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125 — How Much Post Processing is Too Much — Interview w/ Darwin Wiggett and Sam Chrysanthou

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #125 fea­tures an inter­view with pho­tog­ra­phers Dar­win Wiggett and Sam Chrysan­thou (apolo­gies to Sam for muck­ing up her name) of oopoomoo.com where we talk about post pro­cess­ing in pho­tog­ra­phy and how much post-processing is too much.

Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca podcast.

In this pod­cast we get into talk­ing about the dif­fer­ences between pho­tog­ra­phers and dig­i­tal artists in this chang­ing age where any­thing seems to go photography-wise. This dis­cus­sion pod­cast is inspired by a blog post by Dar­win where he asked How Far is too Far?  The post refers to Darwin’s pho­to­graph of an owl and a swal­low shot at the same time, but shot as two sep­a­rate files that were blended together in Pho­to­shop after capture.

What do you think, did Dar­win go too far?

Great Grey Owl and Tree Swallow on Fence - Composite image by Darwin Wiggett

Great Grey Owl and Tree Swal­low on Fence — Com­pos­ite image by Dar­win Wiggett

 

Butterfly and Flower - Composite image by Darwin Wiggett

But­ter­fly and Flower — Com­pos­ite image by Dar­win Wiggett

 

In-camera capture by Sam Chrysanthou using a long exposure and a flashlight. The results look surreal but the effect is in-camera not post production

In-camera cap­ture by Sam Chrysan­thou using a long expo­sure and a flash­light. The results look sur­real but the effect is in-camera, not post production

 

It goes with­out say­ing that both Dar­win and Sam DO post-process their images but they spend min­i­mal time doing so. They just released an e-book out­lin­ing the short­cuts they use to process their images and they rely mostly on Adobe Bridge and Pho­to­shop to do their edit­ing. The book is called 7 Quick & Dirty Pro­cess­ing Short­cuts for Lazy Pho­tog­ra­phers.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

How Far is too Far?
Should We Change the Word Pho­tog­ra­phy?
7 Quick & Dirty Pro­cess­ing Short­cuts for Lazy Photographers

If you liked this pod­cast and want to review it on Itunes, this link gets you to the main page

If you are inter­ested in writ­ing for our blog please con­tact me photography.ca ( A T ) G m ail Dot co m (using stan­dard email formatting)

Please join the Photography.ca fan page on Facebook

My Face­book pro­file — Feel free to “friend” me — please just men­tion Photography.ca
My Twit­ter page — I will fol­low you if you fol­low me — Let’s con­nect — PLEASE email me and tell me who you are in case I don’t rec­i­p­ro­cate because I think you are a spammer.

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :)  Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks as well to Terry Babij who posted com­ments directly on the blog.  Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes|Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shoot­ing! Happy New Year everyone!

124 — Luminosity Masks — Interview with Tony Kuyper

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #124 fea­tures an inter­view with Ari­zona fine art pho­tog­ra­pher Tony Kuyper. After years of exper­i­men­ta­tion Tony has devel­oped an inter­me­di­ate post pro­cess­ing tech­nique NOT based on the pix­els that make up the image but rather the bright­ness lev­els or tones that make up the image. One of the game chang­ing rea­sons to work in this way is the tonal con­trol and level of pre­ci­sion you can achieve with your selec­tions and the fact that these selec­tions are nat­u­rally per­fectly feath­ered.  This is accom­plished by cre­at­ing a lumi­nos­ity mask (in Gimp, Pho­to­shop Ele­ments or Pho­to­shop) and Tony describes how and why to do this in the podcast.

Although this is an inter­me­di­ate level pod­cast, newer pho­tog­ra­phers might want to lis­ten to get ideas for future study and post-processing play. Tony explains the con­cepts clearly!

Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca podcast.

Here are some of Tony’s images processed with and with­out lumi­nos­ity masks. You can see that the images processed with the masks ‘sing’ louder.

