Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘LR3

Jazz at Les Joulins

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Tonight, we met with friends at Les Joulins Jazz Bistro in downtown San Francisco. We enjoyed some live Jazz to go along with our late-night dinner and drinks, and during their first break, had a chat with the band.

Bridget offered to sing a tune, and the band agreed!

She sang “Bye Bye Blackbird,” and sounded great! They told us we could come back anytime and perform. Very cool.

This particular venue had terrible lighting for photography. Most of the light was actually behind the band, which made things pretty tricky. Pushed my gear hard to get this shots, as you can see below:

Camera Specs:

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G:

Top Image: f/1.8 ISO3200 1/40 second
Second Image:  f/1.8 ISO3200 1/30 second
Third Image:  f/1.8 ISO2800 1/60 second

Written by Jonathan

April 21, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Why I Shoot RAW

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Just like any given subject on the planet, there are many varying opinions on the JPEG vs RAW issue. As for me, I shoot RAW. Ok, so I’ll shoot the occasional JPEG, perhaps when using my Canon S90. But other than that, it’s all about RAW for me. Why?

There are many advantages to shooting RAW, but let’s stick to one for this post. In the screen capture above, the color of the image on the right is very close to what came out of my camera when I took this shot. If I shot it in JPEG, the warmer white balance I chose on-camera would have been locked in, making this the only possible interpretation of the scene’s color. The ability to reinterpret a scene by selecting a different white balance later is one key reason I shoot RAW.

When I first took this photo, I was pretty happy with the way the warmer color looked when viewing image on the LCD of my camera. After uploading it to my computer and viewing it larger, I was still pretty happy with it. Upon giving it even further thought, however, I decided that the warm color didn’t really represent how I truly felt at the moment of capture, when I was actually there. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it? It’s very important for an artist to convey not just what a scene looks like, but what it felt like to actually be there, experiencing the scene.

So what was I feeling at the moment of capture here? A little bit of loneliness from strolling the streets of Kyoto very early in the morning for one. The cool spring air was chilling yet refreshing, and I was dazzled by the all the reflections on the ground that were caused by the light but steady rainfall that day. I decided to convey that feeling more effectively by turning down the white balance temperature (in LR3 beta), resulting in the cooler, bluer version of the image (above). If I had shot JPEG, I would have been stuck with the warm version. It would have still been a nice image, but again, I would have lost the ability to reinterpret the scene in a way that truly conveys my feelings.

Couldn’t I have just taken a second shot with a cooler white balance adjustment at the camera? Of course! But that idea didn’t really hit me until much later. Only after several times of coming back to this image and thinking about the scene did I finally decide that I wanted it to look different than I originally intended. Shooting the image in RAW allowed me to go through this longer thought process, and then make the desired changes to the image. Who knows, maybe I’ll want to change even more aspects of this image later, with newer, more powerful software that will inevitably be released as time goes on. RAW gives me that flexibility, JPEG doesn’t.

…and that’s one reason why I shoot RAW!

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Top Image: Screen grab from the develop module in Lightroom 3 Beta 2
Second Image: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 at 60mm f5.6 ISO400 1/125 second

Be sure to check the progress of my gallery of images from my last trip to Japan on flickr!

Diptychs, Triptychs, and Beyond!

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I love what you can convey by presenting a spread of images together, as in a diptych or triptych.  Some people are really good at putting images together that are distinctly different yet complimentary and story-telling. I’m not one of those people (I don’t really think I have that “artistic eye”), but I did sit down last night and combined put some photos  in a way that hopefully says a little something about Suki.

One thing that can be accomplished with more than one image is the presentation of small details or fractions of a whole, that together, give the viewer a sense of the whole person, place, or object. I experimented with this concept in four images that don’t really reveal exactly what Suki looks like, but do give you a sense of her as a whole through the details that are presented. I dunno, I think it kinda sorta worked.

You can also present a sequence of events or actions using a polyptych (weird word). Suki does the most adorable yawn, but conveying what her yawn looks like pretty much necessitates that I show a series of photos in sequence.

After processing these photos in Lightroom 3 Beta, I opened each up in Photoshop to put them together. I just learned a dead simple way to do this. Assuming that each image is the same size and aspect ratio, all you need to do is extend the background layer’s canvas size by 100% in whichever direction you want to put the next image. Then, just copy and paste the next image on a new layer and drag it into place on the background layer. Sound confusing? Then head over to my cousin Josh’s blog for a video tutorial on diptychs.

