Saturday, December 22, 2012


Well, not really 4000 but 3932 if I want to be really honest. That's how many prints were sold on a one week sale. And with 150 buyers, it's an average of 26 prints per person. The pictures were mostly taken by myself and I was quite pleased when I saw that the vast majority of prints ordered were the ones I took. The pictures were taken during 10 social events, but unfortunately it's not possible to post any of them here... sorry folks!

But it's always nice when you get the boxes containing all the prints at home before handing them to the clients.

3932 prints... yeah!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Keep it simple

Last saturday I had the opportunity to do a shoot during an university bal. The setup was quite simple, 3x 550EX's, two softboxes, an umbrella and a black backdrop. I sold the first picture of them today.

Here's one for the road.

Simple setup, great effects. One umbrella.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

G12 does strobist with Cactus V4's

 The purchase

I’ve bought beginning september a G12. One purpose: replacement of my DLSR's when I’m travelling light and “fun-pictures-I-don’t-care-of-my-settings-love-jpeg-camera”. There are numerous reviews on the net where you can read that it’s a well-thought camera, with everything there to help you taking pictures more quickly than any other compact.  

Here are my fav’s:


-          The EV dial
-          The ISO dial
-          The front wheel (the back one is just too small to be operated quickly)
-          The superb, bright, 100% optical viewfinder (just kiddin’)
-          THE HOTSHOE !

My "not-so-good":

 -          It’s big (but you knew it when you bought it)
 -          It's a slow lens compared to other compact cameras (you knew it also)

So I tried this little camera with my Cactus V4 triggers to see what’s possible to do with it. Well, it works, so I’m happy because it’s quite funny to do some studio with big flashes, umbrellas all that gear around with a “stupid” point-and-shoot camera in your hand. It’s light and completely non-pro-style (i.e. not the 1D + 28-70 2.8, 2kg). So until now I know that I can take my G12 with a 430ex in a small space, travelling light and still be able to take some strobist shots!

Canon G12 with a Cactus V4 transmitter

More to come after several informal, non-scientific and non-pro studio sessions.

Note: I haven’t fully tested it but I can’t go above 1/1000th with the V4’s as it seems to be their sync limit… but it’s still plenty enough for action shots ! And you have to disconnect the 3,5" sync cable in order to use it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Using the back button for focusing

This post is specially dedicated to Thomas B. 

For low light shooters, nothing’s worse than having an autofocus lagging and unable to lock constantly on the same spot where you’re aiming. When shooting sports, you don’t want your AI Servo mode being disoriented by another player coming in front of the one who you were following. In both cases, it would end in a missed shot.

Why am I talking about it? Well, there’s a solution. 

Deeply hidden in the custom functions, there’s an option allowing not having the autofocus command (aka a half press on the shutter release) and the shutter release itself. It means that if you lock once on your target, and if it doesn’t move (a speaker for instance), you can take as many pictures as you want by simply pressing the shutter release, without having to deal with the half-press thing. In most cases, you’ll lift your finger too much and you’ll have to lock again before being able to take the picture. 

An EOS 1D mark II and its back buttons 

Same situation with our football player; the AI Servo mode is constantly searching for any movement of your target but it’s not always perfect when the subject remains static. By searching back and forth, it will blur your picture at least for half a second… just when you’ll have to take the picture. With the back focus button, press only once, and when the player is in focus and stands still, you don’t risk losing your focus point. In other situations, when you work in “action” situations where you have to shoot at arm’s length, you know that by using a small aperture you’ll have what you need in focus, and everybody knows that focusing in that kind of situation is just impossible. So prefocus and then don’t worry, shoot, your camera won’t freeze by trying to lock on something constantly moving.

You may need a few hundred shots to get used to it but it’s totally worth it, especially for low light shooters. You’ll save dozens of shots and these are the ones that will make the difference at the end of the day (or night). So, try it, you won’t be disappointed. I've been using it for a year now and it's one of the first things I set when I'm working with another camera.

These CFn are available on all professional Canon cameras (1D and 5D, maybe others as well), so as on their Nikon equivalents (AF-ON buttons I think).

The CFn menu of my 1D mark II

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wshop special venue for the new Canon line

Guests are the Eos 1DX, 5D mark III, G1X, lenses, lenses, lenses

For the second time this month, I’ve been kindly invited by Wshop in Brussels for the official presentations of the news products issued by Nikon (February) and Canon (March). The first one, Nikon, took place at the Champagnothèque in the Galleries de la Reine, in the old city of Brussels. Presentation of the newcomer, the D4 and his little brother, the D800…As I’m not a Nikon specialist, I won’t be commenting on the ergonomics nor the controls (I hadn’t enough time to dig into the menus and find out the differences. 

A fistfull of long lenses
© Quiet Leaf

NIKON D4 and D800


D4: very light! Even if the body has a massive look, it’s doesn’t necessarily translate in a heavy load in your hand; I was expecting a similar feel compared to my eos 1D but it wasn’t that obvious. Nice look with all the controls glowing in the dark.
D800 with grip: a bit unbalanced (with the Nikon battery tray, not the AA one)

I never had the opportunity to try a professional Nikon body in the field so it was more a discovery than a real comparison. 


New printers were also there, and we had the possibility to print some images taken with the new lenses; it was an excellent possibility to judge them with A4 prints. The only downside of being in a nice spot (we had a superb view on Brussels by day and night) was that I couldn’t try the lenses in a “sport” situation, only with static portraits. There are some, but no one from the new bodies !

