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.

 

jjj

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.

Two Photo Accessories Reviewed

Hi photo lovers!

I’ve tried a cou­ple of photo acces­sories recently that I’d like to share with you because they make my life easier.

1 — The S&F deluxe tech­ni­cal belt by Lowe­pro.

Lowepro S&F deluxe technical belt

Lowe­pro S&F deluxe tech­ni­cal belt

My wife picked this up for me recently as a gift and I’m lov­ing it. As men­tioned in pre­vi­ous posts and pod­casts, I’m a big fan of lens pouches and I use them almost exclu­sively (ver­sus car­ry­ing a cam­era bag) on most per­sonal photo shoots. Usu­ally I have 3 lenses on me and 2 of them are car­ried in lens pouches. Until a few weeks ago I sim­ply clipped the pouches onto an actual belt that goes through my jeans. It works well enough but get­ting into the jean pock­ets is dif­fi­cult and my wife felt I looked all dishev­elled espe­cially if I needed to wear a jacket. She was right.

I have to say, the tech­ni­cal belt is WAY bet­ter than clip­ping the pouches to a reg­u­lar pants belt. It is so much more com­fort­able and you can see the solid back sup­port if offers, it’s a pure joy to wear. Espe­cially when going from shoot­ing to the car, the whole belt comes off in a flash with the pouches firmly secured onto them. If you do need to get into your pants pock­ets you just slide the belt around. In addi­tion, it looks and feels great when you have to wear a jacket. It might well be my favourite acces­sory of 2013. It can be pur­chased imme­di­ately at B&H in the USA or at the The Cam­era Store within about 1 week.

2 - Pho­toRe­pub­lik Twin Speedlite Holder — This acces­sory was loaned to me for review by our spon­sor The Cam­era Store and I find it to be an extremely well built acces­sory. Some of the com­mon gripes peo­ple have with flash hold­ing acces­sories are their over­all ‘dink­i­ness’  and that the actual point of con­tact between the flash and the hold­ing shoe is flimsy (read risky) and dif­fi­cult to con­trol. Good new or used flashes are at least 100–600 dol­lars, why would you want to attach it to a bracket with a flimsy flash shoe holder that looks like it costs less than a nickel. One care­less bump into the light stand can snag the bot­tom part of the flash right off.

This twin flash holder is crazy solid in all respects and oper­ates smoothly. The point of attach­ment to the flash as well as the whole unit (except the knobs which are still very solid) is made of steel and oper­ates very smoothly to attach to your flash. It feels safe and that will make you feel more secure about the setup. There’s place for an umbrella holder and it tilts from front to back for eas­ier angling of light. It’s a per­fect attach­ment for shoot­ing with an umbrella when when you need more punch than one flash can offer.

PhotoRepublik Twin Speedlite Holder

Pho­toRe­pub­lik Twin Speedlite Holder — Comes with a  threaded mount­ing screw (shown in between the 2 flash hold­ing units)

 

 

123 — Entry Level Camera Trigger Showdown — PocketWizard versus Cactus

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #123 com­pares 2 entry level trig­ger­ing devices for your cam­era. A ‘trig­ger’ is sim­ply a device that allows your cam­era to fire nearly any portable flash, mono­light or stu­dio flash while it is OFF-camera. The abil­ity to fire a flash or other light source while OFF-camera allows you to mod­ify the direc­tion and the qual­ity of the light(s) to pro­duce much more cre­ative and pro­fes­sional look­ing pho­tog­ra­phy ver­sus direct on-camera flash. The 2 units tested are the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X and the Cac­tus V5 Duo.

The PocketWizard Plus X transceiver (sold as a single unit) and the Cactus V5 Duo (2 transceivers)

The Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X trans­ceiver (sold as a sin­gle unit for $99.00) and the Cac­tus V5 Duo (2 trans­ceivers for $99.00 or sold indi­vid­i­ually at $59.00)

 

Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca pod­cast and for loan­ing me the test equip­ment for this week’s podcast!

