50D Resolution

Having just bought a used 40D from Ron Horn, I was very interested in www.dpreview.com ‘s take on the 50D which just came out a few days ago.  They basically said to save $400 and just buy a 40D, as the 50D is not too much better than the 40D.  I am not convinced.  What I really like about the 50D is the better LCD on the the back and the advanced Liveview mode.

CLICK HERE!!  They say it’s not as impressive as it’s megapixel count would indicate.  It’s supposed to be 15MP, here’s the chart.

50D resolution

Here’s the data from the Canon 1Ds Mk II, which is 16.7 MP.

20D Resolution

I find these charts interesting, especially since I still own two 20Ds, and a 40D.  The 16.7 MP IDs Mark II, has better resolution and only slightly more pixel count, so it seems that it’s probable that the tighter pixel concentration of the 50D does reduce the overall level of resolution that makes it into the files.  It probably needs better glass than most people own to get optimum resolution.

I’m not much of a megapixel counter anyhow.  What I really want is a small camera that I can pack around a bit easier, like a canon G10 with an equivalent zoom range of 28-105mm.

What specs does your next dream camera have?  Why?

This is how I look, (I guess)…

When Holly and I started dating, she said she liked how I looked with the goatee really well, so I decided to keep my goatee until a day FAR in the future.  Little did I know that today would be the day to get a clean shave.

_MG_2712eKyle Fossman organized a beard growing competition with two teams: he and I on team A, and the two science teachers, Mark Fontenot and Carson Buck, on team B.  We all started with a clean shave on Thursday morning and will all shave with an electric shaver at school on Friday after a week and a day of beard growth.  Each person’s beard mass will be measured and the team with the greatest total beard mass will win the competition and the losing team will cook them a steak dinner at Mr. Fontenot’s house.

I have to admit, that shaving off a beard I’ve had for about nine years was a very strange, almost surreal, experience.  As the goatee came off, here came my chin, which I hadn’t seen in quite a long time.  I couldn’t decide if I looked younger or older, fatter, or skinnier, or what.  As I looked in the mirror, the person I was most reminded of was Jack.  I thought, “Hmm.  I look like Jack now.”  You be the judge.

Not feeling at all confident in my new look,  I asked Mark Daniel, who’s now in Kindergarten and has never seen me without a beard,” what he thought when he woke up that morning and we were going through our morning routine, he smiled up at me really big and said, “Weird,” then continued to smile. 

I asked him, “Do you think I look younger or older?”

He said, “Younger.”

I asked, “Do you know what happened?

He said, “You got shaved.”

Holly didn’t really know what to say at first, “Is that you? You look really different.  Are you still the same?”

The kids at school were quite surprised by how I look, as most of them probably haven’t seen me without a beard in their memory.

In about a week, I’ll be looking roughly the same as I did before the shave, I suppose. 

But then I’ll have to shave again.

Concerning the WB in the two photos, they were shot with different cameras and the second one did not have the same picture style selected.  I suppose I’ll try to fix the clean shaven shot to match the other one if I can read up on it and figure out how to do that.  For the first round of shots, I shot in JPEG fine, with WB set to “flash” or “strobe” since that’s what we’re using, and I was using my own camera.  For the second round of pictures, I borrowed Ron’s 40D and we shot most of the pictures in RAW then converted them over to jpegs using ACDSee’s Raw converter, but then we ran out of card space, and started shooting in JPEG and I guess he had the color preference set differently.  I like nice consumer type pounchy colors right out of the camera, so I have mine set to high color saturation.  Since the second picture was so bland, I tried a quick attempt at fixing it in CS2, but don’t really like the result.

Jessica Strickland shoots with only one lens;

Jessica StricklandUNBELIEVABLE!!! Check out the photo!

The Canon 85mm f1.2 – that’s her secret! (A $1400 lens, notice all the lenses are identical)  The funny thins is she has three of them–which if you know anything about cameras and lenses is pretty funny.

Of course this isn’t true.  The reason to carry more than one lens is so that you can get a variety of fields of view to both ‘crop’ the angle of view, modify the perspective, change the depth of field, and get some variability in the poundage you pack around. 

