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Messages - Brendon

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1
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon responds: The New & Revolutionary Canon EOS 75D !!
« on: October 24, 2013, 08:34:32 AM »
As long as the 75d has a "direct print" button, I'm sure people will buy it ;-)

2
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 70D Announced
« on: July 02, 2013, 07:27:47 AM »
This is some very exciting stuff...if the autofocus is as good as some of the videos on the net in all situations this could make mainstream use of DSLRs for video a reality. 

I'm very interested to see what the Magic Lantern guys will be able to come up with now that every pixel is a potential autofocus site.  Automated full frame focus stacking?  For those talking about RAW video on the 70d, you can probably count that out due to the write speeds of SD cards.

Personally, I couldn't give up full frame for a primary camera but look forward to this technology making it into the 5D series even though that may take years.  One thing is for sure though...the EOS M Mark II just got a lot more interesting!

3
+1 for the updated 16-35.  Give me something close to the 35 1.4 color, contrast, sharpness and distortion at the narrow end.  Let the distortion go at 16mm since everything normally looks distorted because of the perspective anyway. 

I've started using the 16-35 regularly at weddings for dance floor photos during the reception.  I like the fact that I can get the 35 mm if I want to move in and just get a couple dancing...I wouldn't be able to do this well at 24mm.  My only real gripe is that it just doesn't have the color and contrast of the 35 prime.  I can forgive some corner softness (there is a lot of it now) but the "pop" just isn't there.

6
Street & City / Re: Your best street shots of any kind.
« on: May 09, 2013, 03:12:22 PM »
A few from my trip to Italy last year:


Italy-0027-2 by Raraigh Photography, on Flickr


Italy-0033 by Raraigh Photography, on Flickr


Italy-0220 by Raraigh Photography, on Flickr


Italy-0562 by Raraigh Photography, on Flickr

7
Portrait / Re: Pretty bad...
« on: April 22, 2013, 09:13:57 AM »
Ok, I agree that the posted photos are bad but we have no idea what the rest of the photos look like from the event.  At a minimum this photographer is guilty of not properly culling and post processing his/her photos. For instance, the pic with the umbrella has a very good expression on the brides face and the photo would actually be a good one if it were cropped to lose the trash can. 

I know photographers willing to shoot a wedding and only post process a small number of photos while handing over the raw or large jpg for ALL of the photos during the day.  If that is what happened here then it's pretty ridiculous on the part of the wedding couple because they don't understand how things work.  If the photographer handed over all of the day's photos then it's pretty normal if 50% are out of focus, eyes shut, bad expressions, someone stepping into the frame, or need something cropped out.  It looks to me like the pictures haven't been processed at all so it leads me to believe this is the case. 

8
Lenses / Re: 50mm: Wich one?
« on: March 27, 2013, 04:18:22 PM »
I have shot with Canon 50mm 1.4, Sigma 50mm 1.4 and the Canon 50mm 1.2 and can say that the latter two are in a different league.  I was disappointed with the canon 1.4 from many perspectives.  If you have the money, the best solution is the Canon 1.2...it just has some extra contrast and color...aka "pop"...to the photos but the Sigma is a solid performer. 

Have had a Sigma 50mm 1.4 for several years now and always had problems with it on my 50d.  Despite tweaking the AFMA I could never seem to get it right and the autofocus would simply miss at anything wider than f2. 

On my (still new to me) 5Diii it's night and day.  Adjusted the AFMA and have been shooting away since with great results.  I have shot several weddings now with the lens (didn't dare use it for weddings before) and have had good success with both servo and one shot autofocus. 

I second the notion that sigma update the 50mm 1.4 to join the art line, the 35mm 1.4 has gotten great reviews! 




9
Given that with the latest tax changes we are about $1200 poorer every month, I do not believe I'll be buying anything. :(

I would say that sucks, but if you are loosing $1200 a month to a 2% tax increase I don't feel sorry for you.

10
Can you explain which brush you are using to desaturate the skin tones only? Thanks in advance.

I don't use a brush although you could.  It would take way too long when editing a large batch of photos.  I use the HSL panel and click the little dot to the left of to panel title...either Saturation or Luminescence.  If you hover over it you get "Adjust Saturation/Luminescence/Hue by dragging in the photo".  Click this then the skin tone and then push the mouse up or down.  This is a global adjustment.  This is also a handy trick for increasing the brightness of skin if it's in a shadow. 

Again, these are global changes to the picture so you always have to be on the lookout for instances when something else in the photo is adversely affected. 