Both these units do the identical job with identical (100%) reliability in both my indoor and outdoor tests.

Both these units do the iden­ti­cal job with iden­ti­cal (100%) reli­a­bil­ity in both my indoor and out­door tests. The top photo shows how the Cac­tus trans­ceiver attaches to both the cam­era and to an off-camera flash. The bot­tom photo shows how the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X trans­ceiver attaches to both the cam­era and to an off-camera flash. The main dif­fer­ence is that the Pock­etWiz­ard is miss­ing the extra hot shoe so it attaches to the off cam­era flash with (an included) sync-wire.

 

The build qual­ity of the Pock­etWiz­ard is slightly more robust than the Cac­tus V5 and its leg­endary reli­a­bil­ity (Pock­etWiz­ards have been around for decades) and the fact that they work with every other Pock­etWiz­ard ever made are its main advantages.

Where the Cactus V5 duo really shines is with the addition of the extra hot shoe on the unit. Both these units will do the identical job, but the cactus's design is more elegant and user friendly.

Where the Cac­tus V5 duo really shines is with the addi­tion of the extra hot shoe on the unit. Here the flash will act as an on axis-fill flash to fill in shad­ows cre­ated by another light, and it fits snugly into the hot shoe on top of the Cac­tus V5. At left is the Pock­etWiz­ard attempt­ing the same task but because it has no extra hot shoe it must be attached to the camera’s flash via an included sync-wire

 

Both these units will do the iden­ti­cal job, but the Cactus’s design (at right) is more ele­gant, eas­ier to attach and the Cac­tus V5 Duo is half the price of the Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X. Unfor­tu­nately the Cac­tus V5 will NOT work with Pock­etWiz­ards or even dif­fer­ent Cac­tus models.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Pock­etWiz­ard Plus X at The Cam­era Store
The Cac­tus V5 Duo at The Cam­era Store
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 Enrique Waizel, Bernard Dal­laire, Jason, Dar­nell B and Royce How­land 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 below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

122 — How Big Can I print that Photo — Interview with Royce Howland

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #122 fea­tures an inter­view with Royce How­land where we dis­cuss how large we can print our pho­tos. These days cam­eras of all kinds are every­where and if we want to make big enlarge­ments from those cam­eras we need to know how big we can print the image before it starts to look bad. Royce offers up tips on how to make ‘the best enlarge­ment’, ‘a bet­ter enlarge­ment’ or ‘a good enlarge­ment’ based on the cam­era, the print­ing mate­r­ial, the sub­ject mat­ter and some other factors.

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

To recap the math in this pod­cast the best images get 300 pix­els per inch. 200 pix­els per inch gets you bet­ter enlarge­ments and 100 pix­els per inch yields good results. To get an idea of the pos­si­ble enlarge­ment range, we divide the image pix­els of our cam­era by the PPI to get inches of print size.

Our the­o­ret­i­cal 6 megapixel cam­era pro­duced images of 3000 x 2000 pix­els. So a good enlarge­ment could be 30 x 20 inches, bet­ter could be 15 x 10 inches, and best 6.7 x 10 inches.

If we look at a 12 megapixel image (from a Canon 5D for exam­ple) the pix­els are 4000 x 2666.  So a good enlarge­ment could be 40 x 26.7 inches, bet­ter could be 20 x 13.3 inches, and best 13.3 x 8.9 inches.

If we look at a 24 megapixel cam­era the pix­els are 6000 x 4000 so we could have a good enlarge­ment of 60 x 40 inches, bet­ter one of 30 x 20 inches and best one of 20 x 13.3 inches.

7.5 megapixel camera phone shot by Royce Howland. This image could easily be printed 20 inches high.

7.5 megapixel cam­era phone shot by Royce How­land. This image could eas­ily be printed 20 inches high.

 

37 megapixel medium format image by Royce Howland. This image could easily be printed 45 inches high.

