Tuesday, November 29, 2016

FIRST TIME EVER - I am selling a bunch of my used camera equipment andsome other goodies

OK - I admit it. I have a bunch of cameras, lenses and other accessories which have been laying around my office and not used in a long time. Every time I post a review of a new camera or lens, people always ask what I do with my old equipment. Up until now, I have held on to everything as backups, but I figured that it was time to unload some and give you all a chance to get some of my toys at prices much less than new.

First come first serve - no exceptions!

Canon 5D Mark III - $1700 (plus $40 shipping) - SOLD TO KAREN

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS - $1250 (plus $40 shipping) - SOLD TO STEVE

Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II - $950 (plus $30 shipping) - SOLD TO TO NICK

Canon 580EX II flash - $130 (plus $20 shipping) - SOLD TO BRIAN

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 - $675.00 (plus $25 shipping) - SOLD TO MATTHEW

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 - $300.00 (plus $20 shipping) - SOLD TO TO JORN

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS - $1500 (plus $50 shipping) - SOLD TO STEVE

Tamron 18-250mm - $175.00 (plus $10 shipping) - SOLD TO LARRY

Drobo 5N (10TB) - $600.00 (plus $60 shipping) - SOLD TO DEAN

Drobo S (6TB) - $450.00 (plus $60 shipping) - SOLD TO ROBERT

PocketWizard MultiMax Transceivers  - New in the box (2) - $160.00 (plus $20 shipping) - SOLD TO SIMON

Each of the products listed above is in excellent condition. In case you have not figured it out by now, I am meticulous when it comes to my camera and computer equipment.

And just for the fun of it... I also have some signed NFL helmets that I would like to sell.

Team Signed San Francisco 49ers - Late 1990s - $700 (plus $40 shipping)

Team Signed Philadelphia Eagles - Late 1990s - $550 (plus $40 shipping) - SALE PENDING TO ALEX

If you are interested in purchasing any of the items, please email to jcable@jeffcable.com

Here are the details:

* All sales are first come first serve
* Payment must be made via PayPal within 24 hours of email (or the sale will go to the next person)
* Delivery will be within 14 days of order (at the very latest)

Monday, November 21, 2016

It's almost Thanksgiving - Here is what I am thankful for!

Here in the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, and it gives us a chance to think about the things that we are thankful for. I don't just think about this at this time of year, but it is a good time to share this with all of you.

Here is what I am most thankful for:


First and foremost, I am thankful for my family. My wife and kids each have their own unique personalities and each of them is amazingly creative in their own rights. They have also been very supportive, as I have travel all over the world and away from home so much. I have a lot to be thankful for, but this one is the biggest!


Not only do I have my long time friends from college and beyond, but I have also made countless friends in the photo community. I am reminded of this at each trade show, when I walk through the hallways and see so many incredible people whom I have known for years.

Amazing Clients

I am grateful for having so many awesome clients. Sure, I am thankful for them trusting me to be their photographer and for giving me the ability to be a successful full-time photographer. But I am actually more thankful for being able to call so many of them friends.


As many of you know, this was the year when I retired as Director of Marketing at Lexar and dedicated myself full-time to my photography business. This was a big decision for me, but one that has already proven to be the right choice. I now have the ability to focus 100% on my passion of photography and do what I want to do. After spending more than 10 years doing both jobs, it is SO NICE to focus on photography and have some time to relax.

Creating Art

I am thankful for finding the passion for photography and changing the way I see the world. Every time I take a photo, I get excited about what I just captured. I know many photographers who despise the editing process, but I look forward to downloading my photos and retouching them to finish my art. Most times, I am just as excited about this part of the creative process and taking the photo.

Seeing the World

I know that most people in the world never get a chance to travel outside of their home country, and I am forever thankful for the opportunities to travel the world and see so many epic locations.

All of You

I am eternally grateful for all of you who read the blog, follow along on social media, watch the videos and share the passion for photography. Each day, I receive messages and feedback from you, and I am constantly inspired by your photos and stories.

As you can see, I am very fortunate to have all of this in my life. Each day, I pinch myself, that I am able to do what I love and be in a position to share the excitement with all with you.

Regardless of whether you celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving or not, I hope that each and every one of you has a list this long!!


And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post or send my monthly newsletter.
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A real world comparison of the new Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III lens vs the older Canon 16-35mm II f/2.8L lens

When Canon announced the new Canon 5D Mark IV camera, they also announced the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III and the Canon 24-105mm f/4 II lenses. All three of these announcements were exciting to me, but the product that intrigued me the most was the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III.

