Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why I switched from Canon to Nikon.

Starting off today's blog with a shameless self promotion.
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       Hey folks, I hope all is well with you... I'm doing great, thanks for asking! Since I have some time, I figured I'd sit down and write a blog. As you can probably imagine if you know anything about my schedule I've been basically slammed, and super busy throughout the last few weeks, and since I work in retail and we're approaching the holiday season, it's about to get even busier. I was going back and forth in my head for the last ten minutes, trying to think about what I should blog about today, and what kinda shooting I've done lately. Then it hit me like a brick... I'm shooting something so different, its like day and night... black and white... Canon and Nikon.
       If the title of this post hadn't given it away, I switched from a Canon 5D Mark III over to a brand new Nikon D810 this month. Fun stuff, and lots of reasons. Here's the story:

       Working at Best Buy creates a lot of challenges for somebody on a Best Buy hourly wage. I'm only half joking. You see, having thousands of dollars of expensive digital imaging toys at work to play with, test out, and compare, enables you to make informed decisions for customers about what they should buy and why they should buy it. The problem is, quite simply, that a good amount of the time, I AM a customer in my own store. I'm surely guilty of spending money on photography, no doubt about it.  When the Nikon D810 arrived in the store for the first time, it was just like any other Nikon camera arriving in the store. For me, as a Canon person, it didn't really create any excitement because it wasn't relevant (or so I thought). I don't say this often so cherish it... "I was wrong."
       The Nikon D810 was in our store for about a week (maybe two) before I even held it in my hand. We had put out a shelf-display so that other people could come in and try it out, but I didn't really care it was there. It wasn't until another camera arrived a few weeks later (the Nikon D750), that I picked up and tested out the D810 for real. I was genuinely excited for the Nikon D750 when it came in because the D750 was supposed to rival the Canon 5D Mark III that I owned already, but come in at a price tag that was just about $1000 less. I enjoyed playing with the D750 for most of that day, but after comparing it side by side with the D810, I just kept getting better results from the D810 than anything I'd ever used before. The files were sharp, detailed, and consistent with great color and dynamic range. All photos for the rest of this blog post will have been taken with the D810.

       Before anybody gets me wrong, I still love Canon cameras and they have a fantastic brand. At mostly any price point, I typically find that buying a Canon camera is the better choice for most people. With that said, at the $3000+ dollar price point (with the exception of the Canon 1Dx), Nikon has really taken the cake with the D810. Coming in at $3,299... it's actually cheaper than the 5D Mark III at its $3,399 price point. Cheaper is relative, because as far as anybody is concerned you're basically spending the same amount of money on either camera, plus an arm, or a leg.
       The D810 has a lot of key advantages over the 5D Mark III, and its strange to say but there really aren't any disadvantages. There's only one thing I miss and I'll talk about that later on. The High-ISO noise performance on the D810 was better than the 5D Mark III by about a whole stop. Which means that if I was comfortably shooting at ISO 1600 before, now I can shoot at ISO 3200 and feel pretty good about it. The most obvious comparison people make is in the megapixel counts. Yes, it's true that the D810 has 36.2 Megapixels, which is immense over the 5D Mark III's sensor which is only 22.3 Megapixels. Regardless, you have to buy expensive lenses if you want to squeeze the TRUE detail out of either one. The extra detail of the 36 megapixel sensor is definitely noticeable, but not entirely necessary for about 90% of things.

       To prove my point, please refer to this above picture of a bumble bee on a flower. This picture, I took the other day with the D810. But this photo doesn't use 36 Megapixels... no, in fact it only uses 1 Megapixel. One single megapixel for this photo, just to prove that it's so vastly unimportant how many megapixels your camera has unless you are printing REALLY large. It's helpful for cropping, but with the right lenses and framing, cropping isn't really necessary for professionals trying to get it right "in-camera." The file sizes on the D810 are immense thought, some as large as 80mb. Yikes!

