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Messages - jrista

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991
...Because that's what cameras are all about...making photographic art. Sure, it's a piece of technology, but they aren't designed to be collectors items that we obsess over the technical details of...just for the sake of obsessing over technical details.
jrista,

I agree with you 100%.  My biggest weakness in sports photography is composition.  I feel like things get moving too quickly and I can't compose the way I want to and even in post, when cropping, I still struggle with composition.  I'm a scientist by training and I feel as though I focus too much on the technical aspects of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, DOF, etc. that any art form is hopelessly lost.  Hopefully that is something I can change.

Probably going to regret this. If you are serious about photography as an art form, please read this http://www.blog.unfocusedmg.com/?p=220

The books I reference there will give you a great start. But be forewarned, they are not "how to" manuals, but rather explorations of what constitutes art in photography.

Now, if you think the arguments on this forum over technology are something, just try discussing photography as art. Bear in mind that many people never progress beyond the "Ansel Adams" view of photography. That's not a criticism of Adams. In his time, he did much to advance photography as an acceptable art form. But, too many people have failed to move on. What was cutting edge 80 years ago, isn't any more.

There are some fantastic artists practicing today, but appreciating them requires people to move out of their comfort zones. Andreas Gursky really is incredible, but there have been discussions on this forum that simply demonstrate how ignorant commenters can be. Martin Parr is great fun. Ryan McGinley's images perfectly capture his generation. I'm an admirer of great portrait photography and Rineke Dijkstra is terrific.

Yet, frankly, if any of these photographers posted an image on this forum, they'd be attacked mercilessly because their images don't fit into neat little rules.

Your misunderstanding. My question is not about what art is. That's impossible to define...everyone has their own view on what art is. I know what art is. I've read dozens of books on the subject, in my past I've taken art classes covering oil and water painting, pastels, basic pencil drawing, etc. The problem isn't understanding art. I understand art, and it's various forms.

The question is, how does one achieve the artistic vision they have in their mind? It's one thing to be able to visualize something a certain way in your mind...and an entirely different thing to actually reproduce your vision in an actual artform. For all the work a camera does for you, where in classical arts all of the work is entirely up to you...it is no easier to fully realize your artistic vision with photography than it is with a brush and paints. It never mattered the medium for me...my difficulty was always converting my vision into actual art, in the way I wanted the art to be presented. I think that is ultimately the focal point of most artists art.

That is what I am referring to. That is where I think discussions need to take place. No one needs anyone else telling them whether their images are art or not. I personally do not believe every photograph ever taken was art...a lot of it simply isn't, but that doesn't matter. The person who took the photo, even if it only meets "snapshot"-but-not-art criteria, may have had some vision in their mind that they simply could not realize. THAT is where I think the most important discussions about photography should take place. The process of turning vision into art, or maybe even just discussing what vision is, how to improve your artistic minds-eye vision, etc.

Brett,
You mentioned composition. The best writing that exists on composition is a bit of a "rant" by Edward Weston. I think of it whenever someone mentions the "rule of thirds." In my view, Weston has never been equaled for the pure beauty of his images and exquisite compositions. Yet, his commentary is very enlightening. To paraphrase, he said that more pictures are ruined by following rules of composition than by anything else. In essence, his point was that the only composition that mattered was whether or not the photograph worked.

Oftentimes Weston's simple quote: "Composition is the strongest way of seeing" is completely misinterpreted by hack photographers. If you read his whole commentary, you'll see that what he meant is the only thing that matters when composing a picture is to make it the strongest image possible. But too many people read this small snippet and think it means that somehow following arcane "rules" of composition will improve an image. That is the exact opposite of Weston's point.

This is a much more appropriate quote: “When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision. Following rules of composition can only lead to a tedious repetition of pictorial cliches.” – Edward Weston

Totally agreed.

I don't even think that composition is really the crux of art...composition is just a bunch of rules that everyone misunderstands and everyone has a different opinion about regarding application. Discussing composition is really no different than discussing "What art is" itself. It's a lost cause, and I do believe that pigeonholing everyone into specific compositional rules ruins the actual art...because it destroys everyone's unique vision.

So I agree...it isn't about rules. That was never my question. It's about realization of artistic vision....WHATEVER that vision may be. It isn't as simple as it sounds, either...realizing your vision is probably the most difficult aspect of photography...period. It's THAT which takes years to hone and refine and ultimately perfect. It should generally only take a photographer a year to fully grasp the fundamental concepts of photography, and maybe two at most to become an expert at choosing the proper exposure (in ANY camera mode, not just Av or Tv or M...one should be able to expose in any camera mode available, and expose perfectly...according to their goals), or focusing accurately, or tracking subjects if they regularly shoot action, or using flash properly, etc. Within two years any dedicated photographer should be an expert at these things, and within a few more, they should have mastered the technical aspects of their art.

It's the artistic vision to actual art conversion process that takes so many years, decades, to ultimately master. Because that process is going to be largely unique to each individual, with a few shared thought processes and processing techniques that ultimately bring about the best quality.

992
EOS Bodies / Re: New Full Frame Camera in Testing? [CR1]
« on: June 08, 2014, 12:51:47 PM »
I wasn't talking about saturation levels, all gamuts including out eyes have their ceilings with regards saturation, I was talking actual accurate colour. Even if you can't contain a saturation level within a specific mediums gamut, either screen or print, you can get the colour right. The reproduction then becomes a choice of rendering intent, and for images with considerable out of gamut colours Perceptual Intent gives the most accurate rendition, the saturation level might not be accurate but the colours and their relationship to each other are.

To understand the limitations and capabilities of reproduction you have to understand the difference between colour and saturation. The same colour can have an infinite number of saturation levels.

I don't think you can really separate "color" and "saturation". "Color" is a three-dimensional factor...it isn't "color" and saturation. Color in terms of the aspects that define it is composed of hue, saturation, and intensity all together...I don't believe those are aspects that can be decoupled. Any given definable color must be defined with all three aspects of color. It is not possible to collapse hue and intensity into some arbitrary term "color", and then decouple saturation and say "I can now select accurate 'color' in every gamut". A deeply saturated red is not the same as a mildly saturated red, neither of which are the same as a weakly saturated red.  I don't think you can have an accurate rose red if you aren't achieving the right level of saturation. You may be able to find an acceptable alternative for a real-world rose red...but that does not mean your color is accurate...it only means it is perceptually acceptable.

I think, based on the way you are using the word "color", you are really referring to hue. Yes, you can find the right hue within any gamut. Once you have the necessary hue, it is then a matter of achieving the right intensity level and saturation to make it completely accurate (relative to the real world...as that is the only true source of accuracy). When it comes to gamut, in full 3D, BOTH saturation and intensity can be limited. Only hue, which is a radial factor around the central "z" or intensity axis in 3D color models (i.e. around L* in Lab) can always be accurately selected in all gamuts. Sometimes you cannot achieve a true, pure black, and neither can you achieve the deepest intensities of color near black. Similarly sometimes, especially in print, you cannot achieve the brightest intensities near pure white. Colors that are out of gamut have to do with all three dimensions of color...not just one (i.e. saturation).

Here is a problem image I printed for another photographers show recently, the first image is the actual image, the second has a gamut warning on, all the blue. That doesn't mean I can't print the correct colours, it just means I can't print the correct colours at the correct saturation levels. How I choose to move those unprintable saturation levels into the gamut I have is the skill of the thing, but getting the colours right is the basics for a printer.

It DOES mean you cannot print the correct colors, since color is a three dimensional factor. You may be able to achieve the correct hue, but your saturation and/or intensity will not be correct in print. You can find perceptually relevant alternatives, but the "colors" themselves are not accurate.

993
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: June 08, 2014, 02:27:27 AM »
Fledgling Red Tail, giving me the eye.

