23 October 2020

African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town

African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town

A road trip via Kalk Bay, Simon's Town, Scarborough, Kommetjie and Noordhoek, took us to Monkey Valley (Noordhoek) for the most unforgettable lunch and sunset. 

One of the many highlights of the day, with artist and Nikon photographer, Linda Strydom, was an impromptu visit to the informal Arts & Craft Market / Souvenir Shop at Boulders Beach, Simon's Town.

On this crisp Cape Town morning we sampled the rich, creative  and unbelievable colours of African art (with the generosity of their creators giving us oodles of discount to purchase their craftmanship - this is actually sad as there is the obvious lack of tourism due to the global Covid Pandemic).

Image Gallery
10 images with Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens and Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.

Av Mode: Auto-ISO / various apertures (f/5.6-f/11).

All images Copyright Vernon Chalmers Copyright Policy

African Craftmanship African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
African Craftmanship African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 

African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 

African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 

African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 

African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 

African Craftmanship African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
African Craftmanship African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 

African Craftmanship: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
African Craftmanship: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 

African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
African Textiles: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 

Godfrey's Sunbird: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town
Godfrey's Sunbird: African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town 


Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns

Milnerton, Cape Town Flea Market View

01 October 2020

Aperture Demonstration for New Photographers

Aperture Demonstration: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Aperture Demonstration for New Photographers - With Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

A brief aperture / background blur demonstration of 8 images captured at different apertures, but exactly the same depth of field between camera / subject and background distance.

Objective: To demonstrate what effect an aperture change will have on background blur when changing the aperture setting on the camera (with all other settings exactly the same).

Lens Apertures
Apertures selected from first to last image: f/1.8 / f/2.8 / f/4 / f 5.6 / f/8 / f/11 / f/16 / f22 (f/1.8 is the largest aperture (actual lens opening with f/22 the smallest aperture of the particular lens used). Read more on the inter-relationship between Aperture / ISO and Shutter Speed: Exposure Triangle>>

Note how the density of the background blur decrease from f/2.8 to f/22. The background blur changes will have very little effect on the focused subject (red telephone / money box).

Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur View

When is this applicable? In almost all subjects we photograph - from portraits to wildlife to landscapes. For portraits you want to isolate the subject by using a larger aperture (smaller f/ number) i.e. f/2.8 - f/4, for wildlife; isolating animals from their immediate habitat at i.e. f/4 - f/5.6 and for landscapes where you want image sharpness across the frame with smaller apertures (higher f/ number) i.e. f/11 - f/16.

The quality and density of the blur will depend on type of lens used, focal length of the lens, distance to subject (and to background). Various other camera / environmental factors could also have an effect on the desired outcome.

Creative application will also have an effect on the background blur, i.e. long exposures or showing motion in some part(s) of an image. Another consideration is macro photography where you may want to capture a close-up flower with a very narrow depth of field relative to its background - where you may require an aperture between i.e. f/2.8 - f/11 depending on the required blur effect(s) across the frame.

Canon EOS Camera / Lens / Speedlite Flash - Other Settings Used

  • Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens / Canon Speedlite 430EX II
  • f/1.8 - f/22 / ISO 400 / 1/60s (85mm) Manual Focus (via Live View) Tripod

(Click To Enlarge / Slideshow)

Aperture f/1.8  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens  Aperture f/2.8  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

Aperture f/4  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens  Aperture f/5.6  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

Aperture f/8  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens  Aperture f/11  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

Aperture f/16  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens  Aperture f./22  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Shooting Location: Milnerton Cape Town (Photographer: Vernon Chalmers)

More about the Exposure in Photography Exposure Triangle

01 September 2020

Canon EOS R6 Field Testing Courtesy of Canon South Africa

Canon EOS R6 Field Testing Courtesy of Canon South Africa

New: Field / First Impressions Report: 'Canon EOS R6 / RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM Lenses for Birds in Flight / General Bird Photography' for Canon South Africa

I'm pleased to announce that I will once again be working in association with Canon SA in field testing the new Canon EOS R6 Full Frame mirrorless body that was launched during July 2020. (I've done a similar exercise with Canon SA in 2019 after the launch of the Canon EOS R).