Brine Stones by Tony Kuyper - processed without luminosity masks

Brine Stones by Tony Kuyper — processed with­out lumi­nos­ity masks

 

Brine Stones by Tony Kuyper - processed with luminosity masks

Brine Stones by Tony Kuyper — processed with lumi­nos­ity masks

 

Elephant's Feet by Tony Kuyper processed without luminosity masks

Elephant’s Feet by Tony Kuyper processed with­out lumi­nos­ity masks

 

Elephant's Feet by Tony Kuyper processed with luminosity masks

Elephant’s Feet by Tony Kuyper processed with lumi­nos­ity masks

 

Navajo Bridge by Tony Kuyper processed without luminosity masks

Navajo Bridge by Tony Kuyper processed with­out lumi­nos­ity masks

 

Navajo Bridge by Tony Kuyper processed with luminosity masks

Navajo Bridge by Tony Kuyper processed with lumi­nos­ity masks

 

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

Lumi­nos­ity masks — Tuto­r­ial on Tony’s site
Tony’s tuto­ri­als page
GIMP lumi­nos­ity mask tuto­r­ial
Pho­tog­ra­phy assign­ment on our forum — Space
Level 2 pho­tog­ra­phy assign­ment on our forum — Dip­tychs
Illu­minight — Pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion by Marko Kulik

If you liked this pod­cast and want to review it on Itunes, this link gets you to the main page

If you are inter­ested in writ­ing for our blog please con­tact me photography.ca ( A T ) G m ail Dot co m (using stan­dard email formatting)

Please join the Photography.ca fan page on Facebook

My Face­book pro­file — Feel free to “friend” me — please just men­tion Photography.ca
My Twit­ter page — I will fol­low you if you fol­low me — Let’s con­nect — PLEASE email me and tell me who you are in case I don’t rec­i­p­ro­cate because I think you are a spammer.

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :)  Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks as well to Mike Bons, Lucy 72, Jimmy Brown, and Dar­nell B who posted com­ments directly on the blog.  Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes|Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

A Good Day by Michael Orton

Today was one of those days.  After 35 years of car­ry­ing a cam­era I con­sider myself for­tu­nate indeed to have expe­ri­enced some of these days, when every­thing seems to align, the weather, the light, the sea­son, the loca­tion, and let’s not for­get, the pho­tog­ra­pher. After all, with­out the act of mak­ing the deci­sion to set out, noth­ing will be cre­ated. While work­ing in the stock photo busi­ness my work­flow was quite dif­fer­ent from today . My goal was to cre­ate mar­ketable con­cept images and I would research loca­tions to shoot spe­cific images. I would have to place myself in the right loca­tion, at the right time with the best light which was not always easy. Remark­ably I did have some of ” those days ” back then, but not like the ones that have occurred since I became immersed in ICM (Inten­tional Cam­era Move­ment) these last years. I have an inti­mate knowl­edge of the land­scape within a close dis­tance from home and can almost visu­al­ize before set­ting out the like­li­hood of there being the type of sub­ject mat­ter that will feed my imag­i­na­tion. And of course the more I explore the more data I have to draw from. With ICM the required “raw mate­r­ial”, unlike mak­ing a con­ven­tional pho­to­graph, is not a spe­cific object or rec­og­niz­able scene, but rather the start­ing point, like a piece of clay , shape­less until forged and formed into shape. This is the essence of work­ing in this fash­ion. It has lit­tle to do with the actual tech­nique of mov­ing the cam­era and every­thing to do with how you can imag­ine and explore that which is the start­ing point, the raw material.

Today is a late fall day. Leaves had been falling for weeks, morn­ing mists were begin­ning to appear, skies were a patchy blue. If I’m lucky this time of year lasts a few weeks. I love work­ing when there are spaces in the trees and the branches con­trast with the inter­spersed leaves. I set out to walk the edge of a river not far away. There are a vari­ety of trees, bushes and growth, with logs, large and small stones lin­ing the shore­line. (And the salmon are run­ning ) I made many more than the four images shown, but these I selected because they were made stand­ing in almost the same spot.

 

"A Good Day" - Image 1 by Michael Orton

A Good Day” — Image 1 by Michael Orton

 

Image one is the light reflected off of the leaves of a small bush , which I ren­dered into hun­dreds of shards of light with a fast cam­era move­ment and short shut­ter speed. When viewed at full size this image has remark­able com­plex­ity and blend­ing . The bush was a short dis­tance to my left.

