Blog

Blog Posts

Breathtaking Breach

Our 2021 Photo Tours are now live with some really great trips down to just one remaining spot.  A summary of all photo tours with pricing and availability can be found on my Photo Tours webpage. We are offering our very popular trips from prior years along with two new photo tours, the Khutzeymateen Explorer, and Autumn in the Queen Charlotte Strait. More information is available by clicking on the links.

 

And if you just cannot wait until 2021 to join us, we have two spots remaining in 2020.

 

Spring in the Southern Great Bear rainforest, where we explore the Great Bear Rainforest at a different time of year, hoping to capture bears as they emerge from hibernation and start feeding on sedge grasses, and Humpback Whales as they make their way north, and if we are lucky,  coastal Gray Wolves.  More information about this trip can be found here.

 

We also have one space available on our exciting Marine Mammals photo tour in August.  On this tour we use the sailboat and cover the northern tip of Vancouver Island between the mainland, hoping to capture Humpback Whales, Orcas, Steller Sea Lions, Sea Otters and more. This is one of the most exciting trips we offer (in my opinion), with each day offering something different and unique. More information about this trip can be found here.

 

Contact me for more information about any of our exciting photo tours contact@wildelements.ca.

NEW CAMERA ALERT – CANON 1DX Mark III !!!

 

I picked up my new Canon 1DX Mark III a couple weeks ago, and actually have not had too much time to get out shooting with it just yet. But the small amount of time I have spent with it, I do have a few first impressions of it that I thought I would share until I have more time to spend with it.  The following are a few of those first impressions, and what I still plan to come when it comes to testing and shooting the 1DX Mark III.

 

AF Points

The marketing materials had me really excited, it stated that the 1DX Mark III was coming equipped with 191 AF Points (155 cross-type points) with all of them being f/8. My thoughts were “Finally, more coverage of the frame”, making it a little easier to frame shots when you want the subject further down in either the left, or right, corner, when trying to capture an animal with a landscape behind it.  Well I got excited for nothing, while there are more than 130 more AF points, they are covering not much more of the frame (maybe no more of the frame).

 

What that means is that there are a ton of really tiny AF points that can help increase the precision of your autofocus, assuming it falls within the array of points available (and not out in no mans land where there are no AF Points).  With the AF points being so small, it makes me wonder if there is really any use not for the Spot AF point, because it is just such a tiny little focusing point.  I guess I will get an answer to this once I get more time with the camera, and test the Autofocus a little more carefully.

 

There has also been a revision to the “Cases” where you can set the parameters for the responsiveness of the autofocus.  The changes that I have noted (but not had a chance to test yet) are that there are now only 4 cases (as opposed to 6).  Canon has added an auto case which is supposed to adapt to how the subject moves.  And finally they have removed the parameter for AF Point Auto Switch, which I am not that bothered by, because I didn’t find that it was overly useful anyway.

 

Auto ISO

There were no notable changes with the Auto ISO, more specifically, Canon is still only offering full stops for shutter speeds when setting the Auto ISO, which definitely does bum me out a little bit, because having 1/3 stops would be way more useable.

 

New Button

The new AF On button with smart controller allows you to scroll the autofocus point without the need to press another button first.  It’s a pretty slick button, however I do find that it is pretty sensitive, so I think it will take some getting used to in order to work with it quickly.  I also wonder how it will respond when shooting in the rain, and if my fingers are wet.  With the amount of time that I spend on the coast of British Columbia, I am guessing I will get to put it to the test.

 

Other Notes

I have noticed in the little bit of time that I have spent with the camera, it seems to be a bit quieter especially when shooting large bursts, it sounds like the mirror is less “slappy”.  Coupled with this is that the mirror blackout does not seem to be as long as it is with the predecessor the 1DX Mark II.

 

What’s Next?

Next on the agenda for me is to spend some more time actually shooting the camera.  In addition, I hope to spend more time testing the ISO performance, and comparing it to the 1DX Mark II, and also testing the Autofocus and how it compares to the 1DX Mark II.

