It Starts With Coffee

Close to three years ago Myra bought me a Fujifilm S42000. Quickly recognizing my infinite ignorance I began a search for an online photography group. I found ‘Cambridge in Colour‘ a group best described in their own words as ‘A Learning Community for Photographers’. Some of the members have noted an improvement in my shots and have asked for a rundown on my new technique. If this interests you, read on.

I have tried shooting B.C. (before coffee) but to no avail. Simple fact is that I need to be aware to take a good shot. So my shooting technique starts with making strong coffee.

Once I’m awake I check the camera to make sure everything is set properly; auto focus on, manual mode selected, RAW, anti shake on, single shot, zone focus centered, fill flash set to -1.7, AWB set and checked for neutral, center weighted focus point, ISO 100, F/14.

The above settings will place me in the ballpark when I see an interesting shot.

Robber Fly, eye, macro photography
The eye of the Robber Fly sees many things

So far I’m not doing anything unusual. But that’s about to change. I follow the Ansel Adams technique of the slowest practical shutter speed with the highest F/ # for the shot I want. The shot on the left was F/5.6 with 1/1.6s. I used the F/5.6 to limit what was in focus and 1/1.6s to get as much detail as possible in those areas.

Sometimes I can take things to extremes. Tree spiders protecting their nest can be absolutely rock like in their stillness.

spider, macro photography, long exposure, F/18
Ten second F/18 exposure.

Once I have the shot it is time for more coffee and post processing.

I start in Capture 1 Sony Pro. Step one is to find the right crop and rotation. (the Robber Fly started off straight up and down and facing to the right) Then the universal adjustments such as exposure, colour balance, grain and others. Now comes the fun part.

I decide how many unique areas need adjusting and make a clone for each area. Once they have all been adjusted I export and use ImageJ to recombine them either as a focus or 3D stack. Once I have made my choice I export to Gimp do some final tweaks and upload to the web.

That’s really¬† all there is to it.

The Old Man

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