I have finally had the opportunity to put the Canon 1D X Mark II through the wringer, and have had the chance to test it in my “normal shooting conditions”. I have already made a few comments about the camera in other posts, but thought I would consolidate all my thoughts into one post. I will follow-up my initial thoughts with some specific blog posts testing each of the areas that I have noted below. (All comparisons noted below were made in comparison to the 1DX).

 

Thought 1 – Improved Image Quality at High ISO
The very first post I made about the 1DX Mark II (after the post that I finally had one in my hands) was that I was impressed with the ISO performance of the camera. Well after working in more low-light/high ISO scenarios, I still stand by that.

 

ISO 12,800

Grizzly photographed with Canon 1DX Mark II at ISO 12800

There are two things that I have noticed with high ISO images (by high ISO I am referring to images above ISO 5000):
1 – Noise is more manageable noise than with the 1DX,
2 – The dynamic range and detail that is still retained in these images.

 

I found that with the 1DX that once you got it over ISO 6400, even if you could manage the noise, I often didn’t have the details left in the image to produce an image with a sharp eye, or where you could see the dimples on the bear’s nose. And if I somehow managed to save all the detail, I had very little dynamic range to work with, and the image looked very flat. However I am finding with the 1DX Mark II that I am able to have both higher dynamic range, and still have the detail to recover in these images.

 

Thought 2 – Improved Autofocus
I don’t know how I can accurately test this and relay in a blog post (in terms of images) but I have found after shooting every bird in flight that I saw over the two trips that initial AF acquisition is significantly faster on the 1DX Mark II than the 1DX. I had the two cameras set up identically (in terms of AF parameters via the Cases), and each time it seemed like the 1DX Mark II was noticeably faster at getting focus.

 

Again, not really sure how I can prove this, other then to say, trust me…or get your hands on one and try it for yourself.

 

The reason for this faster initial focus acquisition is likely the combination of improved algorithmic along with the increased sensor size to 360,000 pixels.

 

I also found that the 1DX Mark II, held focus longer then the 1DX (without slipping off, or losing focus of the subject). I plan to gather some birds in flight images to show a sequence shot with the 1dx and then those with the 1dx mark II, including those out of focus. While reviewing images I was beginning to be able to guess which camera the birds were shot with based on the number of shots that were out of focus without checking the metadata.

 

Thought 3 – All AF Points at f/8:
I guess you could say that this is part of the improved Autofocus, however I think this is worth having it’s own section because I think this is a huge improvement. As opposed to the 1DX which only had f/8 focus at the center point (after firmware update), the 1DX Mark II has the ability to focus at all points

 

Sea Otter - Photographed @ 1000mm

Sea Otter – Photographed @ 1000mm (500 f/4L IS II USM + 2x Extender)

at f/8. This means I had the ability to use combinations such as the 500mm f/4L IS and a 2.0x extender, or the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM and the 1.4x extender, and I was SUPER impressed with the results.

 

I tested both these combinations on my recent Marine Mammals trips, and was thoroughly impressed with the results. Especially when you think about the number of focal lengths you can cover with only two lenses. I can basically cover everywhere from 100mm-1000mm, and using the 100-400 with the 1.4x extender gives me the equivalent focal length of the 200-400 f/4 without the weight (and price tag). With the 1DX I had tried 1000mm (500mm f/4 + 2x extender), but I was never really happy with the images. They were more of ID shots, and maybe good at web-size versus the images that I took with the 1DX Mark II.

 

As much as I really liked the results of the above two mentioned combinations, I will admit that I did have an increased number of images with soft focus then just using those lenses without the extenders. Also, as impressed as I was with the results, it’s not going to be something I use all the time because I don’t want every photo I have to be at f/8 (or more realistically f/11). However I can see times when it will work really well, or provide an opportunity to get in tighter with something when you have already taken all the shots at the native focal range, or when shooting an animal that just doesn’t want to get close, like wolves in Yellowstone.

 

I am going to do more testing on this, and specifically comparing to the 1DX.

 

Thought 4 – Improved Frames per Second and Buffer
The final improvement that I think it’s important to highlight, and I found particularly useful during my last trip, is the increased frames per second, however, more importantly is the increased number of shots before the camera started to buffer. With the CFAST cards I was able to get over 100 shots (in RAW format) before the camera started to buffer. When using the CF cards I was able to get about 50 shots before the camera started to buffer. This is compared to about 35 shots that I was able to get with the 1DX. I would say most of the time this isn’t an issue, because when do you really need that many shots, however, when you have a serial breacher Humpback Whale (as we did during the last Marine Mammals trip), it was very nice to not have to “manage the camera” and take shots selectively to ensure you don’t buffer out, and end up stuck when the action peaks.

