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Messages - dafrank

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16
Lenses / My answer
« on: March 27, 2013, 09:48:58 AM »
I too once had a 17-40 f/4.0 for a while, then bought the 16-35 f/2.8 version II. I use the lens quite frequently, mostly for architectural work - both interiors and exteriors - as well as many outdoor environments, and any time I need the either the extreme wide angle to cover my subject at close quarters, or to achieve a desired exagerrated "perspective" look to my picture. I usually use it only from about 16 to 28mm, because my version is not very good at 35mm and I have other, better lenses at that focal length. The center resolution is wonderful for an extreme wide angle zoom, and I find the lens excellent, except in the far corners where the uneven plane of focus, gives somewhat unpredictable results.

I would rather have the new 17mm TSE lens if I could (and the new 24 to replace my older version) for my architecture, but my budget won't quite stretch that far for now; the 16-35 will do fine for now, plus, as a zoom, it is very convenient to use. The only thing I might add is that for architectural work, you should have a good understanding of post processing tools in Photoshop to help with the inevitable tilted perspoective issues that pop up with a non-shifting lens.

Regards,
David

17
Canon General / Re: your scariest photography moment?
« on: March 11, 2013, 05:16:35 PM »
I've been in a lot of scary situations doing my photo work for national news magazines, mostly feature stories in big cities, where I was variously threatened with guns, knives and assorted blunt objects by various citizens because I was often interrupting their street business or venturing onto turf where I was an inviting target with expensive bangles on my shoulders. Amazingly, by either guile, luck, inspiration or 45 caliber solutions, I was able to make it through many such adventures with only vivid memories and amazingly high levels of adrenaline in my bloodstream as a consequence.

Another scary moment, this time with a wild animal, is also worth the telling and the telling is devoid of any politically correct risk.

I was on a really fun assignment to shoot vacationers all over the state of Michigan. One innocuous location was the bank of the Huron River, not far from Ann Arbor, where canoers launched their crafts for a day trip on the river. All in all, a very non-risky job.

Just before sunset, when I finished shooting the boaters, I turned into the very tree shaded, dark forested land adjoining the river bank which would take me, by shortcut, to where my van was parked. I had a 300mm lens on the camera with ISO 50 Fuji Velvia loaded aboard (all you people who started with digital only, take note - this was FILM) Just short of the van, my assistant, about 30 feet away from me at the vehicle, in an exaggerated stage whisper called out "don't move, David." I stopped in my tracks. I asked him what he was talking about. He said to turn around 180 degrees, very, very slowly. I did. What I saw was literally unbelievable. Staring right into my eyes, about 15 feet away, was what looked exactly like a black panther, weighing about 150 to 175 pounds, with some huge fangs showing in his open mouth! I was too freaked out for a moment to know what to do but stare. And, stare I did, until my autopilot idiot photo genes kicked in. I very slowly backed straight back a few steps and asked my assistant to hand me a camera loaded with ISO 400 film and an f/2.0 short lens to get a shot of this insane scene - black panthers are definitely not native to Michigan. I quickly got the camera, not taking my eyes off the big cat, and slooooowly walked forward to try to get a decent shot with the fast wide angle. For every step I took towards him, he backed up, making the distance between us constant. Finally, after about 20 steps in our mutual dance, he sidestepped behind a rock about 10 feet in diameter. When I slowly moved forward, afraid he might leaped around the rock at me at any moment, he had to have run straight back behind the rock, further into the dense woods, so that when I finally mustered the courage to peak around the rock, he was nowhere to be seen.

Just about then, the utter stupidity of my behavior dawned on me; there I was, actively invading the space of a very large predator cat, instead of trying to do the opposite. All of a sudden, my knees felt awful rubbery, and I hit myself on the forehead about twenty times, counting my naive blessings.

