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Posts Tagged ‘camera’

Here are some new products I’ll be field-testing while in Costa Rica:

Promaster T525P 4-section Carbon Fiber tripod
LowePro Flipside 400 Backpack
Hoya HD Circular Polarizing Filter
UV/IR Cut Filter
RPS Studio Mini Softbox Diffuser

Look for these reviews and of course photos from the trip in the coming weeks here at Lighting the Way.

When we return, we will also be catching up on many loose ends that have been left here on the forum:

Completing multi-part articles, finally posting our film vs. digital test from last year and really shifting our online store into full gear.

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Because a JPEG is ‘cooked’, the camera locks in all image parameters when the file is processed and modifying the image later on is well, less than optimal. I lent one of my camera’s to a friend and upon receiving it back, I forgot to make sure the camera was set back for RAW (as I am assuming he would have shot JPG). Anyway, I did a semi-important shoot with the D700 as a back-up body, switching over to it occasionally instead of changing lenses on the D3.

Upon reviewing the photographs, I then saw that photographs from the D700 were JPGs – oh no! So, the image parameter that I am complaining about in this regard is the image ‘clarity’ which is one of the most important RAW controls. Clarity controls mid-tone contrast which, when tuned in the RAW process, allows one to tighten up the image and make it appear sharper and conversely to produce a soft-focus glow effect on highlight regions of the image. This is only possible however, if the RAW image data is still accessible by the software. In a JPG, moving the clarity control is an absolute train wreck. Positive clarity will muddy-up the mid-tones and a negative adjustment just makes the image flat and drab-looking. A complete disaster. Reason # 782 for hating JPEGs.

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This tripod accessory (or something like it) is an indispensible tool for the landscape photographer for panorama stitching.  In addition to that, it is better to use this mount for vertical shooting on a tripod rather than tilting the tripod head 90 degrees.

With respect to general shooting, it is incorrect to turn the head 90 degrees a) because depending on the weight of your camera/lens and the strength of your tripod, it may sag and not hold in place @ 90 degrees, and b) you will have to re-center the tripod on your subject (because now it is offset) and recompose your photograph.  By using this vertical bracket, it is just a matter of rotating the camera (as if you were handheld and rotating it).  Pop one quick release plate out, flip, and pop the other one in.

Homemade L-bracket on Manfrotto 488RC2 ballhead.

Homemade L-bracket on Manfrotto 488RC2 ballhead.

There is a website called www.reallyrightstuff.com and they are a company who manufactures really great camera support equipment.  All types of brackets, adapter, supports, accessories and they are also dealers for Gitzo and other great tripod manufacturers.  Some of the products they offer are a vertical brackets designed specifically for particular camera models.  They are very expensive for what they are – beginning at $160, then depending on what camera you have it may be higher than that.  Also, they want you to buy their own brand ballhead, because the brackets are initially designed to fit into them.  It isn’t until you dig deeper into one of the information sections that you find out, “oh, by the way, if you have a Manfrotto 488RC2 (among others), you may be able to fit the quick release onto your existing tripod head.”  Unless it is really necessary, you may not want to spend $300 on another ballhead in addition to the vertical bracket.  Your choice!  I’m just going to tell you what I did.

Flipped onto the vertical position

Flipped onto the vertical position

Parts you need:

  • Steel or aluminum L-bracket (I picked up a Stanley L-bracket at Home Depot for $4.82)
  • Two quick-release plates for your tripod head
  • 4 small (I will double-check the size) screws to lock down the quick-release plates

From there, it is just a matter of your time.  Parts investment is approx $20 and it took my father and I about 1 hour to complete the project.  You will of course have to measure (and re-measure) your camera so that you can find center for each axis of the bracket.  This is very important ( especially when photographing panoramas (which is what I have used this bracket for on our trip to Italy.)    Check back soon for my post about shooting for panorama stitching which will go into more detail about why this is an indispensible tool for getting more accurate panoramas.

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Morning Light on the Tuscan Hills

Morning Light on the Tuscan Hills

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Stroncone Festival - April 26, 2009

Stroncone Festival - April 26, 2009

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A few days ago we worried that rain might wash out this annual Spring celebration at the Reeves Reed Arboretum in Summit, NJ.  Dark gray clouds loomed in the sky for most of the day, and as 3 o’clock rolled around it didn’t seem to be getting any brighter out.  However, nothing short of rain was going to stop the forward progress of photographic education.  Members of our small group all trickled in by 3:30 or so and at around that time, the sun came out of hiding and offered more possibilities for talking about exposure, metering, composition and ISO options.  All in all, it was a great day for those who were involved and everyone went home with more experience and photographic knowledge than when arrived.  Look for more of these informal mini workshops that we offer.  All events are posted on this blog, so check back often!

Enjoy some photographs Kerry shot from Daffodil Day!

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Last month we went to the Philadephia Flower Show as the theme this year was Bella Italia, and we figured it would  be a great jump start to our upcoming trip to Italy.  The flower show featured exhibits that mimicked garden designs from the various regions throughout Italy, including fashion pieces (inspired from Milan) made with flower arrangements as you will see below.  Enjoy the photos!

A Venetian Palace scene

A Venetian Palace scene

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