Comparison photos from 10-22mm

Earlier this week on the blog, the 10-22mm Canon was reviewed, and in the comments, Julie asked if I could provide some comparison shots.  So, in the interests of demonstrating the perspective change (and provide a few sample shots of things I thought came out well), here’s a plethora of photos.  First, the comparisons… all shots were done at 1/50th, f5.0 and ISO 800 from a range of 5 feet, 10 feet, and 15 feet, and pointed straight on at the door.  No post processing was done in order to preserve as “raw” a comparison as possible…

At 5 feet on the kit 18-55mm

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Now5 feet  with the 10-22mm:

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Notice how much more of a range of view the 10-22 has even at 10 feet?  So much more can be seen now both high and low (notice the tape measure I have in there for scale?)!  Moving right along…

Here’s 10 feet on the kit 18-55

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And the 10-22 at 10 feet:

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Again, even more range of view both top to bottom and left to right (see the book case?)  But as we go wider the differences get even more pronounced!

Finally, the kit 18-55 at 15 feet:

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And the 10-22mm at 15 feet:

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So, you can see why wide angle lenses work well in real estate, eh?  Wide angles are particularly useful in capturing architecture, and their prominence in this specific field is very well known!

Other genres of photography can benefit from its use though.  Remember the HDR shots I put up last week?  These were both taken with the wide angle:

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So, landscapes can also benefit from using a wide angle lens.  But what about portrait work?  Here is where the “group” mentality can come into play.  Here’s a shot from a family reunion I took after acquiring this lens (that’s me on the far side, camera right):

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You want to be careful about using it for close-up portrait work though, because distortion can work against you, producing unflattering looks (I am intentionally using a super small file size here because it’s really not flattering at all if used wrong):

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But of course, this is how the now famous “dog” pictures were developed, so you can try it yourself for unique looks:

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So, that’s the ups and downs, the los and highs, the pros and cons of the 10-22.  In closing, here’s a parting shot I took from the island in SC where we were having family photo ops and fun!

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Try getting that without a wide angle!  🙂  Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

The Rule of Thirds Really Does Work!

When it comes to composing our images – we are always looking for new ways and angles to capture things.  Often though, sometimes the traditional methods work too though.  In fact, I would venture to guess that if shown 100 pictures where the standard rules of composition were followed, and then 100 pictures where standard rules were deviated from, the former would have more shots that found a widespread appeal.  The rationale?  Standard rules usually will work – that’s why they are the standards.  Things like the Golden Mean, the Rule of Thirds, and Sunny 16 are all basic rules of composition and exposure, and if you want to ensure things “just work” – traditional rules really will work the majority of the time.

For the purposes of this post, I am going to talk about one of the most basic rules – the Rule of Thirds.  The Rule of Thirds (or ROT) basically says that if you divide your image area up into a grid, where the horizontal andvertical areas are divided equally into thirds – you will get cross-sections that define where your points of interest should be – often called hot points.  Here’s a diagram to help demonstrate:

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So, here the frame is divided (roughly) into thirds both vertically and horizontally.  Where the lines intersect, I’ve created red circles to indicate the “hot points”.  These are your points of interest.  If all else fails, placing your subject matter in these areas (or close to them) will dramatically improve your composition.  Here’s a great example:

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Here’s a shot of a carriage girl I took back in Charleston.  See where the cross-sections are?  I changed the color of the grid to make it easier to view – so you can tell that her eye is right on the marker for the right-most third grid line.  This really helps the composition that her eye is there instead of elsewhere (often times, there is a tendency to place the eyes closer to the center of the frame – resist that temptation to give your shots that extra oomph!).

In fact the ROT concept s such a well-known standard, the folks over at Adobe have incorporated that element into their crop tool – so that you can crop your images to adhere to this rule.  Since I will likely get someone to ask – you can create this ROT grid in other variants of Photoshop (CS family), but going to your application preferences and selecting the Grids, Guides, and Slices option.  In there, change your grid size to display lines every 33.3% and number of grids to 1.  Then choose a strong color so that when you display the grid – you can see it!  Click OK and you are done – from now on, to show the ROT grid when cropping or editing in the CS family – simply use the CMD/CTRL key and the apostrophe ( this doohickey  ‘   ) to toggle the grid on and off.  Here’s a capture of the area you need to make the changes:

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There you have it – the Rule of Thirds grid – what it means and how to use it!  Any other rules of composition you would like explained?  Feel free to email, share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and feedback in the comments or privately (if you rather would preserve anonymity).  In the meantime, go out, take some shots and practice visualizing that ROT grid in camera – that’s what will turn your snapshots into great shots!  Getting it right in camera!  Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

Adobe’s DNG Converter


For many of us, an upgrade of one element in our tool kit comes with many unforeseen consequences and additional expenditures.  Just as a new camera body can necesitate the need for larger memory cards, hardware upgrades can also come with software upgrades.  The reason?  Camera file formats!  As camera vendors develop new proprietary formats for their raw file formats (CR2 for Canon and NEF for Nikon as the two predominant players in the game), the need has always existed to update your software to accommodate the new formats for body upgrades.

