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Messages - chasinglight

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Photography Technique / Re: Can you share your workflow?
« on: March 11, 2014, 04:04:14 PM »
My workflow is probably very similar to others:

1) Transfer photos from card to system drive (SSD) via transcend usb 3.0 card reader
2) Import photos directly in to lightroom
3) review photos - ranking them
    - reject (bad photo, missed focus, unusable)
    - 0 stars (eh ....maybe)
    - 3 stars (good potential)
    - 5 stars (THE shot)
4) develop 3 and 5 star photos (if photos are similar then I will develop in bulk; i.e. sync). also sometimes I do these steps in a slightly different order...depending on what the image is screaming for.

    a) apply lens correction and remove CA
    b) adjust exposure if neccessary
    c) adjust WB to taste
    d) make coarse changes to highlights and shadows
    e) make local adjustments with gradient or brush tool
    f) boomify (add contrast with tone curve
    g) add saturation or vibrance for pop if necessary
    h) remove color noise
    i) add vignette to taste if the picture needs it
    j) edit in photo shop and apply sharpening (either unsharp mask, smart sharpen, or high pass) (locally or globally) depending on type of image. Not all images require additional sharpening.
       for portraits that need it at this time I would also whiten teeth, remove distracting objects, blemishes, etc
    k) save - export
5) move folder in lightroom to data HDD for long term storage.

oh and for any "localized" adjustments I use a wacom tablet. I can't say enough good things about having a tablet, that really improved my post processing.

For panos I will use PS CS6 if they are simple. If they are tricky then huggin.
For HDR (which I rarely use) I will use PS CS6 or photomatix

I have tried other 3rd party programs such as the Topaz suite and the nik suite and others...I find that I can get everything I need within LR and PS...other programs just complicate things too much, though I have seen fantastic results from others.

like I said I doubt this is too different from most, but hope this helps!

Photography Technique / Re: Perspective correction
« on: December 29, 2013, 02:06:15 PM »
Give huggin a try. It is my goto perspective correction/pano stitcher tool. It takes a few minutes to figure out how to use it, but it is very powerful and very accurate and free! http://hugin.sourceforge.net

I love this one. The snowy background really sets the scene and the perspective is very interesting. How did you get that perspective?

USAF MC-130 Talon II

thanks! I really love that shot. I attribute it good timing and the quick reflexes of my 7D! I also have a shot from that burst of them when they are exactly crossing each other, but this one shows much better.

Here are a few from the Chicago Air and Water Show.

Great pictures. The meeting of two planes left me with a shiver down the spine.

Here are a few from the Chicago Air and Water Show.

_7D_0147 by ChasingLight31, on Flickr

_7D_0030 by ChasingLight31, on Flickr

_7D_9568-Edit by ChasingLight31, on Flickr

IMG_9099 by ChasingLight31, on Flickr

IMG_9294 by ChasingLight31, on Flickr

IMG_9207-Edit by ChasingLight31, on Flickr

Canon General / Re: Help design a time lapse rig
« on: August 31, 2013, 11:44:52 PM »
I have always been tempted to buy a time laspe dolly/rail system, but have been discouraged for 2 reasons. 1) cost 2) bulk (most places I envision using this are not in my back yard!). If you could bring the cost down I would definitely be interested in playing around with one of these systems. Moreover if you could reduce bulk (break down the rails to shorter pieces, but still assemble to a full size kit) without compromising stability then I think you would really be onto something that no one would have an excuse not to try!

Lenses / Re: Which L Lens to start with?
« on: August 26, 2013, 02:14:30 PM »
Whilst the 70-200 f/2.8 v2 is a magical lens on full frame, somehow, as someone else mentioned, it doesn't really gel on a crop body.

This is my experience exactly. I shoot with the 7D and out of all my lenses the 70-200 is the least used. As said before it is either too long inside or too short outside (really awkward to use); however, when the focal length is just right it is a magical lens. The ONLY reason I haven't sold it is because I intend to to upgrade to FF relatively soon...but for the time being it mostly stays at home in its protective case.

In my experience, my first lens was the 18-135 (non STM). This was a good lens, but I did see a very noticeable improvement in IQ when I upgraded it to the 15-85. The 15-85 is my most used lens for everything but birding. The 50 1.8 as cheap as it is is great for low light photography. And the 100-400 is pretty good for birding.

so my recommendation would be a 15-85 for general photography (people, places, and things) and if you want to take your wildlife photography to the next level look at the 100-400 or the 400 5.6.

Forgot to mention this.... Turn IS off on your lens or it will become part of your soundtrack.... Or better yet, get an external mike, or take a phone, get a sound recording app, and let it sit by the people and mix it in at production time.

Thanks for all of the advice!!
I have the Rode videomic I keep on the shoe....I got a Rode stereo mic, if I had help I'd set that up too maybe...

On the other hand, I'm guessing this will mostly end up a montage with music over it...so, sound likely not that big a deal.

I'm meeting with the organizer this weekend to see what's exactly expected. this is a non-paying gig for charity.

On rental lenses....what would be the best to get?

85  f/1.2?  50 f/1.2?

I have the 85 f/1.8...so, should I got for renting the 50 f/1.5....

I was hoping since my 17-40mm, while being f/4...would still be usable at the wider angles...?

Thanks for all the advice so far.


I know he rode video mic is a well regarded mic, but please be aware that if you are in a noisy area, like a bar, it's not much better that the built in mic unless its on a boom pole..meaning it won't get the job done. Moreover as someone else said, beware of IS noise, the rode video mic mounted to the hot show WILL pick it up; make no mistake!.  If money is an issue get yourself a cheap wired lav mic like the audiotechnica; believe me it will make a world of difference!

