Great Canadian Kilt Skate

Earlier this week I was asked by the Scottish Government to cover for them the Great Canadian Kilt Skate which would be held in conjunction with Winterlude.   So this morning in -30C hundreds of skaters in their kilts and tartans congregated on the Rideau Canal to honour the bicentennial of Canada's first Prime Minister: Sir John A. MacDonald and his Scottish heritage.     I wondered what the skaters would be wearing under their kilts on a day like today?  While there were a few hardy souls with bare knees, many were wearing tights and long-johns.  

They skated towards Confederation Park where the Mayor of Ottawa proclaimed it Sir John A. MacDonald Day.   Festivities included some Highland Dancers and cake was served.  The event was organized by the Scottish Society of Ottawa and similar skates were held in Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Calgary.  

Many thanks to #Fujifilm Canada for lending their newly released #16-50F2.8 and the 50-140 lens.  They both worked flawlessly in the cold!  

Fuji's 50-140

So what can one do with the 50-140 that you can't with the 55-200?  I recently had the opportunity to try out Fuji's new 50-140 F2.8 OIS WR sealed lens.  The whole time I'm asking myself if I should replace my 55-200 mm with this lens.  Actually I'm still up in the air about it and this blog post serves to explore why I should buy this lens.  The Fujifilm 50-140 is no doubt a fine piece of glass with its constant 2.8 aperture.  It is at 995g considerably heavier than the 55-200 at 580g.  The weather sealing is an attractive feature as I do quite like to shoot outside with it.  In my mind it really is an exquisite portrait lens though.  I do generally like getting close to my subject at a wide aperture, relying less on flash if possible.  However, for the first two studio portraits of my nieces, I did use a little off camera flash to the left.

What really blew me away was the OIS.  I mean I took this photo handheld at 110.6 F8 for 1/15 second !   

The following photos of pink roses were all photographed at F2.8 1/60sec ISO 400.  Incredibly sharp and fast ! 

And with Fuji's latest firmware update to the XT1 and its electronic shutter, this meant that I could effectively roll down the window of our car (while travelling in the passenger seat) at 130km per hour and photograph this scene!  (ISO 400, 90.6MM Focal length, F2.8 and 1/5400 sec) 

However, you can see the effect of the rolling shutter in the next image.  (The barn and landscape seem a bit tipped to the left) 

Here are some others. 

Having looked back at some of my event photos from the past year, I think the 50-140 would also be invaluable for dimly lit place where the 2.8 is necessary.  No doubt I would have obtained a better picture of Hillary Clinton if I'd used the 50-140 instead of the 55-200.  Shooting at 200mm I was only able to get a 4.8 aperture at ISO 3200... a little more light would have been good in this case.   

On the other hand due to its weight, some of these photographs from last year's Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill would not have been possible.  These images are not cropped.  For the most part I was shooting at 200mm and I literally was able to hold my XT1 with the 55-200 over my head and with the tilt screen capture all the fun:) One could argue that the 18-135mm OIS weather sealed lens at 490g could have handled this.  But I would have had to get closer, and that is not always easy to do on Canada Day.  

I guess to conclude, for the type of shooting situations I find myself in the 50-140 would be an asset in my kit.  I could keep the 55-200 or perhaps try and replace it with the 18-135mm? 

Christmas in Stowe

Since we are a blended family with adult children, each year it seems to get more complicated in getting everyone together during Christmas day.  So this year, Eddie and I decided to do things a bit differently.  We would head off to Stowe, Vermont for Christmas, downhill skiing and some photography and invited our extended family for dinner when we got back.   Fujifilm was kind enough to lend me their XF 50-140 F2.8 lens so I brought that along with the XF23 F1.4; XF35 F 1.4; 10-24 and 18-55.    Here are some of my favourite photos from the trip.  

We stayed at the Green Mountain Inn.  Loved the ambiance of the Inn which was built in 1830.  We also especially enjoyed the heated outdoor swimming pool.  It seems truly decadent to be able to go for a swim under the stars at night in mid winter.  

And finally some scenes from skiing at Mount Mansfield. 

On a side note, I think the XF50-140 makes a fabulous landscape lens and will soon find a permanent place in my photo bag.  

Hope Live 2014

I'm playing catch up on a few blog posts :)  
On October 27th, Canadian politicians and celebrities gathered at the annual Hope Live Gala in support of Fertile Future. Rick Mercer, Justin Trudeau along with his beautiful wife Sophie were among the many guests.  

If you would like to use one of these pictures, please contact Newzulu Canada for licensing information.