5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 320, "M" setting, f6.3 @ 1/800

Beautiful shot!

994
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: June 08, 2014, 02:27:04 AM »
Bird by a lake



Very nice! I love the use of silhouette here...wonderful.

995
EOS Bodies / Re: New Full Frame Camera in Testing? [CR1]
« on: June 08, 2014, 02:26:23 AM »
The most anal people I know about image colour are flower photographers and ceramicists, ever photograph a red flower and it not look anything like the flower did? Try deep blue, purple, and mauve flowers, they are a very difficult to get accurate and you have to use a camera profile specifically for the light you shot in.

A lot of trouble with flowers is even more that people seem to stick to sRGB which makes many flowers impossible to show correctly. A wide gamut monitor will give you a much better chance (of course it's true that the WB and profiles and all can still mess with things).

True, sRGB is too endemic. It's really time we started moving towards larger gamuts. Even AdobeRGB isn't quite good enough, as most of the gain with AdobeRGB is in the greens. The deep reds and blues and violets, where a lot of flower color resides, don't really change much with AdobeRGB. ProPhotoRGB may not be the best either, as its extent is even beyond that of human perception, but it's still got the ability to map almost every color at the richest saturation the human eye can discern.

Sadly, even 10-bit screens with 14- and 16-bit 3D LUTs are still not quite good enough at showing reds. I have these Peonies that are just about to burst into color. I've tried photographing them in years past, and I've never been able to get the reds and pinks to come out right...they clip and there is little tonality. Bleh. It's such a pain. My roses have a similar problem, however most of those have a deeper red that actually does fall into gamut for AdobeRGB.

No question, though...rich saturated color, particularly in the non-greens, can be a real problem.

Just to confirm your experience, one or two lifetimes ago when Kodak existed I worked with one of their color film researchers.  From time to time he would show up at my lab with test emulsions, photographing everything to be seen.  He told me that deep blue, purple, and mauve were the most difficult colors to reproduce with any accuracy.  Some sort of daylight metamerism was his explanation, though I forget the details.

I think it's difficult to reproduce blues, violets, and magentas because it's hard to reproduce blues richly in any medium. It is difficult to create dye or pigment layers in film that are richly saturated enough to support truly deep hues. It's difficult to get light-emitting substances, or filters with backlights, to support the kind of deep, richly saturated blue that would be necessary for the reproduction of deep blues and purples.

When it comes to print, lighting and metamerism are significant problems. I think it's possible to create the necessary dyes and pigments, but print dyes and pigments are entirely dependent upon reflecting light. When the incident light is heavily red-shifted most of the time (i.e. your average tungsten lighting in a home, or window-filtered daylight that includes very little UV light), it is very difficult to get those dyes or pigments to fluoresce in such a way that the deep purples and violets and magentas they may be capable of reproducing to actually be reproduced.

Blue is just a sucky color when it comes to color reproduction. I think it always has been, and I think it always will be. It's an inherently weak color, we are inherently less sensitive to it in the highest color-sensitive region of our eyes (the central 2° "foveal spot"), and for any reproduction mediums that rely on reflected light (i.e. print), we rarely illuminate with the necessary kind of light that helps to reproduce the bluer end of the spectrum.

996
Maybe then these forums could finally ditch the persistent Nikon fanatics and actually have some more interesting conversations for once. Maybe about ART, rather than technology.

With all due respect (which is plenty, …for your many informative posts about technology  ;),  "Canon Rumors" is the place for art-rather-than-technology discussions because, …?  ???

Because that's what cameras are all about...making photographic art. Sure, it's a piece of technology, but they aren't designed to be collectors items that we obsess over the technical details of...just for the sake of obsessing over technical details.

Cameras are the engines of photonic artforms. The technology is just a means to an end...and while I'm the first to stand up and correct the discussion when someone starts spouting missleading factoids, that isn't really what we should be worried about. We should be concerned with the ACTUAL outcomes.

