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Christmas Gift Guide

Sun, it rises

Fired up

Up, up and away

Poster perfect

From a great height

Topography

Anyone for a coffee?

Down to sea

Bokehlicious

A slice is nice

Colour me in

Trip the light fantastic

Last week we were lucky enough to have the chance to test out a bunch of different cameras from the 2011 Canon range, including the Editors' Choice-winning EOS 600D, 1100D and IXUS 220 HS.

The location? None other than spectacular Byron Bay on the north coast of NSW. Click through for images plus our thoughts on the cameras.

Alexandra Savvides travelled to Byron Bay as a guest of Canon Australia.

Most photographers know that the best time of day to be out and about is around sunrise and sunset each day. While the thought of being tucked up in bed can be a lot more appealing than making images when it's cold outside, the sacrifice is well worth it when you can get shots like this. Taken on the 600D, image straight from camera.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

By now you've twigged that being up early had to be for something more than just standing in the long grass — hot air ballooning!

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

The colourful balloon begins its ascent just as the morning mist is starting to lift.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

Anyone need a ride?

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

Cruising at an altitude normally reserved for small planes, the view from the balloon is spectacular. Just make sure not to drop your camera.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

Taking some obvious influence from professional photographer Jackie Ranken, we used the black-and-white creative filter in the 600D to achieve this look.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

There's no supplies on board the balloon, so as the morning coffee craving starts to hit we fly over this crop circle formation. This farmer obviously has a great sense of humour. A croffee circle?

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

Back on terra firma we head to one of Byron's most spectacular beaches, Watego. This shot was made by applying two creative filters on top of each other — first the toy camera effect, then the miniature effect with the focus set on the surfers. The blurred background, rather than being a product of a wide aperture, is created in-camera.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

Another example of the miniature effect, this time applied on a shot that was taken with a wide aperture to start with. The miniature effect can be applied either horizontally or vertically on your photos. It also emphasises and saturates colours from the original photo.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

A friendly Byron Bay worker poses for a photo at lunchtime. They're a good-looking bunch, the Byron locals.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

With time to spend exploring the local highlights of Byron Bay, no visit is complete without a trip to some of the local art galleries. We went a bit crazy with the minature effect here, can you tell?

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

Taking the IXUS 220 HS out for a night spin, we were able to capture this shot by using the long exposure setting at 1 second.

Caption by / Photo by Alexandra Savvides/CBSi
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