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    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2012
  1.  (10407.62)
    @roadscum there's really no such thing as two parallel lines New Orleans. everything is just a little off.
    • CommentAuthormanglr
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012
    Meanwhile in New England, winter made a cameo appearance!

    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012 edited
    I'm enjoying this thread immensely. Talented bastards, one and all.
    Sir Carpenter's shots, especially, make me yearn for home.
    Here's a few from Oman, specifically, Muscat.





    Where I bought a..


    1915 nautical telescope!

    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012
    @Jehrot, those are gorgeous man. Are you editing them in Photoshop? I only ask because the top one has some visible 'halo effect' around the mountains. For darkening the sky to bring out color or cloud detail I recommend using the gradient tool and a layer mask so that the transition is smoother and looks more realistic. IF you use Lightroom, try the graduated filters to darken the sky. Or if you want to do it in camera pick up a circular polarizer for your lens. Not trying to be nitpicky or critical, I really like your shots and just want to offer advice. Keep the good work coming!
    Also, nice score with the telescope! That thing is beautiful!
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012
    I noticed the halo as well; just thought I'd mention. Way more into the seagull pic, though - great capture.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012
    Thanks for the positivity dudes! And, yeah. That halo obviously comes across as a lazy edit (which it was) rather than a cool effect (wishful thinking). I'm using Aperture to edit, there's definitely some graduated filters I can try in there. I'd love to grab a polarizer though. Next purchase perhaps.
    If anyone needs me, I'll be on my roof. Spying.
    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012
    Do you like Aperture? I auditioned Aperture and Lightroom at the same time when it was time for me to migrate out of the dreaded iPhoto. I felt like Aperture was clumsy and inelegant, a beefier version of iPhoto. It ate up my hard drive space like crazy too. I just never liked it and pretty much the only thing that was good for me was the ease of migration. Ultimately I settled on Lightroom, though it was a nightmare to migrate to, but I have never looked back. I love it and find it to be a very powerful and elegant piece of software.

    I don't want to incite a devolution in this thread to talking about the tools of the trade, I am just genuinely curious what people's thoughts are about the tools that they use. I have spent the last two weeks editing furiously for competitions and clients and I am doing the same right now, deadline for PDN is tomorrow. Glass of whiskey in hand I shall be up the whole night editing until I am either too drunk to fuck (so to speak) or finished completely. I find that LR uses the resources of my now 5 year old Macbook pretty well considering its age and relatively low processing power. Whooo, ok. Pouring another glass and getting back to work!
  2.  (10407.69)
    Talking about the tools isn't a devolution of the thread. That's why it's the Photography Thread and not the Photo Gallery Thread. I don't make any money on pictures, so I try to do everything in camera as much as possible (live view is a godsend for that), only using UFRaw for exposure adjustments on any RAWs I might take. The hard part is remembering to shoot RAW, since usually I only use that for astrophotography, and I haven't been out to do any of that since last July.

    I made a resolution to go out and take a picture every day, and then broke it after a week because I got bored with going outside in Phoenix. I'll maybe get back into it when I start riding my bike to work.

    Three favourite shots:

    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2012
    Mostly doing everything through Photoshop, but I know that I should try Lightroom (or Aperture) ... but the less I change my pictures the happyer I am.

    Just bought a Canon GS12 and I've read in the instructions that shooting directly at the sun may hurt it ... true ?

    Now for something more or less recent (and yes I'm almost through with the Rome series) ... they were made with a small Sony Power-shot...


    Go well

    Morning in the ruins
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2012
    In 2010 Lex Machina suggested Lightroom to me and in all honesty, I've never looked back. It's nice to have all the shots I took in one easily navigable place and the adjustments, while needing some getting used to (ESPECIALLY since I've recently upgraded to LR3 and can now work with RAW photos), is just wonderful to have.

    As a side discussion, where is a good place you folks go to get the skinny on upcoming photography competitions?
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2012
    I still do everything in Photoshop. I don't even break out the Raw stuff unless I think it's absolutely necessary.
  3.  (10407.73)
    I use lightroom, but my editiing, more and more, strives to be as little visibly "effected" as possible. I miss the complication of photoshop because a lot of what i WANT to change in a photograph is to edit away clutter, or shift the placement of things to better fit my OCD aesthetic of space, or change the relationship between colors in a way that lightroom isn't designed for. However, it's been a long time since I've bothered to do that, instead trying to instill in myself a sense of forethought and getting-it-right-the-first-time. But graduated filters are a godsend at times!

