My First Outing With the Canon EOS R

For my first “real” photos taken with the Canon EOS R, I visited the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota. Since I’m a student at the University of Minnesota and it is part of that university, all I need to do is show my student ID and I get in for free. I’ll try to make it there at least once more before winter. It’s probably the best place for photography in my hometown.

Trees at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Lake and trees
A wooden bridge
Paper birch trees
Paper birch bark

My First Photos Taken With the Canon EOS R

These are my first photos taken with the Canon EOS R and 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. I took these photos on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, and, as I edit this post one day later, they are still the only two photos I’ve taken with this camera. I had a test in Abnormal Psychology today (October 10, my 30th birthday!) at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (where I’m an undergraduate English major), and so because of this test, my birthday, my workload for tomorrow, and my schedule on Friday, it might not be until this weekend that I’m able to get some more photos with this camera.

Note that these photos were taken in poor lighting and at a high ISO, but the image quality looks fantastic!

Taken with a Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS lens at 105mm
Taken with Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS lens at 24mm

Canon EOS R Unboxing

I got my Canon EOS R with 24-105mm f/4L IS lens kit from Adorama today. The cameras were supposed to ship today, but Adorama sent the cameras a day early, so I got it today, the earliest anyone who wasn’t chosen to receive a pre-production model (journalists) could get it. I had pre-preordered this camera within minutes of it becoming available on September 12, 2018.

In an earlier post, I said I would be getting the Nikon Z6. I decided not to go through with this for two reasons: (1) I was several days late for the pre-order and would likely be waiting until the end of November or much longer to receive it; and (2) after seeing Canon release their own offering for mirrorless, I decided now was the time to switch to Canon (like most pros already have). Because both companies were coming out with new mounts, I thought I might as well switch now before I got invested in Nikon again.

Here are some photos I took of the unboxing. See my next post for my first photos taken with the Canon EOS R.

Shipping box from Adorama
Canon EOS R box
Manual and accessories
Unwrapped Canon EOS R body and Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS lens
Ready for action!

Velma Visits the Mystery Machine

My mom’s employer is having a Halloween office party this year in which her department dresses up as the cast of Scooby-Doo. She gets to be Velma.

We also just learned that a car collector at the AutoMotorPlex (garage car condos) in Chanhassen, located several blocks from my house, has a Mystery Machine. And it was on display this Saturday. This was perfect timing, so we walked over there, and my mom got photos dressed up as Velma.

Velma and the Mystery Machine
Velma and the Mystery Machine (with Pugsley as Scooby-Doo)
See the resemblance?
The owner of this Mystery Machine apparently collects other things. He also has a Batmobile.
Information about this Mystery Machine

My First (or Second) Photo Taken With the Motorola Moto G6

I got my Motorola Moto G6 last week, a replacement for my year-old Samsung smartphone, which really was as bad as they come. I was very impressed with the quality of the Moto G6, which seems as nice or nicer than the iPhones I used to use (up to the iPhone 6). I love the cameras on the iPhones, but they just became too expensive.

Today, I got around to testing out the camera on the Moto G6, after seeing a brooding sky while walking one of my dogs. Here is the second photo I took with the camera, the first being the same scene but with a more crooked horizon. The photo (taken in Chanhassen, Minnesota) was edited in Corel AfterShot Pro 3 with the Perfectly Clear function.

Prairie by Chanhassen High School

After a Long, Rainy Day

It was a long, rainy afternoon. It started raining today between my two Monday classes at the U and lasted until about 6 p.m. I took these photos shortly after the rain stopped in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

My house
Brody, a golden retriever
Prairie grass
Another shot of prairie grass

I’m Switching Back to JPEG

I recently posted about getting a new photo-editing program for my Linux computer called Corel AfterShot Pro 3. At the same time, I announced I was switching to RAW. I said the RAW photos I edited “show significant improvements over the original files, especially because of the way [the software] eliminated blown-out highlights.” In retrospect, while there were some improvements to the photos, they were very minor. In addition, blown-out highlights are a problem that is probably best corrected by getting a proper exposure in the first place. Whatever benefit I’d get from being able to recover some highlight detail, overall, is minimal.

