Archive for October, 2012

Shooting in Low Light with the iPhone

October 30, 20120 Comments

Roger Waters - The Wall

 

This is a shot I took during The Wall concert up here in Seattle.  My girlfriend, a big Pink Floyd fan and I went to the concert and were lucky enough to get seated on the floor about 20 rows from the stage.  I took this with my iPhone 4S not expecting it to turn out, but with a steady hand and the HDR feature turned on, I think it came out fairly well.  Though I’m happy with the snap, it was very noisy as can be expected with such a small sensor and shooting in the dark.  I did run this through Topaz DeNoise in Photoshop before I posted it here to reduce some of the noise, nothing else was done to the photo.  Not bad for a photo to post to the web.

Remember, you don’t always need the top of the line photography equipment to get a great shot.

Great concert, by the way.

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B&W Conversion of a Church in Budapest

October 28, 20120 Comments

St Stephens Budapest

In my last post I showed how to use the Adaptive Wide Angle filter in Photoshop CS6. For the example I used St. Stephen’s cathedral.  I decided to post the final image today which I converted to black and white.  I made that choice because I took this after the blue hour and the sky is completely black.  I used one of my favorite plug-ins, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0. I really like the ease of picking from one of the B&W presets in Silver Efex and then modifying the options and sliders to my liking.  For this image I chose the Fine Art Process preset and the only thing I modified was that I added a Film Type to accentuate the contrast; Kodak ISO 32 Panatomic X.  I like how this turned out in black and white.

Let me know your thoughts.

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Using the Adaptive Wide Angle Filter in Photoshop

October 25, 20120 Comments

I really like some of the new features in Photoshop CS6, it seems like when you think Adobe can’t make Photoshop any better, they do.  I have found the Adaptive Wide Angle filter very useful for a lot of my images of architecture, both interiors and exteriors.  Since I don’t own a tilt-shift lens, my photos of architecture end up with converging walls and tilted buildings because the lens isn’t level vertically and horizontally.  In the past I used the Lens correction feature, the Transform tool and Puppet Warp, to correct the horizontal and vertical issues, but those didn’t always work out as well as I would have liked. With the new adaptive wide angle filter, it’s very easy to fix all of those issues.

Check out the video where I go through how to correct an image of a church in Budapest using this great new feature.  This is my first video tutorial, so I’d like some feedback for future videos.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

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Shoot with the Camera You Have

October 18, 20120 Comments

I tend to carry different cameras at different times depending on what I’m doing.  I consider my iPhone 4S a camera too.  I currently have 4 cameras; a Nikon D700, Nikon D200, Fuji x100 and a Panasonic LX3.  The LX3 used to be the camera I carried most often, but now that I have the x100, I tend to take that camera with me, but I always have my phone.  I do get lazy and in a hurry and I don’t always take a camera and sometimes I neglect to remember that my iPhone is also a camera.  I have many apps on my iPhone including timelapse, HDR and photo editing among other photographic related tools.  The camera doesn’t have the resolution of  a DSLR, but it’s not bad and probably compares to a point and shoot from a few years ago.  I work on the 19th floor of an office building and there are some amazing views.  Last night the sun was setting, reflecting off the lake and strongly illuminating some buildings that I thought was interesting.  I had wished I had my x100 with me, but all I had was my iPhone, I wasn’t sure the iPhone could capture  exposure range, but I gave it a try.  I ran the Pro HDR app and then applied one of the black and white filters.  I’m very happy with the result.  It’s nothing that’s going to win any awards and I’m sure it probably isn’t a print candidate, but it looks great on the web.

Here is the image.

I like the reflections, hard light and resulting contrast.  I think the image turned out well especially for a camera phone.  My lessons from this experience?  Use the camera you have with you and shoot every day.