    I think I like the process of fine tuning my photographs, though. Shifting and cleaning. It makes them feel more like it's an image that I took part in, rather than simply had a camera in my hands at the right moment.
  4.  (10407.74)
    @DavidLejuene why do you use RAW for astrophotography?
    I haven't really done much of it since I got my new camera, but I want to try again. What are the benefits of RAW vs the JPEGs I normally do it in?
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2012
    @RobSpalding There's been a lot of talk about this recently in a Flickr group i'm a member of - basically your RAW file is what the camera records straight from the sensor and is, well, raw, it needs processing digitally to produce a nice viewable picture. You can do this in camera, in fact for most compacts that's the only option you get, or if you've got something that will let you export the RAW file directly, you can have a go yourself with suitable processing software. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are popular though there are others, GIMP is a free, open source alternative that has plugins like UFRAW that will do the job for some RAW files (oh yes, each manufacturer, in some cases each camera,produces a different, proprietory and mutually incompatible type of RAW) but might be a bit fiddly - bit too complicated for my poor brainsses. Now if you know what you're doing and have the patience to spend time working on your pictures you will generally end up with more detailed, nicer looking results than you can get straight from the camera - though some of the in camera converters are rather good and if you spend a bit of time setting them up the difference can be surprisingly small sometimes. The important thing is that the results you get depend on your skill with the software and how good it is in the first place - not all RAW converters are the same and it's quite easy to spend ages buggering up a perfectly good picture if you're not too familiar with how it all works. Or is that just me?
    RAW files are also BIG, though that's not so much of an issue these days as memory cards and hard discs are getting bigger too.
    I think most cameras that do RAW give you the option to save a JPEG along with the RAW file, that's the one i use, even though i usually stick with the camera JPEGs i've still got the RAW file to play with if i fancy chancing my arm and trying to be a bit clever or need to sort things out because i forgot to change the camera settings for colour or noise reduction or suchlike.

    TL:DR: JPEG small, fast, easy, pretty good. RAW big, slow, fiddly, best results if you're good at it.
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2012
    same. those just-in-case raws do take up some space, though.
    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2012 edited
    @david, thanks for making me feel better about that. Honestly, I sometimes forget I am at Whitechapel and not, where snark reigns supreme. Also, nice shots! Glad to see that Phoenix is treating you well, photographically speaking.

    As far as RAW is concerned, roadscum nails it. I have been shooting almost exclusively in RAW for the last couple of years because hard drive space is cheap and the possibilities that you have for editing are endless. jpg compresses the color space of the image, and usually in a pretty good way, all things concerened. Jpgs 'pop' more because the contrast is greater. I shoot in RAW because all of the editing that you do on the image is non-destructive. LR4 is about to come out of beta and usually that means a new engine for processing RAW, which can dramatically change the image quality. If, years from now, I decide that I don't like the edit I did on a picture, I can reset the values and start from scratch using all of the shiny new tools at my disposal. Every time you edit a jpg it degrades the image and that is a major shortfall for me because I tend to revisit my images every now and then to see if I missed anything and pull something from the archive to edit and breathe new life into. With RAW I know that the image is safe. It is a like a negative, unchanging and just sitting there waiting for you to do something new with. Also, if you failed to get the white balance that you wanted in the original you can shift it easily with a RAW file. It takes one whole step out of the things I have to worry about when I am shooting because I can usually just fix it later. Not that i don't try to get everything right in-camera first but hey, I'm only human.
    One last thing, RAW gives you +/- 2 stops to play with if your exposure is off and the ability to import directly into PS as a smart object to delay as long as possible making critical and irreversible edits.

    Again, apologies for getting technical but I see so many amazing images in this thread and my curiosity gets the better of me about how they are made. OK, I have 3 and half hours til my deadline. Back to work/whiskey.
  5.  (10407.78)
    @Rob: What roadscum said. RAW is the only way to avoid any and all noise reduction that the camera will do, and noise reduction on astrophotos can be very bad, since it'll tend to blur out a lot of the smaller, dimmer stars. Though I actually find that it's less of a problem with my D7000 than it was on my D50, just because the resolution is so much higher.

    But the other big benefit of RAW is changing the exposure in post, so if my tracking rig isn't perfectly aligned (which it never is because it's a bodge job done by attaching a cheap Orion tabletop polar mount and a motor to my old tripod, so I have no ability to fine tune the horizontal axis), I can do an exposure just long enough to hit the edge of when the star trailing becomes noticeable, and then increase it in UFRaw to make up the difference (this is especially useful when shooting on any lens longer than 28mm). Doing so will bring some noise into the image, but not (I think) as much as if I'd doubled the ISO setting and kept the same exposure. Plus I can tweak the curves to make the stars brighter and the blank sky darker, too.
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2012
    @Bankara The one complaint I have with Aperture at the moment is the way it takes control of your library. I run a dual-boot OSX/Win 7 machine, and if I want to access my RAW masters from Windows they're a bastard to find. Other than that, I find to be pretty slick and intuitive. It probably helps that my hardware is only a year old, and hard drive space isn't an issue. I'm very new to photography/editing though, so I'm still trying to find out what sort of workflow works best for me! Good luck in your comps!
    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2012
    @Jehrot, I was using the first version of Aperture and I am certain they have worked out some of the kinks by now. It did seem to utilize a lot more space for what it was supposed to be doing and it would use up entirely too much of my computers resources, much like iPhoto. I also use a netbook as my 'on the road' editing book and I can create catalogs in LR and then bring them over to the Mac with no difficulty, which I absolutely adore. We'll see how it functions once I begin my next big project of building a Hackintosh Mac Pro tower for photo and video editing. I am thinking of making it dual boot with two SSD's one OSX and the other W7 and keeping only applications and OS related files on them. All other assets will be on RAIDS. One of the beautiful things about this project is that I can make use of the external drives that I have that use eSATA. Since Mac killed Firewire they haven't done anything to replace it and I am tired of waiting for USB3 to be something real and usable. I am generally frustrated with the direction Apple has gone in recent years with their design philosophy and I would outright switch to Windows at this point just so that I could have more control. *End Rant*