37 megapixel medium for­mat cam­era image by Royce How­land. This image could eas­ily be printed 45 inches high.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Dig­i­tal Neg­a­tive by Jeff Schewe
Per­fect Resize
Qim­age Ulti­mate
Sep­tem­ber reg­u­lar assign­ment — Shoot from a high per­spec­tive
Sep­tem­ber level 2 assign­ment — Shoot into the light
Illu­mi­nite — 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 every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

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 below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

121 — Make Better Self Portraits

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #121 offers up 6 tips on how to make bet­ter self por­traits in pho­tog­ra­phy. Mak­ing a self por­trait, some­times known as an auto­por­trait has a long his­tory in pho­tog­ra­phy and many past and mod­ern pho­tog­ra­phy Mas­ters (Man Ray, Robert Map­plethorpe and the extremely pro­lific self por­traitist Cindy Sher­man for exam­ple) have pro­duced fab­u­lous self por­traits. Please know in advance that we are not refer­ring to ‘selfies’…which I rant on about for a lit­tle bit in this pod­cast. We are refer­ring to self-portraits which require delib­er­ate fram­ing and think­ing about the light, envi­ron­ment etc.

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

Angst - Self portrait by Marko Kulik - 2000

Angst — Self por­trait by Marko Kulik — 2000

 

Self Portrait as a Parisian by Marko and Carmy - 2009

Self Por­trait as a Parisian by Marko and Carmy — 2009

 

Self Portrait as a Dock Worker by Marko and Carmy - 2013

Self Por­trait as a Dock Worker by Marko and Carmy — 2013

 

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Sty­ro­foam heads on Google (helps with focus­ing the cam­era)
Cindy Sherman’a 2012 exhi­bi­tion at MoMA

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 to Royce How­land, Ken Wolter and Alvin who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

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 below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

120 — How to Create Interesting Stories Through Your Photography

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #120 pro­vides tips on how to cre­ate, craft and tell more inter­est­ing sto­ries through pho­tog­ra­phy.  Some of the aspects we talk about include being active with fram­ing, hunt­ing down the ges­tures and watch­ing the edges.

I’m super-pleased to wel­come  The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  as a spon­sor of The Photography.ca pod­cast! I’ve been buy­ing my own gear there and rec­om­mend­ing them for a few years now, and I’m a fussy bug­ger when it comes to both gear and rec­om­men­da­tions. Their cus­tomer ser­vice is sim­ply awe­some and I often find that they have the best prices in Canada. They ship all over Canada.

 

Both these images were taken within the same minute. The bottom image however, tells a stronger story due to the dramatic gesture of the axe in the air.

Both these images were taken within the same minute. The bot­tom image how­ever, tells a stronger story due to the dra­matic ges­ture of the axe in the air, the smoke com­ing from the side of the roof and the fire­man on the right of the roof that’s fac­ing the cam­era. The top image isn’t bad, but it eas­ily loses in a poker match when it goes head to head with the bot­tom image.

 

Meeting - I waited in my window and actively composed this scene last winter. There is a strong suggestion of story here because the person in the background appears to be waiting for the foreground woman. I clicked the shutter only when I felt the timing was right compositionally.

Winter’s Meet­ing — I waited in a win­dow and actively com­posed this scene last win­ter. There is a strong sug­ges­tion of story here because the per­son in the back­ground appears to be wait­ing for the fore­ground woman. I clicked the shut­ter only when I felt the tim­ing was right compositionally.

 

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Long expo­sure images — Photography.ca forum’s reg­u­lar assign­ment — July 2013
Macro pho­tog­ra­phy — Photography.ca forum’s level 2 assign­ment — June 2013
Lay­er­ing images with inter­est­ing ele­ments — Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #102
Shoot in any light - Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #100

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 to Ben W who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

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 below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

Restrictions on Aperture — I Felt Restricted

Ten days or so ago I posted on Face­book that it was going to be an f/2.8 day (using large aper­tures) and a strange thing hap­pened —  it was quite unex­pected actu­ally. What hap­pened was that I found myself hand­cuffed — unable to shoot. This seemed strange to me because I’ve put restric­tions on myself for fun a few times in the past but never an aper­ture restric­tion. In the past it was shoot­ing with a spe­cific focal length or delib­er­ately using an extra-high ISO or shoot­ing with a spe­cific theme in mind.

But this aper­ture restric­tion was dif­fer­ent for me and in ret­ro­spect I can see why. It depends on what play­ground you hang out in. If you are mainly a por­trait per­son, you shoot cre­ative por­traits wide open; that’s cool and fun…but it’s eas­ier because there is already some guid­ance with regard to sub­ject mat­ter. But when you go out ‘just to shoot’ and you’ll shoot just about any­thing that’s visu­ally inter­est­ing, then it gets harder.

For some crazy rea­son I found myself search­ing for scenes that I felt were wor­thy of what f/2.8 can do bokeh wise. I was plac­ing this sin­gle aspect of the lens above all else and it was taint­ing my expe­ri­ence of look­ing for scenes to shoot. It was slow­ing me down and suck­ing from the joy of pho­tog­ra­phy for pure pleasure.

So for this rea­son — I didn’t like this par­tic­u­lar aper­ture restric­tion exer­cise even though I DO like the con­cept of restric­tion exer­cises in gen­eral. Maybe it’s also because I feel like I should have been able to over­come the restric­tion more eas­ily. Truth is, I really didn’t feel like I had any­thing of value on day 1. Then life gets busy and so I took a few days and waited more patiently for scenes where a large aper­ture seemed more appro­pri­ate. Here are a few that I liked. These were all taken near f/2.8 (I say near because I used a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent lenses whose largest aper­tures were near f/2.8).

Vorsky - ISO 200 f/1.8 1/100

Vorsky — ISO 200, f/1.8, 1/100

Beer Kitteh - ISO 3200 f/2.5 1/80

Belle Gueule — Beer Kit­teh — ISO 3200, f/2.5, 1/80

Not Recommended - ISO 200 f/2.8 0.3

Not Rec­om­mended — ISO 200, f/2.8, 0.3

Light Trip - Palais Des Congres - Montreal - ISO 200 f/1.8 1/2500

Light Trip — Palais Des Con­gres — Mon­treal — ISO 200, f/1.8, 1/2500

Past Reflections - ISO 200 F/1.8 1/200

Past Reflec­tions — ISO 200, F/1.8, 1/200

117 — Noise Halos and Chromatic Aberration — Interview with Royce Howland

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #117 fea­tures an inter­view with fine art pho­tog­ra­pher Royce How­land where we dis­cuss the ‘junk’ that can get into our pho­tographs. In par­tic­u­lar we dis­cuss and dis­sect noise, halos and chro­matic aber­ra­tion in pho­tog­ra­phy. We talk about how to avoid get­ting these prob­lems, how to fix these prob­lems and how for some pho­tog­ra­phers — these aren’t prob­lems at all but rather, delib­er­ate cre­ative choices.

Royce does an AWESOME job of explain­ing these prob­lems so that they are under­stand­able to anyone. 

This is the longest pod­cast I’ve pub­lished to date and it clocks in at around 70 min­utes. We spend roughly 20 min­utes on each of the 3 top­ics. We cover halos first, then noise, then chro­matic aber­ra­tion. Each of the 3  issues have very dif­fer­ent causes and solutions.

Scroll to the BOTTOM of this post to find the player to imme­di­ately lis­ten to the audio podcast.

On the Rocks, Moraine Lake by Royce Howland

On the Rocks, Moraine Lake by Royce How­land — An HDR exam­ple where Royce con­trolled the set­tings to make sure no halos appeared in the sky or water.

Fall at Abraham Lake by Royce Howland

Fall at Abra­ham Lake by Royce How­land — Another HDR exam­ple where Royce left the halo­ing in the sky, and in fact accen­tu­ated it a bit more via a Pho­to­shop Curves adjust­ment, to give a sense of glow over the moun­tains. So some­times halos are not a flaw, they’re a cre­ative choice.

Looming, Abraham Lake by Royce Howland

Loom­ing, Abra­ham Lake by Royce How­land — An HDR exam­ple involv­ing a high con­trast back­lit scene. The trees were deeply shad­owed. Even on a Pen­tax 645D medium for­mat cam­era, there’s noise in those trees in a nor­mal sin­gle expo­sure. Bot­tom left — A 100% crop of a sin­gle expo­sure that went into the image above show­ing the level of noise in the trees. Bot­tom right — A 100% crop of the final image. Using a com­bi­na­tion of HDR tech­nique and a touch of addi­tional noise reduc­tion, I was able to sub­tly boost the con­trast in the deep shad­ows, pre­serve all of the gen­uine detail, and also vir­tu­ally elim­i­nate the dig­i­tal noise. With­out HDR tech­nique, just using a noise reduc­tion fil­ter can take the dig­i­tal noise down but gen­er­ally also will sac­ri­fice legit­i­mate detail as well.

Ghost Of Server Present, Jerome by Royce Howland

Ghost Of Server Present, Jerome by Royce How­land — An indoor shot taken with avail­able light in some­what dim con­di­tions at a sup­pos­edly haunted hotel. I’m using a bunch of cre­ative tech­niques here includ­ing shal­low depth of field, a reflec­tion in a mir­ror, sub­ject motion blur and extra dig­i­tal blur­ring. Despite the soft­en­ing effects of all the tech­niques used in this image, I also wanted a bit of tex­ture and bit of “vin­tage film grain” feel. So far from remov­ing all dig­i­tal noise, I actu­ally con­trolled it and then added a uni­form mono­chro­matic grain layer on top of every­thing in Pho­to­shop. In print up to 16x20 size it’s dif­fi­cult to see this grain, but on a nice matte paper it gives a slight feel­ing of tex­ture; whereas run­ning noise reduc­tion as I would nor­mally do in fact makes the results look­ing flat and plas­tic. You can see the noise detail added in the bot­tom detailed part of the image.

Chromatic aberration example at f/3.5 by Royce Howland

Chro­matic aber­ra­tion exam­ple at f/3.5 by Royce How­land — It was a bit after noon so the sun was high, and I shot straight into the light. The tree branches against a darker back­ground show extremely high con­trast edges. I was using a Sony RX100 pocket cam­era, which is a very high qual­ity point & shoot with a Carl Zeiss lens. So a qual­ity piece of kit for a com­pact. The first com­po­si­tion was at medium lens zoom and the aper­ture wide open — f/3.5. Bot­tom left — A 100% crop of the shot shows a lot of green and pur­ple fringes are vis­i­ble along the branch edges. Even towards the cen­ter of the lens, the chro­matic aber­ra­tion is pretty bad. This is a file con­verted from RAW using the lat­est Adobe Cam­era Raw in Pho­to­shop CS6, no chro­matic aber­ra­tion removal. Bot­tom right — Now here’s the iden­ti­cal file, but using the green and pur­ple fringe removal set­tings dur­ing RAW con­ver­sion. Quite strong set­tings were needed for the green fringes, not so strong for pur­ple. Mostly the fringes were removed.

Chromatic aberration example at f/5.6 by Royce Howland

Chro­matic aber­ra­tion exam­ple at f/5.6 by Royce How­land — Now here is the same com­po­si­tion pho­tographed again moments later in the same strong light, but stop­ping the lens down to f/5.6. Bot­tom left — Stop­ping the lens down just over 1 stop has actu­ally got­ten rid of many of the pur­ple & green fringes with­out doing any­thing else. That’s because a slightly smaller aper­ture lets through less of the mis­aligned light rays that con­tribute to the chro­matic aber­ra­tion in the first place. This is a RAW file con­verted again with no chro­matic aber­ra­tion set­tings. Bot­tom right — And here’s the same file con­verted with a small amount of pur­ple and green defringe set­tings, much less than needed in the first exam­ple and the results look better.