One of the objectives of working with the EOS R6 will be the hands-on assessment of the EOS R6 Autofocus performance using the following lenses for birds in flight photography:
  • Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM lens
  • Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens

Canon EOS R6 Key Features and Specifications
  • Full-frame mirrorless camera
  • OLED electronic viewfinder with 3.69 million dots and 120fps refresh rate
  • 3-inch Vari-angle LCD touchscreen
  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots
  • New 20-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor
  • Native ISO range of 100-102,400
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with approximately 100 percent coverage and 1,053 autofocus areas
  • Subject tracking and eye-detect autofocus
  • DIGIC X image processor
  • Up to 12 frames per second continuous shooting with the mechanical shutter
  • Up to 20fps shooting using the electronic shutter
  • In-body image stabilization with up to 8 stops of shake correction
  • 4K (DCI and UHD) video at up to 60 frames per second
  • Full HD (1080p) video at up to 120fps
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM and RF 800mm F11 IS STM Key Features:
  • 600mm (RF 600mm F11 IS STM) and 800mm (RF 800mm F11 IS STM) focal length
  • Image Stabilization (IS) up to (RF 600mm F11 IS STM: 5-stops, RF 800mm F11 IS STM: 4-stops)
  • STM Autofocus Technology
  • Lightweight (RF 600mm F11 IS STM: approx. 930g and RF 800mm F11 IS STM: approx. 1,260g)
  • Compact - equipped with barrel structure that extends in use and retracts when stored
  • Lens Control Ring – giving direct control over Tv/Exposure compensation/ISO settings
  • F11 aperture lens with IS with full AF when paired with a Canon EOS R camera


Canon RF 600 / 800mm f/11 IS STM Lenses Official Media Release

Canon EOS R6 Sample Images  Birds in Flight Photography Canon EOS R6

Grey heron in flight - Woodbridge Island (EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens)
Grey heron in flight - Woodbridge Island (EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens)
Photographer / Copyright: Vernon Chalmers for Canon South Africa

Jackal Buzzard in Flight  - Woodbridge Island (EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens
Jackal Buzzard in Flight  - Woodbridge Island (EOS R6 / EF 800mm f/11 IS STM Lens
Photographer / Copyright: Vernon Chalmers for Canon South Africa

20 August 2020

Birds in Flight Photography - Skills Training Cape Town

Swift Tern Woodbridge Island : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Recent Vernon Chalmers Bird In Flight Photography Cape Town images published here

Private / Small Group Birds in Flight Photography Skills Training Cape Town
Increase your Canon EOS DSLR Birds in Flight photography skills with individual / small group workshop skills development training with Vernon Chalmers in Milnerton / Woodbridge Island Cape Town. Master the required camera and exposure settings with hands-on practical sessions around Woodbridge Island. 


Intermediate to Advanced Birds in Flight Photography Training Cape Town
Any photographer with a Canon EOS DSLR who wants to get a more in-depth understanding of the Canon EOS Exposure Modes, Autofocus (AF) system and its application / tuning for Birds in Flight / Action photography. Detailed instruction will be provided for all modern Canon EOS bodies up to the 65-point AF system. Please see the skills development  / learning areas below.

Egyptian Goose Woodbridge Island (Canon EOS 70D)
Birds in Flight Practical at Woodbridge Island
With more than 25 bird species Woodbridge Island offers year-round opportunities for capturing birds in flight.  A practical / walk-around shooting session will be arranged as soon as possible after completing the theory session. This is an opportunity for experimenting with the various exposure settings, AF system configurations and capturing / composition techniques. Guidance will be on hand for fine-tuning of exposure settings and AF system configurations.

Cost: From R850-00 (depending on training requirements)

What do you need to bring? A Canon EOS DSLR Camera, telephoto or zoom lens & your own memory card.

Recommended min lens focal length

250mm - 300mm ie: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6(L) IS USM zoom or EF 300mm f/4L IS USM prime lens (or any 3rd party lens of similar FL). I predominantly use the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens or Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens with both Canon Full Frame or APS-C / Crop bodies. I've had success with the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens in the past as well (paired with the Canon EOS 700D).

Continuous Canon AF and body assistance / support for fine-tuning specific Canon EOS body / lens combination.

Contact Me  for more information / booking detail (or Canon EOS training in other areas).

Delegates will receive a ring binder folder with all the relevant information and other useful resources.


Skills Development / Learning Areas*
  • BIF Fundamentals / Considerations 
  • Canon EOS Bodies / Lenses for BIF 
  • Camera / Lens Settings 
  • Exposure Settings 
  • Continuous shooting / AI Servo Modes 
  • Canon AF Systems (9-point to 65-point) 
  • Advanced AF System tuning (AF configuration / Area Selection Modes) 
  • Advanced body / lens focus tuning / techniques / recommendations 
  • Post-processing considerations for Birds in Flight Photography 
* Specific learning areas will depend on learning requirements / current skills levels

Canon EOS Training Cape Town
Canon EOS Bodies / AF Systems
All EOS body owners (or future EOS owners) are welcome to attend. Please note that the in-depth discussion / tuning around AF systems will primarily be focused around the following AF systems with specific emphasis from the 19-point AF system EOS bodies which offers more advanced case and zone configurations:

