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Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Secrets to Good Scrambled Eggs

Many time we are out and about on vacation or heading to work and we inevitably will stop for breakfast.  Usually we order some type of egg and many times that egg is scrambled.  Scrambled eggs are available in just about every restaurant open for breakfast but why do they often times taste so dull?

Scrambled eggs are probably about the easiest item to make for breakfast and perhaps that is why proper cooking is overlooked. Below are my suggestions for making great eggs.


  1.  Use salt!  I can't tell you how many times I have eaten eggs at a restaurant that taste as flat as the pancakes look at the next table.  A couple shakes will not do.
  2. Use black pepper!  You have to be a little careful with the pepper, but you should be able to taste the pepper without the heat of the pepper interfering.
  3.  Use butter!  Preheat the pan over a low medium heat then put two pats of butter in the pan.  Don't overhead the butter because it has a low smoke point and will burn easily. Burned butter tastes really bad.
  4.  Use medium heat, never high heat!  Eggs can't take high heat.  They turn rubbery when cooked this way. Let them slowly cook until the are no longer runny but not rubbery.
  5. Use a small amount of milk!  When blending the eggs together, use a small amount of milk to give it a creamier flavor and consistency.

Well that is pretty much all there is to great eggs.  Hopefully some of the restaurant owners will read this.







Monday, June 17, 2013

Why I am switching to digital cameras as my primary option

I have owned a high end DSLR now for about a month and it has totally changed my outlook on my photography.  I have always been a film guy and perhaps there will always be a part of me that remains that way, but there are several reason I feel that digital is a better choice for me.  Please note that my inventory of cameras is quite diverse so I do have some idea of what I am talking about here.  I own quite a few film cameras.  I own the Mamiya RB 67 Pro, Kiev 88, Contax 167MT, Yashica FX-3 Super 2000 and the Canon EOS 1N.  All good cameras that produce some good photographs when coupled with the right glass.  Below are the reasons for switching to digital as my primary medium.

Cost
Professional film costs about $5 to $6 a roll to purchase in rolls of 36.  Typically on a shoot I will use somewhere between 2 to 3 rolls minium.  To process this film in today's marked has a cost of about $8 a roll.  So a typical shoot will cost me in the neighborhood of $40.00.  If I go on about 10 shoots a year, that is $400.00. Wow, when I began to look at it that way I soon realized that film was expensive.  With the extra savings, I could buy a good mid-range lens and maybe a really nice lens from KEH.

Quality
Overall my quality "per roll" for lack of a better way to say it, is up with digital.  Because I have instant feedback on my LCD, I know that my exposure is pretty much right on track.  I can't rely completely on the LCD but it gets me really close.  Note that film can actually produce a different image that can be very pleasing compared to digital, but I have found that this "look" is not often needed.

Piece of Mind
Many times I would go out in the field and say to myself "I hope I got a good shot."  With digital there is no guessing or hoping the light is captured the way I am seeing it.  To me this is a great load off my mind.  Finally,  because film, especially color,  needs to be sent out to a lab for processing you run the risk of the film being lost or heat damaged in transport.  

Modern Conveniences
With digital, I have a myriad of choices when it comes to actually pressing the shutter.  First, my camera has the ability to write to two SD cards simultaneously providing me with a backup of every shot I take.  Secondly, I can tether my camera to a computer for studio preview.  This can be done with polaroid backs on my Mamiya RB but the backs are expensive and now we have added another film to the cost equation. 

Will I stop Shooting Film
No, I will continue to shoot film until the stop making it, but my choice to use film in all situations has completely changed.  For day to day shooting I will use my DSLR, but for specialty images I will use film.  For example, film will still be used for IR shooting and fine art black and white.

 

 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Canon 1D Mark II Tests Continued

I continued my testing of the new Canon 1D Mark II by stopping by Moravian Falls on the way to work this morning. Again, generally very pleased by the photos.  The battery did run low but it is getting some age and it is probably time to replace it.  Mirror lockup and exposures seemed quite accurate in general.











Saturday, June 1, 2013

Canon 1D Mark II Review

So let me start by saying I am a film guy and to some degree probably will remain until the last roll of film is manufactured.  Having made that statement and getting it out of my system, let me say that the Canon 1D Mark II is a true joy to shoot and the images are really quite good.

I bought my 1D Mark II from KEH camera used for $325.00 and the for that price I really couldn't say no.  It was a BGN (bargain) grade camera but it arrived in fine condition and ready to shoot.

Great Features
I am not going to spend a great deal of time on features.  This camera has been out for a long time and you can find numerous pro analysis on many different websites.  Instead let me pick out a few of the features I find useful.  First is the very fast autofocus.  So fast, in fact there are times it is difficult for my eye to pick up that a focus adjustment was made.  If it wasn't for the fact that I actually heard the motor, I would think it didn't work.  This camera was made for the photojournalist pro and Canon made sure the auto-focus and drive were as fast as they could be.  The second feature that I find very interesting, is that of redundancy.  This camera can simultaneously write a RAW/JPEG image to the CF and SD card.  Using this feature you always have a backup of the image in case one card should fail. That is great for peace of mind.

Just a simple photo of some flowers we had here in the house
Not so Great Features
The list of features which fail are really zero, but if I had to nitpick it would be the lack of preview and the smaller 2.0 inch display.  Other than that, I really would have wanted to see a physical mirror lockup button. The photographer can still use mirror lockup but it is buried in the menus. The camera has an 8.2 mp sensor but when this camera was introduced that was top of the line.

Below I have taken a few test shots with the modestly priced Canon Ultrasonic 22-55 mm zoom lens.  This is a "prosumer" type of lens so it won't have the sharpness of Canon's pro lenses but the images were more than fine.