Back to Rebel’s Rock

Posted in On Tthe Road, Photography Tricks on May 18th, 2009 by MadDog
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I naturally gravitate to funky little joints with lots of character. Rebel’s Rock Irish Pub in Hamilton, Ontario is just such a place:Rebel's Rock Orish Pub - Hamilton, Ontario

We enjoyed Rebel’s Rock a year ago when we were in Hamilton for a while visiting our son and his family.

Friendly chat at the bar - Rebel's RockLast year I was shooting with a Canon G9. This year, for this post, I’m using my new Canon G10, a superb point-and-shoot camera. It has better noise characteristics at low light levels using high ISO values (1600 in the case of these shots). As the G9 was very noisy at 1600, the G10 is less so. The G10 is also far less noisy than my new Olympus SP590UZ, but has only a 5x optical zoom, compared to 26x for the Olympus. As is my habit, I used the excellent NoiseNinja Pro filter for Photoshop to clean up the noise.

Essentially, I now have two cameras that together set me back about US$800 that will, taken as a team, outperform one Single Lens Reflex camera with two separate lenses. One would have to spend far more for an SLR with lenses of similar capability and you’d still have only one camera. I like the safety factor of having multiple low cost cameras with complimentary capabilities. It also eliminates completely the possibility of getting gunk on the sensor during a lens change, as these cameras are completely sealed.

Sometime soon I’m going to write a post titled “Why You (Probably) Don’t Want an SLR.”

At Rebel’s Rock, you never know when someone will pick up an instrument and start playing:

You never know when someone is going to grab an instrument and start playing - Rebel's Rock
We enjoyed good food and good company consisting of our son, Hans, one of his workmates, Sheila, and our friend, Brenda. I also rather too much enjoyed four pints of Steam Whistle pilsner beer, a very tasty brew, indeed.

Our entertainment for the evening was a local musician, Bill Becker:

Bill Beckers's one man show - Rebel's Rock
My keywords for Bill would be talented, unassuming, eclectic, and brave. It takes a certain kind of entertainer to work a small room where a lot of other things are going on and not seem hurt that people sometimes seem not to be paying much attention. He pulled it off nicely, providing a pleasing and energetic background and often grabbing the room when the opportunity arose. He reduced me to tears with his excellent rendition of Pink FLoyd’s Wish You Were Here.

If you’re ever in Hamilton, a struggling steel town that approaches the culturally surreal, pop into Rebel’s Rock for a break from the humdrum.

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Niagara Falls with an Olympus SP-590UZ

Posted in On Tthe Road on May 10th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m dead tired tonight. We went down to Niagara Falls today with our friend Brenda. I’m going to show you a few shots from my new Olympus SP-590UZ camera. It has a 26x optical zoom. I was sceptical of this when I bought the camera, but I refuse to spend the kind of money it takes to get an SLR and two or three lenses. The Olympus has good wide-angle capabilities and this fantastic, sharp zoom that is the equivalent of nearly 700mm on a standard 35mm camera. That’s a lot of zoom.  Here is a shot of part of Fort Niagara taken from the Canadian side at a distance of about two kilometres:

Part of Fort Niagara from one mile away with the Olympus SP-590 at 26x optical zoom

I wish I could easily show you the original shot. If you click to enlarge, you can see two birds flying around the top of the tower. That’s a fairly fantastic zoom lens. The shot is full frame. I’ve done no cropping or enlarging. The original is sharper yet. The file is over 12MB, so I can’t show you how incredibly detailed it is. The JPEG compression here has wiped out a lot of detail, but you can still get the idea of how great this lens is. To top it off, this camera sells for about US$400!

Here’s a beautiful, clean, well exposed shot of Eunie and Brenda in a restaurant with the Canadian falls in the background. I did have to make some minor adjustments to the exposure in the foreground and background to get it just the way I wanted it, but the image was fine right out of the camera for a vacation snapshot. I used fill flash:

Eunie and Brenda with the Canadian Niagara FallsHere is a rather unremarkable shot of the Canadian falls. Nothing fancy, but a nice tourist image:

Niagara Falls, the Canadian versionAnd here is the American falls with the Maid of the Mist chugging past:

Niagara Falls, the American version with the Maid of the MistI really like this next shot. It’s another one that shows the quality of the zoom lens on the SP-590:

Niagara Falls, the American versionIt was captured on the Canadian side looking at the American falls across the river. You could just barely make out the stairway with the naked eye. The image detail is excellent. The people on the walkways are clear and clean at the edges. The detail in the water is excellent. If you click to enlarge and look around a bit you will see three seagulls flying around. I can’t wait to get this camera out somehwere to give it a really good workout.

But, now I’m going to bed.

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