I can never get enough from cross-processing images (or HDR images, for that matter). I’ve done a focus-stacking mini-tutorial before, and I know there’s only so many times you can do a tutorial, so I won’t explain everything in detail again, but I still wanted to show this example with another subject/object than a flower.

A week or so ago I posted some pictures of a water tap with a droplet falling. I took a good number of shots, and I thought it’d be a nice one to do a focus stacking with. The nice thing about that image -I think- was the narrow DoF, and that was at the same time the pain in the ass, because it made focusing really critical. Since with a subject like this it’s impossible to get everything in focus in one shot, I took a series of shots and put them together in Photoshop (CS6, I upgraded! And loving it! :) ).

Here are the originals:

Focus stacking originals

D800, ISO1600-ISO3200, 1/350 sec @ f/3.8-4.5, Tamron 90mm macro, 2x off-camera SB-800

I messed around with it a bit. Typically you *should* keep the settings the same and just refocus (and basically the whole thing is underexposed with 1,5-2 stops, but well… New camera, great low-light performance, etc. etc. Need to do some testing every now and again.

Brought them all into Photoshop and after it (the focus stacking) and I (the necessary exposure, contrast and color adjustments) did the work, the layer palette looked like this:

Layer palette for focus stacking

The layer palette in Photoshop CS6

And the final result; quite a bit different, I can say, isn’t it?

Focus stacking mini tutorial

The end result after all the hard work

Just like the kite jumper these fellows didn’t seem to have any problems with the hard wind either.
They actually seemed to be rather enjoying themselves. Chillin’ on the “waves”…

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

 

Sea gull

D800, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

We were out on Suomenlinna last weekend with friends. Just for touristing, they were over from Holland, and hadn’t been there before.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we spent a good amount of time sitting on a terrace, on the rocks near the sea and roaming the island.
Not far from where we sat on the rocks, just over on the other side of the hill we happened to see a kite appear every now and again. When we were done with our picnic we went for the round around the island and moved toward the kite.
I’ve done some stuff in my time, but this has been on my list of wanting-to-do for a long time. Not sure how difficult it is, or if you can even do it “just like that”, but well… One should never stop dreaming, right?
Kudos to this guy. The wind was very strong and he made it look so easy.

Kite jumping

D800, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 50mm (and quite some PS-ing, the sun was great, but the light for photography terrible)

There are so many ways you can photograph water. But I must admit I was slightly lazy and unmotivated (could be because it actually had been raining for 3 days straight, how’s that for water? πŸ˜‰ ). However, even laziness and lack of motivation can spark some creativity. I set up the flashes next to the tap and let it drip slowly. A little twist on the drop in the water pictures you see come by every now and again.

Focusing is a pain in the ass, and you have to be surprisingly fast with pressing the (remote) shutter. I missed a good few. But I also got a good few nice ones :)

Tap with waterdrop

D800, ISO1600, 1/8000 sec @ f/3.8, 2x off-camera SB-800

Tap with waterdrop

D800, ISO1600, 1/8000 sec @ f/3.8, 2x off-camera SB-800

Some of you may know I have a little project going on, which is… well… abstract. I posted a picture of it a long time ago and I have a separate gallery of the images on my other website.

I thought for the Abstract theme I could find another one for my gallery. And a few extra, too.
Guess I need not say more.

PMS

D800, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 50mm

PMS

D800, ISO100, 1/3 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro

PMS

D800, ISO100, 1/3 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro

Right… Speaking of “out of your comfort zone”. This would be a gross understatement in my case. Strangely, I’m not people-shy. Shy, yes, but not introverted or anything (at least not so much πŸ˜‰ ). But when it comes to walking up to a perfect stranger and asking if I can take his or her portrait… Don’t think so. Chicken right here, if ever there was one! I know I make a cracking portrait if I have to (want to), you can check my portfolio on it. But I need to at least be somehow acquainted to that person or they have to come to me.
“Right,” you say, “go up to a person, make your acquaintance and shoot the damn portrait!”
If only things were that simple… I know, they are, but no, they aren’t. Really…

Anyway… I chickened out on this one, but I got a nice picture for which I wrote the accompanying text as follows:

I had gone to see Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp, and I ran into her on Mannerheimintie just outside Lasipalatsi. She was the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever seen. Jet-black hair, fair, but rather pale skin and the most vivid, stale, green eyes. Not quite as green as her shoes, but very green, nonetheless… There was something in her eyes that beckoned me, pulled me out of the cage of shyness which always prevents me from walking up to a perfect stranger to ask if I can take a picture. She was a natural. And her eyes… My god… I asked her, and she let me. She never took her eyes of me, and I had a hard time taking mine off of her… When I had taken the picture she moved towards me, almost as if she was floating. Then she whispered something in my ear. There was the slightest breath in my neck.
After that I don’t remember much anymore…

