The “IR Queen,” Deborah Sandidge, taught me some cool techniques in Virginia. Here she is, captured in all her IR glory!
I had the chance to play around with an infrared DSLR while teaching a workshop in Virginia. I’ve never used IR before, and I’m glad that the “IR Queen,” Deborah Sandidge was there to show me the ropes.
In the past, IR photography was something most people really didn’t do. Options for IR before digital came along were to either use IR-sensitive film or an IR cut filter on the lens. Neither of these options were particularly ideal. IR sensitive film was a real pain because it had to be kept cold and had to be loaded in complete darkness to avoid clouding it. IR cut filters, which only allow infrared wavelengths to pass, make shooting tough because they block all visible light… meaning you can’t see through the camera with one attached to your lens. Moreover, exposures with IR filters needed to be on the order of minutes to capture anything.
With digital, the game has changed. You can send your old DSLR or even a point and shoot camera in to a company and have the optical low-pass filter removed and replaced with one that blocks most visible light. Depending on your ambitions, there are several “flavors” of conversions, including some that allow certain visible wavelengths to pass through in addition to the IR ones. Once you’ve converted your camera, you’ll need to explore the art of processing IR images. Continue reading
Green honeycreeper, Trinidad, West Indies. When photographing birds, judging sharpness of the eye is the first step in deciding whether to keep or reject an image.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has a lot of image management strengths, not the least of which is its catalog database. However, there are some things that Lightroom doesn’t do quickly, and one of those things is previewing images at 100%. To view images at 100% in Lightroom, you need to render 1:1 previews from the RAW files, and that takes serious time. When you’re trying to judge images for critical sharpness, you need to view them quickly, make a yes or no decision, and move on. That’s exactly where a browser like Photo Mechanic can help out and save you serious time.
I had to review over 2500 images from a recent birding trip to Trinidad.
I came back from a bird photography trip to Trinidad with over 2500 captures. That’s a lot of shots to review, especially when you have to judge sharpness at 100% quickly.
If you can adjust your image to deliver the quality you want, does it matter what software you use?
If you’ve followed my or my photography over the years, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Nikon cameras and also Capture NX2 editing software. You’ve probably also noticed that I’ve been experimenting with Lightroom 4 recently, and I started teaching classes on it.
I made the move to digital photography from film in 2005. At that time, there were raging battles between Nikon and Adobe over things like “encrypted White Balance” and such. At that time, converting NEFs (Nikon RAW format) images with software other than Nikon Capture 4 (or later, Capture NX) was potentially risky. Early versions of Adobe Camera RAW and other programs sometimes created artifacts and rendered colors differently than what Nikon’s converter did.
The beauty of processing RAW files is that every setting is plastic and reversible. However, the initial conversion parameters set the baseline for exposure, contrast, and color rendition and differ with each RAW converter application. One thing that Nikon photographers point out is that they like their default (starting point) conversion to match the “as-shot” look (as viewed on the back of their camera) as closely as possible. This makes sense. If you like the look of Nikon’s Picture Control “Standard,” then it’s very convenient to see the initial image rendered this way when you open the RAW file. After that initial conversion, you can do whatever you want to process your image. Continue reading