depression medications

More Bokeh with the Nikon D800/e

Ok, before I get flamed, yes, Bokeh is a function of the lens, not the sensor. However, as stated by the Nikon D800/e Technical Guide, page ii, in the introduction, states 

While its high pixel count of 36 megapixels gives the D800/D800E resolution unrivalled by previous digital SLR cameras, a side effect is that bokeh and blur are made that much more obvious. Realizing the full potential of a camera with over 30 million pixels involves a thorough appreciation of bokeh and blur, careful selection of settings and of tools (such as lenses and tripods), and working with the best possible subjects.

So, “more obvious” is the term we are actually working with. In any event it is noticeable to me. Coming from a Nikon D7000 using a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8, using the same lens on a Nikon D800 and D800e. It is very noticeable.  Take this picture for example (click for larger view)

Very creamy Bokeh

Very creamy Bokeh

NIKON D800E, AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
exif : @200.0 mm, f/2.8, 1/125, 64

The background Bokeh is just amazing. So smooth and creamy. And this isnt even a lens known for its Bokeh. I might need to get a nice Bokeh lens, Suggestions? Nikkor 85mm 1.8G is what I am thinking. 

Using “Live View” to Achieving critical focus – DSLR

There are times when achieving critical focus is a matter of a few millimeters, perhaps I just don’t have the skills to manage that in the view finder but I find that using Live View to achieve critical focus in these moments is the very best way to accomplish the task at hand. Especially when I am taking Macro shots.

Foreground Critical Focus

Foreground Critical Focus

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 105 Macro f/2.8 with 2x TC
exif : @210mm 1/50th Sec, f/18, ISO 400

In the next three images I try to illustrate an example where critical focus is an absolute must and how I achieved it with my Nikon D7000 in Live View mode. In each of these three images, I was using a tripod to keep the camera steady while taking the images.

Notice on this first image, that the seeds of the dandelion (very common this time of year in the midwest), has stringy filaments all the way around the core and that the filaments on the camera side are in focus, but the core and far filaments are not. This is an example of an extremely shallow Depth Of Field. Click the image to see an expanded, more detailed view.

Core Critical Focus

Foreground Critical Focus

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 105 Macro f/2.8 with 2x TC
exif : @210mm 1/50th Sec, f/18, ISO 400

I achieved this focus by setting the Nikon D7000 to Live View and pressing the “+” button until only a small section of the foreground filaments were in view. Then manually adjusted the focus ring until I achieved the desired sharpness on the filaments. Don’t you just love the creamy boken in the background?!

In the second image, I repeated the above steps but focused on the core of the dandelion. In the second image, I repeated the above steps but focused on the core of the dandelion. You’ll also notice that the far left fringe of the filaments are also very sharp, this is because they lay in the same focal plane as the core.

Background Critical Focus

Background Critical Focus

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 105 Macro f/2.8 with 2x TC
exif : @210mm 1/50th Sec, f/18, ISO 400

The last of the three dandelion pictures initially appears out of focus, but take a closer look. Click on the image and take a real close look at the filaments on the far side of the dandelion (directly past the core of the dandelion), they are in focus. 

All of the dandelion pictures were taken with a Macro lens (with a teleconverter to boot), you may not have these lenses, and that’s ok. There are many other situations where critical focus is needed and hard to achieve without Live View. Now, lets look at a more realistic example.

Now, I know that using Live View while hand holding is a clear violation of proper hand holding technique, it’s all but impossible to steady the camera (while holding it) and still use Live View, so be sure to use your tripod. However, in this example, I broke one of the cardinal rules and used Live View while hand holding the camera. I had little choice, I did not have my tripod with me at the time (I know, breaking another rule).

My wife and I (on a recent trip to Boston MA) visited the holocaust memorial there. It was a very sad and interesting site. It’s made up of 6 square glass columns, each column consists of 24 glass panes with one million numbers etched into them. Suggesting that the numbers are the infamous tattoos that the Jewish people were forced to have.

Holocaust Memorial, Boston MA

Holocaust Memorial, Boston MA

D7000, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8
exif & map: @24mm 1/1250th Sec, f/5.6, ISO 500

In this image I wanted to have sharp focus on the number, but slightly blur my wife in the background. After several attempts in the view finder (and failing to get the numbers sharp) I repeated the above steps with live view to get the numbers in focus then took the image. While trying to do my best impression of a statue to prevent camera shake. Using Live View to achieving critical focus in this image was an absolute must. I love the view finder, but sometimes it’s not enough. In the end, I wasn’t terrible happy with this shot. The numbers seem crocked and the contrast appears weak, but it’s just an example.