Green shoes

D800, ISO6400, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm

A man can dream, right? πŸ˜‰

One of my buddies from the local camera club set up a little 7-day photo challenge for a select group of interested people. It’s always interesting, and challenging (hence the name, I guess), because you get a theme and have stick to it. It may or may not be something you would’ve come up with yourself, and ifΒ  it wasn’t it may (or may not) be something that’ll pull you out of your comfort zone.

And indeed, he had some of those (bless / curse him!). I’ll spare you the self-portrait, that was downright scary. And I’ll spare you a few other ones, too, since in my eyes they didn’t come out as nice as I would’ve liked, but I’ll share my favorites here.

On the theme movement / motion I finally got to do something I had been planning to do already for quite some time, but never came around doing. I’ll go out and shoot some more of these, while I still can, before the terrorism-paranoia comes over here, too, and they won’t allow you to shoot anymore in these locations.
It’s a panorama stitched together from two pictures.

Two subway trains in an underground station

D800, ISO100, 10 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

I took it out for a test run today.
Nothing challenging, but interesting to do nonetheless. On my D700 I have the vertical grip. I haven’t got it on the D800 (yet, primarily because I think the Nikon grip for this camera is ridiculously overpriced at 450+€ + 155€ battery). Having only the standard D800 without battery grip makes it feel rather flimsy when you’re used to the extra grip. But it’s only a matter of time. The LCD is superb. Much better than that of the D700. Even in bright sunlight, which it was today, the image is very good.
In terms of file size it really IS a monster. I’ve never really been the big card kind of guy. Rather have several smaller cards, so IF something happens, you don’t loose too much, but for this little guy you really do need some massive storage. I had a nice 32 gig card for my D700, which fit about 1200 shots on lossless compressed raw. I put this card in the D800, formatted it and I could fit 400 shots. The D700 NEFs are between 12 and 15 meg, the D800 NEFs are between 40 and 50 meg. That’s gonna take a whole lot of storage space…

But in the end it’s worth it, I’m sure.
I’ll do some more testing under more challenging circumstances and see what comes out of this. The first ones are very satisfying. The colors are stunning, straight out of camera.
What I did notice, first thing when I took some test shots out of the box, is that the color of the pictures on screen has turned more yellowish/greenish. On the D700 it’s more reddish. The pictures on my calibrated computer screen are spot-on, though.

Rowing boat in Porvoo

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

100% crop of a detail from the above image

100% crop of a detail from the above image

It took only a month and a half of waiting, but it finally came… I believe words are not necessary…
Me = happy camper! :) :)

Nikon D800

D700, ISO1600, 1/125 sec @ f/3.5, Tamron 90mm macro

Or your jpgs, of course, although if you have a sky as in my original image, there will be no detail left in your jpg.
The discussion raw vs jpg has been beaten to death. Many times over.
“Jpgs look a lot better when they come out of camera!” Of course they do. They are processes IN-camera with either the default settings from when you bought the camera, or the customized settings that you entered. Raw images always look flat and boring when they come out of the camera, because you’re looking at unprocessed data. YOU need to do the post processing, and here’s the good thing: you get to control what’s happening πŸ˜‰
In any case, fact is: raw files contain more data to recover than jpgs, so if you have the time to fuss around in post-processing,Β then do shoot in raw. If your end-goal doesn’t require high resolution and/or high detailed material, and you don’t have too much time on your hands to spend post-processing, you’re better off shooting jpg. Or if you have money to burn on memory cards, shoot both, so you can have the goodies of both worlds.

Street in Tallinn, Estonia

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

The above is the originals. Yes, IS the originals, it’s only one file. It’s a fake HDR, basically. The left image is the original exposure @ 1/125 sec. The right one is the one where I pulled down the exposure slider in Lightroom almost all the way to zero. That gave me just enough detail in the sky to work with (try that with a jpg! πŸ˜‰ ).

I opened both instances in Photoshop and copied the right one onto a new layer.

Photoshop layer palette screenshot

Photoshop layer palette screenshot

First two adjustment layers are to make the sky blue. The rest is for bringing out the colors in the walls and roof of the buildings. The last -curves- adjustment layer is for the street. The top layer was added to straighten the buildings.

Street in Tallinn, Estonia

The end result after the Photoshop work is done.