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Old Aug 1, 2010, 5:19 PM   #1
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Default Philosophical Thoughts and Local Shots

It's interesting how a change of attitude and a bit of thought makes a difference in my photography hobby. I've been doing a fair amount of HDR recently, but choosing topics that didn't lend themselves well to the process. Then I got to thinking about wide angle lenses and thought I'd take some comparison shots showing the couple of lenses I have that are kit lens alternatives and wider. I ended up with a whole bunch of very boring pictures but learned something - each of the lenses I have that cover the 35 and wider range have very different strengths, and its important to understand that. They are different, not better or worse. All are capable of taking outstanding shots, when used to their strengths, an exercise that turned out to be more valuable than I had expected.

Since I wasn't getting anywhere with HDR, I went the other direction - I spent a lunch over at the botanical gardens shooting high dynamic range shots where I exposed for the lights and let the shadows clip. That's a style I'm far more comfortable with, and I enjoyed the pictures. They aren't exactly good enough to post but restored my confidence.

Then there were the skippers - while they aren't brilliant shots like Ronny shoots, they are the best I've managed so far and I'm happy with them.

So today I went to a spot a couple of miles from the house. It's a spot I used to visit often but it seemed like I couldn't manage much there so I haven't bothered in a long time.

Here are some pictures I took with the K100 and the kit lens:

This panorama shows my subdivision (believe it or not). At this size you can't see it very well. But it shows why I always love Mole's green pictures, this is as green as it gets right now:



You can see it better in this one (warning, it's big!): http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v9/p372368173.jpg .

Here's part of the same scene, shot through an R72 filter and converted to b&w in Lightroom. One of the reasons I kept the K100 was that I wanted to play around with IR. I've found it is like HDR - you have to have the right subject. I think I've finally got a handle on the types of scenes that might work and so (after more trial and error) came up with these:



The Jeep:



Distant San Joaquin Valley. The interesting thing about this picture is that I took one with the K7 and without the filter - you can barely see beyond the hills beyond the trees, due to atmospheric conditions (could be moisture or could be smoke). In any case it's clearer using the filter. It didn't cut through everything because on a clear winter day you can see the Sierras (over 100 miles away).



This is probably the weakest shot of the day, but for some reason I like it. One of the things I've been thinking about is composition for landscape shots, having something in the foreground, middle ground and distance. This one does that, so that's probably why I like it - I actually managed to come up with something in all 3 locations (I usually don't, I'm more of a detail type of person).



The path. It doesn't have the elements of the one above, but I still like it. I thought it captured a nice feeling for my local woods. I guess it's like they say - it's location, location, location.



Any suggestions or comments are always wanted - I'm still not that comfortable with this type of photography.
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 6:41 PM   #2
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I'm a massive fan of IR photography, and have the Hoya R72 as well, these shots are just stunning, the 1st, 3rd and 5th are just perfect.
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 6:48 PM   #3
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i tried ir photography but the filter in the k-7 is just to strong - never got a good result from it =(
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 7:04 PM   #4
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Harriet, I really like the IR shots, but I find the brightest areas of the last three distracting and destructive of detail - in particular, in the valley view, the bright pines in the foreground divert attention away from the valley in the center. How distracting, of course, depends on the brightness level of one's monitor. I used the highlight/shadow tool (which is more selective then brightness/contrast) to darken the highlights by 50% in the first, 25% in the second, and in the third darken the highlights and lighten the shadows each by 25% (the third is the most difficult to handle, as light/dark ratios remain the least consistent with changes in monitor brightness). Not that much of a change, but any more would diminish the IR effect too much. See what you think - it might not be the effect you are looking for. I like the first of these changes the best and the third the least. IMO the one of your originals that you think is weakest I think is stunning against the dark sky.

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Old Aug 1, 2010, 7:10 PM   #5
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Well you sure got some fine shots today Harriet.

The panorama is much better when viewed through Zenfolio.

The IR pictures are all quite stunning. I have not put the R72 on my camera for about 1 1/2 years but these shots are inspiring me to do just that.

I can see that you have made great progress in being able to visualize what will give you a strong IR response.

Nice work here!

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Old Aug 1, 2010, 7:25 PM   #6
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I must say that I am no real fan of IR shots ...BUT...these are wonderfull ! They look very much like crisp BW s of snow scenes..........again these are indeed nice to look at ! bock
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 9:15 PM   #7
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John - you are right, the K7 won't record infrared. When I first got the R72 filter I took a picture of a palm tree with both cameras - the K100 showed the fronds as light/white while the K7 showed them as dark. I wish I could use the K7 because I'd really like to be able to use live view and raw+ so I could shoot jpg in b&w to get an idea of what the picture is going to look like - rather than guessing from a mostly red image.

penolta - I especially like what you did with the one of the valley below. I'm going to go back and re-work the original, to selectively darken those foreground pines some. I don't see quite as much difference with the second one, I think it looks all right either way. The last one I'm not so sure I like it as well the way you have it - I actually had it about like that at one point and thought it looked a little too dull, perhaps my taste by that time was off. I'd be interested in which of the shots others like better - yours or mine.

I find IR is limited - detail shots look terrible and not all landscape pictures lend themselves well to it. It's not something I'm going to do all the time. It takes a lot of time for set-up, shutter speeds are very slow, so they require a tripod and a shutter release. Exposure is done by experimentation (take a picture and adjust accordingly). And manual focus lenses are difficult - the focus point is different for IR than it is for visible light. Best to use a small aperture (I used f8 but could have used f11 on several I didn't post).

On the other hand, they are fun when things go right. And it gave me an excuse to enjoy my local neighborhood.

Lou is right - the pano isn't much looking at it here, you need to see it on zenfolio. I think it's something like 1030 pixels high and close to 5000 pixels wide. To give you an idea - the tree on the left of the first IR picture shows the tall tree that's on the left of the pano. The pictures were taken within 10 minutes of each other - just long enough for me to finish the pano and put on the filter and step-up rings.
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 11:24 PM   #8
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All very interesting stuff ! I've never tried IR (can't anyway - having just the K7 and HX1) but enjoyed these. I actually like #1 the best - it has attractive elements from the very near to the far distant (including the clouds). As for #5 I prefer the original because it is sharper and more vivid.
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 11:54 PM   #9
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Duplicate Post

Last edited by Frogfish; Aug 2, 2010 at 4:20 AM.
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Old Aug 2, 2010, 3:12 AM   #10
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I like 4 because of all the textures. Very nice.
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