Little league, baseball game pictures.

My little one decided to try baseball to see how he liked it. So far so good. He enjoys the game and training up to now and seems to be a happy camper.

Here are some pictures of his first game. He was really happy when he hit the ball and run the bases.

One of the many joys of being a parent.

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Engagement Pictures

Two weeks ago I met with Lexy and Aaron to shoot their engagement pictures. They are an awesome young couple with a fantastic future. The place they picked for the shoot was terrific, and although time was limited we had a great time taking the pictures.

Thanks for the opportunity.

Alex Elias

Photo of the day. Pumpkin patch family pictures.

We just went to a fantastic pumpkin patch. Lombardi ranch, located in the Santa Clarita CA area. The place is huge and full of activities for the kids and parents with cameras like me.

My only problem was getting there late by about one hour. As I was parking the car I was seeing the beautiful sun rays hiding behind the hills, my golden hour was disappearing right before my eyes before I was ready. I did carry a few lights and a stand, although not remotely close to the real deal I put 1/2 cut CTO on the flash  (orange color gel) plus set my withe balance to cloudy to help warm up the ambient a bit.

The equipment I took with me was a Canon 7D  with a Canon EF-S 10-22 and Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L 2 Canon 580EX flashes with Pocket wizards Flex TT5 and Mini TT1 with the AC3 zone controller, one stand, my tripod for the family portrait (don’t trust people any more not crop my head or feet any more) and a remote shutter release.

Thanks for stopping by.

Regards

Alex Elias

Las Vegas trip. Photo tips and equipment selection. Part one.

I recently went to las Vegas with the family. We spent most of the Saturday walking around the strip and visiting some casinos. For that Saturday I loaded a Lowepro slingshot 300AW with a Canon 7D, Canon BG-E7 battery grip and 3 lenses. Canon Ef-s 10-22  Canon Ef 24-70 f 2.8 L and Canon 70-200 f 2.8 is L I also took a Canon 580 EXII for fill light, a Manfrotto 2021 tripod with a Manfrotto 498RC4 ball head. Last but not least a circular polarizer, spare batteries and memory cards.

Lens selection

There is always two sides of a story. If you are looking for the best image quality you will take primes with you. If you don’t want to be changing lenses too often or don’t like zooming in and out via your legs then a zoom will be the ticket. I had coverage from 10 to 200mm between the three lenses I took. If you wonder what one or two lenses are most suitable/ useful for a day like this the answer of course will be;  it depends on your style. The Canon ef-s 10-22mm is a very good and fun lens to have but too short to be the primary lens. The Canon ef 70-200 f 2.8 is L is a fantastic lens, the one thing though, is that after hours of holding that rig around it becomes pretty heavy. The image quality is fantastic, it gives nice images from the distance and some great close ups and tight portraits. The Canon ef 24-70 f2.8 L  had the most useful range for a walk around lens.

From that day kept 370 pictures and here is some data I pulled from those images.

Out of the 370 pictures 324 were taken with the Canon ef 24-70 f2.8 L 26 pictures with the Canon Ef-s 10-22  and 20 pictures with the Canon ef 70-200 f2.8 is L. The one thing to note is that some times I get lazy and I don’t swap lenses when I think I should. To help prove my point here is a bit more data. From the 324 images I got from the Canon ef 24-70 f2.8 L 89 of them were at 24mm and 57 at 70mm, nearly half the pictures taken with that lens were taken at either end. Based on my experience, if I can only carry one lens (from what I own), the Canon ef 24-70 f 2.8L would be the one. One other lens to consider, is the Canon ef 24-105 f4 is L but it seems like that would be a fantastic lens to own for something like this. Now If you are going to shoot prime lenses only, my first choice would be a 24mm second choice a 35mm and third choice a 50mm.

Shooting Mode

Shooting in manual mode always gives you the most control and creativity, at the expense of loosing great pictures along the way while playing with the settings. I enjoy shooting in manual mode as much as possible, but when walking around  in a place that exposures changes every step of the way I rather switch to a mode like AV, or TV and let the camera do the heavy lifting for me. In this case AV was my choice for 80% of the day; whenever it made sense to choose manual I did.

