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Showing posts from June, 2014

Four ways to test a lens

There are four ways to test a lens.

Look at the price you paid for it. If you paid over US $600, it's a good lens. Over $800, it's a very good lens. Below $300, it's okay. Between $300 and $600 is a gray area and you might have to go one of the more advanced tests that follow. Look it up on DxO Mark. They'll tell you if it's any good or not. Favored by the pros!Obtain or make for yourself a test chart, and try to replicate DxO Mark-style tests, taking measurements. If you can't find a chart, a brick wall will also work. Be sure to view all the photos only at 100% or you might miss something important. (The popularity of this test keeps the makers of tripods in business.)Take a number of photos with the lens: different subjects, different shooting situations and types of light. Look at the photos on a good computer display, or better yet, make prints. If you have a similar lens or lenses, make comparisons based on various photos. Does the lens seem to do what yo…

Sun goes down, moon comes up

I find sunsets depressing. They go by so quickly. On my recent vacation in Colorado, I got lucky with a couple.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison Here's a shot taken at the aptly named Sunset Point, at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Three versions of the same shot follow.

This first one was created with the help of the Google/Nik apps.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison at sunset. Olympus E-M1 + Olympus 25 f1.8 lens.
Unfortunately the Google/Nik apps create a border that eats into the picture's margins, and this photo didn't have enough of a margin. That open bit of sky at the top got cut too much. So I reprocessed in DxO Optics Pro 9, twice — creating the following two versions. The main difference between them is obvious: white balance.

I'm not sure, but I think I actually prefer the darker or "colder" of these two images. In the second image, the reddish glow that fills the picture gives the entire canyon a warm, fuzzy feeling. But that's not the way …

Memory of an afternoon

I was going through old photos in Lightroom looking for something else, and came across this pic I don't think I've ever posted anywhere. I would title it "Memory of an afternoon."

I'm never sure what I think about using filter effects. The one thing I'm sure about is, filters can't help an intrinsically worthless photo. But I like this shot. Here it is, processed more simply in Lightroom 5.

I like that too but comparing it to the more aggressively "art-ified" earlier version makes me ask myself, what do I want from a photo like this? If you muss the photo a bit, but in the process, give it a little more emotional punch — by adding the fake aged effect — is that wrong?

Here's another photo, giving you an idea how busy it was out there in the middle of nowhere. I'm going to call it, "These memories, too, will fade."

 Finally, this shot. Unfortunately, it really needs to be seen big, bigger than Blogger will permit.