Wednesday, March 31, 2010

365/90 Green With Envy/4

I'm green with envy because of two things. A) people have prettier moss than this, and B) something is way off here, but I'm not sure what it is. It looks unsharp, but not. Huh?

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/3.2, 1/40sec and ISO 400. IS on, WB @ 5400K


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

365/89 Green With Envy/3

If you haven't had a cup, you'll be envying this one!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/50sec and ISO 1000. WB set to Tungsten @ 2850K. Candle light added as light source for extra mood light.


Monday, March 29, 2010

365/88 Green With Envy/2

I think I'm in a macro mood. Spring so happens to be the ideal macro season! I kinda wish I had left the camera on "Raw+JPEG", because I have a feeling I would have been satisfied with the SOOC more than the finished Raw processed file. Olympus colors are just that much nicer!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/4.0, 1/250sec and ISO 400. WB @ 5400K.

Green Bud

The light was a little dull today (it's raining) but that didn't stop me from capturing this macro! I say, never let the weather stop you from capturing a great moment!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

365/87 Green With Envy/1

Ahhh a better theme! I don't really have anything against night time photography, but this week has been really tiring as it is, and going out when it's dark after an 11 hour work day and then wait until 8:30 for darkness to come is "sub-ideal", as it were.

It's green and taken for envying reasons. Check your favorite weather website for my location and you'll know why!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/100sec and ISO 400.

Green Day 1

Now I do have to say, that with the correct white balance settings, this photo came out pretty good. As of today, I'll add that to my camera settings. A white balance of 5400K was preset in the camera (custom setting) and later set again in ACR for good measure.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

365/86 Night Time/7

The last day, yes? Totally uncreative, I just didn't have the willpower to go outside and do this. It's been a long week (unrelated to photography) and I ran out of allergy meds, which seems to have a wonderful effect on my mood. Next week will be better though, with "Green with Envy" being the theme, it should be fun, one way or another.

Lens and camera settings:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II @ 29mm, f/3.0, 1/50sec and ISO 800.


Friday, March 26, 2010

365/85 Night Time/6

Today is nothing special, just a snap of my dash as I'm leaving work. What is special, is that this shot was completely hand held, and that I just proved that Olympus kept their promise with their Image Stabilization technology. Seriously, anyone still taking blurry shots with their E-3 with IS turned on, should consider not drinking coffee (or other "alertness enhancing stimulants") before they shoot, because you really have to *shake* the camera before things turn shakey. Oh yeah, don't use a tripod with IS on. IS is designed to compensate for minute movements, and when there's no movement at all, it gets confused and starts wandering off on its own, which ironically results in a blurry image.

Lens and camera settings:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II @ 35mm, f3.1, 1/15sec and ISO 1000.

Car Dials

I have decided never to go over ISO 1000 after this shot, because ISO 1000 generates perfectly printable shots (almost) uncorrected, and 1/15sec with IS on is still hand-holdable. Sure, it's no Nikon D700 (I say this a lot), but it works fine. I did run some noise ninja on this photo due to there being a lot of black in the photo and while I didn't see much noise, I'm sure someone else would.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

365/84 Night TIme/5

It's candle light time! Today I decided it's time for a low light exposure with just the light of a candle as light source. I can tell you, last time I did this with my OM-10 film camera, and with 400 speed film, it didn't look anywhere near this good. Even at 100% crop, the tiny little bit of noise was forcefully shoved out the building by noise ninja and left a crisp sharp image behind.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/8.0 (for more DOF, small DOF didn't look good in this light), 2.5 seconds and ISO 400.

Kindle + Camera

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

365/83 Night Time/4

Tonight was a good night for photography. Any CC is always welcome, don't be afraid to slap me with bad CC when needed ;-)

Lens and camera settings:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II @ 14mm, f/22, 40 seconds and ISO 400 (I really like this ISO for night photos with that particular f/stop. Not much noise, even at 100% resolution).

Lake By Night

Day 3, retake

I decided I can't get away with swaying from the theme, so I took one from the front window. It's not great, but it's a night photo and it even has some motion from traffic in it.

Lens and camera settings:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II @ 14mm, f/11, 30 seconds and ISO 400.

Street at nite

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

365/82 Night Time/3

Macro day today. It was taken at night, so I felt like stepping outside the box and using word interpretation to bend the rules to my will. Yeah, so I'm a little uninspired today. Here it is anyway:

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/11, 1/250sec and ISO 100. Flash through light tent @ -1EV compensation.

Rock Night

365/81 Night Time/2

I think I need more practice with night shots, but it's not bad for my first try at long exposure. I really just need a better location, because it's kind of boring down my street, as you can see.

Lens and camera settings:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II @ 14mm, f/22, 20 seconds and ISO 1000.

Night Long Exposure

Sunday, March 21, 2010

HDR stuff

A few have asked what HDR is and how to process that way. I'm not going to go into detail right now, but I will show the end result:

Lens and camera settings of primary exposure:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 @ 14mm, f/11, 1/60sec and ISO 400.

HDR Example

365/80 Night Time/1

I wanted a "natural light" dark photo, so no flash was used. Instead I used a desk lamp and turned off all other lights. I say it's a success! It's amazing what the camera can still capture with almost zero light! And since I shot at ISO 100, there is no noise at all!

Lens and camera settings:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 @ 40mm, f/8.0, 2.5 seconds and ISO 100.

Night 1

Saturday, March 20, 2010

365/79 Perspective/7

Hmmm spring time! It's beautiful out, and the light is fantastic today! Sure I had a few bad shots (don't shoot in the direction of the sun if you want the blue sky to actually be in your photo) and not everything was "photo" worthy (snapshots), but I this this one is pretty good! I would have liked to have been a little more to the right to completely leave the shoreline on the left side out, but I wasn't about to test how well my camera body and lens are weather sealed just yet. The shore does work, somewhat, as a leading line.

I ended up cloning some tree branches out of the top left of the photo, because they distracted a lot.

Lens and camera settings:
14-54 mm f/2.8-3.5 II @ 14mm, f/8.0, 1/200sec and ISO 100. (I think this is my new favorite lens)


Flickr sharpening anyone? would you like some photo with your sharpening? I mean really? It's not often this bad. I think I'm just going to stop sharpening my photos from now on, flickr's sharpening really ruins an already properly sharpened photo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

365/78 Perspective/6

I was in a photo mood when I got home, so here it is!

Lens and camera settings:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 @ 14mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec and ISO 100.

Car Wide Angle

Perspective, Day 5, B&W

Previous photo, in B&W, just for laughs.

Alexis Wideangle B&W

Thursday, March 18, 2010

365/77 Perspective/5

Wide angle! I got my 14-54mm II f/2.8-3.5 today, and this lens is a true gem! For $500-ish, you get an unbeatable optic, especially for the price! So far I noticed just a touch distortion at the wide end (14mm, or 28mm full-frame equivalent), and by a touch, I mean it's only noticeable if you know where to look, and it's really minimal. In everyday photography, I doubt it's visible, and if it is, it's very easy to correct.

Oh yeah, did I mention it's weather sealed? And it's said that the 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD is really fast with AF, but the difference between this lens and my kit lens or my 50mm is so big, that it'll be a while before I get frustrated with the AF speed of this lens.

Ok, back to 365. Just a snap of my little one, to test the 14mm angle on.

Lens and camera settings:
14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 @ 14mm, f/2.8, 1/100sec and ISO 800.

Alexis Wideangle

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

365/76 Perspective/4

Imagine being a small animal with exoskeleton (insect, arachnid, take your pick), walking down a driveway in upstate NY. I'm pretty sure this is one of the views you could have!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/8.0, 1/10sec and ISO 400.

Blade of Grass with Ant's Eye View

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Perspective, day 3 retake.

After being embarrassed enough about posting the previous photo to ILP, I decided to try something different. One desk lamp and a sleeping cat later, here's the result: A sleeping cat from the perspective of a cat just waking up.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/25sec (IS on) and ISO 1600. Light by mainly a small desk lamp just overhead.


365/75 Perspective/3

Not sure why, but I'm a little uninspired today. This photo does adhere to the theme, but I'm not in love with it.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/5.6, 1/400sec and ISO 100.