       My lovely girlfriend Vikki will appreciate me posting her face up in this blog. She's very supportive of my photography and will model for me at any time. I don't think I thank her enough, but she enjoys having new profile pictures to choose from every fifteen seconds.
       One of the things I loved right away on the D810 was the ability to set custom white-balance in six pre-defined slots. That was never available to me on Canon, or if it was... it may have been so hard to find/access that I just never used it. I have white balance presets for the places that I go the most, such as Best Buy. The dynamic range of this camera is incredible as well. I can shoot a single image, and from that image pull back all the detail from the shadows, and the highlights to create an HDR photo from a single snapshot. The dynamic range is measured at 14.8ev... which is pretty impressive compared to the 5D Mark III's dynamic range at about 11.8ev. That means I can recover almost TWICE as much detail from both shadows and highlights of the same photo in Adobe Lightroom.

       One of my favorite things so far with the Nikon, is the ability to use exceptional third party lenses like the Sigma Art series lenses, and the Tamron SP series lenses. This isn't to say that they don't make these for Canon, but I had purchased them in the past, and had almost indefinite issues with them every time. The Sigma Art lenses wouldn't autofocus correctly, and the Tamron image stabilizer would have problems etc... None of that happens on the Nikon. This wasn't something I was really thinking about when I switched, it's just been a cool side effect.
       Most people don't care much for video, but I'll throw in a pitch for the D810 video performance. It out-performs the Canon by a good margin here. Shooting 60 frames per second in contrast to Canon's limit of 30 frames. The dynamic range helps to shoot video and the new "Flat" color profile makes editing a breeze in post-production work.

       Well, there you have it people. A laundry list of reasons why I gave up my Canon system and switched over to Nikon. In summary: Higher Megapixels, Low Noise at High ISO, Better Pro-Functionality Feature Set, Higher FPS on Video, Third Party Lens Selection and Compatibility. This seemed like a good time to make this move.

       I'll wrap up, I know this is a long one, just by the amount of time I've been typing. As always, if you've made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope if you're interested in photography that you got some information from this, and if you aren't interested in photography but you like the pretty pictures, I hope you enjoyed the pretty pictures. Have a wonderful day or night, depending on when you read.

Don't forget to like the Chris Johanson Photography Facebook page if you haven't already!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

End of Summer, Start of Another School Year

       Can't remember the last time I hopped on here and wrote a blog post. I'll try my hardest to make it a good one, but as per usual I have plenty to talk about. Summer has officially come to a close today, as I enter my first day of classes (third year of college). I'm going to do my best to ensure that I cover all the months in which I haven't been blogging. Lets go.

Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70mm f/2.8L II

       If I'm not mistaken, the last time I wrote a blog was in February. It's now September, which means I've missed some crucial things and we're all going to get up to speed. I'll start with the new equipment. I've upgraded my Canon 6D to a Canon 5D Mark III. This was a tough decision, mainly because the 6D had Wi-Fi (which I still miss on the new camera), but also because anybody who knows the price tag on the 5D Mark III will understand my hesitation. Regardless, I sold my 6D and dove in headfirst. Couldn't be happier.
       Of course, the camera body isn't the only upgrade that I wanted to make. Last I blogged, my kit included the Canon 24-105 f/4L IS, which is a great "kit lens" for full frame cameras, but I wanted better. So naturally I took toward the internet for suggestions on upgrading my midrange zoom. More on that later. I also purchased a very famous lens sometime during the past few months. I went out and got myself a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II which is one the best (if not THE best) lens Canon has ever made. I unfortunately ended up returning it. This had nothing to do with the quality of the lens. My decision to return it was because I needed a new car, and $2500 was a lot of money that could be better put elsewhere. Alas, I settled for my 70-200 f/4 IS, which is good, but not AS good.

Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm f/2.0 USM

       As many of you are aware, I work at Best Buy in Framingham, MA. At the time that this was all taking place, I was working in the computer department, selling mostly Apple (iMacs, MacBooks etc...). But in early April, it was announced that my particular Best Buy store was going to be the first Best Buy in the company to get a renovation of the Digital Imaging department. It was going to be a "Camera Experience Shop" and was going to require full-time representatives for Canon, Nikon, and Sony. I was asked if I would be interested in a Canon Expert position, which I graciously accepted.
       There was many cool and interesting aspects of taking the new position, but two things really stood out. The first was that I was only going to have to deal with and sell cameras all day long, which I can talk about for hours. I found them to be a much more interesting topic than computers. Second thing was that the position required a trip out to Best Buy's headquarters for a week of formal training.  So April 27 arrived and myself, and three others got on a plane from Boston Logan Airport to Minneapolis Saint Paul in Minnesota. I was going on a company paid trip at 21 years old. Exciting.

Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L

       The trip was amazing. Lots of photography. Many brilliant photographers from all walks of life and specialties. Training was good, people were friendly, and the memories will probably never fade. I returned home from this trip with a bunch of new gear, and something unexpected... a girlfriend. Go figure! I also made the acquaintance of Damian Strohmeyer, a professional who shoots sports for Sports Illustrated Magazine (and has shot now 70+ cover images for them). He happened to live only a short drive from us at home, so when we all returned to Massachusetts, Damian joined us at Best Buy for some weekly photography classes that were open to the public. We all learned a lot from him and can't thank him enough, so shout out to you, Damian!

Please check out his website here:

Below are a few images shot while working with Damian in Minneapolis:

Canon 5D Mark III, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

Canon 5D Mark III, 100mm f2/.8L Macro IS

Canon 5D Mark III, 70-200mm f/4 IS

       This shot was taken by Wadad Chammas while I was experimenting with Canon's top of the line EOS 1D X. What an amazing camera, but with a price tag double that of the one that I already own, I don't think I'll ever need it unless I'm shooting sports professionally. 
       Everything sort of settled down after the trip to Best Buy Corporate. I eased into working with cameras rather than computers quite easily. People often give me a hard time for how excited I get about new arriving gear to the store. What can I say? I just love the stuff. 


       Remember earlier when I said that I would continue talking about upgrading my 24-105mm Lens... well it's because there is quite the story behind it. The background for the story is simple, but in case you don't know, I'm going to set the stage. I opted toward buying a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. There are many varieties of this lens. Canon versions, third-party options, you name it. Specifically, this is not a lens that tends to have IS, or Image Stabilization. Tamron however, makes a 24-70mm f/2.8 VC USD lens which is basically the same as IS. VC stands for Vibration Compensation. Identical Concept. The factors that were guiding me towards the Tamron version of this lens were far outweighing the ones pushing me towards the Canon. The Tamron came in at $1299, while the canon was $2300. Ouch. Plus it didn't have any stabilization. 

Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70mm f/2.8L II

       Best Buy doesn't sell Tamron lenses, so I went down to a local camera shop and bought one. It was defective. Returned it and bought another. Also defective. I even drove up to New Hampshire to buy one tax free in hopes that getting one from a different demographic might help. Nope, defective again. But the strange part was that there different issues each time. It wasn't like they were all missing focus. They each had individual problems. Gotta say, many people on the internet love this lens, but you definitely need to play the lottery to get a good copy. Long story short, I ended up biting the bullet... and bought the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM II. It is simply amazing. It's about as good as a zoom lens gets. A few of the images above have been shot using this lens, which you'll have noticed if you've been paying attention to the gear-remarks.  
       Somewhere in the mix for a short while I also purchased a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Series lens, which was a hit or miss kinda lens. When the focus hit, it was stunning... but most of the time it seemed to be inaccurate, which led me to quickly sell it and move on.

Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L

       That pretty much brings me up to date, and hopefully didn't bore you to tears (for those of you that managed to read the whole thing). I know this was an unusually long blog post, but I felt that it was necessary to catch up from where I left off. If I'm to keep my interest in photography strong, I need to be active in it. Its 100% easier to NOT do things, than to do them... so its amazing we do much of anything at all!
       Thanks to you all who read to this point. I hope you enjoyed, and as always I hope you like the images. For many of you they will be repeat images, but they are some of my favorites from over this time period. I'm off to bed, work in the morning. I'll leave you on this photo of my new kitten, best to leave on a smile.

Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70mm f/2.8L II

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Medfield State Hospital

       Its been a long time since I've put up a blog post. This is, of course, because I've been busy juggling school, work, and family life among other things. Having recently moved, it's nice to be finally re-situated with everything and I'm slowly working my way back into "the loop." Today is one of those rare days where I haven't scheduled anything at all. I had class earlier, but it was just a single class today and that was over by noon. When I got home I grabbed a bite to eat, and since I'm not the type that likes to do nothing all day, I decided I was going to go shoot for a while.
       Of course, if you live in Medfield you already know that the only place to just "go shoot for no reason" is the Medfield State Hospital grounds. There is a limitless supply of very unique photographs to be taken here and due to a fresh snowfall just yesterday, the whole place was coated in a stunning blanket of white.

       The buildings that litter the grounds are abandoned masses of brick, filled with asbestos and lead, and are off limits to the general public. Until recently, trespassing on the grounds of the late mental-ward was illegal, but it has come to pass for a great walking area, and even better, a gold mine for photos.

        Its a shame that the buildings are locked and boarded up, I'm sure there are some fantastic architectural shots to be had on the inside, but its probably not worth the risk.
        I frequently pass through here with my camera, same as many nearby photographers do as a habit. Of course I love to visit at least once per season, as the colors and feel of the place change greatly.

       Today I dressed up in multiple layers because I knew the shots I wanted were going to be tricky without trodding through some snow. Now, considering there was about 8-10 inches on the ground in most places, boots were a must! At one point, while I was standing on the concrete front porch of a building, a giant chunk of snow slid off the roof and fell directly to my left, leaving a pile large enough to build an igloo. Glad I wasn't underneath it. I tried to be more careful for most of the day.

       Despite the stunning colors that the sky had to offer today (which you will see later), I couldn't help but to convert some of my images to black and white. I've been enjoying working with black and white more and more lately and at least one out of every twenty-or-so images will get turned black and white just to mix it up and keep things interesting.

       Those of you who have read my blog posts before will find this particular building familiar, as I have posted a picture (in black and white) of my brother seated on the front steps. If you scroll down into my blog history you'll likely find it. This is one of my favorite buildings in the place. It stands resolute and powerful looking... old aged, yet strong and compelling. Usually I shoot this building straight on, but today I had a 24mm lens which was wide enough to shoot it at this angle (provided I walk out 100 feet into the snow).

       The snow made all the trees look amazing. This one I particularly liked because it was all by itself. When I came across this tree I realized that the sun was directly behind it, which gave it a cool halo of light, and made the sky look a deep blue. 

       As I started to head back to my car, the sun was going down and lighting the clouds in a brilliant orange color against the blue sky. I actually ran to frame this shot before I missed it. I've lost plenty of shots here by waiting just a few seconds and then the light changes. Glad I managed to grab it, because it did change about a minute later after the sun came back out from behind the cloud.
       That's going to be it for this blog post, if you guys made it this far, Thanks for Reading!... and if you just looked at the pictures, that is fine too (after all... that's what it's all about). Have a nice week, and leave a comment if you have any feedback. See you later.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Cinematic Look

       Its amazing how time flies. Oftentimes people say its because you're having fun, but it always seems to pass ever more quickly for me whether I'm having an enjoyable time or not. You will all have to forgive me for missing last Friday's blog post. I become distracted by work and school, among other things. Sometimes I find myself so caught up in editing, that I forget to go outside and shoot. Occasionally, it turns out to be the opposite. This week has been an editing week, and Photoshop has been my best companion.

       I've been having a grand old time editing old photos. That being said, I never edit the same photo the same way twice. I've found myself enjoying the "Cinematic Look" as of late. For those who do not understand this, it's basically a form of color correction that attempts to make a still photograph look as if it were taken as a frame out of a film, as opposed to being shot as a single image. These "cinematic" images have a very cool vibe to them, and its something that you can do so many different ways, depending on the mood that you are trying to achieve.
       There are a couple things that I aim to do when creating this look. The first is to simply make all shadows appear as a cool, dark shade... and yet make the highlights appear as a warm, orange glow. All this must be done while subtly maintaining skin tones.

