Sunday, 18 November 2007

Roger Albert Clark Rally

This was almost a very frustrating day, until the very, very last minute.

I'd planned to go to the RAC Classic Rally in the Borders, my first rally since getting the camera. According to the entry list there were some good cars showing up, and the nature of rallying makes it a bit more photogenic than other racing.

However, after sleeping in I was a bit late getting to the only feasible stage, and half the good cars were no-shows. I ended up with six or seven good shots, but all from very similar vantage points so they looked too same-y. It was only some heavy post-processing in Photoshop which made them salvageable.

On the way back I stopped off by Adrossan, one of my more common seaside hang-outs. While there I shot off a couple of very casual shots of the evening sky. Wasn't happy with them when I looked at the camera's LCD, and though no more about it until I got back home. Turns out one of them was a corker, a nice panorama of dark sea and sky split by a golden strip of sunset, with a tanker silhouetted on the horizon.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

MLR sprint, Ingliston

The biggest bugbear with my old Nikon E2200 was the crappy shutter lag. I'd been to Knockhill a couple of times for trackdays and such, and panning shots were a dead loss. Before buying my Canon I'd tried out a Fuji S9600, supposedly one of the best superzooms you could buy, but I found that to be laggy too. It was that experience as much as any that pushed me towards a DSLR.

Ironic then, that it too me almost six months to go to a motorsport event with my camera. The Mitsubishi Lancer Register, Britain's largest Lancer Evo owners' club, organized an against-the-clock "sprint" race at Ingliston race circuit, so I wandered along in my own old Galant to see what I could get.

Answer: not much. I need to work on my technique.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Lens shopping and a sealboat trip

I used my 400D with just the kit lens for about two months, but I really needed a longer lens. At first I thought of the 28-135, but didn't want to use the camera like a glorified superzoom, so pretty soon I'd narrowed it down to one of two lenses in the £300-400 range: the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS, or the 70-200mm f/4L USM.

My mind was made up pretty quickly. The 70-300 offered an extra 100mm of zoom and three-stop IS, so on paper it had a lot to offer. But everyone was telling me the same: go for the L-series. Canon owners I knew raved about it, while many online reviewers concurred (e.g. The Digital Picture, Fred Miranda). The 200-300mm range of the longer lens was known to be softer, while the L-series had a fantastic rep for quality and sharpness. I went for a 70-200, along with a wee thrifty fifty prime (f/1.8).

It took a couple of weeks before I got a good opportunity to stretch the new telephoto zoom. I eventually took a trip up to Oban for a sealboat ride. I'd been on them before and they're very relaxing and enjoyable. I also had a chat with a pro photographer who had a stall set up near the harbour, selling his wildlife pics. And I finished with a fish supper from the Rick Stein-recommended Oban Fish & Chip Restaurant. The Anstruther Fish Bar might win more awards, but the chippy in Oban kicks its ass. G has spoken.