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Ice Festival


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11 replies to this topic

#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 27 2008 - 11:41 AM

Here are some photos I took this weekend at the local ice carving festival in our home town. I've started playing around with raw files this winter, and I'm still getting the hang of the conversion process. Since there was a lot of snow (meaning very bright) and it was crowded, I adjusted the exposures after the fact. I've been using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop Elements. Also, this was my first chance to use my Christmas present -- a Canon EF 70-200 L f/4 IS lens. The first half of the photos were with this lens, before I switched back to my Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens (the 70-200 was too tight for the subject matter).

I would be interested in any constructive criticism on my raw conversion and Photoshop technique. I mostly adjusted exposure, fill lighting, black level, color saturation and sharpness, usually trying to use all settings in moderation.

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Don Solosan

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Posted January 27 2008 - 05:24 PM

I talked to my brother by phone yesterday and he told me about attending this. Unfortunately, he's not a digital guy, so I had to make do with his descriptions. As for your photos, I would say that you achieved your goal in using moderation. They look terrific, very natural. Good color, despite being overcast.

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 28 2008 - 12:20 AM

It's always a fun event, but very crowded during the day. In past years, we have walked around late at night when there very few people. However, I wanted to take some photos, so we fought the large daytime crowd. Thanks for the nice comments, Don.

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted January 28 2008 - 06:35 AM

Beautiful pictures of some great work. It think it would be fun just to go even though it is usually crowded.

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#5 of 12 ONLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted January 30 2008 - 05:21 AM

Love the Mini-Caribou! Would definitly be an interesting subject if you could isolate him from the rest of the chaos going on around it. If I could offer a bit of creative criticism I'd note that many of these seem to have trouble isolating their subject, and when the subjects are isolated they seem to have parts randomly (ie rather than intentionally or artistically) cut off. Edit: Ooops sorry didnt realize there were multiple pages (user error on my part!), so that isolation comment is mostly directed at the shots on page 1, but less so on other pages. Still, I'm not afraid to use the crop tool tho I know some are religious about presenting things 'as shot'. If that's your philosophy I'd try to isolate in camera a bit more, as the saying goes 'you can never get TOO close!'. Thanks for sharing them tho, especially since it got me off my butt to check out the new SmugMug UI, which does seem kinda cool!
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#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted January 30 2008 - 05:43 AM

Looks like a cool event. Good job on the exposure and processing with all that white and glassy subject matter. There were probably some limits on physical proximity to the artists, but don't be afraid to push the envelope in getting close to the subject. This is not in my nature to do this - I hate feeling like I'm intruding on someone or even being "that guy with the camera." But shots from a wider angle and closer proximity can produce a psychological intimacy that you don't get with a telephoto, which I think is important for this particular subject matter. Also experiment with the "Z" axis for greater depth and dynamic quality in the composition.

#7 of 12 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted January 30 2008 - 11:19 AM

Scott, Looks like a fun event. Good to see these. Besides what others have mentioned, I would suggest trying some positive exposure comp during the shoot since there is so much white in most scenes. I probably would've gone for +1EV (or maybe more) in most instances myself. There really is no substitute for getting the exposure right during the shoot. You can only do so much w/ adjusting/processing the RAW files (before the image starts to suffer). For RAW, I mainly just use Nikon's own software -- the older Nikon Capture that is -- since I shoot Nikon. I don't like Adobe's RAW converter though maybe the latest one works much better than before (for Nikon files anyway). I do use Photoshop CS somewhat for whatever Nikon Capture doesn't do. _Man_

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#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 31 2008 - 12:06 AM

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I know the composition on many of the photos are not great, but with the crowds and carving areas being roped off, I was limited regarding where I could shoot. I started with my 70-200mm lens to try to get some close-up shots, but the lens was too long for most opportunities, so I switched to my 17-55mm lens. With the crowds, changing between lenses often wasn't a good idea. I was focusing more on getting the exposure and colors looking good, and didn't worry about cropping for composition in post-processing.
I've been trying both Adobe Camera Raw (via Photoshop Elements 6) and Canon's Digital Photo Professional for raw conversions. There are things I like and dislike about each. Adobe's color clarity slider works really well, and Canon is easier for adjusting white balance and batch processing.

#9 of 12 ONLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted January 31 2008 - 02:43 AM

Give Lightroom a shot!

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#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 31 2008 - 03:34 AM

Isn't Lightroom fairly expensive? I purchased the latest versions of both Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements (video editing software) for $90 as a bundle. PS Elements and Canon's DPP (which is free) seem to do everything I need so far for photo processing, while Premiere Elements meets my minimal needs for video editing and DVD creation from my MiniDV camcorder.

#11 of 12 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted January 31 2008 - 04:06 AM

If you're interested in trying some other affordable, high quality RAW converter, have a look at this one:

RAW Magick

I don't know how the Canon support is now, but it was originally created for Nikon RAW files a few years ago. The original project started out w/ the introduction of the Nikon D70 -- and part of the work involved dealing w/ the moire issue of the D70 on top of taking fuller advantage of the custom tone curve feature of Nikon DSLRs. Unlike most (all?) other converters (and editing software), this one has a high quality mode that uses floating point math for maximum quality (ie. virtually zero issue w/ rounding errors unlike typical DSP implementations) though that mode does run substantially slower. Most users seem to use more "mainstream" software for most of their processing and switch to this for the more difficult situations for best results. And the demosaic algorithm used was also supposed to be more advanced than you typically find (eg. like in Adobe's converter) though I'm not sure how true that is nowadays.

I actually bought the software when it was still beta (back when I was using the D70), but have not gotten around to using it. Posted Image

BTW, the RAWMagick creators used to frequent dpreview forums and NikonCafe. Not sure if they still do.

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#12 of 12 ONLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted February 05 2008 - 05:04 AM

Lr is just $200, but you can get it as cheap as $98 if you can qualify:
Photoshop Lightroom at Academic Superstore

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