Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Facebook Welcomes Chad Soriano PhotoBlog !

Today marks my Chad Soriano PhotoBlog launch into Facebook. To commemorate another immersion in the social media chasm, please become a Facebook Fan of my PhotoBlog.

If Facebook does not satisfy your viral need, follow me on Twitter. I will Tweet my launch and I hope my fans will retweet to share the news.

Sharing the knowledge with anyone that has the same photographic passion should become a Facebook Fan. My friends at North Tampa Photography feel the same way. I also encourage fellow photographers to join North Tampa Photography on Facebook, as well.

Philip Bloom finally meets Chad Soriano PhotoBlog ! Philip is the ultimate Social Media Guru when it comes to everything HD DSLR photography. I am following in his viral footsteps to gain networking ground. So please become a Facebook Fan of Chad Soriano PhotoBlog !!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summertime Fun !

The peak of summertime doldrums hit a roadblock with water time fun in the backyard. Slip N Slide fun came into HD DSLR fruition with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and my anxious children.

Art Camp also filled my kid's itinerary this summer. Arts and crafts with other attention starved youths kept them busy. The first day of school is soon approaching and the fun will come to an abrupt end.

Canon has fallen prey to the Summertime Blues. No fabulous product announcements or releases in early June like in previous summers. (Like the Canon EOS 1D Mark III in June 2007 and the Rebel T1i in May 2009) Patience is a virtue. The Canon Expo 2010 is soon approaching. Mark your calendars for the first week of September for the latest Canon product announcements.

Happy Birthday Olivia !

My beloved niece celebrated her 14th birthday with chaotic glee. Her cousins from Georgia visited during their theme park road trip to Florida for their summer break. All of her cousins look up to her for the latest trends and whereabouts of Justin Bieber.

What would a fourteen year old want for her birthday? Do it yourself Ceramic Pottery...The cousins had a blast making a mess for a small fee.

It has been a while since the cousins visited from Georgia. It was a welcome surprise for Olivia and the entire family.

I really do not know what the kids were painting or what their artistic projects will be used for. The important thing is the kids are together having fun and spending time with each other.

The ceramic pottery may look vaguely familiar to my PhotoBlog followers. In my Canon EOS Rebel T2i Verdict, I featured another ceramic pottery establishment with a T2i Video Test.

I featured the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L prime lens at Pottery Patch in Valrico, FL.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kodak Playsport Zx3 Video Test

My mini-clone son prompted me with a question during my daughter's 8th birthday party the other weekend. "Can you take a picture of me swimming?", he said with a smile. With that in mind, I went on a quest to find a practical underwater camera. Practical means inexpensive and good image quality in my opinion. A quick "Google Search" came up with a pricey Flip Mino HD, Go Pro Hero HD, Sanyo Xacti HD and other proprietary underwater housings for brand specific cameras. One camera that stood out of the "pocket camera" search was the Kodak Playsport Zx3 priced around $129 dollars.

The features of the Kodak Playsport Zx3 fit my Canon HD workflow very well. 1080p full HD video at 30 fps with a H264 video codec. The resolution matches my Canon HD DSLR format and the H264 codec matches my Final Cut Pro and iMovie'09 editing workflow. In addition, the Kodak features a 5 megapixel camera, a SDHC memory card slot with a capacity to 32gb, a removable lithium ion battery and a mini HDMI port to plug in the supplied HDMI cable for full HD resolution playback. All this for $129 dollars !!!

Now for the practical field test of the touted features of the Kodak Playsport Zx3 with my son at the swimming pool. The 10 feet depth limit of the Kodak restricts any deep sea diving but for all realistic purposes such as snorkeling and pool activities, the 10 foot depth is sufficient. I will look for video and image quality as well as ease of use underwater during this Kodak Playsport Zx3 video test and review.

The underwater resolution for such a small camera is remarkable. I did not expect Canon "L" glass resolution underwater but the color and sharpness held up well for a little camera. I edited the H264 footage with iMovie'09 with no problem. The footage played smoothly and exported the sequence with Quicktime. The camera's automatic exposure and shutter kept the video image stable and not "hunting" for proper exposure levels.

The 5 megapixel still camera function is convenient but not spectacular. Underwater images are prone to camera and subject blur followed by horrible dynamic range. Lack of shadow detail and extreme contrast made it difficult to get a decent still image. You have to take in consideration underwater conditions are not ideal for outstanding portraits. So, I took the camera above the surface for the land dweller video and image test.

All I have to say is keep the camera underwater after seeing this picture. My son handled the Kodak very well with simple push button ergonomics. Just like underwater still image quality, the above surface quality suffered the same demise. Horrible lack of detail and extreme contrast plagued outdoor image quality. My iPhone 4 takes better pictures in comparison. In my opinion, keep the camera in video mode and save yourself some grief.

Now for the drawbacks. The LCD view screen is unwatchable in direct sunlight above and below the water without using your hand as a makeshift viewfinder shade. I had to point in the general direction of my son swimming on occasion because the LCD screen was overwhelmed by glare. The lens has a fixed focusing distance of at least 3.5 feet. Keeping your distance is critical for sharp pictures and video. The battery life during my video and picture test lasted only 40 minutes before my battery level indicated red. My 16gb SDHC card at full 1080p resolution had over 3 hours of record time and over 999 still image capacity. So your battery will be exhausted before your card fills up. Light sensitivity of the Kodak requires an extreme amount of light for a decent picture. Mid day sun is ideal for proper exposure but not for flattering portraits.

Despite the drawbacks, the Kodak Playsport is the best bang for the buck for 1080p underwater video that uses H264 compression. In addition, you get a multitude of accessories included like a mini-HDMI cable, a USB charger and a AV composite cable to export to analog devices. This Kodak Playsport Zx3 will definitely be in my camera bag for my underwater outings.