 

I will be continuing to test all the of these things over the next few months, and will post updates to the above including more images showing some of the differences.
I have finally had the opportunity to put the Canon 1D X Mark II through the wringer, and have had the chance to test it in my “normal shooting conditions”. I have already made a few comments about the camera in other posts, but thought I would consolidate all my thoughts into one post. I will follow-up my initial thoughts with some specific blog posts testing each of the areas that I have noted below. (All comparisons noted below were made in comparison to the 1DX).

 

Thought 1 – Improved Image Quality at High ISO
The very first post I made about the 1DX Mark II (after the post that I finally had one in my hands) was that I was impressed with the ISO performance of the camera. Well after working in more low-light/high ISO scenarios, I still stand by that.

 

ISO 12,800

Grizzly photographed with Canon 1DX Mark II at ISO 12800

There are two things that I have noticed with high ISO images (by high ISO I am referring to images above ISO 5000):
1 – Noise is more manageable noise than with the 1DX,
2 – The dynamic range and detail that is still retained in these images.

 

I found that with the 1DX that once you got it over ISO 6400, even if you could manage the noise, I often didn’t have the details left in the image to produce an image with a sharp eye, or where you could see the dimples on the bear’s nose. And if I somehow managed to save all the detail, I had very little dynamic range to work with, and the image looked very flat. However I am finding with the 1DX Mark II that I am able to have both higher dynamic range, and still have the detail to recover in these images.

 

Thought 2 – Improved Autofocus
I don’t know how I can accurately test this and relay in a blog post (in terms of images) but I have found after shooting every bird in flight that I saw over the two trips that initial AF acquisition is significantly faster on the 1DX Mark II than the 1DX. I had the two cameras set up identically (in terms of AF parameters via the Cases), and each time it seemed like the 1DX Mark II was noticeably faster at getting focus.

 

Again, not really sure how I can prove this, other then to say, trust me…or get your hands on one and try it for yourself.

 

The reason for this faster initial focus acquisition is likely the combination of improved algorithmic along with the increased sensor size to 360,000 pixels.

 

I also found that the 1DX Mark II, held focus longer then the 1DX (without slipping off, or losing focus of the subject). I plan to gather some birds in flight images to show a sequence shot with the 1dx and then those with the 1dx mark II, including those out of focus. While reviewing images I was beginning to be able to guess which camera the birds were shot with based on the number of shots that were out of focus without checking the metadata.

 

Thought 3 – All AF Points at f/8:
I guess you could say that this is part of the improved Autofocus, however I think this is worth having it’s own section because I think this is a huge improvement. As opposed to the 1DX which only had f/8 focus at the center point (after firmware update), the 1DX Mark II has the ability to focus at all points

 

Sea Otter - Photographed @ 1000mm

Sea Otter – Photographed @ 1000mm (500 f/4L IS II USM + 2x Extender)

at f/8. This means I had the ability to use combinations such as the 500mm f/4L IS and a 2.0x extender, or the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM and the 1.4x extender, and I was SUPER impressed with the results.

 

I tested both these combinations on my recent Marine Mammals trips, and was thoroughly impressed with the results. Especially when you think about the number of focal lengths you can cover with only two lenses. I can basically cover everywhere from 100mm-1000mm, and using the 100-400 with the 1.4x extender gives me the equivalent focal length of the 200-400 f/4 without the weight (and price tag). With the 1DX I had tried 1000mm (500mm f/4 + 2x extender), but I was never really happy with the images. They were more of ID shots, and maybe good at web-size versus the images that I took with the 1DX Mark II.

 

As much as I really liked the results of the above two mentioned combinations, I will admit that I did have an increased number of images with soft focus then just using those lenses without the extenders. Also, as impressed as I was with the results, it’s not going to be something I use all the time because I don’t want every photo I have to be at f/8 (or more realistically f/11). However I can see times when it will work really well, or provide an opportunity to get in tighter with something when you have already taken all the shots at the native focal range, or when shooting an animal that just doesn’t want to get close, like wolves in Yellowstone.

 

I am going to do more testing on this, and specifically comparing to the 1DX.