“Look at these towers, passerby, and try to imagine what they really mean – what they symbolize – what they evoke. They evoke an era of incommensurate darkness, an era in history when civilization lost its humanity and humanity its soul . . .”

“We must look at these towers of memory and say to ourselves, No one should ever deprive a human being of his or her right to dignity. No one should ever deprive anyone of his or her right to be a sovereign human being. No one should ever speak again about racial superiority…We cannot give evil another chance.”

- Elie Wiesel

Holocaust Memorial, Boston MA

Holocaust Memorial, Boston MA

D7000, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8
exif & map: @31mm 1/640th Sec, f/5.6, ISO 500

Mini Mentorship – My Top Ten Images

<Main Mentorship Page>

 
Number 10:

Good, but again, watch your edges – lower left corner especially. Reds are very tricky to process because the channel saturates very fast. The trick here is to pull back the saturation very slightly to maintain tonal variation.
A Rose by any other name

A Rose by any other name

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 105 f/2.8 Macro
exif : 1/60th Sec, f/36, ISO 400

Number 9:

Sorry, this one should have been binned. There’s no clear subject, the frame is very top-heavy, and the light is a little flat.
Last Snow of the year

Last Snow of the year

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 105 f/2.8 Macro
exif : 1/60th Sec, f/36, ISO 400

Number 8:

General balance is okay; the high key tones are nice. However, the one big thing here is the cut off edge of the arch at left – it just looks incomplete. The biggest piece of advice from this set (so far) is: watch your edges.
San Xavier Del Bac Mission

Last Snow of the year

Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8
exif : @200mm 1/125th Sec, f/8, ISO 100

Number 7:

I’m not sure what the subject is. My guess is the central hills, but they don’t pop out of the surrounding landscape. And the edges are just distracting – the clouds at top right (crop sky lower to fix) and the bushes at the bottom specifically. This image is a prime candidate for some dodge and burn – dodge your highlights to make them pop (i.e. the edges of the center hills) and burn the shadows to remove distractions (extreme lower edge). Judicious use of the dodge tool on the central vegetation highlights will help your micro contrast.
Sunset in Tucson AZ

A Rose by any other name

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8
exif: @66mm, 1/320th Sec, f/10, ISO 400

Number 6:

This is actually excellent except for the bit of tree in the lower center foreground. Very good timing, and the subject is reasonably well lit. The motion blur gives it a nice dynamic, whilst the sharp head gives the image focus. I wouldn’t change much on this except perhaps to clone out that bit of tree – but retouching things in/ out of an image is a bit of a slippery slope. I wouldn’t do it if it was for a wildlife magazine (instead, I’d crop) but for fine art I think it’s okay. Your mileage may vary; in general where you’re shooting reportage or editorial, don’t add or remove elements. If you’re doing commercial or fine art, then anything goes. Integrity is important; more important is that the audience’s expectation of integrity matches the reality.
Harris Hawk, Tucson AZ

Harris Hawk, Tucson AZ

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8
exif: @112, 1/320th Sec, f/9, ISO 100

Number 5:

This one just isn’t balanced. What is the subject? If it’s the lights, there’s far too much empty space at the top and bottom. The convergent lines of the road don’t lead to any obvious subject, and the horizon isn’t really straight. Looks like you did a pan and then use the flash to freeze the foreground, or a double exposure? The foreground just feels empty – it’s doubly obvious because it’s a wide perspective. This might work a lot better as a 16:9 or wider aspect ratio crop; it’s especially important to use the distort tool trick from 3. to straighten out your horizon.
Top of Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis MN

Top of Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis MN

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8
exif: @15mm, 6 Sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

Number 4:

Hot spot on the nose, too much contrast – bring the shadows up a little. The color is also a bit too saturated for a portrait. Try using Adobe RGB instead of SRGB for a wider gamut; you’ll get smoother tonal transitions that way. You can set the program to open the files as Adobe RGB by default in the preferences.
The Portrait

The Portrait

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8
exif: @35, 1/60th Sec, f/9, ISO 400

Number 3:

This I like; it’s reasonably well balanced, but again it feels like the camera should be aimed a bit lower to mirror the arches. More than that though, the big red reflection of the sign is cut off at bottom left. If you’re worried about verticals, there’s a simple trick : aim lower, shoot with a wider lens, and use the Distort tool in PS to pull your edges out. Use the guide lines to help you judge vertical.
Bottom of Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis MN

Bottom of Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis MN

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8
exif: @29mm, 5 Sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

Number 2:

Well exposed, but not balanced: that bridge off to the right just feels cut off, and the left side feels empty. I’d include the end of the bridges, and less space at left – shift the subject. You could also dodge the water more to bring out the building reflections. Ditto the clouds. (I think we’ll talk about processing for a future assignment – there’s a lot you can do with ACR6 and higher in the conversion.)