But she really is loaded to the bear here with 85mm f/1.2 lenses–which is a GREAT lens for high-end wedding photographers due to its bokeh and minimum depth of field.  I’d love to have one in my kit if I shot much full-frame stuff, but it’s got too narrow of a field of view for most of what I do–even portrait work.  If I had one, I’d use it for the natural light portraits of the bride and groom.  The truth behind the photo is she was holding a bunch of cameras for some photographer friends (according to Gary Fong who originally posted this photo).

3 x 13 = ? Happy Birthday to Me. 39.

August 12, 2008

IMG_9261c2 It’s that time of year again: Time to get older.  Time to do my favorite things.  Time to sleep in, have pizza for dinner, eat Margaret’s masterful Carrot Cake, take pictures and blog about life.  My boat’s still awaiting the two big gears from Twin Disc, so I couldn’t go fishing this week.  It feels really odd to be in town but not to be out fishing, but perhaps it’s best this way as the teaching school year starts up on Monday with a week of in-services and training days.

The years march on by, like Nazi troops IMG_9098 high stepping in a parade, or perhaps like pure water trickling down a stream towards the sea.

What have I done with the years?  Has the time been well spent? Are they still ‘my’ years, or are they someone else’s years, with me just running on a treadmill as I try to keep from stumbling. There are so many ways of evaluating the days of one’s life, it seems, as we look around at all the different types of lives people choose to live.

Why is it that we ‘SPEND’ our time.  This monetary way of considering time might lead one to believe that time can be earned, invested,IMG_9250L saved, and spent on necessities, or frivolities.  And perhaps it can.  Why do normal people decide to have children and become parents?  Is it because they love to change diapers?  Rock babies to sleep, continually mop the end of the table under the high chair, or fold clothes in the pantry.  Perhaps this is how one ‘earns’ time with loved ones, by doing the chores of life that no one would choose to do on a birthday. 

IMG_9160c  So what did I do on my birthday?  Usually, my siblings and immediate family, dad & mums, Jack’s family, and Betty’s family usually get together on my birthday, but this time they weren’t able to make it.  So the question is this time, what did MY family do for the birthday?

  1. 8 AM: Holly went on a walk with Donna with the two older boys while I spent time with John Caleb.
  2. 9 AM: Then she went to the stores for the groceries.
  3. 10 AM: Even though it was a rainy dismal day, in many respects, we decided to have some fun outdoors and went on the battery point trail out to the beach.
  4. 12:15 PM: We came home and had chips & cheese (Mexican lunch)
  5. Then we had nap time.
  6. Then Holly made Pizza while Bob & Margaret came over to help out with the child care
  7. We had the Birthday Dinner, with Maddy Swift came over so Dave & Donna could have a date night.
  8. Then we had the Carrot Birthday Cake that Margaret made.
  9. Then Dave & Donna came by for some cake.
  10. At 7:30 PM, we put the boys in the tub to start the bedtime routine.
  11. 7:50-8:20 PM, Holly supervised the bedtime snack so I could do a blog.

I like blogging because it’s a calm relaxing activity that hopefully will be a record of things to come, so that in the future the boys will be able to look back at what type of things we did when they were small.  Also, I can keep in contact with family this way.

IMG_9218It was a bit tough getting out there to the beach on the battery point trail with the three little guys and only two adults with one child back-pack.  We forgot to  bring snacks and water.  I think the little guys walk much better if they have some refreshments along the way.  Also, we didn’t bring any wet wipes and we had an accident along the way that was a bit of a mess to deal with, not having the appropriate tools.  Thankfully, the backpack did have some diapers in it.  I think, as a minimum we need to have some wet-wipes, diapers, food of some sort (trail mix, or fruit, or dried fruit, or energy bars or something), two child back-packs, and at least an empty water bottle, if not two, so we could get some water along the way.

Dave says that sometimes on birthdays they get a coffin from the hardware store and have a wake for the birthday person instead of a party.  They read a eulogy and tell stories and such.  That sounds like it would be fun to do to someone, but wouldn’t be something that I’d necessarily like to have done to me instead of a birthday party.

