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Forum: Monthly Photo Contests 07-05-2009, 12:48 AM  
Poll: Contest Poll Contest #34 Voting
Posted By Donald
Replies: 64
Views: 14,364
I think this is excellent time to reference our Turkish friend's post "Danger of competitions".

All competitions, amateur and professional-juried, I think attract both fine and crap submissions. As does this one.

Two images were easy for me to pick, nicely representing the subject "Street" and beautifully capturing photographic holy trinity of subject, light, and in this instance, the human element. For me, a third pick was tough

So, a typical competition: good, bad, had to think.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 07-05-2009, 12:22 AM  
12th Century Dominican Friary
Posted By Donald
Replies: 10
Views: 1,894

How did you process these? In particular, the cool-warm tone is well done.

#1 requires better contrast separation between sky and subject, like excellent "second floor" and "bell tower" have.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 07-05-2009, 12:14 AM  
I don't think they're good enough but
Posted By Donald
Replies: 18
Views: 2,278
"how to beef up the b/w conversion"........

with this shot it will be difficult. The color version appears a bit overprocessed: excessive hilites, oversaturated reds, halos.

Also, the chroma values of mid red on mid green do not convert to adequate contrast in BW without prior manipulation, post processing or in photgraphic composition.

All digital color captures require contrast boosting prior to black and white conversion. Benjamin's technique - duplicate layer, soft light, etc. - is the single best post processing advice on this forum; nondestructive adjustable contrast boosting.

Your mid-red flower on mid-green background, not processed for BW, is both breaking up in backround, and has de-emphasized subject from background, mid red = mid green.

If you aren't sure of desired end result, photoshop's channel mixer is best to play with. After Benjamin's or other method contrast boosting, view RGB alpha channels for relative contrast. In channel mixer, adjust RGB values accordingly; break the much repeated 100% rule, but not much.

Lastly, floral black and white is difficult. Flowers own color, taking color away leaves composition. Generally, appealing floral black and white's are excessively simple, minimal compositions with extreme black - white values, minimal grey scale hues.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 06-23-2009, 09:47 PM  
Amateur Photographer delays Pentax K7 review
Posted By Donald
Replies: 41
Views: 13,525
In high volume electronics, in some companies, differences between "beta" units and production units are automation assembly details. Whether actual assembly lines, jigs, fixtures, software load and test, or combinations thereof.

Many companies no longer use this alpha-beta-production model as being too slow and expensive.

Also, some companies "beta" is their own in house assembly automation of final design. Production units are from that same automation line after it has been reassembled in offshore EMS box build factory.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 06-23-2009, 09:24 PM  
My Amended Post Production Technique
Posted By Donald
Replies: 4
Views: 2,548
yes, the duplicate layer - soft light is excellent technique.

I use it to contrast boost prior to black and white desaturation layer then photo filters for toning. With hundreds of trials I have found opacity 80% fill 40% to be flawless about 95% of the time.

I would emphasize your first line: for press or print. Sharpening is a difficult subject and different for on screen vs web-offset 4+ colour printing.

Sharing your techniques is excellent, helps to make sanity of the confusion that is Photoshop.
Forum: General Talk 06-21-2009, 10:20 PM  
Freelance travel writing?
Posted By Donald
Replies: 3
Views: 1,884
Unfortunately travel writing is one of the more abused genre's, akin to a new photographers' desire to start selling prints.

Several travel short story, article based journals include submission guidelines, with more detailed caveat than mine above. Your local big-box bookstore travel section will have 100's of them. Generally, they say something like "make it unique and personal". The philosophy conference goings-on somehow juxtaposed with HK happenings?

General travelogues are purchased from syndicated news services, employing long term career travel writers. Boring.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 06-19-2009, 09:02 PM  
Combining Star Exposures
Posted By Donald
Replies: 10
Views: 2,193
there are three methods that work well, all require a lot of work. But, I haven't done astro photography. There's another discussion here somewhere on extending ISO range for astrophotography with some good links.

Following are mostly my interpretive terms; for this exercise, exposures = layers.

1. Average-down blending, probably most film response like.

bottom (first) layer at 100% opacity, all successive layers' opacity at 100/(1+N layers remaining); i.e. each layer is contributing 25% of remaining exposure value.

therefore, a 10 layer opacity % stack is bottom layer-100 50 33 25 20 17 14 12 11 10-top layer

It might not be logical until either you try it or try it with film, essentially it replicates how film grain layers become correctly converted with successive, planned, exposures. Except with digital layers, you can't start with a transparency.