11
I find that the "camera calibration" settings for my 5diii are best on neutral when shooting scenes with skin tones in them.  You will have to add some contrast back into the scene after changing this but it's worth it.

I find that scenes with skin tones are the most difficult to adjust.  Here is my work flow for wedding photos:

1) Get the skin exposure right with the exposure slider
2) Get the color temp, this is often the hardest one of the bunch!
3) Adjust the white and black sliders while holding down the cntrl key so that whites are pure white and blacks are pure black.  This kind of stretches the DR a bit and adds contrast.
4) I will usually bump the vibrance up to 40-50 and the saturation to 10-15 to start.  Doing this screws up the skin tones so I will go into the color saturation panel and use the dropper to click on the skin and draw down the saturation of just the skin tones.  (I have a couple of presets for this and will tweak the presets for each wedding couple)  This process adds the "pop" to the colors.
5) Add a little bit of contrast.  You can do this with the slider but I find that adjusting the curve to an S curve is more natural.  (just use the pre-programed curves)  The amount of contrast is going to depend on the lighting and on your lens.
6) Tweak the white and black sliders again to get the final effect i'm looking for.
7) Tweak the noise reduction with the picture at 100%

Obviously I jump around these steps and use a little different settings based on lighting but for a "standard" picture this is basically it.  Some might say that colors (particularly reds) become too saturated using these settings so you have to adjust for the scene but most people today are looking for the photos that "pop" rather than a very natural look.

FYI, I also use a 50d for weddings and the settings are totally different for it.  The tones are rendered very differently between the two cameras.  Most of the photos I take with the 50d end up as black and whites.

I used to hate Adobe colours but they have come a long way in the last few years especially (as mentioned) adding camera profiles. When I compare DPP set to faithful and LR to faithful on my screen I find they are pretty close. Adobe is still a little stronger on the yellow but much improved.

For skin tones I use a simple preset. I first make sure I'm on faithful adjust exposure (if needed) and my preset is

Clarity - 10
Vibrance +10
Saturation - 10

I then adjust black do get back that contrast/punch lost in my preset and make slight adjustments on the basic panel as required. Now you do lose a little sharpness but it really smooths out the skin tones and hides minor defects. Depending on how much editing you have to do you can do a little selective sharpening around the eyes, etc but for mass edits it is impractical unless you want to spend all that time. I will do it if really necessary but I find the output sharpening using LR does a pretty good job at the end.

I have seen some work amazing work by people. Not sure what PP software they use but they get the skin tones so natural and creamy looking. I'll try to find a link if can. I'm still trying to figure that one out.       

I am interested in step 4 of your process. I might play with that after my process to add a little more punch to my images if I can get the skin tones back to where they were.

Thanks for the info!                 

Quasimodo and Digital Paradise - I apologize for not getting back more quickly to your questions, here is an example of the technique...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/braraigh/8323601145/#in/set-72157632377172935

Beware that these settings work best in consistent lighting situations like cloudy days.  If you get color temperature differences (indoor shots) you won't be able to use the high levels of vibrance because it will bring out the purples and particularly greens from mixed lighting.  I drop the vibrance down 8-10 for indoor situations.

12
I find that the "camera calibration" settings for my 5diii are best on neutral when shooting scenes with skin tones in them.  You will have to add some contrast back into the scene after changing this but it's worth it.

I find that scenes with skin tones are the most difficult to adjust.  Here is my work flow for wedding photos:

1) Get the skin exposure right with the exposure slider
2) Get the color temp, this is often the hardest one of the bunch!
3) Adjust the white and black sliders while holding down the cntrl key so that whites are pure white and blacks are pure black.  This kind of stretches the DR a bit and adds contrast.
4) I will usually bump the vibrance up to 40-50 and the saturation to 10-15 to start.  Doing this screws up the skin tones so I will go into the color saturation panel and use the dropper to click on the skin and draw down the saturation of just the skin tones.  (I have a couple of presets for this and will tweak the presets for each wedding couple)  This process adds the "pop" to the colors.
5) Add a little bit of contrast.  You can do this with the slider but I find that adjusting the curve to an S curve is more natural.  (just use the pre-programed curves)  The amount of contrast is going to depend on the lighting and on your lens.
6) Tweak the white and black sliders again to get the final effect i'm looking for.
7) Tweak the noise reduction with the picture at 100%

Obviously I jump around these steps and use a little different settings based on lighting but for a "standard" picture this is basically it.  Some might say that colors (particularly reds) become too saturated using these settings so you have to adjust for the scene but most people today are looking for the photos that "pop" rather than a very natural look.

FYI, I also use a 50d for weddings and the settings are totally different for it.  The tones are rendered very differently between the two cameras.  Most of the photos I take with the 50d end up as black and whites. 

13
Underwater / Re: Advice on inexpensive underwater system
« on: December 20, 2012, 09:28:24 AM »
Question about strobes - do I need them for snorkeling?  My assumption was they are only really necessary for diving - for snorkeling there is enough light from above the water.

If you are interested in nothing but snorkeling, I have had good luck with my Sony TX20 without a housing at all.  Just make sure that you clean and oil the orings before you go and NEVER take the camera to the beach as a grain of sand will kill it.  Unfortunately, this is true with any underwater camera.  It was definitely nerve wracking the first time I tried it but even free diving ~10 feet I didn't have any issues and the camera has a built in red filter that helps if the sun is behind a cloud.  Biggest problem is that the touch screen doesn't work under water. 

Stewart - All great advice and love the clown fish pics!

14
Underwater / Re: Advice on inexpensive underwater system
« on: December 19, 2012, 03:53:05 PM »
I have done quite a bit of underwater photography over the years.  Unfortunately not much during the last few due to other expenses in life.  My family started underwater photography in the film days and have gone through many iterations....

Point and shoot (film)
Dedicated Underwater film P&S w/ strobe (Sea & Sea)
Digital P&S with small housing
Added slave strobe
Digital SLR (canon 20D) w/ Ikelite housing and DS50 strobes
Upgraded with macro port
Upgraded strobes to DS125 and upgraded to buoyancy arm sets
Upgraded to 8 in dome port
Next????  Maybe a housing for my 5Diii????

As you can see, there have been many trials and tribulations over the years of getting something that did the job but just didn't quite meet expectations.  The film cameras were disasters and ridiculously expensive because of all the film  The digital P&S just didn't get the image quality we wanted and the slave flashes were hokey at best.  Finally with the Ikelite housing and the smaller strobes we had a good macro setup with a sigma 50 mm macro (easily the sharpest lens in my bag among lots of L glass).   The DS125s allow us to graduate to more wide angle work.  We still keep the digital P&S around for shooting movies. 

I have given talks at local dive clubs and other places about underwater photography and I generally give people this advice.  If you own a P&S and can pick up a housing for it or even get an entire used setup on ebay then do this first.  DO NOT spend a ton of money on a setup like this.  I know many people that enjoy diving but hate underwater photography because it "takes the fun out" of diving. If you like underwater photography, don't try to "trick out" a P&S setup...but if the quality bothers you jump straight to the DSLR.

If you know how to run a DSLR and are picky about using above water because of the quality differences then make the investment and get the underwater housing for it with some good strobes.  I will stress GET GOOD STROBES that have TTL capability.  The bigger the better as you will quickly find yourself selling small ones if you want to shoot wide angle!  Run the camera in manual with 125/s and vary the aperture while letting the TTL do the work for you.  If you are trying to take pictures of fish, it's impossible to change the exposure (or flash) settings as they swimming around. 

Get a good macro lens and appropriate flat port.  You will quickly find yourself covering 100 sq ft of a reef in an entire dive with a macro lens.  If you want to do the over/under pictures like you mentioned, you are going to need an 8 inch dome port.  A little tip for the over under shots is to rain-x your port so that the water sheets off on the above water side.

Here are some photos of the equipment we use now minus the 8 inch dome port...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/braraigh/sets/72157619717802441/

And some of the results...nothing awe inspiring but good enough to cover an entire wall in my house
http://www.flickr.com/photos/braraigh/sets/72157619165504088/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/braraigh/sets/72157618955549992/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/braraigh/sets/72157621706718188/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/braraigh/sets/72157608598935019/

I'm happy to give more tips and advice if you have specific questions.

Brendon

15
I too have seen this issue but get around it 99% of the time by using servo focus.  With moving subjects at wedding receptions, this is often the better approach anyway.  You certainly have to move the autofocus point around and can't recompose once locked.  This seems to work better with my sigma 50mm 1.4 than it does with the 70-200 presumably because of the extra light at max aperture. 

My personal opinion is that using servo in this fashion is still much better than the hit or miss focus of my 50d even with the assist light.  It was like rolling the dice with the 50d when focusing with the 50 1.4.

In summary...this issue is painful, but not a showstopper for wedding photography. 

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