This next photo is not critically sharp, for you critics out there.  It’s got an interesting kind of blur.  Here are the specifics: ISO 800; 1/50, 19mm.  Normally, just glancing at the photo, I’d say that the image had some camera shake blur, but notice that the boys, in the center of the frame, are pretty sharp.  This type of blur is actually caused by zooming during the exposure.  I was in the process of zooming from 22mm to 10mm when the image was taken.  The center of the frame will be sharper than the edges in this type of blur.  This effect can also be done with a Photoshop filter with greater control, but with less immediacy, satisfaction, and, dare I say it, pride.


Jack and Jennifer’s family called, then Andy called with his family, then Mom and dad called. 

It was a nice day.

TeeBall on Saturdays!

There’s only one week left of Teeball: there’s a Wednesday practice, then a double header on Saturday.

IMG_8251 (2)cToday we went to Teeball and had a great time.  Mark is really coming along, in terms of  enjoying the game, hitting the ball, throwing the ball, catching the ball, and understanding the game.

When he batted, I had him stand back from the base in such a way that he’d hit the ball down the third base line.  You can see he’s a bit back towards the backstop.  As you can probably tell from the green fleece he’s wearing, it was a bit chilly and even a bit rainy this morning, plus we don’t have any grass on the field–but that keeps the bugs down too.

IMG_8303 (2)cToday, we only had four of the teammates show up for the game, so we had five people total on the Reds team.  Almost all of our experienced kids were not there. This was both good and bad, because everyone got to play in an interesting position on the field, and everyone also got to bat three times because we had three innings, and also because we didn’t really field that well, compared with when we have our experienced kids there.

Mark’s favorite thing about Teeball is running the bases at full speed. He knows where all the bases are, how he can get out, where to run, when to stop (when we tell him to) and that it’s not a terrible thing to get ‘out,’ it’s just something that happens to everyone from time to time. 

He does best if I stand right next to him and encourage him when he’s fielding and such.

IMG_8342c Behind the backstop, there’s a huge sand pile that the little siblings like to play on when the older ones are playing ball.  I need to take some pictures of that hill.  Another thing Luke likes to do is pick flowers.  I think that’s pretty cute for a three year old.

One thing you might notice from this picture is that Luke is a ‘lefty’  He’s been that way from the beginning: always preferring his left hand over his right.  He eats left handed, throws, catches, hits, and high fives with it. 

IMG_8278 (2) Mark wasn’t that way.  When Mark was really young, he never showed a preference for one hand over the other. Then when he got to be about four years old.  Some kids don’t differentiate their hands until, say 3rd grade–that can be a problem, especially when they are writing.  It’s good for the brain to settle in to dedicated rolls early so further development can take place.

Looking at these pictures today reminds me that I need to buy those pictures from Steve Vick that he took earlier in the season.  I really liked the one of Mark Daniel and I at home plate where I was pointing to show him where first base was.

Looking at this last picture of Mark, one thing you might not have noticed is the out-of-focus area in the photo.  To me it has a nice quality to it and in photography lingo, that’s called Bokeh.  Bokeh is a Japanese word which has to do with the quality of the image where the image is out of focus.  For this shot, I was at 400mm on my 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, ISO 400, f/8, 1/500.  These are great settings for stopping action and getting pretty sharp photos of a kids baseball game.  To really stop the threads on the ball and catch the dust in the air in a major league game on a double play with the runner sliding into second base, you’d need a higher shutter speed, say 1/1500 or so, I’d imagine.  but 1/500 is just fine for capturing a teeball game.

J6 came stopped in for a visit!

My oldest brother Jack is married to Jennifer and they have four kids: John, Joy, Joanna, and Jessica. So they are known as the J6 family.  Although I don’t think I actually ever say ‘family’ after I say J6.  They weren’t always J6.  For a while they were Jack and Jennifer, then they were J3, then J4… you get the idea.

IMG_6585 cropped

They rolled into town late Thursday night cheerful but tired in a caravan of three vehicles headed to Sitka so Jack can work at Edgecumbe this next year as the new Math/Science teacher.  IMG_5790Inside their newly acquired big diesel 26′ moving van was virtually all their household goods driven by Jack.  Next was the ‘Crayola’ (a toyota Corolla) packed with people and driven by Jennifer’s father, Chuck.  Jennifer drove the Suburban.  All three vehicles were packed to the gills. 