 

If you have any questions about my thoughts on the 1DX Mark III, feel free to contact me at contact@wildelements.ca.

GREAT BEAR PHOTO TOUR AVAILABILITY!!!

 

Big Boy

If you are looking for a spring time getaway, we still have one space available on our 2020 Spring in the Great Bear Rainforest.  The dates of the trip are May 29 – June 6, 2020.

 

This trip explores the Great Bear Rainforest at a different time of year than when people typically visit it, as Black Bears and Grizzly Bears emerge from their dens and start feeding on sedge grasses in the estuaries.  This is also a great opportunity to grab photos of Humpback Whales as they make their way back from the south, and if we are lucky, see Coastal Gray Wolves.

 

More information on this great photo tour is available here or you can contact me contact@wildelements.ca for more information.

Today is a big day for this Canon user.

 

My Canon 1DX Mark III has arrived.  I am so excited to get out and try it, and compare it to the 1DX Mark II.  Ergonomically it feels pretty similar to the 1DX Mark II, but we will see how it stacks up compared to the 1DX Mark II, especially for my focus, wildlife photography.

 

Also, last night Canon has released a statement that it is working on a new mirrorless, the EOS R5.  I am very much looking forward to trying a new mirrorless camera.  I feel like the EOS R really didn’t meet my needs, especially as an owner of the 5D Mark IV, so I am looking forward to Canon’s next attempt at the mirrorless cameras, and hopefully this fills a void in my current camera line up.

 

The EOS R5 is advertised as having 20 frames per second, and 8K video, but the rest of the details are pretty vague.  Based on the photos that are floating around online, the camera looks much more ergonomic, and more similar to the 5D Mark IV.   There are lots of rumors out there, so I guess we will just need to wait and see what the actual specs are when the “real announcement” is made.  Canon also mentioned that they are working on a 200-500, and 24-105 lens for the RF mount, so it looks like they are really trying to catch up in the mirrorless game.

 

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions on my new 1DX Mark III, or if there is anything you specifically want me to test out for you.  My email is contact@wildelements.ca.

Me & My Mini Me

At this time every year we get prepared to start offering our photo tours for the next year.  In the next couple weeks we will be contacting those that put themselves on the priority booking list for 2021, and they will get the first right a refusal for those trips.  If you still want to get added to the priority booking list, contact me for more information.

 

While our photo tour offerings for 2021 will be pretty similar to 2020, there is at least one exciting new trip, and a few changes to some of the existing trips.

 

The go-live date for those not on a priority booking list will be available on my photo tours page around the middle of February.

 

Can’t wait until 2021?  Well we do still have a couple openings in 2020, including Spring in the Great Bear Rainforest, and Marine Mammals, visit my photo tours page for more details. Questions? Contact me at contact@wildelements.ca.

Canon 1DX Mark III:

  • 20.1 megapixels
  • DIGIC X processor
  • 191 total autofocus points (all f8)
  • 155 cross-type AF points
  • Head, face, eye detection
  • 16 frames per second (viewfinder)
  • 20 frames per second (live view)
  • 1000 image buffer (raw)
  • 400,000 pixel RGB Sensor
  • 5.5K and 4K Raw Video
  • Dual CFExpress card slot
  • Weight: 1440g (with battery)
  • $8,999 CAD ($6,499 USD)

Finally, the official announcement for the Canon 1DX Mark III is out!  You can view it on Canon Canada’s website here. This comes almost 4 years after the announcement of the 1DX Mark II (which was announced on February 1, 2016).   And since the teaser by Canon at the end of last year, I have been anxiously awaiting it.

 

Resolution & Processor

The Canon 1DX Mark III comes with 20.1 megapixels, which is the same number of megapixels as its predecessor.  Some people are a little disappointed that there have been no change in the number of megapixels, and while 24ish would have been nice, I am not overly disappointed that there is no change, I find 20 to be a nice sweet spot.

 

The camera comes with a DIGIC X image processor, and the autofocus system comes with a dedicated DIGIC 8 processor that will help to improve the autofocus speed and accuracy.   The image processor is advertised to have better ISO performance and dynamic range.  The ISO range has increased to a maximum of 102400, expandable up to 819200, but those are just numbers.  The question will be what the useable ISO for the camera will be, and whether it will be improved over the 1DX Mark II.

 

Autofocus

The biggest improvement in the camera is the advertised autofocus.  The 1DX Mark III comes with 191 total autofocus points, all of which are f/8, and there are 155 cross-type autofocus points.  With a dedicated DIGIC 8 processor, it is expected (and advertised) that autofocus will be better than the predecessor. This compares to to the 61 autofocus points (41 cross-type) of the 1DX Mark II.

In addition to the increased number of autofocus points, the camera also comes with advanced autofocus with head, face, and eye detection to help improve autofocus of subjects.  I will be curious to see how it works with wildlife subjects, or if it works at all.

 

The 1DX Mark III comes with an improved RBG sensor, going from 360,000 pixels in the 1DX Mark II to 400,000, this should help improve the AF performance and metering.

 

Speed

The 1DX Mark III is built for speed, with an increase in the frames per second, going from 14 to 16 (through the viewfinder), and from 16 to 20 (live view).  What is more impressive is that the camera has a buffer of approximately 1000 images, which is outstanding…and finally I will no longer be cringing while the Nikons are still going and my camera is buffered out.

 

Weight & Build & Other

Overall there is a slight weight savings over the predecessor of approximately 90 grams (with battery) with the 1DX Mark III weighing 1440 grams versus 1530 grams, but the overall dimensions of the camera remain unchanged.

 

The camera is equipped with dual CF Express slots.  FINALLY, Canon has produced a camera with two slots, which both take the same memory card.  However, I am a little disappointed that I invested in CFast cards and read for the 1DX Mark II that cannot be used with the 1DX Mark III.

 

The battery will be the same that is used for the 1DX Mark II, so at least anyone running both cameras will not need two different chargers and batteries.

 

As for video, I am not going to dive into the details, as video is just something I do for fun (and mostly with a GoPro or iPhone), but the 1DX Mark III does come with 5.5k raw video at 60 frames per second, as well as 4K at 60 frames per second.

 

The 1DX Mark III doesn’t come cheap, it is price at $8,999CAD  ($6,499 USD), so I really hope that the AF performance is as good as advertised, because the price tag is steep.

 

I am looking forward to getting my hands on one but who knows when that will be.  I am still debating what I will use as a second body, and whether I keep my 5D Mark IV, or my 1DX Mark II.

 

If you have questions, feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca.

Well 2019 is in the rear view mirror and I am already looking forward to the opportunities of 2020. But I decided I should take a few minutes to reflect on 2019 and share some of my favourite moments.

 

Let Me See!

My 2019 tour season started with me visiting the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, and there was certainly no shortage of Grizzly Bears to photograph during the nine days.  This included mothers with cubs, and some bears enjoying the estuary on their own.  While we were provided with many great photo opportunities, I think one of the top moments was when a mother and cub both stood up to look over a little hill in order to check out a bear that was on the other side.  It was certainly a jaw dropping moment.  Also a moment that was truly amazing, is seeing one of the oldest bears in the estuary, who was presumed to be dead making his way at a decent pace up the inlet. While you could definitely see that he was aged, at over 30 years old, it was pretty amazing.  If you are interested in seeing all the photos from my Khutzeymateen trips, those can be found in my Khutzeymateen portfolio, or you can read about my blog post here.

 

From the Khuzeymateen I headed to a new area, Gwaii Haanas, a National Park Reserve and Marine Conservation Area.  While we explored the area we had the opportunity to photograph a number of sea and shore birds, and even a few mammals such as Sitka Deer and Black Bears.   It was a great to get a chance to explore a new part of the coast of British Columbia, you can read the blog post here.

