Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Nikon D80, Nikkor 70-300VR, 240mm, f14, 1/500 sec., ISO 800. Center weighted meter, standard image mode, auto white balance. VR on.
No post processing today, not even the cropping this could use. An early digital image, it shows in the settings. Dynamic range would be better if I had used something sane like ISO 200, or even ISO 100, and opened up from f14 to something reasonable like f8 or f7.1. I could have maintained the high shutter speed with both those adjustments, reduced noise and increased sharpness. Oh, well.
Actually, let's throw in a few other photos of this guy. Reminds me of riding in my truck. Tech specs are similar enough I won't dwell on them here.
There's only one way off this horse.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Nikon D80, Nikkor 18-70 (a great lens!), 56mm, f8, 1/500 sec., ISO 400, auto white balance. Aperture priority mode, center-weighted metering with, amazingly, no exposure compensation. Sometimes the D80 got it right, but not usually. Regular image capture mode (i.e. not vivid).
Sometimes it just isn't possible to use fill flash to reduce the dynamic range in a photo. There are simply too many steps of EV (exposure value) between the sun and the dark foreground. In this case, it was made worse by shooting at ISO 400: I could have fired at ISO 100 (the best case with the D80) with the same settings except a shutter speed of 1/125, still easily within the realm of handholding. (I didn't have a good reason for not doing so; I just didn't know better at this point.) Still digital capture, save for a D700 or better FX, probably couldn't have captured what I wanted.
That said... I'm happy with this. Somehow, the D80 managed to get a color-correct capture at blowout, which is a fancy way of saying the sun is the right color, not toasted white-white. The clouds also increase along a color-correct path.
Post processing was thorough but straightforward: color correction and exposure tweaking, mostly. For the technically interested, note the near-total absence of ghosting in this image: the 18-70 DX really is a gem of a lens. It remains priced that way, too, even though it's now six years old — originally the D70 kit lens. Don't let it's lack of features (VR, mostly) dissuade you if you find one for less than $250.
UPDATE: A technical note. The reason the sun blows out to the correct color is because, under most circumstances and with most digital cameras, the red channel tanks first. With a pre-ADR camera (or any Sony, Pentax, Canon or others), try this with either a blue or green blowout, such as the sky: you will likely notice as the bright areas of your image approach toast they take on a weird reddish hue.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Nikon D80, 70-300VR, 185mm,f6.3, 1/640 sec., ISO 100. Center weighted metering (remember the D80 meter deserved a recall) in manual exposure mode. Normal capture mode (the scene modes don't appear until the D3/300/700/90 and later). Vibration Reduction on the Nikkor on. Shot at "Point 00" range, or as close as the lens can focus (4.5 feet from the sensor).
Note the generally pleasing bokeh. (Bokeh is the characteristic of out-of-focus stuff.) I should have moved the blade of grass, or whatever it is, just to the top-left of the flower.
While it looks like there's a lot of post processing going on here, there really isn't. I've dialed in light sharpening, applied a strong contrast curve and tweaked exposure a bit to get some rid of the veiling. Of course, my trademarked
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Gashed differentials, busted axles, smoked clutches and stripped front hubs: getting to the photo is certainly, at least, half the fun!
Here is a photo facing back toward where today's Photo of the Day was taken, although this photo is from another trip. Click after the jump to see a section of the road up the bluff and an arrow to where the shot was taken.
Submitted for your approval, from Jonathan Green at 20:27
Today's Photo of the Day required more time in post than any I've shared so far, mostly for one reason, which I'll discuss below. More time yet is required before this image becomes salable.
Here is the final product. Nikon D90, Nikkor 17-35mm, 17mm, f9, 1/320 sec., ISO 200. Program with matrix meter with -1EV compensation and shift to the wider (f9) aperture. Preset white balance (gray card), landscape scene mode with high in-camera sharpening. Nikon NEF raw file.
Here is an alternate post-processed image I ultimately rejected:
This was a quick-and-dirty post, if I had decided to stick with it I would have needed to do some additional work. This image was washed through Lightroom before I did some manual dodging of the right cliff face in Photoshop. Before the PS work, we had:
And finally, the original image:
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-105VR, 18mm, f7.1, 1/200 sec., ISO 200. Landscape scene mode, matrix meter with no compensation on program exposure mode.
