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[*] posted on 12-25-2005 at 10:40 PM
The Photography Thread



Not everyone is interested in non-professional photography, so how's about we keep our personal pictures here in The Alley and out of the public forums? Here's some stuff I took the other week. Forgot to clone out some stuff, but I'm happy with them.

http://www.wonjohnsoup.com/IMG_3847small.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v311/WonJohnSoup/IMG_3812small.jpg

http://www.wonjohnsoup.com/IMG_3754small.jpg

http://www.wonjohnsoup.com/IMG_3881croppedsmall.jpg
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[*] posted on 12-25-2005 at 11:28 PM


those are nice pics.. i see you have a canon EOS.. i'm planning to get a digital SLR in the future as well.. you think nikons are good? which SLRs are better compared to each other?
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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 01:17 AM


Nikons are fine. You really got to look at the entire system instead of just the camera body, though. Eventually you'll get rid of the body, but the actual lenses you'll keep for many more years, and once you get one brand, all your accessories will be compatible with only that brand. Canon has about 80% of the market, and Nikon is the second biggest.

The bodies in and of themselves are both excellent. You can't really compare them directly to each other though, especially at the low end. The Nikon D50 is not the equivalent of the Canon EOS-300D and the Nikon D70s is not the equivalent of the Canon EOS-350D, both of which are the lowest models for their respective companies. I would prefer the body of both Nikons over the Canons. However, for my purposes, I decided to go with Canon for two reasons:

Better established for sports photography - at the consumer level, the Nikon and Canon lenses are pretty much equal quality, but at the special Canon L-series lenses, they beat out Nikon (I'm going to upgrade eventually to the L-series). Canon bodies also tend to have faster frames-per-second, but Nikon SUPPOSEDLY auto-focuses a bit faster. I went with frames-per-second.

In terms of sheer photographic firepower (slightly less noise at all levels, and SUPPOSEDLY slightly sharper images, but not like even I can notice), the EOS-350D is better than the D50, its closest competitor.

The main points I would prefer the Nikons over the Canons is: 1) Nikon lenses are SO much cheaper and used lenses are SO much easier to find, and 2) for some reason, Canon prefers to give their pictures a slightly 'warmer' (ie, yellower) image out of the camera, which I don't prefer. You'd have to have the pictures side by side and it's nothing you can't fix in Photoshop, but still, I don't like yellow. And this is totally up to the user, obviously, but I've found I like the pictures taken by Nikon users better than the ones by Canon users.

To sum it up: Canon cameras are NOT better than Nikon cameras, even if they outsell them by a wide margin. And second, the pictures are all up to you. I went with Canon and though I do regret it a bit whenever I see how much cheaper the Nikon lenses are and how much easier they are to find used, I'm happy with my decision. Most people who go with either Nikon or Canon usually are, cuz there's nothing BAD about either of them, really.
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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 09:27 AM


Here's a simple pic I took of my cats the other day. It's with the crappy Minolta camera (the good one's my mom's) :/

Attachment:
Filename: Two Cats.jpg - Filesize: 295kb




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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 02:28 PM


Nice pic. I usually don't like cat pictures, but that one's pretty cool. What was the EXIF data on that? A lot of highlights were blown out, and I would've liked to see what the cats were looking at, and the cat on top kinda had his face blown out, too. I value composition above all, though, so its still a great picture.

Here's a candid I took at the beach. Didn't notice the lens flare until way too late, and probably should've got rid of the details on the silhouette.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v311/WonJohnSoup/IMG_2430duplicatesmall.jpg
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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 06:39 PM


Actually, the only editing I did on the picture of my cats was the white border around the image (even though you can't see it). I didn't realize that the EXIF data had been stripped though.

But dude, how do you get so many unique pics? You travel a lot or something?




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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 07:08 PM


Oh no. All my pics (just about to hit 5000 on my month old camera) were taken all within a 15 mile radius of my home. If they seem unique, it might be just because well, I take lots of pictures everytime I go out. In the beginning I was getting a keeper ratio of about 1:100. Now on my last outing I kept about 10 out of 300, so that was great. Also, I crop like mad (one of the true advantages of 8 megapixels), and often clone out distractions. On yours I would've cropped it down to make the cats fill up more of the frame and remove that distracting green plant in the back.

And you probably already know this, but when I mentioned blown highlights I meant the white-light information was lost in the windows and on the cat's face when you took the picture, not something after photoshopping. Though I'm sure you knew that :)
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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 07:14 PM


Sunset pic is very nice! I bought a tripod that just didn't quite make it thru a year. So time to pick up a quality one this time. Then I'll be off taking more pics.



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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 07:30 PM


Well, upped the exposure, cuz I thought that excessive light might look.. artistic or something :P guess not. I played a little bit with cropping, I guess I shoulda taken a little more out of the top right.



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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 07:46 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by omega
Well, upped the exposure, cuz I thought that excessive light might look.. artistic or something :P guess not. I played a little bit with cropping, I guess I shoulda taken a little more out of the top right.


Well, no, it's up to you. It's only perfect when you like it, ya know? ;)

I DO think it would look kind of artistic that way, but I was a bit distracted by the green plant. I think if you filled up the frame and the bright light was especially obvious that way, then I would've thought you did it on purpose. And I only would've preferred to see what the cats were seeing cuz I'm personally not usually moved by cat pictures.

I think one of the few rules that photographers seem to agree on is that the best pictures are the ones that break some 'rule.'
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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 07:47 PM


I think this one was from two years ago. About 6 miles from where I live.

It's a bit overexposed on the rocks, I know.

Attachment:
Filename: water.jpg - Filesize: 88.34kb




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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 08:23 PM


Ritz, I like the colors in that pic, very nice :) But yeah, the rocks are a bit grainy.

*edit* I think it may actually look better with a white frame, rather than black.




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[*] posted on 12-26-2005 at 08:43 PM


Here's a pic I took of a go board/stones. Macro ain't so great on my camera :/

Played around some w/ levels, saturation, and cropping.

Attachment:
Filename: Go Board.JPG - Filesize: 188.3kb




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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 01:20 AM


Wow, I really like that one, Ritz. You have a talent with landscapes :) It's just a guess, but if your pictures are coming out grainy after resizing, maybe you're not clicking the 'Resample: Bicubic' option in Photoshop?

That's a pretty cool macro, Omega. Composition wise, I love it. How'd you get it? Did you just lay the camera down on the board? Cuz if you did that, you could also stop down the aperature and extend the shutter speed next time and get more of the board in focus, unless you wanted only just those two black ones in focus. Which is pretty cool now that I think about it. You might also want to run it through a noise filter. Macros are actually one of my most favorite types of pictures. I can't do it with my current camera though, cuz of the large sensor. I'm waiting for a good used macro lens to pop up, and if I can't find one, I might just plop down a hundred bucks for a set of extension tubes.

Here's some Asiany ones to keep in theme with the forums :P


http://www.wonjohnsoup.com/IMG_3127.jpg



http://www.wonjohnsoup.com/IMG_3113.jpg




Probably should've opened up the aperature a bit to get the background a bit more blurred on the second one, and maybe shifted to the left or backed up to keep the ear from getting clipped like that.

COME ON PEOPLE I KNOW THERE'S MORE OF YOU OUT THERE!!!
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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 09:59 AM


Damn. First pic is amazing, with just a glance they look like hot air balloons. Very nice pics AznHombre. I need to get my pics up to par.



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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 11:36 AM


Those are some pretty sweet pics, maybe I should haul tail up to Chinatown and take some random shots. But I also need a better camera, this 3.2 mp piece of crap ain't workin out for me so well.

As for noise reduction, I tried using 'despeckle' in Photoshop, but that gets rid of too much detail, blurs the edges. I only have PS CS1, so I don't have the noise reduction filter, which IMO is pretty good at removing noise. Also, I'm running on a Macintosh system, so I doubt there are too many third party noise reduction programs out there for me...




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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 11:58 AM


First pic is at Alameda's retired naval base.
Second and third pic were taken at the Bonfante Garden in Gilroy, CA.

Attachment:
Filename: grass.jpg - Filesize: 114.62kb


Attachment:
Filename: offfocus.jpg - Filesize: 801.34kb




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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 12:01 PM


Hmm.. 3rd one didn't load, cause it said file size was too big.

But here it is again.

Attachment:
Filename: tree.jpg - Filesize: 323.18kb




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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 12:29 PM


A pic of my campus, taken several weeks ago in the early morning. Someone mind helping me edit this pic? All I did was change the size...

Attachment:
Filename: Campus Walk.JPG - Filesize: 470.03kb




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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 12:41 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by omega
Those are some pretty sweet pics, maybe I should haul tail up to Chinatown and take some random shots. But I also need a better camera, this 3.2 mp piece of crap ain't workin out for me so well.

As for noise reduction, I tried using 'despeckle' in Photoshop, but that gets rid of too much detail, blurs the edges. I only have PS CS1, so I don't have the noise reduction filter, which IMO is pretty good at removing noise. Also, I'm running on a Macintosh system, so I doubt there are too many third party noise reduction programs out there for me...


