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I like alternate takes on the moon. Seems like every full moon brings yet more perfectly nice shots of the full moon - zzzzzzzzzzz I've been living with this one for a few weeks now. I'm starting to think I may prefer this simpler crop. Loony Moose
Congratulations!!! Moose
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2014 on Sunday Open Mike: News! at The Online Photographer
"PS: also very curious to know the book printers mentioned (enigmatically) in one of the comments." Referring to my post? I didn't name names because things change and I haven't researched alternatives for quite a while. When I last looked, it seemed that My Publisher, inkjet, and Adorama, Fuji Crystal Acrhive, looked the best from a distance. I got sucked in by special offers from My Publisher. I like the way their printing comes out. If you look closely at undifferentiated areas like sky, you can see the inkjet dither pattern, but at normal book viewing distance it's invisible. They have both glossy and a semi-matte finish. I very slightly prefer the matte-ish one. The heavier paper choice is a sensual experience to turn. I've never had a negative comment from anyone who has seen them about book/print/color quality. I can't speak much to their book making software. In an early version, I had trouble getting portrait images to just fill the height of the page, but it's several versions later now. I make up my own pages at their full resolution, 1200x1600, and drop them into the software, which works perfectly for me. The down side is their high-low pricing strategy. They are forever sending email special offers, which can end up way lower than their 'regular' prices. For someone like me, who buys a copy or two occasionally, and not in a rush, that's a minor annoyance. Moose
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2014 on Showing Just to Show at The Online Photographer
I 'show' in a different way. I've had books made of my images, three books with about 220 images, so far. More to come. If you haven't seen the quality of the better on-line book publishers, you are missing something. Excellent printing on lay-flat pages of heavy, beautiful stock are delicious. I find it fascinating watching people go through the books. Some just look, saying nothing until finished, sometimes little even then, although none have as yet expressed anything less than enjoyment. Others are quite interactive, saying what they like or don't, asking about and/or discussing the what, where, how, why of some images. Viewers have ranged from family through friends, through participants in workshops we've attended. Many have said I should publish commercial versions, but as yet, that's sounded like more trouble than it's likely worth. The oddest was when I was showing the family who run Grumpy's for Breakfast, our favorite restaurant on Mt. Desert Island, ME, an image taken there the year before. A woman at another table came over to look and ended up taking the book to go through. Effusively enthusiastic, wanting to know where she could get a copy; she never did email me. Add me to the list of those who like to show and experience reactions to their work, without making a business of it. Moose [Hi Moose, which online book publishers do you use? --Mike]
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2014 on Showing Just to Show at The Online Photographer
Certainly a different game than photography. My current µ4/3 gear makes much better image files than my first DSLR, even better than my 5D. I'm betting today's high end stuff doesn't actually sound any better than yesterday's. Another approach to the vintage game is to buy good stuff new - and keep using it until it is vintage. \;~)> I think that's what I have done, without any conscious plan to do so. About 25 years ago, I spent a Lot of time and ear effort building a system. All I've had to replace is the CD player. The second time a mechanical part broke, I couldn't find a replacement part. Everything else is now well preserved vintage. Your comments about the bleeding pocketbook end seem pretty close to me. I was able to visit a couple of high end shops regularly, midday, midweek, so I got to listen to ridiculously expensive systems set up for real customers to audition, at some length. Yes, a couple were spectacular, but the edge over just really good, was pretty thin. And I'd have had to remodel my house to do them justice. After the tweeter in one of my first set of speakers had to be replaced, then a bass unit went out, and the maker was out of business. At the same time, Stereophile slipped, and rated the new B&W 805s, a pair of which cost significantly less than a new car, in their A - minimotor category. I checked them out and bought. The magazine soon realized their error. B&W brought out the same components, but with two base drivers per box. Clearly, letting such inexpensive speakers into Class A was a failure of judgement (editorial, not aural, IMO). And now they would seem foolish to have the new