Thursday, May 30, 2013
Fuse Academy Award winning animated feature Happy Feet with Disney's Star Tours: The Adventure Continues and you get Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. Sea World's newest attraction in Orlando, Florida features a motion simulation ride that journeys through a live habitat of real penguins from the Antarctic. This past Memorial Day weekend grand opening of Sea World's newest exhibit met with large crowds including my family. The icy South Pole meets the hot and humid Orlando, Florida!
The freezing temperatures of the exhibit gave much needed relief from the two hours and twenty minute wait in line for Empire of the Penguins attraction in the Florida heat. To be exact, that is 140 minutes of standing in line for a two minute theme park ride. Patience is definitely a virtue!
The long line just continued around the exhibit like a never ending Department of Motor Vehicles line. As Florida resident season pass holders, we came to Sea World just for the grand opening weekend of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins and we expected the crowds and long wait!
With my smallest and lightest DSLR in the world, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 paired with the Rokinon 8mm T3.8 Fisheye Cine lens, I captured almost the entire 2 minute ride to make a Full HD experience. The fisheye lens gave me a great wide POV perspective without missing any South Pole scenery. BTW, it was really dark and I had to push the ISO setting to 3200 and keep the lens wide open the whole time.
Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin theme park ride is family friendly. My whole family including my two year old daughter could enjoy the icy experience without harm or fear. The only harm came to my sore legs and overheated body from the 2 hour and 20 minute wait in line!
So my Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin verdict? Definitely wait for a couple of months for the crowds to wane, especially with families with young impatient kids. My Empire of the Penguin theme park ride experience adds another decent but not spectacular exhibit to a live animal theme park. Sea World brings the icy South Pole to Orlando, Florida but hold off to any immediate visits until the hoards of people trickle down.
Antarctic penguins are a tough sell to the Disney theme park dominated Orlando, Florida. My family enjoys everything that Sea World has to offer with their educational marine life entertainment. A bit of theme park advice here...enjoy the reduced crowds at the other Sea World exhibits in the meantime. No one was at Shark Encounter for the first time!
You can view more Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins photos and videos shot with the Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D in my Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin Gallery.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
My son's first reception of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is cause for celebration and of course, formal pictures. Along with many Catholic 2nd graders with their excited parents, the hunt for proper attire began with frantic visits to the children section at local department stores. After repeated attempts at multiple locations for the correct garment size, the online heavens parted and blessed us with convenient delivery to our home. This is truly a Blessed Sacrament.
Reconciliation finished. Sacrament of the Altar completed. This communicant is well on his way for his rite of passage until his future confirmation. Assigned seating in the third row gave me an opportune view for this unobstructed perfect shot at ISO 3200 with my trusty Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D. Divine Intervention strikes again!
If you look closely at paintings of the Last Supper in Filipino households, you can see a succulent whole roasted Lechon pig with crispy skin on the table with Jesus and his Apostles. The Lord's Supper and my son's First Communion Reception are not complete without the national dish of suckling swine of the Philippines and Puerto Rico.
Unlike this one, many rites of passage are not a true and straight path. There will be many obstacles sight unseen in your future. Doubt will be cast and certainly authority questioned until you are well past an adult. It will all make sense later.
Your journey will not be alone. This much photographed family will guide you like your gracious unleavened host on this perfect happy day. Like all similes, please don't eat us.
No fancy studio lights and digital cameras here in my First Holy Communion photo shoot, just a Polaroid Instamatic Land Camera with harsh flash bulb lighting. Check out my over sized lapels on my brown leisure suit ! I was "Stylin" in my day !
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The new Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D digital camera takes all the "Rebel" goodness and wraps it in a small package. This new entry level 18 megapixel Canon Rebel with an APS-C CMOS sensor is now the lightest and smallest DSLR in the digital market today. This small form factor certainly blurs the line with their existing and not so popular Canon EOS M digital mirrorless compact camera just released in November 2012. The Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D emerges as the Canon EOS M mirrorless digital camera with a real viewfinder and no silly EF-M Lens Adapter, IMHO.
Does the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D video performance stack up with its Rebel brothers? Yes, it certainly does except for the fact it is missing an articulating screen and a larger capacity battery. Just like the Canon EOS M mirrorless digital camera, the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is missing the swivel screen and utilizes the same Canon LP-E12 battery pack. The new Canon Rebel SL1/100D also retains the quite useful touchscreen feature of the 3.0 inch LCD screen, the extended video record time of 29 minutes and 29 seconds and the full manual exposure and audio control with an external microphone jack. Enough said! Watch the Youtube video above to see for yourself!
Surprisingly, Canon has managed to fit an optical viewfinder and a built in pop up flash in the Rebel SL1/100D with a form factor similar to the Canon EOS M mirrorless digital camera. The familiar Rebel controls like Mode Dial, AE lock and even the ISO button are all in the usual locations on this small Rebel body. Full size features like a 4 fps shutter rate powered by a DIGIC V processor and video resolutions like 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60 fps fill this "baby" Rebel with adorable goodness!
My Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D rig consisted of the new Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid video head for support, the Rode VideoMic shotgun microphone with the Rycote Lyre Suspension System for audio capture and the new Hoodman Custom Finder Kit with the H32 viewfinder loupe to help in critical focus. As for lenses used in my Youtube video, I used the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L prime and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lenses. As expected, the Rode VideoMic with the more durable Rycote shock mount is a dream and can now actually fit comfortably in my camera bag. The new Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head is larger than my Manfrotto 701 HDV head but this new head has tilting spring tension with a new quick release plate. The Hoodman Custom Finder Kit with H32 loupe is still under my pending evaluation for now. Stay tuned for more...
The Hybrid CMOS AF II makes an infamous comeback but in an allegedly improved 2nd version! Canon's attempt at continuous AF during video recording was a blatant disappointment. Just like the Canon EOS Rebel T4i and the Canon EOS M Hybrid AF systems, I did not expect much with the new and improved 2nd version of the Hybrid AF Servo function. Again with the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D, the continuous AF during video recording hunted back and forth like usual and completely missed the boat, IMHO! Manual focus during video is the way to go for great video!
So what is my Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D Video Test Verdict? The Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D emerges as another stellar video performer just like its bigger Rebel brothers but just in a small form factor with no articulating screen. If travel size and weight are your criteria for minimalist filmmaking, the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D is your DSLR Phoenix rising from the digital ashes!
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