31 March 2010

How to Carry your Hoodman Loupe

I am sure you have the same experience as I have when shooting in full sunlight: you cannot see what is being displayed on the LCD screen of your digital camera. The screen is not bright enough so you cannot see if you focused correctly or if you have overexposed your highlights. Turning your back to the sun and shielding the display has no effect. The alternative is to walk into the shade, but you do not always have that option.

Scott Kelby and other photographers carry a Hoodman Loupe just for these situations. I also used one on my last trip to Dubai and I agree with Scott: it works way better than you would expect. On the Canon 50D you can review the photo on your LCD screen in full daylight. The Hoodman Loupe is even more valuable on the Panasonic DMC-TZ7. This camera has no optical viewfinder, so framing your subject in full daylight using the LCD screen is challenging, to say the least. But when you place the Hoodman Loupe on the LCD screen you can see clearly what your photo will look like.

The Hoodman Loupe comes with a lanyard to hang around your neck. Unfortunately the Hoodman Loupe tends to get in the way, because I am also wearing my camera around my neck. Larry Becker has a nice solution for this. He proposes to use a retractable keyring and carry the Hoodman Loupe on your belt.

The Hoodman Loupe has a rubber ring with an attachment eye to attach the lanyard. Using this attachment to connect to the retractable keyring is not advisable. I am afraid the rubber ring will loosen or break. Larry must have thought about this as well. In his post he uses a Velcro strip to attach the retractable keyring.

Based on Larry’s design, I have made one modification. I use a key ring release to connect the retractable keyring with the Hoodman Loupe.


When somebody else wants to use the Hoodman Loupe I can give them the loupe still attached to the keyring, or detach the loupe if necessary.

Make sure you get a retractable keyring with a cord. I tried a keyring with a key chain and that was not satisfactory. The key chain is not so flexible when pulling the Hoodman Loupe to the camera. It is much smoother with a cord. The standard length of the cord could also be on the short side when someone else wants to use the loupe while still attached to your belt. If your cord is 120 cm long, you should not have any problems.

This is how my Hoodman Loupe setup looks like:

Hoodman Loupe Setup

UPDATE: Read my post ‘Hoodloupe Mag 3.0 Magnifier for Hoodman Loupe’ to know more about this accessory for the Hoodman loupe.

Components used:

30 March 2010

Dubai Fountain

100314-190417_ 1151_50d_DxO_raw 
Just outside the Dubai Mall one of the most beautiful attractions of Dubai can be found: The Dubai Fountain. Modeled after the one in Las Vegas, the Dubai Fountain is the world largest and one of the world’s tallest fountains.
Taking photos of the show was a little bit tricky. How to expose for the bright fountain show, while maintaining detail in the buildings in the background? I eventually settled for a high ISO to get a relatively fast shutter speed to stop the water motion while still getting some details in the buildings.
Click on the photo below to start the slideshow:

The two videos below were shot from the Waterfront Promenade.
[ Technical details: Panasonic DMC-TZ7, HD format, Motion Jpeg compression.
Make sure you select the YouTube HD format when your computer supports it: ]

The Baseballs - Umbrella

Nice remake of a popular song. When I first heard it on the radio I thought it was an unreleased Elvis Presley song and that Rihanna made a cover version…
The video looks so authentic!
Click here for the official video.

29 March 2010

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens Review

100329-130510_ 2176_50D

The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens is an ultra wide angle lens for the Canon EF-S camera body range. It gives a framing equivalent to a 16-35 mm on a full body.

My lens came with the following accessories:

  • Canon 77mm lens cap
  • Canon lens case LR1319

In the photo you can see the following accessories, which I have bought separately:

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Lens with lens hood attached

The weight of this lens is 385 grams, which is much lighter than my Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM lens (645 grams).  The lens does not extend during zooming, which is different than the Canon 17-55mm lens. I don’t mind the maximum aperture of f/3.5-4.5 because I will be shooting at smaller apertures for a maximum depth of field. The front of the lens does not rotate while zooming or focusing. This is useful when you are using a polarizing or ND grad filter.

To my surprise this lens came with a lens case. Only Canon L lenses are supplied with a lens case, or a lens hood for that matter. The Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens also fits in this case.

I am using the JJC lens hood for lens protection. It uses a bayonet mount to attach to the lens. You can also attach it backwards when you store the lens. it screws on rather stiff at the moment. Perhaps this will change in the future.

