Ashland Daily Photo
Ashland Daily Photo - A picture a day from beautiful Ashland, Southern Oregon USA in the Rogue Valley
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Posts tagged photography

AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikon Lens

AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm lens vr ii

Nikkor 18-200mm G VRII Lens for Nikon cameras

I haven’t used this lens in over a year. In fact, I no longer have a DX camera or this lens, but I used it quite a bit when I was learning how to shoot with my first DSLR camera.

This was one of my first test shots with my Sigma 85mm f/1.4 lens, a lens that I still use regularly.

Betty Boop

betty boop 50mm f/1.2 nikon manual lens ai-s

Depth of field at f/1.2

The other day I was in Medford for work. On my way I met someone via Craigslist who was selling a couple of manual Nikon lenses. Having never used a manual lens before (although I have used my AF lenses in manual mode on occasion) I was interested to try them out. Plus the price was crazy cheap so even if I didn’t like them I figured I could unload them at a profit.

Most of my lenses are largest at f/2.8. My Sigma 85mm goes to f/1.4 though. This 50mm lens that I picked up has a maximum aperture of f/1.2. It may be the only Nikon lens with an aperture so large. I had a half hour to kill so I dropped into the Medford library to try it out. The above was my first shot. What do you think?

I used it at the Stoneburner show too. My keeper rate at f/1.2 with manual focusing went down of course, but the ones that came out OK are pretty cool.

Photo of the Year 2012

Photo of the Year 2012 - Top 100 snow ashland oregon

Photo of the Year 2012 – Top 100

Three photos I submitted to the “Photo of the Year 2012” contest made the Top 100 and can now be voted on (until January 27, 2013). If you would be so kind I would appreciate your vote for my entries which can be found here, here, and here. You have to vote for 10 photos in total so pick another seven to go along with my three for your vote to count.

Soccer dreaming

southern oregon university soccer women's dreamy photography Alyssa Bricker

I’m not a big Photoshopper. I like my images to look real. Usually the only things I do in Photoshop are crop, photomerge, and do minor work on lighting (to make things look more like they actually did–not less). I’m not a fan of HDR.

However, the original for today’s photo came out sort of strange. The grass near me had a dreamy, out-of-focus quality that I decided to push onto the rest of the image somewhat. I also lightened the shadows on the soccer player. What do you think?

Here is the original .jpg with no alterations:

before and after photoshop adobe cs6 raw jpg versus compare

Los Angeles Panorama

Griffith Observatory Los Angeles panorama hollywood sign

I’m in Los Angeles for a few more days. Here is a photo I took on Thursday as I was pulling into town. Actually, this is a number of photos merged together spanning more than 180 degrees. On the far left is Griffith Observatory. On the far right is the Hollywood sign. Click on the image for a lot more detail. I’ll be posting more photos of Los Angeles on my other blog.

Ashland panorama

sunny ashland oregon grizzly peak covered in snow

Yesterday was a really beautiful day in Ashland. Unfortunately, I had to work most of the day. However, I did get this shot off on my way to work. Actually, this is five shots merged into one in CS5 and probably covers about 150 degrees. That’s why Grizzly Peak, on the left, looks so small even though I wasn’t that far from it.

Other than the sun being too much, I really like how this photo turned out. I’ll have to try it again someday when the sun is behind a cloud.

RAW vs. JPG (RAW isn’t just for weird, indoor lighting)

raw versus  vs. jpg landscape clouds contrast

I previously mentioned how I was getting better results working with RAW files in concert lighting situations. When going through my jpg image results I almost deleted the above image because the amazing clouds my eyes saw were totally ruined in the jpg file. Before hitting delete, however, I decided to see what I could do with the RAW file. Here is the result:

raw vs. jpeg

Bokeh madness


Last week, after a bit of rain, I headed outside to check out the bokeh (ボケ) on my newest lens. The tree branches were covered in rain drops and were running towards me rather than horizontally. I focused on a single drop in the middle (just below and left of center) at f/1.4 with the above result.


from RAW file with minor post processing in Photoshop - skin color is more natural and background contains less noise, also more details in face and hair

I have had cameras that have the capability to shoot in RAW for over four years now. However, every time I have taken RAW photos I have done nothing with them. I have tried to convert them to .jpg format without much success. Usually my out-of-camera .jpg looked better than my converted RAW image that I worked on for 5-10 minutes.

Today, however, I believe I have made a breakthrough. These .jpgs didn’t look very good no matter what I did in Photoshop to them so I struggled with the RAW images and finally came up with something better than the original. What do you think?

from jpg (with minor post processing in Photoshop)

from jpeg with minor Photoshop processing

john javna

from RAW file with minor Photoshop processing - you can see John's face again and less noise

This second photo is of John Javna. He spoke at the Ashland Martin Luther King Jr Holiday Celebration. He is a major reason why we have ScienceWorks in Ashland. My son loves his Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers. On this occasion he delivered a message about the Ashland Food Project.

Emz Blendz Soap Co.

emz blendz soap co.

Nikon D7000 with Sigma 24-70mmD F/2.8 EX DG Lens EXIF: f/5, 1/640 second, 70mm, ISO 400

Last week I headed out to do a little Christmas shopping and one of the places I stopped by was the Emz Blendz Soap Co. in Ashland. They are right next door to the Standing Stone Brewing Company.

Nikon D7000 with Sigma 24-70mmD F/2.8 EX DG Lens EXIF: f/2.8, 1/200 second, 24mm, ISO 400

But today I’m not here to talk about soap, candles, or bath salts; I’m here to talk about camera lenses.

Perhaps you received a DSLR for Christmas? And it probably came with a kit lens–something like 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6? So far you are happy with it, and you wonder why anyone would need anything else? That was my thinking back when I purchased my first DSLR earlier this year. Since then I’ve purchased about a dozen lenses. I’ve sold half of them as they were more to help me learn than to use for the long term. I have found that I really only need four lenses so I’m still looking to sell two more. Today’s photos were taken with one of those lenses.

Why may you want to upgrade a lens similar to an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6? I can think of many reasons. Here are some in no particular order:
1) More reach. 55mm doesn’t get you as close to the subject in some situations as you would like. 18mm isn’t that wide either. If you really want to take wide angle shots you should probably invest in something like a 10-24mm lens.
2) f/2.8 allows for much faster shutter speed which means sharper pictures.
3) f/2.8 works so much better in low light and indoors.
4) Depth of field. An ordinary photo at 55mm and f/5.6 can look extraordinary if it is instead taken at 70mm and f/2.8. Photos 2 and 4 in today’s entry show you what depth of field can do for an image. Your subject matter is super sharp and clear while everything else in the photo turns into milky goodness.

nikon d7000 photos

Nikon D7000 with Sigma 24-70mmD F/2.8 EX DG Lens EXIF: f/2.8, 1/60 second, 70mm, ISO 400

Nikon D7000 with Sigma 24-70mmD F/2.8 EX DG Lens EXIF: f/2.8, 1/160 second, 52mm, ISO 400

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