Beautiful wedding photography for Lovers

The set up

Category: Gear | Photography

Camera gear is like candy. It's sweet and it keeps you coming back for more. Everytime I find something to add to my wish list and boy it keeps on growing. I scratch my head because there is just to much to choose from. And so read about it, search the internet about, learn about it before I buy it.

It took me a while before I had decided what set up to choose as my off camera flash.. I already had an on camera flash for which I choose a Canon 580II but when I thought about and additional flash I decided upon the Nissin di866. A very powerful flash that is super easy to operate. The phottix light stand is light weight and a great support for the flash with an umbrella coldshoe the stand is complete.

To get the flashes to trigger the off camera flash is linked to a Pocket Wizard Plus II. Together with the TT1 mini a solid combination. That's it, the complete set and I can't wait to shoot more weddings with it.

It's alive!

Category: Gear

The strangest happened last week. Out of the blue the battery of my laptop seemed to have broken down. On Sunday night. I worked with the power cord but the display said no battery. What do you mean no battery. I did not take it anywhere? Did not open it. What to do. Call Apple for support. Yes it can happen that a battery dies within two years. It all depends on the usage (well my laptop is on day and night...). It can take up to 10 days to get is repaired. NO!! 10 days this can not be true. Maybe other stores have their own service department. I called the next one and they had a two day service so I decided to go visit them after the long weekend.

Then on Thursday something happened I can't explain. I was working and without warning the screen got black. Had my Mac died completely on me? I rebooted and I saw in the right corner 96%. 96%? Really. It is alive. My battery is still working. Until this day I can not explain what happened but my battery is still working.

Canon 85mm 1.2L

Category: Gear | Photography

When I was a little girl I did not have a real barbie. We did not have a lot of money and I had an almost barbie doll called Steffi. What I did own was a barbie brochure and I could spent days looking at the pages. I would browse on end until the brochure would fall apart. Not owning a Barbie or any of the Barbie accessories was ok, with my brochure I could image what owning it would feel like.

While growing up I never really could shake this habit. I still love magazines and can check (endlessly) websites with products, reading reviews and anything I can find about something I want to purchase. So when I decided to wanted to have the Canon 85mm 1,2L lens I have read and reviewed until I do not know when. Last Friday I decided it was time and here it is. It arrived on my doorstep. A couple of days after Christmas but it still feels like a present.

It is a beautiful lens, it is heavy, it focuses quite slow but it captures amazing images and that is why I have bought it. To be able to capture beautiful images. I have shot a couple of photographs already (off course) but I can not wait to put it through the test during the next wedding.

It is here! My Shootsac

Category: Gear | Photography

We are home again from Spain. Wow how fast these 10 days have passed by and so we are back in the swing of things food shopping, washing and other non exciting things. But there was one thing waiting for me that I was looking forward to unpack. 

I wanted to order it for a while now but it is not available in Europe or so I thought. The ShootSac is what I am talking about. Everybody can now order a Shootsac from their international website and I ordered it about three weeks ago. I had a discount code (MOMSCLICK10) which gave me a 25% discount and the sale prices. And I got a supplementary tote bag!

Now it is here on my table. I used an ordinary bag but had some trouble with my lenses and flash. Well not anymore. It has 6 pockets where I can store three lenses or two and my flash. The other three pockets can be used for my memory cards, my spare batteries, my cell phone, my wallet and other personal items. I can't wait to use it!


Category: Gear | Personal

The guy looked at my ticket and waved me through. While walking I tried to get my belt out of my jeans and put it in my coat pocket while selecting one of the many airport security agents to check my luggage. It was still quiet so I had enough time to get all my stuff on the belt. As I put every everything on  (trolley, camera bag, handbag) the agent looked at me and asked: 'What is this?' while he picked up the black bag. I looked at him surprised and just at that instance I realised that I might not take it on board with me. I stuttered and said statief euh, ah, tripod, umbrella. I saw his eye brows going up. 'You can not take it with you.' I was genuine surprised as I taken it on board from Amsterdam 'Why not? I took it with it when I got in?' he shook his head picking up the tripod bag 'That was a mistake. You have to send it.' (send it where?) I did not understand it was not a mistake, it was a tripod and I was not checking it in. But no matter what I said which argument I threw his way, he was not having it. 'I am sorry was what he kept on repeating.' (yeah right).

I was saying not so nice words in my native language while I went back down stairs. When I checked in there was no line, well when I got back down there were at least 50 people ahead of me and another word crossed my mind. Fortunately another desk opened and when I asked the lady why I could not take my tripod on board she only shook her head (it must be an Italian thing) and labeled my tripod bag. With lead in my shoes I walked towards the odd size bagage desk. The two ladies were kind of surprised to see me with my small bag. Wanted to know when my flight was departed and what was it. Eventhough it was all on the label I provided the info, showed them my tripod and umbrella and they bid me a good flight and a nice day. I will never see it again I said under my breath and waved while I went back upstairs.

