Monthly Archives: June 2012

Canon 70-300mm EF f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM – First Look

Posted by Caz on Friday, 29th June 2012

You may recall that I had been contemplating a change from my Canon 70-20mm EF f/4 L USM lens a few months ago. It’s main failings for me were insufficient focal length at the long end to justify carrying it around with my 24-105mm EF f/4 L IS USM and lack of Image Stabilisation which was a hindrance in low light situations.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Since then I’ve been thinking hard about a suitable alternative. Recently Canon’s 70-300mm EF f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM caught my attention. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to invest. I purchased a second hand model from Camera World in the West End, who also took my 70-200mm lens in part exchange, which helped my wallet somewhat!

I had not previously heard of the DO series – it contains a Diffractive Optical element that, according to Canon, “delivers compact size, low weight and superb image quality”. Sounds great! The DO is  designated by the green band around the front of the lens.

I have used it a few times since buying on 11th June. The weather has been rather appalling or I would have taken it out more!

This Is Utopia (Again)

This Is Utopia (Again)

I photographed Utopia during a dingy evening out at Heybridge Basin with the GNPC folks. The IS in the low light was a great help! This one nearly made it for Day #1627.

Yesterday I managed to cram in two photoshoots. I made these during the first, a family visit to RHS Hyde Hall:

Poppy Bokeh

Poppy Bokeh

Black Lily

Black Lily

I loved the soft background bokeh and clarity of the main details in both images.

During the evening I went to Maldon for another outing with the GNPC members. There was a Morris side practicing on the quay who proved to be fruitful photographic material:

Lady In Red (Paint)

Lady In Red (Paint)

Reflecting On The Evening

Reflecting On The Evening

The long focal length really helped to isolate them from their background and meant that I wasn’t trampled underfoot (or clog) to get the shot I wanted.

Sailing Barge Sailing By

Sailing Barge Sailing By

The evening light was very pleasant. I made this shot of the Thames Barge coming back to port with an evening excursion.

So, my first impressions are very positive. The size and weight of the lens is great (a mere 100mm long and 720g). The Image Stabilisation seems to work well, and I have no worries with the low-light performance. Certainly if I’m going anywhere and don’t want to lug the 100-4oomm zoom about with me, this makes a great alternative.

Now We Are Six *

Posted by Caz on Friday, 22nd June 2012
Gaudí′s Soldiers III

Gaudí′s Soldiers III

Gaudí′s Soldiers I

Gaudí′s Soldiers I

Well, it hardly seems possible but my photo blog is Six years old today!

Happy Birthday Blog!

My very first post was quite a short affair, talking about my a trip to Barcelona I had just taken. I tend to write a bit more now, it’s interesting to see how the style has changed over the last six years.

Originally the photographic posts were in amongst my main geek blog, but I soon realised I had two distinct audiences and so started the photo blog seperately. It’s lived at several different addresses too, but finally settled at cazphoto.co.uk sometime in 2008, when I moved the archive permanently here.

Here’s to a dozen!

* with apologies to A A Milne…

Paris All Nighter 2012

Posted by Caz on Monday, 4th June 2012
Assis sous la tente grande

Assis sous la tente grande

I have heard of the London Flickr Meetup group’s trips to Paris for overnight shoots, but had always missed them in the past. However, this year, I decided to sign up. And so on Saturday afternoon I found myself on the Eurostar with 12 other Flickrites, heading for the French capital. The weather forecast was dry until after midnight, but promised a huge thunderstorm during the early hours – not what you want for a night of walking the Parisian streets!

Éclairé

Éclairé

Our first stop was La Défense, the modern end of the city on the outskirts, and part of the business district [see above]. It was supposed to be for sunset, but it was rather too cloudy for that. After a ride on the RER métro back into the centre of the city, we stopped at the Île des Cygnes to see the Statue of Liberty and get a good view towards the Eiffel Tower. This shot [left] nearly made it for Day #1615. But in the end, I went with something a little more conventional.

Le ruban visite de la Tour Eiffel

Le ruban visite de la Tour Eiffel

Then we walked to the tower itself and took a few pictures before the illuminations were switched off for the night. Getting hungry, our next stop was for pizza in the Champs-Elysées. On emerging, we realised the weather forecast was coming true, and trudged in the pouring rain up to the Arc de Triomphe, then back to the Trocadéro for a vantage point for sunrise at the Palais de Chaillot. Here, I wafted my lightsabre around for a bit while the rain let up briefly [see right], but it soon began to hammer down again. We realised there was no chance of seeing sunrise, so ran away to shelter under a bridge for a bit!

Jetons de l'amour sur le pont des Arts

Jetons de l'amour sur le pont des Arts

Several of the group then headed back to the Gare du Nord for their early train, but  five of us stayed on for more punishment. We managed to find some breakfast at Notre Dame (not easy early on a Sunday morning) and dry out a bit. Then we took a long stroll along the Seine to the Musee d’Orsay. On the way we saw the love tokens which had been attached to the Pont des Arts [see left]. Another long walk back via the Louvre brought us to our final stop.

Les trois singes de la sagesse

Les trois singes de la sagesse

I had not been to the Beauborg area and the Centre Pompidou since 1995, so it was good to return to see the colourful fountains and observe some street life. This shot [right] of three typical Parisians enjoying un café was a close contender for Day #1616‘s shot. They reminded me of the Three Wise Monkeys!

Then it was another walk to the Métro for the train back to Gare du Nord ourselves. No sooner had we sat down on the Eurostar for the return trip, than we were dozing – a much needed nap after nearly 30 hours awake.

London was busy on our return, with revellers from the Jubilee river pageant making their way home. Thankfully I got a seat on the train from Liverpool Street, or I might not have made it back in one piece!

It’s a pity the weather was so grotty for us, but it was still an enjoyable if very tiring event. I’m contemplating the London All-Nighter in a few weeks time – at least it won’t be as far to travel and if the weather forecast is iffy, it will be rather easier to bail out at short notice. We’ll see!

May ’12 Review

Posted by Caz on Friday, 1st June 2012

Another busy month work-wise. But for once, it gave me some interesting opportunities for pictures. I was able to take a few shots during transmission of the BBC’s Vote 2012 programme. Here is a shot of the studio during the show, with presenter Emily Maitliss at the big touchscreen:

N9 - Touchscreen

N9 - Touchscreen

I’ve managed to get out a few times on my new bike, the trusty Jeeves (The Butler). One trip was to Writtle via Hylands Park, and this shot nearly made it for Day #1589:

Hylands House in Mono

Hylands House in Mono

I enjoyed a quick weekend away in Leeds for friends’ engagement party mid-month. I had a lot of fun in the bouncy castle/ball pit! We also had a mini photowalk on the Sunday morning.

Surfing in the bouncy castle

Surfing in the bouncy castle

Towards the end of the month I went to an Essex Geocaching event near Goldhanger. This was a close second for Day #1601:

Reeds

Reeds

After being rained off last month, the Chelmsford Photo Walk group managed to go to Heybridge Basin for a shoot on the last weekend of May. It was our 40th walk (not that I have been on all of them, but I have attended a high proportion). This shot nearly made it for Day #1609:

Red Boat at Heybridge

Red Boat at Heybridge

Mackerel Sky

Mackerel Sky

I also enjoyed participating in Mono MayHem this month – take one mono picture each day, much like MoNovember last year. My favourite from the month was probably Mackerel Sky, taken from the 7th floor of Television Centre after the rain had cleared, providing a dramatic cloudscape.