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The T3sk3y Defenestrator

A Tale of Two Cameras

As many of you have seen on Twitter, I was the lucky recipient of a much-heralded Canon 5D Mark II for Christmas. The reviews of this camera have been righteously positive – with a couple of cautionary tales around some early firmware problems. Since I’ve been nothing but happy with my 40D since I got it a year ago – I wanted to do a stress test to see if the 5D lives up to the hype.

This is really unscientific. I’m not using a tripod. Heck, I even shot the pictures a day apart. It’s also not fair – the 5D Mk II is about double the cost of the 40D. But, is it 2x better?

For the test, I set both the 5D Mk II and the 40D to ISO3200. On the 40D, I had to enable a custom function to get 3200 (shown as ‘H’ on the LCD). In both shots, I used Canon’s superb 24-105L lens. Here are my results:

Canon 5D Mk II @ ISO 3200

Canon 5D Mk II @ ISO 3200

Canon 40D @ ISO 3200

Canon 40D @ ISO 3200

Exif info:

5D Mk II version: Canon 24-105mm @ 105mm, ISO 3200, f/4.0, 1/80 sec

40D version: Canon 24-105mm @ 58mm, ISO3200, f/4.0, 1/125 sec

Clicking on either picture will open up the original (note: careful, they are BIG – especially the 21.1 megapixel 5D image!).

My impressions?  Wow, is 3200 good on the 5D Mark II.  I’d totally use that shot. It’s clearly better than the image taken with the 40D. The 40D image shows a lot of noise in the red portion above the Christmas balls. The balls themselves look ‘crispy’, as does the ironwork on the 40D shot. I gotta say though – the 40D shot looks way better than I would have guessed.

I also printed each @ 4×6 with my Canon i9900. The shot from the 5D Mk. II is noise free and looks great – very vibrant and lifelike. The shot from the 40D looks very noisy, even in print.

Conclusion? At least in terms of low light performance – the 5D delivers. I’ll be looking forward to finding out what else it can do.

T3 Imagery is up and running

I’m happy to announce another site that I’m starting – T3 Imagery ( Up until now, this site has been the place where I posted cool pictures. I really wanted a site that could serve as an online portfolio of my photography so that people that are only interested in that don’t have to wade through my other nerdy adventures.

The idea is this – it’s going to take the old “A picture is worth 1000 words” adage to heart.  It’s about the image, the story behind it, and way it was made. There will probably never be more than a couple of quick sentences each day, text isn’t the point.

Here is the way it will work. I’m going to post one picture per day posted at 8 PM. It’s only going to be my favorite stuff – landscapes, portraits, travel shots, whatever. It’s something that catches my eye or something I want to share with all of you. The front page will only show one shot – but you can navigate to see the archives on the left side of the page or by the arrows on the bottom.

So – if you don’t mind – please check each night after 8. Better yet – set up a reader to get the RSS feed (available on the home page) to get the daily post delivered to you automatically. And, if you forget how to get there – I’ve created a link on the right side of this page. Check it out – and while you are at it, please check out some of my friend’s sites.

One last pair of teasers – and an explanation

Dan and Jacqie

Dan and Jacqie

Wow, it takes a long time to sift through 800+ images. Last weekend, I had the blessing to attend my sister’s wedding in La Jolla, California. I had a new role this time – a wedding photographer. My sister Jacqie hired an actual pro to shoot the wedding – and she managed to get me signed on as her 2nd shooter. My “job” was to shadow Lisa (the photographer) and get shots from different angles / styles / etc.

Upon this rock

Upon this rock

This will be my last teaser post until I have them ready to go. Since there are about 500 that survived the 1st cut – it may be a while. I’d like to send a big thanks to Lisa and JLee for letting me tag along with them on Saturday. I’ve added the links to the two incredible artists (Elle G Photography and JLee Imagery) to my photography link list on the right.

Because I know everyone is going to be checking..

.. I’m going to give up just one teaser:

The Bride

The Bride

Fall Photo Walk

Peaceful Backwaters

Peaceful Backwaters

Last Friday, a group of co-workers and I went for a photo walk along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis over our lunch break. We only work a few blocks from the river, so it’s a short hike to get there. It was an interesting collection of Canons & Nikons – and one guy going “old skool” with a medium format Mamiya.

Here is another of my favorite shots from the walk:

Becky Sue hard at work

Becky Sue hard at work

Here are the rest of the images over at my SmugMug site: Fall Photo Walk

The Big Picture

I love sites that don’t care if somebody downloads their high resolution pictures. Seeing an image bigger than 320×240 on the web is such a cool treat. My favorite two sites to see great high resolution pictures are and The Boston Globe’s “The Big Picture.

Their focus couldn’t really be different – The Big Picture concentrates on current photoessays, and Shorpy bills itself as “The 100-year-old photo site”.

Shorpy is neat because they show you a slice of life from the prior couple of centuries – scanned and posted on the web. It’s amazing to me how clear the photos are considering the original was on glass plates or something equally ancient.

Here are the links for your enjoyment. Both sites are updated frequently.

What we do when Mommy is away..

The first thing that we do is practice our Karate:

William working on his Karate moves

William working on his Karate moves

Next, Elizabeth eats things that Mommy doesn’t let her eat.. like her fingers!

