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Red Cow Farm Garden, NSW.

Discussion in 'Landscape' started by inigo, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    This is the first time I have posted photos anywhere... XE1 with 16-50 and 50-230 FC lenses.

    DSCF2992.jpg

    DSCF3014.jpg
     
    Rubyjon, Charzes44, Bill W and 5 others like this.
  2. NewmanX

    NewmanX Premium Member

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    Especially like the second one.
     
  3. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    i liked both but for different reasons
    Q1. - how many shots did you take at these two places ?
    Q2. - what were you going for in each one ?
    Q3. - are you able to get back to these areas fairly easily to shoot ?
     
  4. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    I took several shots at each location, varying the exposure with the compensation dial. It was a very bright, hot day at an altitude of approx 2500Ft. Hand held, no tripod. One of the main challenges was the dynamic range. I chose not to use high DR but to get a strong contrast between shadows and lit areas to make the main area of interest stand out. In the lake scene, I used the blown highlights of the distant trees and sky to provide isolation for the foreground areas of interest. In the loggia and gardens shot I used the dark foreground to frame the garden area of interest, but did not want to lose entirely the brickwork of the loggia, so the white pebble path is blown. Again, it provides a strong internal contrast with the garden areas. At least, that was my reasoning. I did a little PP to mitigate the DR limitations, using increased mid range contrast and boosting shadows, plus a very little sharpening and exposure tweaking.

    Unfortunately, that garden is 3 hours drive from my place.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  5. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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  6. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    Thank you.
     
  7. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    Thanks. I guess I like the first as a kind of tableau, with the boat in the pond and the range of interests as well as the structural contrasts, but the loggia and garden were more within the DR limits of the camera, I think.
     
  8. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    thanks for taking the time to walk us thru your thought process. those types of extreme scenes are always gonna be a challenge to balance the contrast. i'm not familiar with that camera so i can't suggest how you could tweak settings to get what you were looking for but i'm sure there are others who might be.
    - were you shooting by eye or histogram and does that camera allow you to view your histogram in real time ? that might help in terms of adjusting your exposure settings by allowing you to shoot more to the right or left, if you catch my drift.
    - i also consider adding some flash in these types of shots when mother nature isn't providing it. it works sometimes without making the scene looks like it was lit with flash, but harder to do with a wider scene where you want to include a lot in it :)
     
  9. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    Thanks, JRick. I can't claim to know my camera well, although i have used it for a few years. The high Dynamic range feature allows you to combine different exposures into a composite. I do not shoot with the histogram on with the XE 1, but I do with my X100s, which I use more for smallish subjects and indoor scenes. I can usually see if the highlights are blown on the XE-1 EVF. In any case, you can do much of what HDR can do in camera in post-processing. I can sacrifice some highlights if they play a role in the picture. Both shadows and highlights (blown) can function in the same way as a blurred background in isolating a subject or an area of the image. That is the way I often use them in the Australian light, because I know that if I avoid clipping the right hand end I will not be able to recover all of the shadows and vice versa. I use a small mirrorless camera (350g body and about the same for lens). I do not want to carry a large flash, tripod etc, as I am 80 and a bit less energetic than I once was. In these largeish areas a small fill flash, such as the popup flash on the camera, makes very little discernable difference.

    I find shadows and bright areas are very useful compositional aids.

    The coloured histogram in PP shows that the main loss in the first image was the wonderful blue of the Australian sky but it would not have added anything of value to the foreground IMHO. In the second, Loggia scene, parts of the white pebble path were blown and so lost forever, but only parts, and that helped focus the attention on the overlapping flower beds, which are what I exposed for, and that also allowed me to give a sense of depth to the Loggia'a pillars in PP, rather than leaving them as an undifferentiated black frame. Maybe someone who has used an X-Trans camera a lot might have an idea of alternatives I might try in such situations.
     
