Entries Tagged as 'Missing from the Exif'

My Top 10 Images that I took in 2011

These are my top 10 images from 2011.  Some are shots that are for sale, others are stories and events.

I’d like to thank all those that encourage my photography over the last 12 months from those that purchased prints, to the countless who RT’d my tweets and left comments here and on Flickr.  And thanks for putting up with all the #wolfcatcubs photos as well.

Hopefully next year I will be able to get out some more… but I doubt it.



In reverse order of date taken.

Now that is a bolt of lightning
Now that is a bolt of lightning
Finally got a nice clear bolt of lightning… now if only I had a clear view of the sky…..

Monstering Melbourne
Monstering Melbourne
Over 20,000 views makes this my most popular image on flickr.

and all the details on when and how this shot was taken are in my Missing from the EXIF blog post

And for sale at Redbubble


This has a Japanese feel to it for me. Shot from the End of North Road, at 500mm.

And for sale at Redbubble


Something about this shot sings to me. The simplicity, the story and the power.

And for sale at Redbubble


Mum and Zara
Mum and Zara
Choosing one shot of the #wolfcatcubs was hard, this one for me says it all.


Red and White – Moomba Fireworks
Red and White - Moomba Fireworks
The first time I actually went to Moomba.

And for sale at Redbubble


The Belly of The Beast
The Belly of The Beast
After a number of trips to Avalon, I finally got lucky. Not only did I have the right gear, (Nikon D7000 + Sigma 150-500mm Lens) but I got to see this aircraft fly.


Contemplating the day that was
Contemplating the day that was
One of the first shots taken with my Sigma 150-500mm. A lens that 12 months later I am still in love with.

Step by Step, showing the Lightroom processing for the the shot here

And for sale at Redbubble


Keep your Cool
Keep your Cool ( B&W Version )
(from one of the only out of the city photo trips I did all year)

And for sale at Redbubble


The long shot… North Road Jetty #nyemelb
Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne #nyemelb

Details and Background about this shot here

And for sale at Redbubble



Missing from the EXIF: Monstering Melbourne

Must say it is nice to have 10 min to myself to finally update the blog with a non Wolfcatcubs related photo and Behind the Exif Blog Post.

So this is the story of this image…

Monstering Melbourne

I’ll break down the day as it happened as was planned.  Now Melbourne is not known for its tropical storms.  This is both good and bad for me.  Good as I hate humidity and the last few days in Melbourne have been torture, but very bad for taking storm photos. The BOM had been saying for a few days that big storms were due.  So the night before involved checking all the gear, making sure the camera was charged, the Solmeta GPS was charged and the cards were emptied.  Nothing worse than a rare storm event and not having something right 🙂

The above radar image shows the time I left home. I’d been watching the weather all day and had a rough idea on when it was due, seeing this cell and its track meant I knew it would miss me, but it would provide some good shots.

Lucky for me, there was a second cell on the radar.  The second cell was the one that I would get my shot from.  The first cell did provide some nice outflow clouds and I saw a few lightning bolts, but nothing on camera.

There were a number of people down at my fav location.  The trusty End of North Road location.  The advantage of heading here was that I knew how to look at the radar on my HTC Incredible S in comparison to my location which told me to stay longer than the first cell passing as well.

So with all the gear set up, I was ready for the storm.  The second radar image is approx when the shot was taken.

And thus here is the gear as the storm moved in.
The setup for "monstering Melbourne"

It was also the first time I got to test out my new tripod the Manfrotto MT294A3 290 with 804RC2 Head.  Must say it worked a treat even in the strong outflow winds.  (Look at the strap on the camera)

The shot is taken on manual mode to address the issue of the balance from the dark side of the image under the cloud with the bright side of the sun coming through.

Post processing consisted on a small lens correction and crop, with a touch of a graduated filter to address the slightly over exposed right side of the image.

As the storm got closer I timed the run back to the car with about 1/2 second to spare. Whilst the D7000 is listed as water resistant, the Tokina 11-16mm and the Solmeta GPS Pro aren’t. Further given the solid wall of rain that was coming sideways, I’m sure the D7000 would not have coped.