I knew this one, but how does one eliminate the statue of liberty? Yeah, that’s it way out on the left.

New York City Skyline

New York City Skyline

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8
exif: @14, 8 Sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 – Panorama

Number 1:

It feels cut off, and there’s not enough separation between subject (flower core) and context (petals). I’d suggest using a faster aperture here, or processing for more contrast.
Flower from the backyard

Flower from the backyard

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8
exif: 1/80th Sec, f/16, ISO 400

Assignment one: Understanding perspectives

Wide angle perspectives (35mm equiv and below) MUST almost always have a strong immediate foreground subject, otherwise everything looks flat and remote. Similarly, telephoto perspectives are compressed – which means foreground and background have the same relative prominence/ angle of view in the frame. You must select your perspective first, THEN only compose your image – not the other way around.

Do not use a wide lens to ‘get more in’ or a telephoto to ‘get closer’ – you use it because of the relative perspective between subject and background the lenses bring, and then move with your feet. Shoot with only a wide, or only a telephoto. If you have a zoom, I want you to lock the lens at the extreme ends of your lens range – e.g. if it’s a 16-35 then use only 16 for wideangle; on a 70-200 use only 200 for telephoto.

I want to see two images for this one. One wide angle, and one telephoto; both showing proper use of the perspective. Subject can be anything.

Tips:

1. Remember to watch your edges.

2. Wide angles are good for including context.

3. Telephotos are good for compression and isolation.

The assignment following this will be using natural frames and leader lines.

Good luck!

Ming Thein

Love is in the Air – Nikon D800

Waiting on the new Nikon D800

Nikon D800 from NikonUSA

Ah… Valentines Day, as a present, my wife purchased me the new Nikon D800 for my birthday (March) and told me about it on Valentines day. She had actually ordered it on the first day it was available for preorder, and told me early (before my birthday) so I wouldn’t also order one. Smart girl, because I’ll confess, I have been drooling over it for about 10 days now.Sometimes I’d find myself in front of the computer on a Nikon D800 order page with my credit card in hand, not knowing how I got there. The pressure was building, seriously, I was starting to develop a little eye twitch. The Nikon D800 image here is from the Nikon USA Page.

The Nikon D800 will be my first FX camera and I have been looking to upgrade for about a year now. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with my Nikon D7000, it is completely serviceable and has served me well, but the call of the FX is my siren song. Over the years I have specifically only purchased FX lenses, in fact, I only have one DX lens, a 35mm f/1.8, which is a fantastic lens for my D7000, but doesn’t get much of a workout around here because I also have the amazingly sharp, light guzzling, 50mm f/1.4. Why both? On a DX camera, the 50mm is a ~85mm equivalent, in tight spaces like a normal sized living room, way too much of the room is outside the scope of the lens, in my opinion, it is the biggest drawback of DX (crop) cameras like the Nikon D7000.

While the Nikon D700 was an option, I decided to hold out for its follow on product, the D800. As with all new products, people on both sides of the fence have wade in heavily. Personally, the major concerns of most photographers that have come out against it, don’t bother me.

  • Larger Files Size
    • 75MB files are large but not so large that my computer running Photoshop could not handle them, and the additional capacity needed to store these files is easily handled by my DROBO external storage.
  • Speed of consecutive shots
    • While the shutter speed of the D800 can go up to 1/8000th of a second, it can only do 4fps (6fps with the optional battery grip EN-EL18) which is about where my D7000 is. It is definitely slower than the Nikon D4, but 99% of all of my images do not require rapid snap shots and those that do, don’t require more than 4 to 6 fps. So, this point is a non sequitur for me.
  • ISO at high levels
    • With a max effective ISO of 6400, a lot of Nikon D700 users are concerned about the possible noise in the images of the D800, especially in low light. However, I think it’s too soon to be worried. If you took a Nikon D700 image at ISO 6400 and blow it up to the size of a 36 MP D800 image, I think you are going to see plenty of noise. Or conversely, a 36MP D800 at ISO 6400 shrunk down to Nikon D700 size, you’ll likely see less noise. I can’t say for sure, but I am willing to take the chance.

