July 31, 2014, 09:27:03 PM

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Messages - TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Thanks for the info Dustin.  I didn't think of using the polarizer before.   :(  I had difficulty shading the incoming light outside just to get this.  Off-topic, the current display from flickr changed and take sometime to getting used to.

These look nice.  I've been toggling back and forth between the two looks on Flickr for months, so I am pretty familiar with the interface already.  I like it for viewing and commenting, but finding some of the other functionality of Flickr is a little clunky.  They are definitely changing their focus.  I'm a little concerned about the death the Getty Images partnership with Flickr, too.  I liked the approach of Getty inviting images through Flickr rather than going through the work of submitting images directly that might not get accepted.

Was planing on doing just the same thing in a month in Beijing and/or Shanghai aquarium. But I have my doubts. CPL is effective in removing reflections when there is a nice angle between the camera and the glass. And even then it would not be a 100% result. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to lean the lens flat to the glass (or at a small angle with hand covering) and discard all reflections whatsoever and gain more than a stop of light?.. I guess I'll have to find out myself.

I've done those things but a polarizer might (I'll also do some tests) make it easier.  Sometimes, a wide angle causes distortion of the subject which you might not want.  A longer focal length + CPL + high ISO might do the work.

If you have opportunity to both have full access to the glass and you can frame your shot effectively that way, your technique should work.  The polarizer approach has the advantage that you don't have to wait for people to get out of the way, you can frame freely, and you can get your shots off faster.  The aquarium I was in was particularly busy, but I didn't really have an issue getting the shots I wanted.  In fact, I shot the lead image in the article of the stingray from a crowd during a "show".  I wasn't even close to being in the front of the crowd (for some crazy reason they don't want the 6+ foot tall guy standing in front of the kids.  Weird 8) )


Great idea and nicely written article. I'll have to try this the next time I'm at the national aquarium in Baltimore.

Would you mind posting the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speeds of some of the photos you took?

Thanks again!


Most all of the shots are in the ISO 10K-12.8K range.  Shutter speed is typically around 1/100th second, and all of the shots are wide open in terms of aperture.  With the 70-300L, however, that means that at best it was usually f/5 and more typically f/5.6.

Nice article Dustin and it's pretty amazing what the combination of new technologies (high ISO bodies) and old ones (polarizers) can achieve in the right hands.  I liked the photos as well and think the jellyfish one turned out really well.

The High ISO performance of this current generation is really pretty stunning.  If another stop or so can be gained in the MKIV of the 5D line or the 6DII, it really changes the game.  If you could treat ISO 12800 or even 25600 like you do 6400 now...wow!

The downside for the manufacturers is that photographer's need for primes is dropping.  A two lens kit of a couple f/2.8 zooms (particularly with stabilizers) really covers most every need.  Primes offer more creativity and flexibility with shallow DOF (and I love them), but I'm going out of the country to shoot a wedding next week and am only packing a 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 zooms.

Very good information. Thanks for sharing Dustin.

My pleasure

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.

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