I've had fun this weekend - and it's only Sunday morning. Lots of time left.
Took a little shopping excursion Saturday morning. I'm looking for anything I will need for this week's photo shoot at the DMRRC (Detroit Model Rail Road Club).
I'm trying to get prepared so I don't freeze in the moment. I think we'll have 2 hours there and while I think that is enough or more than enough I don't want to leave any shot there.
I am totally convinced that in many walks of life if you smell the roses and listen to the wind what you smell and hear will soon come into play. And I think that is what has happened with this focus stacking I've been playing around with.
In other words, if I use the focus stacking that the DMRRC shoot - I'll have a much better experience. So to do that, I need to practice, practice, practice.
(I'll get around to the weekend, I promise.)
First, the new camera. I've been spending a lot of time with the menu items. I have it set up for an indoor shoot, with fairly stable objects. There might be a few moving trains, but for the most part it is the scenery that will be the center of my attention. Also new for me will be file organization on the camera. I'm used to using one large folder. And that works until post production. Now, there is a way to create new folders on the fly so when I'm done with one object I can create a new folder easily and move on to the next object. The number of shots gets to be exponential when you need a minimum of three shots for HDR and let's say seven shots for focus stacking. Not counting the test shots for exposure, you're now 21 images to support one final product. Organization. Organization.
Next, I'm not planning on using a flash for fill lighting, but will be ready if necessary. I know what needs to be set on the flash unit and on camera to get it to fire remotely. I have some idea of the power settings to use. (Some idea, right...)
With the new camera I can use remote functionality through a tablet, either wi-fi or tethered. I like this. I tried using a third party app to do this, but am really finding Nikon's simple wireless app to do all I need which is really focus and shoot. The third party app could manipulate many other settings, but the main functionality it is missing is showing the correct exposure.
This week I started putting together a portable and CHEAP light-box. After one day, I had some pretty good results.
Working with a light-box or mini studio, I am missing a few support items. I need a good tabletop tri-pod. I also do not have a macro-lens. So Saturday's shopping took care of a new tri-pod which will get pretty close to the ground. I'm not going to buy a new lens just for macro photography until I know I need and will use one. To get around the macro issue, I now have some close up filters.
So Saturday afternoon, worked with the new toys in my home, mini-studio.
On to the software.
For the DMRRC photo shoot, I will incorporate focus stacking to my normal flow which is mostly HDR.
My HDR software is Photomatix and I've very happy with them. I'm not planning on any changes there.
For remote connectivity to my camera, I'm sticking with the Nikon utility app. First it is free if you don't include the price of the camera. Most importantly, it does what I need to do remotely. I was looking at the Helicon Remote app. That app is more robust and will change many more settings, but I had difficulty with the wi-fi connection and it is missing the critical function of displaying correct exposure. And it does come with some cost.
For the focus stacking, I'm still in search mode. I'm trying the Helicon Focus program, one of the two big boys on the block. I like it and it works great, but is way too expensive. There are multiple other options ranging from free open source - to the expensive. I'm still looking, but I will try this option from out of left field. I'm on the trial period for Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom. I'm not a big fan of LR, but that is because I don't use it much. I have LR5, but never warmed to it. I've been using Elements for years and do like it. My only issue with Elements is Adobe had no upgrade plan, that is you are changed full retail for upgrading. But Adobe's new marketing is a package of PS and LR for $10 a month. That's a pretty good deal if you're going to use them. PS is $600 by itself. So i have 30 days to figure this one out.
So - while we're getting anywhere from 3 to 6 inches of snow by tomorrow morning, I'll be multi-tasking watching the Pirate's Opening day game and later on tonight the Pens and Flyers. Going against that will be YouTube of PS tutorials.