       I have a personal vendetta against placing subjects in the center of a frame. Not because the photographer's handy "rule-of-thirds" draws the eyes attention, but rather because I feel that an off-center position helps to pass the mentality of that film look. If a frame was taken out of a movie, its unlikely that the subject will find themselves dead-center in the frame, and so I avoid it.
       Like most photographers, I dislike shooting portraits in harsh sunlight as it creates dark shadows that pass over a subjects face. On the contrary, if the cinematic look is something you are trying to achieve, then the harsh midday sunlight actually benefits your image. Deep shadows will add contrast to the image, and make the photo more believable, as if stage lighting were shining on the "actor."

       A shallow depth of field plays an important role in this style as well. Often, when cinematographers are filming, they are not presented with the best of locations, especially on a budget. To compensate for unpleasant backgrounds, a shallow depth of field can be used to isolate the subject and maintain a clean frame that is not distracting. The above photo shows an example of this. The cage and bird-toys would have been extremely distracting elements to this photo, so I simply opened up to f/1.4 and shot this wide open.

       Up next, color. Its amazing how humans are drawn to and pushed away by color. The above image may simply just be a shot of my door with some blinds on it, however it transcends that simplicity and becomes so much more. Everything about this photo corresponds to a sad and lonely mood. The cracked and broken blinds, coupled with the shade-ties hopelessly dangling create a effect that is certainly somewhat depressing. But with all that, this photo would not achieve this feeling without its color. If this were a warm image, full of oranges and yellows, it would tell a whole different story.
       Note the change in color between the above image and the one below it. The emotion is real, and the color compliments the mood perfectly. Even though the image is primarily warm, it still achieves a cinematic look by maintaining the cool blue shadows, that fade out of focus in the background.

       By this point you've probably all begun to notice a pattern. These images share something beyond their color. Its their aspect ratio as well. Most photos are taken in a standard 2x3 aspect ratio. This ratio of height to width is standard for a 4x6 print. If you cut off the top and bottom of the image, and reduce the aspect ratio to a 16x9, the image will look much more like a frame from a movie.

       This has been a much more technical blog post, especially for those who aren't into photography at all. If you made it this far and you weren't particularly interested throughout, thanks for sticking with me. For those of you who are into photography, definitely give this style a try, it can be difficult to learn, but its very fun and rewarding in the long run. Thanks all for reading, and see you next week!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Leaves Have Fallen

       It would seem like the year has flown by. I can't be the only person who feels this way towards the end of every year. Let's be honest, there's nothing a photographer loves more than a warm Fall day with bright and brilliant warm colors to match. The reds and the oranges, the yellows and the browns. These create a soothing atmosphere provided the weather outside isn't too frightful, and that season is approaching. The height of the Autumn colors have passed, and it is becoming harder and harder to find those trees with their leaves still glowing, yet hanging on for dear life.

       Most people this time of year stop by the local farms to pick up various seasonal things. Pumpkins, and apple cider seem to be quite popular right about now. I frequently pass a small farm called Volantes in my daily commute. It has a small marketplace, as well as a large greenhouse, and a vast farmers field that give it a homey touch in an urban world. As many of you know, the clocks were just recently set back one hour (thank goodness for an extra hour of sleep). I typically pass the farm too early in the day, while the sun is high above, but this week the "Golden Hour" of light shone at the time when I happened to drive past. Simply couldn't resist. The folks there were kind enough to let me venture out into the field and do some shooting. I shot the above image at 135mm with my new 70-200mm f/4 Canon lens.
       Of course I also took along my 24-105 for some wide angle shots as well. The cool thing about wide angle shots is, if you get close enough, you can still fill the frame with your subject, but draw in much more of the background... like the shot below at 24mm.