  10. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    understood. my thought process is very similar to yours too. just feel that using all the tools available in camera can sometimes save time in PP, so i generally use the histogram often no matter what camera i'm shooting with. and in scenes with extremely high contrast i will usually do a lot of spot metering. what metering were you using ? on my X100F that exposure comp dial is very tempting to use as a primary, but i've found i can get better overall balance by relying on it as little as possible and making more adjustments "up front" with shutter speed, aperture and ISO adjustments

    i'm 70 so i also agree with traveling light !
    - just to be clear, when i referred to flash i wasn't talking about a light stand, sand bags and modifiers :)
    ....a couple months ago i got a set of those dirt cheap flash triggers. think they're called FlashQ. the triggers are the size of a dice cube, DIRT cheap, versatile and highly reliable. i can carry a speed light in my pocket and have no probs shooting a mirrorless camera one handed while holding the flash in the other. i know most people using the smaller X cameras don't use off camera flash much, but it's one of those things that if you try it for a week or so, you will prob start carrying it around more and find many more uses for it. super great for flower shots or any close up shot, and the shadows you can create add a more professional look to shots that would look just "OK" without added light
    - that torso statue is a great example of how you can use "light in a pocket". you could stand there with a flash in one hand and create LOTS of different looks using that as your only subject and the flash as your primary light source. just experiment with different angles of light on it. all in one place, and no walking required //lol//

    those spots offer lots of variety for shooting, so that's why i wondered if they were convenient. but don't overlook an area that is close by to shoot repeatedly. when someone sees a nice shot, they have no idea if it was the first time you saw it or had shot it 50 times :)
    - RE-shooting the same place for me has been a great way to improve my photography, and has never gotten boring //lol//
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  11. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    Yes. Thanks for your ideas. We are on the same page. But I don't mind PP. I still use Aperture, which is second nature to me now and I don't process every shot. It is very quick to crop, tweak exposure, bring back highlight areas,bring up shadows, boost contrast, maybe nudge sharpening...less than a minute most times.
    I'll look into the flash triggers. Coming from film SLRs I'm not entirely up to date with all the equipment options. I usually use spot metering and try a couple of shots metering on different places in the scene. I usually use auto ISO, but keep an eye on it if I do not want too much noise. Yep. I shouldn't reach for the exposure comp dial so much. I'm thinking of upgrading to an XT 2 so I can more easily do everything the old fashioned way, ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. If I could get stabilised , lightweight lenses as good as the FC lenses in a manual lens I would be happy to use them for landscape and macro work.
     
  12. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    when people get to our age they start understanding why IBIS and OIS are very useful crutches, even if we're still able to walk without em :)
    - a big reason why i'm considering switching to olympus. brand loyalty is not in my vocabulary and many companies are making some great cameras and lenses these days. too bad they charge so much and update them as often as they update Iphones and laptops :-(
     
  13. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    I've thought about Olympus a lot but comparisons of APSC and 4/3 IQ on DPReview and elswhere make me a little leery of four thirds, although there is that 2.0 crop factor and lighter lenses, and IBIS, whereas the Fuji H1 is a little too big for me. I think Fuji IQ will be hard to give up, not to mention the great colours SOOC. I'm looking, too, at the Sony 6500, which has IBIS. Fuji lenses are great. Expensive, yes, but not as expensive as some others. I'm perfectly happy with my FC lenses, which are extremely good in their aperture sweet spots. They are light and cheap, too.

    Thanks for your input. I've enjoyed it.
     
  14. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    one thing i forgot to mention which i think is worth mentioning :)

    i didn't ask how specifically how you were exposing your images here and altho you did go into some additional detail, i want to add something. especially since you mentioned you don't usually use flash.

    when i asked about whether you tend to shoot to the right or left, i'm not sure you knew what i was meaning.
    in high contrast scenes i 'usually' tend to UNDEREXPOSE the image (shoot to the left) rather than 'properly' expose it.
    i do this so i can more easily recover the shadows which usually gives some more visual detail
    - if i shoot to the right i will QUICKLY run out of shadows that i can recover since the highlights will blow out quicker

    don't know if that makes sense or sounds like it's worth playing with.....simply what i do most of the time.
    - and since i shoot people a lot more than scenery, the flash becomes an important tool for me even tho it can help with scenery shots too

    all this of course depends a HUGE amount on the dynamic range of the camera you are using. some can do this better than others. i don't feel this is brand specific either since it has little to do with the fuji look or fuji colors, or even the pixel count of the sensor :)
    - and you can't really know the capability until you put the raws into PP

    it's more complex than that, but that's the quick and dirty summary //lol//
     
  15. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    Yes. I agree. I should have made what I was saying a bit clearer, but for some reason I've never taken to the phrase 'shoot to the right', having spent most of my photography years in film, while that is a recent, digital term. So I am not sure how the terms should be used. If I have understood these terms, sometimes deliberately overexpose or shoot to the right, i.e. which I think of as cutting off the right of the histogram and so blowing the highlights, because I do not want that area in the final picture. This works in the same way as background bokeh/blur. It can isolate the foreground, but it can also be done in reverse. Shadows can be used in the same way. When shooting wildflowers I often use the 11 macro ring and a telephoto lens because it is easier to find a black area to background and so pictorially isolate the flower in question. I like to get the flower in full sun, too and I expose for that, which I guess would be 'shoot to the left' or underexpose the picture as a whole. That's fine, because I do not want 'the picture as a whole'.

    Now, the issue is, will my camera. or indeed, almost any camera cope with the dynamic range in the picture I want to take? In bright Australian sub-alpine sunshine, in a situation where there is both full sun and full shade, the answer, in the middle of the day, is always "No". So the question then becomes, can I lose some shadow areas i.e. clip the left of the histogram (or, if I understand the terms correctly, shoot to the left,) or, at least, not to the right or can I lose some highlights? Or, indeed, can I come back at dusk, or in the early morning etc? And then, where is the most interesting part of the picture? Shadows are not always recoverable. Highlights are not always worth recovering. In the two pictures I have posted there are different degrees of lost highlights, matched by different degrees of recovered shadows. In the lake scene, a lot of shadow recovery was done. In the loggia scene only a little shadow recovery was wanted. I wanted a contrastive frame for the garden beds beyond, but not a pitch black one. That is, I exposed a little more to the left (or a little less to the right, but still saw that I was losing a little of the detail of the white pebbles).

    In any case, since that's the way I think of it, and I do not generally make much use of the histogram, but rely on the EVF, that's my thinking. Use the limits of the dynamic range, don't be intimidated by them, is my motto!
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
  16. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    A quote from Anthony Morganti's website makes my thinking clearer (as in the lake picture, which was under the equivalent of a thick canopy (indeed of trees some of which were temperate rainforest trees):
    Say you’re below the canopy of that rain forest. It’s relatively dark and damp in most places with a bit of light streaking in here and there. There is interest and detail everywhere whether it be in the shadows or in those streaks of light beaming down through the canopy of trees. You come to realize that if you expose more toward the middle, much of the detail in the shadows will be lost as well as much of the detail in the highlights — the dynamic range of the scene is just too great to record if your exposure is balanced. You make the decision to expose to the right. You’re going to over-expose the scene a little to make sure that your camera captures all the detail in the shadows with as little noise as possible. You’re probably going to sacrifice much of the detail in those streaks of light but it’s the creative decision you choose.

    (and it was the creative decision I made - go even further to the right and lose the sky but enable an even fuller range of tones in the shadow.)

    To accomplish:

    1. Set your camera to spot metering
    2. Meter one of the darker things in the scene before you that you want to ensure retains detail in your image.
    3. Remember that exposure setting or keep holding the shutter button halfway-in to hold that exposure in your camera as you recompose the scene to your liking.
    4. If you held the shutter button halfway-in to hold exposure, take the picture after recomposing and verifying focus. If you didn’t hold the shutter button in halfway but instead took note of the proper exposure, set your camera to manual and tune the settings to that noted exposure then take the picture.
    5. In post you’ll have to add some negative exposure compensation and bring down the highlights and whites in the scene.
    (or let them blow out, if you don't need them.)

    In the Loggia scene I didn't need to expose as much to the right but still needed to retain shadow detail.
     
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  17. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    i enjoy reading and participating in these kinds of threads much more than browsing all the great photos posted here and hitting my facebook like button :)

    for me, these discussions can help me become a better photographer when i apply their advice into my shooting.
    - creating a great photo starts in the mind and that's why i appear to be "digging" when i ask them Q's.

    - unfortunately, there seem to be a few members who don't like that approach, and i've already been placed on their "ignore" list //lol//
     
  18. inigo

    inigo Premium Member

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    No problem. All good questions that made me think about what I do and why. Enjoy your photography and other people's as well!
     

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