Improve Photography Roundtable (EP-175)

Jim wanted to give a shout out to Gavin Gatchalian. 8 year-old who listens to the show and has had a photo published in the newspaper.

Pre-Roll: Lightroom Steal Last Chance Sale!

Questions of the Week:

  • Jeff Kazules – Polarizer on bald dudes
  • Nick McDonald – I shot some photos for a magazine that are supposed to look summery – they were taken in bright overcast light – I've been playing with saturation, colour temp, graduated filters etc, but I'm having trouble – any tips?
  • Carol Pagliotti – I need help. I don't know what I am doing wrong. All of my photos seem slanted or crooked. No matter what I do I cannot get my horizons straight in my Philadelphia photos.
  • Jesse Smith – I don't have my monitor calibrated, but when I set my brightness on my Samsung to 0, it seems to look the same, or close enough to the print. Do I really need to edit with my brightness on my monitor at 0?
    • Jeff: I have seen this be the case with some monitors. The brightness in the menu of the monitor doesn’t seem to do anything.  I found that going to contrast seemed to have the effect I needed.  I assumed it was some kind of mistake where the two were swapped.
    • Connor: I will often edit with computer displays in mind first, editing all my shots at a medium/high monitor brightness, and then go back and dim my monitor to adjust for printing. Keep in mind not everyone viewing your images will have calibrated monitors.

Connor’s Segment: Tips for keeping gear clean and safe while shooting at the Sand dunes.

  • Plan focal Lengths beforehand, and be prepared to stick with the lens on your camera
  • I am going to be bringing two bodies, my 6D with a 24-70 and my 60D with a 70-300 (112-480 effective range). Once they are on they stay on.
  • Plan on not setting down a bag on the ground. Be careful because sand will get EVERYWHERE!
  • I am thinking I should probably get a tripod before I go out to do something like this again. Not only because it helps to get beautiful landscape shots (admittedly something I don’t often do) but also because it will be less than enjoyable to be walking around with 2 heavy bodies hanging off of me all afternoon and evening. (I know Jim, if I went mirrorless it wouldn’t be a problem. ;p
  • As an indoor cat, I am a little worried there is something I haven’t considered for a shoot like this. Do you guys have any other advice for shooting in environments with lots of dust/dirt/particles?

Midroll: The Great Courses & Video Blocks

Jim’s Segment: Testing long exposures

  • I did a 3 min exposure with lens cap on and tested noise.  Then I did a 5 and 8 min exposure and then went back to test the 3 min again.  The first 3 min exposure when the camera was cool had about 40% less noise than the 3 min exposure after shooting for several minutes when the camera was hot.
  • I didn’t realize there would be that big of a difference.
  • From now on when I’m doing long exposures, I’m gonna give the camera 2 mins to cool down between shots.
  • Jeff: The biggest thing that “astronomy” specific DLSRs do is cool the sensor.  The Canon 60Da for example.  A company called “Baader” will mod a number of Canon models to do this for much less: https://www.baader-planetarium.de/sektion/s45/canon_astroupgrade-english.htm

Jeff’s Segment: Best mouse for photo editing

  • Article coming soon to improvephotography.com.  I know I have said it is coming for a while, but it really is now that my boys soccer season has finally ended.
  • High DPI mice.  Gamers really seem to think it is super important.  Does it matter for photography?  In my testing it did not.  
  • Supposed to increase the ability to target something specific on the screen, but I didn’t see a significant difference in the mice I used in testing for it to matter.
  • The DPI settings changes didn’t seem to be consistent across mice.  On some switching to a higher DPI setting made it so that I could move the mouse across the screen faster, for others it didn’t seem to do much of anything.  
  • With many of them the drivers/software was difficult or impossible to find and then didn’t seem to work well.
  • For Mac, the Magic Mouse is hard to beat.  
    • Very consistent responsiveness
    • No wires (bluetooth) – double click to use it to wake up the computer or get the mouse connected
    • Ergonomics are hard to get used to, but it grew on me.  Enough that I looked into connecting it to a PC (not a good option).  Logitech has one called an Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630.  Also bluetooth.  Also works well.  Good one for travel with a PC but ergonomics were even worse to me, it is really small.
  • For PC my favorite mice are Logitech.  The Logitech M705 is a very nice mouse for photo editing for a decent price at about $35.  Very smooth.  Very responsive.  Wireless.  My favorite though is more money at $80.  Logitech Performance MX Master.  Better for larger hands and I LOOOOOOVE the clutch in the middle wheel.
  • Connor: Any Plans to do a comparison of pen tablets versus mice? I know it is a matter of opinion and typical usage, but depending on the type of editing a person does, a tablet might be a good if not better option.

Doodads of the Week!

  • Jeff: OpenDNS.  Huge amount of protection from bad stuff just by switching to use their DNS.  Pretty easy thing to do, can put it in the settings of your WiFi router and get instant protection.
    • Jim: Tried it two years ago and noticed a SIGNIFICANT slow down of the internet speeds.  Also tried Google’s DNS that promises speed boost and noticed a slow down as well.  Is it just my ISP?
    • Jeff: Has to be somehow, OpenDNS serves up 80 billion DNS queries a day.  A huge portion of Internet traffic starts with them, which is why they can do such a good job with this.
  • Connor: Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. Wacom is largely accepted as being the best pen tablet brand. The regular intuos is perfectly fine, but the pro has almost twice as many pressure levels and allows to use brushes that can be used at different angles.
  • Jim: Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch

Random Doodad of the week:

    • Sunscreen – Connor got burned really badly last weekend and ouch! Remember it is warming up, protect your skin! 
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