       Something I have to mention is a scare in my family that occurred this week after my mom suffered a stroke as a result of a blood-clot in her neck. She was brought to stay at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston by ambulance, and stayed there a few nights. Sparing some personal details, she is weak on her left side, but is doing significantly better than she was. She has been transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Charlestown. Having been given the best room in the whole building, the view from her hospital bed was miraculous. To the left was a clear view of the Zakim Bridge, while out the right was a straight shot of the city under the Tobin Bridge (seen below).

       I actually managed to shoot this exposure 2seconds - Handheld! Thank you image stabilization. My Canon 6D does an amazing job at producing night images with little-to-no grain/noise. Of course, Adobe Camera Raw processing helps a lot too. For those of you that haven't tried ACR or Lightroom. Do it!
       My mom has done so well that she is actually being sent home today, which we are all very excited for. With proper home care and support she will be back up and running in no time. The support that we have received in the form of cards, flowers, and food has been incredible. I want to personally thank anybody reading this blog who has reached out to my family after this event, and I want you to know that your support has been very much appreciated.

I want to close today's blog on that note. It's been a very long week for all of us, yet somehow a very short year. Looking forward, like always, to the holidays. They seem to bring about a sense of family that everybody needs to feel once in a while. I hope everybody has a fantastic day, and I will see you back here next friday. Thanks for reading!


Friday, November 1, 2013

October's End

       Today's blog post will not be quite as long as the previous one. I'm having quite a busy day. That being said, I play to be up to date and never miss a Friday blog post. I've been having some down time with my photography as of late. Spending less time shooting, and more time catching up with editing images that I've shot over the past few weeks. At times I find myself spending hours on a single image, only to go back to the beginning and start new. 

The above image is an example of this. I actually shot this as part of a Senior Portrait shoot for my brother, and I never got around to editing the "non-submittable" images. The goal was to create an image in dramatic black and white, but eventually I decided I liked the slight sepia tone.

Working for Best Buy allows me to pick up good deals on a lot of camera gear so I rarely try to see out local camera shops. This week however, I was looking for a new 70-200 lens and I found myself about thirty minutes from my house at a small (but well known) camera shop in my area. The place is called Newtonville Camera and they were very pleasant. I actually ended up leaving with a Tamron 70-200 lens, but upon shooting with it for a few days, I decided that I didn't like the way it rendered color and brought it back in favor of the Canon-brand version.

           On my way home from Newtonville Camera, I happened across the sun setting behind some clouds and as I drove, I saw this church in front of it. I framed this picture in my head and knew it would be too good to pass up. Naturally, I pulled over on a side street (parking in a "No-Parking Zone" so I wouldn't miss the shot) and I got out and shot this. The color of the light was magical and the composition with the church created a good subject matter. Shot with my Canon 24-105 f/4L stopped down to f/16. I wanted to make sure I got the light beams emanating from behind the clouds.

       Those who know me well, also know that I will never pass up an opportunity for a good shot. During this past week I made multiple trips back and forth from my college, and I frequently drive through Needham, MA. People who live in and around Needham can tell you, there is always an abundance of Turkeys around this season. They are large birds, and they can sure get in the way.

       I actually almost hit this guy driving home through Needham, so needless to say I grabbed my gear and stopped in the center of town, jumping out and chasing the Turkey around with my camera. The things you do when interesting subjects don't come easy. I'm sure the string of cars driving past me must have thought I was nuts. Worth it.

       Looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. Last year I had my wisdom-teeth removed the day before Thanksgiving so I couldn't eat much. I guess I'm gonna have to compensate for that this year by eating twice as much food. Its also time to pick up the old guitar and sing a bar of Alice's Restaurant, because October is out, and November is in. Thank you all for reading!

       Please feel free to follow the blog, or leave a comment below.

Friday, October 25, 2013


       I'm Chris and this is my introduction, as well as my first blog post. I'm looking forward to having a place to post my photographs and to explain what was going on inside my head while shooting.
       I've been working on building up the knowledge and acquiring the gear required to start building a portfolio for my photography. For those who don't know me personally, I actually got into photography by accident. I ran a YouTube Channel for a few years and when I started making videos for YouTube, I needed a camera. I actually bought quite a few different cameras. I was never quite satisfied with the quality of the video I was getting out of them, even after spending a good amount of money. Eventually, after speaking to a friend of mine who was big into cinematography at the time, I was convinced that a digital SLR would likely provide me with the quality I was searching for.

       Above is a picture of a Panasonic TM700 which is widely regarded as a pretty high quality, yet consumer level camcorder. It is however, the last "dedicated video camera" that I will ever purchase. I've been bitten by the DSLR bug and I've become hooked. There was this enormous world of video possibility laid out before me, a world filled with depth-of-field and interchangeable lenses. But when one is dealing with DSLR cameras, it becomes physically impossible not to dabble in photography, even for those like myself who are (were) dedicated to video. 

       Like many others who start into the world of photography, it was hard to justify a large budget. As a beginner I hadn't been able to see the value of the expensive cameras I saw throughout the market. So, in a similar fashion, I began with one of Canon's Rebel cameras... The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (600D). I quickly realized that there were limitations of this camera that I could not work around. Despite being a large step up from the video cameras I'd been using, I still wanted more.
       I actually cycled through a few bodies, debating Canon vs. Nikon, debating crop-sensor vs. full-frame, among other things. I landed hard on Canon, not trying to start a brand war but with my initial interest being from the video world there was really no comparable Nikon equivalent. The camera I chose after much research was the 60D. This was not necessarily because it had any better image quality than the T3i, but rather because there were features on it that the T3i just didn't have. It had an LCD on the top, and had a grip that filled my hand. These were likely the two most contributing factors to my choice.  

       Using the 60D was great for learning on. It provided a lot of the high level features at an affordable price point. I began looking at lenses and exploring the now overly compelling world of glass. Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Wide-Angle, Telephoto, L-Series, USM, IS... at first all the names and terminology boggled my mind. I again fell into the same trap of not being able to justify the price of a piece of glass for such a large amount of money but I came around. It really comes down to seeing the value of something based on the results it can give you. After a while of shooting with the 60D, I'd invested in a couple of lenses including:

1. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6
2. Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

       Of course I had the kit lens that had come with my 60D which was a (seemingly useless) 18-55mm lens that now collects dust, but it was a good thing to start with as it covered a "normal" range.
      I started spending hours, and days online watching videos, and reading reviews. I primarily began watching YouTube videos from Matt Granger (ThatNikonGuy), and Jared Polin (FroKnowsPhoto). Both of these photographers have hundreds of videos comparing lenses and teaching photography techniques that were extremely beneficial to me in my learning process. Then I came across the B&H Photo and Video page on YouTube (bhphotovideo) and became inspired by various speakers from their "Event Space" sessions, most notably Jeff Cable, who is not only an Olympic photographer, but is also involved in marketing at Lexar. To top it all off, he is an amazing teacher, and so very well spoken. I've learned most of the basics from his videos, dealing with DSLR features and Adobe Photoshop.

Matt Granger:

       About this time I started working for BestBuy in Framingham, MA. The employee discounts are nice there and it encouraged me towards being able to purchase a full frame camera. 

       I ended up buying a Canon EOS 6D. It's a fairly new camera body that included some cool features like integrated Wi-Fi and GPS which older bodies like the comparably-priced 5D Mark II did not have. The High-ISO performance was amazingly clean and the center auto-focus point is a gem in low-light situations. I know, I know... Tech Stuff!

       This is actually the camera that I am currently shooting on and I couldn't be more in love. I purchased a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L at the same time as the 6D, so now I had a much higher quality "walk-around" lens, that was versatile for video and photos. Unfortunately the 18-200mm lens that I had come to adore was an EF-S lens which meant it couldn't be used on my full frame body. But hey, you can't win 'em all.
       As I said at the beginning of this blog, I'm now working on a portfolio of work. That means that I'm always looking for things and people to shoot. I'll be trying to blog at least once a week here and i'll be posting my work, and my favorite images for all to see. So, if you like the things you see, feel free to contact me. Maybe you have something I can add to my portfolio.

Chris Johanson
c. (617) 966 - 3095
PO Box 313 - Medfield, MA 02052