B&Ws, which must be better, as they cost more and have more drivers, so the 805s were demoted to 'B'. Oddly enough, they didn't sound any worse, and have graced my life with physical and aural beauty ever since. For real vintage, consider the drivers in my home built/modified subwoofer/surround boxes. Sometime around say '62, I made a custom center channel woofer to go with my home made, 'Sweet Sixteen' midranges with dome tweeters. I used a University 16" woofer with dual voice coils to mechanically mix the channels. Later, I bought another of the woofers, a pair of midrange horns, three way crossovers and rebuilt a pair of attractive walnut floor boxes so the panels didn't vibrate, to make three way, bass reflex tuned speakers. Now, one voicecoil of each bass unit receives subwoffer output from a surround sound amplifier, while the other and the midrange and high end drivers, output suitably adjusted, handle surround sound. Surround sound is from real speakers, not tiny, tinny things. Sub bass can be turned up so movies like Independence Day will lift you out of your seats, if I want. Mostly, they are balanced to subtly fill out the bass. The inexpensive center channel sub-woofers back in the early 90s were 'slow', handling transients poorly. Mine are 'fast'. So, are 60's drivers vintage? Or antique? I'll say one thing; they really built them back then. The woofer surrounds are still intact and supple. Moose
My first photo book had 100 images, plus cover. Although limited to a particular time and place, I choose specific images almost entirely to please myself, which, I think, gives the collection some overall coherence. I included some that I simply liked, and wanted there, but suspected no one else would much like. I've shown the book to quite a few people, family, friends, acquaintances and a handful of essentially strangers. Most times, I've been able to at least watch, often interact, as they thumb slowly, speed hastily, etc. through it. The lesson learned, and reinforced with subsequent books, is that tastes vary over a vast range. One person would enthuse over an image that some others would skim past. There were a number that elicited a response, comment or long look from almost everyone, but none that were universal. After quite a few viewers, I thought I'd only failed with one image, which no one had viewed for more than a second or commented on. Then a friend was moved to tears by it. Interestingly enough, it was an image I had kinda included because I though it would have wide appeal. My conclusion is that, absent client requirements, externally imposed theme, etc., a book/portfolio/set of ones images is best when chosen to please oneself. Two later books have solidified this opinion. Setting a theme, time, place, etc. may be a help in making the project manageable, but the choice and order of particular images should be to please the photographer. Oscar Wilde said "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." BTW, apropos recent posts, making a book and sharing it with people is, at least in my experience, a way to have an interactive relationship with viewers. A possible antidote, for folks who feel isolated, un-viewed and unappreciated on their web sites. A sense of appreciation and fulfillment may be closer than you think. Most people are still best engaged by people and tangible things. People who pay little or no attention to a web gllery can respond quite differently with physical book in hand, pages to turn, and so on. Moose
Toggle Commented May 31, 2014 on Subtle Dilemma at The Online Photographer
" (Who said "resistance is useless"?)" That would be Vogons in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Cursory research would seem to indicate that this Vogon usage predates the Borg usage, " "resistance is futile.", starting in TNG and continuing on through various Star Trek incarnations. Moose
A dog? That's all? My last cutter was very pleasant to look at*, very easy to talk to and had a pet - a large boa constrictor. Of course, she was decades younger than I and had an age appropriate boyfriend, but that was really all to the good. When she left the shop, I quit, going the old guy ponytail route. Moose * What one might call 'smokin' hot'.
Toggle Commented May 19, 2014 on Sunday Open Mike: Dogs at The Online Photographer
I can't say I like either. The Note 3 has very odd edges, over sharpening and/or ??. They give it an immediate sense of clarity, but won't wear well. The 5DIII looks awfully soft. I've seen much better video from the lowlier 7D/60D. I'm no videographer, and know not if the following are possible on videos. If they were still shots, I'd say that some deconvolution, as Focus Magic, would vastly improve the 5DIII image. A blur layer masked with Find Edges would help the Note 3. Based solely on these clips, I wouldn't want to spent any time and effort doing video with either of them. I do occasional short video clips, and would say I've had better IQ, clearer, more natural images, from Canon S100 & 60D, Oly E-M5 and Panny GX7.
