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Thread: Project 2013 by Letrow

  1. #1
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Project 2013 by Letrow

    I liked the Project 52 that a lot of the members did last year. Nice to see what some of the others were up to and also something that forced me to produce photos on a regular basis.

    My goal last year was (see Project 52 by Letrow here):
    Quote: I think my goal should be (and I am not totally sure I can keep up with this discipline during the year) to produce a numer of photos that are outside my usual comfort zone (or rather what I like photographing best).
    My photographs are usually done by using natural light and the amount of PP in Gimp is limited to basic things like levels and sharpening. For this project I will try to use my flashlight more often to find out more on the possibilities it offers. Furthermore Gimp has a lot of options that I should explore as well.

    Unquote

    I did a lot of the above and other new things, not only with the camera, but also in Gimp. I feel though (looking at what some of the other Projecters did in 2012) that there is still a lot left undone.

    I am not as ambitious as in January 2012, although the ambition is almost the same. What I mean is that I am not going to force myself to produce a photo each week. I have to enjoy the project and it is meant for myself.

    If any of you readers want to comment on what I do, please feel free! I really like the feedback, as it helps me to improve.
    It is not the goal though. First and foremost this thread is for myself, to keep track of what I want to do outside of the macro photos. And also to force myself into action.

    With that I think I have set the ground rules for myself, so time to get on with it.

    Edit: Geoff is doing a project 2013 as well, see his thread here.
    Last edited by Letrow; 13th January 2013 at 03:01 PM.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    The first thing I want to do is produce some black and white photos that I like. Black and white is difficult though, especially if you want to balance nice green with blue skies. Sometimes different filters have to be used and I am trying to find out what works best in Gimp.
    There is the decompose option of course (well, first of all there is desaturate, but that isn't really serious). Decompose works fine, but I wanted to work with layers instead, so that is what I did with the following photos.

    The second thing is sharpening. After having used various sharpening methods, I had been using smart sharpening lately, but then last week I discovered the high pass filter. The advantage of the high pass filter is that it does not produce any halos around edges. It gives you a gray layer with the outlines of everything that has edges and that is what you overlay on the photo layer. The end result is a very nice sharpen effect, subtle, but visible.
    I have to say that the Nikon D600 does not need much sharpening. Photos are pretty much ready when they come out of the camera.

    Project 2013 by Letrow
    Dark tree, green foliage and no sky to speak of (just white really). So after some experimenting I found that a red filter worked best here.
    Workflow was Levels, Vibrance, desaturate and overlay (for contrast), then B&W conversion with red mask and finally a high pass sharpening.

    Project 2013 by Letrow
    Basically the same workflow as I used above, but here I had to find a solution for the sky and the foreground. The sky was a nice blue, so I wanted that to show up in the final B&W. The foreground though needed a blue filter to bring out detail in the sand on the right front.
    So what I did here was use two conversion, one with a blue filter and the other with an orange filter. I then used overlay and fiddled till the exposure was as I wanted it.

    Project 2013 by Letrow
    Photo taken with a polarization filter to give a bit more saturation and bring out more detail in the water.
    The sky was the same nice blue as on the previous photo, so here also I had to overlay two filter conversions to B&W to get to the end result.
    Sharpening is a high pass sharpening once more.

    After reading a bit more on Ansel Adams' work I am also exploring the possibilities of the polarization filter. I know that some people don't believe in its use, but if a photographer like Ansel used it to his benefit, I guess that I can learn from that, so I'll follow that path (now and then).
    Last edited by Letrow; 10th January 2013 at 08:04 PM.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    A few more B&W from my holiday in France

    Project 2013 by Letrow
    Cows against a clear blue sky

    Project 2013 by Letrow
    Barns in the mist

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Am I correct in thinking that when I view your last landscape image at full screen size, I can see a mast disguised as a tree in the top right corner?

    The cows are certainly from an interesting angle, which I suppose is how they look to small animals.

    I have experimented with polarisation filters but have always ended up preferring a bit of exposure compensation instead. And a little extra work with blend modes etc.

    It is something which I keep intending to try again. And alternative sharpening techniques are another option which I briefly flirted with but never had any real satisfaction. Although I do sometimes use Smart Sharpen.

    In the days of film, filters were more important; which is why the great film photographers of a few years back regularly used them.

    I am also intending to carry on with this new project 52 and post something very soon. But lately, besides the drab UK weather, I have had a few other projects taking up my time.

    For example, I have produced some slideshows of local insects which play for nearly a hour in total; with a narration which I have done rather badly. Photographing them is easier for me than trying to talk word perfectly into a recording machine!

