Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘transamerica

PTLens: Painless Lens Correction

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Corrected

Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/18 ISO200, 6.0 Seconds, Corrected in PTLens

Uncorrected

Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/18 ISO200, 6.0 Seconds, Original without Correction

I’m not really a stickler when it comes to distortion in my images, but a flickr buddy of mine recommended PTLens to me a couple weeks go, and after giving it a try tonight, I decided to purchase it. For a mere $25, you get a program that will correct lens pincushion/barrel distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, and perspective. You can technically achieve the same results in Photoshop, but what makes PTLens so special is how incredibly easy it is to correct an image. The first image above (top) is the corrected file from PTLens, and the second image is the original file. Notice the pretty apparent barrel distortion in the second image (vertical lines aren’t vertical), along with the perspective issues (the tops of the buildings seem to be leaning away from the camera), and how well these problems were fixed in the image above.

PTLens

PTLens in action

Here’s what the software looks like in action. PTLens has profiles set up for dozens of cameras and lenses (even for my Panasonic LX3!). It automatically pulls the camera and lens information from the image EXIF data, and based upon the lens’ unique distortion characteristics, applies the right amount of correction to barrel or pincushion distortion. I then manually dialed in a little vertical perspective correction, and that’s it! In seconds, I had corrected the image to my liking. I’m really excited about this new software, and plan to use it a whole lot for my photos, especially the ones that include architecture.

Bay Bridge at Sunset

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Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 48mm f/18 ISO200 5.0 seconds, No Post Process

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 48mm f/18 ISO200 5.0 seconds, No Post Process

Finally found some time to head out and photograph this great city I live in this Saturday evening. I’ve been wanting to take this very iconic and classic shot of the Bay Bridge from Treasure Island for a long time now. I stuck around at this spot for about an hour and a half, so I could capture the sunset as well as the dusk. I was pretty much entirely alone here, except for this one tourist whose family stopped their car in the middle of the road so he could run out and set up by my spot, attempting to shoot the same scene with his flash turned on. Yes, his flash…because the city lights and falling sun do not produce enough light I guess. One more tiny strobe fired from several miles away should do the trick!

The image above is a little different from the one I posted on my flickr site. For one thing, it’s a SOOC shot, straight out of the camera. Yep, I had so much time on my hands waiting for the sun to drop that I figured I’d play with the D300s’s own processing engine a bit, and I came away pretty impressed with the JPEGs it produces. That being said, I still shoot RAW when I shoot at night. Why?

Simply because it allows me the option to interpret an image in more than one way. I could be perfectly happy with the white balance as I set it in the field while I’m shooting, but when I get home and upload my images to Lightroom, I often like to make further adjustments on a nice big computer monitor, and then compare a few color interpretations before deciding on my favorite image. I sometimes hear JPEG-exclusive photographers say that those who shoot RAW should “get it right the first time.” Well, people don’t necessarily shoot RAW because they can’t use a camera effectively. They do so because it allows more creative flexibility. That being said, I’m not a RAW snob either. I’ll happily shoot in either format depending on the situation.

The image below was shot in RAW and then output to JPEG in Lightroom using the white balance I set in my camera at the time of recording. I wanted to get that really blue dusky sky in the shot at the time. When I got home and got the image into the computer, I decided I wanted to try a warmer look, and I ended up with the photo I finally posted to flickr.

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 48mm f/11 ISO200 6.0 Seconds

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 48mm f/11 ISO200 6.0 Seconds

Getting to this location was tough. I drove around the island for a long time trying to find the right angle for this shot. After parking in one spot and then hiking around for about 20 minutes, I got a visual on where I needed to be (on a lower spot on the island), and of course, it’s not directly accessible on foot, and there’s nowhere to legally park your car for miles there. It’s right off a two way rode leading to and from the bay bridge.

I had the wife drop me off quickly at the spot and drive off to another location with the dog, giving me all the time I needed to get this shot. Thanks honey!

