Monday, January 26, 2009

Lens Diffraction tests... oooo

So I bought the "Perfect Composition" DVD from Photoshop Cafe, and finally found time to go through it. (It's Australia Day today! No work! Kinda!) There was one section about depth of field and close ups, and it got me thinking about diffraction for macro lenses. And diffraction of my lens. Several online DOF calculators recommended for a 1.5x crop dslr like my D200 to use F8, any more and diffraction steps in to soften the image. How is that in reality? So being uber not wanting to leave my room I did a quick test at iso 100. I've got the 100% crop included once you click on this image:

This was with the 16-85 at 16mm, ISO 100. I'd say while at F22 it does get a little softer, there is no reason not to use it. A little wavelet sharpening in gimp should fix that right up, and seriously, I doubt for the print sizes I work at, it'd make much of a difference. It does indicate though, that the optically best to shoot at is probably the region of F8-11. F16 shows a little softness, but it only shows up in crappy side by side tests like these. F22 again is softer, but it really isn't like "OMG someone ran a blur filter on my image" kind of soft.

At the long end of this lens, it shows the same results. But the lens is able to stop down to F32 at 85mm, and there you can see it's really getting soft, but I think in real life. I wouldn't stop down that much.

Bottom line, I found out what is my probably optimum for my handheld panos, and it reassures me that should I need to stop down for DOF, F22 is not a serious issue.

Oh, just to add. The images are converted raws from Bibble Pro; it is running a colormetric tone curve, which gives the image an extremely low contrast. I usually beging from that point for tweaking.

EDIT: Blogger seems to have scaled down my image :( But it's still good enough to see which one is softer etc. The originals were 1k+ in width! GAH!

Tour Down Under: Last Day!

70-300VR tracking perfectly as this racer carves the corner.

16-85VR bringing you right into the action!

Yesterday marked the last day of the Tour Down Under stages in South Australia, and I managed to pull myself out of sweet sweet coolness into the heat outside for some shooting practice. I got to the race about 40 minutes before it started, and man, was I late! It was jammed packed with people, and I had to move to a real far area to shoot. Oh well. Tried some shots with my 70-300, it actually seemed quite decent for tracking the fast moving riders in the corner. But most of the time I was with my 16-85, and for certain vantage points, I was actually wishing I had a wider angle lens as I was so close to the riders! Don't think I got any good shots, but here's a few to share above.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Belair National Park | South Australia

Blue Tongued Lizard (Skink)

Er... random berries?

Belair National park is about a half hour train ride from Adelaide. A bunch of us decided to take the longer 6km Waterfall Hike around the park to check out the Echo Tunnel, Lower and Upper falls. Being summer, it was not unexpected to see the lack of water in the falls. The hike itself only presented 1 moderately difficult section. The rest of it was generally easy going. Compared to the Waterfall Gully, this is considered a cakewalk!

There is a really nice lake with several types of water fowl hanging around the edge, I assuming hoping for feed from people. There was a high section of the trail that presented tons of koalas. We counted twelve koalas, and probably even more hidden in the trees. Spectacular!

It was a good walk, and I look forward to doing the Mount Lofty botanic gardens soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Houdini | Curvature Shader

A curvature shader found in the Odforce forums, courtesy of Mario Marengo. Something that came up at work.

The shader on the forum won't compile directly in H9 because it uses the F variable, which in H9 is used for the BSDF (well one of those BS???? functions...). A simple search and replace of the F keyword with something else immediately gets this shader going.

Omg my Z and X keys are killing me... must get new toy soon..

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cancer Council Classic | Tour Down Under 09

Highlight on Sunday is the Tour Down Under 09, Cancer Council Classic race around Rymill square, just off Rundle Street. Was actually "trapped" inside the square for an hour whilst the race went on around the square. Had my longer 70-300 with me, but due to the only place I could find on the trackside (was very lucky to find a place someone was actually vacating...), it was practically useless. I relied on my trusty old 16-85 and it proved to be a perfect range. There's a reason why this bugger is always on my camera 99% of the time when I'm doing non-wildlife stuff :)

I took nearly 800 shots, and managed to get only about 40 keepers but I'll only print the few good ones, like the two shots above. Near almost every shot was panned, and some low speed shots turned out nice, and some high shutter shots were blurred out. Gah.

Saw a few white Ls in the crowd, and was quite surprised to see a large number of huge Sigmas and Nikkors in use. I seriously think I saw a few guys carrying 400/2.8 Nikkors in the crowd....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Glenelg over the weekend

Was at Glenelg this weekend to check out the beach scene in the summer. It's so different, and I totally enjoyed my time there. There were also a beach volley ball tournament going on. Took some shots, but I'm waiting for permission to post 'em. I've a new respect for sport photographers; nearly all my "keepers" had to be cropped into. It's near impossible to get framing perfect with so much action going on. In any case I've got to get them printed and distributed to the team :)

Oh, I also took some panos as usual, and the one posted in the blog is the floodgates beside the marina. It's awesome to see the Temptation sail into the harbour again. I'm definitely going on another dolphin cruise :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Adelaide Zoo | Jan 09

I'm resolving to work on a few photos every few days to clear away my huge raw photo backlog. Those pictures from my September trip are still not 100% organized :( Plus, last night my keyboard on my lappy had a stuck key, now two are problematic. So I'm gonna keep it short. Kinda.

OMG. CAN U FEEL THE CUTENESS?! Two joeys in a makeshift pouch. Awww........

Here I am attemping to put the little furballs more in context with their environment. But keep the environment away (hate... fences... mumble...)

The rest of the more blah photos are up on facebook. Surprisingly, I have only 5 selects in a day's worth of shooting, and only 2 are mammals. And small, cuddly mammals at that. The rest of the bigger furballs were *not* co-operative that day. I'm certain its to do with the higher heat levels in Summer. The Red Pandas were actually very active and running all over the place though.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hot hot hot in Adelaide!!!

Temperatures are high today! 41 degrees Celcius during lunchtime, according to my Weather Report applet. At the time of this post, it's about 11pm, and it's maintaining a nice 32 degrees outside :) Actually I'm quite ok with the heat. Its humidity that kills, I always say :) But I'm sure some of my cold weathered friends are going to be melting :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Japanese Gardens Re-visited

First time enjoying summer here in Adelaide! I'm really enjoying the weather, it's nice and warm with cool breezes and *really low* humidity. The quality of light here is rather harsh though, quite different from when I was here in winter last year for HP6. It reminds me of the light back home. At least, my skies aren't a patch of white :) Here're some shots from the Himeji Japanese Gardens along the South Terrace in Adelaide.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Back in Adelaide!

Back in Adelaide for a bit, not sure why but I was really happy not to be surrounded by tons of people and tall buildings :)

Checked into my room, then went out for a walk on Sunday..... which is a *really* quiet day. Alot of shops weren't even open till at least 11. Having caught a cold on the flight over, I just bought my groceries, then slept. I can't wait for tomorrow - zoo time =)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Last day in Singapore!

Well till the end of my work contract anyways :)

Here's me going around for a quick tour of the world famous awe-inspiring merlion.

Sad to say, I've done photos of the new merlion using digital cameras to rangefinders, and now, panoramic photography with a slr. I can't say I'm uber impressed as I've been here waaay too often.