    Also, I have had to do a bit of archive scanning for the local history society, with a lot more still waiting in the box. And we have some projects for recording local stories from our older citizens this year. That will be very time consuming.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Hi Peter,

    Well done for starting over, I never even got into the twenties last year

    I like the cows and barns today.

    I guess it helps they are naturally inquisitive
    (the cows, that is)

    Cheers,

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Am I correct in thinking that when I view your last landscape image at full screen size, I can see a mast disguised as a tree in the top right corner?

    The cows are certainly from an interesting angle, which I suppose is how they look to small animals.

    I have experimented with polarisation filters but have always ended up preferring a bit of exposure compensation instead. And a little extra work with blend modes etc.

    It is something which I keep intending to try again. And alternative sharpening techniques are another option which I briefly flirted with but never had any real satisfaction. Although I do sometimes use Smart Sharpen.

    In the days of film, filters were more important; which is why the great film photographers of a few years back regularly used them.

    I am also intending to carry on with this new project 52 and post something very soon. But lately, besides the drab UK weather, I have had a few other projects taking up my time.

    For example, I have produced some slideshows of local insects which play for nearly a hour in total; with a narration which I have done rather badly. Photographing them is easier for me than trying to talk word perfectly into a recording machine!

    Also, I have had to do a bit of archive scanning for the local history society, with a lot more still waiting in the box. And we have some projects for recording local stories from our older citizens this year. That will be very time consuming.
    You should continue when the weather gets better and the workload lightens
    Yes, that is some sort of mast over there. I haven't been closer, but it isn't natural. I'll investigate next time, see what it really is.

    Polarization filters need careful use, but can be useful in certain situations. Your angle to the sun is important, straight into the sun or with the sun at your back doesn't do much for your photograph. A 90 degree angle though...

    Also, but I have to work on this, a polarization filter can be useful on grey, wet days. I have only used it in the sun so far, for that blue sky effect, but even when it is overcast there is polarized light. Some textures should be better than without the filter.
    And it costs you 1 or 2 stops, so in certain situations it can probably have the same effect as a ND filter.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    This week a look at landscapes with the 70-200mm lens. Not much PP. What I did in Gimp was Levels, Vibrance, Crop and High Pass filter for sharpness.

    Project 2013 by Letrow

    Project 2013 by Letrow

    Project 2013 by Letrow

    Nice winter weather, no snow. Temperature below freezing point, so I had to practise shooting with gloves on. Bless those big DSLR buttons.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    A quick photo of the first snow we had this year

    Project 2013 by Letrow

    The Nikkor 12-24mm F/4 DX performs pretty good on the FX camera, as long as you stay in the 18-24mm range. That means that you still have an awesome wide angle.
    Slight rotation in Gimp and the basic PP (Levels, white point, vibrance, desaturation overlay and high pass filter).

    The guy just stepped into the frame as I pressed the button with my (gloved) finger.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    The guy just stepped into the frame as I pressed the button with my (gloved) finger.
    But he makes the photo.

    His stepping into the untouched snow brings dynamic to a otherwise rather static picture.
    And his position in the pic couldn't be better.
    It would be pretty hard to arrange something like that.
    I like it.

    Cheers
    Wolf

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    Yes, that is some sort of mast over there. I haven't been closer, but it isn't natural. I'll investigate next time, see what it really is.
    .
    Could be an antenna mast from a cell phone company.
    Here where I live they disguise them sometimes as palm trees, no less.
    At a distance they fool you and even when you are closer you have to look twice

    Cheers
    Wolf

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    In a perfect world, the figure would have been one foot further forward so the tree isn't 'growing from his head'

    But he certainly adds a bit of colour and interest to the foreground.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Quote Originally Posted by AgfaB2 View Post
    But he makes the photo.

    His stepping into the untouched snow brings dynamic to a otherwise rather static picture.
    And his position in the pic couldn't be better.
    It would be pretty hard to arrange something like that.
    Wolf
    Yeah, I agree. One of the advantages of wide-angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    In a perfect world, the figure would have been one foot further forward so the tree isn't 'growing from his head'

    But he certainly adds a bit of colour and interest to the foreground.
    The tree I agree on, but the step forward I don't know. This looks funny somehow. Best of all, the only crop I had to make was because of the rotation the photo needed, which left me with small gray borders (one of the disadvantages of wide-angle).

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    I am bit into landscapes this week, mostly because of the snow we have. Rare occasion in the Netherlands nowadays. Only thing that is missing is a blue sky.

