A day on the river.

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Today was the one day a year Yorkshire water open the outfall of thruscoss dam, and allow the Washburn to flood down to fewston reservoir. The canoe club is not one to allow this opportunity to go to waste. And I’m not one to allow a photo op go either.

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the day was grey with a lot of cloud it really was dull and this meant there where a few issues with photography. Most of the river is under tree cover, which meant the lack of light was further limited. I had to really bump up the ISO to get the shutter speed I needed, and the fastest lens I had brought was a 2.8 17-50.

I switched to full manual and constantly tweaked the exposures. It was hard work. But well worth it as I feel I got some good shots, and I worked for them. I would of used a flash but felt it would be off putting to the canoeists.

The Long walk back.

More images of course available on my ipernity site: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/mikethompson/album/505491

Backup Lightroom Tip

Lightroom is a fantastic piece of software. But if it goes wrong, or your computer goes wrong, there is a lot of work you stand to lose. So here are my top tips to make sure you can recover Lightroom if the worst should happen.

1.) Backup your catalogue files. This can be done from within lightroom. So to make sure this go to your catalogue settings, and make sure it is to be backed up. I recommend this is done on another drive, and you can specify the place on the backup dialogue itself when it does a backup

cat_settings

2.) Ensure Pre-sets are kept with the Lightroom catalogue. This is the best option for those of you who only use one catalogue. Once this is done, you can back up the entire contents of the catalogue folder, and keep all your pre-sets safe. Pre-sets include all Meta data, Import, develop, export and preferences. So by backing this folder up, light room is fully installable back to how you had it without worry. Just make sure you are not backing up the <catalogue_name> Previews.lrdata, or the smart previews folder if your running LR5. These don’t need to be backed up and only contain rendering information for previews and 1:1 viewing.

By following these two simple ideas, you can safeguard your lightoom install.

Hope this helps someone out there. ūüôā

Hunting the Hunter

Thats a better hold!
11000 ‚ÄĘ f2.8 ‚ÄĘ 50.0 mm ‚ÄĘ ISO 100

I really enjoy catching other photographers in the act. The moment the eye is at the view finder, nothing else matters. Hundred things rushing through the mind. Is it in focus? Is it at the right shutter speed, aperture? Then the gentle squeeze on the button, and that glorious clack as the mirror flips. The world could be ending around you, but it does not matter until that mirror slaps up. Looking through that view finder, you are no longer part of it, you are simply a viewer, an onlooker looking at the subject, distant. It’s a strange mindset.

I am very guilty of judging people with their cameras. I see another photographer and I instantly look over their gear. I just can’t help it.

All sorts of people are out there with their cameras. Some big DSLR users, photographing the Minster, with the DSLR, and the in built flash pops up, and they have the same kit lens and uncomfortable next strap on the camera as the day they bought it. I have a want to help these people, show them what they, and their camera is capable of, but that would be so wrong of me.

04082013-DSC_9460So hears to everyone with a camera. Go out, use your cameras however you see fit. Enjoy it, use it, love it. Live for that clack.

Dont worry about other people, just enjoy your photography. ūüôā

More photographers in the act: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/mikethompson/album/486729

Lightroom

I use Lightroom to organise and edit all the photos I take. It is by far the best application out there for it.

I thought I might just take a minute to outline my basic work flow, and hint at a few keyboard short-cuts you may find help you.

After importing the files from my memory cards, I sort through the images, rejecting images, that are unusable, or I just don’t like. I do this by pressing x for reject on the keyboard. F will flag it. If you press caps lock, the focus will shift automatically to the next image.¬† If I need to see the image in the Loupe view I can either, just press enter or E. Should I have two similar images I want to compare, side-by-side I press C for compare, or N for survey depending on what I need to do at the time.

I also set the filters, so it disappears from the grid view after I reject them.

Once I have worked through, this stage, I then identify images that need work, or are ready to upload. I do this by colour. I use red for Requires Work, Blue for ready to upload.

I do this, by keeping the Caps Lock key on, and pressing 6-9 depending on the colour. (Red label 6, Yellow 7).

This is the fastest way I find of sorting through the images.

Hope this helps someone out there.

Street Shooting hints

I’ve written before about my love of street photography, and thought I’d just share some hints with you. There are many thoughts and schools on Street, from the incredibly intrusive and obnoxious Bruce Gilden, Right to the more social documentary type of John Free. But every one has their own style, that they feel comfortable with.

So here are my top hints.