 

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Royce How­land Pho­tog­ra­phy
Photo real­is­tic HDR pod­cast with Royce How­land
Wikipedia Chro­matic Aber­ra­tion
DXO Optics
Topaz Denoise
Nik DFINE 2
Noise Ninja
PTLens
Emily Carr Images - She delib­er­ately painted in what we today call Halos. Shore­line, 1936 is an exam­ple.

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)

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If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
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Thanks to Jared Fein and Enrique Waizel who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

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 with Google Reader|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 below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

116 — Sharpness on Steroids — Focus stacking interview with Michael Breitung

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #116 fea­tures an inter­view with Ger­man land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher Michael Bre­itung where we talk about why and how to do focus stack­ing in pho­tog­ra­phy. Basi­cally focus stack­ing involves tak­ing mul­ti­ple frames of the same scene but each frame is focused at a dif­fer­ent part of the image. Then these frames are blended together using a graph­ics pro­gram like Gimp (free) or Pho­to­shop (expen­sive). The result is sharp­ness and depth of field on steroids that can’t be matched by any cam­era lens com­bi­na­tion on a 35mm DSLR cam­era at the time of this writ­ing.  Only tilt shift lenses can com­pete in this extreme sharp­ness arena, but those lenses require many saved dol­lars or a rich uncle. This tech­nique is free if you have the skills and a graph­ics program.

Scroll to the BOTTOM of this post to find the player to imme­di­ately lis­ten to the audio podcast.

Bloody Causeway - a focus stacked image by Michael Breitung

Bloody Cause­way by Michael Bre­itung — This focus stacked image blends 4 frames into one. Each frame was focused at a dif­fer­ent point and then blended in Pho­to­shop. Check out the sharp­ness from the clos­est cor­ners all the way to the end of the cause­way. This is sharp­ness swim­ming in awe­some sauce. The aper­ture used here was f/9.5

 

Kraichgau at Dawn - Focus stacked photograph by Michael Breitung

Kraich­gau at Dawn — Focus stacked pho­to­graph by Michael Breitung

 

Kraichgau at Dawn - Close up comparison by Michael Breitung

Kraich­gau at Dawn Details — Close up com­par­i­son by Michael Bre­itung — Only 2 frames were needed to cre­ate the final full-sized image above this one. One frame (left) focused at the fore­ground cor­ners, gets the cor­ners sharp in the final image. The other frame (right) focused at the midground, gets both the midground and the back­ground sharp. Then the frames are blended in Pho­to­shop to pro­duce the final image. The aper­ture used here was f/11.

 

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Michael Bre­itung Pho­tog­ra­phy
Michael Breitung’s (advanced) start to fin­ish tuto­r­ial on his (Lightroom/Photoshop) post-processing work­flow and how he cre­ated the Bloody Cause­way image.
Heli­con Focus image stack­ing soft­ware
Zerene Stacker
Tilt shift lenses in land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy
March 2013 reg­u­lar Assign­ment — Wet or Rain
March 2013 level 2 Assign­ment — Dra­matic angles

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)

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

Thanks to D. Lavoie who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

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 with Google Reader|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 below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

Photoshop file exposure and exif data

When we are work­ing on our images in pro­grams like Pho­to­shop, some­times we for­get the expo­sure infor­ma­tion in the orig­i­nal file. We can also for­get many other use­ful bits of infor­ma­tion that are embed­ded in the file like did the flash fire, what focal length was used etc.

In Light­room and Bridge (comes free with Pho­to­shop) this Exif data is easy to find, the default pro­gram set­tings reveal this infor­ma­tion clearly.  Not so in Pho­to­shop where it is buried under the file menu (in Windows).

File — File info.… reveals the Exif data for any image you are work­ing on in Pho­to­shop. Click on the Cam­era Data tab to see the expo­sure information.

The key­board short cut (Win­dows) ALT + SHIFT + CTRL +I does the same thing.
The key­board short cut (Mac) OPTION + SHIFT + COMMAND +I does the same thing.

