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Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-17-2010, 09:34 AM  
Recommended LCD Monitors
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 12
Views: 3,985
This is highly recommneded reading on the subject: The "LCD Thread" at the Anandtech Forum.
Forum: Photographic Technique 07-05-2010, 12:06 PM  
how do you stitch a panorama without causing a distortion on the images?
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 20
Views: 9,493
I shoot panoramas with a high degree of overlap between the individual images. This minimizes distortion both from parallax and from the lens itself. I assemble the images in one Photoshop document, lining up the various elements in each by overlapping and using transparency to judge the best fit. I then use a soft brush and layers masks to erase parts of each image.

That's a fairly labour-intensive way to create panoramas, but it works for me. There is software that is dedicated to the job.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 06-18-2010, 08:10 AM  
Metz, LumoPro, P-TTL and Strobist
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 5
Views: 4,287
Excellent, Russell. Thanks again for the input.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 06-17-2010, 07:37 PM  
Metz, LumoPro, P-TTL and Strobist
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 5
Views: 4,287
Kenyee, Russell Thanks for the feedback. I think I'll be happy with the one P-TTL flash and manual for the rest.

Russell, where are you picking up flashes like the Promaster 7000M for $20? I see them for $200 and up. What about such things as pulse duration and recharge time? Some cheaper flashes have long pulses, and you don't get the full power of the light at higher shutter speed.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 06-17-2010, 07:27 AM  
Metz, LumoPro, P-TTL and Strobist
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 5
Views: 4,287
I'm trying to settle on a pair of flashes to buy for Stobist-style photography, and I'm debating the merits of wireless P-TTL versus full manual control.

I currently own one Sigma EF-500 DG Super. It's a decent flash, but one key limitation is that I can't put the flash in manual mode and trigger it wirelessly — the flash erroneously fires too early, triggered by the camera's preflash. It works correctly in P-TTL mode, but not in manual mode. This is a severe limitation.

I also own a set of Cactus wireless triggers, so I could set the flash to fire manually this way. But the Sigma goes to sleep after 90 seconds of inactivity when attached to the radio receiver. This is supremely annoying.

I want to step up my game, and learn to work with more flashes. It seems that buying another Sigma is not a good choice for me. So, I am considering two options: A pair of Metz 48-AF1's or a pair of LumoPro LP160's.

Pros and cons for the Metz: The Metz is a decent flash that supports P-TTL. The price is not too high. EV Comp on the flash is +3 to -3, which is very flexible. The downside: The Metz cannot be set to manual mode and be triggered wirelessly.

Pros and cons for the LumoPro: The LumoPro is much brighter than the Metz, has full manual control, is solidly-built, and is really inexpensive. It also has a setting to ignore TTL preflashes. On the downside: No P-TTL support.

My question: I'm almost sold on the idea of going for the LumoPro's. But I'm not sure if I'll be trapping myself into a situation where I'll need P-TTL and can't get it (except from the Sigma I already own). Can anyone provide some insight from their own experience shooting Strobist-style?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 04-26-2010, 06:27 AM  
What is "color space"
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 6
Views: 2,749
Good point. And of course, Adobe RGB was invented specifically for use with high-end printers. Thanks for the correction.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 04-25-2010, 04:52 PM  
Is there a difference between shooting b&w and processing as b&w?
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 5
Views: 2,918
There's a tremendous difference. Control over the process is the key, as others have said.

When shooting with B&W film, people often used coloured filters to darken some parts of the colour spectrum in order to enhance a photo. For example, when shooting a landscape with a blue sky and puffy white clouds, a B&W shooter could use a red filter to make the blue sky become a dark grey, leaving the white clouds in stark contrast. Or, when shooting a portrait in B&W, the shooter might use an orange filter to improve skin tone.

Using software to convert a colour image to B&W allows you to apply these filters after the shot has been taken.

Also, B&W film tends to have richer dark tones and more contrast than a B&W image taken directly from a DSLR. Adjusting the contrast and sharpness in software is essential for obtaining a film-like look.
Forum: Photographic Technique 04-25-2010, 06:56 AM  
retro film look
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 6
Views: 3,307
The effect you're seeing in some of these photos is the result of aging prints. As photos age, the blues and greens fade from the photo, leaving that odd yellowed tone. Also, fashion changes over time, and you'll see combinations of colours in clothing and furniture that look subtly unfamiliar. Think about that avacado green that was once popular for elecrical appliances, such as telephones.