I don't have as broad experience of the metering behavior of various brands of cameras. with three Canon DSLRs, several Canon and a Samsung P&S and several Oly and Panny ILCs. But that experience is clear. All my cameras are set as default to -2/3 EV. That way, if I just grab, point and shoot, the chance of clipped highlights is minimal. Heavy overcast or other low contrast brings EV up; red/orange/yellow flowers in sun bring it down further. I can't believe how many images I see on the web where flower colors are obviously off and/or that where there should be details of tonal variation, there is just a big blob of a single color. This can happen with bright colors of any kind, but is worst with flowers, so Mike probably doesn't have to consider it. \;~)> I realize reading this that I have no idea how my cameras act in Manual Mode with Auto ISO. That seems an oxymoron to me. I'm a Aperture preferred mode guy, too. In those few situations where I use Manual, I have a specific goal, ISO is a part of it, and also set manually. Should I call it 3D Manual? All the cameras I use have an exposure guide available in Manual that lets me simply set my variation from the meter's opinion. Most days, I understand Ctein's descriptions of they way camera makers determine 'correct' exposure/ISOs. I understand why they would want most images to come out balanced looking for most, and especially casual, users. Nevertheless, the basic nature of all digital sensor systems I have used is that they clip highlights all too easily. So I am very willing, happy even, to get an overall underexposed looking shot where the highlights just kiss the top of the histogram, and adjust midtones and shadows in post. I don't think this varies in spirit from the Zone System or many other practices of film photographers - adjust exposure and processing to compensate for weaknesses in the sensor system/film and get the results desired. Moose
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2014 on What Overrides What? at The Online Photographer
I made this move, and am quite happy with the GX7. It has not displaced my E-M5. In fact, for 'serious' outings, I have both around my neck, 75-300 on the Oly, 12-50 on the Panny, 9-18, 60/2.8 macro and 20/1.7 in the bag. The drawback is wildly different menu systems and control setups. But wandering through woods, gardens, fields seashores, etc., the advantage of responsiveness without changing lenses is really big. The GX7 adds an electronic shutter (with some limitations of its own). For me, that means a more responsive camera. To avoid shutter shock blurring, especially with the long lens, I have to set 1/8 second shutter delay on the M5. (It seems people aren't having that problem on the E-M1, but I'm not convinced it isn't just the heavier body helping damp it - and making the problem more subtle and insidious.) The Panny sensor is, fairly subtly, better than the Oly, especially at higher ISOs. The GX7 might be the answer to some left eyed shooter's prayers. With EVF on the far left corner and controls all on the far right, it's better than several other ILCs with central EVFs and controls scattered all over the back. I'm not entirely convinced how superior the Oly IBIS is to the GX7. I've found the M5 IBIS to indeed be superior to the older Pen system, most obviously in macro shots. And it 'should' be better than the GX7. But at least one web site test shows the Panny superior at very low speeds, blurry vs. less blurry, and at long focal lengths. Being a reluctant tester, more interested in shootin', I've not done my own. So far, using the long and macro lenses on the M5 has made the point moot. The GX7 is an excellent camera, with a relatively sensible control set-up and great customization flexibility. I've also been happy with the Panny 20/1.7, but I doubt I've ever used it with the GX7. It used to hang out on a compact camera, like the E-PM2. Recently, it spent some quality time taking a few hundred shots on a GM1, where it makes an incredibly small, light combo. With the camera set to silent mode, no one has any idea when it has taken a shot. That includes me, until I see the review image flash by on the back. With a rather wide viewing angle on the screen, it's an impressive stealth camera. The E-PM2 is better for static subjects in dim light, though, a bit bigger, but with IBIS. Moose
About the GPS fix. Phone GPS track app. I use GPX Master (free) on my iPhone. Unlike at least one other I tried, it does only one thing, well, and doesn't eat the battery excessively. I got a spare battery/charger, based on horror stories. I've yet to need it. Merge GPS locations from track(s) into images in GeoSetter (Win, free) or Mac equivalent. GeoSetter happily handles multiple tracks at once, so tracking may be turned on and off as appropriate during the day. I've turned it on, got a fix in a moment, then off, to get a location for just a shot or two. I've has GPS in two cameras. Slow to get that first fix in both, and generally clunky. The GPS in my iPhone5 and now 5s is both much quicker and more accurate. The newer generation is undoubtedly better, but I'd rather keep the cameras I have now until some other factor(s) drive something new. I'd rather choose in the future without letting the GPS feature tail wag the rest of the camera dog. Located Moose
