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Mar. 5th, 2012

alone

tsuyoto

Sharing some more of my work

Been a long time since I posted here. Been posting to http://500px.com/tsuyoto mostly. Enjoy a few selections.







Jan. 4th, 2012


kacifox

Push Processing

Given that my digital was stolen I am going back to Kodak Tri-X and wanna take a hand on Push Processing.  800 iso or 1600 iso.  any tips or suggestions for me.  what chems is best for this.  temp and time?

Jan. 1st, 2012

colinstu

Photography bitching

After spending time around on photography forums and other communities, there have been a number of trends that have really been bothering me. They detract from the experience of taking pictures and aren't needed.

Wanting an all-in-one lens.
This is a killer for me when it comes to people getting an interchangeable lens camera. The whole point of an interchangeable camera system is to, well... CHANGE your lenses. There are lots of choices available and they all give you fairly different experiences. Different focal lengths, different apertures, varying levels of build and image quality and especially price. Demanding a $1500 all-in-one lens will severely hamper what pictures you can take. You miss out on the wide and/or long end, you can't stop the aperture down as much, and in the end... it's gonna be one honking-sized lens. I don't know what else to say about this topic, but people need to be more adventurous. Don't worry about your sensor or lenses getting dirty (I don't mean be careless, but it isn't need to be treated that special). Buy a fast prime, get used to what it can do. They're small, fast, and fun to use. People think that having to walk to zoom and swap between other primes is that much of a pain in the ass... it isn't, just stop being lazy.

Sure DSLR sensors are much more capable than the smaller sensors used in point and shoots, but 50% of the people at furry cons would be better off with a point an shoot IMO. If you're not taking full advantage of the sensor because of sloppy skills, using low-quality lenses, or not taking the proper precautions when post-processing pictures and deciding what shots to keep... a higher-end camera is not for you. Spending thousands of dollars will NOT make you a better picture taker. Look at something that really fits your style of shooting.

Spending too much on gear (also, gear lust).
This kills me at conventions. People running around with tens of thousands of gear strapped around their body... it makes me nauseous. Not only are they going to take little to no [good] pictures, they're going to scare away both other photographers and people (fursuiters). You don't need much stuff to take amazing pictures--most of it boils down to purely the photographer. Using a $5000 camera body and traveling with $10,000 in lenses is NOT needed at most events, let alone a furry convention. Stop trying to show off and stop blowing your wad on gear (or renting it). If you're sufficient with using a 50mm, or 24-70, or 18-55 or whatever, that's fine... but to showoff your camera-cock to everyone is uncalled for. Go away.

Worrying too much on what to buy
Sure, hearing from other people how certain items are is just fine, and reading reviews to get a handle on how an item performs is a responsible thing too. But spending months of time squandering on what to get... you're now missing out on what just USING the lens/body would do. Just buy it! Have fun! If it doesn't work after spending quite a bit of time with it, sell or return it (or rent the item for a week). Read below for related issues.

Being obnoxious with your gear. (being "THE" photographer)
This goes along typically with the guy who has a butt-loads of money worth of gear. Stomping around with a huge camera setup (especially with huge flash brackets, flashes, and flash accessories) is ridiculous. I like being VERY discreet when taking pictures. It allows for me to capture a much more candid and innocent moment, rather then the typical "boring" as hell shots most people take of fursuits (people just standing/looking blank/zero expression). Flash (or expensive items) may be required with your style of shooting or depending on the location of the shooting, but ALWAYS needing it is a fallacy. Keep it simple.

Judging items solely on specifications and charts from reviews
Like I was saying earlier with people being indecisive about buying gear... one of the common aspects that are spent too much wasting time on is with specs and review performance. Comparing how many aperture blades a lens has or that a lens performs a *pinch* better on a MTF-resolution chart is a total waste. Things like vignetting can be easily fixed in post if you wish, but in some cases you might actually want to ADD vignetting (the same can be said for barrel/pincushion distortion)! Don't be bothered with this detail. Same goes for resolution (sharpness). Lenses from the 60's and 70's can even perform decently on modern gear. Pixel peeping is a gigantic waste of time and NO ONE will notice if a picture is properly sized down via post or the web. The only thing that has really been improved upon over the years was the addition of [silent/fast] auto-focus and resistance to flaring and the softness and low contrast that can be imposed by it.

Buying a lens and then shooting only focus charts and worrying about AF fine-tune and returning several copies to get the "perfect" lens is also a huge waste. Go out and SHOOT with the damn thing, it'll be fine. Very rarely do completely-fucked up lenses make it off the production line. Varying tolerances are permissible by manufacturers and your fucked-up "lens testing suite" isn't going to give you ANY good results. Like I said, just shoot what you normally would, or would want to with your new lens purchase. C'mon guys.

