Power of the edits..

While I always like to process images as little as possible, if at all, some times it’s a requirement of every shot.

Here, for instance this shot taken from my Spark. It lacks depth and colour. Visually, it just didn’t stand out.

However, a little time spent in the Google Photos editor tweaking exposure, clarity, saturation and blacks improve things.

Shadows have a bit more depth, the colours are less muted but still hold the autumn setting.

You don’t take a photograph, you make it

Ansel Adams

So, don’t be afraid to play with the sliders, just don’t overdo it, and keep it realistic and you’ll do just fine.

Range..

So, in Europe the power of a radio transmitter used in drones is limited to 18dbm, well below the ability of the controller’s 25dbm.

This equates to a massive cut in the range of the spark, about 500 meters is the limit before the video signal gives up and the drone returns. But fear not, there is something you can do to get the full range.

It basically involves fooling the DJI Go app to think your in a country that uses the FCC rules instead of the CE rules. To do it, follow these steps.

  • Ensure the drone and RC are both off
  • Turn aeroplane mode on your phone or tablet to On, and make sure to fully quit the DJI Go app
  • Install a fake GPS app and enable it.
  • Set your location somewhere in America or Canada.
  • Turn on the RC and drone and allow them to.connect.
  • Connect to the aircraft’s WiFi signal
  • Once the app starts up, it’ll ask you if you want to change the WiFi settings. Select ok.
  • Wait for the drones/RC’s network to come back online, and power everything off
  • Quit the app and the fake GPS provider, restart the drone/RC and app
  • When asked again to alter the WiFi settings, hit cancel

And that’s it. Each time you launch the app.from here, it’ll ask you to change the settings, always cancel the dialog.

To confirm your in FCC mode, goto the wireless page in the app, and look if there is a channel 12/13, if not your in FCC mode. Range in this mode will get you in excess of 1000 meters, as opposed to the 500 in the CE mode.

Happy flights!

Hunting the Hunter

Thats a better hold!
11000 • f2.8 • 50.0 mm • 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. 🙂

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

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. 🙂

 

 

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.