How to find exposure or exif data in Photoshop

How to find expo­sure or exif data in Pho­to­shop (This is a CS6 win­dows screenshot)

 

How to find exposure or exif data in Photoshop (This is a CS5 Mac screenshot)

How to find expo­sure or exif data in Pho­to­shop (This is a CS5 Mac screenshot)

115 — Color spaces — monitor settings — recommended hardware — Interview with Joe Brady

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #115 fea­tures an inter­view with Colour expert Joe Brady who works for Mac­group US.
Joe knows pretty much every­thing there is to know about get­ting accu­rate colour from your mon­i­tor and your printer. Joe has recorded 2 pod­casts with us already about mon­i­tor cal­i­bra­tion and those links are listed below in the shownotes. In this pod­cast, we tackle some colour con­cepts that are a source of con­fu­sion for many peo­ple. We talk about mon­i­tor set­tings like colour tem­per­a­ture, gamma, and lumi­nance. Then we tackle the sRGB, Adobe RGB and Prophoto RGB colour spaces and explain what they are, the advan­tages of each and when and where they are most use­ful. Finally, Joe rec­om­mends some cal­i­bra­tion tools, mon­i­tors and printers.

Scroll to the BOTTOM of this post to find the player to imme­di­ately lis­ten to the audio podcast.

Color spaces in photography

This image shows off the 3 main color spaces. You’ll note that the ProPhoto RGB color space con­tains the most col­ors. This makes it the best color space for print­ing your own images on a qual­ity printer. When post­ing to the web, the colour space should be sRGB as that is the type of mon­i­tor that most peo­ple have.

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Pod­cast 62 – Mon­i­tor – printer cal­i­bra­tion – Inter­view with Joe Brady
Pod­cast 63 – Review of the Col­or­munki and the i1XTreme
Joe Brady Pho­tog­ra­phy
X-Rite Col­or­Munki Photo Color Man­age­ment Solu­tion at B&H
X-Rite Col­or­Munki Dis­play at B&H
Eizo FlexS­can SX2262W at B&H
Eizo Col­orEdge CG223W 22 at B&H

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 to Mikey88  who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

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 with Google Reader|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 below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

114 — 360 degree light painting — Interview with Patrick Rochon

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #114 fea­tures an inter­view with light painter Patrick Rochon who dis­cusses his new exper­i­men­tal 360 degree light paint­ing tech­nique. In a nut­shell, Patrick light paints a model who stands in the mid­dle of a ring as 24 DSLR cam­eras around the ring expose the scene at the same time. The frames are then strung together with soft­ware to give the illu­sion of cir­cu­lar move­ment. Patrick and I talk about his new work, his older work, and we talk about Patrick’s light paint­ing process as well.

Scroll to the BOTTOM of this post to find the player to imme­di­ately lis­ten to the audio podcast.


360 Degree light paint­ing by Patrick Rochon

This is a Gif ani­ma­tion that Patrick cre­ated from one of the 360 degree light paint­ing sessions

light painting by Patrick Rochon - animated Gif

Light paint­ing by Patrick Rochon — Ani­mated Gif

 

This is the ‘ring’ where Patrick lit the mod­els:
light painting by Patrick Rochon

While I was at Patrick’s place record­ing this inter­view, I noticed a gallery of new light painted (non 360) pho­tographs on his wall that were gor­geous. This image below was one that I really liked — Thx for send­ing it Patrick!

light painting by Patrick Rochon
Light paint­ing by Patrick Rochon ©Patrick Rochon

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:

patrickrochon.com
24x360.comTime­code LabEric Paré
Pod­cast #82 — Light paint­ing por­traits
LPWA – Light Paint­ing World Alliance
Light paint­ing pho­tog­ra­phy
Ani­mated gif pho­tog­ra­phy (AKA Cin­ema­graphs)
Aurora Crow­ley Light Painter 
Begin­nings — New —  is our reg­u­lar forum assign­ment for Jan­u­ary
– Light paint­ing — light draw­ing is our level 2 forum assign­ment for Jan­u­ary 
Photo tours of Montreal

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 to Photo Stu­dios  who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

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 with Google Reader|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 below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!