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

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