Adobe Development and Auto Tone Algorithms

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

I shoot raw, and develop in Lightroom. (Version 2; just haven’t upgraded quite yet but I suspect the questions are the same for the recently released version 3.) Sometimes the results are pretty good out of the box, but usually they require a lot of manual tweaking to make the light work. I suspect they may be designed more for wedding and portrait and landscape photography and the like and less for the wildlife and macro photography I like to do. There are two areas I have questions about, the initial settings and the auto adjustments.

Here’s a harvestman with Lightroom’s default settings:


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Does Image Stabilization Help?

Friday, May 7th, 2010

My friend Steve Nanz is of the opinion that in 2010 I shouldn’t even consider a lens that doesn’t have image stabilization. He suggested that I might want to try Canon’s 100-400 mm f/5.6L zoom lens instead of the 400mm f/5.6L prime that I have been using. I actually did test the 100-400 mm f/5.6 L lens rather thoroughly while I was shopping for lenses last year and earlier this year. It’s a good lens to be sure, but I just found that I got better results of the prime lens. Still Steve is a better photographer than I am so I thought I’d give it one more try. Here’s what I found:

Gray catbird perched
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When High Speed Sync Doesn’t Work on a Canon 50D

Monday, January 25th, 2010

After months of consulting multiple manuals, books, forums, and experts, I finally figured out why my Canon 50D + 580EXII flash wouldn’t work in high speed sync mode. That is, when I turned on the flash the maximum shutter speed was 1/250s. No matter what I set the ISO, shutter speed, mode, or aperture to, I could never get shutter speed faster than 1/250s. No matter what mode and settings I applied to the flash and/or camera, as soon as the flash was ready, shutter speed dropped to 1/250s. (I could easily take pictures without flash at speeds faster than 1/250s as lighting conditions and settings permitted.)

If you’re encountering this problem on a 50D (and likely other Canon models) here’s what you (probably) need to do:
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Canon 400mm f/5.6L

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Got a Canon 400mm f/5.6L from UPS today. I still have to take it out in the field, but despite the lack of image stabilization it’s possibly the sharpest lens I’ve tried:

5 dollars

This is handheld with flash but no tripod and wide open!
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Digital Photography Tip #3: Check Your Clock

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Don’t forget to update the time in your digital camera to account for the recent Daylight Savings Time shift. Cameras are not as smart as our modern computers and cable boxes. They don’t automatically update for changing to and from Daylight Savings Time. you also need to remember to change the time settings in your camera when you move between time zones. Otherwise, a few months later you can find yourself puzzling over photos of diurnal raptors that seem to have been taken at 3 AM in the morning.

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens is for the Birds

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

This weekend I rented a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM zoom lens. This is the first L series lens I’ve used for any length of time. Unfortunately, yesterday was too rainy and overcast to give it a real workout; but today was much clearer and I got to the park bright and early around 8 AM. Wow. the difference between this lens and the lenses I had been using bird photography was like night and day. Just look at this House Sparrow:

Male House Sparrow

With and without flash, the images were crisp, sharp, and more often than not in focus. I was actually able to start choosing which images to keep based on composition and the interest of the picture. I no longer had to select only the one or two sharp images out of 100. For the first time, I was able to take super telephoto pictures that came out as sharp as the images taken with my hundred millimeter prime lens.
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