Sunday, September 16, 2012

No Title

Yet! This painting was made on a large canvas at the Shambala Music Festival in BC this year by a bunch of people who were attending. Each adding their very own touch. Mundafar from We The Sheep People asked me to shoot it for it's upcoming sale to auction in order to raise money to buy food for the homeless. So for now it has no title but the piece is truly beautiful.

50% of the canvas

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

My almost new Sony A230 DSLR or how to shop for the right DSLR.

I was going to get a DSLR at some point, it was just a question of when and, most importantly, what. I had the chance to get my hands on a Canon 40D from my cousin as a loan for me to play with, I didn't like it. A bit surprising since I've owned a lot of Canon products and I'm very comfortable with their interface.
Sony A230 with Sigma AF 70-210mm lens
It turns out that the slow f/5.6 lens was not up to par for me and all the bells and whistles that come with it are not necessary for me. So back to square one and research. This is what I found out. The one thing you need to know before shopping for a DSLR is that there is roughly 2 types. The full frame camera that has a sensor the same size as a 35mm negative, hence "full frame". These go for thousands of dollars and are mostly used by pros. If you're not doing photography to earn a living or don't have wads of cash lying around, not really for you.

Taken with the Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens

One step down are the APS-C sensor DSLRs. In this category you have everything from the entry level camera to the semi-pro stuff. The bottom line is, they all have the same size sensor. So unless you like bells and whistles, the entry level camera should do the job the same as the expensive one.

Taken with the Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens

I looked around and decided on a Sony Alpha series for a few reasons. Every review mentioned they were simple to use. The camera comes with a stabilizer in the body, so you can use any lens and it will be stabilized. Also, all AF Minolta lenses are a direct fit on them, I have 2 of them lying around on the shelf.

Taken with the Sigma AF 70-210mm lens

A brand new Sony Alpha is around $600 with tax around here so I decided to shop on Kijiji for an older low use model. I found the A230 for $300 with only 1200 shots taken and it was in pristine condition. I took a few shots with the 18-55mm lens that came with it and quickly tossed it. The fast Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens is just amazing and my Sigma AF 70-210mm does a fantastic job. Confirmation of the saying that if you spend bucks, spend it on lenses. The interface is simple to use. It took me less than 24 hours to get proficient and getting amazing shots on the first day. The only bad note about this camera for me, is the Sony specific flash hotshoe but there's a way around that.

Taken with the Sigma AF 70-210mm lens
So that was my experience for shopping a DSLR, hope it helps someone out there in their quest. I've taken my art to the next level.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Montreal Evening in picture with a $5 Ricoh FF-70 point and shoot

Film point and shoot cameras are plenty and inexpensive. Case in point this Ricoh FF-70 with integrated flash and automatic everything. Bought at a thrift store for the bargain basement price of $5, it came with the original sales receipt dated August 1986 in its case, $257!

I've been having a hard time taking photos during the evening in the City with my Canon G12. Any type of movement made the images overly blurry, high ISO setting left too much noise in the image and the black and white result isn't that great. I prefer black and white in the evening since street lights do not bring out nice colours. Film for me is the way to go for crisp black and white pictures.

Candles and flowers left on the grounds where Denis Blanchette a 48 year old sound technician and Father , fell. A lot of time was spent in Gimp to have this image in a usable way.
I was heading to the Metropolis on Ste-Catherine on the evening of September 5th in order to document and participate in a vigil organized to commemorate the shooting death of an innocent by-stander. The evening prior while our new Prime Minister elect made her acceptance speech, a maniac tried to get in the theatre to go on what appeared to be a shooting rampage. He was quickly arrested by Montreal Police but he had already killed one and wounded another. This kind of thing never happens here.

I decided to use the Ricoh since it was easy enough to use and I figured I would manage to get shots like they use too back in the day with the integrated flash. I used Kodak Professional 400TX 400 ISO film for the job and I am quite pleased with the results. All of the shots you'll see were done hand held. The Ricoh is great for jamming it flat on your face and remains pretty stable while the shutter opens.

Local TVA news crew setting up across from Metropolis. Flash used.

Metropolis Theatre on Sainte-Catherine in Montreal.

CBC Radio reporter doing an interview. Flash used.

People gathered in front of the Metropolis.

People hold hands while observing a minute of silence for the victims.

The rest of the evening was spent going around Sainte-Catherine trying to find the light and picture opportunities. I was lucky to find a few decent shots.

Bumming for change with a dog and a nice looking fixie bike.

Shish Taouk place on Sainte-Catherine.

Nice Lady who volunteered to pose for me. Flash was used.

Original Archambault music store

Sainte-Catherine and Berri.

Berri-Uquam Metro station

Graffiti from the Under Pressure festival. Flash was used.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Canadian Armed Forces week end in the Old Port of Montreal

This week end in the Old Port the Armed Forces organized an event to showcase some of what they do. They also had on hand re-enactors from WW2 with a working canon and a group of 18th Century French troops. The boys and girls from the Royal Canadian Navy were also offering rides in their zodiac boats in the harbour, lots of fun.

I took the featured shots with my Canon G12 for color and the black and white shots were done on film using a Yashica FX-D with Fuji Acros 100 iso.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)