New printers, new pictures
© Quiet Leaf

 Eos 1DX

For the small tests I made, the AF was right there, even in very poor light (it had the new 24mm 2.8 mounted on). The biggest changes were with the AF system, with a special sub-menu only related to the customization of the AF settings. The major part of the presentation was also AF-related.  The presentation itself lasted for 1h30 and a poor guy fell asleep just in front of the Canon representative. This remembers me to mention that the 1Dx has a great, bright viewfinder (100%), just so nice to look throught it.

The Eos 1DX with the new EF 24mm 2.8 II
© Quiet Leaf
Back of the Eos 1DX
© Quiet Leaf

Eos 5D mark III

The mark III was the most waited camera for me; just based on the specs sheet, I was already sold to this camera. It’s a slightly downscaled 1Dx: it’s weathersealed (albeit not as good as the 1Dx but the same level as the 7D), has the same AF system (again, behind the 1Dx in terms of tracking accuracy), a great resolution (22MP) and a redesigned body. It’s a bit bigger than the former 5D but feels just as good in the hand, without the weight of the 1D series. The feature that I liked most was the quiet mode. As it says, it’s quiet. So quiet. So quiet that I could even consider using it during classical music concerts. No need for rangefinders anymore! (well, not for that en tous cas). Note that the 1D’s quiet mode is not as quiet, it’s noticeably louder and can’t be used in special moments/places without being noticed.

The Eos 5D Mark III with the new 24-70mm 2.8 L II
© Quiet Leaf
To be honest, it’s the first time in years where I thought about upgrading from my current gear. It just fits every need I have: full frame, wheatersealing, good AF, high sensitivities, quietness, compactness (compared to 1D series), and even a dual memory slot. But at 3500€, you’ll have to save a bit. Note: at the end of the show, I was talking with a photographer who I just met before and he said without any remorse that he bought one of each model (“uh yeah you know I could have bought cash the 5DmIII anytime, it's not a nig deal”).

[I’ve to mention that as I’m writing this article, I can hear a man trying to convince his wife to let him buy one of the new bodies, it’s quite funny to listen as they don’t seem aware of me. Ha, there he goes to the shop’s owner and the lady stays there with a “gosh, why?” expression on her face].

Canon G1X

Nice camera, all the features are there. There has been some talks about slow AF speeds, but seriously it’s a compact, not a DSLR, so what do you want to expect? Coming from my other compacts I had no trouble focusing on objects under poor lighting conditions. The camera has its proeminent lens on its front side which makes it quite bulky. Don’t forget it’s ment to replace your DSLR when you’re tired lugging it when you’re on holiday. It’s a big compact with a big sensor plus an articulated screen and good IQ (as far as I could check it on the back screen), offering an all-in-one solution for people who want compactness without having to deal with interchangeable lenses as the other major systems offer (NEX, m43,…).

The G1X
© Quiet Leaf

There were three lenses, the EF 300 2.8L IS II /400 2.8 and an EF 800 5.6 L... Sweet! I should have left with them. Sad enough we weren’t at a sport event so no “action” tests but I printed some portraits in A4’s from the duo 5D+400 2.8 and yes, it breathes detail and contrast…

Handheld portrait with a 400mm 2.8 L IS II
5D mkI - f/2.8 ISO 400, 1/1000
© Quiet Leaf

 Using the 800mm convinced me not to buy it, at least because I couldn’t use it properly. It’s really ment for nature lovers and people who need the biggest reach possible (not like me checking what’s going on in the flats a hundred meters away…).

One of the guest nearly dropped the 400mm on the ground
© Quiet Leaf
The IS of the 300mm 2.8L IS II is phenomenal, I could go as low as 1/60th without any blur
© Quiet Leaf

 They also spoke about the new radio triggering feature, but none of them (Canon’s official representatives) could say if the system was equal/better than the Pocket Wizards. I don’t see it replacing the PW system as the Canon’s can’t trigger studio flashes.  So this was about the new Canon products.

A special thanks to the photographers who I met tonight and for the interesting conversations I had with them. A special mention for the Double You Shop and the team for the event, as far as I know it’s the first time in Brussels that a shop offers to its customers such events like this one (and the Nikon one also). Thumbs up for them.


The Atomium, Brussels
© Quiet Leaf
© Quiet Leaf

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Avoriaz World Rookie Tour 2011

It's been a long time since I haven't posted so here are the latest from the camera; I've been in Avoriaz, France during the World Rookie Tour event, a snowboard/ski competition for riders born from january 1st 1994 to December 31st 1996 (so-called Rookie) and riders born from January 1st 1997 and up (so called Grom), both guys and girls. All contests of the World Rookie Tour will generate valuable results for the new World Rookie Rank developed by WSF (World Snowboard Federation) in association with the TTR (Ticket To Ride association) (info from

Sadly enough I had to leave the day of the finals so these are the pictures from the training session, which was quite impressive given the age of the riders. I saw some pretty hard landings too, one of them nearly broke his shoulder. But for my first winter shooting, I got some pretty decent pictures! A 1D mk II + 70-200 2.8 was used, and I missed my 16-35 for the whole shoot (I-will-never-forget-it-home-I-will-never-forget-it-home). Note that all images here are subject to copyright.