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Thread: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

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    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    I know it is already the first week of February... but I do have photos from weeks 1-4 that I want to share and will start with those shortly. For me, the impetus for starting this project 52 is as simple as making a weekly commitment to this site. I always learn so much whenever I visit CiC; whether reading feedback people give on various photos; receiving critique on my own; critiquing others, or the many other forms of advice so freely shared. But I've fallen into the habit of being here "in waves"... usually the lull between crests of "busy-ness" at work or in life generally. I'd like to make a commitment to come to the site at least weekly to both read and share so that my learning and reflection are more constant.

    Please feel free to critique and offer any advice on the photos I share. All comments are very welcome. I'm also happy if people wish to rework something to illustrate the point they are making.

    So let me get rolling...

    1/52 - Glow of the City
    From one of my favourite outlooks; Hervey's Range. The night sky overlooking Townsville. This was my first attempt at a starry night sky even though I'd been reading, learning and interested for some time. I got a new 14mm f/2.8 Samyang lens for Xmas mostly for this specific purpose and wanted to try it out. It was quite windy which didn't make for the best conditions for the long exposure, but I was pleased with my first attempt. Though it felt a bit noisy and overprocessed.

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    2/52 - Why I love early mornings
    My new camera arrived and this was one of my first outings with it. I was still trying to orient myself with the new found "wideness" of my wide-angle lenses. I wasn't especially happy with the sharpness in the foreground. I was reminded that I now have new hyperfocal distance tables to learn...

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    3/52 - My old girl
    My goal in taking this photo initially was to practice with back-lit subjects to get more of a feel for the metering in the D600. It evolved into a post-processing learning experience from there. I actually posted a thread asking for help, which I duly received. My beautiful old girl has bad cataracts and I was trying to make a realistic looking brown iris. Thread is here. Resultant photo below:

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    4/52 - Two images to share:
    4/52 (a) A birthday present
    Received a camera bag in my favourite colour for my birthday. So took a photo to show my appreciation. While it is nothing especially technical, it moved away from my usual landscapes and dog photos. It was a bit of a learning experience getting to move and position the subject in the light and within the frame rather than moving myself to frame the scene. A subtle difference, but it was an interesting experiment.

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    4/52(b) Another beach sunrise
    Happier with my focus in this attempt at the beach. I also learned that morning that I MUST block out the eyepiece for long exposures with the new camera. I was trying a 30sec exposure of this same scene but ended up with a harsh light streak on the images. While I mostly got away with just a hand sheilding the viewfinder with my D90; that is not adequate anymore. So this experience led to me reading my instruction manual for live view which I've never really used before.

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace
    Last edited by PhotoByTrace; 4th February 2013 at 08:21 AM. Reason: Added final image and reflection

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace
    That is a tremendous image.

    I think I know what you mean when you write 'over-processed'. But as a work of art using photography as the medium with which to create it, it's stupendous.

    I couldn't see any EXIF data and I'd very much appreciate you giving us not onylo the shooting info, but also the post-processing workflow, if you can remember it.

    And, by the way, weeks 2 - 4 are good images as well. I think the shot of the new bag is a very good and creative composition.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Nice photos Trace. That starry night is nice, but as Donald said some essential information is lacking. I would be interested in the exposure time, as you are dealing with stars, so they will be moving a bit during the photo.
    And noise...at what ISO did you shoot this?

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Hi guys, you were quick off the mark! Thanks for the feedback and the queries.
    The first image was shot with a 14mm prime lens on a D90. It is a 6 image pano. Each exposure was shot in raw: 15secs at f/2.8 and ISO 1600. Post-processing was to add some exposure and noise reduction to each image and sync using Lightroom, then sent to Photoshop to stitch. Then back to LR for lots of contrast, some clarity and vibrance.

    I "reshot" this image at the same location again on Saturday night as we had clear skies and I wanted to see how different the full-frame results would be. There was also a moon rise due at 11pm so thought I'd try to combine both. Still the 14mm prime but on a D600. I used 20sec exposures as I'd gone to the larger sensor so had more time before the star trails would become apparent. After shooting at ISO1600 I decided to try a bit more ISO, so this was shot at 2000. Again 6 images stitched but covering more of a span this time. Similar post-processing, brought out the shadows 100% and altered white balance before sending it to Photoshop for stitching, then back to Lightroom for a touch of clarity and vibrance. Perhaps a little too understated.
    This is the result:
    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    Perhaps a little too understated.
    No, I don't think so. A different image, but no less enjoyable to view.

