Category Archives: Tokina 11-16/2.8

1896 – No Way Pedro

As I mentioned in the last post, you can’t expect to use the Olympus PEN and one of these manual focus lenses to make images of your children or pets.

But then, today I was lucky. Here are two images of our cat Tonto. In all the years of Tontography I did not manage to record a yawn like this. Tokina 11-16/2.8.

The Image of the Day was taken a while later (Yikes, I see from the timestamp that the Olympus is still on daylight saving time!!), shortly before sundown (rather before our gloomy daylight vanished).

It’s already been taken with the Olympus 17/2.8. As I write this, I am back in Vienna and I have not taken the 11-16/2.8 with me. I had planned to use it for the whole week, but after my experiences of the weekend, I’ll use the autofocus pancake prime again. You see, I’m still wondering what this camera means to me 😀

The Song of the Day is “No Way Pedro” by Van Morrison and Linda Gail Lewis, taken from their 2000 album “You Win Again”. Hear it on YouTube.

1882 – Searching V

The Tokina 11-16/2.8? Easily one of my most under-utilized lenses. It’s fine for interiors and low light, especially when you neither want to go ultra-wide (ultra like in Sigma 8-16) nor need a big zoom range. DxO supports it.

This is a DxO conversion again. By accident I had used f4 and wasted a perfectly good stop, thus the image is at ISO 900 and more noisy than would have been necessary. I like DxO’s trademark fine noise though.

The Song of the Day is “Search For Life” from Ornette Coleman’s 1995 album “Tone Dialing”. Ornette Coleman. Not everybody’s taste for sure, but definitely mine 😀

Hear it on YouTube.

1317 – We Came Along This Road

It is sunday morning and this image is from Saturday afternoon. The day began mostly cloudy, but in the afternoon the clouds dispersed and we took a short trip to a nearby valley and then a detour along a mountain ridge. This is on the road winding up.

Contrasts seemed so harsh, that I took a bracketed burst of five images, but foliage of that amount is obviously the point where HDR programs can’t handle variation any more. Both Photomatix Pro and HDR Essentials failed miserably, and so I took two exposures, one underexposed, one overexposed, into Photoshop, let it align them, put the darker to the bottom and blended the lighter one into the shadows. Look at the image: the shadows are mostly static. Things that don’t move, or at least unnoticably so at that focal length. We are at 11 mm after all.

It worked immaculately. Even at 100% I can see no obvious ghosting. I fully expected it, but no. Of course the two exposures that I used are only two apart in the burst, but then, when leaves move, they move extremely fast.

Anyway. The Tokina 11-16/2.8 is definitely prone to ghosts when you shoot directly into the sun, but it really depends on the exact position of the sun in the frame. Here I had no problem at all.

The Song of the Day is “We Came Along This Road” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. It’s on their 2001 album “No More Shall We Part”. YouTube has at least a live version.

1308 – Down The Road

In little more than an hour I have to leave for the train. It’s Friday, yesterday was a public holiday in Austria (well, Catholicism is not ONLY about old men and young boys, you know) and I used the time to get a little outside of town. Here’s one of the few usable images. Processing went along a little of its own, and when I saw what I got out of Photoshop while experimenting, I liked and kept it.

The Song of the Day is “Down The Road” from Marcia Ball’s 2005 album “Live! Down The Road”. Finally we begin to see more of her on YouTube. Here is the song, audio could be less muffled and there is indeed a version with better video and clear sound available, only it is not the same song 🙂

1291 – Shoplifters Of The World Unite

If you need something, without a doubt a shopping mall is a good place to go. Interestingly enough this holds true for Images of the Day 🙂

When I arrived in Vienna I was in a hurry, and besides, the weather was real bad, which was a letdown after sunny Carinthia. It even drizzled slightly and I thought, well, the ultra-wide was perfect on Saturday in that shopping mall in Carinthia, why not try to pull the same stunt here?

So I went there for shopping, in the hope to come back with food and a nice B&W image, but this time color won, and that’s just another good point for not discarding color early.

The Song of the Day is “Shoplifters Of The World Unite“, originally from the 1987 Smiths album “The World Won’t Listen”, but as that’s not available for digital download in the US, I have also linked to “The Sound Of The Smiths”, a collection of 45 songs including 15 out of 18 of “The World Won’t Listen”.

The video on YouTube seems to be from some TV show: obvious playback and not even a halfhearted attempt to cover it. I have no idea how TV stations ever got away with that 🙂

1289 – Roy’s Choice

Today most images are made with digital cameras and all of them in color. Even when you set your camera to B&W mode, it won’t affect the RAW file, which will still be in color. That’s a good thing.

This image has been converted to B&W using two of Photoshop’s B&W filters and a mask, one filter “High Contrast Red” and the other “Maximum White”, The mask on one filter determining where the other takes over.