The best example of this was when I did my upgrade of the Canon XT to the Canon 40D just last year (or was it two years ago now?)…at the time I was using Adobe Photoshop CS2 to process my files.  Well CS2 development stopped as CS3 development started.  My Canon 40D was stuck in between application life cycles, and as a result, I was no longer able to process my CR2 files from the 40D natively in CS2.  Granted, I did upgrade to CS3 because of my interest in the field, but for those that either may not be interested in the software upgrade, or cannot afford to upgrade, there is a free alternative from Adobe – the Adobe DNG converter.

This is a really cool utility and it gets updated on the same schedule as the Adobe Camera Raw utility that is unique to the image-editing applications of all Photoshop applications (CS4, LR, etc.).  The Adobe DNG stands for a Digital NeGative so it may help to think of this as a way of preserving your original data, yet still making it accessible, regardless of what other developments happen in the software world down the road.  I know, we all think that Adobe will be around forever, but the same was also thought of Kodak 20 years ago – and now those Kodak CD’s are becoming difficult to manage.  With that little nugget, it may be useful to consider the Adobe DNG option.  Additionally, the Adobe DNG negative has been submitted to the ISO standards setting organization for acceptance as a universal conversion utility, and are releasing it under the GNU licensing, so it will hopefully always be available for anyone.

With the stage set then,  for those who are not able to or not interested in upgrading, here is a brief tutorial of the Adobe DNG converter (in it’s current iteration as of 4/27/09), with screenshots.  If your folders of images look like this:

Adobe DNG Converter

Then the Adobe DNG Conversion Utility may be for you.  It starts pretty easily…you can download the Windows or Mac versions of it from here:

Windows DNG Converter

Mac DNG Converter

Once you download and install this utility (did I mention it’s free?), start the application to get this screen:

Adobe DNG COnverter

First off, specify the path where the images are that you want to encapsulate into the DNG format.  You can specify one folder, or you can specifiy a folder and all its sub-folders (in case you want to convert an entire library or set of images at once).  Then specify the output folder and naming convention you want to use.  Once that’s been decided, it’s time to select your preferences for how you convert your images.

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Click on the “Preferences button” to specify how you want to conversion to occur:  Do you want full size conversions or do you want to reduce the image resolution sizes for smaller storage requirements?  (I always choose full size for maximum flexibility.)  What about compression?  Adding compression can further reduce the footprint that each DNG file has on your hard drive.  (It’s a judgement call, but I choose not to compress, again to maximize flexibility down the road.)  What about conversion methods?  You can convert to a linear format, but I don’t like this option because it’s a one-way street (you can’t go back).  Last but not least, what about inclusion of the original raw file?  In most cases I would actually recommend that.  It may increase file size, but this way you have access to the original raw date if your software needs ever change and you have access to software that can better handle the raw data you currently may not be able to manage.  All these are things to consider.  Hopefully, this short explanation of your options and the pros/cons will help in deciding how to proceed.

From here it’s pretty straightforward – you’ve specified everything from your input folder to your output folder, naming conventions, and conversion preferences, so now, simply click the button on the lower right to start the conversion process.  You will get a dialog window showing you the progress:

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If you like, you can always click the button in the lower left to stop or abort the conversion process in case you specify the wrong folder or for some other reason.  Once the process is complete, the window will show all converted images.  Simply click “OK” to close the DNG converter utility from that window, as shown below:

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Finally, open the destination folder, and voila!  Your image files will now have thumbnail previews again:

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There you have it, your files are now prepped for one of the easiest, simplest, and most cost effective ways (did I mention this is free?) for both management, archiving, and accessibility – 3 very important things to consider in your image management workflow.

Granted, as with anything else, the Adobe DNG converter utility is not for everyone, as we all have work flows that call for different approaches.  So, what approaches do you use?  Feel free to share your own thoughts, processes, and suc in the comments or via email.  Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!