Another long period without posting anything here... It has been a pretty busy last couple of weeks with the French holiday period and still a lot to do before submitting the thesis, technically in a couple of days from now, TOUCH WOOD !! Most of the content of this article is in the title and it is pretty rich, so let's begin...
First week of the holidays, we had two trips planned. First one was to go to a one man show held Saint Amand-les-eaux and featuring the great Bun Hay Mean aka Chinois Marrant.
That was a great night, we left the theater with a massive jaw ache from laughing. The guy was great and the lad doing his first part (Donell Jacksman) was also terrific. We had a great time.
Second trip, we headed to Belgium, more precisely to Ghent, to have a go at the World nof Tim Burton exhibition.
Basically, the exhibition intended to sum up the entire carrier of Tim Burton, presenting some of his napkins drawings, private paintings, movies costumes, first films, etc. Sadly no pictures were allowed in the two main section of the exhibition :(. I still managed to take a couple of shots with my "smartphone", in the main hall (it was allowed there...).
Overall feeling on the exhibition,... it was quick and not as impressive as I thought. I would have expected more costumes, more teasers from the movies, something a bit bigger. It was good but slightly disappointing.
Day 1 at the Salon de la Photo...
Next destination of the holidays, Paris, for an extended weekend at the Salon de la Photo 2018.
After an early and quite long trip (Uber, Bus, Tube/Overground) we arrived to the Salon de la Photo at the "Porte de Versailles" which is a huge complex holding several events/exhibitions at the time. After a short queue and a bag check we finally got inside. The ground floor was mainly dedicated to present photography studios, photography schools, magazines who were very numerous. The first floor on the other hand was welcoming all the big brands (Canon, Nikon, Sony Sigma,...), photo accessories and a couple of stores (Camara, la Fnac,...). W headed straight to this one as I was suppose to meet with Bastien Juif at the Sigma stand. I introduced myself to Renaud Coilliot from Sigma (great guy ! very friendly and easygoing) which told me that I still had another 30 mins before my meeting so we decided to explore the surroundings and check the Canon stand. I also had a go at the world famous "Sigmazooka", the 200-500mm 2.8 with its x2 converter making it a 500-1000m 5.6 lens, fifteen kilos of happiness, impossible to take for a birding session but worth the try.
Canon went big for the occasion with a very large exhibition area where you could actually test almost everything from printers to their largest telephoto lenses. They had a large stage for guests/canon ambassadors programmed to give several talks during the weekend. On the left side of the stage Canon had a large podium with a dancing lady in its center and all around the main body cameras of the brand to test on the dancer. Among them the new Canon R (hybrid), the 5D mark IV, the 6D mark II (see below). I've played around with all of them with different lenses and I was very impressed by the 6Dii as I pushed it up to 12800 and frankly the result was very impressive, much better than I was expecting. 5DIV obviously is a great piece of kit but to be honest for my usage I could probably do with the 6Dii. Obviously I have not tested it in the field but still. For the Canon R, i'm quite sceptical for the moment. I mean very good tracking and captor but still missing a bit for velocity on the shooting, 3 images per secs is still not enough for my personal usage. Obviously I can't make a comparison between the 3 cameras as they were available with different lenses and other visitors of the exhibition were urging for trying the cameras, so not great conditions.
Back to the Sigma "kiosk" I finally met with Bastien. I hugely invite you to visit his website and to have a look at his pictures... they are stunning ! It was a great exchange, Bastien gave me a lot of advices on my pictures and also invited me to reach him to discuss further pictures or even to come along for a birding session (as we are both living in the same region).
Bastien has recently released a great book (Passion Oiseaux) about birds illustrated with his own pictures. I suggest you to have a look at it.
Following that exchange we wondered around for a while. I went back to Canon store to try further more gear and especially the big telephoto lenses, as they recently updated their 500 and 600mm and gosh... what an update !! I had the chance to compare and mount both 600mm II and III on a 7Dii and the weight difference between those two lense is humongous !! I can easily imagine taking bird and wildlife pictures without a stand or a tripod for a long period of time. To compare with my Sigma 150-600 Sport, the 600mm iii was way lighter !! Amazing piece of kit again !! The picture below was taken with a 6DmkII with the 600mm iii. Note the 1/100s shutter speed and the image is quite sharp, probably due to a great work of the lens stabilisation and also its light weight reducing the shaking.
During the "Salon" we also had the chance to meet up with the great Nath-Sakura. She absolutely amazed us by her kindness but also by her live demonstrations. She performed live sessions in such a confined space with very little gear for terrific results. One of her session only involved a safety blanket as background, two light projectors with some color gel and the model. I'll show you the result of such setup in my next post as we tried to do something similar at home.
Again, I encourage you to visit her website and to have a look on her recent photography and light manual. I have already bought it for two friends.
Day 2 at the Salon de la Photo...
Back at the "Salon" and today I get to meet with the great pair of wedding photographer, Damien Dohmen & Sylvain Gardères. One more time I invite you to check their website as their photo are stunning !!!
On that second day we also had the chance to meet up with one of my bestfriend that I had not seen in ages. After sharing the same classes at the University for at least three years, I moved to Sweden while she moved to a more artistic carrier. Now she does a lot of acting, web series and obviously photography. If you want to check a work feel free to check her webpage. Forgot to tell her name: Leslie Carles. <3
Day 3 and final encounter...
We decided to stay an extra day especially because we wanted to have a bit more time to go through all the big brands. The main reason was that I was looking to may be swap my Canon 7Dii for a Full Frame body. So we want round Sony, Panasonic, Fuji,... I really enjoyed the Fuji XT-3, especially the way all the settings (ISO, shutter speed,...) are readily available on the camera body. Also the AF was mad !!! Really enjoyed it... Unfortunately they don't do big telephoto lenses for that one and it would not be adapted for wildlife photo but for any other type of shooting it would be my first choice. I also tried the Sony A3R, and I add a lot of expectation from that body (it was my main choice as a replacement for my 7D) but I ended up quite disappointed... Mainly the controls are not easy when coming from Canon, also the price of the lenses is crazy expensive. I reckon the quality is there, speaking of the image, but the robustness,... well it felt a bit fragile and I would not feel confident taking it around on outdoor trips like I do with my 7D. At the end of the day I decided to save my money and to wait to see what's coming next with Canon as rumors indicate that they will probably release a new FF Hybrid body next year... If I could get a could Canon R+ with 10 images/sec and a high iso range that would be perfect. Let's wait and see... I'm also craving for a new telephoto lens,... not sure which one between the 600mm F4 iii, the 400mm F2.8 iii or the excellent 200-400 F4.
On a different note, we also stay that extra day because we wanted to listen to the talk from Jérémie Villet. He is a very young successful wildlife photographer mainly focusing on snowy sceneries and animals. He is very friendly guy, with a "flower power" touch and his work is stunning. Have a look to his work on his instagram page.