 

Thought 4 – Improved Frames per Second and Buffer
The final improvement that I think it’s important to highlight, and I found particularly useful during my last trip, is the increased frames per second, however, more importantly is the increased number of shots before the camera started to buffer. With the CFAST cards I was able to get over 100 shots (in RAW format) before the camera started to buffer. When using the CF cards I was able to get about 50 shots before the camera started to buffer. This is compared to about 35 shots that I was able to get with the 1DX. I would say most of the time this isn’t an issue, because when do you really need that many shots, however, when you have a serial breacher Humpback Whale (as we did during the last Marine Mammals trip), it was very nice to not have to “manage the camera” and take shots selectively to ensure you don’t buffer out, and end up stuck when the action peaks.

 

I will be continuing to test all the of these things over the next few months, and will post updates to the above including more images showing some of the differences.

I arrived back from the Marine Mammals trip a few days ago, and came back with an abundance of photos, knowledge about my new camera (Canon 1dx Mark II), and great memories. I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to get there again.

 

Our trip started in Port McNeil where we boarded our accommodations for the week (a 71 foot sailboat), and then we proceeded to the JohnstoneJS Map Strait Area, which is known for its population of Killer Whales during the summer months. From there we travelled in between Vancouver Island and the mainland up to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and then back to the Johnstone Strait again.

 

The goal of the trip was to photograph the different species of marine mammals that call the BC Coast home, and I don’t think anyone walked away from the trip disappointed. In addition to photographing the Humpback and Killer Whales along the Johnstone Strait, we were also treated to some awesome interactions with Steller Sea Lions, and Sea Otters.

 

Under the Sea

Under the Sea

Some of the most memorable experiences of this years trip was witnessing a serial breaching Humpback Whale. We also saw some transient Killer Whales try to kill a Steller Sea Lion (who then tried to seek refuge in our zodiac – luckily without us in it). And the trip ended with us having a pod of over 30 (some estimated 50) Pacific White-Sided Dolphins ride the bow of the boat (see image to the left).

 

We also had the opportunity to photograph some of the birds of the BC Coast, which provided an excellent opportunity for me to test different AF settings on my new 1dx Mark II. Some of the highlights of the bird photography included Bald Eagles fishing, and Black Oystercatcher in a parcel of at least 13 birds.

 

What I loved about this trip, in addition to capturing some outstanding images, is that it seemed like each of the 7 days had a different highlight, and no one day was the same. Overall this was a very memorable trip, and is quickly becoming one of my favourites. If you would like to visit the BC Coast to photograph marine mammals contact Brad Hill : Natural Art Images

 

Stay tuned to my recent images and marine mammals gallery for photos as I get them processed.

 

And now it’s just under a month until I head back to the BC Coast, and into the Great Bear Rainforest. The images from the last two years can be found here: Great Bear Rainforest Images

I arrived back from the Marine Mammals trip a few days ago, and came back with an abundance of photos, knowledge about my new camera (Canon 1dx Mark II), and great memories. I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to get there again.

 

Our trip started in Port McNeil where we boarded our accommodations for the week (a 71 foot sailboat), and then we proceeded to the JohnstoneJS Map Strait Area, which is known for its population of Killer Whales during the summer months. From there we travelled in between Vancouver Island and the mainland up to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and then back to the Johnstone Strait again.

 

The goal of the trip was to photograph the different species of marine mammals that call the BC Coast home, and I don’t think anyone walked away from the trip disappointed. In addition to photographing the Humpback and Killer Whales along the Johnstone Strait, we were also treated to some awesome interactions with Steller Sea Lions, and Sea Otters.

 

Under the Sea

Under the Sea

Some of the most memorable experiences of this years trip was witnessing a serial breaching Humpback Whale. We also saw some transient Killer Whales try to kill a Steller Sea Lion (who then tried to seek refuge in our zodiac – luckily without us in it). And the trip ended with us having a pod of over 30 (some estimated 50) Pacific White-Sided Dolphins ride the bow of the boat (see image to the left).

 

We also had the opportunity to photograph some of the birds of the BC Coast, which provided an excellent opportunity for me to test different AF settings on my new 1dx Mark II. Some of the highlights of the bird photography included Bald Eagles fishing, and Black Oystercatcher in a parcel of at least 13 birds.

 

What I loved about this trip, in addition to capturing some outstanding images, is that it seemed like each of the 7 days had a different highlight, and no one day was the same. Overall this was a very memorable trip, and is quickly becoming one of my favourites. If you would like to visit the BC Coast to photograph marine mammals contact Brad Hill : Natural Art Images

 

Stay tuned to my recent images and marine mammals gallery for photos as I get them processed.