When I went home that night, I told my wife (then girl friend) about my adventure and tried to decide if I should inform some authority, or even a news organization, about it. I decided not to, because I didn't have a picture proof and I felt they'd just think I was a crackpot of some sort, because "there are no black panthers in Michigan." Then, much to my surprise, about two weeks later, newspapers and local TV stations in the metro area started reporting horses, cattle and dogs being killed at night in the same area I spotted the panther in, and some people even reported seeing what they too thought was a black panther fleeing the scene of some of the kills. The matter was never resolved as far as I know, but, as I was definitely the only person of those reported to have seen this cat close-up, I was probably alone in knowing that it was not just a story but a very real predator cat -  most likely to be a potentially deadly black panther, probably a lost exotic (and illegal) pet or zoo/circus animal loose and lost in the not too wild woods of suburban Michigan.

Regards,
David

18
Canon General / Re: your scariest photography moment?
« on: March 11, 2013, 02:13:55 PM »
I've had a couple moose encounters in Montana and Wyoming. They can be aggressive and deadly! A moose is a HUGE animal!

You are right. Most people think of a moose as a sort of whacky (see Bullwinkle, the cartoon character) deer. However, stand next to one, and that idea dissolves rather quickly. A moose almost killed me without me even seeing it. I was headed to a scenic location in upstate NY in the second truck in a caravan of trucks, some of which were to be shot by myself and one other photographer for a car manufacturer. Driving over a twisty mountain road, a moose jumped out of the roadside foliage onto the road in front of the lead Chevy Suburban, giving the driver no time to avoid him. A mighty collision took place; the moose, although deceased, won. Over half of the huge Suburban was crushed into an accordian shape and totalled. The driver miraculously survived with nothing more than whiplash, while I, unable to stop in time, was able to skid terrifyingly onto the shoulder, missing the Suburaban/Moose combo (a sort of Borg synthesis, for you Star Trek fans) by inches.

There you have it - my moose story of the week.

Regards,
David 

19
The doctor is in the house ;).

Having owned and used professionally: three different horribly expensive drum scanners, a Nikon Super Cool Scan 9000 ED, an Epson V750 and several other scanners over the years, I feel pretty confident that I can give you some good advice here.

First, buying an accurate light box and decent loupe is very advisable to pick your winners to scan and winnow out the rest. You don't need the very best loupe and it doesn't need to "see" the whole 6x7cm area at once. Buy a cheap large round glass magnifying lens with handle to examine the whole image at once - maybe a 3x or 4X model - for composition and exposure. To examine it for critical sharpness, you need a quality loupe, but it needn't cover the whole image; you can move it around to check critical sharpness. A good quality 6X to 10X loupe meant to cover 35mm, used, should be pretty reasonable, much cheaper than one made to cover 6x7. Next, the box. Definitely try to find an old, even fairly beat up, box of good quality, a true 5000K photo lightbox, such as a Graphic Lite or Acculight, or even an old MacBeth (Gretag/Xrite), and you don't need one bigger than about 12"x12" either. Just clean the heck out of the plastic diffuser (discard and replace if it is visibly yellow) and replace the special fluorescent lamp(s) if it has been used for a very long time as is. Don't try to save money by buying what amounts to a tracing table instead. You can also find some very good deals on newer, but still used, ultra thin profile (LED lit) 5000K lightboxes built by serious companies like Cabin; these are "good enough."

As to a scanner, either buy a used Nikon 8000 or 9000 Coolscan or an Epson V700/V750; don't waste your time on anything else for 6x7 film. If you want a drum scan, depending on the scanner and operator, they can produce better, sharper and bigger scans. But a good operator with a Nikon 9000 can deliver a scan as good or better than one from a top rated Heidelberg or Crosfield or ICG or Screen drum scanner, made by a mediocre or indifferent operator. So, know your supplier, and when and if a very special scan is necessary for an extremely big enlargement, or from a very difficult, contrasty or poorly exposed original, you can exercise the drum scan option. For literally 90% or more of professional or passionate amateur work, the output from a Nikon 9000 or an Epson V750, made by a truly competent operator, will be more than sufficent.

Good luck in finding your gear. You will find that a good 6x7 scan is a beautiful thing, and learning to make it is not that hard and, eventually, even a lot of fun.

Regards,
David

20
Tough question to answer completely, but here goes.

Since you "do mostly 3-D" (I have done my share as well), what you most need, if your are rendering the images or animations yourself, is a monitor that covers, as close as possible, the NTSC gamut, which is larger than even the typical  "wide gamut" monitor. In the alternative, at least have a small real NTSC gamut "video" monitor to also check your work on, in addition to your primary computer monitor which can vary significantly from a true video monitor by gamut, format or resolution.

Secondly, their are many different definitions of "wide gamut," usually expressed as a percentage of one particular gamut, and you should understand the definitions of the various gamuts, their relationships to each other (usually expressed in colorful graphs) and their significance. Do some research on the web. Bing and Google will be your friends. Note that a true NTSC gamut monitor requires a bigger or "wider" color space than even one which can display 100% of Adobe RGB, usually the gold standard for wide gamut monitors. Therefore, it would be best, if one does high-end 3-D which is destined to be mixed with video or displayed on video monitors, to choose a computer monitor with the widest possible gamut, to get as close to NTSC as possible.

Three last things. Make sure you have the proper monitor color profiling tools, from either the monitor maker or from companies like Xrite, and learn to use them correctly and often. And, it would be best, if you do get a good wide gamut monitor, that you also get a monitor/profiling system which can fairly well simulate narrower gamuts, especially SRGB, so that you can accurately guage how your work will likely appear on the "average Joe's" home or office computer monitor as well. About uneveness of color across the screen: don't underestimate how awful this one flaw can be; it will have a very negative effect on your work, both in possible color errors, and/or the extra time needed to "move around" your images on the screen to check color. I would never accept a monitor that had more than a trifling of uneven color, no matter how big the screen.

Regards,
David

21
Sports / Re: Cars cars cars (and some bikes)
« on: February 24, 2013, 01:35:05 PM »
Here is a recent shot I like..
Excellent shot David!!
[/quote]

Thanks very much. Very kind of you to say.

Regards,
David

22
Lenses / Re: What are Canon's sharpest lenses?
« on: February 21, 2013, 12:44:31 PM »
My sharpest lenses, as I rate them, in very rough order (much depends on taking aperture, distance, etc., and I might easily switch the order a bit on any given day) from the very sharpest to extremely sharp, are:

1) Canon 90mm f/2.8 TS
2) Canon 300mm f/2.8 IS
3) Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro (non IS)
4) Canon 85mm f/1.2 vII
5) Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS vII
6) Canon 50mm f/2.5 macro

All the other lenses I own are very good, but these especially stand out in the sharpness department.

Regards,
David


23
Sports / Re: Cars cars cars (and some bikes)
« on: February 21, 2013, 12:16:37 PM »
Here is a recent shot I like: it's not exactly a car shot per se, but a "people" shot of a person driving a car - a little different emphasis, mostly in what appears sharpest and most in focus. However, I still like the car in it and the whole feel of the shot. It looks even better, the bigger you see it; it's on my website slightly larger, along with another nice static shot of the same subject. The car is an old Morgan, either a '49 or early 1950's model - I forget which. Enjoy.

Regards,
David

24
Street & City / Re: Jon Rafman's work: Unedited or not?
« on: February 20, 2013, 08:51:20 PM »
Alright sleuths, can any of you prove that some of his work has been edited in post(other than resizing)?

http://9-eyes.com

Some of them looks like they blatantly used Instagram filters.


I haven't looked for proof, but, obviously, all or very close to all of these photos have been edited in post, either to give that Lomo/Instagram filter look, or other quite obvious repeated image, or "cut and paste" out of alignment, or many other such faux avante garde and artsy treatments.

Frankly, I'm not impressed, either by the concepts, which are somewhat shopworn and unoriginal, nor by the intended irony. I'd rather be looking at postcards at Walgreens. It's not that I "don't get it." I actually do. I just think that it still isn't very good or interesting. Sorry. It's not worth my time to look for proof of anything.

25
EOS Bodies / Re: Big Megapixel Camera in 2014
« on: February 17, 2013, 11:39:13 AM »
I fully understand that something like the 1Dx will be perfect for some, all I want is for Canon to consider both sides which at the moment they are not doing.

So what would be in it for the customer? I would hope:
1. At least one "native" UWA of much better quality vs size/cost than SLR UWAs (why are Leica WAs so compact yet highly rated?). Possibly tilt/shift.
-h


Just to let you know a little detail about the Leica wide angles. They are always small and sometimes light in comparison to all wide angles for SLR cameras of any sort, because they are designed totally differently; they are true wide angles in design, while SLR and DSLR wides are "retrofocus" designs - reverse telephotos in effect. Take a telephpoto lens, look through the front to the rear and what you see is the type of field effect that a retrofocus wide angle will yield. This design is necessary because of the mirror inherent in single lens reflex design and the extra space it takes up between the back of the lens and the sensor; it imposes a design requirement to achieve a wide angle of view that makes a "true wide angle design" like Leica's impossible to use, because those are designed for a camera in which their rearmost elements can be situated very, very close to the sensor itself. This allows them to be very small in size compared to SLR lenses, but also introduces some optical problems of their own when using digital sensors, rather than film. Leica and others have done a very good job with these designs and the results speak for themselves. But, Canon cannot make their DSLR lenses that small; such a design would have to defy the currently understood laws and limitations of optical design.

Regards,
David

26
I've shot extensively with the following cameras, each of which I've owned: 1DsII, 1DsIII, 5DII and 5DIII. The 1DsIII was better, took better pictures, resolved more detail, shot good quality at slightly higher ISO and had less failures (see mini firewire port) than the 1DsII. The 5DII was almost as good as the 1DsIII in most respects (except for build quality, of course, where the differences were "major"). The 5DII did have a tiny higher high ISO advantage over the 1DsIII and could also shoot HD video - a couple of usefull advantages, but was really not  in the same ball park for pro stills photography.

After testing the 5D3, I abandoned my 1 series Canons altogether, as I don't shoot a lot of sports/action, nor
do I shoot in a lot in inclement weather, the only two reasons I can think of where the 5DIII falls much short of either the 1DsIII or 1DX, much less the earlier 1DsII.

As far as the 1DsII is concerned, it was a great camera in its heyday, and I happily made a lot of money with it. However, it is clear that the 5DIII camera is far superior to it in all but a very, very narrow set of shooting conditions. You may feel very comfortable with the 1DsII, but, unless your testing ignores about 3/4 of what you use a camera for, you will never see better results from the 1DsII than the 5DIII, or even from its successor, the 1DsIII.

Let me put it this way, if like your 1DsII that much, then by all means keep it. But, if you were to give the 5DIII a little more time, I'm pretty sure you'd come to the same conclusion I have: the 5DIII is a superior camera in almost every way.

Regards,
David

27
Lighting / Re: Specular Highlights... Feed Back Please
« on: February 01, 2013, 11:48:08 AM »
I've been trying to work on specular highlights, and I think I'm there, but might just have this completely wrong. Just looking for a little feed back please :)

I don't quite think you've got your terms straight here, but I'll try to help. Ordinarily, specular highlights are very small areas in an overall image - usually what you might call, but are not literally, points of light which read either 255-255-255 or close to it. In any case, your picturte might have a few actual specular highlights, but I would guess that perhaps you are actually referring to the very large highlight areas in your shot and wondering how they look and how they could be improved.

Unless your image could be thought of as "high key," which this image is clearly not meant to be, there should not be very large areas of 255-255-255 (or very close to it) in it, because then these are just commonly defined as "burned out" and contain no useful color or detail. Your large broad highlights in this image are indeed burned out for the most part and are covering up way too much of the main subject - the wine bottle - to make what most people would feel was a good image. Also, your highlights are not connected everywhere where they should be, and some of the edges of the highlights are ragged looking.

The previous poster's suggestion to use black boards to reflect in the bottle is a good one. Also move your light reflectors (or diffusers - whatever they are) more towards either side of the bottle so that the bottle is not so frontlit. Furthermore, you might want to experiment with graduated flags or other similar techniques or devices to gradually "cut" the light output of the main sidelights at their forward edges, leaving a hard 255-255-255 rimlight effect around only the very edges of the bottle as well. Also rmember that, on the wine label itself, you want to show some highlight (in your example at least), but you also want to easily see the detail and color in it as well. Better controlling the highlight levels, size and shape is what you need to do.

