Friday, 20 July 2012

Capturing Light...

in a mini mirror ball

Nikon D800  F/5.6  1/160s  ISO-200  PrAP  EV 0  120mm
Those pictures of raindrops and dewdrops always make me envious so I thought I'd grab a couple of shots as I was walking the dog to see what an initial attempt could produce.

A lot was left to be desired in the end, but some great learning took place and I reckon my next attempts could be much better based on this first experiment.

I've also taken the opportunity to show you what Nikon's sharpening tool in their supplied software does on the basic image.

I was about to say on the raw image, but in fact you might think it was a RAW image, which it isn't! I had put the camera onto the 'fine' JPG setting for some book shots where I really didn't need billions of MBs and forgot about it. So we're looking at a jpg from the camera resampled as another jpg for the smaller shot above, which has then been re-resampled by Blogger to bring it down from 500px to 400px - phew - what's left after all that?! (it's also not the exact same image as those below - that I destroyed during one of my manips - hehe)

Anyway, I cropped the image in ViewNX2 to get the composition you can see below.

The shot above has no sharpening applied to it. You can see that it's not sharp, due to my handholding the camera at a too slow 1/160s whilst squatting down and using the lens at it's longest focal length of 120mm. Not a recipe for sharpness in anyone's book! Oh, plus a slight breeze...

As I mentioned above, if I'd been doing it seriously I'd have used a tripod, a faster shutter speed, probably a higher ISO and looked for some drops which were better shielded from the wind.

You have to watch out for the reflections in the drops too of course. Here we're looking at a light grey cloudy sky I'm afraid. You have to get down low because if you're above the drops the green of the leaf shows through and the magical drop effect is completely lost.

In the second shot I used half of the power of the sharpness setting and you can see that it's got a bit sharper but not a lot.

I was then going to use the full power on the same image but the software decided to overwrite the original image with the new sharpened one. So the image below is the second image (above) sharpened at full power and here you can definitely see the difference.

The glassy bit of the drop is great, but where the leaf is showing through (magnified) is starting to look a bit strained (grained) as it were.

Still, from a JPG, albeit a huge one, and all the faults with the initial image, the result is pretty ok. The potential is certainly there, and I'll attempt a proper shot as soon as I can. A little red ladybird would be magical climbing up the leaf, wouldn't it?!


* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2012 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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