November 27, 2014, 05:15:26 PM

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Messages - TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Dustin, thank you so much for sharing this. I've been wishing for *exactly* this workflow for some time now. Great to know it's there in PS CC! Now I can go back and get the intended results from a couple years of exposure bracketed files. Also appreciate your succinct and helpful video tutorial.

Thanks.  One of the most practical advancements in Photoshop is the ability to run ACR at any time.  I use it sometimes in post when some step has raised highlights or lowered shadows a bit too much.

Have you ever tried the "Merge to 32-bit HDR" Lightroom plugin by HDRsoft (the Photomatix folks)?

I find it to be a much more straight forward way to get a virgin (NOT tone mapped) 32-bit HDR file that can then be processed in Lightroom (or ACR). It does not require Photoshop and allows me to simply stay in Lightroom for all my basic post-processing. Also, the resulting 32-bit files, that can be really big as you know, can be cut to half-size (while retaining the entire 32-bit tonal range & edit-ability) if you select the "use half floating point format" option.

I have used that plugin, and there is one major shortcoming that I encountered:  if you have handheld your images (which I often do) the alignment is frequently off by a hair, and that plugin does not seem to do "auto-align" particularly well.  It's fine if you work off of images taken on a tripod, but...  By contrast the workflow that I have detailed here does a great job of compensating for images that are not perfectly aligned.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Your best animal shots!
« on: September 16, 2014, 07:45:05 AM »
Basking by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr
Nice shot Dustin! How and where did you shoot this?

I shot this in Parc Omega in Quebec, Canada.  How?  I was shooting the pack when I noticed this guy off by himself laying so perfectly on the rock in that sea of grass.  He quickly became my focus.

Here's one more example using this technique.   

When the Sky Rolled Back by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr
Hey Dustin, Thanks for sharing the tutorial and the images!  Looks like a great new option, I'm looking forward to trying it out soon after my next outing!  Thanks again!  ;)

No problem.  Thank you for the nice feedback.

Is there difference between Mac and Windows?
On my Win 8.1 machine with Photoshop CS 6.0, I do not get the check box "Tone in ACR."  In its place is check box "OK," which then gives me an image to view in photoshop but no step to tweak things in ACR, such as shadows  ???

Someone else wrote to me about this, and it seems like the option wasn't there until Photoshop CC.  A workaround is that you can take the file back into Lightroom and edit it there (instead of ACR), and then bring it back to Photoshop if you want to do more edits there.

Landscape / Re: Beautiful sunsets
« on: September 13, 2014, 09:18:36 AM »
Does a sunrise break all of the rules?

Lovely shot Dustin  8)

Thanks, Click.  Glad I wasn't tarred and feathered for shooting at the wrong end of the day.  8)

I'm not sure what you mean. The 610 is just a rebranded 600 to put behind the QA fiasco. The 750 is a replacement that is overdue, in fact contradicting your statement. The 810 is just a unification of two lines which were a pain to market and stock. They did some improvements while they were at it but this is NOT a new camera.

I think you're seeing the result of a QA problem and an experiment: nikon thought the AA filter was still needed with high resolution bodies, and found the market doesn't care for it thus killed the AA filter for good. I don't see how this represents a change and I don't believe a 620 or 850 are going to show up this year at all.

I see your point, but it doesn't change the reality that those who bought a D600, a D800, or a D700 are all of a sudden using "older models".  The motivation for the replacement cameras does not change their reality (Nikon isn't sending them an upgraded/fixed model).  If you bought a MKIII when it was released and Canon released a MKIIIa a year later, what would your reaction be to that (regardless of the reason for the new release)?

Thanks everyone else for the nice feedback.  Glad to help

Here's one more example using this technique.   

When the Sky Rolled Back by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

For my taste, that part around the sun is very strange. There are some kind of halos or something like that. I see that in my case too, when I was merging several exposures in Photoshop's HDR Pro. That's the reason why now I prefer to blend exposures manually by using luminosity masks. Especially when you have straight horizon, it's quite easy to do.

And there is quite a lot of "ghost-ing" around the clouds, too.

Otherwise, it's nice image.

The area around the sun is due to the MKII's inability to natively bracket 3 stops in both directions.  I never have similar issues when shooting with my 6D, but you're right about the way to rectify it.

I initially thought there was some ghosting around the clouds, too, but that is actually the way that the clouds were.   ;D  It looks the same in single exposure files.

Here's one more example using this technique.   

When the Sky Rolled Back by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

P.S.  I was just told that this lens won't actually hit the market until the end of the year.  I may get one a bit early for testing, but this isn't a "just around the corner" kind of announcement.

It's probably a good idea that they limited the focal length to a 2x time zoom ratio (although we're all greedy for more).  That should allow them to focus on killer optics (and hopefully low distortion).  This could be a real winner for wedding photographers!

I was excited at first, but I really like the extra 5mm at 35mm and the bulbous front that precludes (or makes it a a pain to use) filters is a non-starter for me.  I am very happy with my 16-35 f/4 IS and after taking some shots in really dim lighting the other night, I realize I don't miss f/2.8 all that much.

The bulbous front element is definitely the buzzkill here.

Landscape / Re: Beautiful sunsets
« on: September 12, 2014, 09:43:18 AM »
Does a sunrise break all of the rules?

When the Sky Rolled Back by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

Lenses / Re: DXOMark Reviews Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4
« on: September 12, 2014, 09:41:04 AM »
DXO can score this however they want, but when they say things like this: "The new Otus 85mm is without question the most desirable and best performing 85mm portrait lens available" I have no desire to continue reading what they are selling.

What are they smoking?  I still haven't figured out what use case there is for this lens.  You can't hand hold this lens for closer portraits wide open.  You can't.  Not while focusing manually. 

What am I missing?  Why is this the Most Desirable and Best performing 85mm?
We did shoot f1.4 portraits back in the old days, where no AF was available. I had the first 50mm f1.2L lens and have lots of good shots with it, wide open.

A major part of being a photographer then was to practice your manual focusing skills. People were also shooting all kinds of sports and wildlife at the time. Very few (if any) shot f1.4 though, but you still had to handle the movement issues. So adding a precision focusing screen to your camera (I use Ec-S on my 1DX), you can clearly shoot portraits handheld with this lens. But you have to practice quite a bit to master it. If you pick up these manual lenses only once every now and then, I agree, you will not make it. I have lots of close portraits taken with the Otus 55mm at f1.4 (and the Zeiss 135mm at f2.0), where focus is exactly where I want it, so I imagine I will be able to do it with the 85mm also.

So are you saying that a well practiced manual focusing photographer could use this lens as an effective portrait lens in close quarters wide open?  What do you think the keeper rate would be hand held?  What percentage of those keepers would use to the fullest extent this very expensive glass?  I think it would be disappointingly low.
One of the first posts here had a link to some real world examples, I even went to the flickr site referenced.  Guess what? No portraits.  Some beautiful photos, but no portraits.

In the past photographers practiced their manual focusing.  Nowdays it is the videographers out trying to perfect this skill.

I agree that this lens could have a place, but my real gripe was with DXO, who doesn't seem to understand the lens other than by its stats.

Shooting portraits wide open manually is not quite as hard as you think, particularly since Zeiss lenses do have focus confirm (which is pretty accurate).  It takes some practice, yes, but better a manual focus lens than one with erratic AF.

This is an interesting approach, although the lack of a price announcement  indicates that these lenses may be a little ways off.  I would guess that one is going to be priced to try to take some of the market from the Tamron 150-600, while the other will be priced more high end.

What I can't really determine from these announcements is where these two lenses really differentiate themselves.  It's not in the specs, per se.  I would assume that one has superior optics along with a more robust build quality.

You've got to give credit to Sigma (and Tamron) for really shaking up the market the past couple of years.  The most exciting lenses released have not been from first party.  Canon's Photokina this year is really underwhelming.  It's a shame, because the lenses they have been producing (though expensive and far between) have been particularly stellar.

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