 

And now it’s just under a month until I head back to the BC Coast, and into the Great Bear Rainforest. The images from the last two years can be found here: Great Bear Rainforest Images

It probably won’t come as a surprise to many people that Canon has officially announced their 5D Mark IV, which replaces the 5D Mark III. In Canada they are priced around $4,499, and in the US around $3,499, with an estimated shipping date of mid-September. Initially when I was reading the rumors about the 5D Mark IV, I was thinking that I was going to pass on this body, and instead keep my 1DX as my backup full frame camera to the 1DX Mark II. Maybe it’s my need to consume, but part of me is considering actually purchasing the 5D Mark IV, and selling the 1dx.

 

Here are some of the features that have piqued my interest:

Megapixels:

The 5D Mark IV comes with a 30.4MP full frame CMOS Sensor. I’m very glad that some of the initial rumors of the camera being close to 50MP didn’t come true, because I think it would have really limited the use of the camera (especially with Canon already having 50MP options in the 5DSR). This is a 8MP over its predecessor, and a 10MP improvement over the 1DX Mark II…remember the days when you were only buying cameras with 8-10MP, now was are seeing that as the MP increase.

 

My only hesitation of having a 30MP sensor will be how it fares with hand-holding. I do over 90% of my photography hand-held, and sometimes from very unstable places (such as boats), I am concerned about how having this many MP will impact image sharpness.

 

However having two cameras with different megapixel counts would be an advantage.

 

AF System:

The 5D Mark IV comes with an improved 61-Point High Density Reticular AF system with 41 cross-points. On paper this was the same specifications for the 5D Mark III and the 1DX, however seeing how much of an improvement the 1DX Mark II was over the 1DX, I’m optimistic that the 5D Mark IV will also see an improvement over the 5D Mark III.

 

Additionally, all the AF points are f/8 points, meaning that you can stack a 2x Extender on a 500mm f/4 lens and still have full use of all the AF points. Obviously if you are not a big user of extenders, then this may not seem like that great of a feature. However, I love the flexibility of using extenders on my lenses, and so far I have really been loving this feature on the 1DX Mark II.

 

RGB+IR Sensor:

The 5D Mark IV has been upgraded to a 150,000 pixel RGB+IR light sensor (an improvement over then 100,000 its predecessor). The increased pixels in the sensor should increase AF performance as well as metering performance, and therefore should lead to faster AF, and better metering of the scenes.

 

Other Features:

The camera also has a few other features that I consider less important, such as 4k video with continuous AF (which I haven’t even tried on my 1dx Mark II, yet), and built-in wifi and GPS, and it also comes with a touchscreen. While lots of users would probably put a lot of value in some of these features, they aren’t going to make my buy decision for me.

 

There are a few things that I think are lacking from the 5D Mark IV

 

Memory Cards & Batteries:

I don’t know why Canon is going to continue to force me to carry around three different types of memory cards, which also involves carrying around different card readers. The 5D Mark IV comes with a dual slot, one for CF and one for SD, which is consistent with the 5D Mark III, however I was hoping it would have a CFAST slot to make it more consistent with the 1DX Mark II.

 

Given the increase in megapixels, as well as the increased frames per second, this camera NOT having a CFAST slot may really impact on the buffering of the camera. Therefore the increased frames per second might just lead the camera to buffer faster. This was the problem I have had with both the 5D Mark III and the 1DX, it wasn’t that I wasn’t getting enough shots each second, it was that they could only go for a few seconds before buffering and slowing down. That’s why I’m really surprised/disappointed that Canon wouldn’t use the CFAST cards instead of CF, since their flagship body is already using them.

 

The batteries are the same as the 5D Mark III, however I wish that when you added a battery grip it would change it so you can use the battery from the 1DX/Mark II. Also, the battery grip of the 5D Mark III is not compatible with the 5D Mark IV, so while you can use your existing batteries, you will need to buy a different grip.

 

Frames Per Second:

One of my only complaints about the 5D Mark III was that it was slow, compared to the other cameras in my collection, such as the 1DX Mark II, 1DX, and the 7D Mark II. And so for Canon to only upgrade the 5D Mark IV to 7 fps from 6 seems like they could have added at least one more and I would have been happier…and I’m sure others would have been as well. If I actually think about it, there are very few scenarios when 7 or even 6 would be insufficient, but the breaching Humpback Whale that I saw in BC last week would have been a challenge if I had my 5D Mark III in my hands, and probably not much better if I had the 5D Mark IV.

 

After reading all the things I like about the camera, and the list of relatively minor dislikes I have with the specs, you are probably wondering why my mind isn’t made up about it already. The reason is that it’s always hard to translate what’s on paper to how it performs in the field under the shooting conditions that I’m presented with.