Post processing: increased saturation and contrast, and lots of recovery. You will note that I used no exposure compensation even though I was shooting in landscape (ergo, high-saturation) mode. I should have. Even with in-camera software working to tame the image, there's just too much dynamic range here, from the deep blue water to the brown brush in the lower right of the image, which is blowing out.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I would be interested if anyone can guess what this is a photo of. I will give several hints: there is no post processing involved. The rest of the hints, such as they are, are in the shoot specs below, and they'll be crucial to working this out.
Nikon D80, Nikkor 17-35mm, 35mm, f2.8, 1/60 sec., ISO 400. Spot metering (on red circle), manual exposure, built-in flash manually fired at 1/64 power.
I'll avoid getting too cute and giving anything more away. Sometime Friday I will post another photo and maybe another clue or two if no one has worked it out.
UPDATE: I must begrudgingly admit that I am nowhere near as clever as I thought I was, with two (correct) independent guesses coming less than 12 hours after I posted this... in the middle of the night. Congrats Kathie and Sarah. As I mentioned to some, the prize is a 375ml bottle of Makers Mark, winner must only pay S&H. There is only one bottle, so which of you wants it? (I am intent on getting the last laugh here.)
It is, indeed, a lamp, shot from below.
No, not those three shots. These:
Two points I'd address here. First is: which photo? I happen to prefer the first one because of the lighting in the woman's hair, for a little ± space play. I do, however, like the out of focus snowflake in the middle frame, bottom-center.
Second issue: what makes photography different from painting, or writing, for that matter?
In photography, you've got everything and need to decide what to leave out. Is it OK for the woman's face to be hidden? What does that communicate? Should I have moved and gotten it in there? No, not in this case. We need to be able to step into her shoes for a moment, be her, the spectator of the cold warriors. (And boy, was it cold.) Put simply:
Photography is the art of removing what is not necessary. Painting, and writing, is the art of adding what is necessary.
Nikon D90, Nikon Series E 50mm MF, 50mm (duh), probably f1.8 or 2.2, 1/200 sec., ISO 1600. Shot natively in B&W to attempt to make lum and chroma noise look as much like film grain as possible. (I think it worked well, click for larger size.) Manual everything: the D90 doesn't meter with MF lenses, MF lenses don't autofocus, et cetera, et cetera, et al. The brave are also left with manual flash exposure, which was necessary here, otherwise KL's side-to-me would have been nothing but shadow against the bright klieg light behind her. But remember: be subtle with flash. If it's clear that you used flash, perhaps you used too much, or forgot to use gels (not a problem shooting B&W). All three photos are as the '90 birthed them into the JPEG world: no post save for resizing, tiling and ©ing.
Yesterday I posted a Photo of the Day involving a horse's head. I was fortunate she (he?) cooperated, but it was hardly a staged shot. This photo is from 16 seconds later, after the moment had passed.
Just posting for context, only resized and ©ed — no other post.
Remember to look for opportunity in unlikely places, even a high school parade.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Yes, it's another horse photo...
Nikon D90, 18-105VR, 105mm, f5.6 (wide open), 1/500 sec., ISO 200. Neutral scene mode, program exposure with matrix meter, no exposure compensation.
No post processing; not even cropping. Just resized and ©ed. Again: I'm not a fan of the 18-105 (or -135), but it is capable of good, sharp shots.
BREAKING: I've been informed my former LTD had been found dead and abandoned on a rural highway west of Thermopolis, Wyo., strangely, the very same highway I took this photo. I recounted some of my experiences with the Ultimate Land Barge here.
Nikon D90, Nikkor 70-300mm VR, 300mm, f7.1, 1/200 sec., ISO 200.
Sometimes things take care of themselves, and he is an example. Who needs to frame this?
Post included cropping and some exposure work with mild sharpening. I wish I had opened up (at 300mm the 70-300 is wide open at f5.6) to have isolated horse here from the background. Shame.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Nikon D90, Nikkor 17-35, 17mm, f8, 1/500 sec., ISO 200.
