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Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:32 pm
by pwt54
Great choice. I couldn't afford one now that I'm retiring, so I settled for a Canon Rebel XSI.

Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:42 pm
by Andy
Nothing wrong with that choice! I think you will find your photographic "horizons" widening with the DSLR format.

I may be "preaching to the choir." You may have been a long time (closet?) SLR user and already know this. But I'll take the chance of offending <G>

For those who aren't familiar with the SLR/DSLR format, I highly recommmend an AMPhoto Book by Bryan Peterson entitled "Understanding Exposure." Brian does the best, clearest job, IMO, of explaining the relationship between camera f-stops and shutter speeds and shows you how you can profit from knowing these relationships. It is available at and often I see it in the bookstores. My copy is "dog-eared." I would also recommend reading some of the tuturials on the luminous landscape website regarding exposure with DSLR cameras.

Finally, with the DSLR format, you really must consider using a tripod and a cable release to get the most from it.

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:21 am
by pwt54
I check out your D90 page. The photos looked great. I have used mt rebel too much yet. I'm still stuck with the basic 18-55 lense until I can afford a better one. With the overtime I got for Xmas and New Years I should be able to do that next week. Right now I'm becoming one with my snowblower, so I'll check in later.

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:02 pm
by autzig
Carol, your photos are wonderful. I particularly liked the first swan. The stream photos were really nice too, especially the first one.

There may be a couple of lessons here to get you out of the P mode.

The swan might be a touch underexposed. On automatic, your camera thinks it is 18% gray. A rule of thumb for shooting whites is to open up 2 stops. I don't think your shot is that underexposed, maybe 1.

The foreground of the second stream shot, is out of focus. You need to take that shot with a smaller aperture that gets everything sharp. Your dumb camera didn't pick the right aperture but you could have.

The sky in the sunset shot is spectacular but the foreground has no detail. This is where shooting in raw can really help out. Take two exposures, exposing properly for the sky on one and the foreground on the other. Merge the two in Photoshop and you will have what you saw when you took the shot. You could use Photomatix to merge multiple images with multiple exposures and get the dynamic range that your camera isn't capable of capturing.

These are terrific shots. Imagine what you could do by substituting your brains for your camera that assumes that every scene is 18% gray.

Thanks for your note. I'm glad you invited me to see your photos. I haven't had much opportunity for photography lately. Shot a Iguana when I was in Florida in December.

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:03 pm
by ctyanky
Abby: Thank you for dedicating that covered bridge to me! I have this thing for Vermont covered bridges and have to go in and out of each one that I come across! Your pictures never cease to amaze me! But boy, does it look cold up there! I'm freezing as it is here in Connecticut with all this snow and ice we have been receiving lately! Just out of curiosity, where is this covered bridge?

As I have said before, many of your photos tell a story and they keep me captivated. Keep up the good work with that new amazing camera of yours and I can't wait to see it in October! Your pictures are getting better and better and you are becoming a true professional! And your enthusiasm runneth over! :wink: :wink: :wink:

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:10 am
by pwt54
We got lucky up here. They predicted 6 - 12 inches and we only got 5 - 10.

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:29 pm
by Andy
Carol: The link I sent you was to the ADOBE website. It is not that CS3 ISN'T compatible with the D90. It is absolutely compatible. Adobe has a RAW converter that is bundled with Photoshop in the CS versions, called Adobe Raw Converter (ACR). When CS3 first shipped, the D90 was either not out yet, or very new. Every new camera's RAW format is different and it takes ADOBE a while to get a new RAW format's information to work with ACR. They then put out a release of a new plugin file. The link I sent you contains plugins for several new cameras/RAW formats that came out since CS3 was first released. They do note that it is the LAST update for CS3. They are now concentrating on CS4. So newer cameras may NOT be compatible with CS3. One way to make sure we have to upgrade to the newest and best :wink:

With Al's comments about your photos I'll add one. In order to make his suggestion to merge two exposures together, you MUST shoot both images from a tripod to ensure they register properly. You mention that you don't have your "new" tripod yet. Do you have an old one? It may well be that the old one is better than no tripod.

