Thursday, 21 April 2011

Going kayaking in Slovenia :)

Small waterfall in the Guil, with me paddling

After having not been on a vacation for a number of months, its time again to go on another trip again. This time heading to Slovenia with a couple friends of the student canoe club DKV Euros for a week of white water kayaking.

Have been in the same region for a few times now, and paddled on the same rivers also. Everytime has been a blast, what is better than to have fun on and off the river with friends, and spending the whole day outside for a whole week?!

However, this time I am going to add a bit of more purpose to the trip besides learning to paddle better on white water; my goal is this time to take a number of spectacular kayaking and lifestyle photos. The underlying goal of this will be to improve my photography and photo portfolio of outdoor adventure photos.

I promise to write a bit more about this sometime later in the coming week ...

Friday, 1 April 2011

Short review on the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L

Navigation skills were lacking a bit that day ... iPhone's GPS worked wonders :p

OK, a while back I promised on Twitter that, after having purchased a second-hand Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, I would post a review about this lens on my blog. Besides, the Interwebs is also about sharing information, not only gathering info; so here is my contibution that I hope to do more.
A note here: I am not a professional photographer, merely an enthusiast that is eager to learn more about outdoor adventure and travel photography...

Having previously owned the incredible Canon EF-S 10-22mm my reasons to go for the 17-40mm were the weather sealing in this lens. I found myself shooting in the rain and in horrible conditions sometimes and just didn't want to do that to the 10-22mm. So in those cases I would go out with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and not bother about the weather.... but missed the wider shots then in those conditions.
The 17-40mm is presented as a lens with good weather sealing, if fitted with a screw-in filter on the front. However, up to so far I really haven't had a proper chance (errr... taken the time) to go out in bad weather conditions with my camera and the 17-40mm. So no comments yet on the weather sealing...

The first time I had the lens on my 20D body I could feel the difference in weight, in comparison with the 10-22mm. The 17-40 is quite a hefty lens, and is also a bit longer than the 10-22mm. The difference in weight is  just over 100g (385g for the 10-22mm, and 500g for the 17-40mm), which is a significant increase in weight coming from the 10-22mm. I do like the additional weight on the whole combination, as it is a bit easier to keep the camera steady for those slower shutter speeds (up to 1/2th of a second, personally).

As there is quite a difference in the term wide-angle when comparing the 10-22mm with the 17-40mm on my body, my first impressions of the lens were that I would lose quite a bit of wideness. Though, now that I have used the 17-40mm a bit more I tend to focus more on the things in the frame and try to get a little more closer to the objects I want in the frame.
Below I have posted two images while riding my recumbent, one is taken with the 10-22mm and the other with the 17-40mm (sorry for the hairy legs on the last photo ;-) ). I do like both images, and the difference in field of view is quite large, but I personally don't miss the super-wide-angle anymore for my photography. The image quality between the two lenses does not differ in my opinion, both are excellent sharp at f/4.

Cycling near Deventer - View from my bike

Scenery along the tour (2)

My conclusion to this short review: I have gained a great quality lens that will enable me to photograph in practically all weather conditions, resulting in high IQ photos.