Since my driveway is fairly short, Jim Green and family offered to store the van at their place for the summer.  This truck is the largest size that U-haul rents.  The reason they were selling it is that it’s a diesel, it’s stick shift, and it’s so large.  This type of moving van is usually rented primarily for cross country trips.

IMG_5853 cropped We have a surfeit of John’s in the family.  Here are three of them.  My brother Jack is John W. Davis Jr., then we have John Caleb (my third son), and then we have John Charles Davis (Jack’s oldest).  John Charles and John Caleb actually share the same birthday: November 13, but they are not the same age (they both have charming smiles: it helps to have an infants mother behind the camera smiling and laughing.).  Other folks named ‘John’ in the family are Holly’s brother John M. Plucker, my father John W. Davis Sr. and his mother Johnny Davis.

IMG_5807 We had a couple of action filled days. We went out to the beach at Battery Point where we met up with Hunter Badgley working on the trail with Paul Swift.  John carried Luke in the backpack and had a personal best time out to the trail head.  I forget what the time was, but they beat me by a fair margin.

We all went to the story hour time and got to see Holly in action.  Joy, Joanna, and Jessica all got involved reading books and IMG_5778collecting prizes, right off the bat and had a great time.  I think Holly does a GREAT job with the summer reading program and I think I’m fairly objective too.

While Joy and I went to the painting class, the rest of the family went to the swimming pool to get wet.

And we also went out on a sailing trip with Bob and Margaret where everyone got to do a little bit of what they wanted to do: IMG_6680Jennifer got some sleep up in the V-berth, I got to shoot some more with Jack’s virtually new Canon 40D, John Charles got to man the wheel, Bob got to show off his boat, the kids got to play games and make up stories, and Holly and Margaret got to spend some time together talking about family.  It was an interesting day for sailing, we didn’t really catch any wind until we got out pretty well clear of Portage Cove, whereas often we can catch a nice wind just three minutes out of the harbor.

One thing my dad always does when I come to visit is fill up my gas tank when I leave town, so I told Jack I’d give him $90 for gas: but then I forgot to give him the money.  Typical.  So I’ll have to send a check down to the farm where my dad lives and he can cash the check there.  Traveling is expensive these days.

They left town on the ferry to Skagway at 10 PM on Saturday night, then drove all night and the next day.  I just talked to them on their cell phone and they were just outside of Dawson Creek where they were going to stop for dinner (935 miles) then push on to Grand Prarie. That’s quite  along haul for a days driving with four kids.

It sure is great to visit with family and let the cousins play with each other.

Merry Christmas to All!

This is a ridiculous picture, but we did have a bit of snowfall last week.


We’re having a wonderful time here in Haines.  Holly and the boys put up the Nativity scene on the 24th.  Here’s Mark putting up the manger and baby Jesus.


There were plenty of presents to open.  Notice the snow in the process of slowly sliding off the roof.


Here’s the snow from the outside of the house.


We’ve been reading a lot of books to the boys over the break.


Holly is now 34, and looking great.  Margaret’s Lemon cake with whipping cream was very good, once again.


We had some pesto pasta on the 24th, made from scratch with the food processor.  The moisture on the front of the lens caused some strange diffusion and glare, as the camera had been outside all night.


John Caleb is turning into quite a photographer (actually, it was the self timer).


Well, send us a note and tell us how you’re doing this week.

Take care and Happy New Year!

Matt, Holly, Mark, Luke, and John Caleb

Mark, Lensie, Royal, Patrick, & Holden’s album is done

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to blog.  Sorry about that.  I’ve been busy, and I don’t have internet on the boat–which is about the only place I have time to write.

The Wedding at Paradise cove was very fun to shoot.  All-in-all, I shot probably 2200 pictures during the three days.  I had a lot of fun shooting until the actual day of the wedding, when I got dehydrated and weak.  It was still fun, and I didn’t realize how worn out I was getting or how little I’d drank until I got home that night–took me two days to get my energy back.

But the wedding was fun. And I think I achieved my goal.  I went into the wedding wanting to make Mark and Lenise a wedding album that they would want to have and cherish for many, many years, an album that could be put on the coffee table at first, then shown to the little one as he got older and tell him about the day mommy and daddy got married, and look at the pictures in the album.