When I touched down in Amsterdam I made my way to the odd size bagage belt and waited. I took all my other stuff on board so I did not had to wait for my luggage. Well I waited and waited. After two flights that came in behind mine had off loaded all the odd size bagage on the belt I went to the bagage handler. They were surprised wanted to know I had waited at the proper belt I just nodded. After completed a two sheet A4 paper it was official, my tripod was LOST!

They had no idea if it was still in Naples or in Amsterdam. So I received an apology, a letter of the airline, an I am so sorry and went on my way. Two days went by without any news from the airline handler. I was mad at myself for taking it along in the first place (I did not use it at the wedding). Mad at the airport as they allowed in on, when I went down to Naples but not when I went back. In my mind I said goodbye to my tripod and then I got the text message. They had found my lost luggage!

'I take it back, I take it all back. Everything that I said about the tripod, the airport, the handler. I take it all back. I apologize.' My bag is back. I can see it had a rough time. The bag is damaged and dirty but it is back. And it thought me a valuable lesson because I will never take it with me again on an airplane. No matter what happens because I love my tripod to much.

Gear: Back Button Focus

Category: Gear | Photography

When shooting I encountered on many occasion that after I had focused on my subject the shutter button would start focusing on my subject al over again. Very annoying especially when in low light and I would finally have my subject in focus and before shutter release. In my frequently discussed workshop of Mike Larson I first got introduced to back button focus. I had read about it in blogs but when I say how it worked I adjusted my Canon 350D immediately. I sometimes forgot to focus but in a very short time I began to see the difference in my photography. Much sharper and I would be able to react much faster to what was happening before my camera.

So what does back button focus do? The main idea behind back button focus is that instead of the shutter release performing the focusing of a subject this is now transferred to the * button on the back of your camera. Now focus and shutter release are separated.

When I bought the Canon 5DmkII I tried to adjust my setting but did not get it working properly opposed to my Canon 350D. That is until I came across the blog of Melissa Jill an Arizona based photographer who shared the proper settings for not only the Canon 5mkII but also the Canon 5D and Nikon camera's.

So here a brief explanation of how you can set up your Canon 5D MKII to set it to back button focus:
* Go to the menu and select the camera tab.

*  Go to C.FN IV: Operation/Others and set #1 to "3:AE lock/Metering + AF start" and

    set #2 to "1:Enable"

* Then turn your AF setting to AI Servo.

For a Canon 5D:
* Go to the menu and select custom function 4 and set it to setting 1. (setting 0 is default) 

* Then turn your AF setting to AI Servo.

For Nikon users you can also take a look on D-Town TV everything DSLR, where Matt Kloskowski shows in episode 31 how to set it up properly for your Nikon camera's.

Being 40

Category: Gear | Personal

I am 40. There I said it! And you know what, being 40 is really not that bad. Honestly. The best thing about age is, it does not say anything about the person. It does not say anything about me. It does not say anything about what I like, do, feel, hate or love. It is, how cliche, only a number.

In all honesty I think I might still be stuck at age 18 somewhere. I listen to radio ( that is not for my age group. I watch television that is created with a much younger target (e.g. Entourage, Friday Night Lights or What about Brian, I still watch MTV the City, my Sweet sixteen without shame). So why should I talk my self into a depression just because I have a certain age? I should not, no reason to at all.

But back to my birthday. Ronald told me Wednesday he had a surprise in store for me the next day. So when he was driving home he told me on the phone he was on his third stop to pick up one of my presents. I really had no clue to what he could be collecting where. I had a dinner date with two old friends (we had a great evening) but that meant I had to be patient. After we said goodbye I raced home knowing that presents were waiting.

Ronald had wrapped all the gifts and hidden them around the house. So I went for a searching parting getting directions to whether I was close (hot) to finding them or not (cold). In total I found 5 gifts. I unwrapped them one by one. How well he knows me! Ronald gave me the most amazing gifts ever.

He bought me photo gear (yeah). A battery grip, additional battery, memory card, hand strap and last but not least a Spyder 3 Calibration set in a case. I was really blown away by that gift. With gifts like these being 40 can truely not be so bad!

Point and shoot

Category: Gear

I really like my Canon 5D camera, no that is an under statement, I love my 5D! But as much as I love my camera there are times when a smaller camera better fits the occasion. A city trip, a birthday party, a baseball game in the stands.

When we got married in 2003 we bought a Canon Ixus 400 camera. One of the finest point and shoot camera's at that time with which we documented our honeymoon. I really like the photographs it produces and the small size so it can fit in the palm of my hand. But with all the features the only thing this camera does not have is a manual mode and I must say I really like to photograph in manual mode.

So with a vacation coming up I started to look for a camera with this feature that also has the possibility to create videos in HD quality. After a lot of research I found my new camera. The Canon PowerShot sx200 with image stabilization. It is really amazing to see the difference between the Ixus and this Powershot from 4.0 million megapixels to 2 million megapixels. The only thing I do not understand is why the flash is always up eventhough I do not have the desire to use it but that seems to be the only done side so far.

So if you are looking for a point an shoot with the possibility to photograph in manual mode and video in HD quality you have got to check out the Powershot sx200. Doesn't it look stunning?