2013 ROT Rally Parade

ROT Rally Parade #1, 2013 - Austin, Texas

ROT Rally Parade #1, 2013 – Austin, Texas

I decided to post photographs from this year’s ROT Rally Parade after all. I started this year’s ROT coverage with some pre-parade 6th street photographs. While the parade down Congress Avenue is basically the same as last year, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the difference in equipment. You know I’ve added all kinds of cameras to my tool set and each change allows me to do something new.

Last year, I brought 3 cameras to the parade, all Olympus Pens. I didn’t have the E-PM2 during the Rally so I used a E-P3 and two E-PM1s. My main camera was the E-P3 with the 14mm lens which gave me a 28mm point of view. I also had the 20mm f1.7 and 45mm 1.8 as secondary focal lengths. With these older pens I tried to stay at ISO 800 or less. The shutter speed was usually at 1/60 or slower. Consequently, most of the photos were taken when the bikers paused. Taking a shot while they rolled meant motion blur.

ROT Rally Parade #2, 2013 - Austin, Texas

ROT Rally Parade #2, 2013 – Austin, Texas

ROT Rally Parade #3, 2013 - Austin, Texas

ROT Rally Parade #3, 2013 – Austin, Texas

This year, I brought my newest camera, the Canon 6D. I’m still in new camera testing mode so I’m using the 6D whenever I can. I used one lens, a 35mm f2 to get a slightly wide view that would give me an environmental context. The difference this year is because of the better high ISO performance, I can up my shutter speed significantly, to 1/100 – 1/500 of a second.

Where the Olympus beats out the Canon is in exposure metering. I haven’t run any official tests but I get the distinct feeling that the Olympus does a much better job of picking the right exposure, especially in a tricky situation. I find that the matrix metering on the 6D is easily fooled, especially by the oncoming headlights. I constantly need to monitor and adjust the exposure compensation. With last year’s parade photos, I added 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop of exposure compensation with the Olympus. With the 6D, this year, the exposure compensation ranged from +2/3 to 1 1/3 stops. The settings were also more inconsistent.

ROT Rally Parade #4, 2013 - Austin, Texas

ROT Rally Parade #4, 2013 – Austin, Texas

ROT Rally Parade #5, 2013 - Austin, Texas

ROT Rally Parade #5, 2013 – Austin, Texas

What makes it more of a pain with the DSLR is that I’m composing through the optical viewfinder but need to chimp on the LCD to make sure the image looks good. With the Olympus, I shoot by looking at the LCD and I get immediate feedback if the exposure is off. Consequently, shooting with the DSLR is less smooth — a more jerky feeling — constantly shifting between the viewfinder and the LCD.

While it’s more work and perhaps a bit less fun with the Canon, I think I got some decent parade shots. The shallower depth of field gives a different look. The 28mm vs 35mm, another factor. What I improved this year was to pick a better background. I moved 1/2 a block south on Congress to have the Paramount Theater as the backdrop. The purple façade and the marquee lights adding a more festive feeling.

ROT Rally Parade #6, 2013 - Austin, Texas

ROT Rally Parade #6, 2013 – Austin, Texas

Click on the photographs to see a larger image and hover over the photos to see the exposure detail.

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