When you head to Montreal, Canada the week in between Christmas and New Year's you expect a few things like, the streets and shops decorated for the holiday season, tourists who came to see this historic city, cold weather and snow! I know the reason I wanted to go up to Canada in the middle of winter, were the great photo ops in this beautiful old city regardless of challenging weather conditions. Well, with a major snow storm hitting the city the night I arrived and lasting throughout the entire next day, I was put to the test early. For at least the first full day I was there, it was going to be an indoor shooting experience. Which was fine, since I was staying in Old Montreal and there are a number of Cathedrals and other historical buildings to shoot, they just needed to be open!
Luckily, Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal was open despite the whipping winds and heavy snowfall. One good thing about such a bad weather day is that less people are out sight seeing and what would usually be a very busy day inside the Basilica was now a much easier photographic experience. There was only one potentially bad mistake I made, I didn't want to carry my tripod around in the snow storm, so I left it back at the hotel. I usually depend heavily on a tripod in such low lit places as this, especially when I'm dealing with exposures of anywhere between 1/2 sec & 1/8 sec. even with my ISO set to 1600. Luckily for me the three lenses that I brought were all well suited for low light shooting because of either a fast F/2.8 aperture, Vibration Compensation, extreme wide angle of view or the combination of all three. The three lenses I used were Tamron's SP 10-24mm, 18-270mm VC & SP 17-50mm F/2.8 VC.
Since the Tamron 10-24mm is an extreme wide angle lens, it was a bit easier for me to hand hold my camera at slower shutter speeds like 1/4 sec and still get sharp images. The wider the angle of view your lens is the easier it is to hand hold. For example, if you look through your viewfinder when you have a lens set to 300mm, you can actually see your camera moving all over the place. Now, when you put another lens that is 10mm on your camera, you don't see the camera shake at all. The second Lens that I used was the Tamron 18-270mm, because I used some longer focal lengths it was harder to hand hold. This is where the Vibration Compensation system really helped, I was able to slow down my shutter speed about 4 stops than I normally could and was capturing images down to about 1/3 sec. The last lens I used was the 17-50mm F/2.8 VC. With the added feature of a fast F/2.8 aperture in this lens along with the wide angle of 17mm and the Vibration compensation, all allowed me to capture some images down to 1/2 sec. The images attached to this blog were all hand held using either one of these three lenses and were shot with various apertures, ISO 1600 and shutter speeds between 1/2 - 1/8 second.