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In The Blink Of An Eye: John Stone's Photography Journal

Discussion in 'Media Threads' started by John Stone, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. DFS

    DFS Well-Known Member

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    Great thread and a great idea!

    What does it mean to shoot JPEG vs. raw?
     
  2. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Basically a JPEG is a lossy (meaning data is lost) interpretation of the raw data that was captured by the camera. A RAW image is the exact data that was captured by the camera with absolutely no manipulation. RAW files tend to be about 4 times the size of JPEGs.

    What this means in practical terms is that you have a lot more power and control over the post-production process when you shoot RAW instead of JPEG because all that original data is there for you to use.

    Jared Polin, in addition to having an amazing 'fro, is a huge proponet of RAW. He goes into more details about RAW vs JPEG here:

     
  3. DFS

    DFS Well-Known Member

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    Ok, Ok. I gotcha. So naturally my next question is, how do I shoot RAW? Is it like a setting within the camera?
     
  4. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Yes, that's exactly right. It's an option that you have to set within the camera.

    John, I'm really enjoying your pictures. MY SIL just upgraded to the same camera and is really enjoying it.
     
  5. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Yeah, but not all cameras will let you save in RAW format. It's generally in the image quality section. If you have a DSLR you'll almost for sure have the option to shoot in RAW.

    It's important to note that you'll need software that can read your camera's RAW image files. So even if you find this setting in your camera, take a test shot and make sure whatever software you're using to edit your photos can read it before you take 100 pictures and discover you can't use them.

    I convert my camera's proprietary RAW files to the open standard and more portable "DNG" format (this doesn't alter the actual data, it just changes the format). Adobe Lightroom (highly recommend) is actually awesome enough to do this conversion automatically when it's importing photos from my camera.
     
  6. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I'm pretty much over the moon with the 60D. Does your SIL have a Flickr account or something? I'd love to check out her photography.
     
  7. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    She doesn't have an online photo account. It's too bad because she's won some local photo contests over the years.
     
  8. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Ah, bummer! Well, if she decides to post her stuff please let me know. :)
     
  9. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Will do.
     
  10. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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  11. Mauidude

    Mauidude Active Member

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    Sorry John, I didn't see the post where you mentioned Lightroom. For some reason it didn't show up on my computer when I first looked at this thread.

    You're right - Lightroom is great! In case you have discovered it yet, one of the best sites is Matt Klokoski's site - www.lightroomkillertips.com. Matt works with Scott Kelby, who is arguable one of the best authors out there for us amateurs in learning more about photography. His writing is down to earth, non-technical, and goes through the process of how to take great pictures. His book on Lightroom 3 is the one I use in teaching Lightroom classes. His 3 book series on Digital Photography is awesome and I would highly recommend it.

    Check out Matt's presets on his site:

    http://lightroomkillertips.com/category/presets/

    I'll pass along a cool trick I picked up this last year, particularly for those shots where you really want the blue sky (or water) to really pop while keeping the other colors intense as well. Many times the sky gets washed out in the bright sun. Using a polarizer filter helps, but many times I forgot mine or its so bright, the sky is still washed out too much for my tastes. To take care of this, go to the develop module and click on the HSL/Color/BW function. Click on saturation and bump up blue and aqua to +20. Then click on luminance and bump down blue and aqua to -20. I created a preset for this calling it "polarizer medium". I created another one where I used values of 40 instead of 20. I called this one "polarizer heavy".

    You can use this on any other color as well. For instance maybe you want to make the green leaves more intense without affecting the other colors. In that case just bump and down the green colors instead of the blue ones.

    This is a preset I used all the time, particularly here on Maui with the ocean and the sky.

    Anyway, give it a try. I'll think you'll really like it.

    P.S. Loved the frog picture! Wished we had little froggies here. I'd love to use my macro lens to get a shot of that little buggah.
     
  12. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I've been reading his site since you posted this. Wow. Bookmarked, and will be back often. Great stuff - thank you for the link!

    I'll definitely try that, thanks for the tip. :)

    Up until recently I've always over-saturated my images, and another bad habit is that I used go way over the top with the contrast. Some of my pictures that I used to think looked amazing I can barely look at any more. So right now I'm trying really hard to focus (unintended pun) on keeping things simple in post-production. While I still make color corrections, I'm attempting to make the corrections match my memory of what I saw when I took the picture. Of course I'm also trying to improve my photo taking skills so that the captured image is very close to what I saw to begin with!

    I do like getting artistic and even surreal, but right now I'm trying to get back to basics and develop skills behind the lens.


    What macro lens do you use?

    I've been working on a new web site in my spare time that will focus on my pond and its critters. I really enjoy being out there, and I hope I can capture some of that love in pictures and words.

    One minor correction: those are baby Southern Toads, not frogs. :)
     
  13. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Some photographs from this morning's bike ride to the lake. There's a real mix of tones and moods here.

    All pictures were taken with my Canon EOS 60D and my Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens. Yep--I managed to fit everything in my CamelBak HAWG!