Here are my reasons why I was so interested in this new lens:

* I use the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II at every event I shoot. It is my "go-to" lens for all wide angle shots, and I shoot a ton of wide angle shots or people dancing at parties.

* After shooting with ultra sharp lenses, like the Canon 70-200mm 2.8mm II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II, the 16-35mm f/2.8 II lens always seemed a little soft to me.

I received my new Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III from B&H photo the morning I left for the PhotoPlus show in New York. So...my testing of this new lens was delayed by my travels and other commitments. If you have read my other reviews, you know that I like to use the new products for a little bit before writing a review. This way I can see how it performs in real shooting conditions and see if there are other things I like or dislike, that were not apparent at first look. But now I have had a chance to put it to it's test and give you all the results. If you read the last blog post, where I had the once in a lifetime chance to shoot from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, you know that I chose this new lens as my lens of choice. It was the perfect place to put this lens to the test! If you look at those photos, you see that the lens performs really nicely...but...how does it compare to the older version II lens?

I started the test in my home office, pointing the Canon 5D Mark IV and both lenses at one of my autographed helmets. I had the camera body mounted to the Acratech ball head on my Gitzo tripod and just swapped out lenses for each test. I also removed my Tiffen HT filters for the test, even though I don't believe I lose any quality from these top grade filters.

I have posted all photos in this blog post at full resolution so that you can open the full-res file and see the comparison for yourself. Note: I have not sharpened or adjusted the RAW files in any way. These are all straight out of the camera.

Version III (Click to see full resolution)
These first two images give you a comparison of the newer and older lenses, close to my helmet and set to f/2.8.

Version II (Click to see full resolution)
If you look closely, you will see that the newer lens is sharper than the older lens, but it is not a huge difference. After shooting these photos, I realized that these do not tell the full story. I needed to find an object with fine details and wide enough to test the edge-to-edge sharpness of the lenses.

After walking around my house, looking for a new test subject, I decided to use a painting that I picked up on my last trip to Tanzania. It has a lot of detail, and also happens to be nice and wide. I also decided to print out a "label" letting me know which lens I was testing. This made it easier for me to keep track of which lens I was testing.

Version II (Click to see full resolution)
Here are two photos that I used for most of my comparisons. Both were taken with the Canon 5D Mark IV set to AV mode, ISO 160 and f/2.8. The image from the older (version II) lens is above, and the image from the newer (version III) lens is below.

Version III (Click to see full resolution)
When looking at new lenses, I am most concerned with their sharpness, and we are going to get to that in a minute. But, before we zoom in and look at sharpness, do you notice any difference between the two images? Notice that the new Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III has more light fall-off along all edges of the image, while the older lens did not do that. I find this interesting, but not a big deal, since it is easily correctable.

What is not correctable is the sharpness of the lens. Let's look at that comparison.

UPDATE: I just updated my Lens Aberration Correction on the camera, and this has removed the light fall off that you see in the images above. If you want to update your Canon camera, check out this link.

(For all the photos below, the older model is on the left and the newer lens is on the right)

Comparison at Center of lens at f/2.8 (Click to see full resolution)
This first image shows the detail near the center of the painting, and the difference is very visible. The clarity and sharpness of the new Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III is very apparent. Even in this small preview image, you can see the advantage of the new lens, but zoom in and really take a look.

Comparison at right edge of lens at f/2.8 (Click to see full resolution)
As I mentioned earlier, I was most interested in the clarity of this lens from edge-to-edge. With this in mind, I moved the zoomed image to the far right of the frame, and once again you can see a big difference in the clarity of the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III lens vs the older model.

Comparison at left edge of lens at f/2.8 (Click to see full resolution)
I then moved the zoomed image to the far left of the frame and saw an even bigger difference in quality!

Comparison at right edge of lens at f/16 (Click to see full resolution)
After seeing such a big difference in edge-to-edge clarity of the two lenses at f/2.8, I decided to do the same test at f/16. The photo above shows the comparison of the two lenses at a narrow aperture of f/16, and you will notice that the delta between both lenses lessens. As interesting as this is, this does not matter to me very much, since most of my use for the 16-35mm lens is for events in low light, and I am almost always shooting at f/2.8. The only time I use this lens at an aperture below f/5.6 is for landscapes, and that is not the bulk of my business.