 

Specifically of concern is the ISO performance as a large portion of my shooting is done in low-light settings, such as the Great Bear Rainforest in BC, or photographing owls in Alberta before the sunset, so ISO performance is one of the most critical features of a camera for me (hence my initial gut reaction of keeping the 1DX).

 

Secondly, I wonder how a camera with 30 MP will perform while not on a tripod, given that I do the vast majority of my shooting hand-held.

 

Thirdly, whether the increased MP will have an impact on the buffer, and make the camera less desirable for high-action shooting.

 

Overall, based on what I’m reading, I think this camera is a improvement over it’s predecessor, and provides a great full-frame option to users that don’t want to fork our $8k for the 1DX Mark II. However, the one thing I don’t know based on reading the specs is whether it is enough of an improvement over the 5D Mark III for people to upgrade with the $4299 price tag, or whether you would be better off buying a used 1DX for around the same price.

 

It will remain to be seen whether I end up adding one to my stock of cameras permanently, however I will get my hands on one as soon as I can to do some testing in comparison with the other cameras I have.

My first trip to photograph fishing Grizzly’s in Northern British Columbia started off better than expected. I hand my boarding pass and passport to the boarding agent at the gate and she gets some kind of error on her computer. My first thought is, ah man, I’ve been bumped…but she come back with a new boarding pass, and says “you’ve been upgraded”. Woot woot…I don’t think that there is any better news that could be provided at the airport…unless you brought along a lotto ticket and checked it at the airport and won. So I flew from Calgary to Whitehorse in style. Thank you Air Canada (I can’t believe I just typed that). So far my trip was off to a very good start.

 

From Whitehorse we travelled to British Columbia where we took a helicopter to our remote camp. The helicopter ride was over glaciers, mountains and hillsides and  provided amazing scenery. Once we arrived at our camp, we saw a bear almost right away.

Riverside Rambler

Riverside Rambler

After that first sighting we had a bit of a quiet time before the bear photography really took off, slower than we had hoped.  While you can’t know why for sure, we think it was due to an early berry season, coupled with lower than normal salmon run.  But at the end of the day, it is nature so who really knows for certain.

 

These slower days provided me an excellent opportunity to focus on learning some of the features of my new camera (Canon 1D X Mark II) and to do some testing with my new camera.  Some of the testing I focused on was testing the exposure compensation adjustments, ISO and image noise at different ISO, testing the AF system, and comparing this to the Canon 1dX.  I also worked on setting up the custom settings, and even discovered a new setting that I didn’t realize that the camera had, which is similar to the shooting banks of the Nikons.  I have really learned a lot about the new camera in a short time. Stay tuned to my future blog posts on what I have discovered.

 

Despite being slower than we hoped at the start of the trip, I still walked away with some really great images. This trip was different from other Grizzly Bear trips that I have been on in the past, because you can sit right along the side of the river and have the Grizzly Bears walk right by and fish.  In addition to the Grizzly Bears, this location also provided an opportunity to photograph Bald Eagles, Mergansers, and Dippers.

Sea Lion Snoozing Sleeping British Columbia

Snoozin’ Sea Lion

 

Stay tuned to my recent photos, and journeys album for more photos from the trip.

 

Now I’m off on my next adventure, where I will spend 7 days aboard a sailboat photographing Marine Mammals. Here is a Sea Lion snoozin’ which I photographed during my 2015 trip. Keep an eye on my recent photos and Marine Mammals Gallery for my images from my 2016 trip.

My first trip to photograph fishing Grizzly’s in Northern British Columbia started off better than expected. I hand my boarding pass and passport to the boarding agent at the gate and she gets some kind of error on her computer. My first thought is, ah man, I’ve been bumped…but she come back with a new boarding pass, and says “you’ve been upgraded”. Woot woot…I don’t think that there is any better news that could be provided at the airport…unless you brought along a lotto ticket and checked it at the airport and won. So I flew from Calgary to Whitehorse in style. Thank you Air Canada (I can’t believe I just typed that). So far my trip was off to a very good start.

 

From Whitehorse we travelled to British Columbia where we took a helicopter to our remote camp. The helicopter ride was over glaciers, mountains and hillsides and  provided amazing scenery. Once we arrived at our camp, we saw a bear almost right away.

Riverside Rambler

Riverside Rambler

After that first sighting we had a bit of a quiet time before the bear photography really took off, slower than we had hoped.  While you can’t know why for sure, we think it was due to an early berry season, coupled with lower than normal salmon run.  But at the end of the day, it is nature so who really knows for certain.

