Friday, 25 March 2011

Spring Sunshine

The last couple of lunchtimes have been absolutely beautiful with lovely warm Spring sunshine.  Time to dust off the IR camera again, as the soft muted colours seem to fit well with metallic modern architecture.

As an antidote to the stark concrete and aluminium,here's something a little more natural...

I need to revisit the daffodils before they start to die back.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Ladybower Interpretations

Further to Frances's recent blog post, I think the picture of Ladybower could be interpreted successfully in many ways.  Here are two more to add to the mix: a hard monochrome; and a soft, dreamy, colour version.

I think the second one is my favourite.

Monday, 14 March 2011

It's a Dog's Life

Spotted while walking to the Post Office this lunchtime.

Another attempt at playing with Silver Efex Pro 2.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Checker Board

I treated myself to an X-Rite Color [sic] Checker Passport at Focus on Imaging on Tuesday.  It's a very clever piece of kit indeed, and a huge amount of thought has gone into its design.  The first test for it was to make a proper camera profile for my Panasonic LX3, as I've never been truly happy with the "Adobe Standard" version provided with ACR and Lightroom.  Skies always used to have a cyan cast, and some reds were pushed towards yellow/orange.

Based on an experiment which took all of 2 minutes in the car park at work, the results are very impressive.  All I did was to photograph the passport in daylight, then process the image in the Lightroom plugin which came with the product.  Out pops a colour profile which can then be applied to other images, and I've included a selection here.  In all cases, the original (Adobe) profile is on the left; the new (X-Rite) profile is on the right.

The ColorChecker Passport in action

It's possible to make "joint" profiles from pictures taken under two completely different lighting conditions (e.g. daylight and tungsten).  According to the documentation, this should improve the performance further in the sense that the profile generated should work for a greater variety of source images.  It's also possible to make custom profiles for specific situations simply by including the passport in one of the RAW pictures taken under the same lighting conditions as the rest of the set.  This should help enormously in colour-critical jobs, such as photographing paintings or quilting/textiles, or locations with mixed lighting such as church interiors.

I'll report further when I've had a chance to experiment with my other camera bodies...

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Experiments with Silver Efex Pro 2

I blame Ann for this (naturally) but I downloaded the demo version of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 yesterday.  This lunchtime was spent watching a number of tutorial videos, followed by a decision to "have a go".  All the pictures below were taken at the Black Country Museum on a miserably cold, wet day in December 2009.  They are all full-frame shots (i.e. no cropping or rotation) and none of the B&W conversions took longer than 5 minutes to perform.  I have to say that I'm dead impressed so far, but then I haven't shelled out any hard-earned dosh yet.  I might have to, though, especially as version 2 has some superb features which make it much more flexible and easier to use than version 1.