Jul 062013
 

Here is one more image of yesterday’s bridge.

Looks like HDR? Nope! This is an image from a single RAW file, taken with the D300. Obviously there is tremendous dynamic range in those files, and with Lightroom I can make use of it in a way I never could with Photoshop CS3.

That’s still nothing new though. What’s new is Lightroom 5’s clone stamp. Gone are the days when you needed to use lots of circular stamps to clone out irregularly shaped objects. Just paint over the area that you want to get rid of, let Lightroom suggest an area to clone (or heal) from, move the source area if you think so, probably repeat once or twice, and even wild distractions are gone in a way that’s hard to detect for a human viewer.

In this particular image I had ugly lens flares. Given the position of the sun, you can probably guess where they were. Now that I’ve told you, you may even find the exact spots, especially when you look at the full size on Flickr, but just imagine I hadn’t told you! Again, I could have done that with Photoshop CS3, although with much more effort, and what’s new in Lightroom 5 has already been in CS6, but still, if you remember how restricted image manipulation used to be in Lightroom, this is a big thing.

The Song of the Day is one more time “Falling In Love Again” from Bryan Ferry’s 1999 album “As Time Goes By”. Hear it on YouTube.

2453 – Falling In Love Again I

 Sigma 8-16  Comments Off on 2453 – Falling In Love Again I
Jul 052013
 

I have used Lightroom 5 for a while now, and in my efforts to catalog past works, I have reached December 2010.

Of course I often can’t resist trying how Lightroom copes with images that I’ve rejected for various reasons, sometimes only because I had too many other candidates, maybe due to a lack of time, but frequently also because Photoshop CS3 didn’t give me results that I felt confident about publishing.

Two things were remarkable in the two images of this post. The first is the lens correction for profiled lenses. The two images were taken with the Sigma 8-16, a profiled lens, and the geometry correction seems pretty accurate to me. Of course you can’t see it in the all-curved Image of the Day, but the other image has some lines that obviously need to be straight, and they not only need to, they are.

The second thing is dynamic range. At least the Image of the Day had extreme contrasts, that Lightroom was able to cope with with ease. I am sure I could have done the same thing in Photoshop CS3, but I couldn’t have done it so easily.

Both of these things would have worked the same in Lightroom 4. Profiles are nothing new and the new RAW process was already introduced in Lightroom 4 (and Photoshop CS6, I guess). We’ll see something unique to Lightroom 5 in tomorrow’s post though.

The Song of the Day is “Falling In Love Again” from Bryan Ferry’s 1999 album “As Time Goes By”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jan 202013
 

Instead of an image taken on Saturday, here’s an old one. Two years ago on a pond in mid-Carinthia, a sign reminded me to stop here and not go any further. Not that I would have liked to do so 🙂

The Song of the Day is “The Stopper” by Sonny Rollins and The Modern Jazz Quartet. Hear it on YouTube.

May 302012
 

By chance I found three Lightroom “HDR presets” on Matt Kloskowski’s site.

I just had to try them, and looking for an image I found these two, taken in mid-November. Actually I didn’t like the strong vignetting of the original presets at all, but they were a start, and with some experimenting I arrived at what you see.

The result looks pretty natural to me, pleasing and without the oversaturated look that you see so often. I can remember having tried to work on one of those images the day I took them, but then I came to no conclusion and instead took another image.

“Untold Stories” is from Sinead O’Connor’s 2005 album “Throw Down Your Arms”. Hear it on YouTube.

1882 – Searching V

 Tokina 11-16/2.8  Comments Off on 1882 – Searching V
Dec 132011
 

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.

1881 – Searching IV

 Nikon 35/1.8  Comments Off on 1881 – Searching IV
Dec 132011
 

My single creative achievement of Saturday was a Gumbo that I cooked for a pre-Christmas party with friends, and when I tried to take some images on Sunday, I was greeted with a gloomy, rainy day.

I took out the Nikon 35/1.8 (supported by DxO) and made some images. Here I used Photoshop again, utilizing different curves layers on different parts of the image. Although DxO is an excellent tool for working with tonal values, it always works globally. You make your global adjustments and you either like them or not. Of course there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take a DxO conversion to Photoshop.

The Song of the Day is “Searching For Madge” from the classic Fleetwood Mac album “Then Play On”. If they only had 😀

Hear it in the jam session at the end of this video.

1880 – Searching III

 Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC  Comments Off on 1880 – Searching III
Dec 132011
 

Interesting: from memory I would have considered the Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC a better performer when it comes to shooting into the sun. Still, I like it.

Photoshop again.

The Song of the Day is “Soul Searchin’” from the late Solomon Burke’s 2002 comeback album “Don’t Give Up On Me”. See a live version on YouTube. Wonderful!

Dec 132011
 

I’m not sure if I tried this image in DxO as well, I suppose, but in the end it was Photoshop that made it. This is the D300 again, and while I like DxO for its ability to handle difficult tonal situations, I find it much easier to arrive at satisfying colors with Photoshop.

Just for the record: All of the images that I process in DxO get a finish in Photoshop, and in almost all cases it is color that I enhance. Thus, what I am considering is buying DxO as an alternative RAW converter, not as a replacement for Photoshop.

The Song of the Day (and the Day would have been Friday, although this is a Thursday image again) is “In Search of Peter Pan” from Kate Bush’s 1978 album “Lionheart”. Enjoy it on YouTube.

1878 – Searching I

 Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC  Comments Off on 1878 – Searching I
Dec 132011
 

It’s very early Tuesday morning. After a long weekend I am finally on the train to Vienna again. I really need to flush the pipeline, so please allow me to post a quick succession of images, three from Thursday, the only sunny day this weekend. Here’s the first one.

As to the title, this and all of the following four posts will be titled “Searching”, because I am still searching my way around in and trying to work with DxO Optics Pro 7, an occupation that really ate all of my time that I would normally have spent posting 😀

This image, taken with the D300 and the Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC, has been processed with both Adobe Camera RAW and DxO, and although I probably would have been able to get a very similar result with ACR and Photoshop, DxO was clearly the winner. The lens is supported, its distortions are perfectly corrected, and what I really liked is the ease with which I was able to preserve the highlights, get excellent shadow detail and still have punchy mid-tones. Again: I could probably have managed to get there in Photoshop, but only with much more effort, and at least what I created in a first take (and probably would have settled with normally) looked worse.

This again shows that DxO is a good choice for DSLR images. Probably its effectiveness is greater than with LX5 RAW files, because it has much more dynamic range to work with, probably its algorithms are tuned to work best with wide dynamic range.

The Song of the Day is “Searching The Desert For The Blues” by Blind Willie McTell. Hear it on YouTube.

1860 – Further On (Up The Road)

 Sigma 28/1.8  Comments Off on 1860 – Further On (Up The Road)
Nov 202011
 

Funny, I couldn’t remember what a lousy performer the Sigma 28/1.8 is when the sun is in your frame. It’s such a wonderful lens otherwise, and of course such an incredibly useful focal length on APS-C.

Here’s an HDR with the green reflexes edited out (mostly), and the result, while vastly different from what the sensor with any single exposure records, looks remarkably like what I believe to have seen. Same workflow as yesterday.

The Song of the Day is “Further On (Up The Road)“, and of course it’s the spectacular version from Springsteen’s “Live In Dublin” with the Sessions Band. Enjoy the video on YouTube.