 

Crab Dinner

I started August with one of my favourite trips, Marine Mammals, where we explore the coast off the north and west part of Vancouver Island looking for Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Sea Otters and more.  In 2019 we were treated to all our targeted species, with the Sea Otters stealing the show (but not to be outdone by a Humpback Whale which breached for us on our last day).  We had the opportunity to photograph Sea Otters eating a number of things that they brought up from the ocean floor, including urchins, clams, and even crabs, like the one captured in the Sea Otter image to the left.  More photos from my previous Marine Mammals trips can be found in the Marine Mammals portfolio, and the blog post from 2019 can be found here.

 

Launched

My official tours of 2019 ended with me leading two trips in the Great Bear Rainforest, while they only had one week in between them, they both had different highlights.  We had the opportunity on both trips to photograph Grizzly Bears, Black Bears and Bald Eagles which all gather to eat the salmon in the rivers and streams.  We also had the opportunity on to witness some bubble feeding by a lone Humpback Whale. I think the ultimate moment of 2019, watching transient Killer Whales attacking and killing a large male Steller Sea Lion, I don’t think I will ever get an opportunity quite like this again. My photos from the Great Bear Rainforest trips can be found in my portfolio, and you can read more about my first trip and second trip in the links.

 

Elk Expanse

And I ended 2019 with a quick trip to Yellowstone National Park.  While I always hope to get a chance to see wolves, this year I wasn’t so lucky.  I did however get a couple of opportunities to photograph River Otters while they fished and rolled around in the snow, and some beautiful male Elk posed in front of the Yellowstone landscapes.

 

In 2020, most of our trips are sold out, however there are still a few spaces available, and our 2021 trip dates will be released soon, so if you would like to join us on one of these tours, contact me for more details contact@wildelements.ca.

Since Christmas is near, I thought I would put together my letter to Santa (or Canon Santa) on what I would like to have on the new Canon flagship camera the 1DX Mark III. Since Canon made the announcement that it is developing the 1DX Mark III, I have been anxiously looking forward to its release, and thinking about what I hope the camera comes with.

 

I know that the press release was pretty vague on details, but some of the rumours are that the sensor will remain at 20.2 megapixels. This is a disappointment to some, but I think it is a sufficient number of megapixels, especially for someone like me that spends the majority of their time shooting hand-held, a bunch of really tiny pixels are a disadvantage.  Also, if you want more megapixels, there is always the 5D Mark IV, or the rumoured 75 megapixel mirrorless camera.  My hope is actually that there isn’t significant changes in the number of megapixels.

 

One of the details that was provided by Canon in the press release is that Canon has increased the size of the autofocus sensor.  I don’t think you can ever have too fast of autofocus on a camera.  I am really looking forward to trying out the newer, faster autofocus, to see how it performs.

 

I am also looking forward to seeing how the camera will perform with the new card types, and how that improves the buffer rate.  I can tell you, when you are shooting next to a bunch of Nikon shooters, and your camera buffers out, it is a real bummer.

 

Given that the majority of my photography is done on the coast of British Columbia, and sometimes in dark, and rainy weather, improved ISO performance is at the top of my list.  I am hoping for improved noise performance and dynamic range at the high ISOs (over ISO 3200).

 

Another nice to have in the new flagship camera with be in body stabilization (IBIS).  While I am not overly optimistic that the camera will come with this, given that the mirrorless camera (EOSR) didn’t have it, I don’t think I will bet on it.  But some of the rumours are that the camera may come with it.

 

And my final wish, that Canon will just release the 1DX Mark III already, and have sufficient supply so I can get one quickly!

 

Feel free to share your wishes (or any rumors you have) with me at contact@wildelements.ca.

I picked up my 90D this fall, and so far I have had just a few opportunities to get out and start shooting with it. I am looking forward to getting the chance to use it even more in Yellowstone coming up.

 

The first thing I wanted to assess is what the noise is like on the 90D. Given that it is 32.5 megapixels on a cropped sensor, I had a feeling that I would not see much of an improvement in noise, compared to what I experienced with the Canon 7D Mark II.  Well my assumption was correct.  The noise performance falls behind that of what I experienced with the 7D Mark II.

