BL Blog

Posts by: Sohail

Playing With Canon’s New Big Guns

Gear Talk

Canon’s 1Dx and 600mm f/4L IS II lens have been two of the most sought after (and repeatedly delayed) items in their inventory for the past year or so. Now, Canon is finally shipping them with some regularity, and we took this opportunity to put this new combo through its paces.

I love photographing birds. A few years ago, I started with a Canon 100-400mm lens and a Rebel XTi, and shot from the comfort of my car. Eventually, I moved up to a Canon 1D Mark IV and a 600mm f/4, or a 500mm f/4 lens.

The 1D MKIV/600mm combo became a favorite, and I managed to capture some really cool images with it that are part of my Natural History portfolio.

Humingbird shot with a 1D Mark IV and the Mark I 600mm lens

Humingbird shot with a 1D Mark IV and the Mark I 600mm lens

Of course, since then, Canon has introduced its successor to the 1D MKIV and the 600mm f/4. The 1Dx takes over where the 1D MKIV left off, introducing a bigger sensor and better high-ISO performance, among other things, whereas the new 600mm Mark II comes in at slightly shorter and much lighter than its predecessor.

I took this combo out for a spin to see if it would match up to my old favorites. As with my previous reviews, I focus more on the shooting experience out in the field, rather than lab tests and results. (more…)

The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus

Gear Talk

Part I of the Leica Diary can be found here. Part II can be found here.

Zone focus.

Those are the two key words you need to know about focusing with a Leica. If you’ve used a rangefinder before, you already know this; if you haven’t, then read on.

Leica cameras don’t focus like the DSLRs, ILC (Interchangeable Lens Compacts like the Olympus E-P2), or point-and-shoot digitals that we’re all used to. For one, Leica lenses are all manual-focus lenses. For another, unlike most other digital cameras today, you’re not focusing through the lens (TTL). You’re actually using a separate viewfinder to do the framing and focusing for you.  (more…)

Cool Stuff – Week of August 24, 2012

Cool Stuff
8X10 Impossible Project test by Tim Mantaoni.

8X10 Impossible Project test by Tim Mantaoni.

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

And now, for the BorrowLenses.com rundown!

Loads of news to share here as well – new locations, new specials, and new gear.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Notable Storytellers – Sara Lando

Photographers
Sara Lando Self Portrait

Sara Lando Self Portrait

Welcome to Notable Storytellers, a feature where we point you to some of the best visual storytellers around, from photographers and videographers to VFX and graphic artists.

Sara Lando is an Italian photographer who first came to my attention through her work on David Hobby’s Strobist blog. An occasional contributor there, Sara is a commercial photographer based in Milan, Italy.

I devour Strobist.com with regularity, and remember seeing Sara introduced as the European correspondent last year. I also remember reading an article by her on photographer Christoph Martin Schmidt.

Her recent series of articles, however, weren’t about another photographer, or even a technique – not necessarily, anyway. These were more of an “approach philosophy” piece. I quote David Hobby:

Picture a tiny Italian woman gesturing continuously as she uncorks a full brain dump (from a very, very creative mind) on all of the little things that many people never think of when photographing others. As I was listening I kept thinking, “Someone should be writing this stuff down RIGHT NOW.

I read the article. Then read it again. It was, I realized, pretty damn good. And insightful. (more…)

The Leica Diary, Part II – Coming To Grips

Gear Talk

In this part of the Leica Diary, I explore the M9′s body and features, and struggle to come to grips with using the photographic equivalent of a 1970′s Porsche 911.

Cool Stuff – Week of August 13, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Flashing Above San Francisco

Photographers

Every so often, we get to talk about our friends, whether they’re doing something awesome in front of a lens, or behind the camera. This time around, it’s both.

Alex Huff by Syl Arena. Image Courtesy and Copyright Syl Arena.

Alex Huff by Syl Arena. Image Courtesy and Copyright Syl Arena.

One of our favorite all-round good guys and awesome photographers, Syl Arena, swung through San Francisco a while back and hung out with our very own Alex Huff. Alex has an awesome (yeah, I’m jealous) view of San Francisco from her balcony, and Syl used the opportunity to do a shoot with the new Canon 600EX-RT flashes and the ST-E3 transmitter.

Using the 600EX-RT, Syl balanced the ambient light with flash, resulting in a very cool image. The complete writeup, with breakdown and before/after shots, is on Syl’s blog.

Syl also has a piece up about a personal project he did recently, called “The Faces of American Coal.” It’s one of those deeply personal series of images that will resonate with you. They’re up close, intense, and searching.

Of course, Syl being the consumate teacher, has also broken down his process for taking the images too, so we get the added bonus of seeing what goes into a project like this.

Maine-area folks, a quick heads-up: Syl will be at the Maine Media Workshops, presenting on Canon Speedlites from Aug 19-Aug 25. If you’re around and have never been to one of Syl’s workshops, they’re not to be missed. Head up there and learn about Canon Speedlites from a photographer who’s often cited as knowing as much about Canon Speedlites as many Canon engineers.