I love to do the albums.  The more I shoot, the more I visualize how I want the photos to appear on the page in its final form.  I shoot some basic types of shots: detail shots, portraits with smiling faces, candid’s with natural faces, serious or laughing faces, environmental shots which show the overall conditions of either the building interior or the weather and scenery, actions shots, pictures that show progression of the day or the event (this was the beginning, this was the meal, this was the end of the celebration, etc.), crowd shots, shots where one set of people is looking at another set of people (crowd vs. actors for instance). 

While I’m shooting, I visualize which of these I want.  What I’m not good at yet is knowing beforehand whether I’ll need or want a vertical or a horizontal of every shots.  Some are obvious, a group shot of people is almost always going to be a horizontal, a single portrait shot is most commonly going to be a vertical.  But there are a lot of other types of shots.  So on many photos, I try to take them in both formats. 

Enough about the album.  If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a link to the album.  Please check it out and leave me some feedback or drop me an email.

I could write about the last three weeks of king fishing down in Taku, or getting the nets ready, or the boat, but that’s not really what’s on my heart.  Although my ‘baby’ hands, as Greg Bigsby calls them are a bit sore and torn up.

The boys have been very fun to hang out with these last few weeks.  I’ve had quite a bit of time at home lately and they’ve been out and about climbing over the lines and the mesh while we’ve been sticking corks.

–I’ve got to go because I need to read Mark Daniel his bedtime story.

Easter Weekend

Monday, April 17, 2006
Easter weekend

It was a fun weekend for photography.  The weather was semi-cooperative for the track meet–it didn’t rain, but it didn’t really shine either and the track was wet.  Many of the kids were shivering and red from the cold wind.  Covering a track meet by myself is a difficult thing to do as there is so much going on at once: sprints, discus, long-jump, and triple-jump.  Although I didn’t get to shoot all the events, it was fun to see the kids competing.

The Easter egg hunt and related events are getting better each year at the Elk’s Lodge.  This year the egg hunt was divided up into various age groups and went really well.  The little kids were able to get some eggs this year because they went first, then another older age-group went next and searched the playground, then the older kids went last and searched the woods.  Plus inside the lodge, things were more organized this year than last year and it didn’t seem as harried.

The Big Air snowboarding stunt competition had a bitterly cold wind that some weren’t prepared for. It was the coldest Big Air competition that I’ve been to. But even though it was cold, it was better than in years past in many ways: instead of just two types jumps, there were three: one for the beginners, one for the intermediate contestants, and one big ramp for the advanced.  I thought it was much better organized this year: things just continue to improve each year.  One improvement for next year will be that if it the weather turns out to be miserable, we might see the advanced contestants go first instead of last so that those that aren’t’ prepared for the cold weather can see the really good jumps and stunts.  Some of the crowd also thought it would be cool if there weren’t such long delays in which it seems like nothing is happening–perhaps a time limit once a contestant gets the go ahead.

The Easter Service at church was very nice too starting off with a potluck breakfast and finishing up early with family portraits followed by dismissal without Sunday School–which was nice because our little family was tired by then.

I hope you had as Good an Easter as we had.

One more basketball weekend

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
One more basketball weekend

From what I can tell, there’s just one basketball weekend left.  It’s been a good season and I’ve learned a lot, photographically.  I still haven’t gotten the wire that’s supposed to connect a 20D to the Pocketwizard, so I haven’t done any behind the backboard shots, which I really wanted to do this year.  And I haven’t put any strobes in the ceiling to bring in more light.  Maybe next year.  I need to do some research on the strobes anyway and how they’d work in a permanent install.

The new 30D has been announced and it looks like an incremental upgrade, at this point, which is enough to have me buy it as a new main camera before too long I like the more durable shutter, as I’m on my second shutter with my current 20D.  The wife says I need to finish my taxes first, so I suppose I’ll be starting on this weekend.

The main thing that canon has come out with which would interest me is the new standard zoom lens: EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.  This would be an ideal lens for me and I’m very interested in the lens reviews that will soon be hitting the websites to see if it performs as well, optically, as the venerable EF 24-70 f/2.8 L which has been my main lens these past two years.