 

"A Good Day" - Image 2 by Michael Orton

A Good Day” — Image 2 by Michael Orton

 

Image two is sim­ply fallen leaves on a spread of medium sized round stones with the sand washed from between them. They are in the shade , and the blue comes from the reflected blue of the sky. The sky had some clouds which occa­sion­ally gave me over­cast light. - 1/2 sec­ond with what I refer to as medium cam­era move­ment speed , using a some­what oblique line and chang­ing focal length dur­ing expo­sure. When I move my cam­era most often I do not swivel from a fixed point but move it in a sim­i­lar fash­ion to a movie cam­era on a track. These stones and leaves where just to my right.

 

"A Good Day" - Image 3 by Michael Orton

A Good Day” — Image 3 by Michael Orton

 

Image three is look­ing across the river . You can see the sandy embank­ment ren­dered as a soft­ened wash while the trees and their reflec­tion remain some­what rec­og­niz­able. I used an extended oval motion at 2 sec­onds to retain the ver­ti­cal lines.

 

"A Good Day" - Image 4 by Michael Orton

A Good Day” — Image 4 by Michael Orton

 

Image four is, yes wait for it, a pho­to­graph, and was taken stand­ing in exactly the same spot as # 3 . Some­times you just take what you are given and make the best of it. I took the polar­izer and ND fil­ter off, kneeled down and scooped this image from the sur­face of the river.The intri­cate, jagged lines of the reflected trees and a hint blue from the sky were to good to pass up. Hand­held at 1/125.

So yes it was a good day. One that I wish every pho­tog­ra­pher could expe­ri­ence, because when you do, it will fuel your pas­sion . This is what keeps us looking.

The video ” A Walk In The Palm Grove ” on our web­site is another good exam­ple of what can be cre­ated at one location.

There is no sub­sti­tute for see­ing… Michael

The pre­ced­ing arti­cle is copy­righted and writ­ten by Cana­dian fine art land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher Michael Orton. You can see more of his work at michaelortonphotography.com

The Nikon 105 with Defocus Control is Dreamy

The Nikon 105 f2.0 DC lens is one of the most inter­est­ing lenses that I’ve ever tried. I just tested one from The Cam­era Store. This lens is super-solidly con­structed, mostly of metal, and feels great both in your hand and on the cam­era. It has a built in lens hood which I found con­ve­nient but the high­light of this lens is the defo­cus con­trol which brings its cool­ness fac­tor to eleven.  What’s cool about this DC (Defo­cus Con­trol) lens, is that you can defo­cus the fore­ground or the back­ground to accen­tu­ate the bokeh (zone of blurriness/creaminess/dreaminess) in the fore­ground or the back­ground. It takes a lit­tle bit of play and the results are sub­tle, but if you are into this type of sub­tlety and you are pre­pared to pay more than a grand, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed. This lens is in a class all by itself.

Nikon AF DC105mm f/2.0 D Lens

Nikon AF DC 105mm f/2.0 D Lens

 

Let me say imme­di­ately that this spe­cialty lens is not for every­one. It is made in my esti­ma­tion for por­trait, land­scape or fine art pho­tog­ra­phers that love to play with selec­tive focus and who want to be in supreme con­trol of their bokeh. If this last sen­tence was con­fus­ing then you are prob­a­bly not ready for this lens. But if you already love bokeh and want to play in the bokeh-olympics, this might be the finest tool available.

But Doesn’t Nikon Have Another 105mm Lens That Also Does Macro?

Yes they do and that lens is another fab­u­lous por­trait lens that does true macro. The Nikon AF-S 105 mm F2.8 Micro is a lens that I’ve owned for a num­ber of years and it’s about 300. cheaper than the DC lens. It’s razor sharp, has Vibra­tion Reduc­tion (VR) and does true 1:1 Macro. If you like to do por­traits as well as Macro work, get this lens instead.

But if you don’t do that much Macro and want a fab­u­lously unique tool that is great for por­traits and bokeh-play, the DC may be the bet­ter choice for an expe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­pher. The DC lens is also an f/2 lens. The f/2 is brighter in the viewfinder and always deliv­ers more bokeh than f/2.8 all things being equal.

