02 September 2009

The personification of elegance

My initial response to this pose was "is it dead?"
But no, it is not dead; it was only sleeping on its back. (On a completely filthy tern nesting platform that's been taken over by waterfowl after the terns, rapid breeders that they are, fledged their young and departed.)
The cob swan on patrol around the platform.
This picture nicely illustrates why I want a Pentax version of an 800/8 or 800/5.6 mirror lens; the Rokinon coatings just aren't up to reflections off water.


Keith said...

I don't think I have ever seen a swan/cygnet that "relaxed" before. ;-) Nice shot.

The colour balance in the photos seems off, and they always seem darker to my eye than they should be. Might want to play around changing the temperature of the light, as I am sure there is detail there.

Graydon said...

I really did spend some time observing that cygnet in the expectation that it was, indeed, dead. I was kinda surprised when it moved.

The colour balance for shots taken with the 800/8 Rokinon *is* off; not a lot I can do about that, it loses the high blues. (Hence some component of the grousing about wanting a Pentax one, with SMC coatings, which would NOT lose the high blues.)

Brightness, well, the histograms are centred; I can't go by perceptual brightness (linux, X11 has does gamma differently than everybody else), so I've taken to going by the actual distribution. If there's a colour-calibrated monitor in my future, it's going to be some time in the future, alas.

All the swan shots are scrunched a bit to get the exposure range in the image into the output, which probably makes it look a bit dark, too; keeping bright white feathers from blowing out (which they're not) stops down everything else. I've never quite figured out what one is supposed to do in this case; single frame HDR comes to mind. Haven't hit on a good solution.

Something like the wide goldenrod shot, similar problem; the white stuff in the sky is directly illuminated cloud, badly out of focus but not over-exposed, which is shifting everything else a bit dark. Only so much curve-tweaking I can do before the results are garish.

Just letting the white areas blow out feels like cheating, somehow, and certainly doesn't work for the swans.

Keith said...

If I get the chance will see if I can do some tweaking in Photoshop Lightroom and make some constructive suggestions.

I like the idea you suggest of the HDR appraoch, though quite often the results end up looking garishly coloured. Still working on that one myself.



Graydon said...

HDR is tricky, no question.

I can do single-exposure HDR with the K20D, though; process once for the shadows, once for the highlights, combine. Works surprisingly well, and there's an in-camera feature that supports this, too. (Which I might-maybe benefit from learning how to use.)

You might also want to look at Dubious Prospects on a linux machine; X11 really does handle image gamma differently than anything else, and of course since that's what I see that's what I have to go on.

Anonymous said...

i wonder whether keith sees this on a windows machine -- windows gamma turns everything darker. and since most browsers (except for safari on a mac) at this point don't care about embedded profiles, there isn't much to be done about that; it's either show it reasonably true to linux/mac users or to windows users.

on a mac this looks fine -- i mean it's all subdued beause it's a grey day; there's not much blue to get out of it when there's no blue in the sky.

i usually fiddle some with my images in lightroom to have them come in a bit brighter than i personally would like, so they come across reasonably well for windows users.


Graydon said...

I'm pretty sure Keith is using a windows machine, yes.

I generally try -- using Ufraw -- to get the midpoint of the area under the histogram at least at the midpoint and maybe a bit to the right. Because I tend to take pictures of horrible lighting situations, this isn't always doable, but that's what I try for.

Of course, a little to the left gives a dimmer but more detailed view on X11; I expect it just turns into complete mud on Windows, so I try not to do it. (Though a couple of the recent flower shots may be a violation of this principle. :)

Glad to hear that it looks OK on a Mac, too; thank you!