Unfortunately, other data (including post production) is not available. I suspect it involved a bump in saturation and some sharpening.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Nikon FE, Tri-X. Other details lost to time, but probably a Tamron 80-200mm f2.8 on a tripod with self-timer. Obviously a poor quality film scan, but if I found this, maybe I can find the negatives some day?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Nikon FE, Tamron 80-200mm f2.8 MF, Kodax Tri-X 400 (the original XXX, not the newer formulation). Assuming my six-year-old shooting notes are right, this was taken at about 100-115mm, f5.6 and 1/30 sec. off a tripod.
I can't remember how I caused the ghost effect here, although I can remember I tried two ways. Assuming my shot-notes are right, and this was taken at 1/30 sec., I used some creative lighting to make the effect -- beaming lights at the window. The glare causes the effect.
This is lab-processed film. I have some B&W stuff I've processed, and some day I'd sure like to get the equipment and chemicals put together for a B&W darkroom, but this went off someplace. Amusingly, even by 2004 most small to midsized cities had shuttered any one-hour B&W processing and just dropped everything in the mail. I was shooting B&W for a newspaper and ended up shooting C41 (color) process B&W just so I could get it processed in an hour. Oh, progress.
And just in case you missed it Tuesday, Nikon has announced the D7000, probably the best digital body they're now offering within a mortal man's budget. Paired with the recently introduced 16-35mm and the brand-spanking-new SuperChub 200 f2, and you'd have quite the rig.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Nikon D90, 17-35mm, 17mm, f8, 1/1000 sec., ISO 200. Aperture priority, matrix meter, landscape scene mode with -1/3EV exposure compensation.
The cloud and bluff are a nice contrast to one another. Post processing involved cropping, additional saturation and some color work. Original is below.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-135, 135mm, 1/125 sec., f5.6. ISO 200, matrix meter and program exposure mode in landscape scene mode with -1/3EV exposure compensation.
You may have noticed a pattern here. In photos taken in landscape scene mode, almost all of them have negative exposure compensation dialed in. Of the few that do not, most of them could have used it.
While it looks significantly different than the original, post processing is straightforward. Besides the cropping, I've added: vibrance, clarity, contrast, blacks and just a hair of exposure. I've also tweaked the white balance for just a little warmer than what came out of camera.
At full size you'll be able to see that this isn't as sharp an image as it could be. At 135mm, f5.6 is wide open on this lens, which just isn't going to cut it. I should have gotten closer, boosted ISO a stop or otherwise found a way to stop-down, probably to f8.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sorry, folks, but I was unable to get a photo up yesterday. Today I'll give you two to make up for it.
These photos demonstrate depth and exaggerated perspective in photography. I will not offer any commentary other than to remind you to try different things, including shooting from very low (or very high) or playing with the angle of your composition. With the exception of cropping, resizing and ©'ing, these are as they came from the camera. See you tomorrow!
Nikon D90, Nikkor 17-35mm, 17mm, 1/160 sec., f3.2, ISO 200. Auto white balance, program exposure mode with matrix meter and -1/3EV exposure compensation in landscape scene mode.
Nikon D90, Nikkor 17-35mm, 17mm, 1/200 sec., f3.5, ISO 200. Aperture priority exposure mode, matrix meter and -1/3EV exposure bias, in landscape scene mode.
Friday, September 10, 2010
For today's guest blog, I've chosen to use a picture which I feel really incorporates as many I guess 'techniques' as possible which are unique to me and that I am good at: manual metering and focusing.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Nikon D90, 17-35mm f2.8, 17mm, f13, 0.6 sec. Handheld, ISO "Lo1" (ISO 100 equivalent), no flash or VR. Aperture-priority exposure mode, landscape scene mode with matrix meter engaged.
This was taken a few hours before yesterday's photo of the day and only about 50 meters away.
A few notes. The camera settings were dictated by one variable: shutter speed. There is a certain sweet-spot with moving water, which varies by the speed of the water. Shutter too slow and it turns to fog. Shutter too fast, and you lose the sense of movement. Six-tens of a second turned out to be the best speed for this shot. Handholding was accomplished by bracing against the handrail of the bridge from which this shot it taken.
Once I determined .6 sec. was the optimum exposure length, I found the camera wanting f16 at ISO 200, the base ISO on the D90. Furthermore, I should have dialed in some negative exposure compensation: the pink/orange highlight of the cloud is dangerously near blowout.