 

This photo of a Great Gray Owl taken at ISO 6400 is quite noisy, however it’s not easy to see on the web version of the photo.  I have not done any noise reduction on the image, I took it from Lightroom, and performed a few small edits in Photoshop, and compressed to to 2400 pixels on the long end.  That being said, the noise is manageable in the post production, and you are able to make a cleaner, less noisy image with it.

 

I also had the chance to compare the 90D with the D500 to compare the ISO performance on the two cameras (using 70-200 f/2.8 lenses).  And I am sad to report that the noise performance on the 90D falls behind the Nikon D500.    When looking at the test images, the Canon is almost a full-stop behind the Nikon D500, so the noise at the Nikon at ISO 6400 is more comparable to ISO 3200 on the Canon 90D.  I attribute this partly to the more reasonable sensor size of the Nikon having only 20.8 megapixels.

 

The following are the images of the Canon 90D at various high ISOs and the sample of the D500 at ISO 6400.  These were all compressed to 2400 on the long end in photoshop using bicubic.

Canon 90D @ ISO 3200

Canon 90D @ ISO 6400

Canon 90D @ ISO 12800

Nikon D500 @ ISO 6400

 

Also, here are two comparisons of ISO 6400 between the D500 and 90D, with the images cropped to 2400 pixels (no other adjustment made to image size).

Canon 90D @ ISO 6400

Nikon D500 @ ISO 6400

 

As you can see, the Nikon is less noisy.

 

I am going to take more time to test it out while I am in Yellowstone, but so far, I am not noticing much improvement in ISO performance. Additionally, I want the opportunity to test out the autofocus and overall image quality of the camera.  But at this point I’m not sure if it will get a permanent spot in my camera kit.  I really think that having a cropped sensor with so many megapixels is really the downfall of this camera.  If I get the opportunity to get my hands on the 7D Mark II to compare it to the 90D, I will report on my findings.

 

If you are interested in more information on the 90D, please feel free to email me contact@wildelements.ca to discuss further.

Canon 1DX Mark III:

  • Improved autofocus
  • 28x Bigger AF Sensor
  • New CMOS Sensor & DIGIC Processor
  • Improved frame rate
  • Dual CF Express Slots
  • Wifi, Bluetooth, & GPS Connectivity

Following in the footsteps of the Nikon “announcement” of the D6, Canon recently announced that it is developing the EOS-1DX Mark III, the successor of the 1DX Mark II, which is the flagship camera body for Canon.  You can read a copy of the Canon Canada press release here.  The announcement is a little light on details, but below are some of the “details” provided.

 

Canon has stated the updated flagship camera body will have improved autofocus speed and accuracy, which as a wildlife photographer (or even for sports shooters) is one of the features that we look forward to the most.  The improved autofocus will be the result of a bigger autofocus sensor, which is 28x bigger than that on the 1DX Mark II.

 

The 1DX Mark III will come with an updated CMOS sensor and DIGIC processor, which they say will improve ISO performance, and also allow for the recording of 4K60p video with the camera.

 

Canon has also advertised the 1DX Mark III as having a faster frame rate, up to 16 frames per second using optical viewfinder, and 20 frames per second in Live View Mode.

 

As part of the announcement Canon mentions that the camera will support dual card slots which will take CFExpress cards.  While I am happy that Canon has finally decided to have two of the same card types in a camera, I am annoyed that I spent money on CFast cards that are no longer going to be useful, and that I will have to invest in more cards and a new card reader.  However, the CFExpress should help contribute to having a faster camera, so the investment will be worth it, and it will be nice to finally not need to have two different cards for one camera, like was required for the 1DX Mark II.

 

Included in the feature list are the connectivity features which include built in wifi, bluetooth, and GPS technology.  These aren’t features that I tend to use that often, however it shows that Canon are continuing to stay up on the technology for photographers that would like these features.

 

What is missing from the announcement is an actual release date for the camera.  I already have my name on the list to get one when the do become available, hopefully before the photo tour season starts next spring, so I can really put it to the test.  If you have questions, feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca.