August 01, 2014, 07:42:56 PM

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - jrista

Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 251
Landscape / Re: Waterscapes
« on: July 22, 2014, 11:04:58 PM »
Wonderful photos the last few pages, guys. Truly. The Cumbria photos are really amazing, what a vista.

EOS Bodies / Re: Eos7D mk2, How EXCITED will you be if . . .?
« on: July 22, 2014, 01:47:21 PM »

A bit off topic, but...
Like most tourists, I don't think you understand how quickly things can go bad in the wild. Sure, black bears seem more timid than grizzlies but many animals may look quite docile and then the situation changes in a heartbeat.

Yes I've heard those rumors.  :D
I must say that I am very happy to not have crocs, alligators, and large or poisonous snakes where I live...

Hmm, I'd love to have them where I live. Crocs and Alligators make excellent, very detailed subjects. Poisonous snakes often tend to be the most beautiful as well. You just have to take care when around these animals, give them their proper, respectful distances, and you will usually be fine.

Software & Accessories / Re: laptop for tethered shooting?
« on: July 21, 2014, 03:12:39 AM »
Thanks, Jrista. 

I bought a 7" Amazon Kindle Fire HD for Christmas, and I know how good the high resolution screens are, its only 7 inches, but I can read text with no problem.  However, I need a keyboard.  I use a pen with the Amazon tablet, the same pen works with my G1X MK II, but I struggle swiping with pens because the fine motor function in my fingers is screwed up.  I can pound keys, and tap the keys on screen with the pen, but even writing my name has become extremely difficult.  I have a Wacom Tablet, but that issue using the pen really makes it hard to use.  Its not something that practice is going to eliminate, the nerves are shot.  I've already had surgery on both hands, but that did not really help.

I had looked the Surface Pro II over before getting the cheap  tablet, its useful for e-mail and reading books, that's all I use it for though.  I'd probably use the Surface Pro.

The Pro 3 is a bit larger, and I think by default it comes with the attachable keyboard that has real keys. In the store, it felt very nice. The kickstand has been dramatically improved as well. It now works at pretty much any angle, and can even be pushed far out such that you can actually use the whole setup on your lap (like a normal laptop). The screen lays out more flat, over your knees, but it actually can work, where as with the prior Surface Pros, using them in your lap was pretty tough. I got the touch keypad with my Surface Pro...and that is the only thing I really regret. The type keypad is much better, the standard keyboard feedback is just essential, imo, to be able to use the keyboard properly.

Regarding the's incredibly natural. You don't have to do any special moves or anything like that to get it to work. It isn't the same as a Wacom tablet, those are devices intended to control palettes of controls, use gestures for controlling application features, etc. They are much more complicated, and these days, maybe needlessly so. With the Surface Pen, you bring it close to the screen (don't even have to touch it), and you get a small round cursor, kind of like the mouse cursor. That cursor will lightly and intelligently "snap" to controls, so it's pretty easy to get it onto buttons and things like was pretty effortless to get it onto the LR develop module sliders, which on my Surface Pro I, are really tiny. From there on out, you can effectively use the pen like a mouse. You can seamlessly move between using the pen as a mouse, to using it to tap keys on a virtual keyboard, to using it for handwriting input (which also works flawlessly, I take notes in business meetings on my Surface Pro with the handwriting's amazing, it worked from day one without any training of any kind, printed or cursive.) It's pressure sensitive, so it can be used for art or just general brushing in photoshop (i.e. dodge/burn), it has an eraser for word deletion in documents or when handwriting. There are also other pens and digital brushes you can get that work with the Pro 3 as well, although from what I've read, most of those are really geared towards the digital artist, people who are literally painting digitally in some of the new metro apps designed just for that thing.

At the very least, I recommend going into a Microsoft store and just giving the whole package a try. It's best to know what your getting before you get it, and you may simply find something about the design and style of the Surface Pro just doesn't fit your usage scenario (it fills a rather unique spot, being kind of the ultimate convertible tablet, that really works like a laptop, but is also a true tablet.) You may find that one of the other brands convertibles is better (i.e. you may just not be able to use the Surface Pro 3 on your lap, and need a more rigid and more rigidly attached keyboard). I would be willing to bet, though, that you pick up the pen pretty quickly. It's kind of an essential tool, as not every app supports high DPI modes yet, and some older ones render controls pretty small on high DPI screens.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 21, 2014, 02:52:08 AM »
Need a little help with this sparrow in Alberta.  Seems it might be immature.


Aye, looks like a juvie. I honestly cannot say exactly which species...given his dash-striped underbelly, I'm thinking Henslow's or Lincoln's, but I cannot be sure without more comprehensive photos (particularly a broadside shot). I have my digital Sibley's guide, which has great juvi renditions for most bird species...I might be able to ID if I can see more.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 20, 2014, 10:43:43 PM »

Beautiful. Love the clarity, simply amazing.

Macro / Re: Flower macros
« on: July 20, 2014, 10:40:20 PM »
Haven't done any macro in a LONG time. Been trying it a bit again recently. Got these shots today:

Software & Accessories / Re: laptop for tethered shooting?
« on: July 20, 2014, 09:27:42 PM »

Personally, I use a Surface Pro, which will soon be a Surface Pro 3. Very light weight, good battery longevity, beautiful high res screen (2560x1440 IIRC on the 3), and full blown windows. I have run PS and LR on my Surface Pro since I got it (over a year ago now). It's nice having a huge screen for live view, especially for landscapes.

Keep us informed.  My eyesight is not all that good, and the 12 in screen on the Surface Pro seems nice.  I find the 12 in screen on my old Lenovo to be its weak point, it runs PS and LR wonderfully.

What Battery life do you get?

I haven't replaced the Pro with the Pro 3 yet. I've messed with it in the Microsoft Store though. It's pretty phenomenal...the brightness, clarity and text crispness of the Pro 3 is pretty amazing. It's about as good as my Dell XPS 15, which has a 15.6" 3200x1800 screen. These new high density screens are, IMO, much better than the older 1920x1080px screens we used to have. The contrast is superior, the brightness is superior, and detail is just incredible. I love looking at photos on them.

Also, keep in mind, most of these new laptops and talbets properly support high DPI text. The text on my XPS 15 is actually slightly larger than it is on my 2560x1600 desktop, and it's BRILLIANT. I LOVE it. Nothing is smaller, so there really aren't any issues if you have poor eyesight. You could even crank it up to 200dpi, and have maximum text size. It would look crisp and amazing. The only real quirk is browsers. IE supports high DPI natively, and it does a good job, but I actually prefer Opera. I switched to Chrome when Opera Next came out (hoping Opera eventually gets back to the featureset it used to had some amazing features). Chrome does high DPI if you download the version that supports it and force enable high DPI mode. It does quite well for most things...everything, including the browser controls themselves, render at "normal" size (so around 144% to 200% larger in terms of absolute pixel dimensions than on a lower DPI screen), so again, no issue with eyesight. I've noticed, though, that sometimes the browser just lags, as it doesn't seem to handle processing that many pixels all that well.

There is one other thing I love about Surface Pro: The pen. It can be tough trying to use standard desktop applications with touch, and using a keyboard out in the field is just a pain. The pen, though, is brilliant. It works flawlessly, it's extremely accurate, and I actually love tweaking Lightroom controls with the pen. It just seems more natural. I actually wish I could do that on my desktop (really can't wait for full multi-touch 4k screens to arrive for desktop.) The pen is, IMO, one of Microsoft's most brilliant moves, as it really makes the whole dual-mode OS work when used on a tablet. Even if you use apps that don't support high DPI (like LR), the pen makes them eminently usable.

If you want a nice, very portable, high resolution device with High DPI text and rendering support for windows applications, you should really look at the Surface Pro line. Tough to beat, especially for the price range. The Dell XPS 15 is probably the best windows device on the market, but it clocks in at two grand (well, I guess more than that, I got it on sale when the Pro 3 was released...I think the regular price is about $2399.)

Software & Accessories / Re: laptop for tethered shooting?
« on: July 20, 2014, 08:59:50 PM »
My Macbook pro laptop was stolen, so I need to buy a new laptop for tethered shooting.  Over the years I've come to the conclusion I don't use the laptop for any image editing and doubt I will even install photoshop on the next one.  I'm asking myself why pay the Apple premium for a good laptop when I am using it for emails and as an electronic Polaroid.

I'm looking for suggestions on a laptop that works good for tethered shooting?  It would be awesome if I could connect it via HDMI and use it as a video monitor as well. tablets that only connect via WiFi are out because I have to connect via a cord at times.

My main workstation will stay a MacPro.  Will there be any major problems transferring Raw files from an external drive recorded via a Windows machine to the MacPro?  As long as the drive is journled to the MS-DOT fat I should be ok, correct?

thanks for any insights.

