Breaking the Rules

by Alex Brown 30. April 2011 16:15
Cowslip Meadow
Cowslip Meadow

 

You are supposed not to transition from an out-of-focus foreground into an in-focus background, or blow your highlights. Although (using my new old camera) I could have retrieved all the highlights in the sky, I decided a notch of pure white actually looked more effective. The Topaz Adjust “dramatic” filter has been applied the sky too, which risks making parts of it darker than the lit grass (another non-no).

Oh well …

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Rolleiflexes

by Alex Brown 14. March 2010 18:13
Rolleiflexes

My father-in-law, possibly amused by watching me dick around with a DSLR and laptop over the weekend, decided to dig his camera equipment out of storage

These are the cameras he used, over three decades, to take the pictures for his magnum opus (so becoming the first non-Russian to be awarded the Russian Academy of Fine Arts’ gold medal). He asserted he'd always been pleased with Rolleiflex ...

The episode has a useful pay-off ... it established with my wife a new baseline for the number of cameras it is reasonable for a man to own :-)

Christmas Fairy

by Alex Brown 23. December 2009 18:53

Wonder what she is wishing for?

Merry Xmas everybody!

Return to Wicken Fen

by Alex Brown 22. October 2009 16:22
Windpump and Sky

Last year I made an autumn photo trip to Wicken Fen; and this morning decided, seeing the light, to have a repeat visit. It was more sombre today, but quite interesting in a muted way I think.

These are three-photo images tone-mapped from HDR with Photomatix.


Guardian of the Fens

What Colour are Rose Hips?

by Alex Brown 9. August 2009 11:34

I have been using a Nikon D300 now for six months, and one of the characteristics I have had to get to grips with is its default colour handling: out of the camera the colours can be a touch “zingy” to my eyes – in an effort to replicate the classic Fuji Velvia look, the colours processing gives very rich yellows, but this has the side effect of making reds somewhat orangey.

Here is a picture of some rose hips:

Rose Hips #1

In real life to my eye it seemed that the central rose hip had no orangeyness to its red; the upper rose hip had just a touch of orange. But, out-of-the camera, the colour rendition here differs from what I saw: the tints are much more orange.

One solution to this lies in the dark art of RAW conversion. Many photographers roll their eyes at this business – it can require a lot of time farting around with post processing software rather than taking more photos. However, I quite like farting around with software, so am quite happy to experiment.

For RAW conversion I use the fabulous DxO Optics Pro package. This offers a host of options for converting the RAW image into a JPEG, and it has to be said that some of these (such as chromatic aberration fixing) are now finding their ways into camera bodies. However, this software still offers quite a bit more flexibility and, in particular, will fix lens distortion for certain camera/lens bodies which have been analysed.

Another useful feature is the ability to control colour rendering. Want to give your Nikon D300 pictures the look of a Canon 40D? No problem – just specify it.

For Nikon users, a DxO user by the name of Andy_F has developed some RAW conversion presets specifically targeted at correcting the colour conversion of recent Nikon bodies. The result of using one of these to process the original RAW file give this result:

Rose Hips #2

Which is much closer to what I think I saw.

Even better though is Andy_F’s “landscape” preset, which attempts some detail recovery from the image:

Rose Hips #3

The Cam at Dawn

by Alex Brown 14. June 2009 18:24
At Granchester
At Granchester
Originally uploaded by alexbrn

Another in my ongoing attempt to photograph the Cam at Grantchester in the early morning. Here is was at 05:17 this morning. One day I might catch "it" right..

Dew Daisy

by Alex Brown 25. May 2009 19:09
Dew Daisy
Dew Daisy
Originally uploaded by alexbrn

Really enjoying the capabilities of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G. Thoroughly recommended for all Nikon DX shooters.

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Chasing the Light

by Alex Brown 23. May 2009 11:16

Before dawn things didn't look auspicious in Oxfordshire this morning - it seemed likely to be one of those days which start with a succession of gradually lighter grays. But suddenly, past five o'clock the sun blazed out a lovely yellow. There was mist in the valleys and everything looked resplendent.

I hopped in the car and drove looking for a vantage point, but failed to find one. It was as if one could be in the beauy, but never on top of it. Not for the first time I thought a big step ladder would help to photograph the English countryside, whose hedgrerows are often in just the wrong places. Still, walking round in the early morning with a ladder is likely to look a bit suspicious.

Finally, I stopped in Churchill to photograph the church; and behind, a glimpse of the light in the next valley. Next time I will need to plan better.


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