BLOGS & ARTICLES

An other great trip to the US South West with a great group of participant

October 25, 2017

Beside the fluke with Air Canada 6 hours delay for our take off, we had a great trip to the South West photographer's wonderland. Landing in Vegas after a 5 hours flight, we took our 4X4s to head north to Zion, our first destination in this workshop tour.

All in all, we did ___ destination from Zion to Page, AZ. We did shoot evening and morning at Bryce Canyon where we saw a superbe full moon rise over the Canyon and then a stop to my favorite coffe shop up on the cliff of a powerful landscape, before going on top of Boulder Mountain to shoot a forest of yellow aspen trees to end up in Capitol Reef. The following days saw Goblin Valley, Canyonland with a magnificient sunset at Dead Horse Point, the early trail to shoot Delicate Arch, then shoot other arches in the sunset. 

 

We did the the mysterious trail to the house on Fire, then a scary switchback road to Monument Valley which we shot at snset and sunrise. Even though, it is not the best subject to photograph, we could not pass the Grand Canyon without taing a few shots along the south rim. We enede out trip by staying in Page to photograph Horseshoe bend at sunset and Antelope Canyon twice since it was so popular with the participants.

 

All in all, we did nearly 2 000 Km in 11 days, with lots of keepers !

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of Light !

 

Jean-Daniel


QUELQUES TRUCS POUR DÉVELOPPER LES FICHIERS RAW

May 28, 2017

PHOTO AVANTPHOTO AVANTFichier RAW avant traitement

Le post-traitement d’une photographie fait partie intégrante du processus photographique. Vous photographiez en format JPEG? Alors, le post-traitement sera fait automatiquement par votre appareil, ce qui ne vous empêchera pas de faire des retouches par la suite. Par contre, si vous utilisez le format RAW, c’est vous qui devrez en faire le traitement. Voici donc quelques balises utiles pour obtenir un résultat optimal.

Le RAW est comme le négatif de votre photo et a une apparence fade. Il offre par contre plus de possibilités que le format JPEG pour ce qui est des réglages après la prise de vue, ce qui est utile en photographie aviaire où les situations sont souvent imprévisibles et difficiles. Quelque soit le logiciel utilisé pour le post-traitement, la règle d’or est de traiter les photos avec modération afin que le résultat soit fidèle au sujet – sinon, il en résulte souvent des images trop saturées ou d’une netteté exagérée. En outre, une photo ratée ou floue pourra rarement devenir un chef-d’œuvre. Investissez vos efforts sur vos meilleures photos..

Pour traiter vos fichiers RAW, vous pouvez débuter en utilisant le logiciel fourni avec votre appareil ou en recourant à des logiciels populaires tels que Lightroom, Photoshop ou Photoshop Elements. Parmi les nombreux logiciels de post-traitement disponibles sur le marché, aucun n'offre de recette miracle pouvant s'appliquer à toutes les photographies. Les amateurs qui n'ont pas d'expérience avec ce type de logiciels peuvent débuter avec un traitement de base et apprendre à l’adapter à chaque situation.

 

Recadrage

Tout en faisant attention de ne pas cadrer trop serré, appliquez-vous à positionner l’oiseau en cadrant de façon à obtenir à l'avant un espace libre équivalant à environ deux fois l’espace derrière le sujet, ce qui aura pour effet de donner de la perspective. Et ce n’est pas parce que votre appareil photo utilise le format 3:2 ou 4:3 que vous devez terminer avec le même format. Vous pourriez recadrer au format 8 x 10, 5x6, 5x7 ou au format carré.

 

L’équilibre des blancs

Vérifiez l’apparence générale de l’image afin qu’elle ne soit ni trop bleue ni trop jaune en réglant la température de couleur (chaud-froid) à l’aide du curseur.

 

Luminosité équilibrée

L’histogramme montre sur une courbe l’exposition de toutes les parties de la scène. Une image avec une exposition équilibrée correspond à une courbe centrée. Dans l’histogramme, l’extrême gauche représente les tons noirs, l’extrême droite, les tons clairs et le centre, les tons moyens. Chaque photo est particulière, et il y aura tantôt plus de tons clairs, tantôt plus de ton foncés selon la couleur du sujet et la luminosité environnante. Corrigez la luminosité en déplaçant la courbe vers la gauche ou vers la droiteettentez de l’amener vers le centre.