Personally, I use a Surface Pro, which will soon be a Surface Pro 3. Very light weight, good battery longevity, beautiful high res screen (2560x1440 IIRC on the 3), and full blown windows. I have run PS and LR on my Surface Pro since I got it (over a year ago now). It's nice having a huge screen for live view, especially for landscapes.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 20, 2014, 08:51:20 PM »
Finally getting a chance to look back at some woodpecker shots.  Thought the dual eyelid was pretty cool.  Unfortunately when eyelids are closing the head is moving and critical focus is tough (with a 6D anyway).


Wow, those are some major closeups, man! Love the first one.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 20, 2014, 02:10:15 PM »

I don't often get a chance to photograph these guys, as they don't spend much time in the forests near me. A few weeks back, I was up at my parents home in the mountains, 8600 feet surrounded by Roosevelt National Forest. The lighting was utterly terrible, and the bird kept flitting from tree to tree. I had a tough time keeping the ISO setting correct. In this case, I used ISO 800, when it probably should have been ISO 1600 or so. Despite that, the 5D III did phenomenally well, and the +100 shadows lift still looks superb.

Not the greatest composition, however I noticed during processing that this cute little bird had a grub of some kind on his beak. When I can't get aesthetically pleasing photos, I am happy to get action shots. ;)

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II

EOS Bodies / Re: Eos7D mk2, How EXCITED will you be if . . .?
« on: July 20, 2014, 01:43:17 PM »
Those are lovely, especially the first one. And they demonstrate one thing a longer lens and greater subject distance gives you (with caveats) - a nicer background. People arguing one must get close for good photos ignore this aspect. Those bear shots further up the thread were good, but the background was nowhere near as blurred. Obviously the distance of the subject from the background is a determining factor, but assuming it's the same, a longer lens from a greater distance will blur things better than a wider-angle lens from a closer distance (I mean, I *suppose* one could try and use a really wide aperture lens like the 200 f/2 to even things out, but I still find the best blurred backgrounds are produced by the longest focal lengths - 1000mm f/10 beats 100mm f/2.8, except maybe at macro distances).

Aye, long lenses really are a bonus from an aesthetics standpoint. They give you a decent working distance, as can get close-ish to your subjects, but you don't have to get so close that you scare them off or risk being mauled by a bear. ;P I like the working distance. But it isn't just the longer lens, there are a few factors that go into getting shots like these. To Don's point, technique is key. I dress myself up like an idiot, at the very least in camo, if not in this funky light mesh outfit with leaf-shaped cutouts, all camo-colored, that slip over my clothes. The deer know I'm not a strange looking bush, but they are comfortable enough to get close.

The other two critical things are aperture and frame size. The f/4 aperture and large front element can't be ignored for boke quality, the entrance pupil is huge, and smooths things out nicer than say the Tammy 150-600, with it's f/6.3 max aperture and smaller front element, would. Second is the frame size. The 7D did well enough, especially with a 1.4x TC (840mm f/5.6), but to really get a nice background, I was actually as close to the deer as I am with the 5D III. That usually meant body shots or even head shots. With the 5D III, the full frame is nice in that you can get the deer and some surrounding landscape, and still achieve that nice, creamy boke effect.

With something like a M4/3 camera, I would have an even harder time than with the 7D getting shots with this kind of wide field and creamy boke. The frame is a lot smaller, so your forced to be farther away/use shorter lens to get the same framing. (The more square format doesn't help either...I like having more negative space on the side of my subject than above and below...the 4/3rd format doesn't lend itself to that kind of composition, not unless you put yourself even farther from the subject and from to a 2/3rd form.) Even worse, go down to a 1" or 2/3" sensor, and you have to be even farther away or use even wider lenses, and your DoF and beautiful boke end up drifting farther and farther from the ideal.

It doesn't matter how good the underlying technology gets...I will probably never give up my big, heavy gear. It isn't even so much about noise or shadow lifting ability (those are certainly nice to haves). There is just an aesthetic quality that you get from larger frames like APS-C and FF that you simply cannot get with smaller form factors, even M4/3, and certainly not compacts or cell phones. So, as I said...if I had the option of a year in Yellowstone with a small mirrorless/compact/smartphone camera, or two weeks with my current gear...I'd take the two week option, hands down, no question. I wouldn't be able to photograph every corner of the park...but I've been there a few times in the past, I know the area and I know where to find interesting wildlife and birds. I'd plan the trip, pick a single area to spend my time in, and make the most of that one location. And I KNOW the photography I'd be able to create in that short time would meet my expectations. Even if I ended up with only one great shot...if it was at least as good as the first deer shot here...I'd be pretty satisfied with that trip.

EOS Bodies / Re: Eos7D mk2, How EXCITED will you be if . . .?
« on: July 20, 2014, 03:06:57 AM »

LOL, sorry, but I find that completely illogical. It's also an unqualified I have to ask. WHY, in very specific terms, would you choose the 50D or 40D over the 7D for bears (or anything, for that matter)?

First,  I'm not sure if you just had chocolate or a Red Bull, but chill a little bit.

I've owned all of these cameras, and filmed ursine and ungulates in crepuscular conditions.  Photographing a brown bear running on a brown hillside is much different than filming a sporting event with brightly colored subjects.

In these low light, low contrast conditions, I found the 40D and 50D to simply have superior auto focus consistency with L telephoto lenses. On top of the auto focus, the 40D and 50D also seemed to have less substantial AA filters, which required less processing. The 7D RAW files also feel significantly more "rough", and require more processing all around than even my 40D. The 7D's colors appear drab compared to my 40D and 70D.

My keeper rate plunged significantly with the 7D's I used.  Blue channel noise is disturbing on the 7D, even at low ISO's. AI Servo, when combined with high speed burst mode seems to be especially problematic, getting focus, then not, then getting it again.

These numerous issues combined to make unpleasant RAW files. Sure, the 7D has a beautiful build and is a joy to hold and operate. And some of the features are nice. But who cares if the files are weak?

When I compare the 7D files to my 50D, 40D, 70D, 6D, and 5DIII, I simply shake my head. They're  a mess.

When you're out shooting the Bob Marshall Wilderness for a month, and you have these cameras side by side over thousands of images, its easy to see what camera can hack the conditions and what does not.  Once in a while, when conditions were perfect and everything went right, the 7D really came to life.  But that can be said for any cheap smart phone, too. The real test of a camera is how it does when conditions are crap.

So, given the specificity...YOU personally got what sounds like a bad copy of a 7D, so you diss it at every opportunity Additionally, IF you are photographing a brown bear running down a brown hill in low light...the 50D or 40D is better. Thanks! :D (I don't actually believe that Canon's 9pt AF system was actually better finding a brown subject with zero contrast against a brown background was any better...EVERY camera on earth would have problems with that particular scenario, because there is no contrast for the camera to lock onto...)

BTW, you might want to read this, from a guy who uses nothing but the 7D and 100-400 for bird photography (in all sorts of light, if you look at his web site):

I used the same trick for NR with the 7D as Dan does: NR the entire image, and history-brush the subject (or in my case, mask the subject and NR the rest.) With PSCS6 or newer, it takes only about a minute to mask off the subject with the quick selection tool, so this doesn't add much to the image processing workflow. I use Topaz DeNoise 5 and/or Nik Dfine 2 for NR (both have debanding.) It's possible to use very high ISO and get extremely clean results with the 7D in VERY low light (this is about as crepuscular as it gets...dusk with cloud cover):

ISO 3200, however the image was lifted fairly heavily in post (+1 full stop exposure, additional lifting to shadows and blacks), so effective ISO is higher than ISO 6400. Autofocused, through foreground reeds, in light that, to me, was nearly black darkness, with the last bits of twilight behind me showing through dark clouds. I could barely see the bird myself. This was with the 7D and 600/4 L II, so the max aperture was limited to f/4 (which means the 7D was NOT at it's best, and was unable to use the higher sensitivity capabilities of the central double-cross type AF point.)

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 20, 2014, 01:52:37 AM »
Phenomenal work here lately, everyone! I'm impressed by the quality of work that's showing up in this thread, many of you are VERY talented.

EOS Bodies / Re: Eos7D mk2, How EXCITED will you be if . . .?
« on: July 20, 2014, 12:38:02 AM »
On top of this, these animals come closer during crepuscular hours, and the 7D just falls flat here with noisy, rough RAW files.

I found the AF somewhat more consistent, but I absolutely agree the 7D is a good light camera.  I cringed when the ISO went above 800.  I barely blink when my 1D X hits ISO 6400.

Not just the 1D X. I shot these at ISO 12800 in at-sunset/post-sunset light on the 5D III (I have to say, I was blown away by the fact that these came out as well as they did...people who complain about the 5D III, it's dynamic range, or its overall performance haven't put one through it's paces):

Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 251