El Paso, Texas
The latest things I jot down...
Sat, 16 Sep 2017 10:58:40 +0000The Old Switch-a-roo
Last November I made the switch to Sony leaving my beloved Canon 6D for a Sony A7R. In my blog post entitled “Goodbye Canon , Hello _______ ” from November 2016 I spelled out why I went to a Sony mirrorless system and closed with, “While I’ve moved to Sony for the moment, I’m still keeping my eye on Canon and hoping for game changer from them down the road.” My eleven months with Sony was not what I had hoped for, I missed my old 6D almost from the minute I sold it. As I mentioned back then, the menu system was flat out strange and illogical but I found two issues I just couldn’t overcome. First, much of my stock photography almost immediately was rejected for being blurry, something not previously encountered. Second, shooting any action was almost too much for the Sony to handle, sharp images with any movement were hard to come by.
Something I didn’t mention in my blog was that I hated the A7R so much that I sold it and upgraded to the A7Rii. Problem solved? Well… I was happy at first because when it did focus, it was very good. However, I found that unless I manually focused, there were still issues with the auto-focus. While less of my stock photography was being kicked back, it was still an issue. Taking the A7Rii out to a Red Bull Air Race, I thought even though it was out of its element, I still might get a couple of decent action shots by spending the day concentrating on shooting action with this Sony, w-r-o-n-g. This A7Rii was a far superior camera when compared to my 4-year-old Canon 6D, yet the 6D NEVER had a focus issue. I missed picking up my 6D and just shooting, a couple of presets and a decent auto-focus system made me feel like I was better prepared to capture whatever unfolded in front of me. Not to mention, with Canon my life didn’t literally revolve around battery life. When you shoot any action with a Sony mirrorless, it drinks batteries quicker than a DC politician at happy hour! Whether shooting the A7R or the A7Rii in continious-hi, continious-lo, or the sports setting, nothing produced consistently crisp images, but I could depend on the battery getting drained quickly. Finally, I was on vacation this summer and went to shoot a friend’s car, 3 out of 51 photos were decent and the rest were not crisp. I felt that auto-focus shouldn’t even have been an issue for a camera costing just under $3k! After 10 months, I decided it was time to end my Sony experiment. I know there are plenty of people who swear by Sony mirrorless, it just didn’t work for me.
Deciding to get a new Canon was easy, however my reasons for leaving Canon hadn’t changed, the Sony system was lighter and easier on my back (after surgery). I knew going back to my familiar Canon turf would mean some sort of compromise, meaning carrying less weight (lenses). The Canon options I looked at were my old EOS 6D because I truly missed it, but also the 6D Mark II, and the 5D Mark IV were up for consideration. It came down to this, while I loved the original 6D, is already outdated. The 5D Mark IV was about $1k more than I wanted to spend, that left the 6D Mark II as serious choice for me. While I’ve only had the new camera for a few weeks, I do love it and it feels very familiar after having the original 6D. I bought the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM to use as my main lens, a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM for low light, but not an everyday carry. However, I also bought one lens I used to own, the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM. I actually liked this lens so much that I wrote about it here in September 2016, see Diffractive what? for more. I’ll write more later about the Canon 6D Mark II, once I’ve got more shooting time under my belt. I will say this, picking up the 6D Mark II was like saying hello to an old friend…
Life revolves around batteries
Thu, 06 Jul 2017 12:59:43 +0000Patriotic Homes of Coronado
Selling stock photos has been going well this year. However, while most photos for my website make it to the stock sites with logos and trademarks removed, the reverse isn’t true as many stock photos don’t make it to BillChizekPhotography.com. These can range from the texture of a wall, grass with morning dew, or a piece of wood; subjects that allow copy space for advertisers to insert text, nothing appealing for a photography website. That said, I try to post a variety of photos about five days a week to my website and all the stock photos taken that week. Posting one photo daily ensures website traffic, if I posted thirty photos most visitors would just look at them one time and move on. Posting as many stock photos weekly as possible is important because they don’t make money sitting on a hard drive. However, this year I decided to post nothing but patriotic stock photos for the long Fourth of July weekend. For this, I used stock photos of flags flying in the yards near where we live in Coronado, California. Not surprising to anyone living in Coronado, but many homes here fly the flag year round. In fact, only the photo at the top of this post was taken on the actual Fourth of July weekend (click HERE for original photo). Yes, you’d be hard pressed to find a more patriotic community west of the Mississippi!
This is largely due Coronado having a unique military history, a good portion of Coronado’s land is occupied by Naval Air Station North Island. Almost since the beginning of Naval Aviation, many Naval Aviators have relocated to Coronado at various points in their careers. Many homes proudly display blue yard signs reading “Home of a Naval Aviator” and these are everywhere. To say this little town is kind of proud of the US Navy is like saying that little town back in Wisconsin is kind of proud of their Packers. That’s why most of these photos were shot months ago in anticipation that advertisers would be looking for patriotic photos for their Independence Day deadlines. Coronado was the perfect location for this because with flags flying year round, my patriotic stock photo search was mostly complete last May. This photo to the left may look like it’s been set up for an upcoming holiday, but this street looks like this practically for 365 days of the year! Yes, even with the white picket fences.
Coronado is home to many active duty and retired military, plus it’s the home of the US Navy SEAL’s who train here. Since 2007, Coronado has been home to our family for about seven years. It’s where I, like many others, retired from the military. It’s probably because Coronado is just one of those places that’s comfortable to military people because being retired military here isn’t a novelty. This is probably another the reason that flags fly year round here. Shooting stock photography here couldn’t have been easier, if I liked a particular photo but felt it was missing something, I didn’t have to spend hours in Photoshop doctoring the pic to get it right nor did I need to seek new locations. All that was needed was to return to the same location at a different time of day! The differences between morning and evening lighting, seasons, and weather all ensured a variety of photo settings.
The photo location for this shot at left didn’t work the few times I tried, it was always lacking something. However, returning one morning and catching the sun behind the flag seemed to make it click. As a photographer, that’s one of the nice things about living somewhere that others travel to for vacation, if you don’t get a photo the way you want it you can just return later. While I’ve loved living here, my wife a service member and it’s our time to roll to the next place to call home for a while. Fortunately we’re moving to another incredible place that should prove interesting not only for photography but for our family as well, Virginia. As a former adjunct history professor and lifelong history buff/nerd/geek, I can’t think of another place I’d rather be located other than at my own house in Texas. Coronado has been a great place to raise our daughters, who have loved the beaches and learning to swim at the rec center, leaving friends and Coronado will be tough. While moving an entire house every three years or so can be draining, once settled at the new location this nomadic lifestyle can be rewarding. Since taking up photography, military transfers seem to recharge the creative batteries. In Coronado, even the below photo of springtime and blooming flowers came out patriotic, ya… it’s just that kind of place.
Mon, 19 Jun 2017 16:55:07 +0000Digital Exposition in Madrid!
Very happy because my photo, Wisky, has been selected to display digitally in the “Black and White” Exhibition at Galeria6mas1 in Madrid, Spain. Opening night is July 20th!
This is the battleship, USS Wisconsin (BB-64), in Norfolk, Virginia.
All Images © 2006-2017 William J. Chizek, All Rights Reserved.