    I'm posting the photos in the same order that I experienced them.

    --

    Blair Witch House, revisited. I've always found this dilapidated house in the middle of the woods fascinating. I was eager to shoot it with my new camera, and I was lucky that the light was amazing this morning.
    Bike-Ride-to-lake_IMG_0857-Edit.jpg
    1/500 sec @ f/4.0, ISO 250, 31mm.


    Of all the photos I took this morning, I think this is my favorite. The feeling that you get when you are actually at Blair Witch House is that the trees are slowly eating it. I think this photo captures that pretty well.
    Bike-Ride-to-lake_IMG_0889-Edit.jpg
    1/60 sec @ f/4.0, ISO 100, 18mm.


    This beautiful heron didn't let me get too close, so I had to really zoom in on her.
    Bike-Ride-to-lake_IMG_0911-Edit.jpg
    1/320 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 100, 250mm.


    I managed to get a pretty decent shot as she flew away from me.
    Bike-Ride-to-lake_IMG_0916-Edit.jpg
    1/500 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 100, 250mm.


    After I left the lake I found a beautiful butterfly garden. There were dozens and dozens of bees and butterflies flying all around me. It was pretty awesome.
    Bike-Ride-to-lake_IMG_0931-Edit.jpg
    1/320 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 100, 120mm.


    A bee coming in for a fast landing.
    Bike-Ride-to-lake_IMG_0947-Edit.jpg
    1/320sec @ f/6.3, ISO 100, 250mm.


    Very colorful looking bee! I'm not sure what kind it is.
    Bike-Ride-to-lake_IMG_0937-Edit.jpg
    1/400sec @ f/6.3, ISO 100, 250mm.
     
  14. Mauidude

    Mauidude Active Member

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    My macro lens is a Canon 100mm 2.8 (non IS). I got a good deal on a used one from a lady in my photography class last year. She had only used a couple of times and I got it for $300. The IS version would be great for they're over $1,000. Yikes!

    Love the Heron shot in flight.
     
  15. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    There is a knot of baby toads (a large group of toads is called a "knot") leaving the pond this morning.

    And so the cycle begins anew...
    Toads-mating-tadpoles-leaving_IMG_1022-Edit.jpg
    Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens. 1/60 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 200, 250mm.
     
  16. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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  17. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Blood sunset. Apart from resizing the image down from 18MP, this is image is un-retouched and straight from the camera.

    blood sun.jpg
    Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens. 1/250 sec @ f/11, ISO 100, 95mm.
     
  18. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    I feel tempted to comment after each of your posts about how much I'm enjoying your pictures, but the redundancy of the messages would likely drive you crazy.

    True macro photography is a completely different ball game from other types of photography mainly due to lighting issues and an extremely shallow DOF, but since it's a hobby it's fun climbing the learning curve. As with all aspects of the craft that I've gotten somewhat proficient with I find it very rewarding and it definitely opens up photo opportunities.

    I have the IS version of the 100 2.8 macro from Canon and it's superb. That said, if you can pick up a good version of what MD has for anywhere close to the price that he paid you'll have a great piece of glass at a great price. I went with the IS version since I'm not as steady as I used to be and don't always have my tripod with me.

    Edit:

    I should also add that although it's called a macro lens due to it's minimum focusing capabilities it also takes wonderful captures at non macro distances. It's not just a one trick pony.
     
    #38 Seltzer, Apr 27, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  19. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I'm enjoying the the learning experience as much, if not more, than the photos I take. I love going through every last picture I take (most of which never see the light of day) and thinking about out why each one works or doesn't work for me. The images I've posted here (apart from the "test" shots in the first few posts of this thread) all mean something personal to me, and I very much like them for one reason or another. Maybe one day when I'm a more technically proficient photographer I'll look back and think I wouldn't have done this or that, but I suspect I'll still feel the emotional connection.

    I'm flattered and honored when others find some of my images interesting. Thanks! :)

    I'm definitely drawn to macro photography. When I'm sitting out by the pond after a few minutes I start to see all kinds of things that I simply did not see at first blush. Macro photography is similar in that it allows us to enjoy things that we would otherwise never get to see (too fast, too small). Maybe that's why I'm interested in it.


    Thanks to you and MD for the input. I'll keep the recommendations in mind, but the budget is busted for the immediate future. :doh: That's OK, I have plenty to keep me busy.
     
  20. Mauidude

    Mauidude Active Member

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    Ok, now I'm really jealous. :lol: You're right about the steady hand. I almost have to use my tripod to get those tack sharp macro shots. I'm like John, though, my camera budget is busted with my new Tamron lens. At over $1,000 the 100 mm macro IS lens is kind of pricey, but well worth it.

    John, I'm like Seltzer in that I don't want to sound redundant complimenting your photos. Having said that however, the shot of the two toads (I got it right this time, not frogs :D) is a classic. Your caption was very appropriate.

    That sunset was unreal. I saw one like that last year somewhere in Texas, but it was gone by the time I scrambled back to my van to grab my camera. The colors in your shot are phenomenal.
     

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