Josh is my go-to guy for all my Photoshop needs. I only started working with Photoshop last year, but he’s been using it for easily over a decade for a variety of different art forms, including photography.  A few weeks back I asked him how to add black bars to the top and bottom of my photos, and he sent me an email with screen shots that outlined how to do it step-by-step. I told him “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if you did some sort of video tutorial on this?”

Soon after, what do you know! He posted a video tutorial on how to add black bars to the top and bottom of your photos. Cool! So I bugged him again and asked him to do another one on diptychs. The cool thing about his tutorials so far is that while there are dozens of ways to accomplish the same thing in a powerful and complex program like Photoshop, he endeavors to find and present the simplest and fastest method. I really appreciate this, as I’m the kind of person who likes to spend as little time as possible editing at the computer. You can find more how-to posts on his blog at http://jliba.wordpress.com.

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Image Top: Nikon D300s + Micro Nikkor AFS 60mm f/2.8G

Image Bottom: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 35mm f/1.8G

Written by Jonathan

February 26, 2010 at 10:17 am

Shiba Royalty

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The Legion of Honor seemed like a fitting place to take Suki’s next image for my 52 week project. I attempted to post one of the images I made from this shoot to Flickr, but ran into a strange problem. Nearly an hour after uploading the photo, the image wouldn’t appear in my contacts’ home pages. I discovered this after noticing the unusually low amount of traffic on the photo after uploading it. After re-uploading the image a few times with no success, I gave up for the night. Maybe the issue will be resolved later and I can proceed as normal. Until then I’m holding off on uploading anything to Flickr.

You wouldn’t know it from this photo, but there were actually a lot of people standing around us during this shoot. Suki drew the attention of a lot of people, who crowded around and watched me photograph her. She’s quite the popular dog!

Camera Specs: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 + SB-900 cam left, SB-800 on camera

Click here for the final version of the photo for my 52 week project!

City Dog

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Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Post in Lightroom 3 Beta and Photoshop CS4

For my 52 week photographic project about Suki, I want to include images that tell a story about her life. I’m hoping viewers will see her personality and get a sense of the environments she encounters from day-to-day. This premise spawned the idea for my latest image on Flickr in this series. I’ve lived in big cities all my life, and I wanted to show that the city is Suki’s domain as well.

The final image for the project was harder to capture than it likely looks, probably harder for my light stand (wife) than me, as she needed to instruct Suki on what to do, light her correctly, and keep the flash unit from going into standby all at the same time. Definitely not as easy as working with a human subject!

You don’t have to look far to find urban artwork in the city. This entire building was covered in it, and I would have loved to use other portions of the art as well, but we couldn’t spend too much time on the shoot. Suki might have lost her patience! Nevertheless, the art made an awesome background to convey Suki’s urban life. We got a lot of smiles from passerby, and a few of them found their way into my outtakes.

Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/5.6 ISO200 1/125 Second

The shot above was initially a test image to see what my flashes were up to and get a good starting point for the shoot. I ended up liking it….in a goofy kind of way. The the shot at the top of this post is the first image I’ve heavily post-processed in a while. I was going for that cross-processed look, and I really like how it turned out.

The pose in the image I posted to the project was all Suki’s doing. I was really close to her with my Tokina 11-16, and she suddenly did a “down” on all fours (like the first image in this post). I fired away. Looking at the LCD, I grinned from ear to ear:

“We got it!”

Suki got an extra helping of treats.

Please see the final image on flickr: Click Here

Close Up

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Nikon D300s + Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G at f/40, ISO200 1/5 Second


Desperate to spend whatever time I can taking photos despite my hectic schedule, I’ve started bringing my camera along with me everywhere I go, even to work! I took this shot of a small clover leaf during my lunch break yesterday.

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Written by Jonathan

December 30, 2009 at 8:47 am

Barbie Repro

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Click on Image for Larger Version

Bridget had this Barbie made just for her, how cool is that? She’s made of porcelain instead of plastic, and her hair is meticulously hand-made. She asked me to take a few photographs of Barbie, and these are a few from the set I shot for her.

All of these images were made around the same time of day, using an SB-800 and SB-900, both bare and wirelessly (Nikon CLS) triggered . Different white balance settings and use of gels helped me change the color of the background, which is basically the sky through a window as the sun sets.

Bridget has a flickr set for all the Barbie’s she’s collected here.

Nikon D300s + AFS Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, SB-800 + SB-900

Written by Jonathan

December 27, 2009 at 6:26 pm