Pages

2016/09/30

Football Defeat - Shooting without light


For a few weeks now I have enjoyed using a Nikon D4 camera body for shooting some night time sports.  While My Nikon D7100 does a reasonable job with things, the D4 is such an improvement that I am beginning to see why people are willing to spend the thousands of dollars for the camera. I hit the field with the D4, my D7100, a 300 f/2. and a 70-200 f/2.8 lens.  I also had a pair of SB-800 flash units in my bag in case I needed them. (I never touched them).

 
Here are  the results from shooting the first half of the game.

The Miyamura Patriots came in with a 4-0 record, but their opponent, with a record of 4-1, was ranked much higher in the State.  During hte first half Miyamura tried to keep it a close game, going into the locker room at half-time trailing 34-29 against St. Pius X.

The second half saw the Patriots come out and turn the ball over with an interception, and things just got worse.

In the end The St. Pius X Sartans left the field with a basketball score: 69-38.

 I was only able to stay for the first half of the game as I was working for The Gallup Independent and unlike years ago when I worked there, they now do their Saturday paper page layouts Friday evening.  As a lot of news photographers can tell you, this means leaving early to get photos to the page editors in time for them to get to work.
For those interested in the technicals, I started shooting at ISO 5000, and soon move to 6400 on the D7100 (that is the max) and the D4 I nudged up to ISO 8000. 

I was shooting 1/500 or 1/640 for my shutter speed, and manually set my white balance to 3500K.
Once home I did my selection using Photo Mechanic and then the edits were bare bones - open them in ACR and bring them into Photoshop CC  2015.5. I little bit of tweaking of the white and black points was all I really had to do.  Then I applied the Imagenomic Noiseware filter set for night scene to clean up the noise in the background.

2016/09/09

iOS 10 Upgrade - Shooting RAW photos

As a professional photographer I am always concerned with getting my images to look the best they possibly can. That means paying the extra money for fast glass, shooting RAW files instead of JPG (even though it takes longer to edit and takes more file storage space), using remote flash units and more.

So when app makers started unveiling the ability to create RAW files on iPhones I was excited.  There are limitations to do it right now though.  You need to have a new enough device that your camera is a 12 MP (which my iPhone 6s has), and you need to be using iOS 10.  Wait a minute.  What was that last part?  iOS 10? It is not out yet.  So for the last several weeks I have been using the iOS 10 beta system on my phone.

Why shoot RAW?  A simplified explanation is that all cameras have to do some computer processing to your image to turn it into a JPG file.  This includes applying sharpening, locking in white balance, setting the contrast level and more.  A JPG image is also a compressed image.  The computer (there is a computer in the camera/phone) does the compression and in order to make the file small for storage and for uploading/downloading.  It does this by simplifying the pixels in your pictures.  It looks at areas of the photo and it says that this group of pixels here are all very similar in color, so we are going to package them together and say they are all the same color. This mean that it is lowering the quality of the image.  By shooting RAW the pictures are not compressed and sharpened.  The pixels are all as the sensor recorded them, and you get to edit them the way you like.  Just remember that when you edit a RAW file if you save it as a JPG file you are doing the compression yourself.

By shooting RAW you get to control how much sharpening is applied to your image and you also get to avoid the artifacts in the images that come from the compression that goes into your image being made into a small file.

In short, shooting RAW will give you the pixels untouched and in the best quality.  Like I said, I want the best quality I can get.  So shooting RAW is a no-brainer, right?

It is not quite that simple.  

You could make the argument that RAW does not matter for most iPhone users since the images will be going to social media like Instagram and Facebook which add their own compression to the files and negate the effort of shooting RAW.  Not only that, the vast majority of these images are viewed on small mobile device screens and the images will not be carefully examined.  But not shooting RAW means that your image is being compromised two or three times -- the JPG compression of the phone is lowering your quality right away. Then when/if you make edits it saves the fie and applies the JPG compression again - compressing and damaging the pixels that have already been compressed.  Then when you post it the site runs their own compression scheme on the image, lowering the quality again.  If you shoot RAW to begin with you are getting the image at the best possible quality and getting rid of the first image compression step, so the image is higher quality when it goes to the social media site.

