Photowalk: Japanese Gardens

Time for a mini-photowalk! Today's pictures are all from Hakone Gardens in Saratoga.

As Soy mentioned, we recently upgraded from a Canon Rebel XTI DSLR to a 5D Mk III, the new hotness. The pictures below were all taken using it's built in HDR mode with the art-vivid setting to see what the shot would look like immediately on the back of the camera. Except for the first waterfall shot, they were then reprocessed on my desktop to look sharper.

Another feature I really like is the silent (yet still continuous drive mode) shutter mode. The buddy I was out shooting with noted that it was much quieter than his 5D Mk II. The silent mode limits the shutter releases to 3 fps (down from 6 fps) but there isn't any other drawback to leaving it on all the time that I can tell. Turning it off makes the mirror clap / clank noise sound like a machine gun!

It felt good to go out and just focus on taking pictures instead of obsessing over which camera bodies, lenses or accessories are the best. There is something very relaxing and rewarding about taking pictures just for the joy of it. On the other hand, it was quite enjoyable using a camera that didn't feel like it was "fighting" you to get a great picture. My relationship with the older Canon Rebel Xti I used to shoot with was a great example of that. I ended up just using Soy's Canon SD870 or my Panasonic Lumix LX-5 point and shoot most of the time.

The viewfinder is big and bright on the 5D Mk III which makes composition much more enjoyable! I find using a viewfinder to be much easier than composing a shot using an LCD on the back of a camera. My only complaint with a viewfinder is actually my fault. I can't see my surroundings with my other eye when using it. I'm cross eye dominant which means that the majority of my vision comes from my left eye, but I am right handed. Most DSLR bodies are designed for right handed, right eye dominant folks so many of you don't have to worry about this.

These images were post processed in Adobe Lightroom 4. The sliders in the "basic" panel in the develop module are quite improved over Lightroom 3. They all now start in the middle which makes finding ones you've adjusted much easier. I really like how the light and shadow adjustment sliders work now. They work magic to pull out additional detail in the shadows that you never knew was there.

What camera do you use? I think it doesn't matter as long as you are happy with it. Soy uses her iPhone 4s camera to take pictures everyday. While it obviously doesn't hold a candle to the light collection potential of a full frame DSLR, it can take amazing shots that are well lit.

Until next time.


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