Sunday, May 9, 2010

F70EXR - Another Dark and Rainy Night

I met Karen at her office before heading downtown for a comedy show the other night. Great show by the way. Absolute Comedy, if you’re ever in Ottawa.

Her office is in a bit of a hippie neighborhood, which makes for some interesting people and some very interesting buildings. The small parking area next to her building has a wall on its other side on which someone went to town with the paint. A very nice mural, although I admit that I cannot see the significance of the three sections.

But here they are in a row. Shot with the F70EXR hand held. Processed with a little help from the new ACR6, CS5 and Topaz 4, all of which will eventually be mini-reviewed on this blog.




Of course, when we got back to the parking lot the wall was no longer visible in this way.

I got home later and looked up to see a plane flying towards me. It was to fly right over my house on its landing path. We get that when the wind is just right. So I thought I would try my panning overhead. Not so good :-)


If I stretch the exposure like crazy, you can sort of see impressions of the wings … but the image looks like crap.

It started to rain at that point and I turned my attention to the beautiful yellow tulips that insist on growing in my garden every year, despite a total lack of attention to their health. I tried many shots with flash (there is no hope whatsoever of getting a decent shot hand held with a compact at night) and out of at least 15 images, this is the one I thought was ok. Not great, but ok.


The issue, of course, is the use of direct flash. DIrect flash never looks all that good (exception, appropriately used ring flash), but it is all you have with a compact unless you set up some off board SB26 flashes on slave + delay mode. But that’s way too much work for this kind of shooting and it was raining :-)

To handle the direct flash, all you can do is work with the contrast and brightness until you minimize its effect. As I did here.

Carrying your compact everywhere affords a lot of opportunity for interesting shots. I keep the cam on the settings I recommend – P mode, auto ISO 1600, DR400, M4:3 (or M3:2) and I was able to get these shots with no real thought to the exposures. I set my cam for magnify mode when it displays the image that is shot, so I can clearly see if I am getting focus and if I am blowing highlights.

For the former, I actually had to put the AF assist lamp on, which made a huge difference. For the latter, you play with compensation. I ended up at –1EV to hold the highlights. Never be afraid to underexpose to hold highlights. These cams have a lot of latitude (decent quality of pixels) so you can raise the exposure without getting undue noise.

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