 

These slower days provided me an excellent opportunity to focus on learning some of the features of my new camera (Canon 1D X Mark II) and to do some testing with my new camera.  Some of the testing I focused on was testing the exposure compensation adjustments, ISO and image noise at different ISO,  testing the AF system, and comparing this to the Canon 1dX.  I also worked on setting up the custom settings, and even discovered a new setting that I didn’t realize that the camera had, which is similar to the shooting banks of the Nikons.  I have really learned a lot about the new camera in a short time. Stay tuned to my future blog posts on what I have discovered.

 

Despite being slower than we hoped at the start of the trip, I still walked away with some really great images. This trip was different from other Grizzly Bear trips that I have been on in the past, because you can sit right along the side of the river and have the Grizzly Bears walk right by and fish.  In addition to the Grizzly Bears, this location also provided an opportunity to photograph Bald Eagles, Mergansers, and Dippers. Stay tuned to my recent photos, and journeys album for more photos from the trip.

 

Sea Lion Snoozing Sleeping British Columbia

Snoozin’ Sea Lion

Now I’m off on my next adventure, where I will spend 7 days aboard a sailboat photographing Marine Mammals. Here is a Sea Lion snoozin’ which I photographed during my 2015 trip. Keep an eye on my recent photos and Marine Mammals Gallery for my images from my 2016 trip.

At the end of this week I am heading on a new adventure, up to a remote part of British Columbia, where we will be completely off the grid. The objective of this trip will be to photograph Grizzly Bears while they fish for salmon – and to have fun, of course!

 

What I love about photographing bears while they are fishing, is that the bears are usually very dynamic – you can get bears splashing in the water, you can see bears that will snorkel (put there eyes under water), while others take the easy way…and grab the dead fish along the shore. Bears will switch to fish, when available, and sometimes travel long distances in order to visit fishing grounds. In years when there are a lot of fish, bears will often focus on eating the brains, and fish eggs, instead of the entire fish, as these are the parts that pack the most calories, so they are the most bang for their buck.

 

Caught One

Caught One

This image was captured on a different trip that I went on by myself a few years ago, showing a Grizzly Bear fishing pink salmon in a different part of remote British Columbia, however it shows how having a salmon can really add another element to a photo (and not just the fish, but the interaction with fish trying to escape while bear tries to eat it).

 

I’m also excited to finally get to really put the Canon 1D X Mark II to the test, and reporting on the results. I have only been out shooting with it a few times in and around Calgary, and haven’t really put it through 5 straight days of work. Based on all the images I have captured with it so far, the AF system seems awesome, with it tracking birds in flight very well, and the ISO performance is right up there. I have gotten usable images at ISO’s over 6400 (which is usually where I stop with the Canon 1dx). I will be bringing both the Canon 1D x Mark II and the 1D X along on this trip, and will be putting them head-to-head when I can.

 

I am super excited about this trip, and I am looking forward to see what I come away with! Stay tuned to my blog, and recent images, for what I ended up capturing.

At the end of this week I am heading on a new adventure, up to a remote part of British Columbia, where we will be completely off the grid. The objective of this trip will be to photograph Grizzly Bears while they fish for salmon – and to have fun, of course!

 

What I love about photographing bears while they are fishing, is that the bears are usually very dynamic – you can get bears splashing in the water, you can see bears that will snorkel (put there eyes under water), while others take the easy way…and grab the dead fish along the shore. Bears will switch to fish, when available, and sometimes travel long distances in order to visit fishing grounds. In years when there are a lot of fish, bears will often focus on eating the brains, and fish eggs, instead of the entire fish, as these are the parts that pack the most calories, so they are the most bang for their buck.

 

Caught One

Caught One

This image was captured on a different trip that I went on by myself a few years ago, showing a Grizzly Bear fishing pink salmon in a different part of remote British Columbia, however it shows how having a salmon can really add another element to a photo (and not just the fish, but the interaction with fish trying to escape while bear tries to eat it).

 

I’m also excited to finally get to really put the Canon 1D X Mark II to the test, and reporting on the results. I have only been out shooting with it a few times in and around Calgary, and haven’t really put it through 5 straight days of work. Based on all the images I have captured with it so far, the AF system seems awesome, with it tracking birds in flight very well, and the ISO performance is right up there. I have gotten usable images at ISO’s over 6400 (which is usually where I stop with the Canon 1dx). I will be bringing both the Canon 1D x Mark II and the 1D X along on this trip, and will be putting them head-to-head when I can.

 

I am super excited about this trip, and I am looking forward to see what I come away with! Stay tuned to my blog, and recent images, for what I ended up capturing.

I have decided to part ways with my Canon EOS 5d Mark III. I have been the only owner of this body and the current shutter count is just over 64k. It is in very good overall condition with only a few very, very, minor scuffs on the body. The reason I am selling is because I recently purchased a 1dx mark II (YAY!), so this camera hasn’t been getting any use.

 

Includes the following:
Battery grip – Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip
1 Canon original battery
Original box plus everything that came in it.
Current shutter count is: 64310

 

PRICE: $2500 CAD – Excludes shipping, if required.

 

If you would like to be the next proud owner of this camera, email me at contact@wildelements.ca.

 

Sample images taken with this lens are the following:

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird


At An Angle

At An Angle

 

The above images were both taken with the 5D Mark III, paired with a Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM (and 1.4x extender for the Mountain Bluebird).

I have decided to part ways with my Canon EOS 5d Mark III. I have been the only owner of this body and the current shutter count is just over 64k. It is in very good overall condition with only a few very, very, minor scuffs on the body. The reason I am selling is because I recently purchased a 1dx mark II (YAY!), so this camera hasn’t been getting any use.

 

Includes the following:
Battery grip – Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip
1 Canon original battery
Original box plus everything that came in it.
Current shutter count is: 64310

 

PRICE: $2500 CAD – Excludes shipping, if required.

 

If you would like to be the next proud owner of this camera, email me at contact@wildelements.ca.

 

Sample images taken with this lens are the following:

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird


At An Angle

At An Angle

 

The above images were both taken with the 5D Mark III, paired with a Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM (and 1.4x extender for the Mountain Bluebird).

Today Canon released EOS-1D X Mark II Firmware Version 1.0.2.  This firmware is supposed to address the problem where images were corrupting when using the SanDisk CFast Cards – see my post from June 29th below.  Specifically this update:

1. Incorporates countermeasures for a phenomenon in which the bottom part of still images recorded to SanDisk CFast cards become corrupted.
2. Enhances communication reliability between the camera and CFast cards.

 

Hopefully this corrects the problem for everyone that had been dealing with it. Luckily my camera worked just fine with CFAST cards, and I didn’t have any corrupt images, but I have already updated my camera.  The firmware update takes about 10 minutes, or less.

 

You can get the firmware update (and the instructions on how to update) from Canon Canada or Canon USA.

Canon has released a product advisory related to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and users experiencing corrupted images when using it with SanDisk CFAST Cards.

 

The summary of the problem is that for still images (not video) the bottom part of images may be corrupted, and the problem is being reported for both RAW and JPEG.  The release only specifies that this is being experienced when using the SanDisk CFAST cards – nothing has been noted about other brands.  However, part of me wonders if more people are using SanDisk CFAST cards, since they were given out (at least in Canada) when you purchased a 1D X Mark II, so I’m curious whether this problem could be experienced with ALL CFAST cards.

 

The effected images are images that are taken immediately before the camera is turned off (by switching off, auto power off, or removing battery or memory card).

 

How can you make sure your images don’t get corrupted?

Easy answer is – don’t use SanDisk CFAST cards until the firmware is released in early July.  However they are so much faster than the other option, Compact Flash, so as a workaround Canon also recommends that you take an extra shot (or up to 8 if you are shooting JPEG) before you power off the camera.

 

I have both SanDisk and Lexar CFAST cards, and have not experienced this problem myself, and even tried to replicate the problem after reading this release.  I did not have image corruption even after turning the camera off, but obviously enough people have for Canon to issue this release.  And in the meantime I will use my Lexar CFAST cards.

 

To get the full release, visit Canon here.  And stay tuned for the new firmware release.

I came out of the Khutzeymateen last Friday to the message I had been hoping for, after over a month of delays, the much anticipated Canon 1DX Mark II has arrived – too bad I didn’t have it for my trip.

 

I have only taken a few test shots with it so far, and my first thoughts are “man it’s fast”. With a CFAST card I am able to get over 100 shots before the camera starts to slow at all.  This is compared to about 35 that I can get with my 1dx and CF Card.

 

Look for a post in the next week or two where I put the two cameras head to head.

I am getting ready to head to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary with Brad Hill of Natural Art Images (find out more on his trips here).  This is my second time heading into the Khutzeymateen, and I’m beyond excited to see what this year might have in store.