If you want to get a new camera, just make sure you know what you're looking for. 3.2 MP is usually more than enough to post internet-sized pictures. Beyond 4 or so megapixel and people usually can't see the difference in 'quality.' Beyond 3 and the improvement rate also drops down very quickly. Like, a 4 megapixel means it only has like 15% more resolution than a 3 MP, and a 5 MP only has like 10% more resolution than a 4 and so on. It's been pretty much agreed that the 6.3 MP jump from the old EOS-300D to my 8.1 MP EOS-350D was the least of the improvements. More important is the quality and size of the sensor, and the quality of the lens itself. I like Konica Minolta sensors cuz they give great color, but compared to a Canon, they're slightly less sharp and more prone to noise.

And if you want good noise reduction programs, try Neat Image. It's free. The only problem is that it strips the EXIF data if you're using the trial version, and out of the box they set the noise filtering pretty high, which can give people's faces a 'plastic' look. Noise Ninja is better in my opinion, and gives you the option of downloading profiles set specifically for your camera at specific ISO speeds. They also have a Photoshop Plug-in version. I used to use Photoshop Elements 4.0, but my trial ran out, and now I have to use this copy of 6.0 my cousin gave me. I don't like it as much as Elements, but I also can't get a copy of CS :cool:

And Ritz, that third picture is really great! I used to go to school up in the bay area, but I can't begin to guess where that was taken. And as for the first one, you gotta watch out for slow-shutter night shots. They tend to introduce a lot of noise. Cleans up pretty well in a filtering system, though.
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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 12:47 PM


Ah jeez, noise ninja is pretty expensive... and I hate having trials run out on me. Maybe I'll stick to manually brushing out noise w/ the blur tool. Rofl.

*edit* I tried cropping my unedited picture from before:

[img]http://www.omegadude.com/Pictures/Photos/Campus Walk.JPG[/img]




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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 12:57 PM


Neat Image is free and doesn't have a time limit. I think the only limitations of the trial version is that it strips the EXIF data and doesn't let you use batch-queing. Out of the box they set the filtering effect to something like 60%, which a lot of people find too high. I just bring it down to something like 45-50%. :cool:

As for editing the picture, my PERSONAL take is that it just kind of has too much sun. Usually you don't shoot into the sun, and if you do, it's very controlled. Like in my previous sunset picture, the sun was even brighter. But by underexposing it, it balances out where the sun still looks fine, and gives a silhouettte effect to the rest of the picture.

If you don't want a silhouette, you REALLY gotta know how to shoot into the sun, which I don't think I'm good enough to give advice on. Plus, shooting into the sun often just gives too much flare no matter how hard to you try to avoid it. Even with an expensive heavily-coated lens, polarizer and lens hood you can easily get lens flare if you don't take care. My cheap single-coated polarizer seems ot INCREASE lens flare, haha. In yours, there's the obvious flare from and around the sun itself, and in the lower right hand side, there's that red mark (like in the middle of my sunset picture). As for editing, I'm guessing just curve/level down the highlight and bring up the midtones? My Leveling skill is subpar, and Curving skill is almost nonexistent. I found it all much easier in Photoshop Elements. And also, my PERSONAL tastes says you can saturate the colors a bit more liberally when it's a non-human subject picture than you can with human subjects before it looks too fake.

As for the crop, I like it much better.

And oh, I just looked at the EXIF data. I don't know what effect it'll have other than getting more things in focus, but maybe you should try stopping down the aperature a bit more? Usually cameras are a bit soft when shot wide open, and for landscape pictures you usually want as much in focus as possible, unless you're going for a specific effect. :)
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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 01:22 PM


Just thought I'd share some links:

http://xenotaku.deviantart.com/gallery/ <- A deviantART photography gallery I find pretty amazing.

http://www.dirtysamurai.com/ <- A friend's photography portfolio, he's got some pretty neat pics in there..




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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 01:25 PM


The frenzy when the D70 & A75 was first purchased

Playing around with the macro on the A75
Unedited colours btw, I love the colour of this shot!


Tried to blow out the background looks like I blew out the actual subject too :( (Macro lense on the D70, err as Nikon calls it, 'micro';)

Attachment:
Filename: _DSC0629.JPG - Filesize: 671.29kb


Attachment:
Filename: IMG_0069.jpg - Filesize: 749.18kb
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[*] posted on 12-27-2005 at 01:28 PM


http://www.dirtysamurai.com

i don't want to pick out a few pictures. not in the mood lol

edit: sorry, i didnt see that omega already posted my website up :)
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