Archive for the 'Camera Stuff' Category

About cameras, equipment, and postprocessing techniques

Mini Review: Skilhunt H02R Head Mounted Flashlight, For Cycling after Dark

This xkcd comic came out today with perfect timing:

Last month I was contacted by GearBest and asked whether I'd like to do a review of a product from their cycling gear or LED lights categories; I'd get to keep the product in exchange for an unbiased review. Probably they'd seen my headphone review done under similar circumstances. I get this kind of message every so often and don't usually accept, but a bicycle light piqued my interest.

I chose to try out a small, $50 head-mounted light that I thought might be useful for nighttime riding:

The flashlight easily [...]

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My “Metadata Wrangler” Plugin for Lightroom Can Now Add/Overwrite Metadata

Just an FYI announcement to Lightroom folks, as of version 20151010.134, my Metadata Wrangler plugin now allows you to add/overwrite certain metadata fields like Title and Caption. Previously, it could merely remove metadata that was already there.

My publish/export plugins generally give a lot of control in how those fields are populated during export, but most other plugins do not, nor do Lightroom's built-in export methods, so those users may appreciate being able to craft their metadata. Through the template tokens that my plugins support, you have access to the breadth of data about the image from your Lightroom catalog, [...]

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Manseki on the Attack: Serendipitous Camera Mistake

昨日サイクリングをして大阪へ行きました。途中で金光万石さんの写真を撮ったけれども、カメラの設定のミスのせいでかなり露出過度にしまった。 写真は良くなかったが、ソフトで調整してから上の結果を出せました。結果は本人と同じ位格好良いだと思います。

Out on a cycle ride to Osaka yesterday, I snapped a photo of cycling buddy Manseki Kanemitsu as we road. The photo was wildly overexposed due to a camera-settings mistake on my part, but with some futzing in Lightroom I made something of it that I like.

I was using the new Panasonic LX100 that I wrote about the other day, but trying it in a different mode where I control both the shutter speed and aperture, and let the camera adjust the image-sensor sensitivity to suit the specific brightness of the moment. In this case I wanted [...]

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Fixing a Fuzzy Viewfinder on a Panasonic LX100

As I posted the other day, I've got a new camera to use while cycling, a Panasonic LX100. I used it on yesterday's 140km mountain ride, but couldn't use the viewfinder because the viewfinder focus (the "diopter control") stopped working, and the view via the viewfinder was completely fuzzy (including the information displays that should be sharp and clear even if the image through the lens is not yet focused).

A search on the web quickly showed that this was a common problem sometimes fixed by fiddling with the diopter dial, but usually resulting in a return or a replacement [...]

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Informal Camera Comparison: Panasonic LX100 vs. Nikon D4

Paul Barr at the Toji-in Temple (等持院) in Kyoto, Japan, in photos taken by two different cameras (whose names are included in the data under each photo).

最近小さいカメラ(パナソニックLX100)を買いました、サイクリングをする時に使うと思います。 僕の普通のカメラ(大きいなニコンのD4)と比べると質はどうでしょうか。京都市の等持院でテストをしました、同時二つのカメラを使って、だいたい同じ写真二枚を撮った。結局LX100は結構良かった。この記事の写真の下にカメラ名が付いている。

When I started cycling earlier in the year, I brought along my big Nikon D4, carried slung across my back like this so that I'd have it ready to shoot when I wanted (like this).

It's a heavy camera to carry, especially on steep uphill mountain rides, but I like the quality of photograph that it allows me to get. I don't think I'd be able to get these kinds [...]

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Photo-Development Challenge Results #2: Statues

It's been three months to the day since I posted "Photo-Development Challenge: Inspire Me and Others With Your Artistic Interpretation", and I'm mortified that it's only the second set of results that I'm finally getting around to sharing (the first having been "Hillside Temple Buildings" 2½ months ago). In retrospect, it was irresponsible of me to post the challenge right before a long family vacation. Sorry.

In any case, to recap what's going on, I posted some raw photos and asked others to develop them to their taste, and here I'll share what those different interpretations looked like.

First, today's [...]

