Trials and Tribulations of a Photojournalist. April Edition

Posted: April 16, 2012 in Bushpigsposts', Photography.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Fishing sign seagulls

How time flies, we are a third of the year down the line already.In this blog one of the things I want to discuss is HDR. For those who are a bit hazy as to what HDR means let me explain. High Dynamic Range as explained by Wikipedia

In simpler terms, HDR is a range of techniques geared toward representing more contrast in pictures. Non-HDR cameras take pictures at a single exposure level with a limited contrast range. This results in the loss of detail in bright or dark areas of a picture, depending on whether the camera had a low or high exposure setting. HDR compensates for this loss of detail by taking multiple pictures at different exposure levels and intelligently stitching them together so that we eventually arrive at a picture that is representative in both dark and bright areas.

The two main sources of HDR imagery are computer renderings and merging of multiple low-dynamic-range (LDR) [4] or standard-dynamic-range (SDR)[5] photographs. Tone-mapping techniques, which reduce overall contrast to facilitate display of HDR images on devices with lower dynamic range, can be applied to produce images with preserved or exaggerated local contrast for artistic effect.

As with all new techniques, photographers are sometimes lured into overdoing the technique, the result ending up as extremely kitsch and not all that appealing photograph. Ken Kaminesky, a Canadian photographer, is a past master at using this technique skillfully and tastefully. Do yourself a favour and take a look at his blog

For good and bad examples one only has to Google the HDR sites to draw your own conclusions. Enough said.

What with Christenings and Great Nieces birthday parties, it seems to have been busier than normal on the social photography side. Not that I mind of course, but with a baptism you cannot mess up, so everything must be in working order. Spare batteries, spare card and a bit of planning as to where you can bounce your flash and bingo mission accomplished. Especially careful where this baptisim is concerned, as young James Wilken, is visiting his gran, with his folks from Australia,  a retake could be a pretty costly affair. Another thing that you as a photographer must do is back up your files before you do anything else. Thank goodness I did just that. While I was separating my Jepeg and Raw files to my external hard drive, it froze not letting me do a thing. My pictures were gobbled up in the hard drive and were deleted off my computer!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In a cold sweat I checked my back up and there they were sitting a long way from that nasty crashed external drive. Imagine what I would have said had I had ignored the cardinal rule? “Would you like the good news or the bad”  The good news is I have some pictures but the bad is that they are not of the baptism. Oppps!!!! So ALWAYS BACK-UP.

Now that Easter week-end has vanished in a puff of smoke and far too quickly, its back to the grindstone. With the price of petrol at the moment one has to think twice before jumping in to your car and doing a 300km trip just to get some pictures for either stock or picture library’s. So it looks like Addo would be the extent of the great trek rather than Plettenberg Bay for me. Our beginners class in March was a roaring success with enthusiasm second to none as each member cracked some aspect of the course and came to the next lecture with broad grins on their faces. A great night photography session at the Boardwalk, which never fails to impress our would be photographers as to how versatile their cameras can be, given the low light levels. I am hoping to do a practical out at Addo weather permitting, over the next holiday, Freedom Day. All past students are welcome to join these practicals as our policy has always been to include past and present members of our classes. I will confirm nearer the time.

Being a Nikon user for more years that I care to remember, I am pleased to see that the D800 has knocked the socks off any opposition cameras, with salivating features such as a whopping 36.3 mp FX format CMOS full frame sensor which puts this little beauty into the medium format range type cameras. A 4 fps burst is also not to be sneezed either at as well as the ISO range of 100 to 64,00 expandable to 25,600. WOW!!!!!!!

Nikon D800

Sadly a bit out of my price range unless I do a Lotto win in,  which case I will be first in the queue. No harm in dreaming, its the waking up that is a bit of a jolt. I shall still be happy to keep on using my trusty D80 and D200. I am always amused when people say ” That’s a nice camera you have, it must take very good pictures” my stock reply to this is “I am sure that very nice cooking range of yours makes mouthwatering food!’ Umph!!!

One of the good things about winter is that the late risers have less of a problem in catching the golden hour pre-dawn photography. Same applies to getting those stunning late evening water shots giving that soft silky look. Even if it means braving the cold, it will be well worth it. This time of the year is wonderful to catch the turning of seasons with its vibrant colours of yellows and oranges. On those crisp days the air is so clear you can see forever, without the usual haze we get in summer. So my parting shot to my faithful band of readers is to get out there and take advantage of natures wonderful offering at this time of the year and remember that essential piece of equipment, your tripod. Good shooting.

  1. Bruce Cooper says:

    Informative and interesting article. Well done, colonel!

  2. Ivan Edelson says:

    Ah, the ever intrepid Sir Tony ventures into the fray and debate “To HDR or Not To HDR?” that is a question only wise men with many years of experience can even begin to contemplate, so I will leave it to the experts (Defined as people who know more and more about less and less!)

    Enjoyed the Christening pics and the blog about what not to do. Strange, but the picture has a sense of de ja vu, having recently been anointed with the Holy water by the very self same Archedeacon David Grobbelaar! (4th March 2012), in the same church and at the same font.

    As to the debate on Nikon, well, you have always taught and shared that the equipment does not make good pictures, but rather an understanding of the equipment that allows for amateurs such as myself to experience and take relatively good photographs. Having used Canon for my entire photographic journey thus far, I am a little biased, so will not cross swords with you on this debate.

    Good to see that there may be an Addo trip in the offing, and if I am around and able, I would love to be there as well.

    Thats all for now (almost wrote a blog within a blog)
    Take care and keep up the good work. I do enjoy your style of writing
    Your respectful servant

    • bushpigpost says:

      So good to hear from you Ivan and hope your conference went astonishingly well. As you had, from what I can gather, a big part to play, I have no doubt that it went on greased wheels. Regarding christening what a small world and what a wonderfully charismatic character is our Archdeacon David. I hope you had some good pictures of your baptism. Canon/ Nikon, as you say is not the creator of the picture but the person behind the camera. When are you planning to leave SA as I would be quite happy to do a final one on one should the practicals not fit with your schedule.Let me know.
      Your mentor and servant

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