Waiting for a friend....
I can't help but think that the Moses basket is missing something! Thankfully Sandra is due to give birth tomorrow. I'm very excited :)
Today I did the only thing that a worried father-to-be could do on such a day...I bought a new lens. 24-70 f/2.8 L. It's a little odd (it extends as the focal length decreases, which is the opposite of every other lens I've seen) but first impressions are very positive. At least I have an excuse this time - it's the ideal lens for taking pictures of the little one.
The picture on the right was taken with the lens...It has been de-saturated and cropped in Photoshop...And the vignetting has been added manually, thank god ;)
Vincent Laforet has released a stunning video recorded with the recently announced Canon 5D Mark II. This camera is now capable of recording true HD video (1920x1080 @ 33fps) and allows users to utilise their investment in Canon glass.
The 5D Mk II looks like an amazing piece of kit anyway (21MPs, 50 ISO), but the addition of HD video to the DSLR range at a quality that challenges $100k+ professional video cameras will make this camera a surefire hit.
Video is available to download here - it is worth pointing out that this video has been subject to no post-processing enhancement at all, it's raw. It is also down-scaled to 960x540, which is just a quarter of the full resolution. Details of the new 5D here.
I want one. In fact, I've just ordered one. Roll on November the 30th :)
Roast pepper, tomato and rocket salad
An impressive and easy to prepare salad
- 2x Romano Peppers
- 16x small, vine ripened tomatoes
- 2 handfuls of rocket
- 2 tables spoons of balsmamic vineger
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Small handful of parmesan shavings
Cut the peppers in half and remove all seeds. Lay the peppers on a tray, face up, and place 4 or so tomatoes inside each half of the pepper. Pour balsamic vinegar and olive oil into the peppers and a good grind of salt and pepper. Place into an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees F for 30 minutes, turning once after 15.
Place on a plate and top with the rocket and parmesan.
I’m going to have to learn not to borrow expensive camera equipment from friends and colleagues! So, I have a colleague who has a Canon 70-200 f/4 L lens – with the ‘L’ meaning that this lens falls into the serious end of the Canon lens range. He generously offered to let be borrow this lens out of the kindness of his heart (oh, and because he wanted to trial a 100mm macro in return, of course!).
I didn’t have much opportunity to use the lens in anger but a few test snaps quickly showed that this lens was indeed quality. At this point the purchase of a medium-zoom L class telephoto was inevitable, the only decision was which model (Canon make 4 different lenses at 70-200mm, 2 with / without Image Stabilisation and 2 f/2.8 and f/4.0). In the end I decided upon the f/2.8 IS enabled lens – I would only have regretted not buying the superior lens if I picked any of the other models!
The lens is an absolute monster – it is 20cm long, weighs 1.5kg and makes the 40D look like a lens cap! I’m yet to use it in anger properly (the complete lack of English summer has seen to that) but the few snaps that I've taken so far show great potential.
Tuna with Grapefruit Salsa and Pancooked Potatoes
This salsa is a homemade invention. It could hardly be called subtle, but it works well with the potatoes and tuna, I think....
- 2x Tuna Steaks
- Olive Oil
- Salt, Pepper
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- Handful of coriander, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, core removed, chopped
- Half a grapefruit, chopped
- Salt, pepper
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1.5 Teaspoons of Honey
- Optional: half a red chilli, chopped finely
Pan cooked potatoes:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 300g of washed potatoes, diced
- 75g shallots, cut into .5cm rings
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Salt, pepper
- Generous pinch of mixed herbs
First, make the salsa by mixing all of the ingredients in a big bowl. Allow the food to sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
Next, cook the potatoes: put olive oil in a large non-stick pan and add potatoes, shallots and salt pepper to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic & herbs and stir in then cook for a further 10 minutes until golden brown.
Finally, moisten tuna with olive oil season and leave to sit for 2 minutes. Cook on a preheated griddle until done (3 or 4 minutes per side should be sufficient).
Ooooh, new camera
I’ve owned a number of Canon camera’s over the years including the Powershot G2, Powershot G7, Ixus 70 and Powershot S80. I keep buying Canon because I appreciate the reliability and performance of the camera and think the price premium over other brands is worth it. That said, I have to keep buying new camera’s because I’m generally quite careless and end up dropping them / leaving them in pools of water on holiday!
I have been toying with getting a better camera for a while and borrowed a friends Nikon D200 for a weekend to try it out. The picture quality was so much better than the usual digital compact output - even though some of the digital compacts I own have delivered comparable resolution (megapixels). Common sense indicates that this is for two reasons:
1. For the same number of megapixels, larger sensors generally deliver better results than smaller sensors (explained here much better than I could!)
2. Even the ‘average’ kit lenses bundled with a DSLR are significantly better than the lens built-in to the compact camera. And you always have the option of adding better lenses over time.
Compacts and DSLRs are obviously meant for different scenarios and carry various trade-offs (portability, interchangeable lenses, sensor sensitivity, cost etc). I have every intention of keeping my Ixus 70 for “general portable use” since carrying a DSLR isn’t always welcomed.
The trial of the Nikon confirmed my desire for a DSLR but also confirmed that I didn’t like the Nikon model – it just felt “clunky” to my untrained eye. But this is probably due to my familiarity with Canon cameras in the past, I suspect. I started looking at the range of Canon DSLRs, specifically the 450D, 40D and 5D. The 450D has a spec similar to the 40D with a few minor spec-sheet differences. Having looked at and briefly played with both a shop thought the 40D felt much more solid and ergonomic. The 5D looks nice...But weighs in at around £1,500 including discount for the body only compared to a much more reasonable £600 for the 40D – with a £100 manufacturer rebate on top!
Anyway, this is a long ramble to state that I went for - and am loving - the 40D. It does a great job of hiding the complexities and nuances of photography for beginners whilst providing great accessibility to the advanced features for anyone willing to move away from fully automatic “point and click”.
My Flickr site contains some novice example images (here) taken with this great piece of kit. Now I've just got to remember to keep the damn thing away from water! :)