The B.C. sugar refinery warehouse building is very photogenic and I couldn’t pass it up when I was at the Vancouver waterfront recently. There is little point to me writing about it’s history as there is an excellent article in the Vancouver Sun that covers it all. Sugar Coated History
No Mulberry bushes though, I don’t even know what they look like. But these were all shot one morning with my Nikon P7000 when I went for a walk, on a cold…
A walk a long the Trans Canada trail in Burnaby B.C. gave some interesting industrial views. I shot these all with the Nikon P7000 which is much improved in operation since the latest firmware update (Version 1.2). One of the problems addressed by this update was the focus system. It is the one area that really caused me issues particularly focus at the long end of the zoom. Previously it often failed to lock focus despite having a good contrasty subject and lots of light. Now the camera focuses without problem at all focal lengths. Also improved is it’s ability to focus in low light, and the overall speed of focus. It really can’t be over stated this is a major update that anyone with a P7000 should consider doing. The P7000 has become my default carry everywhere camera with it’s very effective 6.0 to 42.6mm (28-200 equivalent) zoom. The P7100 that replaced it uses the same lens and sensor so while it may have improved operation the final result will be the same, for this reason the P7000 is an excellent deal while they are still available and I would buy another one despite all the other cameras competing in this class.
Well I could call October the month of the cell phone picture with all the images I took and posted to Mytubo, but I still managed to shoot some film and also some digital images too with my Nikon P7000. I think that the social photo sharing is actually sharpening my photo skills, due to the effort of coming up with new original imagery, but I am not the best judge of that. It’s up to the other users of Mytubo to decide whether they “LIKE” my images or not.
If you can just pick up a camera and take a great picture you can stop reading now. If you are like the rest of us and have to work at creating images by all means read on. Sometimes something will catch your eye and present a good opportunity to create an image, but the first click of the shutter may not meet your expectations. It can be a good idea to look at what you want to take a picture of and consider how moving around and changing angles will effect the scene. If you find it difficult to envisage how something will look then take a picture and look at it on your LCD. I am assuming your using a digital camera, I mean who still uses film, right?
You can effect a photograph a great deal in post processing and even by cropping but by getting a composition that works to start it will ultimately yeild a better image. On the technical side consider; is what you intended to be in focus truly in focus, is there unwanted motion blur, are there other settings that are wrong such as ISO? If your pleased with the technical then it’s time to consider composition. Did you have a point of interest and is it in the best location within the frame? Are there elements in the image that you don’t want and can they be eliminated by changing your view point? There are many more questions that you can put to your self , but by engaging in the evaluation of your image you are on the path to creating better ones. What you don’t want is to do this thinking later at the computer when there is nothing you can do to improve things, or that requires editing that would not have been otherwise necessary.
For this image I started with a horizontal composition that didn’t really work. The sign took up to much of the frame and the sky wasn’t really a factor. The next image was another horizontal capture but this time I put the sign in the bottom left corner, still not as good as it could be and wires cut across the bottom corner. This is when I realized that by pointing the camera up and vertically I could include more of the cloud, making a more dramatic sky. The final decisions I made where during processing the file into an in camera jpg. I applied correction for the slight barrel distortion and increased the contrast and saturation to make the sky stand out. The final thing was to add a black border which I liked as it mirrored the frame of the sign.
Here is the photographic sequence I described, on the path to this image.
Here is a way to set a custom macro mode for the Nikon P7000 and save it to one of the user presets. But Wallace you say “There’s already a dedicated macro mode!” To (Insert your name here) I say “Not good enough”. The problem is that the camera does a couple of things you have no control over when you set it to the macro scene mode. One is that it zooms to the widest setting (28mm equivalent) not a focal length one thinks of right away for macro, considering it results in nearly poking the subject with the lens. The other thing that happens is that the camera switches to jpeg shooting even if you were previously shooting RAW. For these reasons I’ve created my own and stored it under U1 on the mode dial.
This is how I went about it. The first step after turning on the camera and selecting a user mode is to set an ISO or ISO range as this will be stored in memory. This is followed by pressing the menu button, If U1 isn’t yet highlighted use the command dial to navigate so U1 is selected and shows the User setting parameters as in the image bellow.
I’ve set my camera up for Program mode but aperture priority would also be a good choice. Ive also selected an equivalent focal length setting of of 85mm as this provides a good working distance. Under Photo info I’ve chosen to display the histogram and a grid to aid in judging exposure and composition.
I’ve also chosen to have the flash off by default as I rarely use the built in flash for macro shots, it’s just to close to the lens and too harsh even when it’s output is dialed down. The next critical setting is of course focus which needs to be set to Macro close-up. The remaining settings are AF to Center normal and AF assist to OFF.
When you have made all the selections you must save them. During the save confirmation you can view all of the current camera settings by turning the zoom dial towards telephoto. This screen (not shown) summarizes all of the settings
Now anytime you turn the mode dial to U1 the camera will switch to your chosen ISO , set focus to macro with a center focus point and zoom the lens out to 85mm (35mm equivalent) with all the rest of your setting as well. You can modify these settings anytime but you must re-save them if you want them to be the default.
If you want to take extreme close-ups you need to zoom the lens to the widest setting, just be careful not to poke your subject with the lens, flower pollen is particularly hard to clean off.
Mostly I post my images in bunches because quite frankly I take a lot of pictures. Every once and a while though there is one image that stands out to me. This picture of the three chairs falls into that category. I like the composition but also the sense of place it has for me, it reminds me of many hotel laundry rooms with the sound of buttons hitting enamel. I moved the chairs to match the perspective lines of the flooring but otherwise this is where you sit to wait for your clothes to dry.
Some miscellaneous images from my afternoon trip to the Whatcom museum and area.
So just how much processing can you apply to a RAW file, apparently quite a lot. I took this shot and thought I liked the bluishness of the white balance but once I got it into the computer it was a different story and I wanted something different with more punch. I really don’t think I could have successfully manipulated this image so much had it been a JPEG out of the camera.