Photo walk at Crystal Cove with the Canon EOS M

May 17, 2015 by  

Full Disclosure: I got to borrow the Canon EOS M for free.

Jamie, Maxx, and I did a photo walk along the bluffs of Crystal Cove State Beach. This allowed us to get some exercise for ourselves and the dog, get some food at Ruby’s Shake Shack, and finally get out and start photographing things again. We took the Canon EOS M with us and mounted the 18-55 mm IS STM lens as well as our 270EXII Speedlite flash. The EOS M is a mirrorless camera meaning it doesn’t reflect light into a viewfinder like an SLR. This means it can be significantly smaller and lighter.


If you are thinking about going to visit Crystal Cove, stop thinking about it and just do it. This park offers some of the most scenic coastline in California as well as a great beach, places to swim and body surf, and three different diving locations for those trained in SCUBA. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed on the beach or the one boardwalk trail on the bluffs. They are allowed on all of the rest of the trails on the beach side of PCH.


The EOS M is a camera that was discontinued over two years ago. Still it proved to be a good camera to use for this type of photo walk because it is small, light, and full featured. Essentially, if you have ever shot with any other EOS camera, the controls on this one will be familiar. It shoots in Canon RAW format using an 18 megapixel sensor and has a proprietary EF-M mount system that will work with EF lenses with an optional adapter. The replacement models for the EOS M are not available in the US market at this time.


Since I was shooting outdoors in full sun, I didn’t need the flash often. Still sometimes a shadow would be cast in such a way as to really detract from the image. That is where the fully functional hotshoe support for external flashes came in handy. I did have to remember one of the main principles of flash photography however. Namely that you use the aperture to control the flash exposure and the shutter speed to control the ambient exposure. Once I remembered that one important fact, achieving a nice balance of fill flash and ambient light was easy.


Once I was comfortable with the camera and working it’s touch screen controls, I focused on composition. I tried to work in the “rule of thirds”, color, leading lines, and abstraction in the various photos I took.


In post-production, I didn’t need to take anything into Photoshop. Instead all the adjustments I needed were available in Canon Digital Photo Professional which made the workflow a lot simpler. Really, not much tweaking was needed. Just a highlight here, and an angle adjustment there and I was ready to export.


Overall it was a fun trip and I know Maxx and Jamie had a good time. For me, the nicest thing about having a mirrorless camera around my neck was that my neck didn’t hurt after 6+ miles of walking. That right there is worth it.



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