Vincent Laforet: The Cabbie

Vincent Laforet created this video with a Canon 7D as the first chapter in a series for the Canon video contest “The Story Beyond the Still.” Laforet was given a still image to interpret, and this video is his interpretation of that image.  The video ends with another still, which contestants for the second chapter had to then interpret and build upon.  The result is a story told by multiple filmmakers, each with their own style of cinematography, dialogue and film making.  Each chapter has different actors, but the actors look enough alike that it’s easy to tell which character is which.

The contest will have a total of six chapters, and with four of the chapters now completed I’m curious to see if the contestants will ultimately be able to tie the story together in a neat package, or if we’ll end up with an ending that does not do justice to Laforet’s alluring beginning.  With an impressive list of filmmakers on the judges’ panel, my hope is that they’ll be able to find an ending that will satisfy the viewers in both its storytelling and its cinematography.  The completed chapters are available here on Vimeo, along with the contest details.  Chapter 5 entries are due by June 10, but there’s still lots of time to complete an entry for the final chapter.

Happy First Year

Good Morning!

This past Tuesday was the one year anniversary for this blog, and it sure has changed in one year, as have I. I’ve managed to get the post count up, and I hope work up to posting almost every day.

I wanted to take this opportunity to mention some of the other things I’ve been up to lately. Since I got my new DSLR I’ve been posting new pictures on flickr almost every day. I’ve finished my first photography class and am looking forward to getting the negatives scanned and posted, and to starting my second class this winter. The bikes are in for the winter but I’ll be trying out some spin classes in my area, so I might have a bit to report on that. Jim’s been painting, and you can see his stuff in his flickrstream.

November is the cloudiest month here in Minneapolis, and with the short days it feels as if we go from night to gloomy gray skies and back to night over and over without any real daylight at all. December has the shortest days but at least it’s a bit sunnier. So I’ll be looking for indoor activities to blog about, at least between now and Thanksgiving. Thanks for visiting and stay tuned!

My New Toy

Is that a new toy?

Yesterday afternoon I finally went out and got a new Canon EOS 50D. I decided to go with the kit EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens as it was only an additional $200 (the lens sells on it’s own for around $450), and I could use an updated zoom. The lens is heavy, but the pictures so far have been decent, and the image stabilization is nice.

I don’t have much of a review for the 50D at this point, other than to say it dances circles around my SD1000 point and shoot. I’m still learning how to use it, and there’s a lot to learn. If you’d like to read a good technical review, Popular Photography has done a great write up in the November issue. If you’re more interested in my personal experience with it, post a question or check back here once I’ve gotten a few more shots under my belt.

So far I’ve played a bit with higher ISO and have gotten decent shots with relatively low noise up to ISO 1600. I’m gaining familiarity with the manual shooting settings and while the aperture adjustment seems a bit counter intuitive at first I’m adjusting to it. I’m really happy with the LCD screen – it’s amazingly crisp and clear. Tomorrow I’m going to shoot a bit more in bright light and take a look at some low ISO shots, and play a bit more with the settings. Maybe I’ll try out shooting in RAW. You can see the shots I’m taking in my flickrstream. I’m going to try to post a little something every day.

Canon 50D, I’m in love!

It’s official. After reading a few reviews of the new technology and beta versions of the Canon EOS 50D, I’m in love!  There are no production product hands-on reviews yet as the camera won’t be available until next month, but the reviews I found of beta versions and the professional assessments of the improvements Canon is making over the 40D really do have me sold.  I also checked out a few sites that gave image samples comparing Canon to other camera brands and I’m sold on the image quality and native color of the Canon line.

My biggest concern about choosing the 50D as my next camera was the weight.  At around 25 ounces the camera is pretty hefty.  BUT, it’s lighter than the 40D, and the articles I’ve read really indicate that for this level of camera this is the general weight class.  I thought a lot about going with an advanced compact like the new Canon G10, but a number of articles state that the sensor just can’t handle higher ISO.  Since I don’t ALWAYS shoot outside in bright light (who does?) I’d rather go with a camera that can handle the full range, and from what I’m reading, the 50D will be that camera.  So yeah, I will have to lug around a pound and a half of camera around if I want great shots.  I’ll accept that.

My other concern was that the 50D was only one step down from the 5D, which is a professional level full-frame sensor camera.  Maybe it wasn’t really worth the money and I should get something more entry-level and then upgrade to a 5D later?  But the last review I read from CNet’s Underexposed blog pointed out that the body of the 5D is twice the price!  I knew that, but I really didn’t think about it like that.  And the review also pointed out the exceptional quality of the 50D, which made me feel very comfortable in the value.  It may be a long time before I’m at the level where I require a 5D, and with a price tag of almost $3000 for the body, I better NEED it!

All that said, I’d love to find a great deal on the 50D.  So I did a little search, and found that Prestige Camera is selling the 50D for just under $1000.  This is the presale price, so maybe they’re giving a discount because the camera’s not out yet?  I thought maybe I’d find it for $100 off, but this is a huge discount from the $1400 list price, and that makes me suspicious.  Is there something here for me to be concerned about?  I’ve got quite a while to look into it, as I probably won’t be getting the camera until Christmas anyway.  But wow, that’s a lot of camera at that price!

NOTE: I have removed the link to Prestige Camera as I’ve found out that many people have been scammed by them.  They are a “bait and switch” company and they sell gray market products.  Too bad for me, and for them, that they won’t be getting my business!