Word and Image

Posts tagged “Technical tips

V for Valentine

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Last year at this time I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing with whom. Do you? Sorry, I ain’t telling.

So “A” is for the bright red coral accent that makes me think of the letter “A.”

IMG_7052And “E” is the shape of the coral, which reminds me of an elephant.

IMG_7066And “X” is for the orange coral sticking up like a Xmas tree.

Fair enough? The technical trick I learned is to isolate the subject by fading out the background ambient light by making the strobe the dominant light source. It’s like night diving which I love so much. So finally it dawned on me to do this more. I had heretofore been concerned with battery life. I’m shooting less and more particularly. I don’t really want to manipulate my images post processing like crazy in Photoshop. Mostly I am getting away with Lightroom and some cropping on occasion. Hey, it’s working better and better.

And yes, it was a very nice valentine too…


Brown Edged Glossodorid

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Another new one! I have never seen this. Actually it looked more like a random coral. It actually photographs quite well. But the muted color underwater fooled me. Now that I made you look, it resembles a party dress.

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I would never have noticed it except for my dive buddies. Everyone had a shot at getting an image. Then they moved off along the reef. The problem with subjects is that they move and you don’t see them again. So take your best shot. You might not get another for a long time if ever. The nudibranch moves slowly as measured in millimeters a minute. But they move. And this guy moved under the coral.

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Bad for my shot, so… I played with the wildlife. I moved it gently and got more shots. Ok, I thought I was free but Marie asked me if I had moved it after she swam away. Don’t ask don’t tell. You must admit the name is pretty clinically boring for a rare subject. Technical note: if you shoot underwater, and most of you don’t – I now understand strobe lighting better and how it makes better images. How did I do without it? Here I used a fast shutter and increased the F stop. The lighting was really nice. Maybe next I go over to two strobes.


Noise

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This is a technical point to make about shooting. And it is probably not relevant to the smart phone/iPhone crowd because you don’t have a real camera. Noise is what the purists complain about when the ISO is too high and the image is grainy. And I say, you could not even hope to get an image before digital was in wide use. Right now the cameras are able to get a decent image in virtual darkness. What latitude and opportunity! This image is at ISO 6400. Don’t bother if you don’t know what ISO means. It’s an old film term. And then I let the camera pick its settings. All I did was set the parameter that the minimum shutter speed needed to be at least 1/100 sec. And then I enlarged the image. Yeah, pretty neat! Sometimes I surprise myself. So this image in virtual darkness will not make purists happy. Sure zoom and shoot with flash and so forth. Street photography in the dark is an art. And this cat was not waiting around for me to set up things. Right tool right place, cameras rule!


Blackwater Falls

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This is the fulfillment of a childhood desire. Once, I almost visited Niagara Falls too. We were only 40 miles away during a rugby tournament with Jules. She refused to go. It was too far. We were headed back to Hamilton College in the other direction. Oh well, at least half my dream has come true. I had seen pictures as a kid. I had always wanted to visit. And until now my travels did not bring me here. Amazingly a day after Thanksgiving the parking lot was full of cars from many states away – as far as Michigan and beyond. I find it fascinating to imagine that one would find themselves in the middle of West Virginia at this time. Tech: to get an image where the water is silky smooth, use a long shutter exposure. I’m lazy and don’t travel with a tripod. Handheld I still managed a decent image, good enough to post even if it’s not exhibition quality. The image I remember seeing is in winter with bright blue sky and the ice formed and partially covering the falls. I am an opportunist and will not wait until the snow and ice form. So, for now this is my trophy memory. I’ve now been there and another wish fulfilled.


Odd and Ends – Get it?

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The crystal ball as I call it is shiny and reflective. It really is a coral. I see it frequently enough and saw it in my book depicted with the same ball shape as you see. It needs a little polish, eh? And black and white? Or should I say white and black. Camouflage and confusion keep predators from targeting you. For me it is a matter of getting the right exposure. I think I’ve finally caught on. It’s like shooting snow. My recent shots are better. I always seem to over expose the light sand. No, you do not get to see an example. Trust me (I’m from the government and here to help…)

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Ok, if you must, and want to, know, I use an underexposure now. Then I bring up the light to get everything to be more evenly exposed. It’s still a work in progress.


Other Side of the Road

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The Pacific Coast Highway has endless possibilities to catch breathtaking views of the rugged coast. You can stop frequently or not. If you stop, how often? Fortunately, this all depends upon an understanding companion. Fine and good, now, another observation. We stopped. I got my shot. Dramatic.

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And there on the other side of the road….well it was a choice – you include the house for depth of field or do you let the fence be your foreground element of interest? Which side of the road?

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Bixby Bridge – Your Call

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You can make many choices when you shoot an image. And if you do, it’s no big deal. Film was expensive. A digital image is not. Horizontal or vertical, crop or zoom, you have many ways to capture an image. Why not experiment. Of course if you are perfect, no need. I take single images often. And at other times I am a redundant shooter. Many times I get a wide angle overview. I tend to edit for the close up. This is usually the shot less seen.

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But in a scene (word play) one must remember the key elements. The shot of the Bixby Bridge has been done many times. It is the bridge for which the image is famous. So you have to have the bridge.

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Even so there are still choices. Of course the choice is yours. Or else I pick and there is only one image today. Ah, too many choices….


Do This

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Jules discovered this trick in Photoshop while we were editing our underwater images. It’s a shortcut. Command shift L. Hit all three keys at the same time and you autolevel. It punches up color like nobody’s business. Really! It works so often that it is the first thing I do with underwater shots. Suddenly the image has contrast and looks so much better. How? I really don’t understand how the algorithm does its magic. And if you ask Jules, she would faint to speak of a mathematical term. She artistic. Which means she only needs to know the end result and how to do it. How and who figured this all out? Well, it was the good fairy.

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With or Without

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How do you like your landscape, with or without? The conventional wisdom is to use a foreground element to give depth to the image. So the presence of flowers and a fence helps to convey depth to a scene. I like both images. No particular preference for me. It’s a nice view on the California coast. Yay! But Nat Geo will only publish one. Which? Hey, it’s my blog so I can show you two. Yes, mine.

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Flash Experiment

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Ghost images made by multiple flash exposure. I did it once. I have not had the need to do it again. It was an experiment in using my flash settings. I would have to read the manual to remember the technique. There are many things you try. I forget more than I remember. The things you use everyday get 99% of your images. It is still useful to experiment. Sometimes you do get to use a long lost skill.

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But flash photography and I have had a long relationship in which I controlled very little in our image making. I am a reluctant user of flash and prefer available light. So this was my one and only multiple exposure foray. Thanks Dave.


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