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Architectural Details at the Kyoto Imperial Palace


I've been posting mostly cycling and Lightroom stuff lately, so time to return a bit to my roots with something Kyoto...

Last November I took a tour of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and at the time posted "A Few Photos From The Start of a Visit to the Kyoto Imperial Palace", but got sidetracked, as I often do, before posting more. So today I'm picking up from there with a few architectural shots....

Let's start with a simple wigglegram of the courtyard that ended the previous post...

Looking through, the columns and doors on the wall on the right [...]

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Visiting Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine with Matt Campagna and a Super-Wide-Angle Lens

It's been three weeks since I posted "Matt Campagna Wigglegrams Kyoto", so I'm finally getting around now to posting other photos from that outing, where I met fellow Lightroom developer Matt Campagna while he was visiting Kyoto.

Our plan was to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, and since I'd been there for photoshoots many times (most recently with former Yahoo! co-worker Andrei Zmievski, and The Japan Times columnist Alice Gordenker), I thought I'd try something different this time.

Unless I'm going out on a bike ride or other special situation like a heavy snowfall, I tend to bring three lenses, [...]

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Automatic Face Tagging Now Supported in my Upload-to-Facebook Plugin for Lightroom

I've just released a new version of my Upload-to-Facebook plugin for Adobe Lightroom that can automatically tag people in photos you upload to Facebook.

It requires Lightroom CC/6, which was released last week, and also the latest version of my People Support plugin, which now allows you to associate a Facebook account with people in your Lightroom catalog.

(Update July 2015 -- changes at Facebook made this feature not work for a while, but it's working again as of version 20150704.11 of the People Support plugin.)

Here's an example of how it works....

First, using Lightroom CC/6's facial recognition features, [...]

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Potential Privacy Issue with Lightroom CC/6 and People Keywords

Note: The bug mentioned in this article has been fixed as of Lr6.1 (Lr CC 2015.1)

Lightroom CC/6 has been out for a few days, and in working with Lightroom's new Face Tagging feature, I've run across something that could be a privacy issue for some folks.

Keywords in Lightroom have an "Include on Export" option; if it's disabled, the keyword is not (supposed to be) included in exported copies of photos. This is useful for workflow-related keywords that you use merely to help manage your catalog, or for keywords you'd rather not expose to the public.

The problem [...]

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My Thoughts on Lightroom 6

Adobe has just released Lightroom 6.

There are plenty of places to find out about what's new, such as this post from Adobe for an overview, or Victoria Bampton's exhaustive "What's New" writeup.

For my part, in this post, I'll just talk about a few things I think are worth particular mention.

UPDATE: I guess I should mention right away that modern versions (from within the last couple of months) of my 45 plugins should work fine on Lightroom 6. The major upgrade does cause registrations of my plugins to be lost, but that's easy enough to fix (see here).

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Photoshoot with Ting Ting at the Murin’an Gardens

I spent a few hours today in the Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) in eastern Kyoto, doing a photoshoot with Ting Ting, which you might remember from "Photoshoot at the Peak of the Haradanien Garden’s Awesomeness" two days ago.

Like two days ago, I was with Eric, Gigi, and Damien, but this time Gigi was behind her own camera as well...

I really enjoyed the situation with three photographers and one subject. While someone else is directing Ting Ting to look this way or move that way, I can capture pseudo-candid shots that I'd probably not get otherwise.

For example, early on [...]

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Photoshoot at the Peak of the Haradanien Garden’s Awesomeness

I visited the super-duper unbelievably amazing Haradanien Garden (原谷苑) today, in the mountains above the Golden Pavilion temple in northwestern Kyoto. It was my first visit since the photoshoot with John and Ai two years ago.

This time I went with Eric, Gigi, and Damien just to practice portraiture. Gigi wore a kimono she bought yesterday.

I can not begin to tell you how wonderful Haradanien is. When the blossoms are at their peak, such as now, it's 100× better than any other garden I know of, anywhere.

金閣寺の近く、原谷苑、は今メチャメチャメチャ美しいです。 行きにくい所ですが、今週はおすすめです。今日は全然満開でした!