I’ve found a better solution: shooting in JPEG and using Corel AfterShot Pro 3’s Perfectly Clear feature.

Some background: I had known about Athentech’s Perfectly Clear Photoshop plugin for years. Photographer Ken Rockwell often praised the plugin (now also a standalone program) and used it for almost every photo he posted to his site. I thought it was strange when I first started using Corel AfterShot Pro 3 and saw “Perfectly Clear” was one of the features; I thought Corel just used the same name. But apparently Athentech licenses Perfectly Clear (at least the basic version) to Corel as well as companies like SmugMug and Hallmark. This was great news!

I believe I used Perfectly Clear on every photo I took in my last post. But I was still using RAW, which wasn’t necessary (the files take up way more space — in addition to being proprietary with an uncertain future compatibility). Because Perfectly Clear works on JPEG images as well as RAW images, I can now switch back to JPEG in confidence.

Whether you use Linux or Windows or Mac, I recommend using Perfectly Clear to touch up your photos quickly and effectively.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival 2018

There was perfect weather this Saturday for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival (located in Shakopee). I went there with my mom and our puggles, who had a fun time donning their necklaces.

The line to get in went on…

Line to get into the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

and on…

Line to get into the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

and on.

Line to get into the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

But once we made it through the line (including getting our dogs checked in), all was well.

My mom holds a goblet of mead
Sir Elsworthy’s Cheese Curds and assorted vendors
Tuey Wilson, comic stunt juggler
Pottery
Celestial Windz wind chimes
Pugsley wearing his necklace, which was purchased at the Festival a previous year
Pugsley and Missy meet royalty
Missy wearing her necklace
A kid riding on a camel (with elephants in the background)
Vegetable Justice. This used to be my favorite part of the festival.
Acting like a chicken with The Wacky Chickens

My First RAW Photos

The following are the first photos I’ve edited in RAW on a Linux machine. These aren’t the first photos I’ve taken in RAW, mind you (that would be this photo I took last year of the same subject and edited in Adobe Photoshop on a Mac), but these are the first RAW photos I’ve edited in a Linux environment. I used the program Corel AfterShot Pro 3 (notable for being Linux software that costs money) — an application I decided to purchase after comparing it with free, open-source Linux RAW photo editors (namely darktable and RawTherapee). The other two programs I mentioned are also probably great applications, but I just liked the features of AfterShot Pro 3 more, especially the auto commands.

I was having trouble installing the application, which I believe was caused by trying to download and install the file AfterShotPro3.deb instead of AfterShotPro3-system-Qt.deb on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. While I was waiting for responses to my forum post in Ubuntu Forums, I decided to take some RAW photos near my house at the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Chanhassen, Minnesota. That way, I’d have some photos to edit after receiving help on how to install the application.

Here are three photos I took at the forecast office today and briefly edited in AfterShot Pro 3. I am just learning how to edit RAW photos, having only done so a few times, so my first attempts may not be that great. But I think they still show significant improvements over the original files, especially because of the way it eliminated blown-out highlights.

Doppler radar at the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Chanhassen, Minnesota
Close-up of the Doppler radar
A tree stands against the backdrop of a moody sky

Back to School Time

With Labor Day looming on the calendar like finals week, it could only mean one thing: It’s time to go back to school. I’m a student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (yes, still an undergraduate), and today I visited the U for the first time in a few months.

I started out this journey by taking a bus that looks like a cable car to the next city over to get on a real bus, which then makes its way through downtown Minneapolis and eventually the UMN campus. Even the bus driver admitted the cable car shuttles are annoying, but they sure do look cool!

SouthWest Transit cable car bus in Chanhassen, Minnesota
Interior of the cable car bus

I got off the bus at the student union, Coffman Memorial Union, and took some photos inside and outside.

UMN’s main bookstore and a Starbucks
A chair sitting on the campus’s lawn (I wish they left these out for more than a couple weeks)
Coffman Memorial Union