“God gave you a gift of 84,600 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you?”
William Arthur Ward, Critical Thinker
Most of my images from the 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta were made on equipment that I was privileged to borrow for several hours on October 7, 2016. To the generous lender and presenting sponsor, Canon USA, I say: THANK YOU.
From the sponsor’s lending library, I was granted a brand new Full-frame DSLR body: EOS 5DMkIV and it was paired up with a versatile walk-around lens: EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM.
I had my own tripod and my trustworthy cropped sensor Canon EOS 70D with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens. I set out in the pre-dawn darkness and went on for four hours to capture some memorable images from Balloon Fiesta Park.
If you are jumping onto this blog for the first time and missed my earlier posts with highlights from the event, you should start here, and work your way forward through the posts, in chronological order.
Just some notes about the camera:
The camera produces Dual Pixel RAW files. So what did that mean to me? After getting home from the event, I discovered that Adobe had no Camera RAW support options for the photographs I had taken. SAY WHAT?! #= @%&!!
I contacted Canon support and learned that I needed additional new software (Digital Photo Professional 4) to access these special RAW files. With the software, I could download and convert my images into TIFFs and THEN I could import to Lightroom and further process into Photoshop. The file sizes were almost twice as large as my usual RAW files, which meant: I filled up my memory card faster on fewer images: Lightroom worked on them slower, and it was a more time intensive experience than when I process my files from the Canon 70D. To develop each image took considerable time, and it felt like a throwback to spending an afternoon in a darkroom; albeit, without harsh chemicals and sitting in the dark. But GEEZ.
During the 4-hour loan period, I captured just over 1400 pictures, which averages out to roughly 350 images per hour. They weren’t all tossers: dozens were pretty darn awesome. You can judge for yourself from the shots I’m sharing on the blog. Yes, the high performing gear was a treat. I am confident that I brought some abilities to the table. First of all, I was very familiar with the setting and the variety of my subjects. Secondly, I observed, considered and was sensitive to the available light. Thirdly, I relied on my own experience and aesthetics for framing and timing my shots.
[If you are like my children and have no idea why it’s amusing that the hot-air balloons that look like Tweety and Sylvester were placed next next to each other, here is a sampling of their relationship dynamics. ]
If money were no object, I would probably go for the body upgrade of this loaner since I’m not presently using a full-frame camera. In regards to the lens, I still haven’t given the f/2.8L IS version of the same length a test drive. I speculate the big difference would be its greater versatility in low light situations, for portraits and indoor sporting events.
A fellow photographer who uses the EF 70-200 lens f/2.8L USM for fashion shoots complained to me that he can’t walk around with it when he goes on location. He likes the freedom of moving around. However, he is forced to place the camera on a tripod because it becomes too heavy when attached to the lens. He was very curious to compare the version I used against his.
The bottom line is: I had a memorable experience and a lot of fun using the new equipment. Most importantly, I was pleased with my results, especially since I hit the ground running.