Ist Day Of Spring

We finally get a fine day after suffering a month or more of wet and unpredictable weather. There has been precious little that has been camera worthy over the winter months and although the weather forecast is for more wet and unsettled weather over the next week or two (typical spring weather ) it was nice to have two consecutive fine and sunny days. Even the bees and wasps were out and about. But as usual they weren’t being co-operative and eluded most of my efforts.

I meandered about the garden looking for a suitable macro opportunity, my trusty HS20 in hand and managed to snap one image worth considering a keeper. After a modest edit in Photoscape I decided to print the image on both 4 x 6 and 8 x 10 photo print paper. Below you can see the original image, the finished version and an image of the two prints. While my phone camera didn’t do the prints justice I was more than happy with the output from the Epson Ecotank L 365, which is now getting a little long in the tooth. Its not communicating via wireless connection so all our tablets, phones and WiFi  connected devices cant print anything which is becoming annoying. I have a feeling this was caused by a mild power surge after a particularly nasty thunderstorm a few weeks back.

This is the original unedited file.

It still prints well as its attached to my photo editing PC via USB connection, so it will become a dedicated photo printer. We will get a better model in the Ecotank series. If funds are available I may well look at getting a A3+ printer, and donate the current printer to a student photographer.

The image below is a 40% crop of the original and has had one of the Photoscape film emulation filters applied to bring up shadow detail and improve colour and contrast.

This is the edited version ready to print.

And this is how they look printed as a standard 4 x 6  print and as an 8 x 10. The HS20 has more than enough resolution for images this size and certainly up to A3.

This image taken with my smartphone, as can be seen the phone didnt do the images justice. The fine detail is really very good on both prints.

 

Happy Snappin’

 

 

Site update

As you will have noticed the look of A Kiwiretrospective has undergone an update. The intention being to make pages faster loading and more streamlined especially for those of you using mobile devices. Hopefully this a forward step and makes your time here a little less tedious and more enjoyable when using mobile devices.

As always if you should note anything thats not working  a quick email would be appreciated otherwise sit back & enjoy your time with us.

Linux and Software for Windows

Following on from the Digital Darkroom Series we will take a look at dispelling some concerns that people have when using Linux as the preferred operating system rather than Windows. We will try a number of Windows based programs to see how they do or dont work.

By way of introduction the following video clip is of my Linux based PC and operating system running Windows 10 in Virtual Box and using Photoscape X

We will walk through the installation of these programs in further articles. For now watch me mess about with a 35mm film image, which will be shown at the conclusion of this series in a finished form. To see things clearly view the video in full-screen mode.

Every thing you see is happening in real time, and any jitteryness is due to running the screen recording software which impacts on the overall performance. I will post some recommended computer specs so you can see how well your system stacks up.

Whats the best camera?

Thats a question I see come up time and time again. The answer’s really simple.

The best camera is the one you have with you. In my case a couple of weeks back on a very frosty morning I was greeted with the view at the end of our driveway as seen in the images below.  As I was on my way to work the only camera available was my Samsung J3 Pro and thats what I used for this image.

The first image is straight from the phone. The second is the lightly edited version using both Photoscape and Raw Therapee.

The third image is another straight from the phone image   of the neighbouring driveway with the Maple Trees shrouded in mist. What cant be seen particularly well is the heavy ground frost. By the time I had taken a number of shots my hands had gone numb. Yet again our smartphones are taking the place of the point and shoot digital cameras, just as they did when replacing point and shoot film cameras.

 

Fish & Chips and Photos

Ordinarily you wouldn’t go to the beach in mid winter when its -2 degrees Celsius at eight o’clock in the morning. However it was a nice day, I haven’t been able to get out with the cameras for a few weeks, totally normal of course for this time of year, being as its mid winter here.

Both my wife and I have had a hankering for some fresh seafood for a time now, so what better excuse to head to the west coast and visit the craft shops and have lunch at the wharf in Raglan. The seafood here doesn’t get any fresher than straight off the boat and into the fishing company chillers right next door.

By the time we had organised ourselves and the day had warmed up sufficiently lunch at the wharf turned into a mid afternoon feast. This also meant that the available light was going to be very contrasty, low level and bright.

I had two cameras with me, the Pentax MZ-6 and the Fuji HS20. The film will go to the lab tomorrow, mean time I have finished PP’ing a batch of photos which you can see here.

Considering the conditions I set the HS20 in EXR DR mode, auto ISO 400 and Auto DR 400, and adjusted Ev to suit each shot. I have to say that a APSC or Full frame camera would have handled the variations in dynamic range with a greater amount of ease but the HS20 did pretty well and in a lot of the images very little PP work was required.

In some cases the light was so difficult I had to consider other options. This is where Fuji cameras excel and the others generally dont. I’m referring to the onboard film simulations and filters. For this particular occasion I reached for the film simulations, choosing Black & White and Sepia. In fact the Sepia was the better of the two, holding the dynamic range and detail better the the B&W.  While Sepia isn’t to everyone’s liking its an often overlooked option and gives considerably better Post Processing results in many cases. In my early days of photography we used to print the portrait images in Sepia before they went to the colourists to have the final colour blending done.