In that respect...the actual outcomes of pretty much all cameras on the planet these days put the vast majority of film-era photography to shame. Higher resolution, better color, better moments, better everything. We obsess over the technology so much these days that it's to the detriment of our art. Notice that I haven't been around quite as much lately? I'm trying to put more of my time into the art, instead of into debates about the technology.

(I've always been interested in astrophotography, and I'm very good at imaging the moon, but I've recently taken the deep dive into full blown wide field deep sky astrophotography. It's the most amazing, intriguing, beautiful...and concurrently complex, technical, and TIME CONSUMING form of photography I've ever seen. The depth and complexity of our night sky is just...amazing, and I really have to focus to make any headway. I struggle with technology...DSLRs, as much as Canon DSLRs specifically (especially the 350D and 450D, modded for high Ha sensitivity or even monochrome use) are used in astrophotography, are so woefully inadequate for the job. But the technology is only part of it. The rest is the artistic aspect. Once you've dealt with all the technical aspects, set up your mount, calibrated it, pointed it at an interesting nebula, and exposed dozens or hundreds of frames...then you have to turn all that technical data into a piece of artwork...and THAT is truly the most difficult part. I may spend 8 hours gathering data, and days processing it. So...maybe art is just on my mind these days. :P)

I spent a lot of time on these forums...and while I am happy to admit I don't know everything, I do know some things extremely well. I'm happy to have helped educate you guys to some of the oft-misunderstood facts about the technology that supports your art, and help you formulate more realistic hopes for future technology. But...these days, it's all the same old debate: "Nikon has more DR! Sony has more DR! Canon must suck!" Same old debate. :( There are still those who think that ISO 100 DR is the only thing that matters for IQ, when demonstrably, significantly fewer people shoot at ISO 100 than shoot at ISO 400 and up, where DR differences are minimal to meaningless. Canon technology does exceptionally well at higher ISO, and the rest of their non-sensor technology (not the least of which are their lenses) is superior to most every other option out there with a few rare exceptions (i.e. the Otus).

Just kind of tired of saying the same old thing, usually to the same old thick-headed, stubborn individuals, and not having the message sink in. (Especially when their responses demonstrate the most blatant and extensive ignorance...I'm constantly asking myself: "Geeze...I have to explain it AGAIN? How can I explain it differently, how can I dumb it down enough, that they might actually GET it this time?" Then I realize that they are probably just over-invested trolls...and try to go back to my processing...) Personally, I think it would be a nice change of pace for the lagging aspects of Canon technology to no longer be an issue, and instead start talking about how to use the technology Canon (and others, like Adobe) are giving us to make better art.

Because...if were not using our cameras to make AWESOME, MIND BLOWING ART, the kind of art that makes people stop and go:  :o WWOOOWW!  :o ......what's the point? ???

(Mind you, I do not consider myself that kind of artist yet...I think I have some good works, but I know that I have a LONG way to go before I can create the kind of work that really gives people pause and reason to meditate on the images they see. I need to spend a LOT more time with my camera and lens to learn what needs to be learned to become an expert or master of the art. It would be nice to discuss the nuances of the art, though...to discuss technique and vision and aesthetics....rather than technology...just for once.)



BTW, if you want some WOWs...try this guy out: Deep Sky Colors I think he may just be the best astrophotographer on the planet...he does huge mosaics with the deepest exposures, with the richest colors, taken under the darkest skies on earth, the guy will drive over 7000 miles just to produce one mosaic...and every single one of his images just blows my mind so much I'm not even able to utter the word "wow". It's just. Mind. Blown. No words.

^^ This is my goal. If I can become skilled enough to make just one image that compares to this guys work before I die....then I'll die a happy photographer. :P

997
EOS Bodies / Re: New Implementation for DPAF Technology?
« on: June 07, 2014, 04:49:43 PM »
I seem to recall Canon working on a new autofocus system which got me wondering earlier... could DPAF technology be implemented in the AF module. As opposed to using it in the image sensor, couldn't it possibly be used in the AF modeule to allow for full-scene AF coverage with RBG metering and tracking? Is DPAF responsive and speedy enough to replace the 61pt AF system in the 5D-III/1Dx or is this idea perhaps flawed in some other way?

