Photo Graph

Discussions in Photography


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.



The Print and The Process

I finished reading The Print and The Process by David duChemin a few weeks ago and am now just getting around to having time to do a quick review. The book is an interesting look at several personal and client projects by the author.


More to come.


Food Photography From Snapshots To Great Shots

I’ve just finished Food Photography From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S Young. This is one of a number of books in the Peachpit Press Snapshots to Great Shots Series. These books are good for anyone with a minimum knowledge of photography wanting to expand their photography skills.
Food Photography starts out with a quick couse in camea and lens basics and explains the basics of exposure; iso, aperture, shutter speed, and white balance. Ms Young explains the equipment you need to start taking food photographs. The book is very thorough in it’s approach. Each chapter builds on the new information presented. There are many illustrations explaining each step of the process of shooting food. There is plenty of examples of how the shot was taken and how the lighting was set up. The explaination of lens and especially lens compression are worth the price of admission.

The book is well written and easy to follow. There is plenty of detail on each subject although I wish she had included the actual lens setting on the images shot with zoom lens. That and there is a lot of images of good looking food. You will get hungry reading this book. “Food Photography From Snapshots to Great Shots” is good place to get a solid foundation in learning about this special form of photography.


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.


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.



Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens – First Impressions

The Nikon D600 kit I bought came with a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens. I had convinced myself that I really wanted to get the 28 to 300mm zoom lens but when I realized my 70-300mm was an FX lens and I could save the $1000 for other things like food and rent, I went ahead and purchased it.  It will be pretty much my standard, on the camera lens, for now.

I’ve had it a couple of weeks now and it is not a bad lens at all.  Pretty nice actually.  The D600 with this lens weights about as much as my D200 with its 28-105 mm lens. The lens helps render some pretty true to life colors and has decent sharpness throughout the range.  Here are a couple of test shots I did today to give you an idea of how well the lens works with the camera.  All images were taken with the camera on a tripod with an ISO of 100 and Aperture priority mode set to F8.0.  There is more vignetting than i expected and some distortion in images right from the camera. You can see the difference which is subtile when being shown 600megapixel images in sRGB color space. Vignetting and distortion are more prominent at the 24mm end of the lens. Nothing that is not fixed in Lightroom with the standard Adobe supplied Lens Corrections.

24mm F8.0 OriginalThis is the original 24mm image with no adjustments.

24mm F8.0 CorrectedThe 24mm with Lens Profile applied you can see it’s a bit lighter in the upper left corner.

85mm F8.0 Original85mm with no adjustments.

85mm F8.0  Corrected

And finally at 85mm with the Lens Adjustment applied.

I’m getting used to the camera and lens still but I’m really loving working with a full frame camera.  The lens is fine for my everyday shooting. I’ve got a number of lens to try including my little 50mm 1.8 lens which I’m expecting big things from. In the mean time the 24-85mm will do just fine.   I’ll be doing a First Impressions on the D600 soon.


Shooting in Sh*tty Light

The top 10 worst lighting situations and how to conquer them.

The top ten worst lighting situations and how to conquer them.

Interesting title for an interesting book. Unless you only shoot in a studio with complete control over your lighting you most likely shoot in light that is less than perfect. “Shooting in Sh*tty Light” by Lindsay Adler and Erik Valind takes you through 10 of the toughest lighting situations and explains best practices for getting the best shots out of each situation.
This is a easy to read book with plenty of illustrations of the ways to make a good image out of bad lighting situations. When most books talk about lighting it is usually about waiting for the golden hour or working in a closed environment. This kind of lighting doesn’t happen very often. The book takes you through the options for getting a good image in all sorts of situations.
Whether you are shooting in noon day sun or under low light situations where flash is not allowed this book explains ways to get the shot. Using light modifiers like diffusers and reflectors and small flash you can get good images in bad light situations. The authors have made this book very camera brand agnostic which I think is a big plus.
The first chapter is about shooting in Direct Sunlight. I’ve seen Lindsay Adler’s hour long Kelby Training video on Shooting in Direct Sunlight and the book covers just about everything in the video. There are plenty of images of the good and bad results of each topic.
This book has a number of good examples of how to tame the light with many examples of how the image comes out before you modify the light as well as the finished image. There is a lot you can do to take control of the light and each is explained well by the authors. In the end you realize each situation requires you take control of the light and gives you ways to do it. Good book by two good photographers.


FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release

When I bought my D600 I got in on the last day of some really good price cuts from Nikon. I bought it thru B&H and a bunch of extra stuff was included which was one of the reasons I bought this particular kit.  Included in the kit was a battery grip and a wireless shutter release.  These were not Nikon branded so I wasn’t real sure how well they would work.  While it’s nice to have the Nikon brand on all your stuff, occasionally, money gets in the way. Anyway, I’ve played around with the remote shutter release and since I couldn’t find a review of it anywhere else thought this might be a good place to put one.


FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release for Nikon

The FreeWave Plust Wireless Remote Shutter Release for Nikon (can we just call it the FreeWave for this review) is produced by a company called Vello. It can be used on most Nikon DSLR’s that have one of the two types of accessory connectors that most of the Nikon DSLR’s have.  My D200 has the 10 pin connector on the front of the camera while the D600 has a 4 pin accessory connector on the side of the camera marked as GPS.


In The Box

The FreeWave comes with a receiver, transmitter, cables for both the 10 pin and 4 bin connections, 4 AAA batteries and an instruction manual. The items come in a box with a clear plastic tray that is not heat sealed so you don’t have to have major scissors to remove the items. In fact the plastic case is works well as a place to store the units between use. The case slips back into the box without major incidents. Vello FreeWave Plus

The receiver comes with a hot shoe attachment so that you can slide the receiver on to the camera where it is not subject to bouncing etc. You will only be able to attach it to the hot shoe if you are not planning on using a flash or flash remote. There is no electrical reason for attaching it but it will keep the unit secure while you are using it.


Using the FreeWave

The FreeWave can be set to any one of 16 frequencies but the transmitter and the receiver have to be set to the same frequency (obviously) thru small switched in both units.  I can imagine all sorts of comedy if more than one photographer is using their FreeWave in the same general area at the same time.  Remember how to set them for future reference.

To use the units insert the AAA batteries into the transmitter and receiver and connect the receiver to the camera with the proper cable.

Vello FreeWave Plus


Turn on the receiver by pressing the power button for 2 seconds. Now if all goes well, and why shouldn’t it, pressing the shutter button on the transmitter will fire the camera.  The transmitter can be pressed half way to focus the lens just as if you were pressing the shutter button on the camera. Press half way to focus and then all the way to fire.

Tricks The FreeWave Can Do.

A slide switch can be set on the transmitter can be set for single shot, continuous shooting, bulb shooting, and self timer.  This slide switch does not change how the camera shoots so if you are going to shoot single shot you need to set you camera to single shot and the transmitter to single shot. Using the bulb mode and setting the shutter speed to bulb with allow you to press once to open the shutter then again after an amount of time to close the shutter.  There is also a continuous mode where you set the camera to single mode and it takes a picture every second until you turn it off. In the self timer mode the transmitter delays the shutter for 4 seconds. This gives you time to put your hand down so you are not taking a self picture of your hand holding the transmitter.

The receiver can be also used as a shutter release.  Just plug it in and press it’s shutter button trigger the shutter. In this mode you don’t even have to install the batteries.



The FreeWave is a pretty solid piece of kit with an instruction manual that is straight forward and easy to read (the print is a little small but I think that is my problem).  It works as required and I’m looking forward to using it next time I’m out shooting fireworks from the backyard because I can stay in the screened lanai while triggering the camera that is out among the mosquitoes. You can get it here.