I wanted to try something different today, shooting in sunlight. After reading the suggestions about doing things manually, I put a 40 year old Nikon E-Series lens on my Nikon Df. No auto-focus, no meter coupling, no nothing. So I put the camera in (M)anual mode, tried to keep the lens wide open so the Miami skyline in the background would be blurry, set the ISO to 200, and used what seemed to be a reasonable speed by looking at the histograms in the viewfinder. Ideally, I wanted to capture a photo of the boats in front of the Miami skyline, but I wanted something in the photo to give it life. Camera was set a AdobeRGB as recommended here. White balance was set at 5500, but all my images looked “too blue” so I corrected that with the PL4 eyedropper tool.
The photo below came closest to what I was after - I saw the small boat approaching the larger boat, and took three photos as they passed - I noticed the guys talking to each other, but I hadn’t expected that. I was tempted to enhance the sky, but didn’t. I did use “Local Adjustments” to lighten up the two people. I cropped it so it looks “balanced” to me - if I squint my eyes, the various shapes seem to fit together nicely.
I’m probably still not doing things the way Gregor would suggest, but I think I’m closer. Joanna told me to be especially careful with the white painted parts of the boats, and on several shots the white did get blown out. The sunlight was coming and going, and it was a struggle to keep up.
I guess I’m really spoiled on all the things my cameras try to do for me. It’s strange to have every one of them turned off.
I like the end result. That doesn’t mean anyone else will, as I’m constantly learning in this forum. I also tried cropping in tighter, which made the boats seem bigger and more important, but it took away from the skyline.
I was thinking of my previously posted version of this image - maybe it’s too “safe”. People viewing it are looking from a safe distance, but maybe it would be more effective if I use the next image I captured, and put people right INTO the image.
My own reaction is this newer version make me feel a little uncomfortable, as I feel like I’m being pushed right into the image. I never used to shoot film this way - I always put viewers at a safer viewing distance, but maybe it has more impact this way?
Here is my cut on this image. I didn’t download your .dop file since I prefer to do things from scratch. The first thing I noticed was that the two versions you posted are not from the same original image. The image I downloaded seems to be the same one you used for the crop.
I didn’t find the crop of the two watercraft that interesting on their own and decided to use the full image. I would have preferred it if the top of the mast hadn’t been cut off. Your colors were far too warm for my taste and I cooled them off considerably. In case you are wondering, I did not use ClearView Plus on my rendition of your image. Among other things I also brought out more detail in the sky. and made the city skyline pop a bit. Maybe it was you intention but your cropped version seemed softer than I prefer.
Mark, I guess there is no need for me to post my “.dop” files in the future?
I took three photos, one with the boats further apart, one with the two guys more obviously interacting (they were talking to each other), and a third one that I didn’t like. I thought the first image, that I worked on first, was the “better” image, but looking at them later, I thought the second image where the guys are closer to each other, was stronger. The colors with the camera set to 5500 looked way to blue. Using the eyedropper I made them warmer, but your image is in-between. Your image is the closest to what I remember seeing, not too blue, and not too warm. I did use ClearView, but very little. I like the way you brought out the detail in the sky - I didn’t even try. I’ll remember this in the future. As to the city skyline, I wanted it out of focus, so people would focus on the boats, but when I see the whole image I like the buildings - but my eye doesn’t know where to go - boats, people, or skyline. That’s why I did the cropping, but what you created is the closest to what I “saw”. Finally, making the image “softer” wasn’t deliberate. I was trying to manually keep the lens focused on the sailboat at first, but for this image I re-adjusted and focused on the small boat. I thought depth of field would keep them both sharp, but when I changed the focus to the small boat, that did change things, as I guess you noticed. I can’t “blame” the camera - it was all manual. I just saw all the detail on the small boat, and switched my focus to it.
As a stand-alone photo, of the two guys talking to/at each other, your version brings that out, but without the skyline nobody will know this was Biscayne Bay in Miami. Maybe that’s not important.
What you describe about the old lens not communicating - it’s a Nikon E-Series lens, which is completely manual in every way. There is zero communicating. I was manually focusing on the sailboat for the first image, and on this image I changed and focused on the side of the small boat, with so much detail there.
Yes, I “felt” what you described, but I didn’t change anything other than the focus. To tell the truth, I didn’t/couldn’t plan this out ahead, and my goal was to get everything in the picture, so I could work with it later. A split second later was too late, but I took that photo anyway.
My camera had already been in “burst mode”, but I turned that off, so each image was captured individually. Maybe burst mode might have given me more choices as to which image to go with.
Now, in retrospect, I agree that the main focus was the interaction between the two people, but as I was taking the image, I saw one boat passing in front of another - I didn’t see the fellow in the sailboat until later, as my attention was on the small boat as it was going in front of the sailboat. I wish I could think faster.
I took many photos of another sailboat with a dog running back and forth - my focus was on the dog, and everything else was just “there”. Maybe I’ll post that image too.
Wow!! If I was going to make a postcard from this photo, this would be it - it just grabs my attention, especially the blue, the red, and the orange. If this were music, you just turned the volume way up!
Whatever the word “subtle” means, this is the opposite! It brings things out that until now, I’ve been oblivious of. I just viewed it full-screen, 1:1. It might be “too bright”, but maybe my original interpretation needed more “punch” or whatever the right word is.
Thank you - you’ve given me a lot more to think about.
This underlines a problem I have encountered on many an occasion. Either you see something moving or you are moving past something and you see, out of the corner of your eye, what seems like a really interesting shot. It has been my experience that, when you look at the scene from a static viewpoint, it rarely lives up to the fleeting glance.
I believe it is some kind of optical illusion caused by the movement that induces a sort of 3D effect, because you are seeing it from more than one viewpoint in a very short space of time.
I have taken loads of shots of swing dancers at jazz concerts, only to be very disappointed when I found they were mainly as if the dancers had just stood and posed
I knew there was a large dog on the boat, and I kept looking at the overall scene, and when the dog seemed to be in a good position, I took a photo, but by the time the photo was captured, the dog had moved. So, I found myself with several photos thinking that none were very good, but an hour or two ago, I noticed other people in the photo, adding something more to it.
I processed it yesterday, but changed things around based on feedback up above. The “too blue” or “too warm” is gone, the image is cropped a lot, but not like yesterday, and I tried to bring out the colors more (but without going further than I felt comfortable with). I like the out of focus buildings in the background, and I like all the vertical construction cranes that go along with the vertical masts on the boat. Oh, and I wanted the green trees and buildings to stand out more. I thought I accomplished all that, but for bringing out more of the clouds - I wasn’t sure how to do that better than what you see here.
I’ll attach the raw file and my edit.
Looking at the EXIF data, I think it’s confused:
I set ISO 200, not 100.
I shot at f/8, not f/7.1
I shot at 1/2000th, not 1/500th in (M)anual mode.
EXIF said I shot at +1 EV. Camera was set to “0”