As you can see, the difference between the new Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III lens (left) and the older Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens (right) is pretty dramatic. The new lens looks and feels more like the newer Canon 24-70mm II lens than the older 16-35mm lens. The new lens maintains the same 82mm lens size but feels more solid. The version III does weigh a little more than the version II, but it feels more balanced in the hand. I like that.

All in all, the new Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III performs really well and is a welcome newcomer to my camera bag. This lens does not come cheap, at a price of $2200, but since I rely on the 16-35mm for all my wide angle shots, I am willing to invest the money to get my clients the best possible images possible. For the last couple of years, I have been saying that this focal range was the weak spot in Canon's lineup, and I am thrilled to be shooting with the newer and sharper lens now.

Anyone want to buy the older version II lens from me? :)

And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post or send my monthly newsletter.
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Photographing the Super Moon - Recommended settings and composition

Last night, my wife and I hiked up to the top of a nearby mountain top so that I could capture photos of the super moon. Here is what I brought with me:

* Canon 5D Mark IV camera
* Canon 100-400mm II lens
* Canon 1.4x tele converter
* Gitzo tripod
* Acratech ball head
* Lexar 128GB 1066x Memory Card
* Canon Shutter Release Cable

I used the LightTrac app on my iPhone to determine the exact time and location of the moon rise. When we got to the top of the mountain, I was a little disappointed to the see the hazy sky over downtown San Jose. but that was not going to stop me from capturing photos. I set the camera on the tripod and prepared for the moonrise. And just as the app told me, the moon rose above the mountain tops in the distance.

My wife was nice enough to take some photos with her iPhone, so you can see my setup.

I worked quickly to get shots of the moon coming up over the mountains, knowing that this would not last long.

I shot photos wide (to show the moon over the city) and tight to isolate the moon as close as I could. Since I was using the Canon 1.4x tele converter with the Canon 100-400mm lens, I was effectively shooting photos at 560mm. As you can see from this photo, the advantage of the haze is the orange coloring in the moon.

My wife, being the creative one in the family, even took a panorama shot of me shooting. Good idea Annette!

As the moon kept rising, I kept shooting.

At this point, you are probably wanting to know what my camera settings were. ( I know this, because I get so many messages from all of you asking me to give you camera settings.) So here is how I took the photos. I actually shot in two different modes. To start, when the moon and night sky were about the same brightness, I was shooting in Aperture Priority mode, but using the exposure compensation at -0.7 to darken the scene and keep the moon from being blowing out (being too bright). My settings for these images were ISO 160, f/8, 1/40 sec)

In this smaller image, you can barely see the silhouette of the mountain tops at the bottom of the frame, but it looks better in the large image.

Here is a crop from another photo. The advantage to using the Canon 5D Mark IV, is having 30 megapixels, allowing me to crop in and still have very nice resolution.

Once the sky darkened and the moon got brighter, it was imperative to switch to manual mode in the camera. My goal when shooting these images, is to keep the moon properly exposed, knowing that I could adjust the exposure of the city later in post processing. At this point, I changed my camera settings to ISO 160, f/6.3, 1/25 sec. I then had to lighten the lower half of the photo in Photoshop, so that you can see the city below the moon.

One more tip for you all... Try to find a good foreground for the moon. Sure, we can all get cool close-up shots, like the image above this last one, but it is more interesting if you can find something else to show in the photo. For these photos, I used the city of San Jose. I would have preferred to use a more iconic foreground, like the Golden Gate Bridge or something like that, but I don't have the time to make the trip to SF right now.

Tonight is another chance to capture the super moon. I hope that this information helps you to capture some cool shots of your own!

ADDED: Here is a shot from tonight's shoot

For this shot, I decided to use my Canon 7D Mark II with the same lens setup. This added the crop factor making the lens closer to a 700mm focal length.
And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post or send my monthly newsletter.
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A very RARE chance to photograph from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge!!!

Sorry everyone - due to legal reasons, I had to remove the images from the blog. I guess you will just have to trust me that the experience was epic!


And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post or send my monthly newsletter.
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The High Sierras of California - Fall Colors / Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls

It is November 2nd and it was exactly a month ago that my wife, mother-in-law and I were driving though the Sierras heading to Mammoth Lakes, CA. We were in two different cars, since my mother-in-law would be continuing south to the San Diego area, and we would be heading back to the Bay Area after the mini vacation. This worked out really well, since I wanted to stop and shoot photos when I saw a good shot, and that was fairly often.