You can view more in my Kodak Playsport Zx3 Video and Image Gallery.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Madeline !

At exactly 3:35pm my life changed into something I could never have imagined. Only 6 months prior to this defining moment of my daughter's arrival, I could merely see shadows and outlines.

Happy Birthday Madeline! Special could only describe the overwhelming feeling of seeing your smile for the first time. Your constant beaming from birth until this very day shines with your forever kindness and good will.

Fairy Tales do come true and my Princess has arrived to my Kingdom wearing a jeweled crown and a pink gown. You are forever mine.

Best of friends illustrates your bond with your younger brother. He desires your knowledge on how to manipulate Mommy and Daddy for wanton tasks.

You have matured into a beautiful young girl with a gorgeous smile and an affable personality. I am blessed to be your Father and to have you as the daughter of our family.

Your Mom unconditionally loves you with all her heart and will do her best to guide you in the most motherly way.

You are the sojourner of everything pink, manicured nails and Yummy House Noodles.

Your family wishes you a very Happy Birthday!

This is a blast from the past! A standard definition 4:3 video shot with the Sony PD150 and edited with Final Cut Pro 4. It was the dawn of affordable 3 CCD video cameras and professional grade non linear editing software for aspiring film makers. We just love everything Hawaii!

And everything Italian! Of course, this video is shot with the Canon EOS Rebel T2i and 5D Mark II in High Definition 1080p quality and edited with Final Cut Pro 6.

Friday, July 9, 2010

When In Rome, Have A McItaly Burger !

My family traveled over five thousand miles to visit the epicenter of art, culture, fashion and cuisine. Destinations like the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Tower of Pisa, the Pantheon and McDonalds filled our Italian travel itinerary.

The steps of the Pantheon withstood the fall of the Roman Empire and centuries of blight, but the McDonald's Happy Meal invaded with a McItaly hamburger, fries and an Italian themed toy.

Divine Intervention stopped our Western culinary influence and lured my family to the center of Catholicism. A quick taxi ride to the Vatican City, we waited patiently in the Disney World-like line for over thirty minutes to enter St. Peter's Basilica. It was worth the wait.

I could not stop photographing. Every corner of the Cathedral is draped with ornate decoration and breathtaking sculptures. Every devout Catholic in the entire world comes to St. Peter's Cathedral to pay homage and this includes my wife. She waited in another line inside the church with the kids to attend holy mass.

Excitement filled my daughter because she will receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion in the holiest place on earth. As an official Holy Communicant, my daughter's memories of her First Holy Communion was still fresh in her mind.

My name is Maximus Aurelius. I wanted to say that when I entered this colossus Colosseum. Other than the hordes of tourists and predatory souvenir merchants and guides, the stone amphitheater towered over the skyline of Rome.

Just like Walmart invading suburbs across America and now China, Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii and its people in a two day long catastrophic eruption. Only a short trip from Rome, we journeyed in our Ford Fiesta to even more ruins and misshapen rocks.

Walking the entire archaeological site on cobblestone roads did not fare well with the family especially in the direct sunlight of a summer day. The poor souls of Pompeii fared worse with toxic air and hot volcanic lava. I guess this guy has not met my brother in-law yet!

I promised myself I would not "pose" in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa for any amount of money. Okay, I lied. Maybe for a Las Vegas style Prime Rib Buffet I would consider the tacky proposition. Well, my family insisted and captured the cheesy moment.

I highly suggest when traveling to Italy bring plenty of memory cards and your appetite for a McDonald's McItaly Burger.

You can view more photos and videos in my Rome, Italy Canon 5D Mark II Gallery.

I hauled two HD DSLRS on my shoulders to compare the cameras for photo and video quality. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II was paired with Canon EF 24-105 f/4 L, EF 17-40 f/4 L and EF 70-200 f/4 IS L glass. The Canon EOS Rebel T2i was exclusively mated to the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens.

You can also view photos and videos in my Rome, Italy Canon Rebel T2i/550D Gallery.

This Rebel T2i and 5D Mark II video above is my fifth and final sights and sounds of Italy post. You can read my previous Italian PhotoBlog posts by entering "Italy" in the search bar on the top left of the website.

You can view all photos and videos in my Italy 2010 Gallery.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday America !

"Rain,rain go away, please comeback another day." Luck would have it that our 4th of July weekend became a three day rain storm hampering Independence Day festivities. The only glimmer of hope through the torrential shower was the brief moments of sunshine and rain free moon lit nights. The 4th of July fireworks display at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek turned our wet frowns upside down.

The water slide,lazy river and aquatic activities exposed the ironic circumstance of the wet and rainy weekend. My family saturated in water play and frolicked in chlorine till the wee hours of the night despite the inclement weather.

Swim,eat,sleep and repeat. I interrupted this mantra with a photographic slap in the face. I captured the wet weekend with the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS version II and the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L lenses.

Water logged and stuffed with breakfast,lunch and dinner buffets, we managed some exercise at Downtown Disney in the humid and stifling summer heat. Here comes more irony. We traveled by car and foot just to have a hearty lunch at T-Rex, A Prehistoric Family Adventure Restaurant. You guessed it, a fun tourist trap for hungry families disguised as a dinosaur themed eating establishment.

The Ice Age may have killed the dinosaurs, but it did not stop our desire for an after lunch dessert. Gluttonous crime scene tape surrounded the ice cream homicide at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop. Sorry no pictures! I was consumed by diary products.

My mini-clone says "My dad and I will be right behind you in the buffet line."

You can view more images in my Fourth of July Weekend 2010 Gallery.