Wednesday, October 23, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: Canon announces development of the EOS-1D X Mark III camera

At midnight tonight EST, Canon announced the development of their new flagship DSLR, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III. When it ships, this will be the new top-of-the-line camera for Canon and the one that I will be using at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Canon has not announced a lot of information about the new camera, other than the fact that they are working hard on it, and that it should be out well before the Olympic Games next summer.

Even with the limited amount of information released, I am VERY excited about the direction Canon is going with this new DSLR. Here are some key points:

* Canon says that the camera will have better focus points and an even better focus system, which is always a benefit to those of us shooting sports and high speed action.

* The new camera will capture up to 16 frames per second with AF tracking, instead of today's 12. Some of you may think that this is unnecessary, but trust me, this speed boost will increase the chances of us sports shooters capturing the peak of action.

* There is a new sensor in this camera, which usually means better image quality. More info to come on that in the near future...

* A new DIGIC processor which will give me better images at high ISO. This is always welcome!

* The buttons on the back of the camera are now backlit. I remember being in a Canon focus group many years ago and they asked if I wanted this feature. At the time, I told them that it was not needed. But...after spending the last 10 years shooting parties and receptions in dark venues, I welcome this addition.

* Finally, the 1D will have WiFi built in. The Canon 5D Mark IV has had this for a long time and it was long overdue.

* This new flagship DSLR will have two CFExpress card slots which is awesome! These are the newest memory cards which can move data much faster than the older CF, SD or CFast cards. This will be hugely helpful for anyone wanting to clear their camera's buffer quickly or under a tight deadline. I wrote a blog post back in July, pleading with Canon to move to these new cards and I am so happy they listened.

Hoping that this camera would include these new cards, I have been testing new CFExpress cards from Pro Grade Digital.

Since I shot a wedding last weekend using my Canon 1D X Mark II (today's earlier post), I had 54GB of Canon RAW images on a CFast card. I timed how long it took to download those images from the CFast card to my internal SSD on my 2018 model MacBook Pro. I then copied the same 54GB of images to the CFExpress card (using a prototype Pro Grade Digital CFExpress reader connected through Thunderbolt 3) and copied them to the same SSD to see how much faster this card is. Here are my results:

Data: Canon RAW and MRAW files
Size: 54GB
Files: 2571

Copied from a Pro Grade Digital CFast card: 2 min and 17 seconds
Copied from a Pro Grade Digital CFExpress card: 37.4 seconds

When I see this data, it just makes me think about how much more efficient I can be at the upcoming Olympics. As many of you know, I have a 15 minute deadline for Team USA, and every second counts!

As I said at the beginning of this blog post, Canon just made the technology announcement, which is different from a product introduction. Now we have to wait for more information, the price and the release date. But I do know this. I will have one of these in my hands to test, and give you the full results when I have them.

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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.
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

Photographing a wedding - Tips for photographers and those hiring a photographer

This past Saturday I photographed a wedding with my second shooter and we had a blast capturing images for this newly married couple and their families. In May of 2018, I blogged what it was like shooting a wedding by myself, so this time I thought I would give advice to other photographers about shooting a wedding with a second photographer.

There are numerous advantages of photographing a wedding with a second photographer. Some of which are:

* Each photographer can concentrate on their subject
* The second shooter can assist with the grouping and posing
* Both photographers can give creative input
* It is less stress knowing that both photographers are capturing key moments
* You can have fun working with each other

I am going to take you through our day and explain the thought process for what we were capturing. This should be helpful to all those photographers who are just starting out, and wondering what to capture and how to capture really nice images.

First of all, you as a team need to coordinate to make sure you get the key shots of the day. Those are:

* The bride getting ready
* Portraits of the bride and her brides maids as they get ready
* Detail shots of the shoes, rings and other sentimental items
* The groom and groomsmen getting ready
* The bride getting her dress and jewelry on
* Portraits of the bride and bridal party in their dresses
* The wedding ceremony (with the ring exchange, first kiss and big exit)
* Portraits after the ceremony (all family and key friends)
* Reception: Grand entrance
* Reception: First dance
* Reception: Speeches
* Reception: Bouquet toss
* Reception: Garter toss
* Reception: Cake cutting
* Reception: Dancing and partying
* The big exit (if there is one)

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 70-200mm lens at 200mm, ISO 800, F/3.5, 1/200 sec)

Carol (the bride) is one highly organized woman and had scheduled out the day to the minute. She had us arriving at 2:45pm to start taking photos. Evan (my second shooter) and I met for lunch at noon and decided that we should arrive an hour early, so that I could capture images of the ladies getting ready, and Evan could get the detail shots.

(Canon 5D Mark III, 100mm macro lens, ISO 800, F/10, 1/320 sec)

Evan collected the rings, shoes and other items so that we could capture those photos outside while I did my job inside the house.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 70-200mm lens at 160mm, ISO 2000, F/5, 1/160 sec)

I was able to capture photos of the ladies getting ready without stressing about the detail shots or the men getting ready. I knew that Evan was going to head over to the hotel to capture images of the guys as soon as he completed his work at the house.