Thinking you need the best gear
This is far from the truth. Many budding and beginning photographers begin dreaming about expensive high-end gear and become disheartened when they have to use "lesser" things. Jared Polin, a youtuber has a pretty good channel that helps beginners with gear choices and how to process pictures. Low-end DSLRs these days are packed with extraordinary features now... don't worry. Fantastical lenses can be had for cheap too. With that in mind, and with shooting RAW and properly handling your photos, you can get awesome pictures. I would gladly spend my time with someone who actually knows photographical skills and has a $300 body, rather than someone who THINKS they know everything and has a $2000 body.

Conclusion:
The best camera is the one that you have with you. This is a point that is driven home really well with another youtuber named Chase Jarvis. Check out his channel, he is very charismatic and is a fun guy. He deals with VERY expensive gear at times, but is very friendly and can appropriately help just about anyone. Having a plan on what you want and what you need is also crucial. Starting out with a cheap zoom and figuring out what you want to shoot from there is the best way to go about things.

I know there are other things I could probably bitch about, but I wanted to get this off my chest because it is very annoying.

Have fun shooting! 

Dec. 26th, 2011

Grin

rrwolf

Slide/35mm scanners

Anyone on here have any experience with 35mm/slide scanners?

May. 30th, 2011

ReveilleMorphic

reveille_d

Capture One Pro Sale

Just a little blurb to anyone interested...Phase One's Capture One Pro is on sale for the next five days for 30% off, $279 down from $399 (Phase One online store only). It's a really good program, and the demo is definitely worth checking out. It's VERY fast, and offers a lot of really powerful features.

You can check out the overview and features and download a demo here:

http://www.phaseone.com/en/Software/Capture-One-Pro-6/About/Pro-Overview.aspx

Order page (with the discounted price):

http://www.phaseone.com/en/Online-Store/Capture%20One.aspx

-Reveille

May. 23rd, 2011

colinstu

feel like I want to post something

I've been very happy with the lens kit I've built over the months/years. I've found what I liked, didn't like... been able to get something that I'm really happy with (but is still far away from perfection).

I started out with a Nikon 18-105mm when I bought my used D200. I wanted a lens that had a good zoom range, had alright IQ, and was cheap. Because, with that camera and that lens... I was already $1000+ in a hole that I had no idea if I'd truly like. Now that I think about it, I have never had much experience taking pictures... but my eye for pictures has gotten so much better over the years because of all the experience.

This lens taught me some very important things. Primarily... it being a super slow lens. f/3.5-5.6 is dreadful looking back. And... to fix this... there are 3 things you can do. 1) Get a faster lens, 2) Get a flash, 3) Get a camera that has usable high-iso.

Getting a fast lens also means thin depth of field.... which is something I've found to love and want in my photographs. Flash is something I've contemplated and contemplated again... but I can never get around the feeling of "being the paparazzi" with having one of those blare their ugly non-natural light all over the place... and looking like someone who wants to shoot people down with their camera. And the high-iso camera was out of the question because, FX is expensive, and I just bought a D200.

Other faults I had with this cheap zoom was its distortion. It wasn't a problem with things like people or furries, but if it was a building or a sign or something with straight-lines... very potent barrel distortion on the wide end and pincusion in the rest of the range... it was quite obnoxious.

I also felt that 18mm was "an acceptable amount of wideness" and 105 being "probably as much as I'd ever care to zoom in". The difference between focal lengths also is quite huge. 11mm vs 18mm is HUGE compared to 85mm and 105mm... nearly no difference.

So the 2nd lens I buy a long while later is a Samyang 85/1.4 manual focus lens. It was fairly cheap, it was built well, has an aperture ring which is neat, performs well optically, and has the smoothest and blurriest bokeh ever. Getting used to the manual focus with DoF so thin was quite hard, but once you got the hang of it... the stuff I got out of this lens felt amazing. But 85mm is quite tight. 3ft min focusing distance was just about too long for most of what I want to do, and when I was at that MFD, people's faces nearly filled the camera frame. If and when I do get an auto-focus 85mm, I'd use it purely for the great bokeh you can typically get from this FL or when I want to keep my distance from people.

After this I was able to get a hold of a Nikon 50/1.8 series E lens. This lens is also manual, but super cheap, very fast and easy to manually focus, acceptable bokeh in most scenarios, comfortable focal length... and SUPER TINY! It's Nikon's.... 2nd smallest lens I think? Right behind the 45/2.8 AI-P? Anyways, this is probably my most used lens today. It makes my kit nice and small and easy to handle... I don't threaten people as much as I would with a bigger setup, and I love the pictures.

But then I decided I should get something even more "wide".

So I started looking at 35mm's. There isn't much of a choice really in nikonland. At the time I had the choice of a 35/1.4 AI-S, 35/1.8G DX, 35/2D, Sigma 30/1.4, and a super expensive Zeiss lens. The first lens there is supposed to be $1000 new... but I bought this puppy for $450 on ebay in NIB condition. And man... this is also a favorite lens of mine. My most favorite mechanical lens, fave MF ring, aperture ring clicks are very nice, focuses SUPER CLOSE, has great bokeh almost all of the time, and is in a handy 35mm FL. I must regress, this lens feels less "normal" to me than the 50 does. If I need to be closer to people or I want a wider (but still thin DOF) shot, I'll use this. It's still a fave but not used as much as I should use it.