So days of planning went into this shot, and oh yeah mother nature help as well 🙂

This shot is now my most popular on flickr for favs and comments…  so thanks to all of your for the comments.


And of course you can buy this image as well ( just think Xmas is coming 🙂  )


And the EXIF Data

Camera Nikon D7000
Exposure 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture f/7.1
Focal Length 11 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Flash Off, Did not fire
Software Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.5 (Windows)
Exposure Program Manual
Date and Time (Original) 2011:11:09 18:42:47
Exposure Mode Manual
White Balance Auto
Digital Zoom Ratio 1
Focal Length In35mm Format 16 mm
Scene Capture Type Standard
GPS Latitude 37 deg 53′ 54.02″ S
GPS Longitude 144 deg 59′ 4.71″ E
GPS Altitude Ref Above Sea Level
GPS Altitude 10 m
GPS Time Stamp 07:42:44
GPS Satellites 10


Missing from the Exif: Over the Rainbow – Federation Square

We all know that a huge percentage of photos are right time right place.  For me this was even more so yesterday heading home from work.

HTC - Incredible S versionThose that know me know I carry my DSLR camera with me nearly everywhere.  Yesterday proves why.  The best photo is always the one you get with the camera you have.  To that end it is preferable that you have a better camera. So walking through town on my way home mother nature kindly put on a very nice rainbow. ( This shot for example is from my phone)

I had no more than 10min to spend getting shots by which time the rainbow had gone.

I used a Nikon D7000 with the kit 18-105mm lens.  When I could see where the rainbow was facing, I quickly walked up to Fed Square so I had the foreground element I was after.  Rainbows are all very nice, but framing a foreground adds an extra dimension to the shot.  I didn’t have my 11-16mm Tokina on me, so decided to go for the stitch later panorama series of photos.

When shooting panoramas it really helps to move the camera off Auto Mode as well.  This way your shot has even lighting across the whole image.  If you shoot them in auto, you will end with dark and light banding as each shot has a different exposure.  You can if you have time shoot in manual to pull up the dark parts of the shot if you want, but I was racing the setting sun with this one.

This shot had a bit of post processing as well.  Given I was racing time to get all the frames for the panorama as well. In Lightroom all that I did was just apply the lens correction to all of the shots.  This takes out the barrel distortion and vignetting as well making stitching much easier.  Then I exported all the full size images as JPG’s to Microsoft ICE.  I did try Photoshop, but ICE did a much better job of stitching.

Then came the fun part.  Images never look the same on a monitor as they do on the back of the camera.  In this case all of the Fed Square was to dark.  The sky was balanced how I wanted it, but not the people.

In Photoshop I created a Curves adjustment layer, then created a mask for the bottom half of the image. Then I adjusted the curves to help pull out the rich golden tones that I hadn’t pulled up in the raw shots.

Stage 2

All up, about 30 min of processing work for this shot…

I’m a really pleased with the final image and hope you are as well….

Over the rainbow - Federation Square


(P.S Now you can buy it as a large photographic print as well as in a mounted print…. )


Shooting Day Zero – A Guide to taking photos of your new baby.

#wolfcatcubs Awww... unbearable cuteAs you may be aware and the large bags under my eyes from lack of sleep attest to I have just become a father to twins.  Now being a keen photographer as well, I wanted to make sure I captured their first moments in this world.  I thought whilst I still had a touch of sanity in my brain left I’d write down some pointers for taking photos, and tech..I’ll leave all the machines that go ping to the hospital of course.

You’ll need to do a bit of planning, but given that you get one moment to experience, well in my case two, you do kind of want to get it right.

Firstly, work out with the one doing all the work what she is comfortable with.  This will stop arguments down the track before you start sharing photos that she and possibly the rest of the world doesn’t want to be seen.  As a friend on Twitter told me..“What has been seen, can’t be unseen”.