The two I like best: The red barn closeup (surprise) and the snow fence. My comment about the snow fence -- guess??

Yup -- I would crop it a little tighter. I would like to see you eliminate the undefined white space in the upper left part of the photo--and maybe just a bit of the foreground that doesn't have the shadows. I might "work" the photo slightly to try to get a little detail in the foreground snow.

Not sure I agree with you, Al, on the swan exposures. Might just be the difference in our monitors. But I think the exposure looks pretty good (the really close one looks a tad OVER exposed to me, which is interesting, because you would think the meter would see all that white and stop down. But the Nikon matrix metering is pretty impressive, IMO.

One other comment -- I am very impressed with the color -- out of the box -- with the D90.

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:33 pm
by Andy
PWT: My first SLR had a 55 mm lens and a 135mm lens. I took lots of photos with that combo. It is hard to imagine -- thinking back -- how I got along without zoom. I guess you have to work a little harder with your legs :lol:.

With my second SLR, I only had the "normal" 50mm lens which was customarily sold on SLR bodies years back. I used those cameras exclusively for a couple years. That 18-55 is a pretty good range for most of the work I do today. Should be some pretty good opportunities -- and results with it.

What are you thinking of getting to replace / supplement it?

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:28 pm
by pwt54
Andy, your comments on the lenses is probably right. I spent most of the day with the 18-55 lense, but I would have loved to have the 55-250 lense for the 2 deer. I could have used it for the 5 flocks of turkeys, also. I've been taking notes, because this is a whole new world for me.

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:32 pm
by autzig
Carol, you should know that I was a high school teacher for a couple of years after I got out of college. I still have a desire to teach, so let me offer an educational thought about your snow fence shot. This isn't a critique, just a photography lesson. You may already know this stuff but that's ok. I still satisfy my craving to teach.

Look at the snow fence photo. What color is the shadow of each of the snow fence slats? Look closely. They are blue! In fact, so is the snow on the other side of the fence. So why is it blue?

Here's the answer. The color of light in the shade is blue. It has something to do with objects blocking everything except the blue spectrum. (I taught history, not science.) You want the blue to be white? Set your white balance to shade. Alternatively, you can use a warming filter. My guess is that you had your white balance set for sunlight. If you like the blue, it was set perfectly.

As an experiment, open the photo in Adobe Bridge. In CS3, you can even open jpg files in RAW. Change the white balance to daylight, cloudy, and shade and see which one you like best.

This is a great example of why you have white balance settings on your camera. Remember when you shoot, you have to consider, not only the quality of light, but the color too.


Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:15 pm
by autzig
Carol, first things first. I absolutely love the photo of the little kid. Perfectly exposed, the rosy cheeks, the beautiful blue eyes. That one belongs on a wall. Exquisite!

Moving on to your other photos; I think the white balance on most of them is good. I think Auto white balance does pretty well on sunny days.
The first photo, I think, is much too blue. I downloaded it and made some white balance adjustments. Here's the original.


I opened it in Camera Raw and adjusted the white balance and got this which I find more pleasing because the snow is white rather than blue.


Rather than changing the white balance you could open the photo in Photoshop, add a Hue/Saturation layer and desaturate blue. I took it to a -60. The snow was nice and white but the trees weren't warmed up like they were when I adjusted the white balance. Try it and see what you think.

I don't think shooting RAW really makes a difference in the camera. Where it makes a difference is in post processing. The reason for the difference is that there is no lost data. You can adjust your blacks and whites and play around with them all you want. If you make a change to a jpg file you can't go back to the original.