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2014 on Small Joke at The Online Photographer
Dave Sailer writes: "The Olympus PEN E-PM2 was available. Bottom-of-the line. $275 on closeout, black, or $249 for a silver body. I can mount my Voigtlander 12, 21, or 35 lenses (35mm equivalents of 24, 42, or 70mm), and still have something almost-pocketable." I've been a big fan of the E-PM2, 4400 shots in 8 months. I've used it right alongside the E-M5 and as coat pocketable. I'm now quite enamored with the Panny GM1. With it's kit 12-32 mm lens, it makes the E-PM2 with 14-42 seem giant. The sensor is from the GX7, excellent, and the lens is slowish for some, but makes excellent images. With the 20/1.7, it's very useful in dimmer places. Interestingly, it's focal range almost matches your primes. But no IS in the tiny body, so it's IS lenses or less usefulness. Moose
I think you are right - about camera bodies. Right too, I suppose, for those photographers who happily use only a couple of primes or a relatively short range zoom, and who are happy with relatively slow lenses. Once I was finally satisfied with a mirrorless system, µ4/3, I did what I've done before with the film OM system and a Canon digital system before, build a set of lenses to cover my range of interests. With 9-18, 12-50, 14-150, 20/1.7, 60/2.8 macro, 75-300, primarily for the E-M5 and Gx7, Panny X 14-42 for small Pen and especially compact 12-35 and 45-150 for GM1, I have a pretty fair investment in µ4/3 lenses. A casual fling with another ILC would mean an unsatisfying, for me, time with a far too limited lens or two. Fortunately, as you say, the practical difference in IQ between the latest ILCs is quite small, so I'm not sure I see the photographic point. It interests me that back in the old days of film DSLRs, few serious photographers, at least those with a lot of lenses, made such a monumental switch, say from Nikon to Canon. I went Nikon to OM in the early 70s, but as an impecunious youth, I only had one Nikkor and borrowed others from my father. There are of course, those whose financial situation allows them to buy a range of lenses, and accessories, including a few thousand $ of the big, fast ones, to go with whatever new, shiny catches their eye, and good for them, I say. BUT, we had this situation before, with film. The sensors were all equal, the boxes pretty competitive in the basics of IQ, exposure, and it was all about the lenses. AND, as some guy here has argued many times, using lenses to their best advantage takes learning them thoroughly. That stands against flitting about between camera systems, even if cost is not a problem. Yes, I have friends who use only a couple or a narrow range of focal lengths. And I have others who use digital bodies as backs for their collections of legacy, manual focus, FF lenses from the film era. For those who like Auto aperture, focus and exposure and a range of lens capabilities, a majority, I'm guessing, casual switching of body systems is not practical. Moose
You found his DP2M set? Moose
Good idea, bad idea, who knows? But it IS an idea, different, and I think that's good. One of my favorite photo books is Mother Earth: Through the Eyes of Women Photographers and Writers, Revised Tenth-Anniversary Edition Without knowing the title, I don't think anyone would think the images must be by women. Its more that women make images as good as the best men. Hmmm ... Then why is it a favorite of mine? Perhaps the selection/editing by Judith Boice. at least a couple of my favorite images are in this book. This newer edition adds images and the reproduction quality is excellent. Moose
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2014 on For Women Readers at The Online Photographer
"I guess I just don't understand why Nikon would have such a big hit with the D700 and then wander away from the model designation and the spirit of the product." We might think the D700 a success, based on the fact that lost of TOP type people liked it, but for a company that needs to stay in business, the criteria are different. But how do we know Nikon found it a hit? Pricing is a tricky business that depends on amortization of creation costs. If, based on what they knew, or thought they knew, about 5D sales, Nikon chose a price and projected a sales number, then sold 2/3 that many, it could be on the books as a large financial loss. When that happens in big companies, sometimes the model name/number becomes anathema. You can bet no one inside Ford ever used the name Edsel for anything but the person or as a pejorative to try to kill a project they didn't like. I'm not saying that is so; I have no way of knowing. I am saying that it's easy from out here, and based in large part on words/opinions on the web, some authoritative sounding without basis, to make assumptions about what's going on inside manufacturers. Moose