Whilst the best photo you always get is the one with the camera you have on you at the time, there are still a few things to make life easier.  You will want to check that you can take photos to begin with.  Some places get a bit funny about it and you certainly don’t need to be having an argument with the doctors at that time

Meet #wolfcatcubs - ZaraNext, don’t take all your gear, you won’t need it. In my case I took a D7000, and 178-105mm lens and a 50mm f/1.8 and my SB700… Not even using the 50mm lens till much later in the day. Then make sure it is all charged, days in advance. If you have a real flash, take a spare set of batteries, and spare cards for the camera as well. If you wanted to use a friends camera make sure you are familiar with it, even in automode before hand.

Double check the timestamp on your camera is accurate.  You will want that to be correct in the years to come.

So, we have the gear, we have permission, and everything is charged.  Don’t forget the camera. I know of cases where this has happened.  If you have a checklist for hospital, put the camera etc on that list. Moreover, if you don’t have a checklist for hospital, make one.

<drum roll>The big day…. </drum roll>

Unless you are a professional photographer who can work under intense emotional pressure, put the camera on automode.  You don’t want to be stuffing around with settings at the time.  Make sure if you are shooting on a DSLR, shoot RAW, at the maximum resolution your camera shoots at.. This gives you the option later to tweak white balance etc with no impact on the images.

Most important at this point, pay attention to the moment.  Sure having the photos is great, but missing the moment for a photo, I think not.  I didn’t get some photos because I was in awe at what was happening, so should you be.

Then, we you get the chance, take LOTS of photos.  Babies move a lot, at least with a real flash on the camera, which of course you can bounce behind you in a white room nicely you will get some keepers. Try not to use the onboard flash, it creates nasty shadows and points into very delicate little eyes.  Another option is to shoot at a higher ISO and in shutter priority mode at 125 or higher.

Erin puts her best foot fowardA few other tips for photos, you can act as a sense of scale.  You’ll soon forget how small they were, putting a little hand next to yours will give you that. Shoot the little details as well.  The hands, feet, ears and nose.  People look at these for family resemblance.

How hard can this dad thing be....If your camera is in fully automode you can hand the camera to the nurses or staff to get a photo of you as well.  You will want shots of you with them as well as them.

I did my 50mm shots of the girls about 4 hours after they were born once things had calmed down a little. Then I did the uploading of the images.  I took my EEPC Slate, which let me deal with the RAW files in lightroom, but onboard processing will do just fine as well for those first shots.

Hand #wolfcatcubsBlack and white photos of babies are done for a reason.  It evens out skin tones.  A new born babies skin can be anything from yellow to bright red.  Shooting RAW gives you more flexibility to process these post the event.

Then make a backup of all the images.  There are going to be images that if you lose, you will never get back.  That night I then made offsite backups of the RAW files as well.  You can never have too many backups.

So that covers your photos, but a few other things you are going to need.  If you have a laptop, take the charger for your smart phone as well.  It will run out of charge, you will be making a lot of calls. Get a cheap Bluetooth headset or a mic for your phone as well.  That way you can have a coffee and make all the calls you need to on the day without fretting about running out of charge and still having a hand free.

Finally at this point breath, relax and enjoy those memories of sleep.


HTC Incredible S – Camera Comparison

( due to my blog being nuked when my host went down… click here for my ASUS EEPC Slate Review )


One thing comparing the Incredible S to the Desire that has been dramatically improved is the camera.  Not just the bump from 5 to 8megapixels, but the processing software seems to have been given some real attention.  The Desire’s camera was “flat” in the shots it took and for me wasn’t worth using.

The Incredible S however is a very rich, vibrant.  It isn’t a DSLR ( which I carry with me nearly everywhere), but it is a great point and shoot camera for a wide variety of shooting environments.