Monday, March 15, 2010

365/74 Perspective/2

My daughter has this crazy obsession with dinosaurs, and I felt they'd make a great subject one of these weeks. Maybe this week is that week!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/250sec and ISO 200. Sun, ehm, flash bounced into umbrella, behind camera right @ 1/4th power.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

365/73 Perspective/1

I personally love the bokeh of what was the subject of today's theme. This week will not just make me think outside the box, the box will actually be thrown out. I love it!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/4.0, 1/250, ISO 400. Flash bounced off the ceiling @ +2EV compensation.

Keys With Lots Of Bokeh

Saturday, March 13, 2010

365/72 Something Old/7

I don't know when Folgers had this design for their coffee containers, but I do know they've been using plastic for a while now, so this pretty old!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.8, 1/250sec and ISO 100. Flash bounced off white posterboard camera left @ +1EV compensation.

Old Coffee Can

Friday, March 12, 2010

365/71 Something Old/6

I remembered I still had this old Canon PowerShoot S10 laying around. This brings back some nice memories!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/3.2, 1/250sec and ISO 100. Flash bounced off white posterboard, camera left @ 0EV compensation.

Old Digital Camera

Aperture was exactly large enough for the DOF to capture just what I wanted. And TTL worked perfectly this time, the exposure was perfect, the histogram covered the whole range!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

365/70 Something Old/5

Time is the oldest thing out there, there is nothing older, not many actual objects existed at the beginning of time, if there even is such a thing.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/5.6, 3.2 seconds and ISO 100.
You can actually see how long the shutter was open by looking at the ghosted second hand!


The clock is also old, not quite that old.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

365/69 Color Accent/4

I was in an experimenty mood today, and decided to mess around with textures. First the real deal, full color regular edition. This is a photo of by far the oldest jar of Vaseline I'll ever see. If you have an older one, email me, I'd love to see it! It's still about half full and I'm sure well past the expiration date it doesn't have... Even the drug store it was bought from has been closed down for ages.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/4.0, 1/100sec (oops) and ISO 100. Flash bounced off white posterboard camera right (how'd you guess?) @ +1.0EV compensation.

Old Vaseline Regular Colors

Now the textured version. Love it or hate it, I'm still undecided on this one. Let me know what you think!

Old Vaseline with Texture

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Macro Experiments

The light is wonderful today, so I decided to try to do some macro. I've never really seriously considered doing macro because it was so hard to see with the E-500's viewfinder.

The difference, again, is amazing. I can actually use DOF preview to see the DOF at the chosen aperture. It was child's play to then focus with the available DOF at f/11, and snap the shot.

The detail is breathtaking. You can literally see every scratch and nick on the quarter's surface. I have to say though, that Olympus Raw files are fairly soft by nature, and they do benefit from a moderate amount of Raw presharpening. I never use the sharpening in ACR because of the fact that this lens is so sharp at f/2-f/11, sharpening would just create a picture that's excessively sharp. At f/11, though, some diffraction is already starting to occur, so I sharpened the picture after resizing using 128/0.4/10 as my settings in Photoshop's "Unsharp Mask". It's not significant, but it really shows how sharp this photo really is.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/11, 1/60sec and ISO 100. Mounted on a tripod, IS on and shutter on self-timer @ 2sec.

2006 Colorado Quarter #2

365/68 Something Old/3

Aging dead tree trunk in the front yard. It's not the most interesting of photographs, I tried to add "interestingness" by playing with the angle and depth of field, but it's a dead tree, not sure what else I could have done here.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/4, 1/1250sec and ISO 100.


Monday, March 8, 2010

365/67 Something Old/2

I found many old things in the attic (many generations of pack rats lived in this house), but this drew my attention for some reason. This light bulb has been in the attic since before the current owner bought it, which was not exactly last year if you know what I mean. The houses in this city are at least 80 years old.

I used a soft light layer at 50% for added contrast, then various color modification layers (saturation, selective color, brightness/contrast, levels) to exaggerate the dirt on the bulb. The color tone was unaffected, it's just a little more "poppy" now.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/8, 1/250sec and ISO 400. Flash bounced off white posterboard camera right @ +2.0EV compensation.

Old Bulb

Sunday, March 7, 2010

365/66 Something Old/1

This one was very difficult. I had the light of one "60 watt" fluorescent light bulb in the really far background to "help" the camera lock on focus, and manually wasn't much better (I simply couldn't see, it was too dark). This was the best out of 4 shots, black and white conversion and then a really light red tone over it for mood.

