Welcome to my latest project, a video blog called The Sensor Plane. In digital photography, the sensor plane is where light rays interact with technology. Starting today, I’ll be hosting a regular segment where I’ll talk about the technical and creative sides of digital photography.
In today’s episode, I’ll start off with a review of the two Nikon 70-200mm zoom lenses:
Here my thoughts on the practical aspects of these lenses in the video episode below. If you have suggestions for future topics, please feel free to leave a comment!
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Update Jan. 7, 2014
Some viewers have requested an audio-only version of the episode. I’ve posted a MP3 version here: Sensor Plane #1 (Audio Only)
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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom relies on the Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) rendering engine to convert camera RAW images. The default color and contrast settings are something called “Adobe Standard” which look different than what you might see on your camera LCD when reviewing your images. However, Adobe offers alternate Camera Profiles which emulate the as-shot settings from many Nikon and Canon DSLRs. You’ll find these settings in the Camera Calibration panel in Lightroom and ACR.
In this example, I have placed an image of a Colorchecker card on the screen so you can see how the colors and contrast change between camera profiles. For this image, I get options based on the Nikon D800 that I used to capture the RAW file. Note that you can only make profile changes to RAW files. If you see “Embedded” under the profile option, it’s because you’re looking at a TIFF or JPEG image in Lightroom. Choose from any of the profile presets in the drop-down menu to change the baseline color and tone curve of your image, and you can fine-tune it with the sliders if you wish.
If you have a ColorChecker card, you can use the ColorChecker software from X-rite to create a custom profile for your camera. Each custom profile is specific to the camera you use to create the image. You can further tweak those profiles using Adobe’s DNG Profile Editor software (free download from www.adobe.com).
Once you have a profile that you like, you might wish to change your defaults to always use that profile going forward. If you do change your default settings, note that ANYTHING you modified in the Develop section gets applied, so keep your adjustments minimal (Calibration, sharpening, lens corrections) so that you don’t over-process your images. Defaults are only applied automatically when you import new images into Lightroom. Existing images will not be changed; you’ll have to adjust them manually or use the “Reset Settings” option in Lightroom to do so.
I’m pleased to announce the immediate release of a high-definition video companion to The Photographer’s Guide to HDR Efex Pro 2.0 (eBook site)
In this video, you get over two hours (159 minutes, actually) of in-depth training on creating fine-art HDR images with Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2.0. I’ve gone through the entire HDR workflow, starting with image capture and RAW conversion and moving through all the steps you use in HDR Efex Pro 2 to create amazing HDR tone-maps. Continue reading New Companion Video for HDR Efex Pro 2.0 Users
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Ever wonder why you can get different exposures on the exact same scene with your Nikon camera using 3D Matrix Metering? The meter and AF system are linked in a way that usually produces great results. But for landscape photographers, it can sometimes cause overexposure if you focus on dark parts of the scene, like a shady foreground.
Nikon’s 3D matrix metering is an advanced exposure system that evaluates the entire color image. The same scene can be exposed differently, depending on the location of the active AF point. When the AF point falls on a dark part of the scene, the meter tends to open up the exposure (brighten it). If the AF point is on a bright part of the scene, the camera will expose the scene slightly darker. This difference in exposure can be particularly important to landscape photographers, who usually choose a foreground object for the focus point. If the foreground is relatively dark, the camera will often blow out the sky.
The solution is to first focus on the dark object in the foreground, and then lock focus (I use the AF-On button technique for this). Next, move the active AF point to a bright part of the scene. This allows the meter to bias the exposure to preserve highlight details in the final image.
Here’s a quick tip on improving your on-screen previews in HDR Efex Pro. Once I figured this out, my images came out a LOT better because I wasn’t over-adjusting them.
Bonus: Download my new HDR Efex Pro preset “Hyper-realistic Interiors.” This preset gives a nice clean look that is very natural and crisp when used on indoor images.
Learn more about mastering HDR Efex Pro.