Hoping to enjoy photography again...

Discussion in 'Photography' started by JohnRice, May 28, 2014.

  1. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Should I mention how much I love living in Colorado? That shot was taken about 15 minutes from my house.

    ...and I really want to emphasize the image of that camera and even the lens. On the far side of the lake, slightly left of center, there is a speedboat with a circular line of waves behind it, which is clearly visible in the full size image. Behind it, there is a small, white buoy in the water, also clearly visible. That buoy is probably a mile away and was shot at 17mm, and it's visible.
     
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  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Sounds like the D7100 hits the sweet spot for you. There will probably always be some little bit of niggling, if we want one camera to do it all, but at this price, one can't really argue w/ what this camera offers me thinks -- NIkon undoubtedly wants you to spend more $$$ for something more refined, if you need that, and unfortunately, they've made the pricing gap quite huge (between the D7100 and D800) in this instance.

    IF I thought Nikon would really come out w/ that elusive D400-or-whatever-they'd-call-it anytime soon that so many have been clamoring for, I might've just gone w/ the D7100 myself and be happy w/ what it can do until they release such (and then maybe keep the D7100 as my 2nd body).

    Anyhoo, enough of that talk... looking forward to seeing (and hearing) more of what you'll be doing w/ the new camera -- I need to go out and make much more/better use of my own gear as well, especially after spending the $$$ on the D800 (even though it's supposed to be my extra early 20th anniversary present :P... after getting the D200 for my 10th anniversary before it ;))...

    And congrats on the new acquisition, John!

    _Man_

    PS: Would love to retire somewhere like Colorado some day... or maybe if/when I change careers perhaps... We don't get to see those here in the NYC area... :D
     
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  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    You've just got canyons of a different kind to shoot, Man!

    And we both know the Adirondack Mountains aren't all THAT far away from you! :D

    Congrats, John! Have fun!
     
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  4. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    Great shot, John! And I agree with your assessment of HDR. I think it is overused and most of what I see is over processed.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the info on how you did the HDR, John. I also agree that quite often the technique is overdone. I have only played with it a little, but when I finally get serious about HDR my goal will be a more natural look, too. For now, I am still going the old school grad ND filter route.

    Here is an HDR I did sort of "in camera" while just playing around. I used the HDR function of the Canon 5D3 to take the multiple exposures, but I then merged the three resulting RAW files myself in Canon's Digital Photo Professional software so that I could tweak the settings more over what was done with the in-camera processed jpeg. The 2nd photo is the in-camera processed jpeg

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Man, the D7100 will do just fine. That one little gripe is very minor and probably doesn't really make any difference. The construction is just fine, if slightly less stout than the D200.

    I know it probably seems contradictory that I comment about HDR being taken too far, then post this extreme HDR shot, but my biggest complaint with HDR is not the extreme dynamic range, but the outrageous saturation people tend to use. I can see a huge benefit to moderate HDR in more natural shots like Scott posted above. I did the photo, and the others I shot Friday, more as an exercise to see how far I might push it and just to get a better sense of how to achieve the results I want. Then I really liked that shot, as extreme as it is. I keep thinking I shouldn't like it and there are some little things I will be happier with if I merge it again a little differently. Of course, as I shot it I was wrapped up in the process and didn't pay as much attention to composition as I usually would. It annoys me that I didn't move a little to the left, to eliminate some the of flotsam on the right of the image, and to move the rock to the right a bit so the tree behind it is framed between the two rocks, instead of behind one of them.
     
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  7. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hehheh... Problem w/ the "canyons" over here is most of us typically cannot walk/climb to a better spot for photos as access to most buildings/higher-points are restricted. :P And of course, these "canyons" aren't quite like those anyhow... :D

    And yes, need to head up to the Adirondacks at some point... though I'm sure I'll need many trips before actually yielding good photos, especially if I'm going w/ the family rather than alone. Not quite the same as John's "backyard" me thinks... ;) :P

    _Man_
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    _DSC0694b_tonemapped.png

    As I looked at the image I posted, I was learning some of the software controls better and did it again to smooth out some of the annoying HDR effects to look a little more natural. It's not a huge difference, because the shot has such dynamic range, but I think it's a noticeable improvement.
     
