Saturday, February 27, 2016

Detroit Model Rail Road Club

One of the neat things about belonging to a club is the photo outings that can be planned.  We've had great luck with the Flint Farmer's market.  Now we have the oppertunigy to photo shoot the DMRRC.  Today I went out to scout the place and get some ideas to think about before the real shoot in April.
I did get a tour that most people don't get, that is I got to see a lot of the underbelly of the tracks and platforms.  Absolutely fascinating!  
These are some of the photos I took with my phone.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Our Snow Storm in less than 3 minutes.

Every time I get challenged to do something photography related by one of my well-meaning, but sadistic and psychotic friends, I feel bad because I'm not up to the challenge.  (Feel like I'm breaking a chain letter.) You know, the snap a photo a day of a smurf in warmer weather then where you are Kurt - and for sure pass along the challenge to someone else crowd.
Well - that's just not me.  (Sorry, don't unfriend me.)

Here's my answer to the challenges - by my rules.

I purchased a digital remote release, non-Nikon.  This thing can do time lapse.  And what a better time to try this out than during a snow storm.

My first attempt at time lapse.  There are some interesting things here, at least to me.  First, there is a brief section where the snow really builds up quickly.  Next, I really like the transition from daylight to night and back.  

Sure, it could be a little more exciting, but hey - it's my first try.  

This is a shot every 10 minutes for about 26 hours.  The original effort was a shot every 5 minutes, but that was really slow........  (And to my Canon friends, yes a Nikon has a big enough buffer to handle a JPG shot every 5 minutes.....)

I used Lightroom Slideshow to put this together.

And I promise not to challenge my friends to create a time lapse movie every day for the next six says!  (Although, I wonder what the Cape Lego crowd will do with this?)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Peanut Principle......

A part of our Tuesday rituals is to clean the bedroom linens.  What that happens, it is like a holiday for the kids.  Folded comforters and warm sheets are better than any new cat toy that comes down the road.  One has to be very careful when navigating the clean clothes that aren't folded - as there is a better than even chance there is a critter holed up in a nice warm environment.
And that is what I saw today.  This is the little Peanut - formal name of Emma.
One might confuse this tactic of curling up in a folded comforter as a sign of impending cold and wind and snow.  It is not - it is a sign today is Tuesday.

To be fair to Nikon, this was not totally an AUTO shot.  I'm not sure my AUTO setting works - it's been so long since it has been used.  But this is why I do what I do with photographs.  This was taken with ISO 200, F9 and a 15 second speed.  Not 1/15 - but 15 seconds.  The fact peanut didn't move (much) for 15 seconds while awake, is somewhat of an indoor record.  There is a lot of contrast here.  There is the sunlight in the upper right hand corner and the black color of her nose.  That's a lot for one camera to capture.  then there is the histogram.

What I do see here is Peanut's nose is not as dark as it is in real life, but the expected blown whites are there.  Simply - I need to move everything to the left.

Using HDR won't be enough for this project.  Getting the Peanut to sit still for 15 seconds twice in one day is too much to ask.  I don't like using a flash here.  I think it would ruin the ambient lighting and irritate the subject.  

The first thing to do is move the ISO to 800.  I should be able to get to 1-2 seconds.  I will risk the 'noise', but in previous tests my camera handles 800 very well.

I will still use f9 - as I want to capture a lot a area, almost two feet in focus.

Changing the ISO from 200 to 800 gives me these shots.

I turned out to be very lucky.  The longest shot was 1.6 seconds.  She stayed still for 15 seconds - but this time I could get the three shots.

And that made for a pretty good photo to start with.

There is a lot of sharpness - the fur and whiskers really stand out.  On the right side of her face, it is completely lit up and you can see what are very close to her real colors.

Clearly this needs some more work if I want it to go any further.  The top needs to be replaced.  This will be a nice print in the house.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Final Pig Entry

Well - the good story of the Pig had to end sometime.
The Pig is in his/her new home in the Flint Farmer's Market.  The good folks at Charlie's BBQ were happy to see the finished product.  The Pig has a place of honor over a decorative fire place.

It was a nice project to participate in with the Fling Lensmen Camera Club.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Pig Story Continues.......

As the Pig story continues (just highlights where my life is...), it is really close to taking a life of its own.  
Last night the photo was put on canvas.  My friend and photo mentor was nice enough to entertain C and me for the evening while he worked on the final product.  In that time, I saw how to put together a very nice canvas print wrapped around a wood frame. The biggest clue of the evening was that my friend is self taught by YouTube - which just happens to be my favorite classroom.
Here is the Pig on canvas.

Hopefully the next story update is when the Pig is in the Market.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Pig is Big! Charlie's BBQ Mascot

I had a wonderful time this morning at the Flint Farmer's Market.  The photo club to which I am a member spent some time this morning promoting our next photo class at the market.  We set up a table, displayed some interesting photo related items and would chat with the passers by.  Great way to spend part of a Saturday.
Last month when we did this same promotion we had a slide show on a monitor as a way to get people to come over and chat with us.  This month, to be different, I thought we could hook people to come over if we had a monitor displaying some of the post processing tricks we do.

The monitor was off to the left.  You get the idea.
We had a pretty good time.  We looked at creating custom camera profiles, HDR processing and tricks to remove objects.
For all the subjects, we used photos from the market taken that morning.
Close to us was Charlie's BBQ stand - which by the way did a huge business.  Well, Charlie has a small mascot.  I thought it would be neat do capture an image.  I had the camera set up for HDR - so I snapped up three shots.  This is the base photo.

Now that is a pig ready for some winter activities.
So I snapped off my three shots and processed the image.  I came up with an image I like and put it on the monitor for a while.  Well, the good folks at Charlies saw it, came over and wanted to buy the image.  Well, I certainly was not going to go for cash, but would trade for some cred.  So I told my fellow club members we had some Club Cred coming our way and well things got out of hand from there.  It wasn't enough that we would 'donate' a picture, but we now have the resources mobilized to get a canvas print going.  Fantastic!
So this week's project is to get the Pig on Canvas.  This is the image we will put on the canvas.

Spare me the criticism about the halo effect.  Sandra (Mrs. Charlie) liked it as is.  And that is enough for me.  The mascot has been with them for over 20 years.  It is a pleasure to give them the Winter 2016 version.

Monday, February 1, 2016

ISO and the HDR Photo

One of the final effects of ISO settings I need to see is how the 'noise' translates to my HDR workflow.  Usual HDR processing will create some noise - and the software will also remove noise as well.

For these comparisons, I'm using the full image.  Again I'm showing the close up subject and the distant subject.  I'm using Photomatix Pro 5.1.1 with the Painterly 3 preset.  In my opinion, that setting brings out a medium amount of noise.

Close up Subject:

ISO 200  f/Stop  22   1/60

ISO 800  f/Stop 22  1/320

In this shot - I really can't tell much of a difference between the two.  Experience tells me all the 'noise' can be cleaned up easily in both shots.

For the distance subject:

ISO 200  f/Stop 29  1/40

ISO 800  f/Stop 25  1/200

ISO 1600  f/Stop 29  1/320

As in the short distance subject, the 'noise' can be dealt with.  Another characteristic I'm looking for is the detail in the ice formations.  At ISO 1600, it is OK.  

So for HDR purposes, I wouldn't be afraid to push the ISO to 800 or 1600 if I needed the aperture settings or speed.