Scott's Column
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM & The Alamo

October 1, 2013
By Scott Lewis

I have to apologize. I did not want to put photography based topics in this column anymore. My reason was, I could easily put 50% or more of the content here toward photography, as I am trying to improve my skills and inspire myself to shoot more. And I started a photography column for that very reason.

Yet here I am talking about a lens. So I am sorry. I had nothing else to tell you this month.

I have spent the last month doing little else but looking at cars and camera stuff. The car watching has been for a series of Car Corner and Classic Watch articles I have planned out for the next 6 months or so (notice that both of those columns this month have the same sub-title). The camera stuff is coming from having taken a photography seminar that really boosted my creative juices, and the purchase of a new lens.

Back in August I saw a "deal alert" from Adorama for a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. It was a refurbished lens for $219. I have been wanting a better zoom lens than the kit lens that came with my camera, and I knew I was going to need a better lens when I go on vacation in December to Orlando. So I pulled the trigger and bought the lens. The regular price for this lens is $479 new. I am completely satisfied with this refurbished lens. I love it.

I also took Scott Kelby's - Shoot Like a Pro seminar in August as well. This was just a coincidence from a timing standpoint, but it worked in my favor. Part of the seminar was on landscape and travel photography. I took as much information as I could hold in my brain... and on Labor Day I went to The Alamo to take pictures as the sun came up. I followed everything I could from the seminar.

  • If you want to take amazing pictures... stand in front of something amazing
  • Be there and setup before sunrise
  • Use a tripod
  • Use a cable release
  • Turn off image stabilization (because you are on a tripod)
  • Use the lowest ISO (because you are on a tripod)

Well, I did all these things and took a bunch of pictures. The picture above is the final result. The three inset pictures were taken later in the morning, as I walked around downtown San Antonio and the Riverwalk.

Be sure to click on the image above for the full resolution photo.

The first inset picture is a waterfall inside the park that the Hemisphere Tower is in. I used the tripod so I could use the slowest possible shutter speed to give the water the feeling of motion. The second it a shot of the Hemisphere Tower itself (I believe this is the tallest building in San Antonio).

The third is some umbrellas along the Riverwalk. If you Google Riverwalk images you will see tons of photos of these umbrellas that are along the river that people eat under while at the restaurants there. I was walking up through a tunnel and thought the reflection of these umbrellas in the water was a unique way to photograph something that has been done a thousand times from above.

In fact... the entire image above was my attempt to make The Alamo look more interesting than the millions of photos out there.

My goal was to make an image that was good enough for a travel magazine. I think I nailed it. What do you think?


Hopefully I will have something else to write about next month. But it is getting harder and harder as all that is on my brain is photography at the moment.

I will try to find a better topic.

Until then...