EOS Bodies / Re: EOS 7D Mark II Basic Specs [CR2]
« on: August 07, 2013, 09:07:32 PM »
Unless, 7D II has super battery - I just don't see 12fps. It will be slower than 1D X. 10fps is fast enough for outdoor sports camera

My take:
1. 10fps
2. 51-61pts AF system
3. Solid body
4. Half stop better in high ISO over current crop cameras - useable at 1600ISO

That would only be enough for me to upgrade IFF the IQ is better, inclusive of fixing the noisy sky issue.

Hi, I am a hobbiest. I shoot portraits, events, wildlife, and landscape. I should almost exclusively in manual mode, though occasionally in Av or Tv. I do change focus points on the 7D pretty often.  Once I made the switch to back button focus I have not looked back. Honestly my biggest concern with the switch was that if I hand someone else the camera then they would not be able to operate the camera...but since I never really hand my camera over to others that's not a big deal.

Bottom line is its very doable. You don't need extra fingers. It's not like you are changing focus points and auto focusing at the same time... You can still change the shutter and ISO with your pointer finger,  and its not a big deal to stop focusing for a moment to change the aperture.

It's already cheaper than the 5DII when it was at it's lowest. Can't see it dropping much lower than the $1500 zone. Am sure there will be some deals on ebay now and again. Personally I would buy it at $1200, that would make me sell my 5D2.

So I guess your gonna buy a 6D then? $1233 at digitalmonster. I have been very tempted. http://www.digitalmonster.com/Canon_EOS_6D_20_Megapixel_Digital_SLR_Camera_-_Body_Only_2616.html

Animal Kingdom / Re: Bird Photography Critique/Tips
« on: July 24, 2013, 10:53:27 AM »
Anyways, have a look at how painters portray birds.  Painters are interesting because the artist can pose and frame birds in any way imaginable - So they are free to choose the most aesthetically pleasing options.  It is really interesting to ponder "Why did they choose to do that?".  As one suggestion, John Audubon's Birds of America (http://www.lib.umich.edu/audubon-room/pictureit-rare-book-reader) is good to look at.

Art inspires art! (Though I I don't think of myself as an artist..more of a chronographer)

Your other advice is great too. If you think about it, if your goal is just to fill the frame with bird then your aim must be ultimate sharpness, but as you said if you step back an think about the whole scene, then you can achieve some stunning results as well. I recently photographed a great egret flying into the sunset. Unfortunately the bird is a little soft, but it still yeilded an interesting photograph. Ill try to post it when I get home.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Bird Photography Critique/Tips
« on: July 23, 2013, 11:56:17 PM »

I'd say that is a good practice. If you are anything like me, you will know when your gear is holding you back. I also have the 100-400. I think the 7D is a fine camera, produces great IQ in most circumstances (which for my bird photography is usually in good to evening light, ISO 200 - 1600), and has great features that support bird photography. The 100-400, when properly tuned with AFMA, produces acceptably sharp images most of the time. It should be noted that at 400mm, f/7.1 tends to be the sharpest, while f/5.6 will be visibly soft. Before getting my new lens, I shot at f/7.1 almost exclusively, sometimes stopping down to f/8 and rarely opening up to f/6.3.

I would tune your lens for your copy of the 7D, and start shooting at f/7.1. You should see individual barbs of each feather (a feather is a central shaft, on either side of which is a vane of barbes, which are interconnected via barbules off each barb...you will RARELY see barbules in a photo, but in an acceptably sharp photo, you should see barbs.) There are three things that will soften the barbs of a birds feathers...distance too great, missfocus, bird motion or camera shake. Distance is usually the biggest problem early on. Depending on the type of bird, either learning the right behavior to exhibit that gets you close, or camouflaging yourself to hide in plain side, are was of solving that problem.

Thanks for the advice (all of it, not just what I quoted). I have seen my copy of the 100-400 produce much sharper images than this (such as the one below; AFMA 0). I think actually took this shot of the eastern screech owl at f/7.1. I think I actually started to notice more inconsistency after I used Focal to AFMA the lens a few months ago; this produced a -3. I performed Focal a few times today getting -3, 3, and 1. So I decided to go back to 0 and see how that works out.... could be that I was just trying to over sharpen the knife and instead made it dull...

Animal Kingdom / Re: Bird Photography Critique/Tips
« on: July 23, 2013, 11:03:26 AM »

Sure there are many "better" lenses, but the one he has is capable of much higher quality output. Why not move forwards with what we have, the 100-400 and PS, than spend other peoples money when there are basic techniques we can suggest to improve our skills and output that would need work even if he had a 600 f4 IS MkII.

For the record I think this is great advice. I want to learn to get everything out of the gear I have before I plunk down 4-12k. I would hate to upgrade and still get not stellar results solely because I don't have the proper knowledge or skills.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Bird Photography Critique/Tips
« on: July 23, 2013, 10:53:03 AM »

One of the most important things in bird photography, more so than composition IMO, is head angle. You want the bird to engage the viewer...do a HA where the bill is 3-4 degrees inward towards the viewer tends to be best. Parallel to the sensor is ok, too. More than 5-7 degrees, and your getting into more specialized territory...it can work, but often not as well as a slighter angle. Any angle outward, away from the viewer, and the photo quickly loses its appeal, with a few exceptions (i.e a parent feeding a chick, where the parent may be facing slightly away.)

Once you get HA down, then worry about composition. ;) BTW, I should note that the HA in your posted photo is a good example of GOOD HA...so keep striving for that. I think as long as HA is good, explicitly following the "rules" of composition is less important (especially since they are guidelines, not rules, in the first place.)

Wow that is the first time I have read that, but it makes sense. I will try to make use of that. Thanks for the advice!

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