  • 9-point AF System (EOS 500D / 550D / 600D / 650D / 700D / 60D / 5D / 5D Mark II) 
  • 11-point AF System (EOS 6D) 
  • 19-point AF System (EOS 750D / 760D / 70D / 7D) 
  • 45-point AF System (EOS 1D / 1D Mark II / 1D Mark III / 1D Mark IV)
  • 45-point AF System (EOS 80D) / Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • 61-point AF System (EOS 5D Mark III / EOS 5Ds / EOS 5Ds R / EOS-1D X) 
  • 65-point AF System (EOS 7D Mark II)

Birds in Flight Photography - Individual Skills Training Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II (AI Servo Case Menu - Case 2)

Canon EOS AF Guidebooks

Owners / users of the following Canon EOS bodies will receive a matching e-copy of the Canon EOS Autofocus Guidebook:
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Canon EOS-1D X
(Click to Enlarge)
Birds in Flight Photography - Individual Skills Training Cape Town
Small Bird Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Birds in Flight Photography - Individual Skills Training Cape Town
Sandwich Tern Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Birds in Flight Photography - Private / Individual Training Cape Town
Sandwich Tern Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Birds in Flight Photography - Private / Individual Training Cape Town
Swift Tern Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Birds in Flight Photography Private / Individual Training Cape Town
Sacred Ibis Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photo Gallery
Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photo Gallery

07 August 2020

A few Birds in Flight at Woodbridge Island

Cattle Egret in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Cattle Egret in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Friday late morning I went for a short walkabout just outside my training studio here in Milnerton, Cape Town (opposite Woodbridge Island) and quite quickly captured a few local birds in flight:
  • Cattle egret
  • African ibis
  • Little egret
  • Pied kingfisher
  • Yellow-billed duck

Conditions and Location
Crisp late morning sun with no wind at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town (just off the small island). Woodbridge Island Map>>

Canon Camera / Lens Settings
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode
  • Auto-ISO: 400 - 800
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed: 1/3200s
  • AI Servo: Case 1: Wide Zone
  • 10 fps High Speed Continuous Mode
  • Handheld

Post-Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 9.0: Colour correction / noise reduction / lens profile correction.

(Click to Enlarge)

African Ibis in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
African Ibis in Flight above the Milnerton Golf course, Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Little Egret in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Little Egret in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town (against the Milnerton Golf Course)

Pied Kingfisher in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Pied Kingfisher in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town (against the Milnerton Golf Course)

Yellow-Billed Duck in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Yellow-Billed Duck in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town (Against Lion's Head / Signal Hill side of Table Mountain)

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

01 August 2020

Birds in Flight variety on a crisp Saturday Morning

Birds in Flight Photography : Woodbridge Island

Yellow-billed duck in in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Yellow-Billed in Flight over the Diep River

Birds in Flight along the Diep River / Woodbridge Island 
For large parts of this year the conditions were not great for photographing birds in flight here at the Diep River, Woodbridge Island.

A lack of good light (winter conditions) and the long-term restoration project of the wooden bridge damped my enthusiasm somewhat.

Nevertheless, I will grab a good light day and Saturday was such a day.

Herewith a few birds in flight during a vibrant and sunny morning - even managed to photograph my first juvenile lesser flamingos (not often seen in this part of the world.

Some low flying over the Diep river, with others flying higher and over the Milnerton Golf Course.

Birds in Flight (from the top)
  • Yellow-billed duck
  • African oystercatcher
  • Cape shoveler duck
  • Egyptian goose
  • Black-winged stilt
  • Homer / racing pigeon
  • Lesser flamingos

Lightroom Post-Processing
All images processed in Adobe Lightroom 8. Converted from RAW to JPG. Lens profile correction. Minor colour correction. Sharpness and noise reduction applied.

Cape Town Location
Milnerton Lagoon Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. Over the Diep River flowing past the Milnerton Golf Course

Equipment (Birds In Flight / Action Photography)
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR camera body
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • SanDisk Extreme 64GB 120MB/s CF Card

Manual Mode Settings
  • Shutter speed: 1/3200s - 1/4000s
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal length 400mm
  • Auto-ISO (ISO 320 - 1000)
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo
  • AI Servo / AF Mode Option (Large / Wide Zone AF / Case 1)
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

(Click to enlarge)
Yellow-billed duck in in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Yellow-billed duck in in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton (Against the Milnerton Golf Course)

African oystercatcher in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
African oystercatcher in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton (over the Diep River with Milnerton Golf Course behind)

Cape shoveler duck in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Cape shoveler duck in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton (over the Diep River with Milnerton Golf Course behind)

Egyptian goose in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Egyptian goose in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton (low flying over the Diep River)

