Turning a weakness into a strength
After my last post, where I decided to go over to the dark side and begin doing some post-processing of some of my photos, something hit me as I was lining up a shot.
It’s true that even the best digital cameras on the market today do not have the ability to record exactly what our eyes see. Not only can our eyes see a wider range of light to dark than a camera’s sensor, our eyes adjust to changes in light so quickly that we don’t even realize that’s whats happening.
I had finished shooting a series of photos to use in the Photomatix software that I downloaded to test, and as I was walking past a small maple tree that has already turned to its fall colors, it hit me. I use the “weakness” of the camera’s sensor some the time as a strength!
I never had thought of it that way before, but it’s true. Whenever I can, I’ll line up a flower or other subject so that there’s deep shade in the background. Since the camera’s sensor can’t handle the dynamic range of the scene the way I line it up, the background becomes very dark, almost black.
I know that I have better examples if I were to go back through my photos, but here are the ones from the past week.
By lining up the shots the way that I do, it removes any distractions from the background, at least I hope that it does. 😉
But, back to the maple tree that started this. Here’s the shot from a few weeks ago that I took as a test of the 10-18 mm lens.
And here’s the shot from the other day, but taken at a different angle to get a darker background.
I had even waited several days for the shot of the tree against a blue sky to get the best color from the leaves on the tree, but using an even darker green background made the leaves “pop” even more.
Of course, it works the other way at times.
That shot would have been so much better with blue sky as a background, rather than the haze that there was on that day. But, when I’m so close to a vulture in flight that I don’t have to crop, I’m going to shoot it no matter what the weather is. 😉
Here are the rest of the photos from this past week. I’ll start with this photo of the back of a smooth ox-eye sunflower, I’m waiting until there’s a bright blue sky for a background before I shoot the face.
This was a test that didn’t quite work, using a flash and a long exposure on moving water. I guess that the camera moved a little as I was using a fence rail to hold the camera stationary. But, it did show me the potential for future photos that I have in mind.
I have a hard enough time trying to ID birds, plants are impossible for me. There are plants that look exactly the same growing in the park, but the flowers are slightly different as you can see here.
Some of the plants have flowers with more white showing than some of the other plants. I’ve tried looking these up to nail down the ID, but I hit brick walls online. According to the USDA range map on their website, downy lobelia doesn’t grow in Michigan, yet that’s the closest match that I could come up with for the plants with more white showing. The flowers that are almost totally blue come close to matching great blue lobelia, but at this point, I’m lost. I don’t know if all the plants are the same species with just variations, or if they are two different species.
These are a bit easier, a bumblebee.
I noticed a flock of crows feeding in the lot that was cleared earlier this year. As crows often do, one is acting as a lookout while the rest of the flock forages. However, most of the time the lookout selects a perch a little higher up than this.
I zoomed in for the next two.
Also in the cleared lot, morning glories are springing up all over the place.
If I do start post-processing my images, I would probably attempt to remove the white litter that detracts from this next photo.
Another turkey came along to block the litter from view, but by then, it was too late, the first turkey had moved, ruining the way that the light accentuated the colors of its feathers..
Here’s a juvenile song sparrow “hiding” from me. It has a lot to learn about hiding. 😉
On a miserable rainy day I spotted these aphids, I went back the next day to get a good macro photo, but they were gone. The rain hadn’t started falling when I shot this one, but it was too dark to do a macro, and it was sprinkling, so I didn’t want to expose my flash or other gear to the rain that I knew was coming.
With even a little sun, my macro photos are getting better.
I don’t know if this next flower is a common mallow, a hibiscus, or a hybrid, but I shot it with the 10-18 mm lens to get it all in focus.
I liked the color combination of this next one.
I’m terrible at identifying butterflies also.
Here’s another HDR test taken on the same day as the aphids.
I think that I’m getting better at these, I watched another video on the process that helped a lot. The second video contradicts almost everything in the first one, but that’s photography for you. Every expert has their own way of doing things and tries to tell you that their way is the only way, when you’re better off using bits and pieces from all the experts.
The first expert said that all you ever need is three images bracketed at plus and minus two stops. The second expert had a lengthy explanation of how to expose the images and how many that are needed for a scene. I used four images for that last one, and it’s the most natural looking one that I have done so far.
An eastern phoebe, just because I can. 😉
I shot this next series using the flash because it was rather dark and gloomy at the time.
An extra benefit of using the flash, a stop action type of photo. 😉
I know, the goldenrod is overexposed, but that seems to be the style these days. I watched a video on macro photography, and while I learned from it, I didn’t care for that expert’s style. He blew out the background of most of his images, whereas I typically go for a high contrast shot with the background underexposed. However, I do kind of like these, even though they aren’t my typical style.
One without the flash, but the wind blew the goldenrod right in front of the butterfly’s head and it took off before I could shoot another.
I don’t know if these two hawks are Bertha and Bruiser, I haven’t seen them for a while. These two where too far away from me for me to tell for sure.
I was going to test to see if I’d give a squirrel red-eye with the flash, but for the first and only time, the flash didn’t fire when I wanted it to. But, the squirrel is so cute that I’ll throw in the photo anyway.
It’s funny, all summer long I tried to get close-ups of chipping sparrows, and they refused to let me get close. Now that fall is here, they’re everywhere and let me photograph them.
Last but not least, another morning-glory, only because WordPress put it here rather than with the other ones.
Well, that’s all I have to say for now, other than that I’ve been learning a lot from the videos I’ve been watching online. Maybe the most important thing is that one should be wary of experts who say “always” or “only” often. Every situation is different, that’s why we have so many buttons and dials on a modern camera. 😉
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!