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The TPU Darkroom - Digital SLR and Photography Club

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From about 2 weeks ago, was heading down to Kenai to Russian River Falls
IMG_0369.jpg
 

FreedomEclipse

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From about 2 weeks ago, was heading down to Kenai to Russian River FallsView attachment 123231
This reminds me of a picture i had as a kid that my parents kept in my room - it was a photo of Mt. Fuji in Japan and it was exactly like this but maybe with some more greenery. Not sure what happened to that picture after my room was renovated.

Very nice picture indeed.
 
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That would make a great desktop
 
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Ahhzz

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O boy i dont know if i should be posting here but just wanted to share some of what i took.
You took pictures, so you should absolutely be posting here :) welcome, and nice pics!!
 
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During a power outage this week I saw a strange and tiny bright light blinking under a wooden showcase. Then I realize it must be a firefly trapped in a spider web becuase it just blinked but did not move around. I took this one after energy was retored.-

123254
 
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Played around with HDR earlier today. Just 3 exposures: -2, 0, and +2. It's definitely interesting. Not sure I like how Lightroom handles it. Not enough control - it took a lot to pull anything viable from what I got. Maybe I'm bracketing wrong? I gotta admit it's hard to take the result and interpret how it should look, because the raw result is far from it. It gives the images an interesting feel - the tones are sorta dramatic and video-game-like but... it's hard to explain. It's like one thing always has to be pretty wrong for everything else not to be. I just don't feel as in-control of the outcome as I could be. The consistency isn't there.

The contrast seems to be all over the place no matter what I do. Anything I do after merging feels like trying to salvage a burnt birthday cake. You can dress it up nice, but it's still dry on the inside. I have to process them quite heavily and they never come out natural-looking. The only time they do, it's in a very boring way... like the lighting is actually flattened out instead of being more dynamic, even if the exposure does look more 'correct.'

I'd rather have a better starting point than plan on drastic tweaking every time. Feels like I'm not getting the full HDR experience. Too hands-off to be quite adaptable outside of the happy median of typical HDR shots. Deviate a little and it starts to punish you. The 'auto' adjustments it applies are good 1 in 10 times. The other 9, they barely work as starting points. I find it quicker/easier to zero-out the basic adjustment sliders, set the black/white points, correct WB, and go from there with my intended exposure/contrast/highlights/shadows. But even then it's like "Man... this is all I got?" It's like... you can only do the artsy type of HDR with it because the image starts off so far off from where it needs to be that you're forced to compromise somewhere between that point and the picture in your head. And you look at it knowing the desired result is in all of that image data, somewhere you can't reach.

It has some artifacts I'm seeing already, too. It seems like the brightness gradient is always harshest up in the highlights, while the shadows get all of the smoothness in dynamics. The highs are off... not just in straight contrast but also in color luminosity. Less of the highlights are blown-out than in a traditionally overexposed image, but what does wind-up blown-out after merging is irrecoverably harsh, even though the data is technically there in the lower-exposures. Plucking out that brightness level range and smoothing it over is a tricky and limiting endeavor. I wish I could control the tone-mapping myself... as in, actually pick what parts of the histogram most favor which exposures.

But maybe I just need shorter stops and more exposures for the overexposed side of the HDR stack? Just figure out what the Lightroom HDR gods want from me and offer it to them. Maybe 2 stops is too much distance between exposures for the shots I'm doing. With a few changes to how I operate I could pretty quickly churn-out a more granular range of exposures to toss into a few different merged images.

Maybe I'd stop and think more about what I'm doing if I knew I had to plot and set more parameters, heh. Might take that extra time to check focus and composition and stop thinking about the next shot. It just gets to be a lot for one shot that may not even be good anyway. I'd rather have a way where I just know all of the components and it's just a matter of going through the process of getting the exact shots needed, or at least of always merging whatever shots I get suitably. It's more energy tied up in technicalities instead of composition. My thinking is that you learn to nail the technicalities effectively and consistently in order to free up your ability to thoughtfully compose shots. Harder to do that with the extra unknowns of Adobe HDR in the mix, just never knowing if what you're feeding it isn't going to work and there's gonna be nothing you can do about it but contrive more roundabout shooting techniques.

Eh... either way, the anti-ghosting only kinda works on the water, which is in a lot of the shots I'd use HDR for. Like... it's passable but it's always at least a little blurrier than in any of the source exposures. In fact, the entire end-result seems to lose a little fine detail - it reminds me of slight chromatic aberration in the detail loss - it's just that the water looks differently blurred and stands out. It gets washy and you still get subtle overlays with deghosting... they just change in character so as to mimic water in motion. And then when you have water peeking through between solid lines, you get this strange effect, like circles of colored yarn vignetting the edges. This happened in the image below, where the walkway turns - maybe I'll crop it out to show it later.

Have to start trying other software solutions for it. And try not to fall into the trap of making garishly exaggerated images all of the time. :p It's fun to mess with, though. I'll probably geek on it for a bit. I figure it might be viable for certain exposures where noise would otherwise be a slight problem with this camera's somewhat noisy sensor. An alternative to over-exposing low-light shots and recovering shadows to get that 'twilight' effect. I always seem to find myself most drawn to lower-light scenarios. That and subjects where a bright light source is behind them and there's only a lot of diffused light hitting the subject. And also low-emissive-distance light sources in relatively dark environments. Challenging for a newbie to get right at all, but it's what gets me wanting to use my camera more often than not. I kind of enjoy technically challenging shots in that it forces me to be deliberate and try to stick everything I can.

Biggest hindrance is that my tripod isn't steady enough for it... well, really, that's an all around problem. Every time I press the shutter button, it deviates a little - and even if it comes out sharp, it's shifted. So any kind of stacked image presents major alignment problems. Or maybe I'm using my 50mm at f/2.8 up-close and that little nudge is enough to push the subject partially out of focus.

Learned a little to late to always use the remote... or better yet, buy a more stable tripod. Because always using the remote with my tripod is a huge distraction. Something to misplace, time spent switching between timer/remote shooting and single/continuous, yet more time re-shooting because you realized you forgot. Just another way to become disorganized, which I'm quickly realizing is half of the battle.

Unfortunately by the time that I figured out to always use the remote with my crummy, wobbly tripod, I still kind of botched this shot - I left the aperture at f/8 from a previous shot when I should've closed it down to more like f/11 and focused further back, to get everything from the railing in the back and everything and up sharp. That or went wide open and brought it a little forward to shorten the DOF. This 10-18mm is really fun to use - the crazy, pulled-back perspective presents some interesting opportunities. But it's a different ballgame. I really needed to slow down - sunset goes pretty fast at this distance from the equator. I was caught off-guard. Still, I should've been able to do both and would have if I had stopped and thought. It probably would've helped to turn off IS when I mounted my camera onto a tripod.

Best of the day, anyway. The rest weren't worth sharing. I did at least enjoy the sunset. No sarcasm, it was nice to get off of work and chill at the park for a few hours. That's something I missed about my trips back then. If gets you in the mode of being present. It's very relaxing to just spend time in a nice environment, with only the goal of taking in your surroundings at hand. I feel like maybe I've needed that kind of relaxation for a long time. I also met a nice old lady with a full-frame Canon and a nice telephoto zoom lens, trying to catch all of the birds. It's a nice place to be and the people I met there are all very friendly. Any other time, everybody around here is rude as shit. I guess that's an unlisted benefit to going out and taking pictures. The places you'd usually take pictures at often have nice people relaxing in them or passing through. And something about having an SLR with you makes people magically more apt to chat and be nice/respectful to you. :D

IMG_0666-HDR.jpg


Unrelated... I feel like I take a ton of shots that are terrible and then occasionally I get a couple that are halfway almost good. And yet the halfway decent ones are the only ones I seem to learn a damned thing from. :oops:
One really good thing has happened on my learning oddysey. I'm starting to get used to the autofocus on this setup. I now only focus on the wrong points instead. :p I still think my next camera will have more AF points. Even if I stick with EF-S, I can always snag an 80D. If I can find a good zoom lens to pair with it with, I think that'd serve me well.

But the focus-recompose method works decently well to compensate so long as you leave the aperture a stop or two higher. I've quickly adapted to using the back focus button (it's SO much better,) with the half-shutter-press only locking exposure. I find it generally works to choose the closest AF point to the subject that puts you closest to where you want to actually frame things, hit the back focus button, slide off to where you want to look, and fire off a few continuous shots. At least a couple always stick with everything focused properly.

So now if I can figure out ways to pull out better low-light and even just more dynamically lit shots with it, I'll be in good shape for awhile with this humble T3i. The only thing I'd really want for at that point is a really good, fast EF-S zoom lens with everything from barely wide-angle to somewhere in the upper-low to lower-medium telephoto range, good AF with lots of points, and IS. I could stick with these Canon EF-S bodies for a long time, I think. Even if they aren't the best. The one I already have seems to have a lot of potential. Even a few generations of marginal improvements and you'd have a really great camera body.

I get the impression that many of the lenses I can get reasonably (or even higher up) in the EF-S ecosystem are good well beyond the point I can reasonably gauge, so I think the technical limitations of Canon's enthusiast crop sensor bodies is the only factor left. That and I have 2 EF-S and one EF lens already. I like that they're light, more affordable on the used market, and feature enthusiast models with articulating screens. I seriously don't think I can go back from flippy-spinny-screens.

I find I can't trust the AF on my 10-18mm at all when I'm trying to take closed-down shots with an object towards the back of the shot as a focus point, even with plenty of light, it just misses. And the worst part is, I can't see that on the viewfinder. Even under sunlight, it can sometimes be hard to see what's in and out when you use the DOF preview to close down at f/11. Especially with it pulled all the way back to 10mm. My way around that is to drop my camera on the tripod, switch to live view, and use the zoom on the display to hone-in on the focal point as precisely as possible. I'm actually considering getting a phone mount to go on the shoe and just using my phone as a display for focusing in these cases. AF is fine for hand-holding closer shots, where the furthest object is maybe 20-30ft back (works great for wide-angle closeups with pretty narrow DOF, too.) Further out than that, it gets finicky. I really wish for a better screen or viewfinder
 
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Ahhzz

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Some Weeping Cherry 5000-ish x 1050-ish. Was a lot of blooms a few weeks ago :)
WeepingCherry 10.jpg
WeepingCherry 8.jpg
WeepingCherry 4.jpg

I liked the look of this, but it had a power line running thru it, so I had to do some editing....
 

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