 

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My Experience with the B&W 10 Stop ND Filter

October 14, 20120 Comments

I love the look of those really long exposure images that are captured with multiple stop ND filters, especially 10 stops or more.  I’m even more passionate about the black and white photos, there’s something about them that stirs me, maybe the surreal feel.   There are many options for 8 to 10 stop filters ranging from the Singh-Ray Vari-ND, the Lee Big Stopper or the filter I chose, the B&W 110 – 10 stop filter.  There are also many more less expensive options available.  There are 2 versions of the B&W filter, the single coated version and the multi-coated version.  I opted for the multi-coated version as I understand it should help with flare and reflections.  With the B&W filter there is about a $70 difference between the two.  You should be able to buy the B&W multi-coated version for around $180 for a 77mm filter.

B&W110

I purchased a single coated version about a year ago, but somehow it got damaged in my camera bag.  It wasn’t obvious at first, but the metal was slightly dented and wouldn’t screw onto the lens properly.  Even though I had it in its protective case, I’m guessing someone got a little too aggressive trying to fit their luggage into the overhead bin on a flight and bent the filter.  I now put my camera bag under the seat in front of me. Lesson learned.

10 stops filters are great for blurring cloud movement, making waterfalls are silky, smoothing out rough water and making moving cars and people seem like they have disappeared.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

I’ve read about people experiencing color shifts with some of the filters.  I haven’t noticed anything with the B&W, though I’m converting to black and white so I’m not too concerned about the color shifting.  I also shoot in RAW so I can easily fix and shift.  It also seems to be more prevalent in the cheaper filters.

So now that I replaced the filter with the new multi-coated version, I was excited to give it a try.  I received the filter a few days before a business trip to London so I thought I would shoot the London Eye during daylight hours and see if I could slow the shutter down enough with the 10 stop filter to blur the ferris wheel and possibly be lucky enough to also have some fast-moving clouds that would feather out during the long exposure.  One afternoon I headed down to the Thames and set up my tripod across from the Eye.   Once you put the filter on your lens you can’t see anything through the viewfinder, so you will want frame your image, take note of the exposure settings and once you have the lens focused, set it to manual focus, then you can attach the filter.   I wanted as long as an exposure as I could get, so I set the aperture to f22 and since I was in aperture priority mode the camera showed a 2 second exposure without the filter.   Now you need to add approximately 10 stops to the shutter speed, which made it 20 seconds, I decided to try a 25 second exposure.   Here is the result.

London Eye

London Eye – 10 Stop Filter

This image is pretty close to what I was looking for.  I wish the clouds were a little more feathered, but overall I’m happy with the photo.  I did all the processing in Lightroom 4.  There were a couple of boats that passed through while the shutter was open, but as you can see, they just seem to disappear.  Pretty cool stuff.  I have lots of ideas for the filter and can’t wait to try them out.  I’ll post the images.

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Buy a Photography Coffee Table Book and the Proceeds go to Charity

October 7, 20120 Comments

Explore 2012 PhotobookThis year’s Photo book has been released and there is some amazing photography inside.

I am a member of the Microsoft Photography Club. Again, this year a group of individuals volunteered their time assembling and publishing another world-class, fine art photo book.  All the images were donated by people employed by Microsoft.  The book contains 453 professional quality images.  You can see a preview online at http://photographersatmicrosoft.com .   All proceeds from sales of the book go directly to the United Way and you get a valued and timeless reminder of how you too make a difference to those in need.

This book will make a wonderful addition to your collection of photography books, or could be a thoughtful gift.  Each copy you purchase contributes directly to the ongoing, important work of United Way. This book is offered for purchase at $50.00.  If you’re interested, my photo from the Palouse was included in the book and you can view it in the preview.

Even if you don’t think you’ll buy a copy of the book, go take a look at the online preview anyway.  It truly is an amazing collection of photography!

Signing into the site to purchase the book can be kind of confusing, so here is a direct link.  https://shop.ecompanystore.com/MSCompanyStore/_ShopHandler.aspx?_do=SignupWL .

 

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