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2014 on Why Didn't Nikon...? at The Online Photographer
"Canon has a 15-megapixel APS-C black and white sensor." Or they are converting color to B&W. No Assumptions Moose [No, I'm sure it's a monochrome sensor, as many industrial cameras are. --Mike]
I understand the difference between a pure monochrome sensor and a color array sensor. It does seem to me that the Foveon sensor should be able to duplicate pure monochrome. And a friend's Leica MM does often produce some of the most delicious tonal detail and graduation I've seen in digital. OTOH, it does seem to me that most of the faults you mention above in B&Ws from digital color cameras are avoidable with proper technique in capture and processing. [True. --MJ] As you've said, overexposure is a very common problem. As you are, I'm bothered by the highlight 'dead zone', where tonal detail, while not actually clipped, is so highly compressed that "There's just not as much going on in them, tonally speaking, as there should be." In one way, especially in images we see on the web, this is often a result of improved JPEG processing in newer cameras. Faced with the problem of fitting a wide DR into an 8 bit JPEG with the mid tones in the right place, they compress the highest values. The good news is that, even without Raw files and highlight recovery, many JPEGs may be saved. It's my experience that most properly exposed color images from contemporary digital cameras may be made into images at least as good in highlight tonal range, graduation and detail as the examples here, sometimes better. Expose to the right (not some formula, but to hold the highlights you want), which will usually involve negative EV adjustment, sometimes a lot. Then use the tools in Raw converter and editor to get the curve at the top right. Of the samples you have linked, a few illustrate my point: - Glassi's looks perfect to me. - arcaswissi's seems to me to suffer from some highlight detail compression. Try PS Highlight tool, settings 10,50,30 to see what I mean. - Zanckr's is lovely. But, there's a lot more tonal detail available but not visible in the 'drapery'. I think Highlights 50,40,20 is much nicer. - Dudzinski's is indeed like good film. The tonality in the shadowed area, particularly skin tones, is excellent. Nevertheless, with masking, a great deal of highlight tonal detail can be revealed in the background, without making it look unnatural. It does seem that the Merrill sensor system makes it easier to avoid the highlight problems, but does not automatically correct for poor technique. And conversely, conventional color sensor systems may be used to give B&W with excellent highlight characteristics. I'm only talking about highlights. The MM, at least, does seem to excel at the subtleties of tones beyond what's usual with B&W conversions. And fine detail should be clearer, although that's a moot point for anything but pixel level detail. Moose
"At the very least, all this should make me happier, which is to say, less cranky. Whenever we get cranky about photography it's a sure sign that we need to go get out behind the camera and shoot. It cures a lot of ills." I sure agree with the gettin' out and shootin' prescription. I'm shy of projects defined in terms of prescriptive tools and/or process, as opposed to outcome. I know that such a rigid set of rules for doing that would make me unhappy, and likely cranky, rather than happy. The project is defined in terms of intellectual curiousity; "How does my visual brain work?", rather than creative expression. I prefer one driven by results; "My finished images seem less fine than I would like in 'X' characteristic. I would like to improve them." Or, more loosely, or generally, "What I'm doing isn't getting me the results, physical or internal, that I want. How might I change that in a positive way?" This may naturally leads to speculation, research, etc. about what changes in visualization, equipment*, technique, process might yield the desired results. It could even lead to taking up watercolor and doing less photography. I should be clear that, in my formulation, the goal need not be traditional technical improvement. It could as easily be about achieving results that are less technically perfect, but more emotionally satisfying, or not. But that's just me. Moose * Beware free floating GAS looking for any excuse for getting new 'stuff'.
