Light is Everything!

Archive for March, 2011

RAW Edit #19

I was watching the Fro Knows Photo show and they were editing a pretty nice landscape image and I thought I would give it a go. ย The original RAW file is submitted by a viewer and then Jared & Greg edit it on the show. Afterwards, the file is made available for other people to edit. Very cool stuff. There are lots of really neat examples of what people did to it on the website. Check it out! It’s a really fun interactive idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

Original Submitted RAW file

My RAW file Edit


Advertisements

Winter Whitetails

Last night the deer were making a steady stream through our backyard from the field and into the ravine next to our house. I grabbed my 70-300 and made a few shots.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Down on the Farm!

I went out to my friend’s farm today trying to get some shots for our Photography Club assignment. The month of March was to be pictures of “pets.” So, I wanted to get some pet picks. What better place to nab pet pics than down on the farm?!

I was able to get some pretty cool action shots of the cats in the primordial battle with the dogs, fangs gnashing, claws swinging. Very cool stuff. Of course, I didn’t help matters by hissing and trying to get the dogs fired up. But hey, anything for a picture right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ All the shots in the slideshow are either from my 70-300 f4.5-5.6 or my 105mm f/2.8 Macro.

It was a beautiful day with all kinds of glorious light!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The Kidz

Had some fun with the kids today. I was trying to get Ethan to walk at me with the wooden-toy knife because it made him look like Chucky (that freaky murdering doll from when? 1989?!?) ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย It’s always super fun taking candids of toddlers. I was in a Silver eFex Pro mood today too when I was doing some editing. I like the antique-eque looks and the high contrast stuff. The more indoor shots I take handheld with my 50mm, the more I’m getting used to higher noise. Earlier I would never have taken these kinds of shots because the noise was unacceptable to me. But, when you go high contrast or black and white, it adds a certain je ne sais quoi. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t mind it anymore.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Daffodils for Life

Our neighbour dropped by this week and brought with her some daffodils for life from the Cancer Society. They were just beginning to open up which presented some pretty fun macro shots. Such a beautiful sign of hope for everyone who is fighting cancer and who has conquered it. ๐Ÿ™‚

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Way Cool Trick

I discovered a way cool trick that helps out tremendously when shooting in Manual mode or even in Aperture mode. Basically it is using auto ISO to help you freeze action at a sports game or if you are shooting handheld in low-light conditions, it prevents the camera from dropping below a set shutter speed (AKA no more blurry images).

If you’re outside with lots of light, this doesn’t matter as much. But like I said, for inside/low light it’s the bomb. In the ISO sensitivity settings menu, you can control the maximum ISO you want, say 1600. And, you can control the minimum shutter speed you want too. So for sports with super fast action, lock this in at 1/1000 or if you’re shooting your 50mm prime on your DX body, lock it in at 1/100. That way you can adjust your aperture to whatever you want and the shutter speed never drops below your minimum amount. The camera automagically calculates the proper ISO to make your exposure work out.

ISO 280 50mm f/2.2 1/100

What’s way cool is that the camera won’t just jump full stops of ISO (like 200 to 400) it will do crazy stuff like ISO 273 – a setting you couldn’t choose to do even if you wanted to!

ISO 450 50mm f/2.5 1/100

Sharpness Confirmed 100% Crop

It’s really cool because when you move to different shooting spots or the natural light levels change all around you, you’re still nailing your exposures every time. Slick hey?

Credit for this trick goes to Scott Kelby and his Digital Photography Book 3 p.146.


When you Buy a New Lens

I got an email from B&H that my 50mm f/1.4 has been back ordered. Swell. Who knows how long it will take to arrive now. Bummer. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But, it’s grounds for a blog post. ๐Ÿ™‚

What should you do when you buy a new lens?

First, take a look at it. Make sure that the mount on the back is OK, make sure the body of the lens isn’t cracked or damaged. Then inspect the front glass element for nicks or scratches. Take a flashlight/desk lamp and shine it through the lens while opening the aperture at the back to look for dirt or other big crap that might be inside the lens. Little dust isn’t such a big deal but huge chunks of stuff should be grounds for a return and exchange right away.

Most return policies on defective equipment are only at most 2 weeks from the company you bought it from so you want to do all these checks immediately so you can return any defective items to the seller rather than have to ship them off to Nikon or Canon.ย  B&H was really good to me in that I got the lens on a Saturday, did my checks, found it to be defective and got a return (RMA) form Sunday.