    I think, if anything, the horizon is in a better place within the frame in this one than in the first, but I don't think that tall tree is as well positioned. I feel it's too central in this latter shot.

    But we are, of course, getting in to discussion on points of detail on what are, wonderful images.
    Last edited by Donald; 4th February 2013 at 09:03 AM.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Great set of shots Trace. Your starry night image had me humming the old Don Maclean song "Vincent" which is not totally irrelevant given he was singing about great artistry.

    I didn't know you could get camera bags like that - very smart. That photo could be used by either Kelly Moore or Nikon for sales promotion. It really hits the spot.

    Your sunrise shots are up to their usual high standard.

    Dave

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Hi, Trace,

    An involuntary "whoa!" erupted from me when I glimpsed this. You're onto something here. The sky to me is perfection. The foreground may be a tad too light diffusely, and I wonder if you're familiar with Dave Black's light painting techniques for landscapes, which allows much more selective lighting that has wonderful highlights. Looking forward to more of this.
    Well done

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    4/52 (a) A birthday present ... Received a camera bag in my favourite colour for my birthday.
    You lucky lady.

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    I didn't know you could get camera bags like that - very smart.
    Just been looking at the website here. Nice birthday present.

    Also, the KM photography website is very nice to look through.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    No, I don't think so. A different image, but no less enjoyable to view.

    I think, if anything, the horizon is in a better place within the frame in this one than in the first, but I don't think that tall tree is as well positioned. I feel it's too central in this latter shot.

    But we are, of course, getting in to discussion on points of detail on what are, wonderful images.
    Thanks Donald! Sometimes I love that tree and at other times I don't. There used to be a cluster of similarly mature trees in this location and when cyclone Yasi hit 2 years ago this was the only one left standing. I often use it within my photos up there, and am always cursing when I want to use a reverse gnd as I end up with the tell-tale hard graduation across it. In this instance I agree with you, I did briefly consider trying to clone it out and may still crop some of the far left of the frame out.
    You lucky lady.
    Yes, I am. It was a gift from a group of friends who I train and compete in dog agility with. In their words this was a thank you for the images I take of their dogs in action. I was awed by their generosity, especially in return for something I do because I get enjoyment from it.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Thanks Dave for the comments, much appreciated! And yes, a starry starry night - I always enjoy that song (and I'll probably have the words going round in my head for hours now )

    Hi Kevin! Glad you like the image. I agree with the light painting, it is something I am practicing and hope to include in the future. I did a little on Saturday night, but I didn't like my results; too heavy-handed. It is going to take lots of "takes" to see what works, which torches provide the diffused result I'm looking for and to get the technique right. Alternative is blending different exposures and then painting in the dark room. Think I'll be trying both in the coming year.
    I was first inspired by Yan Zhang's photos here on CiC to learn more about capturing the stars. I think it will be good in my winters when we get endless clear night skies that are still comfortably mild and in an area where the light pollution is relatively low.
    Last edited by PhotoByTrace; 4th February 2013 at 05:05 PM.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Very good photos.

    I wonder if the 'over processed' look from the original #1 is due to a little over sharpening of a dark scene.

    Shadows usually look best when slightly soft.

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    5/52

    This image was taken just a few minutes after I completed the pano above. I changed out lenses to try to capture the moon before it got too high. This was taken at 200mm and cropped a little. It is 2 exposures blended manually. Both were at f/8 and ISO 1600; the moon was 1/80th sec and the cliffs were 5secs. In post processing I just used a layer mask to graduate the blending between the two images. I used a high pass sharpen with a relatively high radius (I think it was in the 6-7 pixel range) to define the cliffs from the background more. I wish I'd taken down my ISO more to just reduce the graininess I was getting at the 200mm, but I was trying to get in several shots before the moon had risen too high.