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  9. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Pano 2-1000.jpg

    One of the things I want to try is panoramas, with some mild HDR. So I went out today and shot this one as a test. I can think of a few ways to combine the two processes, so I just tried one. One problem with this is, you can see the color temperature change as I shot from left to right and the sun came out a bit. It's too bad the light in the entire shot wasn't like it is on the right.

    I figure if I'm going to get into digital, I might as well embrace it. The shot is probably pretty close to 180 degrees. I'd love to try this in Rocky Mountain National Park.
     
  10. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    That is always one of the biggest issues to overcome with panoramas -- dynamic lighting conditions.
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I would think you could fix the panorama in Lightroom fairly quickly.
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Scott, that's why I wanted to combine Panorama with a touch of HDR, the range of lighting there will be across the frame. To get the most cohesive image, I figured I needed to decide on an exposure (as well as focus distance) and set it manually, then do the same brackets on each shot. Of course, the sun came out a bit in the process, so it's more overcast on the left than the right.

    Patrick, I can selectively adjust the color temperature across the image, but the quality of the light is also different. I know the image I posted is small, but you can still see that the sunlight is more diffuse on the left than the right. I kind of doubt there is any way to adjust that without creating other undesirable side effects.

    I did a second sequence after this, so the sunlight might be better in it. I haven't looked, because it took a while to do this one. There were 33 shots total, 11 views with 3 exposures each. I started by looking at a center image, decided on the Photomatix settings I would use, then merged each bracket set with the same settings and saved them as 16 bit TIFF. Then took all those and merged them together with Photoshop, with a little final touch-up. I ended up with too obvious an "HDR" look on this first try, so I need to tone some things down for a second attempt. I'll try that with the second sequence after I look at this one more to decide what I don't like about it.

    Of course, what do you do with an image like this? It's 24,000 pixels wide. I think it's mostly for grins, but it's a nice exercise toward creating a more reasonable pic, like maybe 3x1 aspect ratio.
     
  13. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    You may want to try using the graduated filter to smooth out the exposure and the white balance. But I think that filter is only in LR5 (not sure about LR4 or earlier).
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I dug out my 70-180 Micro Nikkor for a couple quick shots in the back yard. This is one of the greatest pieces of photo gear I've ever used. I can't believe I was considering selling it.
     

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  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Do any of you know of some really nice, compact, collapsible diffusion and reflection panels for macro use?
     
  16. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Holy Cow, the 70-180 is my one piece of dream gear, preferably a 2014 remake but I'd take an original. I'm drooling with jealousy!
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Sam, I got one of those shortly after it came out. I'm surprised it didn't sell very well. Seems like people didn't discover it until it was discontinued.
     
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  18. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I don't know if anyone has been curious about the Rokinon 8mm fisheye. I was able to get the newest version, with the romoveable hood, for barely over $200, so I figured I'd give it a try. I stopped and shot this quick pic this morning just for grins.

    _DSC1156_HD.png

    I like how minimal the distortion is. That tree on the right isn't distorted as much as you'd think, It is shaped that way. Just look at the tree left of center and particularly the fence rail at the far left. It's manual focus, but fortunately the Nikon version does identify itself and work in aperture priority and manual. I understand the other mounts give no feedback at all. I just focused it to 5ft. and shot at f/11, which is probably overkill. f/8 would probably be just fine.

    Not exactly a lens you'd use every day, but it should be fun to play with.
     
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  19. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    HDR...bleh! One person's amazing is another person's dreck.

    vault.jpg
     
  20. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    That is a great example of someone using a technique as a crutch. It's all about how the shot has been manipulated, but in the end, it's a drab shot, no matter what you do with it. HDR is only a part of that.

    I love the idea of what HDR can do, but not as a gimmick. It's a very powerful tool, which means it will mostly be abused by lazy people who don't care to actually be creative. I'm still getting the hang of working with it. I take stuff merely to use as an exercise.
     

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