This is a bit counterintuitive. DPAF is a very specific image sensor design that utilizes a split photodiode for each pixel, allowing the light from the left and right halves of the lens to be detected independently. This enabled phase detection capabilities in the image sensor, which compliments the image sensing capabilities. The concept has no meaning or relevance in a standard DSLR AF unit...it simply does not apply.

Standard DSLR AF units are not image sensors. They are not neatly arrayed grids of tiny pixels, they are actually strips of HUGE pixels (relatively speaking) that are ULTRA sensitive to light. They are also designed in such a way that phase detection is their intrinsic behavior, and they are exceptionally good at it. DPAF is new and intriguing, but it doesn't perform at the same level as a dedicated PDAF unit, and probably won't for some time. A dedicated PDAF unit allows extremely fast, precise AF, usually with a single focus group movement. With Canon's 61pt AF system, focus can usually be nailed, with extremely high accuracy and precision, on a repeatable basis, with a single focus group movement...it's so accurate, it rivals or surpasses contrast detection AF and manual AF (both of which have high precision.)

There is no reason, or for that matter no way, to apply DPAF technology to standard PDAF units.

Yeah, I guess. The only way I could think would be to use a semi transparent primary mirror, which would make the OVF image darker... which would be crap.

You do realize that the mirrors in current DSLRs have, for a very long time, been half-transparent in the center? That's how they work. The AF unit is housed in the bottom of the mirror box. The secondary mirror receives light through that semi-transparent mirror, deflects it down into the AF unit, which houses a dedicated PDAF sensor.

They are called half-silvered mirrors, and it isn't new. There are also pellicle mirrors, used in some DSLRs. The entire mirror is half-silvered, and the mirror does not move, so some light is always redirected up to the viewfinder and some is passed to the sensor. Using a pellicle is like always having a 1-stop ND filter on your camera...your sensor has to work twice as hard, meaning it has twice the noise. That's why pellicle mirrors aren't used in more than less than a handful of cameras...no one likes noise.

DPAF is a technology with a very specific design, for a very specific purpose, and it won't be bringing new capabilities to other technologies any time soon. It's not really all that amazing...all it does is change from a single large, square photodiode per pixel, to a split photodiode per pixel, with independent readout of each half. All that does is allow the left and right halves of the light cone from the lens, the left and right "phases", to be processed independently. The design of a DPAF sensor is actually not as good for AF as a dedicated PDAF sensor. It puts more of a burden on firmware, instead of having advanced AF capabilities built right into the AF sensor itself (like diagonal AF lines, double AF and double diagonal AF lines, ultra high sensitivity to very low light, extremely high precision, etc.)

998
Ummm....no.....we can't.  ;D

+1000000000000000000000000000000000
 ;D

Cubed   ;)

Cubed. How quaint. I'll factorial that, please! :P

Joking aside, I'm interested to see what, if anything, Canon has done with their sensor tech. I am really, truly hoping that Canon isn't just stuffing a bunch of video-related "improvements" into the 7D II. I'm hoping it gets some significant stills photography enhancements, preferably a fully integrated sensor design: on-die CP-ADC, on-die Digital CDS, DPAF, and maybe stacked pixels (i.e. Foveon style). I think that would finally send a message that Canon still has the necessary oomph to take back the sensor IQ crown, with high DR and better color fidelity than the competition.

Maybe then these forums could finally ditch the persistent Nikon fanatics and actually have some more interesting conversations for once. Maybe about ART, rather than technology.

