Sunday, April 8, 2007

Birds Not in Flight

And sometimes it seems like they know that they're being photographed; this guy kept moving around every time we got a lock on him. Of course, since I was stuck with a shutter speed that ranged between half a second and several seconds, his (her?) constant motion lead to some blur no matter how carefully I focussed.
Oh well... he (or she) was a very elegant bird, even if I didn't get a particularly good photograph that night.

Bird Photography with Manual Focus

Gah... manual focus isn't ideal for bird photography, especially when the birds are in flight. Three hours, and this is about as good as it got. And Digital ICE has its limitations, as you can see here by the dust spots all over this image :/
Unfortunately, a large-aperture lens just isn't in the cards in the short term, since that's a $7000+ investment. So for now, I'll just let the folks with the really big glass get the in-flight shos. :)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Scanning and Image Processing

Now that I'm shooting regularly, I'm already getting behind on the scanning and processing part. And naturally, since scanning and optimizing images requires developing skills that I don't have yet, the results of my scans are a bit wild.

But I'm practicing and learning, a little at a time, one image at a time.

LightRoom is turning out to be very helpful for image management, and for quick processing. It helped for processing a bunch of old RAW files to send to someone, but for actually optimizing images, I'm finding LightZone to be much more useful. For one thing, LightZone lets you apply changes locally, so I can fix exposure in hot spots, and selectively correct color shifts caused by tweaking the global exposure (or by Lightroom's Vibrance control). Also, LightRoom's sharpening tool is much more powerful and effective than LightRoom's, which doesn't appear to do anything. On top of that, LightRoom simply won't load an image larger than 250 MB, while LightZone loads them happily now that I'm up to 2 GB of ram. Unfortunately however, LightZone has some trouble loading SilverFast's TIFF files directly, though it loaded a monochrome image without any problems.

So far, however, the LightRoom -> LightZone workflow is great for scanned 35mm slides. With a little experimentation, I think it will work for 4x5's also, though I think it will work out much better when I get Photoshop CS3, hopefully later this month.