Its been a long while since I have posted one of these… so since my 2012 Senior Season is coming to an end (it has been an amazing season btw)… I figured I would post a few cheat sheets for some of you out there that may be interested…. and like Peter always wants to know… “whats my secrete you ask Peter… SAMS Club AA Batteries
Check these Cheat Sheets out::
Flash Units were all Nikon SB900, 800 speed lights
Another Fortographers segment:: Okay a debate came up in our Facebook group (JPG – Joining Photographers in GA) about should you put a clear UV Filter on your expensive glass. Some said no because you are down grading the quality of the image, some said yeah because it acts more like protection than anything. Well in a nutshell, about half of photographers including myself add UV Filters to all of their lenses just as protection… that’s why I do and that’s why I was told to do it and it sounded like a good idea… so i thought, BUT after talking to a few in the group I became curious and I am always looking for ways to improve my images. So I set out to put this to the test…..
Nikon D3s : 70-200 f2.8 VRII : $70 Nikon brand UV Filter : $30 Rocketfish UV Filter : $129 Mongoose Bike (which is for sale and like new =)
The images are SOOC (straight out of camera) meaning no edits have been applied. all pictures were taken under natural light all with in a 2minute window to help in decreasing light quality from the setting sun
this image shows all of the shots taken… i took each shot at the same f/stop, ISO, shutter speed, white balance and focal length.
Right off the bat I noticed a shift in what looks like the amount of light between filters them selves… The $70 Nikon brand (higher priced) filter seemed to come very close to the shot with no filter at all… The Rocketfish seemed to be a little darker… not good, not bad… its just what you prefer i guess…
The Zoom Test:
These are all the same settings just with the different Filters on and off
You make can click on the image and make it a little bigger, but again the Nikon brand filter (higher priced) seems to be more inline with true light coming in the lens. from this zoom test i could not tell a substantial difference in image quality between any of the shots….
My Conclusion (IMO only)
I don’t think there is enough evidence in image quality one way or the other that I found to make me want to remove my UV Filters from my very expensive lenses and take a chance on busting or cracking the end. I will deff keep all my UV filters on, BUT i may look into getting all the same brand as i did learn that different UV seem to let in different amounts of light and or color of the light… so i hoped this help to answer any questions you may have had… I would love to see your test…
I love to do small product shots from time to time… Well this past Thursday I had about $47,000 in jewelry in my possession to shoot for Arum Jeweler’s in downtown Athens…. I’ll cut right to it and explain the setup as I go….
Step 1:: My Base Setup
Nikon D3s | Nikon Speed Lights (SB900 & SB600) | PocketWizard PLUS II (2) & PocketWizard Mini | Pull down projection screen | Smith & Vector light tent | Hot glue gun with extra glue stick | 3 rings and 1 bracelet
Step 2 :: Lighting arrangements, 1 with light tent… 1 without
Step 3: To place the rings. This scared me the first that I ever used this method, hot glue on a $28,000 ring is kind of unsettling. The key to this trick is do a drop of glue and set the ring in front of it and back it in to it… that way you don’t have glue at the base on the camera side to edit out =)
Step 4 :: Shooting and settings for every shot
Nikon D3s : 105 mm Macro : f32 : 1/160sec : ISO 200 | Main Flash (front) 1/4 power – Back Flash 1/16 power
I wanted the complete ring as sharp or as much of it in focus as i could… i was surprised, even shooting at f32 and 4″ away from the ring i still got a very shallow DOF… so i had to back up about 12-18″ to get most of the ring in focus
Step 5 :: Post production – consisted of knock the rings out of the background and cleaning up the edges. Here are 4 favorites out of the 16 that I turned in
Step 6 :: Since I saved it out as an EPS file with a clipping path… these can be placed on any color background and i even added a little shadow in Photoshop for fun…
FINALLY…. the ad/billboard that they are going on. May or may not look exactly like this, but these the best choices of layouts from a designers point of view =)
