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Messages - TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Here's a little technique article for those interested on utilizing a polarizer even in lower lighting conditions like indoor exhibits or (as the example photos in the article) an aquarium.


"...In the perfect world for photographers, it would always be “golden hour”.  The light would be soft and directional, making even mundane things appear rich and interesting.  But in the real world golden hour only comes (at best) twice a day, and often not at all.  Experienced photographers learn to use things like circular polarizers and ND (neutral density) filters to help control the light in less than ideal conditions.  These filters are particularly helpful when the light is more harsh and glaring.  I personally like to have a circular polarizer available for all my lenses.

But this little article isn’t about using a circular polarizer in a conventional way.

It’s about why I screw on a circular polarizer in a very dark place like interior spaces at zoos and, most recently, at an aquarium.  What?!!"
...to read more click the link above...

I just got mine a couple days ago, today is the first time I got to shoot it, impressed so far.


That's very nice, how much is the sky held back?  If it's not, it looks like it is a bit.  But it looks natural, so nice job.  Not sure I would have put the sun in the center like that for this shot, but I have to admit it does work this way anyway.  I need to get one of these lenses.  I don't like the idea of the corner stretching projection (I'd prefer 16 to 20mm), but there's really no other wide angle that comes close in IQ, that I can justify blowing the money on right now.  Anyhoo...again bravo...and my favorite part is the snow and trees in the bottom half.

Thank you.  I almost always go for the natural look, even though the facebook folks seem to love the gaudy HDR ones.  This is a 7 shot bracket, enfused, no other processing.  The wind up on this tower was crazy too, so I know sharpness suffered because of that.  This was just a quick test of the lens, since winter in Wisconsin you take any sunshine you can get.  Once it warms up I'll get some real shots.

A nice image, and very natural looking.

Reviews / Re: Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Review
« on: February 27, 2014, 08:23:01 PM »
Been thinking of adding an af confirm chip to my lens, but the pictures of some of these chips on ebay seem to suggest that they are low quality and dirty/rusty in general. So I'm a little concern that the chip might shed dust or come loose and scratch the sensor. Do y'all have any issues with this chip? What's your experience? Thanks.

If you go for the chips mentioned above, you should be OK.  They are pretty good quality. Just make sure that you have it glued well, and it should stay in place nicely.

P.S.  Nail polish remover helps clean up any excess glue.

Software & Accessories / Adding Punch through Exposure 5
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:40:43 AM »
Adding "Punch" Through Exposure

There are some people who make a very good living by buying somewhat rundown houses, renovating them, and then “flipping” them for a large profit.  Not everyone can do this.  Some people try it and discover somewhere during the renovation project that they have made a terrible decision.  But those that are successful often share a certain quality:  they can see the “bones” of a house.  They can look past the clutter and disrepair and visualize what the house could be.

This little article is about applying the same principle to photography.  As a professional photographer I take a lot of pictures, and most of the time I at least think I’ve taken a great shot when the shutter clicks.  Some photos are amazing all by themselves, but others are a lot like those rundown houses – they have good “bones”, but they are lacking a bit of punch.  I have enough experience with both photography and software that I can look at a photo and pre-visualize how it will look when I’m finished.  Experience has taught me how to achieve that vision most of the time, and a big part of getting the vision of the finished product out of my head and into reality is through the use of Alien Skin Exposure

To read more, click http://dustinabbott.net/2014/02/adding-punch-through-exposure/:

You can also read a smaller version at the Alien Skin blog later today.  Enjoy

Reviews / Re: Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Review
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:36:06 AM »
Interested in getting this lens. Which is better, get a Canon mount lens + EMF chip for AF confirmation & correct EXIF data or Nikon Mount lens with Nikon to Canon EF adapter (Nikon mount lens has AE support and focus confirmation) ? In short, which is the more reliable way to get the AF confirmation light & correct EXIF data? TIA

I would add the EMF chip.  Going with the adapter means that you introduce the possibility of some image quality less through an adapter that is less than perfect.

Photography Technique / Re: How (and Why) I Took the Shot #2: Persistance
« on: February 20, 2014, 02:00:44 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the nice feedback.  I've been out of the loop a bit here, and that will probably be the case moving ahead for a bit.  I've been a little too busy and am trying to step back.  Take more time to make pictures and less time talking about them.

Photography Technique / How (and Why) I Took the Shot #2: Persistance
« on: February 17, 2014, 08:51:22 AM »
My last article brought a certain amount of controversy, so I post the next in the series with some trepidation ;D

I did take to heart some of your suggestions, so let me be clear about what this little article is:  it is a brief look into the why of what was going on in my head when I chose the subject to shoot along with a few technique tips of how I took the shot.  It's a mix of a little photography philosophy and a few technique tips for framing and producing pleasing, complimentary bokeh.  I realize that there is a broad ability range on this message board, as there is in the greater audience of the people that visit my site.  I in no way am trying to be offensive or even self-promotional with this series; I want to help people.  A few of you seem offended by that, and, if you are, then please disregard this thread and move on to something that is interesting for you.

Here's a little snippet of what the article is about, and if you want to read more...click through.

"Why I Took the Shot

Winter came early this year, and shows no signs of being in a hurry to leave. It has been a hard one. Cold, bleak, and with heavy storms. Winter at its best can be fabulously beautiful, but amongst all the seasons it is also most likely to come with a lot of dark, dreary days.

It doesn’t help that as winter sets in, most of the color gets leeched from the world. The trees are bare (other than the evergreens), and that, combined with frequently overcast skies, leaves the world a pretty bleak place. I often feel like the world has become monochrome.  It seems at times like I am stumbling around the woods looking for something with just a hint of color to photograph.  Desperate…..for…..color!!!