ISO "Lo1" and f13 was the best I could do since I didn't have an ND handy. I'm left dealing with a few things that each slightly degrade image quality here, but hopefully the cumulative effect isn't too bad.
At ISO "Lo1" the D90 loses some highlight control, which is why those clouds are so near blowout. f13 is just starting to get soft from diffraction. Fortunately, there isn't enough near detail for a hint of blur to become too much of an issue.
I don't have post-processing information available for this photo, but I have two other issues I'd like to touch on.
The first is exposure blowout, when things get too hot for the camera settings and turn to mush and white. Newer Nikon bodies have a setting called Auto D-Lighting, or as Rockwell refers to it, Automatic Dynamic Range, which tries to reduce this problem. Figures 1, 2 and 3 show a portion of this image with exposure reduced four stops in Lightroom, and a portion of another blown out image taken with a D80, both before and after that same four-stop reduction.
|Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3.|
The D80 lacks ADL/ADR, whichever you prefer to call it, and it shows. The D90 image, while on the bloody edge of overexposed, retains a color-correct falloff toward blowout. That is D-Lighting at work, making th best out of a difficult situation. With the landscape scene mode (which jacks up saturation) and ISO "Lo1" set, this is pushing the camera pretty hard. But look at the D80 images: there is zero color falloff once you hit blotto overexposure: it just turns straight to white. Also note that the D80 does have a setting in the RETOUCH menu for "D-Lighting," but it doesn't make nearly as much of a difference as the in-camera routine of newer bodies.
The other point I wanted to touch on, actually complain about, is metadata handling in Adobe products. Lightroom reads today's image as ISO 100, which is close enough to correct for me, but Bridge just throws up its hands and displays a blank in the ISO spot for metadata. Photoshop also reads ISO 100. Bridge incorrectly says this was taken in program mode (it was really in aperture-priority mode). Lightroom is stingy about telling me whether or not I used flash. You get the idea: none of these three programs consistently tells me everything I need to know. End rant.
While I have misplaced my post-processing notes, I do have the original photo:
No post processing here: just resized and ©ed for web with a little cropping top and bottom.
Nikon D90, Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8, ISO 1000, 17mm, f8, 20 sec. bulb exposure. Manual exposure with shade white balance. The lighting is from a Nikon SB-800 fired manually (at 50% power) off-camera with a yellow gel to match the fireworks. On a tripod. "Bulb" exposure means I manually started and stopped the exposure with a wireless remote, instead of using a predetermined time. This allowed me to get the firework from beginning to end and close the shutter before another went off.
There are several variables in fireworks photography. Aperture must be small enough (large enough f-number) to have some depth of field, especially with subjects in the foreground, but large enough to get some light. ISO sensitivity should be high enough to allow a workable shutter speed but low enough to minimize noise. Shutter needs to be long enough to get the entire firework, but short enough to freeze subject motion.
Or, you can have your subjects in total darkness, only illuminated (and frozen) during the 1/10,000 sec. of flash. Just make sure they don't mind your flashing around behind them. It took a number of attempts to get this particular shot.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Nikon D90, 18-105VR, 25mm, 1/200 sec., f16, ISO 200. Program exposure mode with matrix meter and built-in flash at default value. Auto white balance, neutral scene mode, zero exposure compensation. VR on.
While children can be the devil to shoot, stumbling around the barnyard with 20 or 30 of them inspecting the garden, the tractors and the animals is sure to provide some opportunity. Here is no different. Another photo, of a girl feeding some pigmy goats, might have been the winner if the lighting had been different.
Move around and remain thoughtful of the sun’s position. Being thoughtful doesn’t mean taking every photo from the same perspective. The shadow here provides needed depth and contrast. For another shot, having the sun right behind my back may have been better. Sometimes a silhouette, with the subject between the sun and camera, is best.
I didn’t do much in Lightroom except confront a difficult decision on cropping and straightening and some color work.
As I mentioned, this is a study in contrast, light and shadow. It helps that boy and rooster cooperated handsomely, both focusing on the same thing (and not the camera at that!).
A surprise! I suspect I’ll have a guest blogger filling in as I expect to be swamped by the end of the week. If it pans out, fantastic, and if not, I’ll make the time. Until then…