The camera does low light very well, and limits ISO Noise very very well. One issue with lowlight though is that it pushes more red into images than is necessary.  Whilst the lighting at the nightclub where I took the photos of the Cat Empire, was heavily skewed red, this red dominance also came out in the sunset shot that I took at the river, there at least I had the Nikon D7K to get a much more realistic colour balance out of the shot. Which also is a case of apples and oranges, one is phone, one is prosumer DSLR :-)

The flash on the camera is up to the task, but you will notice that the band shots don’t have the flash on, because I wanted photos of the band, not the back of people’s heads.  You might want to remember that next time you’re at a concert. The great thing is that the Incredible also remembers the last state the flash was on as well, even when you exit the app.  A nice touch, that means you can take photos quickly without having to reset the camera every time.

For reasons that are not knee bone is connected to the leg bone type of logic, if you are using the phone is being used as a WIFI hot spot ( which is great if you don’t have the USB cable with you, or you wish to share it with a few friends ), you can’t use the flash.  I’m sure there is a good technical reason for this, but I can’t think what it was.

I’d much rather that the effects vs the settings could have been switched.  Then I am a lot more of purist when it comes to photography anyway.  The face detection works really well, even if the subject is in the background of the image, and the cameras inherent depth of field gets everything in focus. White Balance etc all seem to work just fine but nested as they are, tweaking one item, such as white balance, involved more clicks as sub items take over the menu structure.

The geotagging feature is great to leave on, but is one that I would have given higher priority to in the menus.  I would love to be able to one click turn it off and on for photos as I went.  Photos from home for example would not be tagged or from a friends place, but out in public tag away is the way I like to shoot.  The GPS seems to get a fix very quickly, often one or two shots in a new location and they are tagged. A cursory look at images I have uploaded to flickr shows the location very accurately as well.

Sure, the camera has nice little effects, to be honest the only one I would consider using is the depth of field filter.  Even then unless it was something I couldn’t get a feel for a particular shot that I was after.  As a rule, and this applies to all photos that you take with your phone etc, don’t and I mean DON’T apply camera filters.  Why, because in 12 months time, or even the day after you won’t have the unedited version.  The photos off the Incredible should print really well, and unless you have the “clean” version you are going to regret not having it sooner rather than later.

But, words are words, images are images…  I let them do the talking… ( ok, with just a touch of voice over…. )

(All images link to full size flickr version )

Dull Sunset Comparison

I am not a camera phone horder... just doing a review...

(Plus the Nikon D7000 that took the shot)

Nikon D7000


Nokia N8


HTC Incredible S


Nokia N95-8gb


Nokia X-6


HTC Desire






Xres Yres ISO Exposure Focal Length Aperture Width Height JPG Size Altitude Lat Long
Model – NIKON D7000 300 300 280 1/125s 18.00 mm F 5.60 4855 3216 6.4MB NO GPS
Model – N8-00 300 300 105 1/191.4s 5.90 mm F 2.80 4000 3000 1.4MB NO FIX
Model – HTC Incredible S 72 72 100 No Data 4.57 mm No Data 3184 1904 1MB 0 m S 37  53  35.05 E 144  59  17.76
Model – N95 8GB 300 300 100 1/500s 5.60 mm F 2.80 2592 1944 .77mb NO FIX
Model – X6-00 300 300 100 1/250s 5.20 mm F 2.80 2592 1944 .68mb 30.50 m S37  53  56.12 E144  59  5.34
Model – HTC Desire 72 72 55 No Data 4.31 mm No Data 2592 1552 .59mb NO FIX
Model – GC-FM1 72 72 100 1/109.9s 3.91 mm F 2.82 3264 2448 2.1mb NO GPS



The order is how I judge the devices.

Unsurprisingly the DSLR wins :-) , Next is the amazing Nokia N8, which is simply amazing as a camera on a phone. But given the hardware the Incredible S was against, it did do very well.

DPI, the higher the number the better the print.  72DPI is great for onscreen, 300DPI is better for printing, this is reflected broadly in filesize.

The D7000 shot was taken in RAW and exported via Lightroom 3. I do have the Solmeta GPS for the D7000, but it wasn’t plugged in J, the other phones that didn’t get a GPS fix had not been used in sometime and were not already on, when I did the test.

Both the Desire and the Incredible S are lacking much in the way of EXIF data, so a full comparison of EXIF Data is not possible.  Either this is an ongoing firmware issue, or shows the limitations of the HTC Camera System.

