Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fuji X-F1 / HDR / Northwest Arkansas Mall / Razorback store / wide angle

The X-F1 is currently my favorite pocketable camera. Small, lightweight, great build quality, quality photographic experience, decent sized sensor and well, a bit of fun to use. Undoubtedly the RX100 takes a cleaner, better picture because its sensor is larger and better but the Fuji, in its on right, is a quality photographic tool and at this point in its career, is a monetary bargain. The above is two sets of  3 +/- 1 stop auto exposure bracketed photographs, hdr merged in PS5 and then the two hdr merged shots were side by side merged, then cropped.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Today's winter sky compared with last summer's / Samsung NX-10 / Fisheye

Got up this morning knowing it was going to be cold, with a front moving in. Ground is brown, a lot of trees are brown and well, the sky is gray (sounds like California dreaming, doesn't it?). The sky is endlessly changing. If I had to choose one thing to shoot that would always be both unique and fascinating, it would be the sky. So here are two contrasting shots from the same camera and lens but divided by six months. Both are fish eye, hdr. Winter, I wrung all the grunge out of it I could. The clouds were almost overwhelming anyway. Summer is minimally processed. You can't improve natural magic. The first is today, in Northwest Arkansas and the second is Nassau, in the Bahamas, just outside the cruise harbor in July. If you look hard, you can see other cruise ships docked in the harbor and off to the left you can make out the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island (along with a touch of lens flare - the Samyang lens is really well coated and has a built-in lens shade but it is also sticks out like a glass baseball). Both shots convey the proper feeling of winter and summer (IMO), although it's probably endless summer in Nassau (sigh).

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Panasonic LX3 / ultra wide / Black and White

Panasonic LX2

I bought this camera recently, quite used, at a great price because its sensor is natively 16:9 and it is an LX camera. The LX1 was a camera I purchased years ago as a pretense to being a serious photographer and later I got a used LX3 and was amazed at how good a camera the LX3 is. Classically good. I still have the LX3 but is is natively 4:3 (and crops for 16:9). I wasn't sure if the reportedly 21mm ultra wide lens/sensor combination was really any wider or better than the LX3. It likely isn't much different but I am getting a kick out of shooting it. Here are some pics I took today at 16:9 and because nothing seems wide enough I took side by sides and merged them. I took RAW but the jpgs were fine and I added some drama using Topaz.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Samsung NX10 / Fisheye / HDR / University of Arkansas Fine Arts / Native Furniture

A bit of a crop of top and bottom of the fish-eye capture.

Samsung NX10 / HDR / University of Arkansas / Old Main

It takes a bit more space but I often shoot (depending on the circumstances) a bracketed set of three shots when I'm out and about. I may not process the hdr possibility right away (if ever) but later, in retrospect, I can add some pop to a fairly pedestrian shot and have some fun. Here is a a group of three that was combined in hdr pro in PS5 and then given a bit more pop, again, just using hdr adjustments that Photoshop has natively.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Fuse / 8MP camera / phone

I'm cheap. When I worked, an iPhone was provided for me. It was a decent phone and I had a data plan and I was tethered to my employer, which was part of the point of providing me a phone. I retired last year. I surrendered my company phone and I purchased a used iPhone 3g, similar to my work phone but outdated by the time I bought it. I got it unlocked and installed a Red Pocket sim. I pay 19.99 a month, pay as you go, for voice and text, no data. If I need data, I find a hot spot. I used/use the built in camera for quick shots of things I needed to remember. It wasn't horrible but it was not very good. It served as a documenting device. My wife then had me get a 3gs for her and I noticed her camera was better than mine, which made me envious. So last month I got a cheap, used android phone with an 8MP camera. It's not bad. It can't really compare with a real contemporary camera, if you pixel peek, but it is very much better than the original iphone cameras. Newer iphone cameras have much better cameras too, of course and I understand a bit sharper than this android camera. In any case, here are some shots I took when I didn't have a dedicated camera with me and used the phone. I also took an initial selfie to see how it performed and was underwhelmed. One of these was sharpened in PS to see the sky striations better (the reason I took it), another is a merge of two side by side and the selfie is cropped.

Moochie never complains about having his picture taken.

The horizontal striations were interesting.

A little bit like character sky writing by the wind. cool.

Worst selfie in a long time but hey, it's a phone.

This is Arkansas, after all.

Sony RX1 (3 shots merged) / old large format, high contrast Black & White style

High winds aloft, brushing, blowing & playing a melody. Clouds dance to the tune.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Panasonic GF1 / 20mm f1.7 / prime pancake

I sold this lens a couple years ago to fund another purchase. In retrospect I wish I hadn't. Lens prices stabilize where camera prices gradually decline to salvage value. Lenses never decline to salvage, at least not good ones. Here are a couple of shots I reviewed today that I didn't much appreciate at the time that I now re-value. Good lens.

Add caption
I reduced the final shot to monochrome to clarify the lighting. It was a tough, indoor shot and the fast lens just ate it up. Ooooh I want another one of these.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Canon G1X / Fall Colors

Took this last fall. Three shots merged in HDR pro in PS5 and tweaked a bit in Topaz.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pentax Q / 01 Standard Prime / Winter fence line / B&W

Since I've gotten a Q back, I've tried to slip it into a coat pocket on my walks and take a shot here and there. I now set it on auto HDR and let the camera do the work. The output shows more pop than standard and well, it's easy. I reviewed the three shots I took a couple minutes ago and found again, that in winter, reducing photographs to monochrome provides me with the image I favor. I will include the original immediately following the finalized photograph I processed. You will see some cropping, sharpening, highlighting and color reduction.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sigma DP2 / Sun stars / winter field BW

Winter replaces spring, summer and fall colors with browns. Lots of browns. Light tan, wheat fawn, dark tree trunk ocher and so on. Of course the sky is still blue, so that's good, at least if you're not too close to a pole and the sun doesn't show. Sometimes I respond by converting to grayscale, instead of brownscale. A kind of defensive mechanisim.

I cropped the sky a bit. Shot raw & developed in Sigma Photo Pro. Reduced to B&W & tweaked in PS6.

I knew the DP2's blades made for nice sun stars when stopped all the way down to nearly closed and aimed at a bright light. I guess I've read about the sensor's reaction to direct sunlight but if you haven't, well, here it is.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dusk / Pentax Q / 01 Prime

Purchased a third Q from ebay after having sold the first two. I much prefer the prime lens. In an earlier post I pointed out the Q can do auto HDR shots, which, of course it can. I then said it isn't capable of exposure bracketing but I was completely incorrect. It's not in the main menu but it is in the camera's drive menu, which is accessible by pressing the right arrow key, which shows a clock symbol. You can auto bracket three shots at up to three stops plus and minus, in one-third stop increments. The newest Q arrived today and I updated it to firmware 1.13, available from Pentax's website. Below is a normal shot, followed by a bracketed shot, merged in HDR pro and tweaked in PS6. Not extraordinary but a promise of things to come.



Friday, January 10, 2014

Cold creek / Sigma DP2

Two RAW shots, merged then developed in Sigma Photo Pro and sharpened in Topaz. The original DPs, the 1 and 2, prior to the S and X models and prior to the Merrill models are cameras with frustrating potential. They are clunky and slow but the Foveon sensor and super sharp lenses can produce stunning results IF you are willing to fool with it. Out of camera is meh. I use them like film cameras where I expect to develop the product to derive anything of value.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sony RX1 / Sunrise / RAW / JPG / PS5 adjustments

Out of Camera JPG
The RX1 raw files have tremendous potential for selective exposure/white balance/contrast adjustment. It's almost like taking three bracketed shots. Outstanding.

RAW file / darkened areas brought up in PS5

RAW file w/ added HDR toning adjustments in PS5
HDR file reduced to mono