The B+W 77 010 UV MRC 77mm filter is used to seal off the lens at the front, and to protect the front element from rain, dust and scratches. I choose the MRC coating because it is easy to clean. When I use another filter (like my polarizing filter), the UV filter is removed from the lens. Filter stacking is a bad idea, and you run the risk that you cannot unscrew the filters from each other.

This lens is really wide! It is useful for architecture or for creative photos:

Dubai Mall Gold Souk Lamps

You have to be careful not to photograph unwanted objects in the edges of your shots. This lens is so wide that it picks up everything! For instance when I am adjusting my polarizing filter on this lens and take a picture at 10mm, I have to remember not to touch the filter ends with my fingers. If I don’t move my fingers they end up in the edges of the shot. This does not happen with other lenses like the Canon 17-55mm, 50mm or 85mm.

Until now, I have rarely seen lens flare while taking photos without the lens hood, with the UV filter attached. That is a good thing. Since this lens is so wide, you are bound to get the sun or some other light source directly into your photo. Your mileage may vary of course. The MRC coating plays a part in suppressing lens flare. So make sure you use a good filter!

I also used the hood, but the hood is rather awkward (wide) when you want to store the lens in your bag. So I made more photos without the hood than with the hood. Sometimes the lens hood is not enough, and you have to use your hand or something else anyway to block the light source. Again, make sure your ‘gobo’ does not appear in the edges of the photo!

The lens is a joy to use. Photos need little post processing since the distortion of the lens is very low. I am pleased with it because I can now easily take photos of very large rooms with one shot. See the Dubai Mall post for examples. Many of the photos were made with this lens. I have used the Canon 10-22mm lens with the B+W 77mm MRC Slim Circular Polarizer Filter and have no problems with any kind of vignetting (besides my own fingers as described earlier). See the photos of the Tesla Motor Roadster for examples of shots with the polarizing filter.

UPDATE: On my Canon 50D I have enabled peripheral illumination correction. It could be that this feature corrects the vignetting.

The zoom range of the Canon 10-22mm lens nicely complements my existing Canon 17-55mm lens. I have bought the lens to shoot primarily at 10mm. The 22mm end is useful to shoot reasonably wide shots without the ultra wide distortion. Having 22mm to do this is nice, it saves me some lens swapping when I want to do an ultra wide shot and a normal wide shot. With this in mind you can use the Canon 10-22mm as a sort of ‘walk-around’ lens for cities or architecture.

So, if you consider one, go get one, read Ken Rockwell’s review of this lens and his article on ultra wide angle lenses and start taking photos!

Taxi Stand at Ibn Battuta Mall
Taxi Stand at Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai

28 March 2010

Tesla Motors Roadster

A friend of mine came by to show me this electric sports car. The Tesla Roadster can do 0-100 km/h in about 4 seconds. The strange thing is that you do not hear any roar, just the spinning of the electric motor.

The Tesla factory recommends the driver to do the following with unsuspecting passengers:
cruise at a slow pace and ask your passenger to turn on the radio. When the passenger makes his/her attempt, floor the pedal to accelerate. The passenger will not be able to to turn on the radio because he/she cannot move forward enough and will be distracted with something else…

Avanade Sports Car

Avanade Sports Car
I like the electric cable in the trunk which is used to charge the car. Charging an empty battery takes about eight hours from a normal 220V socket in the Netherlands.

Avanade Sports Car


Some photographic details:
All photos were taken with the Canon 10-22mm lens. While this lens makes great shots, this is not your first choice when you want to make car photos with little distortion. Distortion free photos start around 20mm, so my Canon 17-55mm lens is more suitable for that type of work.

However, 10mm is ideal to get the driver and the dashboard at the same time in the photo while sitting inside the car (doing 120 km/h):

Avanade Sports Car

On the ‘full body shots’ did you notice you can see right through the windshield? (scroll back to see what I mean). In order to see through the windshield you need a polarizing filter which cuts out the glare.

Some detail shots:

Avanade Sports Car

Avanade Sports Car

27 March 2010

BBC Wildlife Photo Masterclasses Online

BBC Wildlife Magazine has put a complete collection of Photo Masterclasses online. Surf to http://www.bbcwildlifemagazine.com/masterclasses.asp and learn how to take better photos of nature!

