Chicago Road Trip – Part II

1372565092.jpgTonight we’re in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We left Burlington, ON this afternoon around 3 pm after having lunch with some friends. Instead of crossing the Ambassador Bridge at Windsor, we opted to cross the border at Sarnia. The wait was very short and the traffic was light. Continue reading “Chicago Road Trip – Part II”

Road Trip to Chicago Part I

Day 3 of our road trip to Chicago draws to a close. We’ve packed in a visit to the zoo and two family visits since we left our home in Montréal. The kids love the zoo, and even though it was a long and tiring day, they both loved it. Seeing the pandas was a once in a lifetime experience.

Tomorrow it’s lunch with some friends in Burlington and then we hit the road hoping to reach Lansing or Kalamazoo for the night.

Québec Lower North Shore photos

Here is a gallery of some pictures that I took on my three trips (so far) to Québec’s Lower North Shore (a.k.a “The Coast”).

A Manual focusing tip for Canon DSLR users

I am continually surprised at the new things that I learn about my camera. Despite having read much of the manual and used my Canon EOS 60D for more than 18 months, there are still a few tricks that I keep coming across.

I was taking some indoor photos in low light yesterday. The autofocus was not locking because of the low light and lack of contrast in the composition, so I switched to manual focus. Out of habit, I half-depressed the shutter button while I was turning the focus dial. Low and behold, one of the focus points in the viewfinder light up and the camera beeped as I adjusted the focus manually.

I went to the manual to find out what was going on, and sure enough, if you depress the shutter halfway while in manual focus mode, the autofocus sensor will alert you when you have achieved focus on one of the AF points.

This is a handy feature for me, because I normally wear glasses, and I sometimes find it hard to see accurate focus using the viewfinder. That small amount of assistance from the AF system could prove very helpful!


A collection of Montréal photos from Flickr

I’m trying out a new HTML5 gallery plugin for WordPress called Juicebox. I’ve used it here to fetch all my photos from Flickr tagged “Montreal”

Gotcha! Manual Mode and Auto-ISO setting

Many DSLRS have an auto-ISO or auto-sensitivity feature that adjusts the ISO setting of the sensor automatically to compensate for changes in lighting conditions. This is a handy feature when in an automatic exposure or program mode, as it means that your aperture or shutter speed settings won’t be as limited by the available light.

When shooting Aperture (Av) or Shutter (Tv) priority, this can be very handy. If I want to keep the digital noise level under control, I can always set a maximum ISO for the Auto-ISO feature.

The problem with Auto-ISO, at least on my Canon EOS 60D, is that it is on by default, even when shooting in Manual (M) mode. This effectively turns Manual mode into a dumbed down Auto-Exposure mode, since the ISO setting will adjust to try and give the correct exposure no matter what aperture or shutter speed you set.

This can be a pain if you are using Manual mode to manipulate the exposure above or below what the camera’s meter recommends.

There are other opinions on this. For instance, I found this article, “An In-depth Discussion of M + Auto-ISO for Canon SLRs” in which the author argues that Auto-ISO should be the norm, even for manual shooters. Personally, I will need to experiment more before I buy that argument.

Auto Lighting Optimizer settings on Canon 60D

For those of you with a late-model Canon DSLR, other features to become familiar with are “Auto Lighting Optimizer” and “Highlight Tone Priority.” These features are relatively recent and probably poorly understood. Suffice to say that they are designed to correct exposures when lighting values are out of range of a good exposure. Highlight Priority Mode will attempt to correct blown out highlights, while Auto Lighting optimizer will attempt to even out the luminosity of the overall exposure. While these features can help to prevent common, but annoying exposure errors, Canon’s manual warns that they can also lead to unexpected results when manually overexposing or underexposing a composition.