2. True film multiple exposure [log 2x] either adjusting opacity or exposure values of layer stacks. Column 1 is exposure #'s <--> column 2 is exposure compensation (f stops):

2 <--> 1
3 <--> 1.6
4 <--> 2
5 <--> 2.3
6 <--> 2.6
7 <--> 2.8
8 <--> 3

1 and 2 work OK up to about 10 layers, then it becomes a lot of work for additional layers' minimal contributing results.

Supposedly all dslr manufacturers with in camera multiple exposure mode use same proprietary software reportedly using one of above techniques, probably a bit more elegant in its checking and self-adjustment.

3. Even opacity %age black layer blending: the only method to stack high multiples, 20 - 100 layers, simulating multiple exposures.

Essentially, each layers' opacity % is (100/N layers).

But, you start off with a transparency, so the first or bottom layer must be opaque black: nothing else works, I've tried. A levels adjustment layer is required to finish as the histogram is often compressed to the left, but it's deceiving as the high multiple layers have a lot of dynamic range that jumps out with startlingly flexible adjustability.

I know there are several applications that will automate this. I tried one quite some time ago and it was terrible compared to the 100% adjustability of every non-destructive step in all methods I describe above. Maybe they're better now?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 06-09-2009, 01:43 AM  
Do I alter photos too much?
Posted By Donald
Replies: 28
Views: 4,389
good comments.

The dslr and post processing democratization has resulted in a lot of similar effects by otherwise untrained image creators / editors, producing some degree of homogeneity.

That is, essentially, contrast boosting. This maybe cause of your friend's comment of over processing.

When faced with the confusing plethora of adjustment tools, finding a few buttons or sliders that instantly take your image and give it "more" seems to be a common, overused phenomenon.
Forum: Photographic Technique 06-09-2009, 01:28 AM  
high-key jewelry look
Posted By Donald
Replies: 49
Views: 14,747
Forum: Post Your Photos! 06-09-2009, 12:30 AM  
Please critique my sport-fencing pictures. I want to get better 14mm
Posted By Donald
Replies: 7
Views: 1,896
look at the background through camera viewfinder. Recompose.


bright windows behind action figures are extremely distracting.
very messy backgrounds lose contrast to foreground object.
look out for mirrors!
Forum: Photographic Technique 06-06-2009, 11:56 PM  
high-key jewelry look
Posted By Donald
Replies: 49
Views: 14,747
scanner photography, scanography, works excellent for jewelry.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 06-04-2009, 01:50 AM  
Factory Shoot
Posted By Donald
Replies: 14
Views: 2,237
I've been in lots of factories. Never a prison factory however.

Most factories have old, well used machinery that often shows its age in interesting ways: human touch points, handles, knobs, signs, paint wear, shiny areas, etc. These very effectively connote the human element to otherwise unfriendly, alien industrial machinery.

Factory minutiae: wall charts, schedules, "injury free since..." This banality may be effective given prison scenario.

Stacks of WIP (work in process) also show the human element: planning, today's workload same as yesterday / tomorrow.

There may be rules affecting all the above. Also, generally, most factories tend to actually be boring; probably a prison one very much so assuming limitations on tools and material. Human element is endlessly interesting: people juxtaposed with these odd machinery often creates telling images, whether because the machines are so odd, people's possessiveness, sometimes an odd occurence of "owner and dog look alike" phenomena.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-04-2009, 01:31 AM  
K20D intravalometer
Posted By Donald
Replies: 10
Views: 2,231
what time intervals are allowed: i.e. can I program 1 second, .5 second?

Interval limited by buffer / card writing speed? If so what happens to programmed shot sequence if buffer can't empty fast enough.

For years I have wanted a programmable shot counter. I have ranted here before (dear Pentax...) on the uselessness of the shot down-counter as a wildly inaccurate best guess in the days of digital 1 / 0. I want to program 50 shots, rapid continuous fire, hand held, and actually be accurate with the 50!
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-04-2009, 01:16 AM  
Pentax k10d in space
Posted By Donald
Replies: 170
Views: 126,187
awesome space series!!!!!

I'm a designer, so unsolicited advice....

Your beatiful camera box could probably benefit by adding instrument handles to left and right of the lens protuberance. Said handles screw mount to box and are taller than lens and mounted out of field of view. If another accident occurs your lens or lens hood won't take direct impact.

Low temperature's usually affect batteries, constricting ion channels which changes current flow, and many quality electronic devices have current sensing and/or limiting with suspended performance failure modes. It's really surprising you had continuous performance for hours at these reduced temperatures. Display's too don't like temperature extreme's, but that's only relevant if over zealous engineers put in display sense-failure shut down mode, which they love to do.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-04-2009, 12:57 AM  
Boosting High ISO Performance
Posted By Donald
Replies: 30
Views: 9,131
I shoot almost exclusively multiple exposure style, starting with film, now dslr, typically blending between 20 ~ 50 images. I haven't shot these noisey ultra long exposures, but I'm a small expert in multiple exposures.