 

Map of the Khutzeymateen

Map of the Khutzeymateen

The Khutzeymateen is officially known by many different names including: Khutzeymateen Provincial Park, Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary, Khutzeymateen Inlet Conservancy, Khutzeymateen Inlet West Conservancy, or for those of us that like to use slang – the “Khutz”.  The Khutz is a provincial park located off the coast of British Columbia established in 1994 and covers over 44,000 hectares of land.  This park is only accessible by water, and only two operators hold permits to bring guests into the park.  This makes it a very unique place to photograph Grizzly Bears, as you are one of under 200 people that get to visit the park that year.  And when you are taking photographs you don’t have to worry about other tour buses showing up and crowding in.

 

I went to the Khutz in 2015 with no idea what to expect, other than that I was going to get to see Grizzly Bears.  But I had no idea what to expect in terms of what kind of shots I would like to walk away with, other than by looking at the images that other photographers had taken in the past years.  What surprised me the most was the number of interactions among bears that I was able to capture.  There was tons of mating, at one point we could see at least three different sets of bears mating from one single spot. We also got to see a set of two cubs eating some grass with their mom keeping a close eye on us and them.

 

 

The top interaction that we witnessed on our trip was probably when a huge (almost black in color) grizzly came out of the

Battle of the Beasts

Battle of the Beasts

woods on the fourth day of our trip – we hadn’t seen him up to this point. He decided that he should be mating with this one female that another male was already courting.  And to prove his point, he charged and attacked.  The fight actually lasted about 5 minutes, which is a pretty long time, but if I didn’t have pictures from the beginning to end, I would have guessed that it lasted seconds, because if felt like it was over in a blink of an eye, and it felt like we had very little time to react.

 

As I prepare to head beak into the Khutzeymateen in just under a week, after having been there before I have the opportunity to think “what do I want to capture this year”.  The answer is simpler than the execution, and I would have to say that given the amazing scenery in the Khutzeymateen, I would really like to walk away with more animalscape , or landscape shots this year.  Although I would like to see another bear battle, I won’t hold my breath for that, as what we witnessed was probably a once in a lifetime.

 

If you want to see more pictures from my 2015 trip into the Khutzeymateen and read some of the stories to go along with them, visit the journeys page here: Khutzeymateen Collection

 

Stay tuned to the results of my second trip to the Khutz.

I am getting ready to head to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary with Brad Hill of Natural Art Images (find out more on his trips here).  This is my second time heading into the Khutzeymateen, and I’m beyond excited to see what this year might have in store.

 

Map of the Khutzeymateen

Map of the Khutzeymateen

The Khutzeymateen is officially known by many different names including: Khutzeymateen Provincial Park, Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary, Khutzeymateen Inlet Conservancy, Khutzeymateen Inlet West Conservancy, or for those of us that like to use slang – the “Khutz”.  The Khutz is a provincial park located off the coast of British Columbia established in 1994 and covers over 44,000 hectares of land.  This park is only accessible by water, and only two operators hold permits to bring guests into the park.  This makes it a very unique place to photograph Grizzly Bears, as you are one of under 200 people that get to visit the park that year.  And when you are taking photographs you don’t have to worry about other tour buses showing up and crowding in.

 

I went to the Khutz in 2015 with no idea what to expect, other than that I was going to get to see Grizzly Bears.  But I had no idea what to expect in terms of what kind of shots I would like to walk away with, other than by looking at the images that other photographers had taken in the past years.  What surprised me the most was the number of interactions among bears that I was able to capture.  There was tons of mating, at one point we could see at least three different sets of bears mating from one single spot. We also got to see a set of two cubs eating some grass with their mom keeping a close eye on us and them.

 

 

The top interaction that we witnessed on our trip was probably when a huge (almost black in color) grizzly came out of the

Battle of the Beasts

Battle of the Beasts

woods on the fourth day of our trip – we hadn’t seen him up to this point. He decided that he should be mating with this one female that another male was already courting.  And to prove his point, he charged and attacked.  The fight actually lasted about 5 minutes, which is a pretty long time, but if I didn’t have pictures from the beginning to end, I would have guessed that it lasted seconds, because if felt like it was over in a blink of an eye, and it felt like we had very little time to react.

 

As I prepare to head beak into the Khutzeymateen in just under a week, after having been there before I have the opportunity to think “what do I want to capture this year”.  The answer is simpler than the execution, and I would have to say that given the amazing scenery in the Khutzeymateen, I would really like to walk away with more animalscape , or landscape shots this year.  Although I would like to see another bear battle, I won’t hold my breath for that, as what we witnessed was probably a once in a lifetime.

 

If you want to see more pictures from my 2015 trip into the Khutzeymateen and read some of the stories to go along with them, visit the journeys page here: Khutzeymateen Collection

 

Stay tuned to the results of my second trip to the Khutz.