Exposure compensation

This is a feature of the camera a lot of people either don’t know what it is, or do know why they should use it to begin with. To me, this is the one function of the camera that let the user set an automatic mode such AV or TV and still be creative and have control over what the camera is doing.

The main reason reason why this should be use more often, is due to how the camera’s meter is design to work. Without getting into lengthy explanations of a meter system, cameras are set to see the world as neutral grey, AKA 18% gray. Therefore if you take a picture of a white wall, the camera will assume that the wall is meant to be gray and will shorten the exposure “underexpose” to make the wall grey. The exact opposite will occur if you take a picture of a black wall. The camera will give you a longer than needed exposure (overexpose) to make the black wall gray.

Once this concept is grasp, that is when one begins to use exposure compensation all the time, to complete the creative process. Go out there and set the camera to AV , choose an f stop that suits your subject; Do you want a nice portrait with a blurry background? Open up the lens all the way. Is it the place a bit dark because your subject is on the shade? Use a higher ISO. Once the camera have 2 of the 3 variables “in this case an f stop and ISO” the third value is chosen by the camera, in this case the shutter speed.But… What would happen to your portrait if a good portion of the frame is going to be a bright blue sky? Well, chances are the camera will expose that sky properly leaving you with the portrait of a lovely black silhouette. If that is what one was looking for, then great, but if you were not going for the silhouette effect that was when you needed to overexpose via exposure compensation to have a proper reading of your main subject. In a nutshell this is how you can use some semiautomatic setting but still have control over what is going on as supposed of the camera doing all the thinking for you.

Thanks for stopping by.

I welcome, questions, comment and critiques.

Here are some random images I got from that day.

Outdoor Family portraits

I haven’t posted for a while. Life has kept me busy with good things plus I was practicing a bit on my procrastination.

Here are some pictures I just I took at the park. I could not have asked for a better day and and nicer family to work with, the kids were awesome and everything went just right.

The equipment I used:

Camera was a  Canon 7D. The main lens was a Canon EF 24-70 2.8L  follow by Canon EF 70-200 2.8  IS L  and I took a few using a Canon EF-S 10-22 . As far as lighting I took two Canon Speedlite a 580EX II and 430 EXII with 1/4 CTO on each one 1 2×2 loastolite Easybox  and a 5’x3′ reflector/difuser. The flashes were triggered with one Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and an AC3 controller and 2 Flex TT5. Using the AC3 controller is nothing short of great, I had one light in group A the other one in group B and controlled each one at will from power up and down to turning on and off or go from E-TTl to manual. They are pricey but they are great.

 

Outdoor Portraits.

Recently I went to visit my family and the place where they live features a great outdoor fireplace. Focal points like this make up for a great backdrop so I took my lights and shoot some pictures.

The camera was a Canon 7D outfited with a Canon EF 24-70 2.8L I used a Travelite 750 with a 36×48 Photoflex softbox to the right of the  people as the main light source, as a fill light I used a second Travelite 750 fitted with a shoot through umbrella to the left of the camera, the lights were triggered by a Pocket Wizard Mini and 2 Flex TT5. The ratio between the lights was about 1:3.

Kids playing with leafs.

The other day I was about to mow the lawn and noticed all the beautiful leafs laying arround. The light was awesome it was hitting pretty low and it had a nice warmth to it making those leafs glow.  That was a great excuse to postpone my duties and pick up the camera and have some fun.

I use the Canon 7D along with the Canon EF 24-70 L 2.8 here I also use a Canon 580EX II with a 1/2 CTO gell and triggered it using the Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 and a Mini TT1. I was going to use my Lastolite 2×2 but the wind did not agree with my idea and I had to take it down so I use the bare flash on the stand.

As usual my son does not make taking nice, cute pictures easy; he makes me work for the pictures. like most 2 yrs old I have to chase him all over and every time he sees me pointing the lens at hims he stops doing what he is doing or turns arround.

Here are a few pictures of that afternoon.