Final point, remember that the Nokia N95-8gb is from 2007, so it is the oldest of all off the above devices by a number of years. Still the camera in that phone still stands up.

And here are some more shots from the Incredible S

Good light


Very dark room


The Macro as I said is fantastic.  Add the touch the screen to move the focus point and you can get some great close up photos.  The text in these images is nice and crisp.

This is a pretty sunset….

HTC Incredible Sunset

Sunset - HTC Incredible S

Nikon D7000 Sunset


As you can see from above, the HTC made the sky a lot pinker than it was.  Whilst most people wouldn’t care.. I do.

And now some night shots..

First from the HTC Desire


Now two from the Incredible S ( at both ends of the zoom).



And thanks for getting to the end of this rather long post…. The camera as I said is a great point and shoot, and is a good phone camera.

Missing from the Exif: What if I’d done things differently

For something different, this Missing From the Exif, is more about how a photo can tell a different story to the subject matter, the location or even the composition of the original image. To be fair to the original image this is about a 20% crop, to remove some sun flare and the fact the image was a little top heavy.

Yet, this is the image that I saw through the view finder, that is it is the image I wanted. The only treatment to the image was to crop in Lightroom, with a slight push to the blacks. The image was shot in Auto No Flash Mode into a very clear setting sun, with my Sigma 150-500mm Lens at 500mm.

The reason for the 500mm for portrait photos like this, the subject often doesn’t know you are getting the shot. I am also a big fan of portrait photography where a person tells a story, but that the person isn’t the story at the same time. Makes sense to me, so I’ll stick with that as an explanation.

The truth behind this photo is that, the frozen moment isn’t real. Not with the title that I have given it. Whilst this image does feel like someone pausing for a moment in thought and reflection, they weren’t. There was a young couple fishing off the pier, and he was just checking on some lines. He was in this position for only a few seconds.

Perhaps giving away the title of this image will remove some of the magic. For me, it might help you look at photography in more detail. Wonder what the image was, and what both the subject and the photographer are trying to say.

But yes, sometimes a good story, is just that.

The EXIF Data

Camera Nikon D7000
Exposure 0.001 sec (1/800)
Aperture f/7.1
Focal Length 500 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Exposure Program Auto: No Flash
Date and Time (Original) 2011:04:24 17:37:13.70+10:00
Max Aperture Value 6.3
Subject Distance 31.6 m
Metering Mode Multi-segment
Focal Length In35mm Format 750 mm
Lens 150.0-500.0 mm f/5.0-6.3
Lens ID 206
GPS Latitude 37 deg 53′ 54.22″ S
GPS Longitude 144 deg 59′ 5.36″ E
GPS Altitude Ref Above Sea Level
GPS Altitude 13 m
GPS Date Time 2011:04:24 07:19:22Z
GPS Satellites 10
GPS Img Direction Ref Magnetic North
GPS Img Direction 175.7

and the image on Flickr:

What if I'd done things differently

Missing from the EXIF: Lightroom Tweaks to Contemplating the day that was

So I finally have a Nikon D7000 to play with.  Sadly it is not mine however, and I shall cry myself to sleep for a while over that.

To put the camera through it paces I thought I would head to one of my usual spots, take just the Sigma 150-500mm lens and see what I could get. Whilst looking for shots, I walked back from the jetty a bit and found the perfect composure I was looking for.  I am a big fan of taking photos of people, where you can’t tell who the person is.  If you want to enter shots into competitions for example, they often want release forms for the subject.  Not having the subject identifiable fixes this issue.

I took 18 shots to get this one,whilst it is either the first or last shot that ends up being the keeper, this was in the middle of the series.  I was looking for a breaking wave and the girls hair to be flowing just the right amount. All the while I was kneeling on concrete to get the right angle for the shot as well.

Here is the Final Version of the Image as you can buy it on Redbubble

Each of these images opens into a new tab/window, in Flickr Lightbox mode so you can see all the details.  These are untouched screenshots, so that you can see the whole process I went through. You will notice a few extra steps, where I tried a few things, which didn’t work, then carried on, such as a black and white version. But I haven’t commented on them.

