Tuesday, September 30, 2014

All Creatures Great and Small

This is a photo essay of some of the various wildlife I've encountered recently.  Whether found in the backyard, state park, or a wildlife preserve I love trying to get photos of all I see.  Do click on a photo for a larger view.  Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Does f/40 Look Like From Nikon's 105mm Macro

 Assortment @ f/25
I've had this lens for awhile now and don't think I've used it beyond f/16, and then only rarely because I strive for critical sharpness most of the time and anything beyond f/11 on this sensor will start to rob it of acuity.  We had some flowers in the house for Mindy's birthday (thank you Jenn) and they were begging to be shot so I grabbed the D600 with the 105mm attached and started firing away at f/25.  Why f/25?  Simply because I hadn't done it before and was wanting as much in focus as possible close up.    

Monday, September 8, 2014

Super Harvest Moon

Super Harvest Moon, 9-8-2014 @ 9:38 PM ET
Wouldn't you know that tonight with the super harvest moon making an appearance the sky would fill with clouds.  I went outside anyway hoping for a small break in that thick canopy of moisture that had moved up from the south and caught this at 9:38 PM.  Now, I had read that at precisely 9:38 PM the full Harvest Moon would arrive here in the east time zone and that ever small break in the clouds happened right then and I triggered the shutter.  It wasn't a clear opening but at least the moon wasn't hidden like it was right before and after this shot.  In fact, I had to slow the shutter speed down to 1/40s @ f/8 to get this.  My first attempt was 1/200 @ f/8 but I ended up with a black frame so I quickly adjusted and shot again.  If you look at the previous posts this week you'll see I was using 1/200 - 1/250s @ f/8 for those so that gives an indication that the opening I was presented with was not crystal clear.  By the way, the darkening at the top left is due to the cloud cover.  Hope you enjoy.

What To Do When You Can't Sleep

Waxing Gibbous, 99% Illuminated
It was 12:57 AM and I just wasn't tired.  So what to do?  I went outside and shot the moon, what else?  It's certainly been the theme this week.  It wasn't intentional.  It's just worked out that way.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

One Big Cheese Ball

Moon, Waxing Gibbous, 87% Illuminated, 9-5-2014
Ok, it's not really a cheese ball.  It's the moon.  Again.  But it's different.  It's 87% illuminated this time.  And it's a jpeg out of the camera that I processed in LR, not a raw.  My little experiment yesterday really got my attention and I've looked at the raw vs jpeg images again and again since then and can't get over how much better the jpeg looks than what I'm able to get from the raw image.  Try and try as I may I just could not get the raw to look as detailed. Oh, it looks pretty good when viewed by itself but when compared side by side with what I could get from the jpeg image it just doesn't measure up.  And this is very unusual.  I do these comparisons from time to time and until now I've always preferred what I could get from the raw image vs what I could get from the jpeg.  So I'm not sure what it is about the moon that changes that.  It could be as simple as my post-processing skills not being up to snuff.  I am self-taught, after all, and have no doubt there's plenty of room for improvement.  But, for now it's a mystery and I'll post what I think the better of the two.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Moon Shot and Post-Processing Comparison

Moon, Waxing Gibbous, 74% illuminated

Yesterday I wrote briefly on how to shoot the moon (btw - the settings I used are just a guide that should at least get you in the ballpark).  If you read it you'll note that I shoot in raw mode and did very little post-processing to that image.  

Today's moon shot will compare one image with more thorough processing to the same image with the processing that I applied to yesterday's moon.  I'll even throw in a jpeg image straight out of the camera to top off the comparison.  The three images shown here are of one moon shot taken this evening, 9/4/2014, with different post-processing applied.  

The image that begins this article is post-processed as such:  Whites +30, Clarity +35, Sharpening 50, Detail 50, Masking 40.  At this point I liked it and stopped.  The settings in the camera are the same as used yesterday with the one exception that I used spot metering this time.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to Shoot the Moon

Moon - Waxing Gibbous, 68% Illuminated, Sept 3, 2014

NOTE:  Be sure to click for a larger view and make sure your device is set to its brightest setting.

To get a successful shot of the moon you first need stable atmospheric conditions.  Also, if shooting in extreme heat or cold you'll want to acclimate your lens to those conditions before shooting.

Next, mount your camera to a sturdy tripod and set it up on solid ground.  I was able to set mine up in the backyard next to our sidewalk so that I stood on the sidewalk with the tripod in the grass.  This way, the chance of me inducing any shake into the rig was minimized.

The settings I used were manual mode, 1/250 @ f/8, ISO 100, matrix metering, mirror up (MUP) with cable release.  The camera/lens combo were the Nikon D7000 and Nikon 300mm f/4 + TC-14EII making for an equivalent fov of 630mm when compared to full frame.

The only thing I did in Lightroom is add 0.3 exposure and +35 clarity.  All other settings were left alone.  I only shoot in raw mode.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you.