In terms of head to head sharp­ness and aut­o­fo­cus speed, I found the aut­o­fo­cus a bit faster on the Micro (Macro — Nikon calls their Macro lenses Micro just to be spe­cial) lens and I found the sharp­ness to be a hint sharper. The 105 DC lens is also razor sharp (but has no VR) and has very fast  aut­o­fo­cus, but head to head with the 105 Micro, it loses by the small­est of mar­gins to my eye. Please be aware that I only tested this lens on 2 shoots in cold­ish Mon­treal weather which unfor­tu­nately lim­ited my play.

How does it work?

The instruc­tion leaflet that comes with the lens is near use­less. You’ll want to play with this sucker for a while. But basi­cally, to get good bokeh effects you need a large aper­ture so you’ll choose an aper­ture like f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4, or f/5.6. Once you set that aper­ture, you’ll focus on your sub­ject. Then you’ll decide if you want to defo­cus what’s in front of the sub­ject, what’s behind the sub­ject, or not defo­cus at all. The defo­cus­ing sim­ply soft­ens the back­ground or fore­ground more than it would be with other lenses. The effect is sub­tle and not every­one will even notice it espe­cially novice pho­tog­ra­phers. Per­son­ally though, I love this lens and I made a mis­take when I pur­chased the f/2.8 Macro lens. I don’t do that much macro and would have got­ten more use and joy from the bokeh play offered by this lens.

From L to R - Zero defocus, defocused foreground, defocused background - Click to enlarge

From L to R — Zero defo­cus, defo­cused fore­ground, defo­cused back­ground — Click to enlarge

 

The images above were shot against a giant Christ­mas tree. The mid­dle image makes the fore­ground lights around the neck have an inter­est­ing glow due to the defo­cused fore­ground, but the eyes lost sharp­ness. In gen­eral I found that defo­cus­ing the fore­ground looked weird most of the time. To my eye the nor­mal set­ting and the defo­cused back­ground set­tings are the best look­ing in this set and in gen­eral. The non defo­cused images looked superb actu­ally. But a lens like this is usu­ally bought for the abil­ity to defo­cus it.

Left image had no defocus. Middle Image had background defocused to f/4 but aperture was f/2.0. The image at right was shot with the 105 Macro lens at f/2.8 its widest aperture - Click to enlarge.

Left image had no defo­cus. Mid­dle Image had back­ground defo­cused to f/4 but aper­ture was f/2.0. The image at right was shot with the 105 Macro lens at f/2.8 its widest aper­ture — Click to enlarge.

 

The rea­son to get the Nikon 105mm DC lens is for the (De)focus play that it offers and nor­mally you’ll set the defo­cus to the same aper­ture you are shoot­ing on. But you don’t have to fol­low that rule and when you break it, it throws the back­ground or fore­ground into an even softer or dreamier state. In the set of images above, the left image shows beau­ti­ful f/2.0 bokeh with a very sharp head­stone and no defo­cus was used. The mid­dle image was shot at f/2.0 but the rear defo­cus was set to f/4 which thinned out the zone of sharp­ness in the fore­ground in this case and soft­ened the back­ground to an even dreamier state com­pared to the pre­vi­ous shot. For com­par­i­son pur­poses the shot at right was shot with the 105 Macro lens that has no defo­cus con­trol. It still shows excel­lent sharp­ness in the head­stone and lovely bokeh in the back­ground, but it is lim­ited to f/2.8 with­out defo­cus con­trol, and so it can’t be as dreamy as the DC 105mm.

 

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Mount Royal Ceme­tery in Mon­treal. Rear Defo­cus used on the Nikon 105mm DC — Click to enlarge

 

In sum­mary, if you are just start­ing out in pho­tog­ra­phy and you want an awe­some fast por­trait lens that also offers macro, the 105mm f/2.8 with VR is prob­a­bly a bet­ter choice for you and it’s 300 dol­lars cheaper.  If you just love bokeh and exper­i­men­ta­tion and are a more expe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­pher that rarely uses Macro, you might well want to try the Nikon 105mm f2.0 DC lens.  It’s a one of a kind lens that will retain and go up in value in the future due to its unique­ness. I plan on adding it to my arse­nal in the very near future.