Monday, April 28, 2008

River's Edge

This image was taken on a little piece land next to a public walking / jogging path along the bank of the Mississippi in New Orleans.  I stood next to a sign indicating that it is private property and an agent of the owner came out and spoke to me.  I could see him as I approached and it seemed to me that he was guarding the owner's privacy.  After an enjoyable conversation during which I identified myself as a photographer and gave him a card he was quite pleased to show me the property and have me photograph it.

The sky was a subtle salmon color but the sun was peeking through directly into my lens.  There were also a very large number of f stops between the sky and the fence.  I was able to position myself so that the insulator mouth of the figure blocked the sun.  The DP1's dynamic range brought much of the detail out.  I have a small flash, Nikon SB30 which effectively lit the foreground and also interestingly brought the reflective tape (red) and street sigh (green) to life.

Very difficult shot.  Very lucky to have gotten it.

Crescent City

This image of the crescent moon over the Arabesque Restaurant in New Orleans, the Crescent City was too good to pass up.  Taken at ASA 800 1/13 second hand held.  Not having a mirror to slap up and down really makes a difference in camera shake.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I am getting better images of clouds with the DP1 than I expected.  These 3 images were taken while driving.  I held the camera up through the open sun roof.  They are images of a mini-storm (my name).  There have been a handful of these over the last few weeks, about 3 to 5 miles wide and traveling quickly from west to east (more or less).  Inside these storms the weather is quite wild, wind, snow, hail, lightning...then they pass and the weather is sunny and pleasant.

Some winters we in the Pacific Northwest are blessed with more sunshine than others, this has been one of those winters.    Yes.  It does rain here often but the rain, drizzle actually, comes from a featureless low grey cloud which stretches from horizon to horizon.  About as much fun to photograph as a wet grey card.  This year The Cloud has been gone much of the time.  As a result we are getting to enjoy the other clouds which perhaps are always there but hidden, clouds like the mini-storms.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

SPP Software

Sigma's RAW processor is called Sigma Photo Pro...SPP.  Like other manufacturer's RAW processors it is quite good at developing the files from it's cameras.  Also like other developers it is nowhere at all for helping to create a streamlined workflow.  I am hopeful that another asset management software (Aperture I hope) decides to work with these files.

One thing this software has is a slider they call X3 Fill Light, at first glance some sort of shadow enhancement tool.  What this tool really does however is more sophisticated and quite exciting.  On the + side of the slider it quickly begins to bring HDR type qualities to the image.  Now while HDR is an acquired taste for sure, one I haven't yet acquired, it does increase the dynamic range of the image.  In fact this dynamic range increase was it's original listed purpose.  The cartoonish colors and the "Grunge" look quickly became what it's known for.  I've tried to add a subtle enhancement or tone mapping to images with HDR software but quite frankly the work is frustrating and almost never worth the effort.  X3 fill light allows me to dial in as little as I like and not only do it easily but do it with one image.  Bottom line...I get more information in my photographs.  I don't know how much increased dynamic range is because of the Foveon chip and how much the software but I like the results.

One of the very first things I noticed with the DP1, long before I tried bracketed exposures, was the sky.  Somehow just as the software was done processing the image the skies would just pop.  Rather than the "Mono" white sky to be cropped out later I was seeing detail, clouds, how exciting.

These images were taken in the large Cemetery at the end of Canal? Street about 12:30pm on a bright sunny day.  The perfect recipe for disaster.  They were good enough to be able to convert to B&W.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


As it turns out borders are easy with Photoshop.  I also learned that a second, defining border needs to be added, and I lightened the image a bit.

New Orleans

Morning walk in New Orleans, by Esplanade near City Park.  The bayou has a name I'm sure but it looks like Blue Bayou to me.  I tried a little sepia on the image of Forshay (how it's said not spelled) Park.  I like the way this image looks with a white border.  There's a way to do this in Aperture or  Photoshop I'm sure, just have to figure it out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Clarksdale Mississippi

Clarksdale is known as the Birthplace of the Blues.
Morgan Freeman's Blues Club "Ground Zero."

Ground Zero

Ground Zero interior

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Red Flowers DP1

These images are of the same red flowers but taken with the DP1.  I really like the way this camera deals with reds.  These colors are much closer to what I actually saw.  I tried boosting the saturation a bit on the Nikon images to see if I could match this color but completely oversaturated the channel before getting close.

Red Flowers

Along the roadside in Mississippi were fields of red wildflowers.  Where the flowers were the thickest there were no safe places to stop.  Where the shoulder was wide enough to stop the flowers were usually thin.  I did manage to find a compromise spot, kinda safe and at least some flowers.  I took pictures with the DP1 and also with my D-80.  The lenses were different (100mm on the Nikon) and so the comparison isn't "Scientific" but still striking.  These 2 are the Nikon images.  I like the way they turned out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Road Trip

I received my DP-1 while in Florida.  The first morning I took the Crescent Moon picture about 20 minutes before sunrise.  I held the camera on a railing for the 2 second exposure. Interestingly this is something I had never tried with a DSLR.

The Girls & Birds image as well as the Girls & God Beams image were during sunrise.

These images are all ASA 400.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

First shots and impressions

Well the camera finally arrived, a few days late but it's here.  The menu's are quite easy to use.  This is  good as the camera is so much fun to play with I can't find time to read the manual.  After charging the battery I took a half dozen RAW images.  The first ever is above, it was taken at sunset while driving over a bridge at about 45mph.  The next image was shot with the built in flash and a distance of about 2.5 feet.  I processed the images with no manual adjustments in SPP 3.1 which I downloaded from another site while waiting impatiently for the camera to arrive.

I am having trouble believing how delicately it captured the subtle colors.  I like this camera.