Having the freedom and extra time to concentrate on the bride, bridesmaids and her family, also gave me a chance to have some fun with them. This portrait of Carol's parents was taken in between the formal photos.

Meanwhile, Evan was at the hotel capturing images of the guys. Evan has second shot for me many times and I have full trust that he will capture high quality images. This trust is really important, since this part of the day was all on him.

We were now about 2 hours before the start of the wedding and it was time for Carol to get her dress on. I captured many images that included their faces, but also zoomed in with the 70-200mm lens to get the detail of her dress.

Throughout the afternoon, Evan and I were staying touch through text messaging. When he was done photographing the guys, he let me know he was heading back to meet me at the house.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-70mm lens at 24mm, ISO 2500, F/4, 1/250 sec)

It was Evan's idea to have all the girls lay out Carol's dress, and my idea to grab a chair to take this high shot. Both ideas came together for a really nice photo.

Now that Carol was dressed, we went back outside the house for more portraits.

We were very lucky to have overcast skies, which made for perfect photography conditions.

Evan took this shot of me doing my thing.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 70-200mm lens at 130mm, ISO 200, F/4.5, 1/200 sec, Canon 600EX-RT at -1)

And here is the shot I was taking at that very moment. (Photographer's note: You will see in Evan's photo that there was a pillar to my left. I made sure to move my groups away from that pillar so that it would not be in the background. My goal was to have as much of the foliage and flowers in the background as possible. I also changed my aperture from f/2.8 to f/4.5 so that everyone would be in focus, front to back.)

While Evan was helping me set up the next group, I turned and saw dad and one of the brides maids watching on. I love the expressions on their faces, as they looked on with so much emotion.

Evan was taking some photos of Carol when I got down low and focused just on her bouquet.

We had completed all of our portraiture, and Evan took off for the venue. I was in my car about to leave as well, when I saw this open window and knew that it would make a good photo of the bride. I turned the car off, unpacked my gear and had Carol peak out of the window for this shot. It was well worth the extra couple of minutes.

Oh - speaking of gear, here is what I used for this wedding:

* Canon 1D X Mark II
* Canon 5D Mark IV
* Canon 70-200mm 2.8 lens
* Canon 24-70mm 2.8 lens
* Canon 16-35mm lens
* Canon 100mm macro lens
* Canon 600EX-RT flashes (6 - mostly at the reception)
* MagMod flash diffusers
* Four Manfrotto light stands
* Lots of Powerex AA rechargeable batteries
* Pro Grade Digital memory cards
* Blackrapid camera straps with the Acratech Swift Clamps
* All packed in a Thinktank rolling bag

Then it was wedding time!

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 70-200mm lens at 200mm, ISO 640, F/4, 1/500 sec)

Evan and I made a simple plan, where I would mostly shoot from the center aisle and he would roam. If I roamed, he was watching and would cover the middle. All of my ceremony shots were taken with the Canon 1D X Mark II and the Canon 70-200mm lens.

Evan was moving around, this time shooting from the side, which gave us a different view of the bride.

I moved to the side for this shot and we switched positions. There was no real communication of the switch, but we have worked together enough to predict these moves.

I moved back to the center position and asked Evan to get some shots of the parents in the front row.

He did a great job of capturing the emotion!

One of the key shot - the ring exchange.

Another key moment - the first kiss!

I always enjoy capturing images as the newly married couple walk out from the ceremony. There are usually great smiles and sometimes great relief from having completed their big moment.

I was running up the walkway, but Evan was positioned perfectly to capture this shot.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 70-200mm lens at 130mm, ISO 640, F/4, 1/200 sec, Canon 600EX-RT at -1)

The most stressful part of photographing a wedding is when we are taking the photos after the ceremony. My goal is to do this as quick as possible, ensuring that we have great shots but also not taking so long that the couple is missing too much of their reception.

The fog was rolling in behind our subjects, which made for some great lighting once again.

The groupings are very important. Carol had created a very detailed list of the photos she wanted, and Evan was in charge of herding the cats.

We only had 35 minutes of daylight after the ceremony, so it was imperative that Evan gathered everyone efficiently and I shot quickly.

We had to get a photo of just the bride! After I took this, we decided to have some fun with her veil.

I had Evan take the end of her veil and throw it into the wind as I captured this shot. But, we can see Evan at the left side of the frame.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 70-200mm lens at 70mm, ISO 1250, F/4, 1/200 sec, Canon 600EX-RT at -1)

This was easy to fix in Adobe Photoshop, by cloning him out of the photo. I also made slight adjustments to the lighting as you can see.

Evan asked the couple to walk up the pathway to get some shots of them walking. As he did this, I was packing up my bag, preparing to head over to the reception.

I looked up from my camera bag and saw this shot, and had to get this perspective as well.

