June 27, 2008

Now, how did that happen?

So, Wednesday morning I woke up with a bad case of "I'm sick and tired of waiting for the successor to the 5D (a digital SLR camera) to come out, and I want a new lens for my trip damn it!". Kind of out of the blue. I leave for France on July 5 and until Tuesday before bed I was ready to depart with the equipment I currently have.

When I woke up the next day, that was all different. [GEEK ALERT: To those of you who aren't photography geeks, the rest of this post may get incomprehensible and/or very, very dull.] So, yesterday, I went to the camera shop and picked myself up the Canon 5D and the Canon 70-200 mm f4.0 L IS lens. Now, it's absolutely guaranteed that the successor to the 5D will be announced at the Photokina show in September. But I can live with that. The price of the 5D has been dropping since it first came out. Also, Canon is currently having a pretty great rebate program, so I'll be getting back a $600 rebate for the camera+lens combo. When the new 5D finally does come out, the body alone will probably cost as much as what I paid for the camera and lens. So, I think I can deal.

I tested the camera and lens in dim light and, dang it's an impressive combo. Both photos were taken handheld without flash to test the Image Stabilization feature. The first photo (above) was taken at 800 ISO and the noise is hardly noticeable. The miraculous part is that I handheld this shot using a shutter speed of 1/8 second with a focal length of 200mm. Conventional wisdom states that I should have used 1/200 second to ensure a sharp image. The second image was taken at 1600 ISO (more noise, but manageable) and at a 1/4 second (!). The incredible detail also indicates to me that the living room is due for a dusting. That IS (Image Stabilization) is wicked awesome. There was much agonizing over this decision on Wednesday, and now there is much rejoicing. Huzzah!

Postscript: While running some errands in Old Montreal today, I had a chance to do a few more test shots.

And one that I couldn't resist processing just "a tad" more:

June 24, 2008


I spent much of last week redesigning my main website: www.irenesuchocki.com. The company that hosts the site came out with a new set of templates that I quite liked. Unfortunately, the environment was so different that I had to recreate the website from scratch. Ugh. But, I'm glad I did. One feature I really like is that you can click a gallery image to see a gigantic version of it. I think this is great for people considering buying prints or licensing an image.

If you get a chance, take a boo and let me know what you think.

June 20, 2008

The perks of self-employment

I'm now three weeks into my new career as a freelance photographer, and I'm still adjusting to the idea that my job is fun. I keep thinking I have to spend all my time on serious businessy stuff ... like redesigning my website, marketing, and such. Although I actually enjoy those things, what I really love is going out to shoot, or looking at other photographs, books and magazines for inspiration, and of course, experimenting in Photoshop. I have to keep reminding myself that, yes, I get to do this as PART OF MY JOB. And that, in fact, the fun stuff is a very important part of my job in that I need to keep creating new work.

Today I went to Old Montreal, mostly to shoot a couple of rolls of film with my toy Holga camera (AS PART OF MY JOB!). I've had it for over a year, but this is the first time I've used it, and it was the first time I've used film in probably close to a decade. I've been positively hooked on the immediacy and convenience of digital photography, not to mention the total control.
Because it's 120 film and not that many places in Montreal process it, I have to wait a whole week before I can see the results. A whole week instead of the usual 2 seconds!

Today reminded me of why I love photography so much. When I'm shooting, I get completely absorbed by the process and get into that state the psychologist
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls flow. I'm almost sad it's the weekend.

June 16, 2008

A day at the fair

Something happens when you walk around a fairground with a Polaroid camera. You start to feel like a kid again. And kids start to look at you as though you're really old, what with your old-fangled non-digital technology. Like, dude. Seriously?

June 12, 2008

The rule of thirds

The Rule of Thirds states that you must spend at least 1/3 of the summer at the beach. I think Mark Rothko must have been sitting on my shoulder (or maybe I was standing on his) when I was working on this one.

Available as a print in my store.

June 03, 2008

The Blood Pit ... oooooh scary

My photograph "Languorous in Stone" was used as the cover photo on a mystery novel by Kate Ellis, a British author. The book is currently available as a hardcover on amazon. ca (and on Amazon UK), and will be available in August in the US.