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:34 pm
by autzig
Carol, if you want to keep the nice blue sky, open the file in photoshop, apply a hue/saturation adjustment layer and desaturate the blues to -60. With this adjustment layer you will get a layer mask. Use a big brush, set your foreground color to black and paint over the blue sky. Black will hide the effect of the adjustment in the areas where you paint. You will get the white snow while keeping the sky that you liked. Here's the photo I created using that method. Notice that color of the green trees is not as saturated as in the example where I changed the white balance. I prefer this one. If you like the other one, saturate the yellows in the same or a new layer.

You almost never have to settle for something in Photoshop. You just need to know what to do and how to do it and you can get exactly what you are after.

What do you think of this one?


Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:10 pm
by Andy
For Clarification: NEF IS a RAW file format -- it is Nikon's Raw File Format.

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:30 pm
by Andy
Carol /Al: Perhaps I haven't been clear on my conversation about White Balance. Back in "the day" when we used film, you had to buy film that was color balanced for the light conditions. Most film was "daylight balanced which meant the characteristics of the film were already balanced for most sunlight conditions. If you wanted to shoot indoors, you needed "Tungsten" film which was balanced for the colors as they looked under incandescent light bulbs (which traditionally had tungsten filaments).

When you got "blue" shadows in the snow, except for the ability of the printer to adjust, you were basically stuck with it. This was particularly true for slide films. What the "white balance" adjustment in the digital camera sensor is doing is that same, except that now you have the ability to balance the color yourself.

RAW files are not white balanced. They are computer information as captured. They must be "interpreted" which is what a RAW converter (like ACR) does. Ultimately, the file must be rendered as a PSD, TIFF, JPEG, or other recognized file format. White balancing (even in the camera) is always done after the fact. When you shoot in the jpeg mode in the camera, the camera interprets--through its own microprocessor--the RAW information and converts it--in camera--to jpeg. The theory is that more powerful and intelligent programs--like photoshop--can do a better job of converting than the in-camera software does.

The great advantage to RAW shooting is that it really doesn't matter what the CAMERA SETTING for white balance is. You basically don't have to worry about it. Instead, you do the white balancing in the RAW converter. I leave the white balance setting on "automatic." ACR converts it "as shot." Al is right, IMO. The Nikon Cameras do a pretty good job of getting it "right" in daylight conditions. But in ACR, you have pretty much infinite White Balance adjustment capability--after the fact! You can change the pre-set settings (e.g., daylight, flash, shade, etc.). But better, you can adjust the sliders for color temperature--which is really what white balancing is all about--until you get a look you like. I prefer a "warm" look to my photos and consequently most of my stuff is adjusted to a fairly high color temperature. The "cooler" color temperatures are more blue, or "colder" looking.

So, I am not saying that white balance isn't necessary or important when shooting RAW. Rather, I am saying that I don't worry about the camera settings (at least not for outdoor shooting). I do my WB adjustments in the RAW converter.

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:46 pm
by autzig
Carol, one of the beauties of Photoshop is that you can accomplish something using any of a variety of different methods. Yours worked just fine.

Using adjustment layers is not difficult and once you see how much easier they make things, you will never stop using them. I went to a weekend Photo workshop with John Shaw. He showed us how to use layers in Photoshop and I was blown away. Because of that seminar, I went out and bought the full version.

Just click on Window at the top and check layers if you don't already have your layers pallet visible. At the bottom of the layers pallet click on the black and white circle and choose the kind of layer you want like hue and saturation. The adjustment box pops up. Make the adjustments you want (Make sure the Preview box is checked so you can see the effect.), click OK and you will see the layer mask. Use your brush with the foreground color set to black to hide the areas you don't want to show the effect of the adjustment. If you only want a small area to change, press CTRL BACKSPACE with white as the foreground color and the layer will be filled with black. Paint the mask with white and the changes will be revealed. This is very easy stuff.

Actually, the first adjustment I make is a curves layer. Click OPTIONS and you can choose from three different Algorithms or choose your own adjustment. Look at the difference by choosing one of the presets.

Now that Andy and I have convinced you to shoot in RAW and you've taken that bold step, start learning what Photoshop can do for you. I'll be happy to give you some e-lessons.