Monday, May 27, 2013

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (aka Canon Rebel 100d)

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 - really small
Canon has done it again, this time with a smaller version of the DSLR than the world has ever known.

That's right, the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (outside the US it is known as the 100D) is allegedly the smallest DSLR known to mankind.

Now, I don't own every DSLR known to man, but I do own 3 Rebels (including the SL1) and a Canon 30D. I can report that this camera is, indeed, tiny and light.

So far, I like it. And, additionally, I really like the new kit lens. It's still a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, but it has been improved. It now has the STM attached to its name. Can I tell you that the image quality is pretty amazing, especially compared to the older kit lens I got with my T3i.

If you are familiar with the history of Canon Rebel cameras, you know they are the first DSLR camera priced under $1000, and I have owned a Rebel since the very first 300D. I have always gotten great pictures with them. When the T3i came out, I decided it was time for an upgrade because the folks at Canon had done some really good engineering to get the video up to snuff. That was no mistake. I really love my T3i.

And I love my T4i, as well. Don't ask me why I have both. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I had intended to try it out and sell my T3i if I liked it, or, if I was not too impressed, send it back. But, alas, I still have both.

And now I have the baby brother 100D along with them. I have not decided yet which one to part with.

Click here for the best price on the tiny new Rebel.

The new Rebel has the same 18 megapixel sensor and processor, but in a much smaller body. The light weight is nice, but not absolutely a game changer for me.

I also have gotten used to the swivel LCD panel, which is not present in the new model. However, I will admit that the LCD is crisp and clear, and it has touch screen technology similar to the T4i (but absent on the T3i).

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Flowers - Shoot 'em Now

The newest distraction for many is texting. It's illegal to text and dive.

For me, that's not a problem. But as I was driving yesterday, I realized that there is a seasonal driving hazard. The Spring flowers are so beautiful, they could cause accidents as drivers' eyes (mine) are drawn to them.

It's mid-April here in the Atlanta area, and the pollen count has reached its highest level of the year. Along with that comes the Spring flowers. Starting with daffodils and Bartlett pear trees, we have now progressed into Dogwoods, wisteria, tulips, creeping phlox, and many flowers I can't even identify along the roadsides.

Without a doubt, it is my favorite time of year to be carrying my camera everywhere I go. Below are a few of the photos I snapped during my drive yesterday.

This is pink Dogwood.

Purple Wisteria - ya gotta get it quick, because tomorrow it might be gone.

Cherry blossoms are blooming everywhere.

Tulips are everybody's favorite.

I wish I knew what this is.. my absolute favorite tree flower.

Many more examples at Photography tips for Spring Flower Pictures.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bird Photography Success!

Photographing birds is so much fun and so uplifting, especially when you have some success.

Just recently, I had some of this success with my Canon Digital Rebel T4i and a Sigma 18-250mm lens. The result is obviously the photo on the right.

It's a pileated woodpecker. That's the bird they modeled Woody Woodpecker after. If you are familiar with good ole' Woody, you will immediately recognize the red plumes and black feathers.

Here's Woody - it's a picture from Wikipedia from the "Barber of Seville".
The point here is that I was ready, camera at hand, all charged up and actually turned on when the opportunity presented itself.

Here's how it happened. 

I have several bird feeders right outside my kitchen window. Two have a mixture of seeds for wild birds and two have suet blocks.

I have been getting tons of bird traffic with these feeders. And the traffic has increased tremendously since I started buying quality bird seed instead of the stuff on Walmart's shelves (nothing against Walmart, but their bird seed is old and not so highly desired by the bird community that hangs out at my house).

So, I have been priming the birds for nearly 7 years, and during that time I have taken quite a few pictures of them. I used to sit outside on the deck, huddled inside a make-shift blind.

But then I snapped a few pictures from my kitchen window and discovered the quality barely suffered at all because of the window between me and the birds.

Anyway, last week I got my first glimpse of the pileated woodpecker, and my heart stopped (I'm pretty sure it stopped - I know I didn't breathe for quite awhile). It was a fleeting glance because it was on the opposite side of the suet feeder.

This is one of the female Cardinals who doesn't
look too happy about my infatuation with
the pileated woodpecker
I devised a plan that would eventually end in the success you see here. I repositioned the suet holder so I could see both sides, and I prepared my camera for immediate action, placing it next to the window.

Then I watched... and watched. Fortunately, it took only a few days before my newest photo subject returned. The sun was bright, which made for a really fast shutter and a nice sharp picture. I was able to snap off about 10 shots before the bird made its exit to the nearby tree, and then I was able to get a pretty decent shot of the bird in the tree, as well.

More success stories on my blog at

Here's to your success, too!