Thursday, December 29, 2011

Black & white forever

Fifty years ago everything I took was black and white. Then came colour ... then came digital and everything was colour by default. And yet ... some pictures still work better in black and white than in colour. This candid portrait of our Granddaughter; taken on Christmas day with available light was one of those pictures.
Lightly toned for warmth, in my opinion the colour version just doesn't carry the 'presence' that comes through in B&W. Nikon D80, 50mm, ISO 400, 1/45 sec @ f2.8.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another one from the archives ...

This one was a real challenge; It was about the sky - a deep blue Canterbury spring sky. But, whenever I pushed the saturation and luminescence sliders to get the depth of blue I wanted, all I got was horrific posterisation (banding) in the sky - even editing at 16 bits. Eventually I decided on a masked multiply layer rather than pushing the individual colour values and this had the desired effect without any banding artifacts. Another lesson learned.

Eyre River, near Oxford, looking towards the Alps. Two frame stitched panorama, 50mm, 1/160, f11.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Two years later ...

It's amazing the difference two years experience can make. I took this image in 2009 but it has languished on  the hard drive for two years because I couldn't get it looking right. The main problem was noise. there were huge areas of noise in the mid-ground trees and even to reduce the noise to that level, there was excessive smearing of the distant details. In short it looked a mess.

Since then I have acquired better tools (Topaz) and a better understanding of how to use them. Installing Lightroom 3 this week, the original image resurfaced and so I took another shot at it using the new tools and a more refined workflow:

Now it looks the way I originally wanted it to; no visible noise and nice sharp detail all the way from the foreground rock to the mountains - 14mm, 1/350, f16, IS0800 (hence the noise problem).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Symbol of privatisation

Track maintenance gear sitting unused at Springfield, since the railways were privatised way back when. Then, when the private owners can't screw another buck out of the project, our kind government buy it back at some inflated price to restore it to working order. Of course by then the gear is all rusted and useless ...