It is for this reason that I have a special place in my heart for the beech tree.  It breaks the rules...
" to read more, click herehttp://dustinabbott.net/2014/02/how-and-why-i-took-the-shot-2-persistance/..."

Thanks for you time, and, I sincerely hope this helps someone...

Some good looking shots, Alan.  I'm glad the lens is working out for you.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: In-Depth Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC
« on: February 14, 2014, 04:27:18 PM »
Not a bad shot at all.  But I wonder why you would pair the 1DX with this lens?  If you need 600mm, it seems a big white, or a combo with a TC, would better serve the 1DX.  Looks like the Tamron is in fine form, though.

The 600mm Canon lens is $12,000+.
The Tamron lens is ~$1100.
The 1DX is $6800.

You can afford 2x1DX+Tamron for the price of 1DX+Canon 600mm.

As much as I love my 400mm f2.8 IS II, I still couldn't figure out why the hood + case would cost $1300ish ::)

Maybe Neuro has the answer :)

Hmmmm, the new Tamron or the case and hood for the 400?  Good thing those accessories come WITH the lens!!

Here's one taken with an off brand (Image) 135mm f/2.8 lens I got for $10 at a local pawn shop.  It was mounted (via adapter) on a 6D body (which helps!!), but still...

Waiting for Spring by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

Great shot! If I get around to it I hope to do some shooting coming weekend with my Canon FL135mm f/2.5 on my NEX-6.

Have fun.  Some of the older lenses don't translate all that well to modern age, but others are still great.  I find that some of them have more personality than modern lenses.

Here's one taken with an off brand (Image) 135mm f/2.8 lens I got for $10 at a local pawn shop.  It was mounted (via adapter) on a 6D body (which helps!!), but still...

Waiting for Spring by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

Another review:


not MTF charts or any kind of lab stuff. In the field review, and the photos are simply amazing. Don't forget it's $1000 worth of 600mm..

Thanks for the link - amazing photos!  If I didn't own the 300 + 2x already, those photos alone would sell me on this lens.  Wow!

+1 - Those are some amazing, amazing photos and the guy has a great writing style.  One of the best practical reviews that I have read on the lens.

Photography Technique / Re: How (and Why) I Took the Shot #1: Overlook
« on: February 11, 2014, 04:42:47 PM »
Never one to be afraid to put my nose in where it isn't needed, without any ill will to Dustin who does some great work and reviews, as a matter of principle I am very much against pure outside links, indeed I am surprised CR allows such posts. There is nothing difficult about including an entire blog post and image here and including a link to the original for people who have more interest to go and see, and I think, on principle, that is the more honorable way of doing things. Pure links just smell of site traffic manipulation to me, I am sure Dustin has a good following and has been asked by people to post more stuff (heck people even PM me questions), but he can answer those personal requests with directions to his blog and site, that, to my mind, is very different from making people click to even see if they are interested in a post.

Just my 10c worth.
If it is a long article, a short synopsys along with the picture would be OK and a link at the end. But I'm not sure I think it is OK to use a forum like this to promote your own site, which I beleive has commercial motivation.

As for this specific post, I am a bit surprised why you selected an image like this. You have posted lots of images it could have been interesting to hear the story behind. But, without getting into any debate over the image, this was not one that raised any interest with me.

But keep posting, I may enjoy the next one more.

Fair enough.  I absolutely am trying to drive attention to my website to continue building my brand.  I have no problem acknowledging that.

But what you may not know is that traffic back to LensRentals is typically in my top 4 clickthroughs from my website (#3 today, in fact).  I recommend that people rent lenses (try before you buy)and freely cite articles by Roger to direct people to Lens Rentals.  Anyone that works with web design/development knows how importance this ecosystem is.  Every clickthrough from this website (CanonRumors) to any other website helps build its brand and page ranking.  It is a bit of a symbiotic relationship, which is probably why it is allowed here.

Even from the kind reactions on this thread I sense that this particular post and image are not the sexiest I've ever shared.  ;D  I'll try to up my game next time 8)

Photography Technique / Re: How (and Why) I Took the Shot #1: Overlook
« on: February 11, 2014, 01:53:19 PM »

BTW, this series is being requested by a certain very large company in the industry, and so I will write them despite opinions on a message board.
So opinions on a message board only matter when they are positive?
Opinions on a message board does NOT have to be positive, but they should at least provide constructive criticism ... it makes no sense when the post just rubbishes the photographer's work without providing any constructive criticism on how the image could have been improved.
I agree, as little as positive comments also describing why it's good. I did not say it was bad. Actually I didn't even look at it to start with. But now I have clicked his link to support his webstats and it was a picture of a broken tree, then a reference to god. Rienz, I know you a little through your posts here, you are a sensible man. I am not seeking anyone's support for my view though. I just questioned why he starts his post(s) with: on request from people on this forum I hereby give you my review, blog etc. when clearly it is self promotion. Better be honest about it. People here are very encouraging and I think it is important not to abuse that. If he's on a contract through a larger corporation, all the best, but if it is a business thing, then i think it should be disclosed in the first comment. About the picture, not bad but it didn't move me. Mostly because I'm a portrait person (although mediocre).

Why the hostility?  You honesty began bashing me and the piece without even looking at it?  That's part of the reason why message board opinions matter less to me than other sources...

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: In-Depth Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC
« on: February 11, 2014, 09:19:31 AM »
Here's another 600mm shot.  This series is a bit softer because of the temperature variation phenomena I discussed in the review, but I love the compression effect on this Arctic Wolf from the long focal length:

The Silent Assassin by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

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