Si l’image est surexposée, diminuez la luminosité de quelques degrés afin de ramener l’histogramme vers le centre. Il n’est pas nécessaire de le centrer parfaite ment mais plutôt de corriger les extrêmes dans le sombre et le trop lumineux. Si l’image est trop sombre, augmentez la luminosité un peu, mais sans exagérer, car une hausse trop élevée risque de créer du bruit numérique dans la photo.

Histogramme de lumièreHistogramme de lumière

 

Contraste, tons clairs et tons foncés

Augmentez le contraste de +25 à +30 %, ce qui corrigera les tons extrêmes comme le blanc et le noir afin d’éliminer l’effet mat. Diminuez ensuite les tons clairs (hautes lumières)de 50 à 75 %; s’il y a beaucoup de blanc ou de pâle dans la photo, ce réglage permettra de récupérer les détails dans les zones comme le plumage, le ciel et les nuages. Augmentez les tons foncés de 50 % pour faire ressortir des détails dans les ombres.

 

Les blancs et les noirs

Renoncez à l’ajustement des blancs à moins qu’ils ne paraissent gris. Dans ce cas, augmentez le niveau des blancs de quelques degrés en faisant attention de ne pas perdre les détails. Le niveau des noirs sert à ajouter de la séparation et à enlever un peu de fade aux éléments noirs. Diminuez la luminosité de 5 à 10 % dans les noirs si les zones sombres sont fades ou grises ou s’il y a trop de bruit dans ces zones. Surveillez votre histogramme afin qu’il n’y ait pas trop d’excédent aux extrémités.

 

La clarté 

La clarté agit sur le contraste des tons moyens dans la photo. L’augmenter de 25 % est un très bon début et conserve l’aspect naturel de la photo tout en augmentant son impact.

 

La vibrance et la saturation

Ces deux réglages sont similaires. La saturation augmente l’intensité de toutes les couleurs. La vibrance influe uniquement sur les couleurs les moins saturées. On appliquera une augmentation de 5 à 10 % pour l’une ou l’autre, pas plus. C’est souvent dans la saturation que les photographes exagèrent.

PHOTO APRÈSPHOTO APRÈSFichier RAW après traitement

La netteté

La netteté agit sur la périphérie de toutes les formes comprises dans la photo.

La netteté est composée de quatre éléments : 

• le gain règle l'intensité de la netteté;

• le rayon, soit la distance autour du contour des éléments dans la photo, devrait demeurer sous 1,5pixel;

• les détails définissent comment les choses seront prises en compte par la netteté. Bas : seuls les contours très prononcés seront touchés. Haut : la moindre ligne dans la photo sera touchée;

• le masquage protège les plageslisses de l’effet de la netteté, qu’on voudra conserver douce.

En général, on peut utiliser un gain de 60 avec un rayon de 0,7pixel, des détails de 25 et un masquage de 0 si l’ISO n’est pas élevé, et un gain par tranches de 10 au-delà d’un ISO de 1250 pour les appareils récents.

L’élimination du bruit numérique

Appliquez au besoin par tranche de 10 %, mais attention de ne pas exagérer car cela enlève de la netteté.

 

En conclusion

Tous ces réglages peuvent être appliqués sur la totalité de la photo ou uniquement sur des éléments spécifiques grâce au pinceau, au filtre gradué électronique ou à l’outil radial.

 

À noter que la plupart des logiciels de développement sont utilisables gratuitement pour une période d’essai de 30 jours. 

 


OUT THE SONY A7R II, WELCOME CANON 5D MK IV : My experience and thoughts on the Canon 5D MK IV

April 20, 2017

There are times when stars are aligned... That was last Chrismass vacation period when my Pro rep offered me a $500 discount on a brand new 5D MK IV. And after heighteen months working with the A7R II for landscape photography, I was considering it's limitations and issues: the identified zone in focus which is not quite right, a very poor battery life which has been a problem in Iceland last September even though I had 4 batteries and 2 chargers, the lack of joystick to choose the focus points, the loosening Metabones IV in colder conditions (below 60F) and the weird yellish/greenish and strange sky colors in certain situations to name a few.

If I was rich, I would have maybe kept the A7R II as a backup for landscape photography, but the colors were still a problem for me and I am not rich...

