Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Resistance is Futile

I’m like a kid in a candy store. No really, I’m JUST like a kid in a candy store. And I’m not even talking about chocolate which has been and will be my downfall and will definitely contribute to my demise, although I’ll enjoy every bite along the way.

No, I’m talking about taking pictures of the fall colours up here in the Haliburton Highlands. How can I NOT take pictures of the colours when they’re so spectacular? So forgive me for posting a bunch of postcard type pictures, I couldn’t help myself.

What’s different about these shots, compared with most of my previous work, is that there is virtually NO PHOTOSHOPPING done to these images. I may have cropped the odd one a little, but I didn’t push the colours, didn’t clone anything out (well I think there was one where I didn’t like the green bush in the lower corner so I did). No Hue/saturation layers, no meddling with curves. I will admit to a few adjustments in Camera Raw – for instance, I increased the saturation of the blue sky in a few images, but I never touched the leaves.

Anyway, enjoy the images. If you want to see them full-sized, go to my gallery, click on monthly photos and then on October 2008.



Did I tell you I LOVE my 12mm wideangle lens? I LOVE my 12mm wideangle lens. Sometimes I point it straight up…
Straight up! That's what a super wide angle lens is for!








This is the same image, but I did a little "perspective cropping" to straighten the trees, just like you would in an architectural shot. Boring, isn't it? I like the first one much better.


This is right behind my house. Two doors away. I always loved old barns, the texture of rotting wood.

Here's today's photo tip. Thanks to Bob Fowler for the idea (he presented a similar one at the camera club a while ago).

FacZen Photography Tips

Reset to Square 1

Right after I got my D300, I started having some problems. I experimented with all kinds of things (as well you should with a new camera – learn how it works!), and then I wanted to shoot some pictures and they came out lousy. Exposure was off, focus sucked, even the colour balance was off. I couldn’t understand why for a normal daylight shot the camera chose 1/8000 sec at f/8. Then it dawned on me.

I had played with the ISO setting and it was at 3200. Want to see colour noise? Try shooting at that kind of sensitivity level. I was demonstrating the Gary Fong Lightsphere to a fellow photographer, and the exposures were all off. Well not all, about 1 in 3 were OK. What was the problem? I had been trying out “bracketing” and I still had it on. Every time I pressed the shutter release, I got a different setting.

So here’s what to do. Make a mental (or even a written!) checklist and reset your camera to the defaults at the end of every shoot. ISO back to normal (for me that’s 200). Metering back to matrix mode. Autofocus set to “single exposure” (not continuous), focus mode back to weighted average or whatever it’s called in your camera. Bracketing off. Exposure compensation back to zero. White balance to Auto (for me). Shooting mode to aperture priority. VR on. Quality back to RAW. Put in a fresh battery and reformat the memory card.

ANY ONE OF THESE SETTINGS CAN SCREW UP YOUR NEXT SHOOT. Tell me you’ve never come back from a shoot and said, “damn, that didn’t work the way I thought it would”.

So reset all your camera controls to default as soon as you finish a shoot. That way you’ll know where you are when you have a chance for that magic picture.