tower. One of the worlds most beautiful clock towers according to CNN. I do a couple of shots while being crammed between passing tourists and as I finish my last shot and raise my camera to walk away, low and behold the brand new ND filter decides to fall off the lens hood, through the prison bars and down the ledge of the clock tower where it is pretty much unreachable. After several failed attempts to get it with my tripod.. there was only one way to get it back. Needless to say as you can see from the new pics, I have it back now.
Sony A7R initial impression
It was hard to say goodbye to my first DSLR as it has served me very well in all aspects but it was time for a full frame. In comes the Sony A7R. Things that jump out right away, are picture quality and MP size thanks in no small part to the 36.3mm sensor it sports in a smaller body than just about all full frames. Since the sensor is basically the same one used for the d800 at almost half the price, it was a no brainer. It feels like the first time I got my DSLR as I’m going through the process of learning and testing new grounds.
A bit of flavor
It’s a nice stark contrast noticing the hot Havana Club bottle on the shores of an otherwise cold skyline. Also puts into perspective the need for a real beach in Montreal where people can have a good time without worrying what they can catch from the water.