After you have done the initial physical checks, it’s time to do actual lens focus/sharpness tests. I have already posted some links to YouTube vids that explain this process. [But here they are again for fun: Part 1; Part 2] The tests should be done immediately as defects will be very apparent. Do the can test to check for sharpness and then do the ruler test to check to see if the autofocus is on or not. There are lens tolerances that can be adjusted for on higher end camera bodies through the AF Fine Tune settings that can actually pull the auto focus back into alignment with where it should be. But, as in my case, if the focus is way out, then the lens is crap and it must go back from whence it came.

Don’t be a naรฏve sucker face. Do your lens tests and make sure you are getting the quality that you are paying for. The manufacturing process is pretty darned awesome, but the world is a sinful place and errors do creep in. Now if they could only come up with solution for speeding up back orders… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another useful link!

And one more!


Panoramatastic!

I like panoramic images but until yesterday, I had never made one. I did a little googlin’ and found a really sweet YouTube video that explained the whole process. In the middle of a March snow storm, I went out on my back deck and took two pictures to try the panoramic process. You can do many more but I wanted to keep it simple to start out.

pano image 1

pano image 2

Another good tip (that I didn’t follow here) is to shoot panorama images vertically instead of horizontally. ย That way you have more breathing room in your shots for when you crop it later. I didn’t use a tripod as I had a very convenient deck railing to set the camera on – but had this been a serious pano, I would have certainly used the tripod.

After I had the .jpg files ready in camera, I brought them into GIMP (the free, open source version of Photoshop) and downloaded the “Pandora” script that makes this all possible. It did a really sweet job of setting it all up with about 20% overlap. I used the tree as my anchor point of both images and it lined up really well with minimal masking work. To me, the over all end product had to go black and white because it was another cursed, ugly, winter’s-never-gunna-end day.

click to embiggen

So there you go, my first ever panoramic image. Click on it to see the full sized end product (11MB file size). ย It turned out not too shabby. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If was to do it again, I would pick a nicer day with more sunshine. Winter is getting way too depressing. ๐Ÿ˜


Canon Conundrum

When eyeing up lenses across the two major competitors (Nikon & Canon) one notices something rather odd. A conundrum of sorts, really. It makes sense to me to have lens focal lengths stop and start in complimentary places. For example, the holy trinity of Nikon’s f/2.8 glass line up go from 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 meaning that you have the entire range of focal lengths from super wide to long telephoto all at the magical f/2.8 aperture. Makes sense.

14-24

24-70

70-200

What doesn’t make sense is Canon’s line up. There you have 16-35 and then 24-70 & 70-200 all L series at f/2.8. There’s a mismatch in the focal lengths from the Canon ultra wide zoom to the standard zoom. Does it really matter? No, not really. Am I nitpicking the competition? Maybe. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But the more curious thing is that Nikon ALSO makes a 16-35 (f/4) & a 17-35 (f/2.8). [FYI: Both Canon & Nikon have no VR/IS on these lenses].

Canon 16-35

Nikon 17-35

I got to thinkin’ – why do that? Why make 2 lenses that seemingly double up the focal lengths?? That also was a conundrum. I found a Flickr forum discussing the issue and the general consensus was that the 14-24 was a “fun” lens while the 17-35 was a “useful” lens.

14-24 "Fun" Image

17-35 "Useful" Image

Meaning, that because the 14-24 has an aspherical front element, you can “bend” your photos to have some really cool artistic lens distortion, even using it as a super wide portrait lens at concerts or what have you. The advantage of the 17-35 is that because it isn’t aspherical, you can use neutral density filters on it, making it perhaps more suitable for landscapes or photo journalism. The point was made that if you were photographing a large crowd of protestors with tear gas and rocks and debris flying everywhere, a lens filter would better protect your lens. You can’t outfit the 14-24 with lens filters because it is aspherical. So, the 17-35 has the advantage of adding armour in combat situations. ๐Ÿ™‚

Get Your Armour

But back to Canon being bizarre with their focal length mismatch in the lens line up, well, that’s just weird. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Go Nikon.


Gear Review: Pocket Rocket

I got a new toy! Get organized with Think Tank’s Pixel Pocket Rocket!!