The time frame for this processing was just under 5 min of actual sitting in front of the computer time.

Stage 1: This is the Raw Shot. So, I know I have the composition right, but the colour balance and weighting of the shot isn’t quite what I was after…


Stage 2: As my Sigma 150-500mm Lens is in the Lens, issues such as barrel distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration can be fixed in one click.


Stage 3: I knew I wanted to pull the blacks up in this image, so I did a quick tweak of the black clipping just to see if it was worth progressing with the image processing. Often, once you start processing, with an end result in mind, you will come across images that you just decide not to finish with.


Stage 4: Ah Autotone… I like you as much as I hate you. It always overblows shots as far as I am concerned. I always end up pulling the shot back, but it can be a good quick fix to a number of issues.


Stage 5: And yep, the next thing after the autotone, is to pull the exposure back from the +0.65 that Lightroom’s Autotone did, back to +0.23. So some of the image is brought out, but not to much.


Stage 6: And like Stage 5, this was a tweak to pull the brightness down, so that the image is a lot more muted over all.


Stage 7: I needed to go back and pull the blacks up a bit more at this point, to push detail out of the shadows that had crept in so that your eyes follow the lines in the image.


Stage 8: Hand holding a 3kg lens of camera and lens in high winds whilst kneeling on concrete does of course mean your shot is never going to be perfectly straight. This was just a tweak to the rotation to line up the vertical elements.


Stage 9: This is a two stage process. Firstly using the Brush Stroke tool, I selected the girl, and the pole she was leaning against so that I could apply a filter directly to just those parts of the image. As Lightroom, remembers the last settings, it of course made them over exposed, but it is handy to see the shapes that I was covering.


Stage 10: Now I just reduce the exposure on the brush tool path, from 1 to -0.88, which drops the colour and the detail from the girl leaving a stronger shadow and removes the distraction of the details of her clothing, but keeps her hair and the rest of the image in balance.


Stage 11: Once you have finished doing the major changes to the balance of an image, what looked straight before may not look as straight again. So this was to fix the aesthetic straightness of the image.


Stage 12: In all the above tweaks the golden colour had become a little washed out. So this was just a tweak to the Clarity and Vibrance to pull the image up a bit.


Stage 13: And to finish off, just a small push to the saturation to ensure the image colour and feel was as rich as I wanted.


And the Exif Data for the Shot:

Camera Nikon D7000
Exposure 0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture f/5.6
Focal Length 250 mm
ISO Speed 100
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Flash Off, Did not fire
Date and Time (Modified) 2011:02:19 23:02:36
Exposure Program Shutter speed priority AE
Date and Time (Digitized) 2011:02:19 19:56:42
Max Aperture Value 5.7
Subject Distance 10 m
Metering Mode Multi-segment
Custom Rendered Normal
Exposure Mode Auto
White Balance Auto
Focal Length In35mm Format 375 mm
Scene Capture Type Standard
Gain Control None
Contrast Normal
Saturation Normal
Sharpness Normal
GPS Latitude 37 deg 53′ 28.29″ S
GPS Longitude 144 deg 59′ 6.89″ E
GPS Altitude Ref Above Sea Level
GPS Altitude 2 m
GPS Map Datum WGS-84
Creator Tool Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.3
Lens 150.0-500.0 mm f/5.0-6.3
Approximate Focus Distance 10

and the Flickr Version of the Shot…
Contemplating the day that was

Missing from the Exif: On the Edge of Night

Sorry for the lack of updates… between a new job and a new lens… hazahh… I’ve not spent much time behind the computer…. So here is a post based around a shot I always wanted and the new lens.

One of my favourite shots of the the setting sun, is the melting on the horizon version.   The one with the full disk of the sun visible through the long light, and just at the point it is touching the horizon, with the extra distortions that the atmosphere gives the shot.