Hand colouring or tinting photos was my original introduction to colour photography in the portrait studio and something I was expected to become moderately proficient at.  I was never anything near as good a the ladies we had doing it full time. It was astonishing how good they could get a photo to look just from the photographers notes.

All the following images were shot with the HS20 and edited in Photscape 3.7, which I have now running in a virtual box. More on Linux and virtual box to come at a later time. These images can also be viewed here if the displayed image is too large for your screen. Google Photo Collection

There was a third camera we had with us, namely the Samsung Note 9 and while we didnt use it a great deal I will add the photos from the Note 9 later in the week. Its fast becoming the go to camera of the moment.

For those interested in the Note 9 as a camera, check out this video and others like it on YouTube.

As always: Happy Snapp’n

Work Station Upgrade.

Regular visitors here will have followed the digital Darkroom series I recently completed ( You can find the links in the side bar or main menu listings) , the start of which was talking about what you need when editing using a PC or Laptop. My preference will always be for a desktop PC although I do have one of the latest Samsung tablets as well that I can use for mobile photography. Having an ergonomic or comfortable desk is very much as important as the computer you use. In my case I was using a compact corner unit desk I built some time ago, however I have never been a fan of having a sizeable PC case taking up desktop realestate.

With than in mind I jumped on YouTube to see what I could find. I found this.

 

I knew straight away this was the design I would use as the basis for my new desk. I elected to leave out the extra drawer that is shown in the video as this helped keep the height of the top of the table exactly where I wanted it. As the components I use to power my i5 based editing rig included a full height video card and a larger than standard CPU cooler I needed to make the componentry drawer deeper.

I also flush mounted a 22 mm momentary switch into the front face of the drawer, and it sits about 1 mm higher than the panel face to make it easy to press. Thats it, no extra led or anything needed. I dont need power leds or hardrive leds, its pretty obvious if the PC isn’t running.

The table top is made from five 150 mm x 20 mm Macrocarpa boards and is 1800 mm in length with a depth of 650 mm. Framing

and legs are made from American White Oak and are tapered to give the whole thing a slight retro look. I liked the knot detail in the wood so much I choose to finish the top with semi gloss water based poly. Four coats in all. Now I have a much better work surface and it no longer feels crowded and cramped when I’m using it. As I had all the component parts in stock this cost me nothing but time to finish.

You could build your own desk like this very cheaply with some ply or even MDF and paint finish the project.

As always, Happy Snappin’

Film images from the Seabird Coast

Today I’ve been processing some of the negatives from my latest roll of 35mm films. Developed and scanned for me by Imageland in Frankton, Hamilton NZ.  I usually get their standard scans as they are always good. They do offer other services but I usually opt just for develop & scan with the scans uploaded for me to access from my desktop and pickup of the negatives later as I’m in the area. All very convenient

There was a few images from a trip to Mount Maunganui some months back. At that time I had the standard Pentax 28-90 kit lens on the camera for that trip and the difference between the new Tamron and the older kit lens was evident, with images generally being a little sharper  from the Tamron lens. The first two images are taken with the Pentax lens. Both images were processed using Photoscape and have had a film sim filter applied, with a gentle sharpen and noise reduction.

The following image was taken on a rather poor day weather wise with the light not being particularly good under the trees and as a result poor colour is seen in the image where in reality the colour of the fallen leaves and those on the branches were in fact a great deal brighter. 000024_filtered

I was using Kodak Ultramax 400, a medium speed film for these images and I have to say I’m not overly happy with the colour of this particular roll of film. I think I will have to try Kodak Colour Plus 200 which seems to have better colour reproduction. Fortunately with the ability to apply Colour Filters that simulate the look of well know film stock I have been able to gain back some of the colour in the images.

In the above images two have been colour corrected, the other two ( The wading bird & my wife taking a photo ) have been left as shot although some other post processing has been done, mainly a light sharpen and noise reduction, which is usually necessary when working with scanned images. Noise reduction done carefully should leave a small amount of  film grain visible. This grain is even less evident when the images are printed. The final image is from one of the corrected images above printed onto A4 High Gloss Canon Photo Print paper. The image below was taken with my Samsung J3pro, which is good enough to show that the final print is more than adequate for printing at A4 at 300 dpi. Printing larger would also be fine at A3 at 240 dpi. Colour correction in the image was more in line with what I was seeing from both the Note 9 and the HS20.

20190609_104446

Having seen the resulting output from my printer I’m more than happy with what my film camera is producing and it now remains to be seen what the rest of the photos look like. Theres approx 16 images on a second roll of film from our day out around the Hauraki Gulf. These images are sitting on a roll of Fuji Superior Xtra 400/24.  Most of those mages are from the Burke Street Wharf area in Thames and it will be interesting to compare the two film stocks against the Fuji files from my HS20 which was set to Astia as the film simulation. Stay tuned more to come.

Happy Snappin’