27 May 2009

expect the unexpected

Sometimes you go somewhere with the intent of shooting one thing, only to find something completely different. And sometimes, that recurses a second time... these tend to be the most amazing photo ops.

We went to BratFest this year, helped set the record. More about that later. I wandered the midway, looking to shoot kids having fun on the rides. Found a lot of bored kids. Had some awesome focus fail. Then I noticed some very nice potted flowers in between some of the rides, many had been trampled already, as we were there on the last day. But some were still doing well.

That lead me to this one:

which I later noticed the little friend in the background, which lead me to this second shot before it took off:


17 May 2009

yeah, it's a keeper

That new workflow that is. I took Quinn to the park today... Cory followed along with the 20D, we came back with 89 images. (She took most of them.) Well, 88 in LR... Anyone have an idea why it keeps doing this:

The image comes up "fine" in preview and photoshop from the CF, both raw and jpg. But LR corrupted it when importing. I have had about 5 or 6 instances of this so far. Starting to get worrisome.

Anyway, less than 20 minutes whittled 89 images down to 12, another hour brought it down to 5 processed keepers. Most of the minimally processed, as is my norm. But a couple of them more heavily adjusted.

All in all, it was a fun outing to the park. :)

And he just looked so serious in this... sepia just seemed *right*.

(I'm not 100% sold on LR's sepia preset... I suspect I'm going to end up building my own.)

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16 May 2009

time for a new workflow

So after babysitting my olde homegrown workflow from linux to mac for the last couple years I've decided it's time to give up and move to something someone else wrote and supports. It also doesn't help that my current workflow is not very good with raw, and is currently unable to handle files from a 5D mk 2. Last time I went out to HQ our UX guru at work did a evening session for a few photographers on Lightroom. I was impressed. Very impressed.

To be honest, a few years ago, I tried LR v1. Absolutely hated it. I think it lasted 10 hours or so on my computer before being ripped off. So I wasn't expecting to actually like v2.

As of this writing I'm about 2/3 of the way through a 30 day free trial of LR2.

There are still a few things that are seriously wrong with it. The #1 offender, it's stubborn, brain damaged insistence that catalog files must reside on local, permanent, disk. No network, no removable media, no pluggable drives. I have a large raid 5 array across the network that all of the machines here in the house use for protected mass storage. That's where all of my photos, videos, music live. At least they got the ability to use photos directly from the nfs mount right... and it will backup the catalog to the raid.

The next offender has got to be the hookey catalog open/close dance. And related to that... I fail to find any way to merge a catalog into another. A little lower on the list is the keyboard shortcuts. Yeah they're intuitive... but they're not what I would consider ergonomically laid out. Similar to, but not quite as bad as Apple's command-W and command-Q FAIL.

But annoyance aside, it's actually proving to be quite the productivity improvement. And I love the non-destructive nature of it. I put it to the test this evening. Earlier in the week I had been downtown and noticed that the bulbs Mayo has planted all over the place are in full bloom. I've been meaning to get downtown for an hour or so to shoot them. This morning when I checked the weather forecast before taking Quinn to swimming I saw that there is a frost advisory this evening! (WTF? it's MID MAY!!!) So I decided to get out and shoot them TODAY before they get killed off. The problem with that theory? 35-40mph winds. Those aren't the gusts... that's the reported sustained winds while I was shooting.

So I bumped up to iso 800 and went Tv to set my shutter into the 1/1000 or faster range. (did drop down 400 on a couple shots I was getting too much DoF on because the camera was stopping the lens down pretty far.)

Tonight I brought the results in to LR, spun through a derivation of Wade's process (skip the p/x step, just right into stars) and fiarly quickly whittled 69 images down, I ended up with: 14 images 1+ stars, 8 images 2+ stars, 3 with 3+, 2 with 4+, one with 5. not bad. Along the way I did some developing on a couple shots. I present the 4 best (3 or more stars) below.

first the best of the day, 5 stars:

(slightly cropped, auto converted from raw)

Now the second best, at 4 stars:

(auto converted from raw)

And finally, two renditions of the second runner up, with 3 stars:
First, as I would normally present it:

(auto converted from raw)

And then, in a style I call "Wadeist", high contrast B+W, with a heavy vingette:

(auto converted from raw, several presets applied, custom vingette applied... think I'm going to save that as a preset and call it "wadeist vinegette".)

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