The ultimate answer is that you need to decide what works best for you.  If you have an iPhone 6 or older the point is moot - your phone will not let you do RAW files.  If you have a newer iPhone and can do RAW you still have to consider the larger file size (how much memory does your iPhone have to store the bigger picture files?)  and your own workflow.  Does the app you use support RAW? Google's app, Snapseed and ProCam 4 by Tap Tap Tap both have RAW support - but what about other apps like Aviary or Mextures or Photogene4? 

For me, if image quality is truly critical I am going to bring out my Nikon DSLR kit and shoot with the bigger sensor and higher quality lenses to get the best possible image.  That does not mean however that I am going to not shoot the best quality image I can get with my phone. I have the iPhone 6s with 128GB so I am not squeezed for space on my phone. For me, shooting RAW makes sense.

________________________

As a side note, until the official release of iOS 10 comes on Sept 13th I have to run the beta version.

Running the beta has proven that not everything works yet (that's why it is beta).  The app that got me really interested in iPhoneography is Hipstamatic. The app has hundreds of different lens and film combinations (filters, really) to get an amazing range of looks to your images.  In the beta version of iOS 10 the Hipstamatic app (and its sister app Oggl) do not work properly. The camera works, but being able to go into other images and apply the filter crashes the program.  In Oggl I cannot even add a photo to the editing section. 

I have been in contact with the people at Hipstamatic and they are hard at work making sure their app will be fully functional when the official non-beta release rolls out (scheduled) on Sept. 13  In the meantime I will just shoot with Hipstamatic like it was the classic version where you can't edit after the fact.

2016/09/05

Rewind - Canon Photo Safari

Back in 1999 to about 2003 both Nikon and Canon were doing televised photography programs.  The Canon version featured a celebrity paired with an expert photographer on trips around the world and was called the Canon Photo Safari which aired on ESPN. What is surprising to me is that there is virtually nothing about the shows available on the internet - nothing on Youtube.

Last night I stumbled across several old VHS video cassette tapes, including two that were filled with episodes of the show.  They include things like Michael Gross in Antarctica, Carol Alt in Egypt, and William Shatner in Israel and in Hawaii. 

On the Nikon side I remember Bob Krist hosting several episodes, though I cannot remember the name of the program or find any traces of it on the internet.  Anybody know it?

I no longer have regular TV, or cable or satellite - only Netflix, so watching the tapes is frustrating.  The program itself is decent with some good shooting tips that are not equipment specific. The issue is the endless string of commercials.  Could a TV show like this be made today? I think not.  With so many options on the internet, people making their own tutorials, YouTube and Vimeo, and a plethora of pros posting content to drive traffic to their sites, it would be pretty difficult to convince corporate execs to invest the money into their own TV shows.

Examples are things like Creativelive.com and Kelbyone for instruction and sharing. What sites and resources do you use for when you want to learn or get some inspiration?


2016/09/04

the Return of the Sports Shooter



 School is back in session, and along with it is the fantastic photography opportunity called High School Sports.

Certainly the athletes are not in the same zone as the professionals, but High school sports are so much better.  There is better access to the action, and real emotion and effort.

For the past two weekends my shooting has not only been to have images to use in the yearbook, but also to have my images published in The Gallup Independent. 

 
 The first images are from the Miyamura Patriots playing against the Valencia Jaguars today.  The Lady Patriots have been having a tough season and are 1-5 so far including today's 0-4 loss.

To see more of these photos check out the gallery on MaxPreps.com, which should be getting approved and going live in a day or two.


 Last night was the Patriot's second football game of the season, an their first home game.  They had a great game, defeating the Rio Grande Ravens 60-18.