I was really hoping to get some dramatic colored clouds in the sky in this shot. There were clouds in the sky that night, and in fact, when I first arrived at this site, there was a huge cloud right over the skyline that I was thrilled about. Unfortunately, before the sun started casting golden and red color into the sky, the clouds had moved east and completely out of the frame. Just to the left and outside of the frame in the first shot you see above is an amazing, red cloud formation. Oh well.

So in the end, I didn’t get the exact shot I was looking for, but I’ll definitely return to this location for another try.

UPDATE: See a reworked version of this image on my flickr page.

New Lens! Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ATX PRO

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Nikon D90 + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 13mm f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/125 Second

Nikon D90 + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 13mm f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/125 Second

Panasonic Lumix LX3, 5.1mm f/2.0, ISO 320 1/30 Second

Panasonic Lumix LX3, 5.1mm f/2.0, ISO 320 1/30 Second

Well, after wanting an ultra wide angle zoom lens for months and months, I finally bought one today. I’ve been scouring around trying to find the sold-out-everywhere Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ATX PRO DX lens for some time now, and until today was considering just going for the highly praised 12-24 f/4 from Tokina as it is readily stocked by many dealers. I’ve been checking back at places like B&H every morning for a few weeks (that’s how I was able to snag my hard to get AFS 35mm 1.8G), with no success in finding the 11-16 in stock. This afternoon I did a search for Tokina dealers in the San Francisco bay area, and found that there’s only ONE in San Francisco. Not expecting much, I called and asked if they had any 11-16′s, and WHAT!? One Nikon mount left!

Nikon D90 + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/11, ISO640, 1/60 Second (cropped slightly to straighten)

Nikon D90 + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/11, ISO640, 1/60 Second (cropped slightly to straighten)

I rushed over and picked it up without hesitation. While I was there the guy at the shop (really cool staff there) let me try a bunch of lenses while he rang up the bill. I tried the Tokina 12-24,  and while I liked that it extends out to 24mm, I was more swayed by the 1mm extra on the wide end of the 11-16 AND the 2.8 constant aperture, despite it’s very limited zoom range. I tried the very interesting (and very new) Tokina 16.5-135mm lens, as well as Nikon’s highly regarded consumer lens, the 16-85mm 3.5-5.6 VR, which I found of similar to size to the 18-70 I used to use on my D70, but it felt much heavier! I really liked the 16-85mm’s range and the fact that it has built in VR, and I may want to pick that lens up for travel when more money comes in.

But back to the important lens! My wife and I (and doggie) strolled around downtown after leaving the shop and I got to snap off a few shots before the sun went down (I really wanted to get some sunset and dusk shots but we hadn’t eaten dinner!). Initial impression is veeery favorable. I am absolutely floored at the sharpness of this Tokina, even at its widest aperture. The build quality is outstanding as well, and overall I am really excited about putting this thing to use. I’m going to bed with a huge grin on my face! More shooting tomorrow!

Financial District

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San Francisco Financial District, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, ISO 80, 5.1mm f/5.6 1/500 Second

San Francisco Financial District, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, ISO 80, 5.1mm f/5.6 1/500 Second

San Francisco Finacial District, Panasonic DMC-LX3 ISO80, 5.1mm f/8.0, 1/200 Second

San Francisco Finacial District, Panasonic DMC-LX3 ISO80, 5.1mm f/8.0, 1/200 Second

San Francisco Financial District, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ISO 400 5.1mm f/5.6, 1/400 Second

San Francisco Financial District, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ISO 400 5.1mm f/5.6, 1/400 Second

San Francisco Financial District, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ISO 125, 5.1mm f/5.6 1/400 Second

San Francisco Financial District, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ISO 125, 5.1mm f/5.6 1/400 Second

Spent a lot of time in the Financial District of San Francisco this weekend working on a project. I make it a habit to keep my Lumix Lx3 at my side when I can’t bring my dSLR with me. I enjoyed shooting in the streets this weekend as I moved from one work place to the other several times throughout the day.

Written by Jonathan

August 3, 2009 at 6:42 am