It still didn’t look as I had imagined. I wanted a darker sky and a feeling of warm afternoon sun in the dome, but without burning out highlights, and without drowning the lower part of the image in black.

What I did was the following: I copied the original layer and took it to Topaz Detail, where I used a garish filter called “Blue Sky”, that I rarely use at all. I vaguely remember having used it once and to great advantage, but I can’t remember the image. Anyway. What this filter does, is lightening greens, shifting them strongly into the yellows and darkening the blues. The idea seems to have been to use it on landscapes to give them a sunny, polarized look, but you can’t ever use it on landscapes at all, so bad does it look. Here in a technical, architectural image, it gave me a stronger contrast between the yellowish panels and the blue sky. Of course now the panels were so bright, that they would burn out in B&W, with the additional saturation that I had applied below the B&W layers. Removing the saturation would not give me the desired look, thus I doubled the “Blue Sky” layer, applied one in “Multiply” mode blended in the highlights, and the other in “Soft Light” mode, blended in the shadows. Finally I toned down the light reflex on the wall, sharpened the image slightly, added a silver tone and this is it.

It wouldn’t have been possible to take this image on film, regardless of what filters I’d have used. It could only be made in digital post-processing. And still, it looks perfectly natural. Digital photography has given us a lot more choices, and it’s our’s to make them.

The Song of the Day is “Roy’s Choice” from the 2001 De-Phazz album “Death by Chocolate”. If you’re going to buy only one De-Phazz album, this must be it. If you’re in the US, I have to recommend plastic, because the album is only available as CD import for a steep price – and it’s worth every cent of it. But hear yourself on YouTube.

1210 – Solid Rock

It took me a time to figure out whether I have an image for Friday, or if I need one of these two for the next post. Turned out I have one, here’s both Thursday images in one post 🙂

I have already shown images of that place, some even from the same vantage point, it’s of course Mount Dobratsch again, the mountain that broke apart, because it couldn’t stand seeing people die, then in 1348, the year of the great plague.

I like both of these images. The choice is only because I had to choose. The one with the sun in the frame is an HDR again, again of the more subtle kind. The Image of the Day is of course from a single exposure.

I haven’t been up there for very long, and in fact when I reached the upper end of the street, 450 meters below the summit, the sky was already veiled.

And the rest of the day? Installing software, what else? That’s why I am in Carinthia after all 😀

The Song of the Day is “Solid Rock” from the 1981 Dire Straits album “Making Movies”. The Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler, obviously their label tries to get all their music off YouTube (how stunningly clever!), but I have still found at least some live versions. Here’s one from 1992.

1112 – ‘Tis Autumn

This is a wayside shrine in a rural livin quarter on the outskirts of Villach. This one is for Bill. I boldly claimed that our trees here in Carinthia still have leaves in their most glorious colors, but it is wearing thin. Nevertheless, I searched and found some for you 🙂

Finding a Song of the Day is not so easy. It must match in title or some line in the lyrics, I must own it, I want it to be available on YouTube, and I want to link to the lyrics. The latter is normally the least problem.

The Song of the Day is “‘Tis Autumn” from the stellar 1976 album “Fitzgerald & Pass…Again”, but although the lyrics are seemingly on every lyrics site on the planet, it’s always the text of “Autumn in New York”, regardless of where you go. Sometimes I really wonder 🙂

Hear it on YouTube.

1093 – Dream River

I took this image yesterday evening, on my way back from swimming. This is one of the three or four possible roads, one avoiding the highway.

I know this place. This is a sundown place. I don’t use it very often, but yesterday I didn’t have anything compelling, so I tried my luck. The Tokina 11-16 was still mounted and two test images confirmed, that I best would use a sequence of bracketed images, or otherwise I would have to choose between detail in the sky and detail in the landscape.

My soft edge split neutral density filters would not have helped me here. Through this ultra-wide lens, the transition would have been much too soft. They would at most have darkend the top too much, doing almost nothing to the sun. The right traditional tool for the job are Singh-Ray’s reverse graduated ND filters. Maybe I should get one, I suppose it would have worked very well.

With no filter available, I resorted to HDR. This is an image made of four out of a sequence of nine exposures. I tried Essential HDR first, and when it had problems aligning the images, I switched to Photomatix Pro. Both are excellent programs, none is perfect, but normally one of the two works fine. I don’t care that much which it is, I go to Photoshop anyway. Of the two tone mapping modes in Photomatix Pro, this is the more conservative, called “Tone Compressor”.

In fact I can imagine very different ways to process the image, with this one just one possibility. The “Detail Enhancer” tone mapping made the scene much less peaceful, more dramatic, and even in Photoshop there are so many different ways to go. There is no single right way and on another day I probably would have produced a very different result.

The Song of the Day is “Dream River“, again by the Mavericks, but this time from the 1998 album “Trampoline”. Hear it on YouTube.