Misquoting, Misconstruing, and Misstating

I read and interesting article from Thom Hogan

Misquoting, Misconstruing, and Misstating
April 23 (commentary)--
"...But the whole web of Web viralness shows a remarkable problem that's getting more and more common these days. First, we have misstatement and hyperbole. This is then misconstrued by many into something even more outrageous. At which point we eventually end up with complete misquotes that enhance the misconstruction. Lord help us, isn't anyone teaching English, logic, clarity, or fact-checking these days? Have all the reporters in the world disappeared and been replaced by bloggers who don't have time to actually check the source?"

Adobe releases Adobe Camera Raw for Photoshop And Lightroom

Adobe just released Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) 5.7 for Photoshop CS4 and 2.7 for Lightroom 2.

The release includes support for several new camera models and an upgraded RAW processing engine (Camera Raw 5.7 includes an updated demosaic algorithm designed to provide compatibility with settings applied in Lightroom 3.)

The read me files for Lightroom are here
The read me files for Photoshop CS4 are here

Download Photoshop 5.7 for Windows here
Download Photoshop 5.7 for Mac here

Download Lightroom 2.7 for Windows here
Download Lightroom 2.7 for Mac here

I haven't had a chance to look at the new RAW processing engine yet, so stay tuned.

Do you own a DSLR?

I was wondering how many owned a DSLR with interchangable lenses and understood as well as used them in anything other than Auto mode. They are quite powerful tools and learning to move beyond Auto is probably why you bought your camera in the first place. I am sure you have probably discovered by now, a DSLR can take just as bad a picture as a point and shoot and you might be wondering why your shots arent looking like the "Pro's" with those expensive DSLR's.

The new Nikon AF-S 16-35 f4 VR lens

Nikon 16-35mm f/4G ED VR II AF-S IF SWM Wide Angle Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
I recently added the Nikon 16-35 f4 VR to my lens collection. I already have the Nikon 17-35 f2.8, which is a very nice sharp wide angle zoom that performs well stopped down for landscapes. I was intrigued by the new Nikon lens and thought I would pick one up and try it out. The MTF charts on the Nikon web site indicated the new 16-35 was quite a bit sharper in the center and the edges/corners than the 17-35. If the 17-35 could use improvement, it was the edges and corners and an extra 1mm on the wide side wouldn't hurt either.

After testing the 16-35 against the 17-35 for 2 days I was satisified it would meet my landscape needs and brought it along on my recent trip to the Eastern Sierra to test it out in the real world for the type of shooting I do. After using it for a week and looking at the files it produced I can say it adds a special something to my shots I cant quite explain but I can see, almost a 3D type effect in some shots. There is quite a bit of barrel distortion at the wide end, a bit more than my 17-35, but for most landscape shooting it is not noticeable. At 16mm, perspective distortion will be the major issue one will have to deal with anyway and all wide lenses cant avoid that. I have started using focus stacking with some of my images, this lens is quite suitable for this purpose as there is very little focus breathing. The one troubling "feature" with this lens is the small distance from close focusing to infinity on the focus ring. It is very difficult if you manually focus for DOF to get the proper distance set. Of course, if there is something at the correct hyper focal distance you can auto focus on that. Though that isnt always going to be the case and manual focus will need to be set occaisionally. I added a small white paint spot on the focus ring at 3 feet to help me get the distance correct when focusing manually.

This shot taken with the 16-35, f11 at 16mm, as you can tell from this, barrel distortion isnt an issue. The only time it would be a problem is if the horizon was near the extreme top or bottom of the frame. To my eyes, the lens renders the shot much more pleasing than my 17-35 would have done.

The Southwest

One of my favorite places to photograph is the southwest. I recently went on a trip with friend and fellow landscape photographer Kevin McNeal. Part of the time we spent some frustrating days waiting out snow storms. But patients pays off sometimes as we were able to capture some of these areas with some dramatic light and snow. Many of the places we visited were iconic, but we didn't have these in our portfolios. We also went during the dead of winter since most National Parks are captured during the spring through fall seasons.

Three advantages going in off-season are 1: A lot less people to deal with 2: The chance of snow in areas that you don't see much of it in photographs 3: The weather and light tend to be more dramatic. Finally, there were a couple other photographers at this spot when I started, but by the time this light happened they had given up and had gone home. Patience is not only a virtue, it is essential for capturing that magic light we look for.The first image of the Watchman (above) would have been a difficult capture with a Graduated Neutral Density Filter which I would normally use. I shot this as 2 exposures, one for highlights and one for shadows then I combined them in post processing to give the same type of effect as if I had used a filter on the camera.
Another iconic spot, but also done a bit differently than what you will normally see. This is Turret Arch through North Window. You can make your shots a little different than everyone else's by composing from different angles, or shooting at a different time of day. That is what was done with this shot. The most common time of day from this location is just as the sun hits the rock face of the North Window. I shot this a few minutes before sunrise with a longer exposure to capture some of the stars that can be seen in a larger version of this shot.

This last shot was 2 exposures combined in Photoshop, not because of a difficult exposure, but to achieve better sharpness throughout the photograph. The focal length was 26mm and the foreground was very close so I had a shallower depth of field to deal with. I shot one image focused for the foreground and one focused further into the scene. Photoshop has a new feature that allows the photographer to use the the sharpest parts of several images to create one very sharp image throughout. I combined the 2 shots for exceptional sharpness that could not have been achieved in a single shot.