    Project 2013 by Letrow

    At the same time it gives me an opportunity to use the Ricoh GX200. I have been looking new compacts and have my doubts still. First of all, do I need a compact to complement the D600? The argument of course is that you can always carry a compact with you and won't miss any photo opportunities.
    The new Sony RX100 seems like a great deal, but unfortunately you get it at a hefty price and I am not sure whether I really need it.

    So, the Ricoh came with me once more and TBH the camera keeps surprising me. If you have sufficient light the photo quality is actually quite good. Even macros come out really well.
    It has noise though, so shooting in the dark has to be handled with care. Expose for the lights and then the dark parts of the photo should be ok. Go for matrix metering though and the end result might be disappointing and noisy.
    I can probably live with the Ricoh for a while yet.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    It has handled that high contrast scene nicely.

    Those arching branches at the top concentrate the view onto that distant bridge.

    We had snow in the UK today; but just more rain on the far south west coast where I live.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    I am bit into landscapes this week, mostly because of the snow we have. Rare occasion in the Netherlands nowadays. Only thing that is missing is a blue sky.
    Hello Peter,

    I actually like the scene as you have presented it. A gray or blanched sky with snow and winter scenery in general provides a stark realistic quality that would not exist with a blue sky, at least in my opinion. Nice work.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Thanks Geoff. I always like the opportunity a bit of snow presents. Nice white, contrasting with some other colours. I hate the traffic jams it causes though.
    Yesterday we had fierce wind with snow and I had snow getting inside my house and garage here and there. First and hopefully last time. Snow was decimeters high in some places.
    Surprisingly, this morning was one of the quickest in terms of traffic. I think a lot of people were taking no chances and the few lucky ones that did go (me) had an almost empty road.

    @Lon: You might be right Lon. But you have to imagine someone living in the Netherlands. We don't get many blue skies, so we are always pining for one to happen in front of our camera.

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Two shots made in Haarlem. The building on the right is Drogisterij A.J. van der Pigge, one of the oldest shops in Haarlem. A drogisterij is a drugstore/chemist, but this one is the old fashioned kind, where they really sell chemicals still, rare herbs and the such. This webpage http://www.vanderpigge.nl/ will give you a view of the interior.
    I used to buy chemicals here, so that I could mix it with sugar and create my own Bengaals Vuur (kind of firework that burns intense and for a longer time in different colours).

    There is a nice story attached to this store: when V&D, one of the big department stores in Holland wanted to build their store they bought all the shops in that block. The wanted to level them all and rebuild. Well, Van der Pigge refused to sell, so the big department store was built around and above it. You can see a bit of the department store to the left of Van der Pigge. It is still like that and everybody is used to it of course.

    On the facade, above the door, is a 'Gaper' (a yawner). All the drugstores used to have one above their doors, so that people could recognize them. This is one of the few that are left in the Netherlands.

    Project 2013 by Letrow
    Nikkor 50mm F/1.8D: 1/160 at F/6.r and ISO100

    Project 2013 by Letrow
    Nikkor 12-24mm F/4 at 18mm: 1/80 at F/11 and ISO400

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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Nice images for a "furiner' like myself to view, Peter. In the wider view I count ten bicycles and just one car - not counting ever how many bikes are on the bike stand in front of the building under construction on the left, or how many more if I wanted to pixel peep. A very inviting portrayal.

  19. #19
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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Howard View Post
    Nice images for a "furiner' like myself to view, Peter. In the wider view I count ten bicycles and just one car - not counting ever how many bikes are on the bike stand in front of the building under construction on the left, or how many more if I wanted to pixel peep. A very inviting portrayal.
    We are a bike country Lon and we don't wear helmets. I am always surprised when I go to the US and see almost every biker wearing a helmet there (and then of course the real (motor) bikers, who neeed helmets even more don't wear helmets in some states).
    In the Netherlands traffic is used to bikes and bikers are treated very carefully. In case of accidents with cars, even if it is the bikers fault, the car driver will be held responsible. Of course bikers do take advantage of this rule and run red lights all the time.

    I am a pretty experienced biker (also on motor BTW), but I would hesitate to get on a bike in the New York streets with all those taxis and buses going at tremendous speeds.

  20. #20
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    Re: Project 2013 by Letrow

    Looking for colour and wide-angle opportunities:

    Project 2013 by Letrow

    The 12-24mm works great on the FX camera from 18-24mm. If you go wider than 18, the vignetting kicks in severely.
    I am contemplating trading it in for a 16-35mm FX lens, which would give me a better walk around lens.

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