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For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternative

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:56 pm
by Andy
I missed Fall Foliage altogether this year, due to an extended vacation in the Mediterranean. So here is the best I could do: An Alternative To Fall foliage. Venice doesn't have many trees, but they do have color:

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Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:43 pm
by Pentaxguy
Andy, the whole city of Venice is sinking. You got out just in time. :wink:

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:54 pm
by Andy
LOL, Bill!

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:19 pm
by autzig
Andy, you really made some nice photos in Venice. I like them all but I think my favorite is the blue gondolas. You captured the slight motion while the building in the background is tack sharp. Your evening shot of the Grand Canal is really nice too, as is the first one. Your new Sony camera really worked for you.

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:53 am
by Andy
Thanks, Al. The gondola shot was the only really "planned for" shot of the trip. It took 2 morning trips to Piazza San Marco, including a train ride from our mainland hotel and a walk from the station accross the island. Glad you like it.

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:05 pm
by Utah Baker
I too like the gondolas, but the nightime shot with the lights aglow is magical!

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:33 pm
by Andy
Thanks, Utah. I wish I could have spend more time shooting there at night. I will next time I have the chance to go

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:22 pm
by mmvt
Really wonderful ANdy!! I also love the night shot - was thinking that I"d like to do more of that in VT next year - lit up country store windows, etc.
thanks for sharing!!

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:45 am
by Andy
MM: You should definitely do night shooting. Night is a great concealer of the extranea that you often cannot get out of your composition. It emphasizes shape and form and light, And today's sensors and PP software just keep getting better and better at rendering noise-free images.

I like to shoot night photos in the Winter, especially.

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:39 am
by deaner1971
Andy,

I love the photos. The night one is my favorite as well.

Question on technique on that one - is that a single shot?

If it is one shot, do you mind sharing your settings? I ask because your exposure is perfect. To get the lights and the sky perfectly exposed but also pick up detail from the buildings all while not getting motion blur on the moving objects? Awesome.

If it isn't a single shot, do you mind sharing your workflow for thne same reasons as above.

Again - great!

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:30 pm
by Andy
Ok Dean: I will let you in on a dirty little secret. It was taken (gasp) handheld, at 1/30 sec, ISO 6400, f6.3. Not sure how I arrived at the aperture. I think I was trying to keep some DOF at what I thought I could get away with hand-holding. Because of the light conditions, critical sharpness wasn't AS critical in my view as it might be in daylight conditions, but reasonable sharpness throughout was still a goal. I didn't have my tripod with me at the time. I just dialed AP, and an aperture that gave me the 1/30 or more.

I don't do much with HDR. I am able to get what I want out of my raw file most of the time. When I do, they are generally planned well in advance and are of "still" subjects. Other than a quick burst series, I don't think HDR would work here, as everything on the canal was moving.

Thanks to Jeff Schewe ("The Digital Negative," "The Digital Print") and the good folks at NIK software, I have learned how to get the most out of my raw images.

This NEX-6 sensor is pretty darn impressive, too. There is plenty of noise in the image, but with NIK dFine on the image directly after the raw conversion, it is really an acceptable image. I would not plan to shoot at 6400 ISO, but anything lower just wasn't going to capture what I wanted here - at least not handheld.

Finally, as always, the most important factor was the light. This shut is really at dusk and not truly a "night" image. A few minutes later and I could not have had the detail in the sky, or the buildings. Timing was just right.

As for my current workflow: I always capture raw images. I use Adobe ACR (though the raw conversion "engine" in LR would work just as well). I have thoroughly read Schewe's Digital Negative (and am nearly finished with the Print book). He does a very detailed job of explaining how to coax the most out of the raw image (of course, it is important to properly expose in the first place, and I use ETTR whenever it is possible, and watch the histogram on my images, knowing from experience, how the on-camera histogram relates to reality -- with raw, you can push it a bit). I lens correct, then set the exposure first, to what generally "looks good" but keeps the histogram within proper parameters. I sometimes (but rarely) adjust the WB, but never touch the tint controls. I then adjust highlights and shadows again with a mix of "look" and an eye to the histogram. I usually add a fair amount of clarity and vibrance (the latter tends, in my experience, to "warm" the image, so be cognizant of that when adjusting WB in the beginning). Finally, almost solely relying on the histogram, I set the white and black point - if adjustment is necessary.

After conversion, I use dfine (I have begun to just run it on all my images, even if I don't think noise will be an issue - surprising how often the software finds noise somewhere in the image), usually at its default automatic setting. I also use NIK Sharpener's "capture sharpening (again, most often at the default "auto" setting). NOTE that ACR (and LR, I believe), contain VERY GOOD capture sharpening and Noise software - it is from the Pixel Genius (Genuine Fractals) group's PK Sharpener and the old Noise Ninja algorithms. I leave them on "off" and use NIK, primarily because the user interface is so much easier for me to understand and "get right" and because I like the consistency of using NIK's technology across the board.

Then I use Viveza2 (on rare occasion, I may use ColorFX - most often for its GND filter capability - but mostly not) to do final color and brightness adjustment. I really like the U-point control points for pinpointing adjustments.

That's what I did above. At the end, I used NIK Sharpener's "output" sharpening for "display" screens, converted to srgb and saved as a small, but HQ jpeg. Viveza helps alot with the skies and shadow and brightness adjustments.

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:31 pm
by Andy
BTW, that workflow sounds, on paper, like it is long an time consuming. It really isn't. I might spend 10 minutes on an image, from open to save.

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:01 pm
by deaner1971
Nah, that is pretty much the same as my workflow, I think it is your in-camera piece that is worlds past mine or I am using too heavy a hand in LR and NIK and thus could not imagine that you had gotten all that from a single shot.

Thank you!

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:05 pm
by Andy
Well, I am pretty good :mrgreen: . But seriously, I think the Sony sensor and the Zeiss Lens combo are rendering pretty good results here.

BTW, Don't know if you have been watching or not, but Sony announced their mirrorless Full Frame offerings this week, the Al7 and A7r. They are are not going to continue with the NEX designation for these bodies. Instead, the A stands for Alpha (like their DSLR offerings). The A7 has the same sensor as their A99 DSLR. The A7r has the same sensor as they supply to Nikon for its D800 series, which is the largest (36mp) resolution FF sensor in a DSLR available. That makes the A7r the largest resolution sensor in a Mirrorless interchangeable lens camera available today (and, aside from the $6,000 Leica M series, the ONLY FF offering in the MILC market).

While it means I will leave the $ I spent on the table, I am very seriously considering "trading" in the Nikon bag of gear for one of these and 2 of the Carl Zeiss lens offerings ( I will still bank some $ and will hold them for one of the promised additions 10 lenses to come available in 2014 and 2015).

Re: For Those of us who missed the Fall Foliage; an Alternat

Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:05 am
by deaner1971
Andy,

I did see those. Amazing what they are putting into ever smaller packages, no?

I am currently set on replacing my camera with the A99. It is a full frame, which I swore I would get for my next camera.

Only problem is that the A99 is a "save up for it" purchase for me and I am seeing issues with my current camera. If it gives out, I may have to decide on having no camera for a bit (until I can get the 99) or settling for a step down (the A77 is a third the price with all the features I want except slightly less rugged and with an APS sensor).

Will see...