Politics aside, along the border

April 12, 2013

California, along the U.S./Mexico border

By Mike Blake

A while back I had stopped at a cafe near San Ysidro, which is about as south as you can get in California before stepping into Mexico. I was walking out the door when I spotted three guys rolling up on ATV bikes dressed like they had just come out from one of my son’s Xbox games.

They were U.S. Border Patrol, grabbing a coffee, on a break from the dust of their patrols. I said to myself “Okay, I have to come back here and look into what these guys do.”

After a bunch of phone calls, emails and changing schedules (even a hard drive crash) I found my way back – this time I was in the game. I was in their dust, surrounded by their hills and trails and stepping into their real life cat-and-mouse game.

Except it’s not a game. It’s real life on so many opposing levels; from the agents who leave home for work every day and head off into the darkness of night, to the people that will take a chance at crossing for a better life, or a life of crime. The border is one of this country’s sticking points on immigration reform and it will most likely be the foundation of any solution that comes in the future. Politicians and political parties will spin the story to fit their needs, but the reality is that the border is never going to go away.

That’s why I’m just going to talk about how damn good the new Canon DX cameras are in low light. There is no way you would be able to see what you are seeing in these pictures if not for the technology in the camera. I’m still blown away that I was able to take these pictures in pretty much moon light.

For instance, this image was shoot at 1/10th of a second, f2.8, ISO 2500 using a 16-35mm lens.

This on ISO 1280, at 1/40th, f2.8, using a 70-200mm lens.

ISO 6400, 1/125th, f2.8, 400mm lens.

ISO 2000, 1/500th, f2.8, 400mm lens.

For any camera gear fan, the picture at the bottom of the post was the first picture I took after meeting up with the crew. It was shot with a magic arm clamped to the front of the ATV, a 5DMKll camera and triggered by a pocket wizard.

(I’m on the left)

I had no idea how fast these guys go, and I originally set the camera to 640th of a second, ISO 400 at f4. But I needed to punch the shutter speed way up after I took a quick look at all the motion I was getting – even after that I only had a few sharp ones.

Taken with a Canon 5DMK11, 14mm lens, f2.8.

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This is such a useful thread. the idea of not undercutting professionals in the area is important to me – there are very few studios around here and i do not want to step on their toes. thank you for posting this.


Posted by pauljohns | Report as abusive