    When I was taking the image, the picture in my mind had four or five of the brightest stars in the image also. So there was also a third, 10 sec exposure, which did indeed capture a few stars that weren't trailing too much, but at that length exposure the moon lit up the sky too much for the blend to work as I'd hoped.

    I used a little creative license on the shades of purple... I was adjusting white balance and separate rgb channels to bring the moon back from yellow to a more neutral grey as I wanted a cooler image then the yellow/oranges I shot it at... and so I ended up with shades of purple.

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Thanks Geoff. Yes, I used a lot of "clarity" in that initial image across the full image. It would probably look better with less of that in the foreground especially.
    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Very good photos.

    I wonder if the 'over processed' look from the original #1 is due to a little over sharpening of a dark scene.

    Shadows usually look best when slightly soft.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    6/52
    I've been in Papua New Guinea for work for the past 17 days. I'd hoped I would be able to upload from there, but my Internet connection was not sufficient. So again I am catching up...
    A hornbill... up close and personal.

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    7/52
    A musician entertaining at the town markets.

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    8/52
    A young boy helping his mother at the town markets. Such a solemn expression.

    Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    If you are interested, there are more photos from my visit here

    I rarely take "people" photos and am always quite uncomfortable taking photos of strangers in public, so my photos at the markets in PNG were challenging for me on a personal level.
    Last edited by PhotoByTrace; 24th February 2013 at 10:39 AM.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Hi, Trace. I thoroughly enjoyed your series here and on Facebook. I hope there are more to come. Your DoF control was exquisite and really enhanced and concentrated our focus on your subjects ( the purses might be the only exception). Well done. You've really done some interesting thngs of late.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Hi Trace,

    I really enjoy your people shots on your facebook page, most of them don't look posed at all and the fact that you were able to get so many of them in the same area shows that the people grew comfortable with you. You should surely develop this kind of photography. The one thing to work on for now that I can see is to try to get all of the heads in the frame...hard to do consistently when you're working quickly in an unfamiliar genre. Lovely work!

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    That one of the young boy, above, is an excellent portrait. That's one of those images that is not just about what we see, but gets right into the heart and soul of the subject. A very poignant image.
    Last edited by Donald; 24th February 2013 at 08:26 PM.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Quote Originally Posted by kdoc856 View Post
    Hi, Trace. I thoroughly enjoyed your series here and on Facebook. I hope there are more to come. Your DoF control was exquisite and really enhanced and concentrated our focus on your subjects ( the purses might be the only exception). Well done. You've really done some interesting thngs of late.
    Thanks Kevin. I've been trying to extend my photography and try new subjects and techniques. It is unlikely I will be back to PNG this year, but I will try taking my camera more often to any events and gatherings I'm attending.
    I really enjoy your people shots on your facebook page, most of them don't look posed at all and the fact that you were able to get so many of them in the same area shows that the people grew comfortable with you. You should surely develop this kind of photography. The one thing to work on for now that I can see is to try to get all of the heads in the frame...hard to do consistently when you're working quickly in an unfamiliar genre. Lovely work!
    Thanks Lon. My camera did actually give me a sense of purpose while there, though I often felt I didn't capture the moment or the atmosphere as I would have liked. Framing photos and adjusting aperture on the fly was a new challenge to me and many times I chose too shallow. I'm more "at home" with a tripod and time to think about my settings, so it was a good challenge. I am happy that I came away tangible reminders of the people and the products that help trigger the memory of not only the sights, but the sounds and smells as well.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    That one of the young boy, above, is an excellent portrait. That's one of thos eiamegs that is not just about whatw e see, but gets right into the heart and soul of the subject. A very poignant image.
    Thanks Donald. This was my favourite image from the trip to the town markets. There is so much I like about the photo, though my inner-critic will also say the focus isn't 100% right.

    After this experience I'm suspecting that my lens may be rear focussing. Perhaps I wasn't as accurate as I want to be, but many of my images have sharp focus on the eye/ear furtherest away from the camera. I had noticed it with dog portraits, but put it down to the dog's movement. I'm now not so sure... I will need to test.

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    Re: Project 52 by PhotoByTrace

    Lovely photos... And yes, that first photo is simply stunning.. Also love the dog shot and the purse with the camera.

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