In general, experiment, experiment, experiment; move your lights, flags, cutters, reflectors (both black and white) around quite a lot to preview the different possible effects; extra digital captures cost you nothing, so you can try lots of different scenarios without a care in the world. Last, check for flare, detail sharpness (micro contrast) and color balance, all of which you could improve upon in your posted example.

Regards,
David

28
Software & Accessories / Re: Any value in using DPP along side Lightroom?
« on: January 27, 2013, 12:08:04 PM »
Hello,

I have been using Lightroom since long before I had an EOS camera, so I have to admit when I got my 60d two years ago I never bothered at all with the Canon software and have always used lightroom and elements for my workflow.

Having recently gotten a 5D iii, I thougt I would install the software (mostly for the EOS utility). DPP seems pretty neat; but is there anything it does that lightroom cant? Is anyone using both in conjunction, or any of the other canon supplied software?

Wondering if DPP handles noise reduction better... Or maybe makes workflow faster for processing simple RAW changes, using picture styles perhaps.

Thanks!

There are reasons to use either program over the other, depending on your needs. The latest iteration of DPP is now a fairly mature program that will convert your average files very, very well, but still doesn't have the extremely "fine-grained" control that Lightroom or ACR has at the moment. Many people, however, don't need that much control over the image, if either your capture is very good and fairly near ideal to begin with, or, if you don't care to work so hard to wring the last 5% out of the raw file; then, DPP is a great and, not unimportantly, a free application that will probably meet all your needs.

DPP usually yields excellent color out of the box, and has several tools that are either somewhat limited but easier to use, or just better than those available in Lightroom. The compositing and HDR tools are eamples of the former and the quick check tool is an example of the latter. Again, Lighroom (and/or Photoshop) certainly has tools to accomplish the same tasks, but they are a little more complex and require a little more knowledge and practiced judgment to use well. In my book, however, nothing beats the quick check tool in DPP for quickly eliminating non-keepers in your first edit go-around. I will always use DPP for that alone, even if I later open the raws in another program. DPP is also pretty "small," pretty speedy on a good computer, and is not a resource hog.

The only things that aren't up to the level of many other raw converter programs are more complete and fine control over individual color channels, very complete sharpening and noise reduction options, the most extreme levels of highlight and shadow recovery, and, of course, no cataloging of your images, unlike with Lighroom's module. Frankly, I have been cataloging finished 16-bit tiffs, and then raws, for the past 16 years with a couple of good digital stand-alone programs, so I don't feel so attached to Lightroom for that reason alone.

As far as overall speed with very large shoots involving many hundreds to thousands of images, very experienced users of Lighroom can get through their work faster than someone with DPP alone, but if your dealing with a couple hundred files or less, the difference is very small and you don't need to learn as many tricks and shortcuts to use DPP in that way.

Don't rely on DPP for noise reduction. You may want to do none or simply sharpen it up a little with the "sharpen" command at levels 1 to 3, but don't bother with the unsharp mask control; it's much better to save that function to Photoshop or whatever program your Tiffs or Jpegs go to later. Noise reduction in DPP is good, but use it very judiciously, if you find you need a lot of it, skip it and do this in another program following DPP's conversion. Lastly, as far as picture style is concerned, that is not really the domain of DPP, but is really the process by which you control the camera's internal development of Jpegs directly from the camera. If I'm wrong about this, my apologies, but that is what I've always assumed. In DPP, you can cook up different "recipes," or even multiple "recipes," to apply to multiple files with only a click or two, and that operates in the same way with raw files, as do picture styles with Jpegs.

Regards,
David

29
Landscape / Don't just shoot; look and really see.
« on: January 22, 2013, 10:23:43 PM »
To the OP: thanks for posting those literally awesome pictures.

I feel like I should share something else about the night sky to those who might be interested. Just go to a really dark place as some on here have advocated, and, if you're a city or suburban bred person, just look. When one hasn't seen it before, it is a revelatory experience like few others you may have in your lifetime.

I grew up in the LA area and then on Long Island - near NYC - and then settled in the suburbs around Detroit. I had never thought much about the night sky at all, except that it was a little better to sleep with less light coming through my widow than during the day.

I remember, when I was about 26 years old, going with an old girlfriend to visit her artist friend who lived in the woods, waaaaay off the beaten track, in the vast empty Michigan Upper Peninsula, in a couple of small sandwiched together mobile homes with the adjoining walls broken down to form a sort of fiberglass and plastic hillbilly castle. We all three sat on the steps leading up to his doorway one chilly November night, and I, certainly not expecting much, had a near religious experience when I looked up to see what seemed to be literally millions of visible stars. I was shocked, astounded. I just silently sat there, open mouthed, and stared for over an hour and a half without uttering a sound. Wow!

I repeated that same experience when out working in the deserts of California, Arizona and Utah. Shooting cars at sunup and sundown brought me to places where light pollution was almost non-existent. Sometimes, when setting up for a dawn shot, we would work on the cars and camera positions until just after the end of "nautical" dusk and then stay the night in vehicles or in sleeping bags until the just-before-dawn call time. My whole crew would typically barbeque some food, drink beer and then smell the occasional burning cigar or wafting bouquet of an assistant's trusty blunt break up the nearly perfect lack of anything from the city . After scaring the new guys with tales of scorpions and rattlers under the tarps and hearing an occasional coyote or other small critter break the otherwise eerie silence, we would all look into the sky and see the miracle of the universe right there before us, in the real world 3-D that makes those plastic glasses and Imax screens seem puny and uninteresting. I kind of wished that someone of us could play some mournful tune on an old harmonica, just to compliment what I felt were the faint voices in the desert wind of the ghosts of all those lonely cowboys of the American West who really had lived under the stars and loved it so much that they stayed living there, in the insufferable deserts and on the desolate prairies, as long as "progress" allowed.

Sometimes, pictures are not enough. Sometimes, you should just put down the camera, to not just record the world, but to live in it. The brilliantly adorned night sky, as countless generations of our long past forbears in song, story and legend saw it, is one excuse to sometimes do just that.

Regards,
David

30
Canon General / My own experience with Dell
« on: January 17, 2013, 09:06:29 PM »
Back in April 2012, when 5D3's were as rare as Unicorns for those like me who had not prepaid and preordered them, I was calling to and searching on the net for anyplace which had a 5D3 that they would sell to me. Nothing came up for more than a week. Then, in a complete surprise, while on line at another photo related site, I spied an easy to overlook, tiny, postage stamp sized display ad from Dell saying they were offering 5D3's for sale. Not really believing it, I called them anyway, as I had bought computer gear from them before and I had very little to lose. To my utter amazement, they had just gotten about 30 or 40 in stock and were indeed able to sell me one - at the $3,500.00 full price, of course, while many others were selling it at $300.00-$500.00 over retail to non-preorder customers at the time. I got the perfectly new, perfectly clean USA model just when they said I'd get it, and it has served me very well since.

Just sayin' that you don't need to ordinarily fear ordering from Dell.com. They're a big company with a reputation to protect, and they would never, ever purposely "stiff" a customer with a scam like the OP described. Say what you want about their customer service or their computer gear quality, but the OP's story goes beyond any mistakes in those areas by miles; this is criminal fraud, not bad customer service management. As to them needing to investigate it, well, think about it. I'm not questioning the OP's honesty, but put yourself in Dell's position for a minute. I could ridiculously easily get a camera shipped to me, remove the camera and the other content from the Canon box, put woood in the box, and then photograph the "unboxing" as though the wood were what I actually received in the first place. Dell was nice enough to offer $100.00 for the unfortunate OP's trouble, without any corroborating evidence, but they will have to investigate, and perhaps have criminal charges filed against whatever middleman might have been the guilty party here, before they can try to ship a camera to the OP again.

Insanity is the definition of continuing to do the same thing over and over, but expect the results from your identical actions to be different, just because you are repeatly doing it. The people at Dell are not insane.

Regards,
David

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