And now... I wanna go even wider. I look at lots of UWA zooms, and basically settle on the Tokina 11-16/2.8. Everyone loves the build, it's sharp, it's fast, it's wide and has almost no distortion, it's a good price. I buy it. The Sigma 8-16 (which came out later) would be the only lens I contemplate today... but it is MUCH slower vs the Tokina's constant f/2.8. And god... I am amazed again. Everything I hear about it is true. It's simply stunning how wide this lens is. The world feels different when you use it... no longer are you capturing a single person... I can capture everything in a single shot... and so much more than I can care to see with my regular eye. It's a breathtaking piece of glass and makes everything feel so much more open and vast.

And with this great little kit of lenses... I sell my 18-105. I've got my UWA, and 3 fast and comfortable portrait/candid lenses. Just about anything I care to shoot... I can now.

But... There are still things I care to improve.

I keep telling myself I should get a flash... but I don't think I ever will. I love natural available and ambient light... never do I feel like I have the right to just "add some" to make me get a proper picture. If my ISO is jacked high, lens is wide open, and my shutter speed is as slow as I care for it to be... and I can't get proper exposure w/o a flash... I probably shouldn't be getting this picture... and that's exactly what I do. Too bad, so sad. Move on and find something I can shoot.

Manual focus is fun and easy, but there are times where I wish I didn't need to do it. I will probably replace my current lenses with AF versions in the future... but that will happen as soon as I have money to spend (which won't be for awhile). Newer lenses could also lead to possibly bigger apertures too, but $2000 is entirely too much to ever spend on a single lens IMO. Right now at least, anyways.

I do plan on upgrading my body some day too. I love how the D200 handles and I could never go down to a smaller body IMO. I've tried a D7000 in a store once and... my thumb had simply no-where to go on the back. The D400 I hope has a D7000 or better sensor in it. That, or I could finally jump on the FX bandwagon with a D700... or a D800 if Nikon ever releases it. But... yeah... that's way far off and will cost big $$.

Lens wise... I really don't know. Long lenses like 100mm+ just don't sound like they'd impress me. Even a 300mm with some TC's... that's just not my kind of shooting. A macro lens I'd like to give a shot but again... I don't think I'd do much w/ it besides fuck around. A 8 or 10mm fisheye might be fun to mess around with, but the fisheye effect gets old fast, and I already love my rectilinear 11mm with the Tokina.

Anyways... I felt like I just wanted to say that. That's how I've developed and I can't wait to prune and perfect my current kit.

EDIT: latest pictures
http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/8606967/1/firsthomedrinking?h=0c8025
http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/8606967/1/aftermillerstuff?h=c39c64

I know these pictures are far from perfect, but they all come naturally while I take them.

Apr. 27th, 2011

Abrahm 2

abrahmlion

Wolf Park photoshoot

I recently attended one of the all-day photoshoot sessions at Wolf Park. I've never done any real wildlife photography, and I suppose photographing socialized wolves doesn't count. But it was a great experience, overall (both shooting and interacting with the wolves). I learned several new things, and I'll likely return to the park for another photoshoot.

My photos are posted here. I'm not 100% happy with the set, but I think I did okay.

- Nikon D300s + Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D (no filter)
- Aperture priority + auto-ISO
- AF-C + Dynamic Area (9-point)
- CH release (7fps max due to the battery and auto-ISO)
- 12-bit RAW, Capture NX 2 for post-processing

Apr. 23rd, 2011

FTW

kijani_lion

Earth Day 2011 - Celebration of Wildlife video



In honor of Earth Day this year, here's a little video I made celebrating the great diversity and beauty of animal life on Earth. All photos were shot by me, mostly at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, also Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Cougar Mountain Zoological Reserve.

If everyone did their part in helping to sustain our wonderful planet and the amazing animals that inhabit it, the world would be a much better place :)

Click here to see many of these photos and more on my FA gallery

Feb. 27th, 2011

new badge

iamweasel_2112

Local Park Photos

Just out for a walk earlier in the afternoon at a park near my house, I decided to bring the camera along and see what popped up.

A few examples behind the cut...Collapse )

A few examples behind the cut...Collapse )

A few examples behind the cut...Collapse )

A few examples behind the cut...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

Read more...Collapse )

 


Link goes to the photo set on flickr.

Feb. 24th, 2011

Abrahm 2

abrahmlion

The President's Photographer (PBS video)

http://video.pbs.org/video/1672209202/

This video was posted at a couple forums I visit. It's about an hour long, but there's some good stuff in it (and some great photography).

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