Black-winged stilt in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Black-winged stilt in flight Woodbridge Island, Milnerton (low flying over the Diep River)

Homer / racing pigeon in flight - Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Homer / racing pigeon in flight - Woodbridge Island, Milnerton (over the Milnerton Golf Course)

Juvenile lesser flamingos in flight - Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Juvenile lesser flamingos in flight - Woodbridge Island, Milnerton (Over the Milnerton Golf Course)

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Birds in Flight Photography Gallery View

Birds in Flight Photography Training Cape Town View

Birds in Flight Photography Training Gift Vouchers View

Update on the AutoFocus Workshop and Birds in Flight Training

Update on the AutoFocus Workshop and Birds in Flight Training
Pied Kingfisher after a dive - with Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Important Update wrt my current Advanced Autofocus (AF) Training Workshop - to the benefit of all Canon EOS photographers still interested in mastering Birds in Flight Photography. (available during my one-on-one / private training sessions)

The current Advanced AF Training workshop is now being integrated as a module in all Birds in Flight learning sessions.

Historically, the Canon EOS Advanced AF Workshop was mainly offered to photographers with EOS bodies with the 61-Point or 65-Point AF systems (i.e. Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 5D Mark III / IV and the Canon EOS-1D X (Mark II) bodies.

Canon EOS photographers with the 45-Point AF or older 19-Point AF systems are now all offered with more in-depth Canon Optical Autofocus training and resources on said AF Systems (i.e. as deployed in the Canon EOS 60D / 77D / 70D / 80D / 90D).

This will be offered in the current time frames of two or three session options. I will work with every photographer to maximise his / her time ito AF System at no additional cost.

Update on the AutoFocus Workshop and Birds in Flight Training
Cape Canary in flight above Woodbridge Island
What generally happen is the photographers with more advanced AF systems can decide if they want one or two of the sessions spent on AF configurations and settings - or just one (with the other settings / theory) and two practical sessions. The same for all the other systems - I will work with the individual photographer to provide the best settings / practical balance in the two sessions.

All sessions are up to five hours and deemed adequate time to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of a specific Canon EOS AF System (as applied in Birds in Flight photography). One or two practical sessions will assist for providing a hands-on experience of photographing birds in flight around the Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Reserve areas.

Two Session BIF Photography Training (Less advanced AF)
The option for two sessions will still available at R950-00 (minimum of 10 hours). There will be some Lightroom post-processing orientation (if required) and an extra session could be costed in for Lightroom training at less than half the cost of a separate Lightroom training session.

Three Session BIF Photography Training (More Advanced AF)
The standard three session option will still be available at R1 250-00 (minimum of 15 hours) This option will also get more detailed Lightroom facilitation (if required) and an extra session could be costed in for Lightroom training at less than half the cost of a separate Lightroom training session.

I'm a firm believer that birds in flight photography can be achieved and enjoyed with probably all Canon EOS bodies on the market today. With technique, a 70-300mm lens, understanding of the AF System, a few settings and good light most Canon EOS bodies will produce crisp and well-exposed in-flight images. See image with entry-level Canon EOS / Old EF 70-300mm lens.

For more information / bookings visit the Birds in Flight Photography Training Page 

"Early morning aerobics" Swift tern after a dive

"Early morning aerobics" Swift tern after a dive
Swift Tern : Woodbridge Island Copyright Vernon Chalmers)
Why do (swift) terns fly upside-down?
This a question that was asked on the images I posted of the 'terning'' terns in the Birdlife South Africa Facebook Group

After a dive for fish they shake off the excess water.

In this series of five consecutive images a swift tern just emerged from the water and twist it's head / tail for a very rapid shake off

Description: Swift tern shaking off water after an unsuccessful fishing dive attempt into the Diep river, Woodbridge Island Cape Town.

The swift tern is also known as the greater crested tern (Thalasseus bergii)

Images below are 5 consecutive frames with the quick-shooting Canon EOS 7D Mark II.

This is a regular occurrence during most of our summer months. The sandwich tern follow similar behaviour in an attempt to get rid of the water.

Cape Town Location
Diep River - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Equipment Used (Birds In Flight / Action Photography)
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR camera body
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Lexar Professional 800x / 120MB/s 32GB CF Card

Manual Mode Settings
  • Shutter speed: 1/4000s
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal length 400mm
  • Auto-ISO (ISO 640)
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo
  • AI Servo / AF Mode Option (Wide Zone AF / Case 1)
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

(Click to enlarge)
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 1 / 5 Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 1 / 5

Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 2 / 5  Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 2 / 5

Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 3 / 5  Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 3 / 5

Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 4 / 5  Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 4 / 5

Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 5 / 5  Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 3 / 5

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photo Gallery

Woodbridge Island Cape Town Bird Species

Vernon Chalmers Photography Popular Posts