The EOS 5D Mark III has now been officially released and it is clearly an improvement on the 5D Mark II. Personally I don’t care about the 60fps option for video but GPS is a nice add and the focus system sounds great. That said, the fact that even now the Mark II is still a great camera says a lot about how awesome it was when it was released back in 2008. In fact the original 5D was also a simply brilliant camera when it came out and basically created a new category of digital camera (aka, professional full frame sensor in a compact body). I wonder, will the Mark III be talked about years from now as a great camera or just an incremental improvement over a well loved but ageing masterpiece? Ok, now off to read the full preview article on d-preview (always the most in depth reviews out there). Continue reading
Played around enough with NIk’s SIlver Effects that when the Black Friday sale came around I bought it. Time will tell if I find this a valuable purchase but here’s a picture I took from Istanbul converted to B&W and with the grain turned up.
A friend of mine is using the Sliver Efex plug-in software from Nik. I’ve downloaded a free 15-day demo to play around with it as I’d like to have more tools to work in black and white. It’s a cool space but one I don’t know too much about. I am worried, however, of learning yet another graphics tool when I’ve already invested in learning Photoshop, Lightroom, and in a less relevant example Illustrator and OmniGraffle. Anyway, above is a picture of Kabuki and myself from our Istanbul trip which I flipped into B&W with a simple preset that comes with the software. I did a few very minor adjustments but this is my first try. Not bad. I like the dramatic contrast of this filter. Below is another setting with the same photo.
Don’t really like this one as much but i guess it has a more aged look to it with a little sepia toning, softening of the details, and a little grain. Anyway, I think experimentation period one has come to a close as i need to start packing for my trip to Amsterdam this morning.
I’m particularly careful in my photography workflow to save the originals, never modify them, and always back them up. Caution is worth it when it comes to digital memories. That said … I almost screwed up today. Well it wasn’t today it was a long while back but today it dawned on me. There were a set of photos “missing”. I took the only appropriate course of action available … I panicked:
- I looked for them on all my memory cards. Not there.
- I downloaded and paid for a “recovery programme” which found lots of previously deleted files but NOT the ones I was missing. Fail.
- I then loaded up my photo management software – Adobe Lightroom – and looked for an aptly named folder. Nothing.
Clearly my panicking had been worth it … it had lead me to three dead ends in rapid succession. Finally, I did what I should have started with … I did a general timeline search in Lightroom. Wala … the photos were there all along (albeit not in a special folder of their own). Not much of a story in hindsight but the moral of the story is … be careful with digital photos and when being careful isn’t enough definitely resort to panic. It worked for me.
Kabuki’s sister Sophie had a project in Uni that required her to compile pictures of her family and convert to black and white. I helped out a little in the Photoshop department and it reminded me of how cool black and white can be as a portrait medium. I still don’t know that much about the nuances but here are a few shots that I converted this week:
They weren’t bad shots in colour (see below) but they seem much moodier, more timeless, and just generally better in B&W.
I was reading a photography magazine and they mentioned “Craig’s Actions” which is a site that has had a large number of high-quality Photoshop actions that are useful in digital photo processing. I tried a few of the free ones and now am considering purchasing some. Here’s an illustration of the kind of effects you can very easily produce with these actions:
Modified Picture (Porcelain Skin and Retroart actions applied)
In addition to the Photoshop actions, Craig now also produces “presets” for Lightroom or ACR which look very promising too.
A friend mentioned a new exhibition at the Tate Modern called “Exposed” which looks at the use of photography in voyeurism and surveillance. Sounded interesting so I set off to see it and took a walk along the Thames South Bank. If you’re interested in the full set of photos I took you can find them on my SmugMug site.
If you’re like me and have a digital SLR that can also make movies than you’re probably finding that:
- SLR’s can produce some stunningly high quality video
- The base kit (aka, your SLR) is not enough to really pull off your dreams of become a video extraordinaire
The two things that you really need to think about getting are a high quality microphone and something that can steady your camera for video. I’ve written before about microphones and still think my choice of the Rode Stereo VideoMic is a good one. With regards to steadying your camera sometimes just a monopod can do the trick or a tripod when the action of your shot is stationary but for most situations you need to look elsewhere. Here’s one such option from Studio Checkout called the SD Camera Brace and at $249 it’s pretty reasonably priced. I haven’t gotten it yet but I think I may splurge on it the next time I go to the states.
Got some more cool macro shots today including a few with a very enterprising little spider (this spider was about a 1/4” in diameter. All the shots are on Smug Mug under Macro Shots.
I just purchased a new macro lens and finally home in London where my tripod lives. For those of you who have never shot macro before, macro photos — due to their arch-nemesis physics – have an extremely narrow depth of field. Also, just like using a super telephoto of things at distance, using a super macro lens pointed at the microscopic means that the slightest of hand movement throws your composition off. It takes some getting used to and often requires a tri-pod. Anyway, I hope to improve but here’s my first batch of photos taken from my garden.
If you want to see the rest (and in high resolution) you can find them on my Smug Mug site here: