Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tug Dock Detail #1, Missouri River

I tried to take a picture of sky and water during a stroll along the Missouri River today, but the "keeper" came from this detail of a tug dock pylon. Nikon D700, ISO 200, Nikon 180mm f2.8, f/8.0@1/180s handheld. RAW file processed in Lightroom 2 to adjust WB from the Nikon's auto (6200 in this case) to Daylight and adjust contrast with curve adustments. Photoshop CS4 used to take out a bright green weed with the clone tool.

"Freedom Is Not Free"

Susan and I took a stroll along the Missouri river in the Kadi Trail Park and came upon this Veterans Memorial. Thankfully, all my friends who served in the military during in wartime actually returned home in realitively good shape. So when I think of the ultimate sacrifice, my thoughts go to several photojournalist friends who never came back from battle assignments. One in particular, Hiroshi Takanawa, a childhood friend and karate sparring partner, fell victim to a land mine just a few yards away from me. One thing led to another and I decided to imitate the "new photojournalism look" from Life magazine, circa 1969, where the pix were high contrast, layered with metaphors and photographers' shadows and reflections became part of the picture, no longer considered mistakes.

Nikon D700, ISO 1600, Cokin R72 Infrared filter, Nikon 24-85mm f2-f4, 24mm@f/8.0@1/25s. Under the right circumstances, the infrared filter really helps isolate graphic elements. RAW processed in Lightroom 2 by cropping to 1:1, some contrast adjust and applied standard Sepia preset.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Circus Flora, Before the Show

We took in Circus Flora for Father's Day. The set, lighting and costume design were a treat. Photography is not allowed during the show, so I snapped this just before it started. Nikon D700, ISO 3200, WB auto, Nikon 24-85mm f2.8-f4, 24mm @ f/3.3 @ 1/45s. RAW file processed in Lightroom 2. Pixel peeping shows the blacks are noise free. The auto WB did an amazing job with mixed tungsten and xenon. I pulled the tint down -11 to make the blue pop and used the adjustment brush to darken figures in the forground, but this is otherwise straight out of the camera.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lafayette Part Entrance #6

One of my favorite spots, mostly because it is across the street from the Chocolate Bar. If you see a night shot here, I probably just had a Bailey's Brownie, which is the case here. Nikon D700, ISO 3200, 50mm f1.8, f/2.8 @ 1/4s handheld, auto wb. RAW file processed in Lightroom 2 to crop, adjust wb, add yellow split tone and pull back highlights in curves. There is no visible noise in the shadows.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rodin's Bust of Victor Hugo

Tough subject for any camera - a shiny black bronze in a dark corner lit by a single spotlight. Nikon D700 and Nikon 50mm f/1.8, ISO 800, Nikon Portrait Preset, f/2.8 @ 1/30s. Slight crop in Lightroom 2.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reclining Pan, St. Louis Art Museum

Moved to a new hero spot amid new scholarship about the artist and the "Reviving Antiquity" focus at SLAM, the Reclining Pan gets quite a write up you should catch if you can. Nikon D700, ISO 800, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, f/4.0 @ 1/45s, tungsten white balance. Minor cropping and applied Nikon Camera Landscape calibration in Lightroom 2. There is no discernable noise in the blacks.

Candle, Bailey's Chocolate Bar

Snapped during a late dinner at Bailey's Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Square. We were sitting outside, so the only light was from a few candles and a window looking into the restaurant.
Technical: Nikon D700, ISO 6400, +0.5 exp, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, f/2.8 @ 1/90s, auto white balance. RAW file processed in Lightroom 2 to crop and set Nikon Camera Landscape calibration.
The real story here is white balance and ISO performance. The auto white balance is perceptually spot on. I find that Nikon does a remarkable job with difficult white balance, but sometimes falls down on mundane conditions. The noise level in the blacks is remarkably low for the ISO. I recently made some pictures at ISO 3200 (see Tivoli Sign, Girlfriend Experience) and really don't see much difference in noise.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beauty Dish

I bought the Profoto AcuteB power pack and head for location work and as a bonus (40th anniversary of Profoto) I got $1000 worth of light modifiers. I chose their Softlight beauty dish with a grid and a 1x3 strip softbox.

This is my first experiment with the new modifiers. The dish is camera left in approximately a 45/45 position and very close. I'm using the 1x3 strip camera right and slightly behind. There's a little shine from the dish and the strip probably should have been a little weaker, but the effect is pretty nice.

It almost makes me look three dimensional.

There are no adjustments to the image - this is right out of the camera except for the crop. This is also the first time I used the custom WB feature, using a gray card to customize white balance in the D3.

D3, Nikkor 105mm f/2, 1/100 @ f8, ISO 200

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Moonrise, June 6, 2009

The full moon breaking above the tree line in my back yard at about 9:30 PM this evening.  I grabbed the camera because the clouds looked downright surreal.  Nikon D700, ISO 200, Nikon 180mm f2.8 ("Leni lens"), manual exposure f/4.0 @ 1/8s.  RAW file processed in Lightroom 2.0, cropped and applied Nikon Landscape profile.  The camera's auto color balance captured my perception very well. 

Rivet Study #1, Chain of Rocks Bridge

Portrait of a rivet on the old Chain of Rocks Bridge.  Nikon D100, ISO 200, Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8, Cokin circular polarizer, f/16 @ 1/250s.  

Tivoli Sign, The Girlfriend Experience

From my most recent trip to the Tivoli theater to see "The Girlfriend Experience", taken from the street.  Nikon D700, ISO 1600, Nikon 24-85mm f2.8 - f4.0, 50mm @ f/8.0 @ 1/250s, handheld.  There is some noise in the deep shadows and blacks, but I think the quality is very usable.  What's really impressive here is the highlight detail.