As we cut through the Lake Tahoe area, we drove down a hill and saw our first sight of Fall colors. We both pulled over to check out the scene. There were numerous other people on the dirt road, taking photos of the colors, but I left the road and walked closer to the trees. I wanted to get closer to the trees, but also wanted to find a foreground for the photo.

I saw this rock and walked to a location where I could include the rock (foreground), the trees (mid ground) and the sky (background) in one frame. I put on my Tiffen Circular Polarizing Filter to help accentuate the colors in the trees and sky.

I should mention, that for this trip, I packed really light with just the following:

* Canon 5D Mark III
* Canon 28-300mm lens
* Tiffen 77mm Circular Polarizing Filter
* Gitzo travel tripod with the Acratech ball head
* A bunch of Lexar 128GB 1066x CF cards

All of this was packed in my ThinkTank backpack.

About a half hour later, I was on my own, driving towards Mammoth and looking for more Fall colors. I came up a crest and saw these colors off to my right. I pulled over and took another shot. What I liked about this image, was the inclusion of both the Fall colors and the mountains in the distance.

As you can see, we were driving just ahead of an oncoming storm, and so I had cloudy skies. I would have preferred deep blue skies and puffy clouds, but this is what I had. The advantage is, I did not have any harsh shadows to deal with.

As always, I made sure to capture the wide shot, and then zoom in to isolate some of the details.  I love the layers of colors, with green in the back, yellow in the middle and grey in the front.  But hat makes this image most interesting, in my opinion, is this one dark tree popping out from all the yellow trees, purposely positioned off to the right of the photo.

Dramatic skies over a grove of trees.

Once again, I took wide shots and tight shots.

For this image, I took the photo into NIK ColorEfex Pro and added an Bi-Color effect to the trees. Although it is not historically correct, I really like the photo nonetheless.

I took this photo for two reasons. Firstly, I liked the symmetry of all the tree and branches. And secondly, I wanted to show all of you that there is beauty in the trees, even without the colorful leaves.

A couple of days later, we went on a hike and saw some amazing views. As you can see, we had beautiful blue skies at this time. It so pretty with the colorful trees in the valley, with these majestic snow laced mountains in the distance.

I hiked further up the path and found this group of flowers. Just like the first image of this blog post, I was looking for a strong foreground, and these worked perfectly.

I also zoomed in to the flowers and and made them my subject for this shot.

When hiking back along the Aspen lined creek, I looked up and saw the sun peeking through the trees. I changed the camera settings to f/18 and moved to where the sun was just barely visible through the trees, which accentuates the starburst.

And...you guessed it...I shot tight and wide once again. See the trend here? :)

On our last day in Mammoth, my wife and I decided to hike to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls. As we made the drive into the park, we stopped to photograph the Minarets.

It was a short hike from the parking lot to Devils Postpile. I had been here a couple of times in the past, but never photographed this National Monument. Using the Canon 28-300mm lens at 28mm, I got down low to the broken columns of Basalt to make them larger in the photo. doing this makes it easier for you, the viewer, to see the awesome columnar shapes of these rocks.

I climbed up another rock formation to get as high as possible to photograph Devils Postpile straight on.

And then...we continued our hike towards Rainbow Falls. And this time, we made it!

You see...last time we did this hike (about 7 years ago), I ended up rolling my ankle and breaking my foot half way down the trail. I had to be taken out of there on horse back. That sucked! But this time, all was good and I made it to the falls, camera, tripod and all. My wife took this photo to commemorate my success this time around.

Whenever I photograph waterfalls, I always use a circular polarizing filter. This helps for two reasons:

1. It helps cut out the glare off of the wet rocks.
2. The filter cuts out some of the light, which means that I can get a slower shutter speed.

Using the filter and changing the settings of my camera to ISO 100, and an aperture of f/22, I was able to get a shutter speed of 1/4 second. Considering that I had a lot of light in the sky, getting a slow shutter speed (to show the movement of the water) was a challenge.

I looked closely at the waterfall and tried to find the most interesting movement of water. I then zoomed in tight to 300mm to isolate just that area of cascading water. Since I did not have any sky in the frame, I was able to get a shutter speed of 1/2 second for this photo. 

I hope you enjoyed my view of the Sierras. It was a really great 3 days of rest and a chance to get out and breathe the fresh air. Yes, it is true...my version of resting is breaking out the camera and shooting for myself. It is not just my job, it is my passion!

And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post or send my monthly newsletter.
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.