I wanted a different kind of shot of Gigi than [...]

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Photo-Development Challenge Results #1: Hillside Temple Buildings

Today I'm sharing the first results from "Photo-Development Challenge: Inspire Me and Others With Your Artistic Interpretation". Today's photo is one of some minor outlying buildings at the Yoshiminedera Temple (善峯寺) in Kyoto, Japan.

First, let's look at the uninspiring original:

This was from a productive outing four years ago that produced "Temple Hopping in the Mountains of South-Western Kyoto", two examples for "Heading Out To Photograph The Fall Foliage? Don’t Forget The Polarizer Filter", and an item on "Visiting My Photo Archives: Random Pretty Shots #1".

For lack of a better idea, I'll present the various results in the [...]

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Another Nice (Tough!) Bicycle Ride in the Mountains Around Kyoto


Two days ago I did a short easy bicycle ride into the mountains of western Kyoto, but yesterday I did something a bit more ambitious. As seems to be the habit since my first ride with folks from Cycling Kyoto!, we met in front of the Starbucks on Sanjo Street. This time there were seven people total...

Today's route would be a repeat of one that Manseki had done two days prior, so he was group lead. We got moving at 9:20.

We spent the first 45 minutes heading east on Route 1. The route looks horrible in the [...]

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Performing Minor Surgery on a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

I've had my Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (seen here) for more than eight years. I don't use it all that much anymore because for the last few years I've tended to prefer faster prime lenses, but it's a great lens for many situations.

I'm pretty tough on my gear... I don't baby it, I use it, and this lens is no exception. In particular, after using it all day in heavy snow five years ago ("First Look at Snowy Shirakawago Village"), the zoom became a bit less smooth. It wasn't so bad that it was worth the bother of having [...]

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Thoughts on the Venus/Laowa 60mm f/2.8 Super-Macro Lens

After seeing it mentioned on PetaPixel earlier this month, I ordered a Venus (LAOWA) 60mm f/2.8 Ultra-Macro lens. For less than $400 I didn't expect much, but it was worth a try.

(It seems they're changing their name from "Venus" to "Laowa". The Chinese characters for "Laowa" seem to be 「老蛙」, which means "Aged Frog", at least in Japanese.)

This is not a "review"... just some observations that I haven't seen others make yet, and some illustrative photos. In addition to the review on PetaPixel, other reviews I've seen include this and this.

For the TL;DR crowd, here in short [...]

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Photo-Development Challenge: Inspire Me and Others With Your Artistic Interpretation

A week ago I posed about a fantastic video of an experienced photographer giving a quick once-over to photographs submitted by strangers. The change from unprocessed original to processed result was often striking and of interest on its own, but the true value of the video was the running dialog of the what/why/how of his editing decisions. No right or wrong... just inspiration and ideas.

With that in mind, I think it could be quite interesting to see how different people interpret the same photo, so I'd like to offer a few unprocessed raw files from my own photo archives, [...]

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2015 Kyoto Marathon

Today was the 2015 Kyoto City Marathon. Just as when I blogged about the 2012 Kyoto City Marathon, I went out with the Nikkor 300mm f/2, but new this time is that I intended to try to photograph two acquaintances who had told me their intended pace and sent photos of what they were wearing.

To help increase my luck in picking out two faces from 16,000 runners, I set up a bit past the halfway point just before a turnaround, so runners were going both directions in front of me. If I suddenly noticed a friend going by one [...]

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Fantastic Video for Photographers: Get Inspired From Stu Maschwitz’s Artistic/Lightroom Agility

This is a fantastic video for photographers. (Note: I couldn't get the original Adobe Connect version to work in Firefox; it worked for me in Safari. In any case, there's now a YouTube version for easy viewing, though the video quality doesn't seem as good as the Adobe Connect original.)

In the video, visual artist Stu Maschwitz sits down to a blacked-out Lightroom catalog loaded with a couple dozen photos submitted by strangers, and one by one he unveils and processes them as the whim strikes him, providing a running commentary about his artistic reasons for doing things, or technical [...]

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