Saturday, February 5, 2011

F300EXR – Sunny days and brain farts …

I’m prone to the odd brain fart. I proved this yet one more time by shooting daylight scenes in extreme brightness at 800 ISO the other day … there are two things very wrong with that: (1) shutter speeds reach limits and you get overexposures; and (2) the details tend to get smoothed too much by noise reduction.

As I came outside the morning after the big storm, I noticed that the sidewalk had vanished under a mound of snow. And our local friendly wascilly wabbit had been around … this shot should have been destroyed by the mistake I made by forgetting to change ISO to 100. I left ta at 800 from the day before. And I never see the red lettering on the LCD … I’m just not sensitive to red as a warning.

The straight from the camera shot is not all that promising …


The one saving grace is that I underexposed this one to save the highlights. Since the shutter speed was already at the max of 1/2000s, it did it by raising the aperture to f/7.1. Of course, I loaded it into ACR and lifted the exposure and shadows while correcting the white balance, then straightened it in PTLens, removing the heavy keystoning and losing a lot of the image to the necessary crop. And finally, I cleaned up the noise from raising the shadows …

Since the point was to show that we have rabbits in the neighborhood, I am satisfied with this image.

I was faced with a mountain of snow at the street … the plows had been by and I tend to get a lot of snow as I am the last house on the street …

I popped into the car to start it and then thought I would shoot it to capture the amount of snow. Of course, that is another brain fart … the whole car was covered, but by going into the car, I lost all the snow on that side as I shut the door. It was powdery, not sticky. I should have shot the car before going inside … duh.

It’s pretty obvious from this image that we escaped the brunt of the storm. They keep missing us this year (touch wood.)

The tree across the street looks quite nice in the blazing sunlight. I still have it on 800 ISO and the shutter speed is still pegged to max, but the F300 has a third f-stop and that saves my bacon … this shot is at f/11 with 800 ISO, which means that the last thing in the world that you want to do is pixel peep :-)

It’s really not bad …

My son was with me at this time and he was on his way to school. I was going to drop him at the bus station and head off to the office for some meetings. I often do this midday to avoid traffic as I have a lot of 9am conference calls, which I prefer to take at home.

When he saw the huge mound of snow, he said “you’ll be here all day, I’m walking to the bus stop instead.” I told him to stand at the corner of the street and to flag me if someone was coming. I then got into the car and pulled forward to the garage, popped it into reverse and floored it. I have about 10 feet behind the car to build sufficient momentum to blast through the snow bank left by the plow. I had already tested it for ice and there was none.

The next image shows that my strategy worked fine. The car lifted and dropped quite noticeably, but it ended up where I wanted it … in the street. I pulled forward to the corner and left the car there a moment while I shot these images, showing the size of the bank I went through.

Disclaimer: I do not recommend you do this. I am not responsible for any damages to your car or local animals or kids if you do it and screw up. Let’s be clear on that.

You can see that the F300EXR has held the highlights here very well. Considering that it is battling the shadows and the sunlight, I remain impressed with this technology.

So there you have it. EXR technology comes to the rescue again. Even when the ISO is too high and you are flirting with overexposure, the EXR sensor has pretty decent latitude. Pulling highlights back while opening shadows works pretty well on these jpegs.

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