Morning Photography Exercises
I like, actually prefer, to use my Olympus TG-6 camera for certain types of photography. This “like” applies to both B&W and color images. I was playing last night with setting up my TG-6 for in-camera B&W jpegs with some custom settings. This morning I tried it for making pictures through my dirty window which faces the east, and with the sunshine on it, some glare. My intention was to check the in-camera B&W settings, but I also recorded the images as raw files so that I could also play with color versions of the scenes. The color ones are above, and the B&W are below. When the weather warms up and the winds die down I will continue this experiment outdoors and see how I like the images made under different conditions.
Updated Adobe Monochrome
I like the way the new Adobe Monochrome handles the roll off in tones in this backlit image made with the little Leica D-LUX 6. I need to explore some uses for it.
Viewing Things Differently
Ricoh GR II’s High Contrast B&W
These images are an experiment. I walked around a block, in addition to driving around, in Hanover during a light mist or drizzle with solid cloud cover. I tried the Ricoh GR II camera with the high contrast B&W jpeg setting. The only changes I made were to shift the exposure some on the images made from inside the car through tinted glass.
I’m still thinking about if, how, and when to use this effect … and wondering what my pictures of Ireland would have looked like if made with this camera. The Ricoh GR II is a nice little camera if you can manage photography with a fixed 28mm lens. Using this style of jpeg image certainly displays things differently.
I tried this style around Homewood, with foliage, etc. and I didn’t like it. It works better in town in a grittier higher contrast environment. It is also a lot different from a preset I built for my style of high contrast B&W.
Sony HX80 B&W Images Processed in LR … Why?
I’ll start with why I like the Sony HX80 pocket point & shoot long zoom camera with a tiny sensor. It’s small and easy to carry and I own it. My problem has been that even though I love the size and utility of the camera, I have stopped using it multiple times due to the image quality.
After hauling my Fuji X-Pro2 with the 55-200mm lens around the other day while out walking, I decided (again) that I really can’t keep doing that just in case I see something to photograph. Thinking about that, I started looking at one-inch sensor cameras with long zoom lenses. I found them to be expensive and large and heavy and I wasn’t interested in spending that kind of money for something that large.
The only thing left for me to consider was either backing off from using long focal length lenses (again), or finding a way to integrate my processing with a small sensor (1/2.3”) to a type of image that I’m OK with. I think I can do it since I have some prints on my wall that I made with older P&S cameras that I used in Tunisia and Egypt that are acceptable. I would like to be able to make more, if only to prove to myself that I can do it.
The pictures above are my latest processing attempts of a range of images that are close, if not OK, for my continued use of the HX80 camera and long focal lengths. I took the above pictures and processed them this morning. They were all made in the lower early morning light. They are a mixture of images with some made at the extreme end of the zoom range, some through my window, and some taken outside. They were all taken hand-held.
I next need to take the HX80 for a walk in bright sunlight to see how the processing I did works under those conditions. I also want to take it on the streets of Hanover and see what I can do with it under those conditions. I may need to either tweak my settings or develop multiple presets for different lighting and locations.
I imagine that some of you are wondering, what about in color. I haven’t given up on color and expect color images under good lighting will work, but I’m concerned that they might not work as well. The biggest problem I have with the small sensor is squirrely images of distant subjects. By that I mean that when you look closely at the pixels they seem to be painterly with a swirl effect. I have done a lot of processing on the above images to minimize that effect. My use of the camera will require that I integrate the processing with the type of compositions and the conditions under which I make the images, as well as how I use them. I’m thinking print vs. digital web images.
If this works out; i.e. I can use the HX80 to make suitable images for my blog, I will go into the details of how I process them in another post. I will also think some more about how I can use them. I would be very happy to use my Fuji X-Pro2 for my Homewood photography and use my Sony HX80 for my personal photography, and blog about it. My remaining concern, assuming I like the images under enough conditions, is getting out and using the camera for other than testing it and developing processing techniques.
B&W Conversion of jpeg Images
This is a picture that I made quickly while walking and it didn’t work well originally as shown in color above. The color version is the jpeg straight out of the camera. As you can see there was a wide spread between light and dark with lack of details in both areas. Since I was curious as to how the image would respond to adjustments, I used Silver Efex Pro 2 and one of my presets to convert it to monochrome. I am pleased. As you can see it brought out the details in both the bright and dark areas and balanced the lighting more favorably. Now, I need to work on compositions and make more monochrome images with the little Canon SX720 HS.
I haven’t been taking pictures with the iPhone6 since I got the small Canon except for the following picture where I used the iPhone6 with the same above Silver Efex Pro 2 conversion. Note the size of the Canon when it is off and you will see why it is always in my pocket. It is longer when zoomed out to max. See that picture by clicking here.
I got rid of my Leica X2, Canon 70D, Ricoh GR, Olympus TG 820, and Nikon 1 J5 cameras along with all the gear that goes with them. I am shrinking and simplifying my photography gear and making some other adjustments. I have gone lighter and simpler. I kept my Fujifilm X-T1 and prime lenses to photograph events, etc. at Homewood as well as for my personal photography. I also plan to get rid of lots of straps, camera bags, etc. In addition to the X-T1, I have kept my Lumix LF1. I am keeping it temporarily for a pocket camera, to make close-ups, visual notes, etc. I am the closest I have ever been to using only one camera and one lens at a time and simplifying my photography to match.
An even bigger change might be in what and how I photograph and blog about, but those changes are still in an incubation phase and, at the moment, only limited by my gear and subject availability. Not having longer focal length zoom lenses will necessitate some changes. While I am working this out and no longer trying new or different cameras and lenses, I will be photographing and blogging less.
One thing that has happened in the last month is that I have taken a larger percentage of pictures for Homewood and a smaller percentage for myself. This shift might continue with my current lenses since I am in a better position for documentary or street photography. Whether or not I will make that my primary personal style will depend upon my travel opportunities and how much variety in locations and subjects I can find; but, more Homewood photography and less personal photography usually means fewer pictures for my blog.
I am still experimenting with ways that I can adapt my photography to better fit the cameras and lenses that I have. The above pictures are some macro jpeg images of raindrops that I took this morning with my cheap waterproof pocketable Olympus Tough 820 camera. It has the smallest sensor of all of my cameras, but for close-ups, having a small sensor is an advantage since the depth of field is greater.
So far all that I have accomplished was proving the value of small sensors and deciding that I probably can’t reduce down to one camera … least not with any of the ones I have.
I often try to take pictures that are backlit. I have found that if I try to take them under conditions of mixed lighting, as these, that it is hard to recover shadows or even over exposed areas with mixed white balance. Since I had an extreme case with the above horse picture, it was difficult to retain the details of the horse. In addition, a bare lightbulb above and to the horse’s rear created some unpleasant color effects. In processing the raw image I found that this was an excellent situation to display the image in monochrome. I liked it so much better that I processed all the images as monochrome (some shown in previous post).
I am viewing these monochrome images for a while to see how they “grow” on me. I might show some of them as well as other images from the horse farm in color in a later post.