I have been using the 5D IV for nearly 4 months now. No, it does not have 42mpix, but 30 are plenty to print big. There are a lot of details in the files, colors are perfect, and I am back with a great menu system, bigger LCD, superb autofocus, and 7i/s. The camera allows for rapid changes in the setups when these are needed. I love Canon colors in their Pro and Semi-Pro bodies. They are just right. The dynamic range of the files are also great and a lot better than the 5D III (almost 30%+), and the noise level at ISO 1600 and 3200 is low compared to past 5D cameras. These ISO level I use when the 5D IV is used as my wildlife backup or for anything else than landscapes. I foresee some great results with the starlights shots or moorises.

One cool thing with the camera is the the new touch screen which becomes very useful for still shots on a tripod or video when changing focused elements and seeing the focus passing from one to the other very smoothly: that is a plus. This screen is like a smart phone for many actions.

The 5D IV is proven to be a very solid, reliable and well thought camera with enhanced capabilities and it feels right in the hand and well balanced when used with super tele lenses. So far, I would not go back to the A7R II at all.

Best of life,

JD


20 DAYS IN ICELAND - A Photography Challenge PART 1

October 16, 2016

Iceland, on the road to LandmannalaugarIceland, on the road to Landmannalaugar

It's has been almost a month now, that I was returning from my long planned photographic adventure in Iceland. After many months of preparation, route planning and subject research, I was always wondering how the weather would be influencing our photography opportunities.

Well, let's say that weather has a big impact on your day to day planning in Iceland; in fact I should be talking about half day to half day planning since the weather changes continuously. Rain and high winds were the main obstruction to our plans. Over the 20 days, it did rain half the time. We did experience high winds for the third of the time we were there but we managed to shoot anyway with patience and get good results. On two occasions, we could not shoot at all due to very high winds. These very high wind days were for reviewing taken photographs since we could not drive with our 4X4 camper because it was too dangerous to drive it.

Iceland, a country of many facesIceland, a country of many faces

But grey days and winds do provide dramatic skies and other opportunities. That is why Iceland is so interesting. Beside the weather, it is the nature that impresses and strikes the eyes in Iceland. On this volcanic island, nature is at it's best. Since the population is rather small with 330,000 people, what impressed us is usuallu the wide spaces of land. Than, the nature's creation with it's multitude of rivers, falls, volcanoes, it's greens even in automn, it's colored lichen in mid september, it's numerous glaciers, thermal rivers, the sheeps and the famous icelandic horses.

Country Pride, IcelandCountry Pride, Iceland

Iceland is a photographer's paradize but can also be a photographer's nightmare, so be well prepared. And be mobile. I would recommend a 4x4 camper for moving around the island. This type of vehicule is expensive but allows you to go on every roads (F roads included) and allows you to be independant for night camping and feeding since you can camp for the night practically everywhere in the country, and allows you to be independent for food since it's equipment includes gas burners, fridge, sink, etc. So you save on hotels and restaurants. For the lenght of our trip, we had food in restaurants in 3 occasions. A cold night in Landmannalaugar, IcelandA cold night in Landmannalaugar, Iceland

this adventure has been one of the most interesting I had to organize and execute. With more than 5,000 photographs, we manage to drive 4,500km and cover all the planned subjects. But even with 20 days, you cannot cover everything. That is why a return from my part to Iceland is something that I will have to plan again.

JD


An expensive new Canon 5D MK IV

August 25, 2016

Canon has just launch it's new 5D serie camera, The 5D MK IV.

With 30.4 mpix, 4K video, dual pixels sensor, 4K video, wifi and GPS, this new camera is a slight improvement in terms of technology compared to the previous MK III version.

I am really uncertain about investing in this camera. In fact, the price of the MK IV is at par with the 5DS at 50 mpix. At $4,500 CAD, it is more expensive  than the Sony A7R II with it's super backlit sensor of 42 mpix by about $700.  And more expensive by about $1K compared to the previous version 5D III.

For now, I will keep reading about it and wait until a discounted price comes up.

Too bad...

JDG

 

December 2016 Addendum.

I shall receive a 5D MK IV in a few days for testing.


May 21 2016, Prochaine Conférence \ Next Conference

April 20, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Peaceful flow, ABPeaceful flow, AB

 

Je donnerai prochainement une conférence sur la photographie de paysage le samedi 21 mai au Club Photo Mauricien.

 

I will soon be giving a conference about Landscape Photography on Saturday May 21st at the Club Photo Mauricien.

 

 

 

Les coordonnées sont / Coordinates are:

Heure: 9ham à 12h

Club Photo Mauricien

Salle Régionale - Poly 303

Maison de la culture

1425, Place de l'Hotel-de-ville

Trois-Rivières, QC

 

​J'ai bien hâte de rencontrer les photographes de la Région de la Mauricie!

I am looking forward to meet the Photographers from the Mauricie Region.

 

JD


Still Working on the Spirit Bear adventure

March 13, 2016  •  1 Comment

Eye Contact with the Sacred Spirit Bear, BCEye Contact with the Sacred Spirit Bear, BC

 

 

 

When I come back from a good photography expedition, I usually do not rush to work on all my photographs.

I keep some for a later time; a time where I could have a distance from the moment I took the photograph and where I could live again the moment as I develop the raw file from memory.

My expedition on the British Columbia west coast reminds me some of great memories: the great humpback whales, beautiful sea landscapes, luxurious forests, acrobatic bald eagles, the great grizzly bear, the black bear and the Sacred Spirit Bear.

Here is the superb Kitasoo legend about the Spirit bear:

This legend starts ten thousand years ago when the world was covered by frozen glaciers. The glaciers were covered in ice and snow. No one knows how long it had been like that, but the first story recorded was of Raven, The Creator.

In this Kitasoo First Nations story of Raven, long after he had descended from the heavens and created The Green. Raven wanted something to remind him of the Long White Time of before. So he chose Bear, the keeper of dreams and memory to help him out. Raven sought Black Bear out. He didn’t have to go far, as he is always seen as a constellation of the stars in the night sky.

Raven made a pact with Black Bear. Black Bear agreed after he was given huge assurances from Raven, that he could live in peace and safety for all time, by letting one out of every ten Black Bears turn white. This was for a reminder for Raven of the misery of the great ice age of before. The White Bears to this day are still called Moksgm’ol, by the Kitasoo and T’simshian people.

Now, in the Great Bear Rain Forest of the Pacific Northwest, Kermodes still roam. Only now, their population is down to about four hundred. We would like to acknowledge the many efforts by private, provincial and federal government organizations that have stepped in to ensure the continuing habitat of the Great Bear Rain Forest in the Pacific North West, home to the Sacred White Spirit Bear.

Lucy, Spirit bear, BCLucy, Spirit bear, BC


I am late to report on my SouthWest 2015 trip - Day 8th

September 28, 2015

I am there, right now, at the Grand Canyon. We are on our 8th day of our Utah-Arizona tour. Usually, I am there to give a workshop but this year, it is with my wife that I am doing the tour. A more relaxing speed that allows me to do some scouting on new locations.

 After a full moon rise and eclipse last night, a soft morning in Monument valley. This shot is about an ordinary Mesa but the light was great and so were the clouds.

 

cheers.

 

JD


USING THE A7R II WITH CANON LENSES - Part 2 Shooting landscapes and noise

August 16, 2015

I did not have much time yet to test in details the new A7R II. But I did have a bit of time to get out and shoot On two occasions.

Right up front I should say that I particularly do not like the A7R II back LCD to review the pictures. Maybe it is a question of fiddling the right setup for the screen... but I miss the 3.2 in screen of the Canon 5D III. One more thing about the A7R II LCD: just like the old D800E, if you zoom up till the max, your photograph gets blurred. This means the LCD resolution is not wide enough to cope with the file size of the A7R II and it becomes difficult to verify on the field if your shot is sharp or not. So don't zoom in the picture to the max and find your sweet spot.

A7R MK II.         Test 1 with Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II @ f/16A7R MK II. Test 1 with Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II @ f/16

A7R II, Canon 70-200mm handheld with five axis steady shot, at 70mm, f/16,1/30s, ISO 200

On the photograph side, I am quite impressed with the results. Lots of details. And it will be a bit of adaptation for me to be able to focus at the right place for the shots I want in focus from front to infinity. Today, I have tried the focus peaking. Using the camera at various apertures, the focus peaking really helped knowing and finding the perfect manual focusing to get the best results.

To use the focus peaking (I am using the yellow color to identify zones in focus), you have to put your lens in manual mode and set the focus peaking on. It works well although you have to find the right front and back equilibrium with the peaking when you want your pictures to be at the hyperfocal.

A7R II, Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS, at 42mm, f/16, 1/26s, ISO 50, polariser, NDGrad 3s,tops no steady shot, tripod and wired trigger

The focus peaking works particularily well with the Canon lenses. The two first shots were done with autofocus at about one third distance from the front. The next ones were done with focus peaking.

Also, the next shot was done in a darker area and post processing involved getting details in the shadows almost at 100%. The results are quite impressive with details coming out and no real noise in dark areas and shadows. 

A7R MK II.  Test 3 with Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS @ f/16A7R MK II. Test 3 with Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS @ f/16

A7R II, Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS, at 45mm, 1/15s, f/16, ISO 200, tripod, wired trigger, no steady shot.

ThIs shot was done at ISO 200. I like this one that shows the depht of field and the details. What I like to call the little 3D effect in a photograph. Here the A7R II is performing.

The next two shot were done at ISO 1600 with the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L. A7R MK II Test 4 with Canon 11-24mm f/4L @ f/16A7R MK II Test 4 with Canon 11-24mm f/4L @ f/16Testing the A7R MK II with Canon lenses and Metabone Smart Adapter IV.

A7R II, Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L, at 12MM, 1/1600s, f/5.6, ISO 1600, tripod, wired trigget, no steady shot.

A7R II, Canon 11-24mm f/4L, at 11mm, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 1600, tripod, wired trigger, no steady shot.

As you can see, the noise is practically unexistant

My next post will be about shooting in low light at ISO 1600 and 3200.

Best of light,

Jean-Daniel (JD)

 

FINAL NOTES: After a year and and half shooting with the A7RII, I have concluded that the camera was not good enough for me. The weird colors in many situations that I tried to correct and sometimes was not able to do so, the flimzy size, the poor battery life (was especially annoying in Iceland) and the lack of button to manoeuver and some other annoyances like a loosening Metabones IV adapter in colder weather not recognizing my Canon lenses were enough for me to sell the camera. I then acquire a Canon 5D MK IV and the 5DS R for my landscapes photography and as a backup to my 1DX II for my wildlife and sport photography.

 


USING THE SONY A7R II WITH CANON LENS - Part 1 - First encounter

August 12, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I received my new A7R II last yesterday around 6 pm. It's dark a bit outside since it's been raining all day. I am a bit nervous about the results after reading acclaiming and bitching posts on the Web about the camera... Focus problems, noise... First thing first: put the New Metabone IV (v2) on and try the Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS on. This lens was not yet listed in Fred Miranda's list of compatible lenses for autofocus. Camera on... Setup time, zone and a few things like focus point to be centered and small to start with... Easy to do. The camera comes with a charger and two batteries...good.

Aim at a few things inside lighted with soft house lighting... Very interesting, because it's pretty quick to focus at various things. I had the the first A7R before and it's day and night in terms of focus speed and it's not hunting like the first one (A7R). Checked the results... It's all sharp where I focused. I am shooting wide open to start with. I would not say it's as fast to focus as my 5D III, but it's really not far from it. I should do comparison test later on that.

I go out and it's very cloudy; dark clouds so the lighting is not great. The autofocus works perfectly. I try a few ISO from 4000 down to 320 to check the camera stabilization system. It works ok. It's certainly no more than 4 stops. I shoot at 70mm and get sharp shots at 1/15s if I stay very stable but I get more good results at 1/25s. Still for the first time and for a quick test, I am happy so far. 

What I discover though, is the camera freezes the viewfinder for about 1s while it is saving the file after the shot. So it's not going to replace my 1DX ;)

In hand, the A7R II feels better than the A7R. A little more chunky, a little more heavier. The  camera noise level while taking a photograph is lower than before. Less clunky.

The photograph noise level seem to be fair for a 42mpix camera. My first impression is that it is similar for it's presence, to the 5D III. More to come on that. They forecast rain again today but sunny tomorrow. So I will do some more tests tomorrow.

In conclusion for the first day: good in hand, fast focus, the camera stabilization system seems to work well and noise level does not scare me.(and I am very picky on this one. So much that I disregarded the 5DSR after testing a few shots in store)

SEE USING A7R II WITH CANON LENSES - PART II

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