Remember how I said that it was important to have fun? Here is David (the video guy) and Evan joining in on the fun.
(Canon 1D X Mark II, 16-35mm lens at 20mm, ISO 1600, F/4, 1/200 sec, Canon 600EX-RT on camera in ETTL mode and two more remotes in manual mode)

In between taking the portraits and the start of the ceremony, Evan and I jammed over to the club house and set up four light stands with remote flashes to cover the dance floor. I had two on my frequency and he had two on his (so we would not be triggering each other's flashes).

We captured the different speeches...

...which were both hilarious and moving.  This one was captured from my angle.

This one was captured at Evan's angle.

As you can see from this shot, Evan had the better angle for this best man's toast (since he was turned away from me).

The father / daughter dance...

...and the mother / son dance are always a great shot.

I was definitely not expecting this, as Paul Michael picked up his mother at the end of the dance.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 16-35mm lens at 16mm, ISO 800, F/3.5, 1/200 sec, Canon 600EX-RT on camera in ETTL mode and two more remotes in manual mode)

There are two good positions for the bouquet toss. I took the "over the bride" shot (using the Canon 16-35mm wide lens), while Evan took the "receiving" shot below).

We took a lot of photos of people dancing and having fun, making sure to key in on the bride and groom when they were out on the dance floor.

Just before 11pm, the bride and groom made their exit through a tunnel of sparklers. I decided to shoot without any flash, using just the ambient light from the sparklers and the light from the videographers.

One of their friends had this beautiful old Bentley, and the couple wanted their photo in it. In order to get this shot, I ran back into the venue and grabbed a second flash. I had the groom's father hold the flash by the passenger window (pointing into the back seat), and remotely fired his flash and my on-camera flash to make this happen. I then removed the father in Photoshop.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 16-35mm lens at 31mm, ISO 2000, F/4, 1/160 sec)

But this was the real exit vehicle. Paul Michael's family is well known in the area for fixing up VW microbuses, so it was only fitting to send them off in one. (As a matter of fact, if you have been reading the blog for the past 6 years, you may remember this crazy blog about them.)

The job of a photographer is to tell the story of the day, and this was the perfect ending shot for us.

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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.
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

How I organize my rechargeable batteries to get the most out of them

We are currently having rolling blackouts here in California due to high winds and fire danger. This means that many homes and businesses may be without power for days. Yesterday, knowing we still had power, I charged a bunch of my batteries in preparation for an upcoming event. I posted this photo (below) and had a bunch people write to me and ask me about my labeling system.

Instead of responding to everyone individually, and knowing that this was a common question, I thought it would be good to share my technique here on the blog. is my system for managing all my rechargeable batteries.

I typically label all of my equipment with labels from my Dymo label maker. The bigger and more expensive equipment has a label with my name and email address. But I also mark almost all of my batteries with a label to help me identify their age and grouping.

These are the Canon LP-E6N batteries which are used in all of Canon's 5D cameras. I currently have 5 of these batteries in my rotation. I have labeled them based on when I got them. So that "B" battery that you see has been in use for a really long time, probably since the Canon 5D Mark II. The "F" battery came with the Canon 5D Mark IV and is the newest. The original "A" battery has been recycled already, but lasted through many years of shooting.

When do I recycle one of these batteries? I take them out of my rotation when they give me errors in the recharge process or they do not last long in the camera.

The camera batteries are easy to keep track of since I only have 5 of the LP-E6N batteries and 3 of the LP-E19 batteries (for the Canon 1D X Mark II), but keeping track of all my rechargeable AA batteries is a different story.

I have labeled my Canon flashes to keep track of my oldest to newest as well

I literally have hundreds of Powerex Pro AA batteries in my arsenal, with 40 being used in my Canon 600EX-RT flashes in a typical day. I wanted to devise a plan to use them as efficiently as possible, and came up with this strategy:

1. I always keep a group of 4 batteries together throughout their life (which means that they are used together in a flash and charged together in the Powerex C980 charger).
2. I always label the sets of batteries with the date I put them into use.
3. Since I start using many batteries at the same time, I position the labels (even though they have the same month and year printed on them) in different places on the batteries to identify their grouping.

I just entered these eight batteries into my rotation, hence the Oct 2019 labels. As you can see, I have one set labels high and on the back and another set labeled low and on the front. This system allows me to enter many sets at the same time, but still easily identify them by their own group.

You may be wondering why I want all these batteries to be grouped together. The reason is this: some of my flashes get used more than others, and I do not want to mix a newer battery with full power with an older one which is at the end of its life.

The Powerex Pro AA batteries hold 2700mAh which is awesome and they can be recharged hundreds of times. I typically use a set for up to 2 years before retiring them to my household battery drawer. Even though they might be less than optimal for my professional use, they are still very good for household appliances like remote controls and other things.

I hope this all makes sense to you and helps you be more efficient with your batteries and charging.

Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
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.
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.