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2014 on Grind the Axe at The Online Photographer
If you can't be with the camera you love, then love the one you are with. By and large, the camera I'm using is the one I love. I loved the 5D for about five years. At the moment, it's a camera ménage à quatre, with Oly E-M5 and E-PM2, Panny GX7 and GM1 and a bag full of µ4/3 lenses. As the shooting season goes on, I expect more loved and less loved may emerge. Maybe it's a group thing because they are all so closely related, yet each has qualities the others lack, together with its own limitations. Time will tell, until the new love arises. But at the moment, I love them all, more than any that came before. Moose
"What is that low-pitched rumbling noise? Oh, I think it must be the sound of Yousuf Karsh rolling over in his grave!" His kind of LF portraiture is a different game. I've known this for some time, but it was brought home to me more strongly a couple of years ago, when I had the luck to be able to stand undisturbed for quite some time in front of a very large print (4x5'?) of his famous portrait of Winston Churchill. The combination of a great deal of clear detail with absolutely no edgy, excessive sharpness is something I think may simply not be possible on 35 mm or even small MF film, let alone smaller formats. One may speculate all day as to why this may be so, or should not be so, but it has been my experience that it is so so far. I've seen images taken with the lenses from that era on smaller formats. I've experimented with various techniques. I've trolled the web for images. I've yet to find where anyone has managed to lose the edge and bokeh characteristics of smaller, shorter FL lenses on smaller media - without just going fuzzy, losing detail that is held in the old LF images*. It seems to me that Mike's discussion doesn't necessarily apply outside of 35 mm and smaller formats. Moose * It is, of course, still possible to do something almost identical on LF today with old lenses and at least one new one.
"All fast lenses are worse—less sharp—wide open than stopped down, as anyone can see from any sort of quantitative lens test." But there are differences. For an MF lens with amazingly even performance across apertures, should one need it, there is the last version of the Zuiko 50/1.4, serial #s over 1,000,085. 50mm f/1.4 Zuiko (multi-coated) OM-2000 with mirror and diaphram prefire; lens with >1,100,000 serial number Vignetting = D @ f/1.4, B @ f/2, A- @ /2.8, A @ f/4 Distortion = none Aperture Center Corner f/1.4___B___B f/2.0___A-___B f/2.8___A___A- f/4.0___A___A f/5.6___A___A- f/8.0___A-___A- f/11.0__ A-___A- f/16.0__B+___B+ Even more so on APS or µ4/3, where f1.4 will be slightly less sharp, but all other apertures are equal up to where diffraction takes over. Moose
Hi Joe, "Moose: My family has owned two Kindles and three iPads and my wife recently switched from a Kindle Paperwhite to an iPad Mini Retina. Why? The text is so much clearer that she finds it easier to read ..." I hope I wasn't being didactic, just expressing how my personal experience differed from Mike's. Although I've used a couple of Kindles for a few minutes each, my experience is pretty limited. I do or have read extensively on Nook, iPad, iPhone, a 10" Android tablet and an 11.6" netbook+ display. I have not found any of the other displays to be any sharper/clearer than the Nook Simple Touch - The one without backlight!. The Glow has less clarity. I am a lucky man, retired with a nice front yard, and read sitting outdoors quite a lot. Anything but a paperwhite display is just junk there. My two favorite reading chairs long predate ereaders, so have carefully selected reading lights and are ideal for a non backlit display (or book!) - as is the kitchen table when eating. {;~) If I read in bed, my needs would be different, but I don't. The Android tablet or iPad with two page display are fine indoors, but no better for me than the Nook. The choice of Nook over Kindle was not about display, slightly about price, and mostly about technical issues of source material flexibility. Also, my Nook is 'rooted', giving me access to the Android OS for some control and a better PDF reader than the rather poor native Nook one.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2014 on The iPad Air for Reading at The Online Photographer
A dirt cheap bluetooth keyboard completely transforms the experience of email and other writing on iPads and other tablets and phones. Moose