A choice of film isn't going to help, here, unless you can get an old Poloriod camera, take your shots and then age the photos in an oven for days.

Photoshop is probably the best way to go about this, combined with a sense of 70s fashion.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 04-23-2010, 08:19 PM  
What is "color space"
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 6
Views: 2,749
A colour space describes the ability of a device to display colour. Some devices can show a wider range of colours than others. A good monitor, for example, can display a much wider range of colour than even the best printer. Different colour spaces can be attached to images (they are called colour profiles) to tell the computer how to properly interpret the colours for different display devices.

The typical computer monitor is described by the sRGB colour space. Some high-end monitors are better described by the Adobe RGB colour space, which has a wider gamut than sRGB. When saving images for using on the web, it is best to convert them to sRGB so that the colours will be displayed as intended.

As for converting from JPEG to TIFF… this has no effect on your image at all. The only reason you might do this is if you plan to edit an image many times, because saving and resaving the image to JPEG over and over will slowly degrade the quality of the image. This slow degredation does not happen with TIFF. However, TIFF files can be many times larger than JPEG files. If you do not expect to be editing your images heavily, stick with JPEG.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 04-23-2010, 04:57 AM  
Do I need to have my Sigma flash rechipped?
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 4
Views: 1,832
Thnaks. I'll check into it.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 04-17-2010, 09:15 AM  
Do I need to have my Sigma flash rechipped?
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 4
Views: 1,832
My Sigma EF-500 Super Flash is misbehaving when I try to use it in wireless mode with my K20D. I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong or if the flash needs to be updated.

The external flash won't synchronize with the shutter. The K20D's built-in flash does indeed trigger the EF-500, but the the external flash fires before the camera's shutter even opens. I've tried at various shutter speeds between 1/10th and 1/60th.

Is this a known symptom of outdated firmware, or am I doing something wrong? Many thanks for any help.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-23-2010, 04:05 PM  
CS4 won't downsize file correctly
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 25
Views: 5,090
Really bizarre. Try going into Preferences and set Image Previews to "Never Save".

Also, are you using Save for Web or Save As?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-23-2010, 11:37 AM  
CS4 won't downsize file correctly
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 25
Views: 5,090
Can you post a screen shot of your Image Size dialogue box when you've entereted the correct dimensions, but before you click OK?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-19-2010, 11:12 AM  
Organization
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 37
Views: 6,299
I can't say about Aperture, but in the case of Lightroom, the metadata is stored in the Lightroom catalogue. As such the Mac OS Finder would not be able to perform a search on it. That would be cool, though if Spotlight read Lightroom catalogues.

Lightroom and Aperture are not merely photo-editing tools. They are primarily photo management tools. So, all your organizing and retrieval should be done within those applications.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 02-18-2010, 02:31 PM  
Please help me understand color matching
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 5
Views: 2,730
The goal of controlling the colour of your system is not to get your monitor to match your printer, but to get both as close as possible to a neutral, known state. This requires calibrating the monitor's colour to match to that known state and then telling your printing software what kind of printer you're using so it can manage the colour for you.

What kind of computer/monitor are you using, and what software are you using for processing and printing?
Forum: Photographic Technique 02-11-2010, 02:17 PM  
"Seeing" in B&W
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 9
Views: 2,025
I find that I usually know if a given photo will be black-and-white before I press the shutter button. Sometimes, I do make that choice after the fact, but not often. For me, B&W shots are usually about texture and especially patterms, whereas my colour shots tend to be more representattional. I know some photographers love abstract colour shots, but I've never been able to see colour in abstract ways.

The choice to shoot for a later B&W conversion also influences choices made at the time the photo is taken. If I know that a shot will be B&W, I can go for silhouettes, deliberately hard shadows or overexposed whites, or high levels of noise in ways that would be ugly in a colour photo, but which make aesthetic sense in B&W.
Forum: Photographic Technique 02-05-2010, 05:05 PM  
Mixing Window Light with Flash Making a Business Portrait
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 2
Views: 2,927
Thanks — I should have looked to Strobist first for inspiration.
Forum: Photographic Technique 02-05-2010, 05:04 PM  
Aspect ratio & image viewing...
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 2
Views: 2,227
The image from your camera is scaled to fit every screen it is displayed on simply because there are no monitors that are 4672 pixels across. You will never get a one-to-one representation on any computer screen.

That said, a bigger screen is going to be better for previewing. And the iPad looks like it will be a wonderful device for phtographers to preview photos, or perhaps even for tethered shooting. I've no idea what software will be available to manage photos, but I expect that void to be filled quickly.
Forum: Photographic Technique 02-04-2010, 09:51 AM  
Mixing Window Light with Flash Making a Business Portrait
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 2
Views: 2,927
Next week, I'm going to do some portraits of the president of our company for his book cover. The guy is a computer programmer. His current portrait is rather bland, and I'm hoping to make him look more dynamic. I'm looking for some pointers from those who have done this a few more times than I.

I've been examining at our offices with a fresh eye, looking for locations.

Location 1 - An empty office. The room is long and not very wide, with north-facing windows at one end. My first thought: On-axis fill light! The room has horizontal blinds I can use to affect the amount of fill.

My question is: Where to put the key light?

I can clip a snooted flash to the suspended ceiling to make a dramatic key. Or I can use an umbrella at camera right for a softer modeling light and an "ultra clean" look. What else can I do in this room that might be appropriate?

Location 2 - An industrial-type hallway in the basement. I can light the subject from in front and behind. The front light could be a neutrally-coloured source, and the rear light a heavily-gelled (blue or red) bare bulb to make the hallway look dramatic.

Any suggestions are most welcome. What pitfalls might I expect in this situation? What tried-and-true methods have you used?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 01-29-2010, 08:35 AM  
B&W conversion comments No2?
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 4
Views: 1,916
I agree that a bit stronger contrast might be nice.

Also: The composition might be made stronger by cropping. Instead of a 5x7 shape, try a perfectly square crop, with the base of the dark triangle filling the bottom of the frame. For example:

Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 01-26-2010, 03:05 PM  
Moving/organising files in Lightroom
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 6
Views: 3,870
I have found that I'm better off using keyword tagging for that. I have found that creating folder hierarchies by subject eventually becomes unwieldy
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 01-25-2010, 08:27 PM  
Moving/organising files in Lightroom
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 6
Views: 3,870
If you want to organize your folders by date, then you shouldn't be creating folders by hand at all. Lightroom will create the folders for you as needed.

I import my photos into a hierarchy like this:

Year
|- Month
|- Day

I create no folders by hand — Lightroom does it all.

The simplest way to proceed might be to simply re-import your photos, assuming you don't have many thousands (which would take a long time). Create a new catalogue, and don't create a single folder. Import them files and let Lightroom organize by date.

But before you do that, try simply selecting the 2010 sub-folder, right-clicking, and select promot sub-folder. that might do the trick.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 01-15-2010, 12:53 PM  
Final Saved Image
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 11
Views: 2,403
I export out of Lightroom only for printing, emailing, or web posting, and then delete the exported files when their purpose is completed. I don't keep exported copies of images hanging around, but rather go back to Lightroom when I need to print/share a photo again.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-10-2010, 09:06 PM  
Lens Prices - Reported Versus Street
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 6
Views: 1,562
Thanks for the info, guys. I will check out both Adorama and B&H. Much appreciated.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-08-2010, 09:51 AM  
Lens Prices - Reported Versus Street
Posted By Jim Royal
Replies: 6
Views: 1,562
I've been thinking of buying the SMC 40mm Limited lens for my wife's birthday. She's been using manual focus lenses (with a Katz Eye screen) since she got her DSLR a little over a year ago, and has done quite well with it as we've travelled. Now I'd like to get her first autofocus lens.

When I look at the lens review database, the average price paid for the 40mm lens is $278. Yet when I look at various sources online, the price is double this. Is everyone buying these lenses secondhand? Or are there deals that I'm simply unaware of?

Any direction would be warmly appreciated.
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