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Messages - Kernuak

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Going right back to 1994 on my Dad's Praktika (my Zenith was too heavy to take) for the first one, then the second two were with my first DSLR, the 400D. The log cabin is still my most viewed image by a signficant margin.

Software & Accessories / Re: Which CPL filter can you recommend me ?
« on: April 25, 2012, 12:00:59 PM »
Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer is the best out there.

I used the version designed for the Cokin P filter set and miss not being able to use it on my Lee filter set. If the exchange rate was better and it was easier to import I'd get a replacement.

Now that's more like the sort of shot I wanted to see. Judging by that I think I might be happy with my 300 f/2.8 with 2x and the noise control looks like what I'm looking for too. Thanks for the cropped version to see the sharpness.

Macro / Re: I don't normally do a lot of macro....
« on: April 23, 2012, 03:24:32 PM »
...but I like the sharpness of macro lenses.  I have been playing with my new 100mmL macro though:

I'm finding macro work quite fascinating.  None of these are technical masterpieces or anything but just me getting to know it a little better:

Canon 5D mk III EF 100 f/2.8L macro at f/7.1 1/640 ISO 250 handheld

forget-me-nits-with-raindrops by singingsnapper, on Flickr

Same camera/lens, f/8 1/200 ISO 800 handheld

forget-me-nots! by singingsnapper, on Flickr

I found sand particularly fascinating!

f/16 1/40 Handheld ISO 250

sand! by singingsnapper, on Flickr
One thing I like about macro, is that you are often surprised at the small details that you wouldn't normally see. Insects are especially surprising, because you don't normally get the chance to seee them while they are still, but even flowers show up tiny details you would normally overlook and some everyday images can make striking abstracts. I like to use selective focus, rather than worry about the lack of depth of field, I often embrace it to try to be more creative. I've even used the 135mm at near 1:1 and f/2 (using extension tubes) on wood sorrel, where the depth of field is about the thickness of one of the petals. I haven't had a chance to try some more like that, but I intend to.

Black & White / Re: Black and White Landscapes!
« on: April 23, 2012, 03:17:40 PM »
Thank you Lance James, Narcolepsy and Kernuak for your answer, and especially to Kernuak for you very informative step by step answer. I will try this. Just a quick question.. Do you do these changes in Raw or in Photoshop? And if yes, is there a difference? The book I am trying to read on Photoshop by Martin Evening gives me the impression that 90% can be done in Raw, and that PS is for tweaking?

I like the crop you did, also by cropping the movement of the people in the shot becomes more eye stopping.

Narcolepsy: Thanks for converting the image. It looks almost like a silver print, but that can be my monitor on my laptop. Looking forward to see it on my monitor at work tomorrow.


And also sorry about the posting of a peoples shot in this thread, but I got carried away when I saw knowledgeable people in this area.
For colour, the vast majority of my processing is done in the Raw file, often with just a curves adjustment (and maybe adjustment of the shadows) in Photoshop. However, for black and white, I think you need to do alot more work in Photoshop than you would for colour (some colour images really benefit from it too). For B&W, I tend to make any adjustments to exposure (usually less than 2/3 stop for the whole image, otherwise I reshoot at the time) and do any highlight and shadow recovery that may be needed. I then play around with the highlights, lights, darks and shadows sliders in the tone curve until it looks right, both on the screen and in the histogram. I add any gradients in the Raw image if needed too, mainly to reduce the exposure in the sky (assuming it isn't blown after the highlight recovery), but sometimes to make up to a stop increase in the foreground. I tend to shoot to the right, as I'm using the 5D MkII for landscapes and the few portraits I do, which I find reacts better to highlight detail recovery than shadow detail (also it suits my workflow better). Using the grad tool in Lightroom means I don't have to worry about masks in PS. Any easy dust spots, I'll clean up in the Raw image, but it's much easier to clean up the image in Photoshop, as the spot repair tool in Lightroom is very clunky. I sometimes do some spot exposure corrections, but otherwise I export to Photoshop at that point. I then do a curves adjustment (and again adjust the shadows if needed, either in the tone curve or levels/shadows tool) and any other processing I think the image warrants, which is for a small number of images. For the colour version of Groynes, I did very little work in Photoshop, beyond curves and clean up, but I used the dodge and burn tools for the B&W to enhance the textures in the wood, sky and beach.
Btw, I agree with Jettatore about needing more whites. There aren't many snow images that work well in B&W though, but those that do, tend to be high key images, with perhaps a simple area of black, like a lone tree with nice branches. Try increasing the original exposure by around 1.5-2 stops before converting to see what you think.