Mommy wont let me suck my thumb

Mommy won't let me suck my thumb

What mommy doesn’t know WON’T HURT HER!

Take that, Mommy!

Take that, Mommy!

But, don’t worry Mommy.. I’m keeping a good eye on my little sister.

William watching out for his little sister

William watching out for his little sister

Hey daddy.. do you think you could do something about my hair before starting to play in the studio?

See the rest of my daddy’s pictures at his SmugMug site: Studio Light Practice pictures

Three Days with Jon Cornforth – Part Four

(Note: This is a long overdue travelogue wrap-up from my landscape photograph seminar with Jon Cornforth back in April, 2008. Details fade over time.. but I’ll do my best!)

The last day of our trip started just as the others did – very early. Ross and I rolled out of our beds in the cabin and met Jon for another attempt at sunrise pictures. Once again, the weather turned out to be too nice for interesting landscape shots. The sky was bright and clear with not a cloud in sight. Because of this, we stayed right on First Beach for the sunrise.

Okay, it wasnt really that dramatic.

Okay, it wasn't really that dramatic.

Amazingly, a small family of whales spent just about the entire morning frolicking in the surf only a hundred or so yards offshore. I think we spent the better part of a couple of hours watching them and trying to get a photograph with the ‘big glass’ (i.e. Ross’ 100-400 with the 1.4x extender attached).

Once we tired of that, we had some breakfast and reviewed our personal photographs with Jon. The feedback was great – I just wish I had brought more pictures along. I’m so reliant on online photos that I’m at a loss when I get point people at my SmugMug site.

We packed up the trailer late morning and started the long journey back to Seattle. Our plan was to stop at Hurricane Ridge on the way home and shoot the sunset above the cloud line. We got to Hurricane Ridge late afternoon and climbed up through a bunch of pea soup fog & clouds. At the top, we shot the next ridgeline while we waited for the sun to set.

Trees poking through near the top of Hurricane Ridge

Trees poking through near the top of Hurricane Ridge

Of course, the fabulous sunset shots weren’t to be. After climbing up a ten foot snowbank to get on to the glacier, we were shooed off by the ranger who informed us that they were closing the road BEFORE sunset.

We had some tasty fast food Mexican on the drive home and made it back to Seattle at around 10:30 PM. Ross and I said our goodbyes to Jon and checked in to our hotel for the early flight home the next day.

To wrap all this up, I’ve got a few final thoughts and impressions.

What was my biggest takeaway from the trip? Undoubtedly, it was an appreciation of the process that professional landscape photographers undergo to capture great images. The ‘how it’s done’ lesson was fantastic.

Would I do it again? Yep – look for some great pictures from “Cornforth Alaska Cruises” in the coming years.

How was Jon as a teacher? In my opinion – I thought he was great. He had a great mix of information, patience and feedback. If you are looking for a formal classroom experience, you may want to look elsewhere. Jon will take you out, get your boots muddy, get sand in your tripod, make you miss lots of sleep (and a few meals) – and come home with some great images.

Favorite part of the trip? From a trip perspective, the first night at Second Beach is probably the most memorable. From a personal perspective – spending a weekend with a good friend and a new friend taking pictures was priceless.

Check out all of my pictures at SmugMug right here: Olympic National Forest 2008

Jon’s website and seminar information is here:

T3sk3y Studios is now open for business

With the arrival of a package from last week, T3sk3y Studios is officially open. My next great photographic adventure is to try a little DIY studio photography. Besides being a fun hobby – with two kids, it ought to be a money saver vs. paying for photos of each kid.

My setup includes:

Okay, the wireless triggers are a luxury – but they are a great addition. Add a receiver to each light, pop the transmitter in the hotshoe, and presto! Everything fires.

Adding the light meter makes it just about automagic. To get the right exposure – you take a reading right underneath your subject’s chin by clicking the light meter and hitting the test fire button on the transmitter. Then, it’s just a matter of entering the exposure and aperture into the camera in Manual mode and firing away.

How’d everything turn out? Mostly great. Check it out!

Elizabeths first photo sitting at T3sk3y Studios

Elizabeth's first photo sitting at T3sk3y Studios

It wasn’t all perfect.. I had the umbrellas a little too close and in reflector rather than shoot-through mode. This gave me funky umbrella-shaped specular highlights on her eyeballs (which I edited on the above picture).

So.. anybody want family pictures taken?

View from the Arboretum

Most people go to the U of M Landscape arboretum to take pictures of the flora. Not me!

It was their annual ice cream social last night – and we attended along with the Tufvanders and the Tjornhoms. Somewhere around when we finished our picnic dinners, a pretty gnarly looking squall line cruised overhead causing us to duck indoors for cover. Though it never actually rained on us – it did produce a fantastic rainbow and some cool skies at sunset.

If I were a real photographer, I would have scrambled to find the perfect landscape to frame the rainbow. As it was, I was busy being a real father soothing a little guy that fell and bonked himself. So, I had to settle for a ‘grab shot’ as we were loading strollers into the truck. I’m still happy with it..

A rainbow over the Landscape Arboretum

A rainbow over the Landscape Arboretum

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