There is lots of information regarding multiple exposure methods for long exposure noise reduction. Software applications, open source code, wikipedia page....

What ricehigh said earlier is substantially correct. If we are basing critique on this style with K10/20/-7 camera automatic function, no comment as I don't have these models. He is correct however in terms of actual photographic capture.

Multiple exposure capture is done either adjusting ISO, substantially limiting number of blendable captures, or via exposure value adjustment based on Log2.

In camera method probably uses variation of "cemnt" algorithm for auto-blending (acronym might not be competely accurate, sounds close). I am not in favour of this method as all multiple exposure capable dslr's are limited to 9 exposures, and it's an auto function with no user control.

Having shot somewhere between 50 ~ 100,000 multiple exposure shots I will tell you DSLR EV adjustment is a waste of time for the noise issue ricehigh states, but mostly due to each blendable digital capture starts with reduced dynamic range: stacking multiples of low DR equals low DR result.

Multiple exposure on film is totally different as the process is inherently additive, building light capture according to Log2 EV compensation, until proper exposure is reached.

Digital blending of multiple exposures is best done in post processing using properly exposed captures, consequently noise should not be an issue.

Opacity blending, average blending, or even post processed Log2 are fine; the last two work best for approximately up to 10 images as each subsequent image contributes less; blending more than 10 images only opacity screening is capable of stunning colours and massive dynamic range.

But there is caveat. Of all the digital multiple exposures I've done, red's have never performed well. I believe this is weakness of Bayer array GBGR and consequent interpolation; however, I'm no expert in sensor's but have tried enough of them, never with good red results. I'm looking for cheap Sigma Foveon camera to try out: omigod they sound terrible, but with awesome sensor.
Forum: Photographic Technique 06-03-2009, 10:38 PM  
Photographing an LCD TV
Posted By Donald
Replies: 5
Views: 3,224
These screens' light is polarized. Using a polarizer filter will usually create a black shot. Circular polarizer, rotated, might give odd results.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 05-19-2009, 09:19 PM  
wich image to enter to a contest
Posted By Donald
Replies: 14
Views: 1,682
agree with the crowd, #1.

It's flaws are minor, codiac2600 has excellent summary. I might play further with tones, both contrast and colour.

#2 has some distracting elements in the background, especially for such a tight crop to the model. When I have been in position of judging, the first pass is always look at background to see how aware the photographer is of all elements within the picture plane.
Forum: General Talk 05-19-2009, 01:31 AM  
Chinese reverse engineering?
Posted By Donald
Replies: 35
Views: 8,614
It's true, the various global and large national economies and governments have not pursued strongly enough intellectual property protection with China. Numerous arguments can be made as to why. I believe that fundamentally the people tasked with such issues were otherwise instructed that it wasn't as strong a national interest as pursuing other international relations interests.

Also, those people were politicians, ex-lawyers, financiers, international relations experts. Not the designers or manufacturers.

Also, some companies have brought it unto themselves with their lackadaisical business practices.

Many companies operate via the method "send a sketch, some requirements, colours and our name and logo and let our Chinese manufacturer ship us the units", especially in fashion products, shoes, bags, etc., and toys. It's these hands-off distant relations "just ship us the units" practices that also lead to the unscrupulous lead paint type issues.

Also, some foreign companies do business the recommended way, demonstrate interest in long term relationship: meet the local MP, have him introduce you to companies, give those companies certain licence to copy some of your existing products and sell as their own while you work on new products with them. Then these companies cry foul, Chinese knock offs, etc, yet they willingly entered highly questionable, obviously unsustainable, foreseeably harmful business relationships.

Not saying Pentoya did this, but this phenomena is fairly common.
Forum: Photo Critique 05-19-2009, 01:11 AM  
Posted By Donald
Replies: 10
Views: 2,020
the selective colour - black and white is certainly eye catching, many do seem to like it, but not me.

Critique - if you are going to do the selective colour - black and white, do a better job. There is green foliage from where you ran off the wall and around tree stump. Mask, brush at 400 - 1,000%, more even. Apologies if you meant to do that it way.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 05-19-2009, 01:02 AM  
My first sports event (figure skating) - advice needed!
Posted By Donald
Replies: 10
Views: 1,931
everything is in focus. Why am I interested in seeing the rink, the glass, the boards, the crowd?

Awesome poses on all, distracting background on all.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-19-2009, 12:53 AM  
Filter stuck on lens. Suggestions?
Posted By Donald
Replies: 50
Views: 17,941
lots of ideas, nothing working!

Screw threads work through competing forces of tension and compression when tightened. This is why the pushing, or just above, geauxpez's pulling while turning is the only method that will work sans lubrication: break one of the competing forces and screw threads become loose. Thermal cycling, much described above, also works to break the competing forces when the materials have sufficiently different thermal coefficients. Same with vibration or impact type tools.

If you have tried this, try again. Failing that, you'll have to do nothing or break the filter glass and destroy the remaining ring.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-18-2009, 11:24 PM  
DSLR Newbie Needs Help (K100D Super)
Posted By Donald
Replies: 18
Views: 3,605
For short notice learning:

Experiment to understand depth of field. Set up a scene with objects from 1', 8-10' and 50'+, shoot it wide open (f2), shoot it mid-aperture (f5 - f8), shoot it small aperture (f22), or similar depending on your lens.

Repeat this exercise with different scenes. Study the results.

I believe, as a crash course, this will teach you how to adjust exposure in your camera and to learn when to adjust exposure to get a desired picture when you're on the scene. Example, a beautiful fountain sculpture, delicious pasta meal, etc, in focus but people in background out of focus so unrecognizable.

Camoflage your camera bag. Bag snatchers love ladies purses and tourists camera bags / backpacks. Several friends are travel photographers, neither use a camera bag, instead they go to army surplus store and find suitable unrecognizable, no brand bag. Always carry it cross shoulder, not over single shoulder. Also, a backpack is sometimes not recommended as it can easily be pickpocketed behind your back.

Probably all interior locations will be too dark. Either you'll need a tripod or flash. However both or either may not be allowed. Take notes, it's too easy to forget names and dates of buildings, sculptures, artists.

Lastly, in Venice after seeing certain things on the itinerary, the most enjoyable experiences were the Murano glass blowers and one day we purposely got lost and wandered around. Beautiful, but spoiled a bit when the female started to cry 'we're lost and I have to pee'; not a problem for guys, drop a camera and the tears will never stop overflowing the Venetian canals, but I digress....
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-18-2009, 10:58 PM  
Can't figure out where this is coming from
Posted By Donald
Replies: 30
Views: 4,424
In my photography class, two or three decades ago, instructor patiently explained benefits to ensure cleaning the spring plate just before loading new film roll, to prevent dust scratches on film.

Certainly return with the negatives, they may run their own test prints to confirm or deny scratches, i.e. scanning issue.

However, that whole image crossing arcing scratch certainly looks like something in film processing. Probably, all you'll get is a refund, maybe a replacement film roll; this is probably described in the legalese fine print on whatever film / print packaging.
Forum: Photographic Technique 05-18-2009, 10:33 PM  
Playing With Actinic Photography
Posted By Donald
Replies: 20
Views: 6,256
It's not a subject I'm too versed in, but I share some issues.

The depth of field non-issue may be, as you point out, due to long exposure times circa 1900. The films' or previous wet chemistry took so long to expose didn't all shots have infinite focus?

I have shot digital with dark red filter, ignorantly attempting to borrow film black and white techiques into digital. In colour of course the images all came out red, converting to black and white the change was negligable from unfiltered.

I assume this, and your digital experiments, are due to fundamental performance of the Bayer array sensors' colour interpolation. Regardless of what light is captured do not its colour interpolation algorithm always and only attempt to produce best full spectrum? If so, in digital capture there's no trick with filters or lens that will have much affect.

I am heavily into high multiple exposures. Of hundreds of attempts not one red composition has satisfactory red colour, they're always limited tonal range, always going into purpley-pink. Everything I read about the Foveon sensor says this may be best solution in digital domain. Unfortunately everything I read about Sigma cameras they seem to be unmitigated pieces of shit, with one incomparable sensor!
Forum: General Talk 05-18-2009, 04:47 AM  
What possible harm could I have done ....
Posted By Donald
Replies: 58
Views: 6,280
retail stores and franchises invest a lot of money in their store layout and in-store product placement. A competitor may be very interested why TH sells more mint donuts than he does. Perhaps even a different franchise owner spying why he isn't making the same sales, head office treating him different, conspiracies abound. A picture, perhaps several pictures from different stores, will give up a lot of information.

Also, in the other unfortunate example, you could be mistaken for a resource surveyor / speculator: oil, minerals, gold, etc., a rogue hunter. With the not so favourable natural resource rights laws for land inhabitants, perhaps with recent bad experience, many locals would be curious as to strangers setting up photographic equipment.

Of course, speculation. But as always, put yourself in the residents' or store managers position. Stranger sets up a tripod and camera and starts shooting your house; okay with you?

Probably what you should have done is shot the million calorie donut after buying it and the coffee and sitting at a table: it's now your donut, not their's.
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