Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm A Photographer And My Own Worst Critic

Perhaps it is the perfectionist side of me or the technical nature of my mind, or perhaps it is just something any artistic individual experiences: a critical mind when reviewing ones own work. It can be so easy to pick apart our photographs and dismiss the image (either partially or fully) based on something minor, when many others would look at the photo and think it is a great shot.

Now, I had created a second Flickr account to use for photos set up for this blog. Photos I would put there would typically be set ups used to illustrate a blog post (such as the look at Darktable's profiled denoise option) and probably not be ones I wanted in my main Photostream that I considered my better photos.

Well, I took a photo of a Giant Pacific Octopus taken at the Seattle Aquarium and used it as a visual comparing the final results of a Darktable Developed RAW file next to a camera JPG developed in the GIMP program. I had nit-picked this photo because of the reflections in the glass that I didn't care for (my wife on the other hand thinks this is a cool photo) and dismissed it as not a Flickr Portfolio image. So instead, I chose to use it for the aforementioned RAW/JPG comparison article. For reference, the Darktable edited photo is displayed below:

Giant Pacific Octopus - Darktable Edit

Well, fast forward a bit and in a about a month and a half after posting it to Flickr and having it in my blog (the blog post has only a few views), the image above was added as a favorite once and has more views than any of my other photos. Maybe the Creative Commons license I assigned to it has something to do with the views, as other images posted with Creative Commons licenses have gained many more views than some of my favorite work (and the CC licensed photos are just boring comparison photos of toddler toys!). Or perhaps not, I will have no way of really knowing. Either way, I missed the boat there as that could have been plenty of views directed at my "Portfolio Pictures."

So are you your own worst critic too?



Monday, February 24, 2014

White Balance and a Photo's Final Look

White balance can have a subtle or even dramatic effect on the overall look and feel of a photograph. With modern digital camera's often all that is needed to improve the look of a photo is a slight adjustment to the color balance or white balance (which was the subject of one of my previous posts).

When we are talking about more than a subtle adjustments the difference can be more dramatic and the image takes on a whole different mood and feel. Take the image below, taken for a Digital Photography School assignment (Simple Things: Umbrella). This was a long exposure that has a unique look as a result of the ambient light being a street light (the umbrella itself is white and green).

Umbrella at Night

Now we look at the second edit below where the white balance was adjusted below 4000k (where the original was around 5700k). The yellow cast is nearly vanished, the sky a dark blue instead of black and the white in the umbrella looks white.

Umbrella At Night

Just one of the ways an images over all look and feel can be altered with a single change during post processing. Each of the above files were edited from the same RAW file with Darktable.



Monday, February 17, 2014

Rabbit Hunting with a Northern Goshawk

I haven't had any opportunities to photograph any of the local Hawk's as I usually see them perched on light poles or telephone wires while driving (usually on the freeway). That changed recently when I was able to join a friend on a rabbit hunt with his Northern Goshawk. I have always liked the birds and wanted to get some good photos of them as they are beautiful birds far away and even more so up close.

It was a great time and a good opportunity to work on my wild life/avian photography without the worry of only getting one shot of a Hawk in action before watching the bird fly away from the range of my equipment. Armed with my 55-300mm lens I was able to capture some good photos of the Hawk, unfortunately all but one of the shots taken of the bird in flight turned out blurry.

We also didn't have any luck on the rabbit hunt.  The Hawk did take off to chase after some small birds - which was quite cool to see just how fast the bird is - but didn't catch anything this time out.

Northern Goshawk on the Hunt
The Northern Goshawk Perched and on the Hunt

Northern Goshawk Taking Flight
The Northern Goshawk Taking Flight

Northern Goshawk Perched in a Blackberry Bramble
Perched in the Blackberry Brambles

Next time I will have an idea on what to expect, and leave the camera on single servo AF instead of continuous. The focus with continuous-servo didn't seem to be the best when the hawk was sitting still and with how close we were to the bird it was not practical to try and track and focus on him in flight.