When I first got my Nikon D90 DSLR, it came with an 18-55 and a 55-200mm lens kit.  All very nice, but 200mm still meant I had to crop a lot on the image to get the focal point out of the shots I was taking.  Next was my 70-300mm.  Much better… but still to much cropping on a 12megapixel image to pull the shot I wanted.

Finally I got my Sigma 150-500mm.  For two weeks after I got it, I was running down to the beach at sunset.  And every evening I either had something on at sunset, or as was the main case, a beautiful sunny day would turn cloudy at the last min, or the line of cloud 15degrees above the horizon would still be there.

Now I am lucky I live 10min drive from the water and that the sun sets over Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne for me.  To be honest I am not a morning person, so having to get up at 5am for the shot wasn’t going to happen.

Finally, I get the cloud cover I want, and the major bit of luck the atmosphere I wanted.  It is always hit and miss with sunsets as to what you will get, if the sun will slide cleanly into the water, or play nice optical tricks in that last few min before it sets.  Here I got that balance.

This is a hand held shot, although a tripod for the sunset does make life much easier, even though you have to tweak the position of the camera on the tripod as it will move a few degrees as it sets.

This is a touch of patience and a touch of luck, combined with a 500mm lens.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

On the Edge of Night

The EXIF Data:

Camera Nikon D90
Lens Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS
Exposure 1/3200 sec
Aperture f/9.0
Focal Length 500 mm
ISO Speed 160
Exposure Program Manual
Date and Time (Digitized) 2011:01:29 20:34:01
Digital Zoom Ratio 1
Focal Length In35mm Format 750 mm
Scene Capture Type Standard
GPS Altitude Ref Above Sea Level
GPS Altitude 5 m
GPS Date Stamp 2011:01:29
GPS Latitude 37 deg 53′ 54.11″ S
GPS Longitude 144 deg 59′ 4.98″ E

It was also featured on the RedBubble Home Page… ( Click on the link to buy the image )

On the Edge of Night

11mm to 1000mm a slideshow

Flickr Gallery showing every lens combo I have from 11mm on my Tokina 11-16mm lens to my Sigma 150-500mm. ( updated with a 1000mm shot thanks to my 2x Kenko Teleconverter

Shows you the range that you can get with just a few key lenses in your kit. – The Distance to Eureka Tower ( the tall building I zoom in on ) is approx 8.5km as the crow flies.

Best viewed full screen.

( and for those who are on non flash enabled I thingys…  go to the Flickr Set here )

All Shots were taken on Manual Settings:

Camera Nikon D90
Exposure 0.001 sec (1/800)
Aperture f/9.0
ISO Speed 200

Lens used in order were

Tokina 11-16mm, Nikon 18-55mm VR, Nikon F1.8 50mm,  Nikon 55-200mm VR, Nikon 70-300mm, Sigma 150-500mm, with each lens taking a shot at both ends of its range.

Shots are not taken for aesthetic value, and neither did I have a proper tripod set up to ensure that the shots were perfectly lined up for focus point. ( A decent tripod is next on the list of things I need to buy )


the 1000mm shot is taken in Automode on a D7000 a year later than the above shots from the same location care of a 2x Teleconverter.  The haze in the shot shows the limitations of long shots as well.

Missing from the EXIF: Lightroom Tweaks to Midnight Fireworks

This post shows how I created this image via all the processing in Adobe Lightroom 3.4 ( The previous blog entry Missing from the EXIF: Midnight Fireworks covers the details of the actual shoot itself )

Most of the processing was done when I got home from the fireworks show, with only additional cropping the next day before it became the Redbubble version of the image.

Each of these images opens into a new tab/window, in Flickr Lightroom mode so you can see all the details.  These are untouched screenshots, so that you can see the whole process I went through.

This covers from 12:54:56am when I opened imported the image to Lightroom, to 1:01:58 when I exported the image for uploading to Flickr.

Stage 1: The Raw Image.  Shoot RAW, if you shoot JPG once you start pushing an image you will run into its limitations.  RAW as the digital negative is way more forgiving.  Further as Lightroom is non-destructive on your RAW files, you can tweak till your heart is content, and still go back to the original if ( in my case when ) you go to far.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage -import

Stage 2: Rotate and White balance. – As all the images from the start of the show to the finish were in the same light, and the camera was fixed to a tripod, I tweaked one image quickly for rotation and balance.  Then in Lightroom, copied only those develop settings, then pasted them to all the images. ( Batch processing even small parts of a job like this is a great way to speed up developing. )

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 2-straight-wb

Stage 3: Autotone. – I never like how many tools AutoTone images.  To my eye, they always over expose the image and it always end up washed out.  But it is a great place to start.  If you treat Autotone as a starting point, then you are o.k… it never should be an end point.  Also I find, at least with my Nikon NEF (RAW), that the image always looks insipid, especially bright colours.  So expect to have more work after using this feature.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 3-autotone

Stage 4: Brightness. – First thing to fix after the AutoTone, is brightness.  This was an image taken at midnight, I want the fireworks to standout, not the sky, or the water.  In this case, even a small reduction in brightness, brings the fireworks out of the sky.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 4-brightness

Stage 5: Fill Light. AutoTone also introduces a fill light. Great for bringing objects out of a shadow.  But once again, that is not what I was after.  Drop the fill light right back for this style of image.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 5-fill-light

Stage 6: Black Clipping. Pushing the black levels up, pulls the bright colours of the fireworks out of the background.  Also a small increase in black levels can hide a multitude of sins.  Be careful not to push it to far, as it can go from forgiving to punishing an image very quickly.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 6-black-clipping

Stage 7: Exposure. Here I pushed the Exposure of the image up just a fraction.  Suddenly the colours that were a bit dulled with the Black Clipping and Fill Light, push back up, giving the image its vibrancy once more. ( Also don’t be afraid to play with the Vibrance and Saturation modes in the Presence panel, these can help lift an image. )

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 7-exposure

Stage 8: Crop – Possible the most important stage in this images development.  One that can take a broad image redress the balance issues and transform it to a striking image. In the first instance it was to balance the image to the rotation that had been put on the image in import. Then I major crop to pull out a lot of the empty space that was the sky.  Lightroom in crop modes gives you a nice rule of thirds crop tool.  So I balanced the image around a series of thirds for the fireworks and the sky above the skyscrapers.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 8-crop

Stage 9: Angle Correction  – Don’t you hate, when you fix and angle and it still isn’t right.  Once the image was  initially cropped, I could see the leading lines clearer and the horizon looked a fraction out.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 9-angle

Stage 10: Lens Flare Removal – 3 annoying green dots appeared on the image.  Small lens flares from the bright light of the fireworks.  Lucky for me, these could be quickly and easily removed as they were in a black area of sky, and not hanging over an important part of the image.  If they had been, it would have been a lot of work to clean these up.  And Photoshop would have been the tool I would have had to switch to.  The Spot Removal Tool can quickly pull pixels from a reference area and this only takes a few seconds to get rid of what really are just blemishes on the image.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 10-lensflare-removal

Stage 11: Aircraft Removal – Once again using the Spot Removal tool, I removed the 3 little traces of light that were in the image that were the aircraft that were filming (I presume), the show.  At such a short exposure, the lines they made only served to act as distracting elements in the final shot.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 11-aircraft-removal

Stage 12: Final Crop for Redbubble – Looking at this image the next day, I really wasn’t happy with the balance of the image.  It had to much space on the left hand side, and it was still way to top heavy. Before uploading the image for sale, I tweaked the crop to balance the image better, and give it its final aspect ratio as well.

Midnight Fireworks in Melbourne -Stage 12-final-redbubblecrop

Anyway I hope you can see from above, that 5 min in Lightroom can take a good image and help to transform it up at least a few levels.  Apart from managing my complete image libary, 90% of my images never leave Lightroom, I can do all the “digital developing” I need just in the one tool.

Remember if you buy a copy of this image… the money will help me buy more camera equipment… ( Next on the list the Sigma 50-500mm OS, which would have given me even betterer shots :-))