Backyard Panorama

Saturday before dinner I went outside and played around some with the new Panorama mode on the new iPhone 5.  I’d heard that there were apps that could do this before, but I have never used those so thought I’d finally give it a shot.  The first try was interesting but I went to a different part of the pond and the second attempt was more visually stunning due to the more consistent lighting.  Enjoy!

Camera Additions

Back in June, we saw a deal to purchase a Canon EOS Rebel T1i  18-55mm kit along with a 55-250mm Canon lens.  The bundle also came with an almost-free medium-format professional-grade Canon printer.  It was a great deal and I’d wanted to get into photography, so we took the opportunity and purchased the setup.  Since then I’ve been working on improving my photography skills while trying to learn the various functions and what they actually do.

While I have been happy with the results I’ve been able to achieve so far, I had felt that there were a few issues with our current setup.  One, there are many times when I’d wanted to take some shots in low-light situations.  In these situations you have to sacrifice shutter speed or ISO to maintain the contrast and picture brightness that you would want.  A flash would be able to solve most of these issues by allowing me to bounce flash off of something behind me or do other flash-related tricks to add some ambient light without destroying the look of the photo.  However, the built-in flash on these cameras (while it does work) produces horrible results.  Hence I have wanted an external flash for a while now.  I wanted one even more after Justin had purchased a cheap flash for his camera at work.  I tested it on our setup and even a cheap flash produced better looking pictures.

Another limitation in our current setup is that although I do like my current Canon lenses, there are definitely times when having to swap the lenses to go from a short-distance image to a long-distance was a huge pain.  For instance, about a month ago when we went to Chicago – not having to swap lenses while at the Columbia Park Zoo would have been quite nice.  I had to give up on some photos simply because I didn’t want to swap lenses in the cold temperatures.  I was also wanting a lens that could go further than the lens I now have.


Last week we saw a deal for a Tamron 18-270mm lens.  This exact same lens was what was used by someone we had talked to last August when we were on a whale-watching tour in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  They had a nicer Canon camera than us, but we got to talking some about lenses, lens hoods and Canon cameras in general.  So I was eager to purchase this lens last week when it came up at a great price.  I received the new lens on Monday of this week.  Late last week I rectified the remaining issue by obtaining help from coworkers and online research and purchased a Sigma EF-610 DG Super flash.  While this is overkill for what I will need now, I figured that it would be better to buy something really good now and not having to upgrade in 6-12 months anyway.  I received the flash earlier today and the feel of the entire setup is quite impressive.

Next up is to actually begin taking advantage of such a nice setup and putting the newfound power to use after figuring out what all the functions and features do!

Full Moon

Tonight just before work ended Jaime asked if Justin and I had any plans for dinner and asked if we wanted to go to Sharma’s Kitchen with her as Jeremy (her husband) was working late. We thought it sounded better than leftovers so we all went together. After several plateful of Indian food later and some good discussion on Chinese culture, history and religion in general, we headed home. On the way home Jaime noticed the harvest full moon just coming up. It was quite beautiful.

Since it was pretty early in the night I decided to try to get some good photos of it with my Canon EOS Rebel T1i. My first attempts were OK, but yielded fairly blurry shots. The issue was that I was using the tripod but zooming into something that far away while touching the camera makes the camera shake a lot when attempting to use the auto-focus. After some quick research online for settings that others had used with their great photos at a similar focal length. I then went out front with my tripod, camera, laptop and a long mini usb cable.

My next attempt used tethering. This is where you hook the camera up to the computer and use software to control the camera which lets you not touch the camera at all – reducing the shaking considerably. After some tinkering, I ended up taking the photo below.  Not too shabby if I may say so myself!  Note that the image below is only using optical zoom.  Digital zoom (which looses resolution, producing blurry photos) was not used and the image was not stretched or enhanced in any way.  It was simply cropped.

f number: 5.6exposure: 1/350focal length: 250mmISO: 100