The waters of the Leith. A tutorial from the pro photog.

It was awful tonight. Not good weather for ducks, even. Thundery, rain, mist and simply cold and miserable. So instead of going out and taking photos the pro photog came around and looked at some Ricoh shots we took yesterday. And gave me a tutorial on processing, even though she does not know darktable.

Photo software is roughly the same.

The photos? Well, taken last night, which was clear, after dusk, while waiting for one son to finish performing music for a school event: hand held (and long exposures). I was taking film photos in parallel and noted that I ended up taking 4 second exposures at f2, but my Leica has a Swiss Arca plate, and I need to fit one to the GXR. 18.3 mm lens, F 5, 1 second exposure. Processed in Darktable. By that time the other son was not able to get shots without huge camera shake.

There are two new links: the Pro Photog (because she is one) and Bob Krist’s blog, even though he uses those Sony things.

What the administrator has been up to.

This is a bit of a catch up post. Firstly, I have been using Garfunkel as a theme but it loads really slowly and is not optimized for photos: I have changed the theme, after looking it up, to Obscura [1}. That means that there is a slider of photos at the top, and one can access easily categories.

As far as photos are concerned. everything is backed up at Shatteredlight, and the photos here are 16 bit png files, so somewhat larger.

Over the weekend I have been getting used to the beast.

I managed to take photos with this at Sandymount yesterday, but they need processing — in fact those rolls are part of my learning curve in developing film. However, I did take some photos walking around town this week, and here they are.

1. Unite lasted 24 hours. It was not as much the purple as the hearts between each post. I am not that feminine.

Bethune’s gully

These shots were described as somewhat chocolate boxy. Well, parts of Dunedin are like that: we walked up to a grove of trees in Bethune’s Gully, and these shots were at the end or beginning of this.

Nikon D800, voightlander color skopar f4.0 lens, processed in Darktable

The pro photog and no light.

I was driving with a pro friend and the sun became a golden streak between clouds and sea. She told me to pull the car over at a beach and we both pulled out cameras. The camera on the tripod (blurred out) is a Mamiya 7 with a wide angle lens on: I shot these with the D800.
And yes, the last shot, after dark, was on the tripod, and a four second exposure.

Photos processed in Darktable.

Basically a sunny 16 camera? Nikon V3 and flowers

Thom Hogan, who likes the V3, calls it a “Sunny 16” camera — Thom pushes things far further than I would.

As I’ve noted several times, the Nikon 1 system just keeps having these design dissonances.
The small sensor of the camera both grants us the 810mm equivalent in a pocketable lens, but it also challenges us to find situations in where it is undeniably useful.

I’ve started calling this my Sunny 16 lens. Not because I shoot with it at f/16, but because I need Sunny 16 types of conditions to get truly superb results out of this lens on the Nikon 1 bodies. As the light goes down and/or the subject moves faster, my delight with this lens goes down, too, but because of the small sensor sitting behind it, not the optics. But when the sun is out, and especially with not-so-fast-moving subjects, I am delighted with the lens.

It’s not surprising that demand for this lens exceeds Nikon’s production as I write this. It’s an exceptional, if situation limited, tool. Nikon didn’t appear to understand the demand for it, either, which seems strange. It’s almost as if Nikon doesn’t know what a Nikon 1 system is good for photographically. Oh wait, they don’t ;~).

Well, I’ve used it a bit, and it now lives (inside a dry bag) in my daypack. Generally with the prime lens on, but I’m carrying the zooms (in another dry bag). I will supplement this with some kind of medium or large format camera for travelling, either a folder (if I really want to go small) or a Mamiya C series — those things are bombproof. Besides, if you do not use the grip (the NZ camera does not come with the accessories, the RRS plate fits quite nicely, thank you.

Taken with the cellphone and enhanced in Google Images: What else do you use for this kind of shot?
Taken with the cellphone and enhanced in Google Images: What else do you use for this kind of shot?

Yes, that is a F 1.8 prime lens: yes it is batter’d, and yes, that is the plate Thom recommends. I’d also suggest getting a hood. But onto the reason I like the V3. In good light, it is fast. I can use the swivelling rear screen to move myself to dd angles and (since it is fast) get sharp shots which would require a tripod with the D800. Which is bloody inconvenient when walking around. It was odd enough holding the camera up to the flowers on the side of the road.

In the university precinct.

It’s spring, and photos do not fade: the V series has always been good at fast moving things such as Kids, Cats and Birds. Put it on a tripod and use a stitching programme and you can make decent landscapes — though you really want to go to medium format (or even large format, now that is becoming cheaper). But it excels as a street camera, with a small prime on it. I agree with Thom: Nikon should make F1.8 or F2 primes for the baby, and sell it as the electric Lomo. Let it bleed in the dark: but let it perform in the day. The current body works. Get the EVF back into it, but more importantly, get primes.

Basically one shot, two of three ways.

This was taken at the edge of a quarry, looking south into the southern ocean and perched on the side of a hill. I had two cameras and three lenses: a Mamiya 7 with a 43 mm lens on it, and after shooting with that I continued with the second camera (nikon d800) varying between a 35 mm f2.0 Nikkor and a 20 mm f 4.0 Voightlander, The second lens gives a close approximation of what the film will show, when I get it developed.

All photos processed in Darktable: saved as 16 bit png files.

V3, software, and GAS

There are a couple of more advanced raw converters that are worth looking at. One is rawtherapee, which I have used on and off (darktable is so convenient) and is still being developed actively.

The other, and somewhat odder one is Photivo. This is definately further up the learning curve. It requires that one knows a lot more about what one is doing to install it: however it can push things further. I like rawtherapee a lot.

But these are some of the first shots from the V3, and they are simply processed in Shotwell, which is more competent than one would think. I did have to resize them in wordpress, but that is not that much of an issue.

Nikon V3 with 30 –110 zoom in mid range, f 4.5, iso 160, 1/4000th second.

Why I have stayed with the Nikon one series, and a walk up a steep hill.

After the V1 died I had some options. One was to do nothing… but there were some errors. Cameras belong in their own waterproof sacks, particularly when you are carrying them around every day. I hope that I have not ruined the lens on it. So, after checking the prices around I ended up ordering a V3 from Lahood Cameras. The NZ price is for the US style kit with all the bits I want (the Viewfinder) and bits I will probably try and then leave off (the grip). It means I do not need to replace the collection of primes I have. And it means I can use my nikkor lenses on this camera to reach further, particularly since (thanks Thom Hogan for this hint) Really Right Stuff make a camera plate that will work with an Swiss Acra style head.

Because if you are going after birds, and that is the killer app of this camera, you need a tripod. You will be functionally using 100 to 400 mm of zoom (I have a 200 mm zoom: that is 540 mm at f 3.6 on this machine, and I have 300 mm (810 mm effective) on my other big zoom).

But that is on order. After playing viola all last weekend I have got out in the freezing cold yesterday with the Leica M6 for 1 1/2 film, and have just been up a steep, hard hill to a lake with the son.

I carried the d 800, with a 85 mm F 2 Nikkor and a 20 mm Voightlander Skopar. In a carry sack: the son carried the tripod. Here are some shots from today.

Nikon d800. Minimal processing from Raw in Darktable.

Destroyed Cameras: rescued files.

A couple of days ago a drink bottle leaked into my work bag (which is waterproof) and I found that both of my day to day cameras were soaked. Both are now frozen and unusable. I may be able to get the Voighlander bessa repaired, because it is basically manual, but the Nikon one is toast.

Hoowever, the SD card was not toast, and I was able to extract the last files from this, which are worthwhile sharing.

Nikon V1, 18.5 mm lens. Processed in Lightroom