  1. Travel light. You don’t need to take all your lenses and equipment. Carry a small choice of primes, or a single medium zoom lens. I prefer primes for street work as I find the zooming in and out with a zoom takes time. With experience, you will be able to “See” your frame without the camera, and have it framed in your mind before the camera is at your eye.
  2. Shoot in Aperture priority. Set a high aperture, so focus is less important. You might need to boost your ISO. That in it self is not a bad thing as the gritty look from ISO noise can help the image with the grain.
  3. Try to use shorter focal lengths. I rarely if ever go over 85mm. Long focal lengths have an effect on an image that just doesn’t work for street. It tends to distort the back ground. However, if you feel comfortable with longer lenses, by all means use them, remember, there are no hard and fast rules in photography. A contact of mine on ipernity, JayKay72 has outstanding shots with longer focal lengths.
  4. Dont worry about people. People, especially in city’s have one thing on their minds, and they will single mindedly go about it. They probably wont even notice you with you camera. They exist in their bubble, with as little interaction as possible. It can be hard to get over that fear of photographing people. Find a street performer, or someone who expects to be shot. Photograph members of the crowd. It will come with time.
  5. If someone starts asking what your doing, its normally out of curiosity. Be friendly, and honest. Dont aggravate a situation if one does develop. I’ve seen people steadfastly state it is their right, public street to take images, tough luck mate. I’d recommend if someone is grieving you, just delete the image if they want, and move on. There will be many more images and it just isn’t worth the grief. In all the time I have been shooting, I have however never had a problem. I’ve had some strange looks, but never a problem with anyone.
  6. Most street shots are Black and White. And there is a reason for this, colour can be distracting. However, experiment with your images, maybe it just works better in colour.
  7. Always look out for the “Decisive moment”
  8. Try shooting from the hip. This takes some serious practice. You have to know the framing of your camera, but it can and does give several unique angles and views. It’s a angle people are not used to seeing, and makes for unique shots.
  9. Dont be afraid to photograph the back of people’s heads.
  10. Get Out there and Enjoy it.

Hope this helps someone. ūüôā

 

 

DNG or NEF?

Well that’s a question.

Just had a conversation on google+ about the RAW vs DNG file formats. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, DNG is Adobes effort to standardise the RAW file format.

Camera makers at the moment have their own file formats, which can change between camera models. As you can imagine, supporting all these formats is nothing short of a nightmare, enter DNG to sort this out. I shall not dwell on this, but for further information check out Adobes DNG page.

Anyway, my buddy is a staunch supporter of keeping all his RAW data as it came out of the camera. I exclusively use DNG files. Converting all the camera output on import to light room. Why do I use DNG files? Well

  1. Smaller file size
  2. Better future guarantees
  3. No sidecar files
  4. DNG is an open file format.
The smaller file size has led many people to believe it is going compression on the data. Well it is, but is non-lossy. And that small saving in file size, maybe 2-3mb soon adds up to a considerable space-saving when your dealing with 30-40Gb of image data.
The second point is future proofing your images. I doubt Canon or Nikon is going anywhere anytime soon, however when a camera drops out of production, whose to say they are going to keep supporting that cameras output? With DNG, it will be there, always available and ready. And as Adobe has released the DNG file format to the world as an open format, where they will never claim copy right, or intellectual rights (unlike MP3, JPEG etc) Any one can develop programs to read and deal with DNG files. One of the main reasons why the US government and loads of other large organisations has chosen DNG as an archival medium.
No sidecar files, DNG is encased. Ie, all meta data is written direct to the file, no annoying XMP files littering up the drive.
Thats some of the reasons I use DNG files, and will continue to do so. Its very well summed up over on this blog here.

Street Settings

As I’ve gotten a couple of emails asking what settings I use when out on the street, I thought it may be a good idea to make a post.

I use a D7000, so some of these settings may be different for your camera.

  • Focus / AF
  • 9 Point Dynamic
  • Auto-Focus
  • Continuous Focus (AF-C)
  • Camera in A
  • Matrix Metering
  • Playback Menu:
  • Image review: Off
  • Shooting Menu:
  • a5 Focus point wrap around: On
  • a7 Built-in AF-assist¬†illumination: Off
  • c1 Shutter Release Exposure Locking: Off (default)
  • c2 Meter Off Delay: 8s
  • d3 ISO Display: ISO
  • f9 Reverse indicators: -0+ (Becaue +0- Just makes no sense.)
Thats the main settings I use for street work. Lets have a look at the important parts of that list

  • 9 Point Dynamic
Well this one, ¬†alot of people ask about. Why only use 9 points, when the D7000 has 39? Well, those 9, in the center at least are cross type. Also, your subjects on the street, really¬†don’t¬†move that much, much less in a¬†unpredictable¬†way. It is however a easy task to change this.
  • Matrix Metering
Most of the time I leave it in matrix, however, I do set the speed buttons to Spot and Center.
  • Image review: Off
I just dont like the display to light up while the camera is next to my face, as often I take more than one image at a time. It also massively helps battery life.
I also dont tend to “Chimp”. I take the image, and move on. I will often sit down later, to have a drink or something, then look through the previous shots.
  • ISO: ISO 100
Nikons implementation of AutoISO is great, but I much prefer to alter ISO by hand, should I have to.
Setup correctly, AutoISO is great.
  • a5 Focus point wrap around: On
Its just easier to scroll off the edge, rather than all the way back. Dont forget that pressing the “Ok” button will send focus point back to the center.
  • a7 Built-in AF-assist¬†illumination: Off
Its just downright annoying. And it can scare your subjects having a sudden blast of bright white light lighting them up.
  • f9 Reverse indicators: -0+ (Becaue +0- Just makes no sense.)
Seriously, what sense is there in having it +0-? It makes better logic, to have the¬†negative¬†first.I¬†don’t¬†know why Nikon did it like this, but their not¬†likely¬†to change it anytime soon.