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Showing posts from April, 2014

Olympus OM-D E-M1 and video focusing

Nerd alert! Quick note about the Olympus E-M1 and changing the focus during video.

This is just a bit of test video. As you'll see, focus moves from the keyboard on the right, to the vase in the background, then to the stenciling on the back of the chair in the middle ground, then back to the keyboard — and finally to the birds on the candle stand in the background on the left.

To do this, I had to configure the E-M1 as follows.

MENU > Gear A > AF/MF > Full-time AF: Turned ON.While the E-M1's mode dial was set to M (manual exposure mode for still photos) I set focus mode to S-AF. NOTE: When I switched to video on the mode dial, this changed automatically to C-AF, which make sense. The key thing is, you have to have the camera in some autofocus mode.Again, while I still had the mode dial set to M (still photo), I set the touch screen focusing option to its intermediate position, where the camera will focus where I tap but not take a photo. NOTE: seems to make no differe…

World War I — in pictures (at The Atlantic online)

As you know — or will be reminded as we get closer to August — 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, "the Great War." Clever historians sometimes call it the beginning of the Twentieth Century. It's not a compliment to the century.

If, like me, you like pictures with your history, historian Alan Taylor has collected some great ones and provided each with an explanatory note. Kudos to The Atlantic online, which is publishing the project and (may I add) doing it very attractively. Here's the link:

World War I In Photos

It's a ten-part series. The first installment is up now with 45 quite varied photos. Taylor promises to add more photos periodically between now and August. I don't have much of an idea what's out there but I do know that candid photography reached maturity just around this time. Earlier wars were photographed with cameras that required long exposure times, so we get empty battlefields, or military men standing stiffly …

Why I make my own prints

A good photo hasn't fulfilled its destiny until it has been well printed. This is why I've always made sure that my clients get prints, at least of the best and most important photos. It's why I want prints for myself.

In the past, I ordered prints for clients through my lab. I still do. But, for the last couple of years, since the release of affordable high-end desktop photo printers from Canon — like the PIXMA Pro-1, or the Pro-100 and Pro 9000 MkII — it has become possible for me to do more and more of this work myself, and to do that work really well. I want to say a little here about the ways this has changed my approach to taking photographs and why I find this change exciting. Printing isn't everybody's cup of tea, so I'm keeping this as personal as possible.

Review: Canon PIXMA Pro-10 printer

Here's a link to my review of the Canon PIXMA Pro-10 printer over at Macworld.

If you're interested in printers, I invite you to read the review. Executive summary: I like the printer a lot.

Why I do my own conversions

Working on a review of the Olympus E-M1 (more info about that later) and trying to understand the camera's built-in image processing options. Since I capture raw images about 99% of the time, I don't have a very good appreciation of the camera's own capabilities.

This quick portrait of Catherine and Arthur was shot Raw + JPEG. Here's the black and white JPEG that came straight from the camera. (I was shooting with the monochrome "creative filter" enabled.)

It's not bad. But compare it to the conversion I did myself from the raw file, in Adobe Lightroom 5:

In the second version, the highlights in the background on the right aren't blown out. Fine detail is better retained. Gradations of tonality are subtler. The photo is sharper in the only place where sharpness is important in this photo — around Catherine's eyes.

This is why I do my own conversions. The camera can do a remarkably good job. I can do a better one.

Here by the way is a conversion ma…