Black & White / Re: Black & White
« on: April 22, 2012, 04:59:01 PM »
Goat portrait for an owner
I'm not one for toning normally, but it works well with the narrow depth of field.

Black & White / Re: Black and White Landscapes!
« on: April 22, 2012, 04:51:58 PM »
I agree. Editing photos in B&W and in color have a totally different feel. I think B&W really makes you look at your photo and decide what you want to be the main focus and create some contrast so your vision is clear. In the first 2 I was so focused on creating a balance between the rocks and the water that I may have overlooked the overcast sky. I would have really liked a sky like your first and last photos with the amazing clouds but mother nature had her own plans. Great dynamic range tip!
You say about the sky and it isn't ideal, but I think just like you say you overlooked the sky, I think you can make the viewer over look it too. You have some nice strong shapes with the rocks and good movement in the water, those can be powerful elements, if you can make the most of them. You're lacking real blacks in your first two images as they are, but they are there, you just need to bring them out. Do that and they will draw the eye much more. Hopefully you shot in raw, so that you can create a 16 bit tiff. Follow something similar to what I described in my previous post, but concentrate on dodging and burning the rocks, making the midtones darker, then do the same for the texture in the sea, but this time make the lights lighter and the darks darker, to further accentuate the textures you have there. For the third image, the forground is a little subdued, but add a gradient to the lower part and increase the exposure (basically an upside down gradient, with the strongest change at the bottom), by something like half to a full stop. You then have something you can play with in the tiff. You have some cloud textures in the sky to bring out as well as the textures in the rocks and sea. This will almost certainly work well starting with a green filter in the black and white layer. You could do something simimlar with the fourht one, except that it doesn't need the gradient. The last one is almost there, but you've lost all the detail in the bottom left corner, so if you can increase the exposure in that area, not too much, but enough to see the detail.

Black & White / Re: Black and White Landscapes!
« on: April 22, 2012, 04:41:26 PM »
As for your shot, I don't do alot of portraiture, but my first instinct is that it is too wide. For me, there aren't enough strong focal points for black and white. Not many posed shots work well in B&W, particularly groups, although the real masters can make some amazing images in the studio, but they do that with the aid of perfect lighting, often with large areas of almost complete shadow. In your scene, you don't have that luxury, as you had to go with what you had. I would be tempted to crop in closer, as the areas around the group aren't adding to the image and it puts the whole group dead centre. To start with, try cropping more on one side than the other to see if it works, as it may not. I think you do need to go in quite a bit closer though.

See what you think of the attached crop.

Black & White / Re: Black and White Landscapes!
« on: April 22, 2012, 04:33:49 PM »
Great shots. I wondered if you both have some tips for how to make the b&w to pop out more? What I do now is I convert my photos to b&w in photoshop, then adjust the different color information, then add a contrast/brightness (basically pushing the contrast a bit up and a bit more brightness).

I am enclosing a shot I took of a group of people (the shot is taken approx. 100meters away with 5D II, and 70-200 IS II and a 2x extender III. The first is how it was originally with color, the second I have converted to b&w trying to make the subjects pop more out.

Feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks Gerhard. I tend to dabble in black and white, rather than specialise in it. As I said, there are a number of different ways to do the conversions. Obviously the simplest method is to switch to B&W mode on your camera. However, that rarely works well for digital. Digital films were developed over decades to produce the look that the classics, such as Ilford or the likes of Ansel Adams, digital just doesn't have that pedigree, so it has to be done in another way. When B&W film was used, different filters were used for different scenes, to highlight certain colours. That may seem strange, but to get the rich tones, you need the strong colours to start with. Digital is no different in that regard and often increasing the saturation before conversion can be the key, even if it means saturating to the point where it looks garish and horrible in colour. I often do a quick conversion first to see if it has anywhere to run, just to get a feel for how it might look with some work. Once I start though, I tend to add a curves adjustment layer and change it to strong contrast, that has the side effect of saturating the colours, at least in appearance anyway, it also deepens the shadow areas, which will give you good strong blacks after conversion. I then add a black and white layer and try the different filter presets to see which one I think works best for the scene; often that turns out to be the green filter. I then move the different colour sliders backwards and forwards until I get closer to the look I want. Once i have done that, I then think about whether any areas need further work. I may adjust the shadows and/or highlights or add a levels layer and adjust that way. Finally, for some images, particularly the first, third and last, I start dodging and burning specific areas to further increase the contrast between different textures. I did this for the sky areas on the Groynes image and for the clouds and rocks in the last two.
Not every image works in black and white and it is a very rare image that works equally well in colour and B&W. The key to a B&W image is top break it down to a simple level. If you are looking to convey a mood, then get it right and B&W will add the wow factor. Strong shapes and textures also work well. If you have rotting wood with strong textures, like in the groynes, that is a bonus, but anything that you can bring out with subtle micro-contrasts will work. |Triangular shapes also work well, so some triangular rocks also add a statement. However, while strong textures, shapes and contrasts are the obvious choice, don't rule out misty scenes, they may lack the textures, but with the right composition, there is a real mood there.

Black & White / Re: Black and White Landscapes!
« on: April 22, 2012, 03:59:59 AM »
Thanks Girod. I think B&W is a very personal thing. There are so many ways to convert (beyond actually shooting in B&W) and so many different treatments that they can be given within the conversion techniques, they can look completely different. I tend to like the high contrast moody look, with deep shadows, although too many shadows and you lose the impact. I usually struggle with light skies in B&W for some reason, my eyes (or brain) always expect to see a dark sky and that influences my processing. For that reason, although your first too have a real sense of movement and are therefore probably better technically/artistically, I'm drawn more towards your third. Regardless of techniques though, the key is definitely a full dynamic range, then you can accentuate whichever parts are strongest. If a bright sky or waterfall is the dominant element, then some supporting shadows will make it stand out more and vice versa.

Landscape / Re: shots feedback
« on: April 21, 2012, 10:32:32 AM »
You have some nice shots there, but some specific comments. If you shot in raw, try to recover some of the highlights on the first one, as I think there could be some more detail there. For the coal tit shot, I would crop on the right to the curving tree trunk and may be crop some of the bottom as well; you could also play around with some crops with the blue tit as well, although I don't think that image is as strong. Other comments would be to be careful of clipping the tops of buildings and try not to crop too tight on the sides, but some of the deliberate tight crops of the statues works well.
My favourites are probably Bridging the Water and the second Eckelrade shot; the use telephoto on Eckelrade, with the simple composition works well.

5D MK III Sample Images / Re: 5D MK III Images
« on: April 21, 2012, 10:22:11 AM »
Some macro shots of the first blooms of spring!

See more here:
Nice use of selective focus, it's a technique I like using. I like the last one especially.

5D MK III Sample Images / Re: 5D MK III Images
« on: April 21, 2012, 10:21:11 AM »

I don't know what it is, but there's something about this shot. It's so simple, yet it stands out.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Birds with attitude
« on: April 21, 2012, 05:30:40 AM »

Chaffinch on PIne by Kernuak, on Flickr

Carrion Crow by Kernuak, on Flickr

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