Our chum Nick hooked us up with some tickets for the Rangers game on Sunday and I took my camera along to see if I could get a few shots. The game was super fun and I think the Rangers may have even won—to be honest, as long as I get some beer in my gullet and ballpark munchies in my pie-hole, I’m almost assured to enjoy a ballgame (and this was no exception).
The one part I wasn’t quite sure about was how my shots might turn out. The game started at 7:05 p.m., I believe, and given that we we’re in Texas and it’s August, the sun was still a good ways over the horizon at this point. So, for the first hour or two, I didn’t have that many chances to take shots—the sun always ended up in the corner of my frame and was blowing out my sky. After the sun started to go down, though, the lighting situation got a bit more manageable.
During the sixth inning, I walked around to the seats behind home plate and tried my hand at a panorama from that area of the stadium. I ended up taking fifteen shots and I’m generally pleased with how it turned out. Pro Tip: If you’ve opened fifteen RAW files and you’ve just told Photoshop to stitch them all together, you may as well go get a sandwich. You may even have time to brew a cup of tea while you’re at it.
As I do every March, headed down to Austin earlier this month for SXSW. I also brought my new camera along, a Canon 40D which I’ve had since around February. To go along with that, I rented Canon’s 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens from lensrentals.com (an awesome online lens rental shop, if you ever need that kind of thing).
I had always heard generally good things about image-stabilization including some reports of being able to hand-hold shots down to 1/8 sec or even 1/4 sec. Given that I seem to encounter a fairly average amount of camera shake (as opposed to an extraordinarily low amount of it), I was cautiously optimistic about how much the image stabilization system might be able to help me.
In short, I couldn’t be more pleased. If the phrasing wasn’t so religiously-exclusive, I might even be tempted to call this the Jesuslens (see also: Jesusnoun.) Or, put another way, if this lens wasn’t around $1,000, I probably would have bought it by now. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I knew that I’d be hand-holding shots at SXSW and I was hoping that this lens would come through for me — it sure did. I managed several keepers at 1/8 sec. and even down to 1/6 sec.
With the aid of the back of a chair in my hotel room for additional sturdiness, I was also able to work through a set of four 1/2-second exposures of the Austin skyline which I then was able to stitch together to form a panoramic. (Incidentally, Photoshop CS3 is more intuitive than I thought it’d be for making panoramas. They’ve really improved that functionality over CS2.) I may have to try that panorama-thing more often — that was kinda fun.