For me, the only downside is the Compact Flash Card slot, what is the point here? The only thing I can think of is to help Nikon D700 users to upgrade without having to buy all new SD Cards. For me, coming from a D7000, I have to buy a new card for that slot for backup, I really hope we have the option to choose which slot will be the primary and which the secondary.

Proper Camera Hand Holding Technique

Amateur photographers go far too long without ever really addressing this topic or even understand that proper camera hand holding technique is an issue for them. There is no end to the trouble you can get into here, and will plague the beginner for a very long time. Often wondering why your images are not sharp, when it has little to do with the settings you use and everything to do with your technique. I have never really understood why this topic doesn’t get more attention.

The single most important component in this camera/user equation is the part six inches behind the camera (that’s you). Proper hand holding technique is essential to good images,
Don't Fight Gravitymore important than which camera you use. Without good technique, you’ll have poor images, regardless of your camera.

Don’t fight gravity, you can’t win. We all know this lesson from life, but for some reason we forget it when it comes to using our cameras. If you are holding a camera and your elbows are hanging out there, then you are fighting gravity. It gets tiring and it is difficult to hold a camera (especially a DSLR)for any period of time.

Don't Fight GravityThis will result in shaky images, worse yet, it will result in inconsistently shaky images. Sometimes they will be poor images and sometimes they’ll look great, although, that is more likely to do with your high shutter speed. This inconsistency will, at times, cause the amateur to think it is some other setting that is causing the issue. It may take months, if not longer, to identify this issue for yourself.

Since this is supposed to be a teaching site (mostly for my family members) it is truly important to start out with good hand holding technique. Notice in these two pictures that the red arrows indicate poor hand holding technique. The camera is not supported, the weight of gravity is pulling down on my arms (which are also not supported) and this will result in shake (as slight as it might be) which will show up on the final image.

Here is an example of shake that ruined an image. Click the image below to see a larger version, look closely at his face, notice the lack of detail in the hair and the lack of sharp edges around the facial features? That is due to camera shake.

Example of Shake

Click to see the larger image, look closely at the face and hair

 

 Now, on to good technique. There are a lot of recommended styles and positions, and I will leave that up to you to find the techniques that work the best for you. The key thing to remember when finding a technique is support. You need to support the camera and your arms. When standing, this is my favorite. Notice how my arms are pulled into the body and supported on that shelf. Honestly, as my wife continues to remind me,Good Technique provides support of the camera I don’t actually need the “shelf” for camera support, but it helps. Sometimes.. A little. Anyway, the idea here is that the camera is held in a supported position. It is centered with my body and the weight of the camera is centered with and supported by me.

This technique can be used in portrait mode also, rather than rotating the camera so your shutter button is on top, forcing you to hold the camera with your elbow out. Rotate the camera so that the button is on the bottom. This will require you to use your left eye in the view finder (something I always do anyway) but you’ll get used to it in time. It just takes practice.The bottom of the lens is cupped and supported from the bottom with my left hand giving the camera additional support along the horizontal direction. Don’t try to cup it from the side; you would just be adding additional pressure horizontally. The Left hand is holding the camera firmly decreasing vertical shift, with the trigger finger gently pressing the button, not jabbing and creating blur in the image.

Good Technique provides support of the camera both Vertical and HorizontalTake a couple regular breaths, then exhale half way and hold your breath for the length of the shutter press (plus a tad bit), then breathe normally again. One major sin I see, is a photographer snapping the image, and turing to walk away before they are done.

A couple other things to keep in mind, and remember, this is for the first time DSLR’er.

Shutter speed should always be 3x your focal length. This is high, and as time marches on, we’ll address that, but to start, stick with 3x your focal length. This means, if you are shooting with a 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be at least 1/150th of a second. However, you should never drop below 1/80th of a second until you are sure you can handle it (you’ll know when that is). As your hand holding techniques improve, you can decrease that to 2x and then 1.5x.

Practice good technique with every shot, right from the start. The last thing you want to do is get several months down the road and realize that all the hair pulling is due to poor technique (like I did).