50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/250sec and ISO 400. Flash bounced off a white poster board camera right @ 0EV compensation.

Sigma 100-200mmf45

Saturday, March 6, 2010

365/65 Color Accent/7

Tomorrow's theme is "Something Old", which will be a piece of cake, since I live in one of this country's oldest cities. Today's is of a local construction sign. Don't try this at home unless you know how to get around the sRGB color space limitations, because no matter what you do, this particular shade of orange is guaranteed to blow the reds.

In ACR, after you open the file for initial adjustments, increase the "Recovery" to 30. If your reds are back in the normal range, you're now done. If not, go to the "HSL/Grayscale" tab, and in there, select the "Luminance" tab. Pull back on the red and oranges. Do the same in the "Saturation" tab. Make these two adjustments until the histogram is just back in to the non-blowing range. You'll have to add a levels and brightness/saturation adjustment layer to bring the orange colors back to their original (apparent) brightness, but keep an eye on your histogram display to make sure you don't end up blowing the channels again.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/5000sec and ISO 100.

Sign Color Accent

Friday, March 5, 2010

E-3 Update

After having used the E-3 for a week or two, a few things have come up worth mentioning.

a) Like all upper-level cameras (semi-pro, whatever you want to call this category), this camera has two control wheels. One in the back by the right thumb, one in the front by the index finger below the shutter. More or less ideally placed, depending on the size of your hands, these can, and are by default set up to, control the shutter speed and aperture. Which dial controls what is customizable, and since I shoot manual, this is exactly what these dials do. I set it so the back one controls aperture, and the front one the shutter speed. It seems most intuitive this way. It's entirely possible to control this camera with the main LCD off, if you're shooting consistently good exposure, but I prefer to get at least one test shot to see the histogram to decide what "proper exposure" is.

b) it's definitely weather sealed! Everything that could be an entrance to the camera (card door, battery door) has gaskets. On top of this, the metal -sorry, magnesium alloy- construction is extremely rugged. It screams "indestructible" all over it. I already took it for a spin in the recent heavy-wet snow storm we had, and all I have to say is that I probably didn't get the camera wet enough to get any idea of the sealing. The cold was not an issue.

c) ISO noise. Much better than the E-500. Full stop. Definitely visible at ISO 1600, but not ugly like the E-500 used to get. And using the ISO 1600 noise for black and whites is just simply amazing. Yes, I actually said that. Black and whites by nature should be a little noisy. No? Get yourself some ISO 800 or 1600 B&W film. Shoot the roll and have it developed. Look at the picture. Nice right? Ok, point made. Sure, this is purely taste, and partly me trying to excuse the 4/3rd format's noise, but I try to draw positive from every situation.

That said, yes I fully agree it's a good bit noisier than some other cameras, especially in the next class up (think Nikon D700, Canon 7D or 5D MarkII etc). I also think that a properly exposed photo (in this case, just avoid underexposure at all cost) in combination with the right compromise between noise tolerance (how much you think is acceptable) and noise filtering in Photoshop or a dedicated noise filtering package can yield really good results. In either case, use RAW and turn any in-camera filtering off. If you use JPEG for the Olympus colors, still turn off noise filtering, and set sharpening to a minimum (do these in Photoshop afterwards). I can't stress enough that this is my personal opinion, and please take all this with a grain of salt.

Also, noise is next to non-existant in the lower ISOs (100 - 400) and only visible at a per-pixel level at ISO 800. I rarely shoot at much higher than ISO 100 anyway, so this is really not an issue. I do have a strong desire to go shoot nighttime photos now though, and I never had this with my E-500.

On a side note, The dynamic range of this camera is greatest at ISO 100 (all digital cameras have the greatest dynamic range at their base ISO). This means that at ISO 100, it can record almost 10 stops of difference between the darkest shadow it can record and the lightest highlight. The dynamic range falls to just under 9 stops at ISO 400. Very usable for almost any purpose I'd say. (That said, if you want ridiculous dynamic range, give that piggy bank a good shake, re-fy your house and car, and get the Leica S2. Otherwise, many of the DSLRs we all know and use are pretty much in the same ball park at the moment)

All of the past 2 weeks worth of "contribution" to this blog from the day I got the E-3 are taken with said camera, and ultimately the viewer of the photos is the judge. I say it was a great step forward.

365/64 Color Accent/6

I stole this from Nikki after she posted her "Quack". Except the light. That's all mine. And the piggy bank. Well, I kinda just took the idea, but who's counting :-P

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/250sec and ISO 100. Bounced flash @ 0EV compensation.

Oink Color Accent

Thursday, March 4, 2010

365/63 Color Accent/5

Someone decided to add a twist to this week. I'm not going to go into this at the moment, but suffice it to say, it does add a challenge to the theme. My OM-10's camera strap (when they still made nice camera straps at Olympus) has just a nudge of blue, accenting the black.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/250, ISO 100. Flash bounced @ +2.0EV

Camera Strap Color Accent

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Black and White conversion of Pinhead Susan's

I wanted to try a B&W conversion, just to see if it's better than the color version. Anyone with CC, please step forward!

Pinhead Susans B&W

365/62 Color Accent/4

Well, it's a color accent, isn't it? And it's not like you can keep your eyes away from it, and now that you're looking, you're probably wondering how something can both have perfect focus and be out of focus. The DOF didn't quite cover the whole "Thing", so while it's perfectly in focus, something is way off, on purpose, just to keep you asking questions.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.8, 1/250sec and ISO 100. Flash bounced off the ceiling @ +2.0EV.

Apple with This DOF

More Image Stabilization Fun!

We decided to try a new place to eat, which worked out wonderfully, because the service and food were awesome! More relevant to the theme of this post, I decided to take my camera with me in the hopes of capturing something nice from downtown. Knowing it was going to be dark, I wanted to push the limits of this camera a little by using image stabilization in combination with high ISO and low shutter speed. I say it was a success! Yes, if you take this image to 100% crop, one could say it's a little noisy, but it's all luminance noise, and if "properly" filtered, it could add something to the picture rather than take something away. No camera shake whatsoever and after white balancing the image, it looks pretty good!

Lens and camera settings:
14-45mm f/3.5 - 5.6 @ 19mm, f/3.8, 1/25sec and ISO 1600. IS on, handheld.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I decided to try out image stabilization on my new camera, just to see how well it works. The 50mm normally requires a minimum of 1/100sec shutter speed to get a sharp "unshaken" picture (due to its equivalent focal length and FOV being 100mm at full frame). My daughter was having quiet time (previously known as nap time) and one of the cats decided to chill with her. This photo was taken hand held with one hand on a 2.5 lb camera at 1/40sec. It may not be record breaking, but I know a bunch of cameras that this shot would have been lost on either due to running out of ISO or due to camera shake!

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/40sec and ISO 800. IS on.

Trying out IS on the E-3 Alexis

And just because most of us are looking to do portraits "professionally" doesn't mean we need to lose the power and emotion of a snapshot! Snapshots are often times the only way to capture a moment, and many photographers forget this when they learn more advanced composition...

365/61 Color Accent/3

An outside picture as promised! Well, it's not in a building, and it's a photo, but that's about the extent of the creativity today. It's a busy day, what can I say.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/3.5, 1/250sec and ISO 100.

Ford Logo Accent Color

Monday, March 1, 2010

365/60 Color Accent/2

Day 60! The past 2 months flew by! Looking back at all the photos I've posted here, I've made a good amount of progress. It's always really cool to see how much a person learns when they do projects like this!

So today I grabbed this green heart shaped container with M&Ms in it, and randomly placed a candy heart in it. Instant accent color! I think tomorrow I should look for accent colors outside instead of creating my own, anybody can create a photo under controlled circumstances, it's much harder to use natural scenery to achieve the same.

Lens and camera settings:
50mm f/2.0 @ f/2.8, 1/250sec and ISO 100. Flash bounced into an umbrella overhead @ 1/16th power, further reduced using a paper tissue (flash was putting out way too much light, even at its lowest setting, with the umbrella raised all the way to the ceiling).

M&Ms Color Accent

I'm currently working on a little article about the inner workings of dynamic range and how digital cameras are different from our eyes in respect to exposure. Keep an eye out and when I post it, grab a cup or two of coffee, it'll be a long one!