999
EOS Bodies / Re: New Implementation for DPAF Technology?
« on: June 07, 2014, 02:05:53 AM »
I seem to recall Canon working on a new autofocus system which got me wondering earlier... could DPAF technology be implemented in the AF module. As opposed to using it in the image sensor, couldn't it possibly be used in the AF modeule to allow for full-scene AF coverage with RBG metering and tracking? Is DPAF responsive and speedy enough to replace the 61pt AF system in the 5D-III/1Dx or is this idea perhaps flawed in some other way?

This is a bit counterintuitive. DPAF is a very specific image sensor design that utilizes a split photodiode for each pixel, allowing the light from the left and right halves of the lens to be detected independently. This enabled phase detection capabilities in the image sensor, which compliments the image sensing capabilities. The concept has no meaning or relevance in a standard DSLR AF unit...it simply does not apply.

Standard DSLR AF units are not image sensors. They are not neatly arrayed grids of tiny pixels, they are actually strips of HUGE pixels (relatively speaking) that are ULTRA sensitive to light. They are also designed in such a way that phase detection is their intrinsic behavior, and they are exceptionally good at it. DPAF is new and intriguing, but it doesn't perform at the same level as a dedicated PDAF unit, and probably won't for some time. A dedicated PDAF unit allows extremely fast, precise AF, usually with a single focus group movement. With Canon's 61pt AF system, focus can usually be nailed, with extremely high accuracy and precision, on a repeatable basis, with a single focus group movement...it's so accurate, it rivals or surpasses contrast detection AF and manual AF (both of which have high precision.)

There is no reason, or for that matter no way, to apply DPAF technology to standard PDAF units.

1000
Fourteen stops. HAH! I fart in the general direction of your fourteen stops! And Laugh. MUHAHAHAHAHAAAA!

I think the message taped to an Arrow & shot into the Chest may have had more impact & been more pointed   ;D

Love those Movies.

Me too! :D

1002
Aahh, my long lost brother, Irista the Cloud. He was so ephemeral, and disappeared into the sky before... Good to hear he's back.  ;D :P ;D

1003
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: The Answer to Everyone's Complaints
« on: June 06, 2014, 03:41:36 PM »
This has to be Jrista's shortest post.

HAH! Your probably right. :P
Good Lord Jrista! not feeling well? ;)

LOL, no. Just been busy processing some new astro images. Haven't wanted to spend so much time writing huge answers the last couple of days. Processing these things is a hell of a lot more work than processing normal photos. It takes hours, maybe even days, to do just one. Some of the algorithms, as I was mentioning before (on another thread) can take minutes to run.

So, are you going to give a hint/sneak peak of what you took an image of?  ;)

Before:


After:


North America Nebula, or at least the left half of it. Constellation Cygnus, in an arm of the Milky Way. Integration of 50x270s lights, 50xdarks, 30xflats, 180xbias. Processed over two days in PixInsight and Photoshop. Probably somewhere between 20-25 stops of dynamic range in the final integration.

1004
Ah, you guys and your 12-14 stops. :P Little ppls with their little bits of DR.

Here's a glimpse at the big leagues. Try this:

Original 50 frame integration of 270 second exposures, calibrated with a master bias (180 frames), master dark (50 frames), and master flat (30 frames) [grand total exposure time across all frames of ~8hrs):


After stretching that totally BLACK image by some 20, 25 stops, and two days worth of post processing with the most advanced noise reduction and data extraction tools on the planet:



Fourteen stops. HAH! I fart in the general direction of your fourteen stops! And Laugh. MUHAHAHAHAHAAAA!

1005
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: The Answer to Everyone's Complaints
« on: June 06, 2014, 12:35:22 PM »
This has to be Jrista's shortest post.

HAH! Your probably right. :P
Good Lord Jrista! not feeling well? ;)

LOL, no. Just been busy processing some new astro images. Haven't wanted to spend so much time writing huge answers the last couple of days. Processing these things is a hell of a lot more work than processing normal photos. It takes hours, maybe even days, to do just one. Some of the algorithms, as I was mentioning before (on another thread) can take minutes to run.

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