Photo Graph

Discussions in Photography

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Old School New School

I purchased some larger SD cards (32gb) the other day.  They aren’t the fastest cards but the price was right and they work just fine in both the Nikon D600 and my little Fujifilm X-M1.  On the X-M1 the give me something like 1200 images before I run out of space.  With all that space I thought I would try out creating jpg files along with the normal raw files.

Fujifilm is known for it color film and they have included profiles for some of their more famous film stocks. I shot some images of Fred our backyard plant. I tried to emulate the feel of the jpg when doing the raw conversion in Lightroom 5.4. I wasn’t quite spot on with my conversion but I like the extra crispness I processed into the image.

 

Vievia (Vivid)This first image is the jpeg file direct from the camera. The only change was to resize down to 1600 x 960. The Veivia has some very nice reds and is a little soft.

Raw (Processed)This is my attempt at duplicating the feel of the Fujifilm. I cropped the raw file down to 16×9 like the jpeg and then pushed and pulled the Lightroom levers to this result.  I should probably add the raw file so we compare to how the raw file is presented before customization.

 

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Process Comparison

Thanks to the availability of trial version of most photo processing software I’ve been able to download several possible replacements for Adobe Lightroom.  I’ve been quite impressed with Capture One Pro 7 from Phase One. Here is a first pass at  an image I shot last night.

Spacehip Earth Monorail - Lightroom 4

Spaceship Earth Monorail – Lightroom 4

 

Spaceship Earth Monorail - Capture One Pro 7.

Spaceship Earth Monorail – Capture One Pro 7.

 

The image was taken with my Nikon D600 at 800ISO with the 24-85mm zoom.  I applied the provided profile for the lens to both images.  Lightroom lightened up the edges of the image much more than Capture One did and Capture One cut a bit of the outer edge off during that process. I used a fair but not over amount of Clarity on both versions of the image. I used a the same small gray rectangle near the bottom of the image to set a white balance for both versions.  I think the Capture One image came out slightly warmer.

 

One other note of interest I exported both images to a 1000 wide jpg at 85% at 100 px per inch. The Capture One file was larger.  Next time I may try stripping out the metadata to get a more accurate view of the actual size of the image.

Here is the image unprocessed.

_DSC2912_noprocess

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Static

I  won a copy of onOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 7 at Photoshop World after Joe Glyda’s Live Food Shoot Session.  This is a first try at Perfect B&W, I picked the look with the most stuff going on.  I have a lot more experimenting to do with this .

 

Static
PS.  I tried using the onOne Suite  on an iMac 27in. with only 4 gigs of memory it was really sluggish.  The program really wants more memory as Lightroom is running at the same time so I have the same 24mb file running on each application. 16 gig makes the program really work well.

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Elephant

Elephant

I haven’t been too keen on black and white photography for a while but never say never.  This image was OK as a color photo but converting it to black and white really worked.  There is something about the lighting on his forehead and face that pops.  I used a Lightroom 4 preset from David duChemin from a new book that I am now reading.  More on the book and the author after I get finished with the book. I posted this image on 500px and was pleased that it made the Popular page.

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The Digital Negative

I’ve just finished reading The Digital Negative by Jeff Schewe.  I first became aware of Jeff Schewe when I attended a one day digital photography   seminar put on by Epson.  It’s been a number of years now as I think I had just upgraded to a Nikon D100.  There were two sessions a basic session and an advanced session.  I attended the basic session with Vincent Versace. The advanced session which I probably should have gone to had Jeff Schewe as one of the presenters.

Anyway, seeing that it was an Epson seminar there was a gallery of very larger prints by the speakers and a few others.  One of the prints was an image of a old fashion gum ball machine mostly in black.  The print was exceptional.  I’ve subsequently had the pleasure of sitting in on a few of his sessions at PhotoshopWorld a couple of years ago. Jeff Schewe knows a lot about photography and Photoshop and how to get the most out of digitally captured images.

cover-500-262x300

In The Digital Negative Mr. Schewe put forward the premise that the raw image capture of your digital camera is really a digital negative.  Not in the sense that the raw file is the inverse of the printed image but in the sense that the raw file is the basis for creating your image.  The image that you will then print or publish to the web. I really like thinking of the raw files this way.  It frees you from the thinking that what comes from the camera and has had a default processing applied is as far as you should take an image. In fact the raw file is just the start of what you can do.

The book starts out explaining the technical side of how digital cameras work and the usual stuff about about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and how they affect the digital capture.  He then spends time on an overview of processing digital negatives in Lightroom and or Camera Raw and Photoshop.

A large portion of the book discusses the Library and Develop modules of Lightroom (which is where we spend all of our time). The book was published in 2013 which means it’s up to date with Lightroom 4. Each panel of the develop module is explained in detail. While reading the book you are presented with a lot of information.  The section on the develop module could be overwhelming. I read through it but didn’t commit it all to memory. It’s easier to use the book as a reference when you need a refresher on what a specific slider or button does.

After the thorough description of Lightroom, Mr. Schewe goes on to process several images step by step. Each step is explained in depth. The final chapter describes his digital workflow for the ingesting (his word) and storing of images.

This is a must read book for those who want to present the best output from our digital negatives.  I give it high marks.

The only issue I have with the book is that the Lightroom interface being fashionably dark does not reproduce well in the book and makes it hard to read the illustrations for Lightroom panels.  A magnifying glass may help.

 

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Aspect Ratio For Panoramas in Lightroom

Aspect ratios in photography refers to the ratio of the width to the height of an image. An aspect ration might be 4 to 3 (standard DSLR image) or 1 to 1 which gives you a square image.

I was watching one of Scott Kelby’s videos, not sure which one as they sometimes seem to blend together. In the video he was talking about what was the proper aspect ratio for a panorama.  While there isn’t any real rule for the perfect pano, he did come up with an aspect ratio of 2.39 to 1.  To transform you image into a panorama you need to change the photo’s aspect ratio. To set up a custom Aspect Ratio in Light room select a photograph and press the R key or click on the dotted line box under the histogram when in Develop mode.

cropandstraightenNext to  the lock is the current crop ratio (2.39 x 1) in this instance. To add a custom ratio click the up/down arrows between the current ratio and the lock which will pop up the select an aspect ratio menu. There are some standard ratios already defined for you. You would use the 1 X 1 ratio to crop to a square.

ratio_2_39x1To add a custom aspect ratio click the Enter Custom… menu item and enter the desired aspect rations .

EnterCustomAspectRatioWhen you click OK the aspect ratio will be saved and can be used any time you want.  Remember it is an aspect ratio and is not related to at actual pixel counts of the crop.  All the 2.39×1 aspect ratio says is for every 1 pixel high the selected area is it will be 2.39 pixels wide.

And here is a standard D600 full frame image cropped down to the saved panorama aspect ratio.

_DSC0528

While panoramas most often bring to mind landscapes, this aspect ration can be used with a still life too.

Gazania

I think the 2.39 x 1 aspect ratio is quite pleasing.  It’s a good place to start if you have an image with a boring sky or maybe to much yawn inducing foreground.