26 March 2010

Dubai Mall

When you are in Dubai, the Dubai Mall is of course a must see.  Opening times are daily from 10-22. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday the mall opening hours are extended to midnight.

The Dubai Gold Souk has some interesting decorations:

Dubai Mall Gold Souk Hall
Entrance Gold Souk

  Dubai Mall Gold Souk Hall
Dubai Mall Gold Souk Hall

Dubai Mall Gold Souk Lamps
Dubai Gold Souk Lamps

The Hall has a very interesting dome which is lit in several colours. Click on the photo below to start the slideshow, or click here.

Dubai Mall Gold Souk Hall Lighting

Dubai Mall Gold Souk Lamp
Dubai Mall Gold Souk Lamp

Other parts of the mall have an interesting architecture:

Dubai Mall Roof
Dubai Mall Roof Top Floor

 Dubai Mall Roof
Dubai Mall Top Floor

Dubai Mall Atrium
Dubai Mall Waterfall

Dubai Mall Atrium
Dubai Mall Atrium

Dubai Mall Atrium
Dubai Mall Atrium

Dubai Mall Atrium
Dubai Mall Atrium

Besides the obligatory fashion stores the Dubai Mall has some unique attractions:

Canon Shop at Dubai Mall
Dedicated Canon Shop

Dubai Mall Ice Rink Dubai Mall Ice Rink
A full size Olympic Ice Rink

Dubai Mall Aquarium
The largest in-house aquarium with sharks and a visitor tunnel.

Outside the Dubai Mall are the Dubai Fountain and the worlds largest building the Burj Khalifa. More on these in a future post.

Fotocursus deel 4: Reisfotografie

Deel 4 van de AVRO fotocursus gaat over reisfotografie. Klik hier om het te bekijken.

24 March 2010

Dubai Old Town

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One of the first things we saw was the heritage village in Dubai. They have rebuilt the traditional houses there. The towers are called ‘wind towers’. The tower catches the cooler air higher above the ground and redirects it ground level to cool the inside of a house.

Here is the inside of a traditional sitting room (no wind tower is used here):
Sitting Room

Sitting Room

Men and women toilets are identified with these symbols:
Dubai Men SignDubai Women Sign

 Dubai Heritage Village Alley

Dubai Heritage Village Alley

Next stop: Dubai Souks
The Dubai Souks are located at the opposite site of the Dubai Creek.  You can cross the creek by taking an Abra. It is not expensive – only 1 DH (Dirham).

Dubai Creek on Abra

For longer trips you can take the Water Bus:
Dubai Marine Transport Station

A souk is an old traditional market, specialized in one topic. There is a Gold Souk, Silver Souk, Spices Souk, Textile Souk and Household Souk. Each souk has its own distinctive roof.

 Dubai Textile Souk
Dubai Textile Souk

 Dubai Textile Souk
Dubai Textile Souk

Dubai Textiles 
Dubai textiles

Glass Models 
A taste of things to come…

 Dubai Household Souk
Dubai Household Souk

 Spices at Dubai Souk
Spices at Dubai Souk

 Spices at Dubai Souk
Spices at Dubai Souk

Dubai Directions Gold Souk 
From the Spices Souk it is a little walk to the Gold Souk

 Entrance Dubai Gold Souk
Entrance Dubai Gold Souk

Getting directions in Dubai is easy. Most of the people speak English, and there are street maps.
Dubai Street Map


 Dubai Gold Souk Roof
Dubai Gold Souk Roof

Dubai Gold Souk
Dubai Gold Souk

 Gold Bracelets at Dubai Souk
Gold bracelets at Dubai Gold Souk

 Dubai Gold Souk Entrance
Gold Souk Entrance

We have not seen much in downtown Dubai. We found it difficult to determine which parts are safe, since we were the only tourists walking around.

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Downtown Dubai

 Dubai China Whole Sale Plaza
China Whole Sale Plaza

We decided to walk back to the other side of the Dubai Creek by taking the Pedestrian Under Pass.
Pedestrian Under Pass to Bur Dubai

This was our first experience that Dubai is not made for walking. We were one of the few who walked under the hot sun to the under pass. The under pass itself is also very quiet.

 Dubai Pedestrian Under Pass
Dubai Pedestrian Under Pass

Here are two parting shots: 

Dubai HSBC Bank
Dubai HSBC Bank

 Dubai Creek Abras
Abras @ Dubai Creek