So every new lens that I buy, I always fine tune it to both of my camera bodies just to make sure I get that extra security that what I lock focus on will be sharp. I photog friend of mine just recently purchased an after market lens (the Sigma 50mm f1.4) great lens, but on her Nikon D700 it just wouldn’t focus like she thought the price said it would. I talked her through how to check to see if it was “back focusing or front focusing”: Back focusing and front focusing refer to the tendency of a lens – or sometimes the camera body – to focus slightly behind (back focus) or slightly in front of (front focus) the intended subject when using autofocus. After the problem was found with the lens, she found that it was back focusing so she compensated for it in the camera and now its as sharp as it should be… Nikon’s have a feature (most Nikon cameras anyway) that allow you to compensate for the front or back focus. There are a few other camera brands out there… one that starts with a C, but I can’t think of the name right off the top of my head…. but I believe it also may allow for in camera compensation. The below instructions are for Nikons but the same applies for that other brand too.. =)
attach ruler to light stand or tripod – tilt at a 45 degree angle to the camera lens plaine
i typically move my camera as close to the ruler as each of my lenses will focus. some photogs reccomend moving it back further, but whatever =) Find a point on the ruler and with your camera on a tripod take a picture and zoom in to the point you picked as your focus center… look at the lines and or numbers before and behind it. if they start to blur equal distance from your center focus point then your lens is okay, but if you have blur occuring closer to th epoint either in the back or front then you need to adjust accordingly to your preference.
below is the menu on a Nikon that shows where the fine tune option is and what it looks like… always turn “Fine Tune” ON of course if you are doing this feature =)
I hope this helps if you are having focusing issues especially with after market lenses.
How important is Photoshop in your final images? I view Photoshop the way I view salt: it’s the perfect way to flavor a delicious meal, but too much can ruin the main course!
On my flight back from Vegas this past week… I read an article in one of my magazines and it featured a photographer that I follow a good bit. She was asked the question above and responded the best way that I could imagine a great photographer could respond. I think I am going to adopt this same analogy in some of my classes. There is a lot of truth in that answer….
Photoshop is a great tool and I consider myself somewhat of a master of it… I have worked in Photoshop everyday for the last 9 years. My day job requires me to work in Photoshop designing advertising ads and such. I LOVE Photoshop and I personally think its one of the greatest software’s that has ever been made, but with that being said I totally agree with the photographer’s answer above. Once your in the photography business for awhile… you can almost tell how new a person is in the industry just by looking at their finished product. Usually the newbies discover “Photoshalt” and use it a little too much or over flavor their images…. I used to do this b/c it was fun to see what all I could do to an image. Overtime I grew out of that… with some helpful advice of some highly admirable photographer friends.
It’s very easy to get caught up in all the presets, actions, plug-ins and all the other goodies that are sold to photographers for “image enhancement”. So to all starting out photographers in the biz… be weary of the power of “Photoshalt”… it can hurt an image more than it can help it if you get carried a way with it. The one thing that has steered me away from working all my images and using these “trendy” actions… is that they can actually date your work. My work flow has sped up so much in the last couple years due to getting it right on the front end (in the camera) which saves more time on the back end (the editing). This past wedding I shot at Piedmont Park… 2700+ images taken on Saturday… after culling them down I was done and had the disc made and delivered to client in 4 days and thats just working a few hours a night…. I only pulled 28 of them into Photoshalt to add a little extra flavor too. I do 90% of my editing in ACR ( Adobe Camera Raw ) basically its the same as Lightroom just in a different format, but it is a RAW processing software… All in all and I’m sure I can speak for other professionals out there… learn the art of the camera and master it first , then use Photoshop to boost your images rather than fix them.
So… as some of you know, I love to teach photography. I am no master of it BUT I do know the fundamentals plus some… or plus a lot =). I am starting this new segment of my blog that I will refer to as P2P or Photographer 2 Photographer. Anyway some of the best seminars and workshops that I go to, they sell these cheat sheet type of cards… it shows the shot then breaks down how it was done. Well for all of my photography enthusiast out there and my friendly local pro’s… ( see regardless of what my self promos promote… i love all you guys =), here is an insight to how I capture a lot of my shots using off camera light. WARNING: all drawings do not accurately represent subjects and or locations ( i haven’t drawn in years =). Check these out and keep checking back in for more to come: