There's nothing like a paying gig to justify some expensive gear. I've been wanting the Canon 10-22mm EF-S 3.5-4.5 lens for some time now, and finally stumped up the cash for one last week.
I've been pretty pleased with my EF-S 18-55mm lens, but this baby just gets more in the picture, which is particularly useful for the shots I'm doing for the Otago Settlers Museum. Some of the galleries are magnificent spaces, and it takes a really wide angle of view to portray that.
I love what it let me do with this recce shot of the Smith Gallery, showing pretty much of the room and that cool vaulted ceiling. To be honest, this shot wasn't totally achieved in camera. It is one single frame, but the wide exposure range meant I had to combine separate exposures for the ceiling, walls and floor and create a High Dynamic Range picture with the Photomatix application. I also dodged the foreground dress in a little to brighten it up.
I plan to go back soon and achieve this look by lighting the place. A tricky job, but I love the challenges assignments like this present. The new lens also let me tackle some exterior shots of the museum. It's housed in two long historic buildings that come together in an angle. Close up, it's hard to fit it all into one shot and if you get back further, you have to contend with busy traffic and lots of difficult foreground clutter like large trees and lamp posts.
The lens is nice and sharp, and I really like the colour response. I was worried about shooting blue skies without a CPL filter to darken the blues, but I like what I got here - although to be honest, I like to saturate my colours a lot in post. Just a personal preference.
This final shot is pretty juiced. Fill light, saturation and clarity adjustments in Lightroom, followed by lens distortion adjustments in Photoshop. Again, the dynamic range of the natural light forced me to lighten the shadows in post. It's kinda cartoon-graphic like, but I sort of like it anyway. Like I said, I love what this new lens lets me do.
It's not about expensive gear but boy, does it help sometimes.