May 26th, 2014
I took some photos of the Rhododendron in front of our house this weekend. So here is one of those shots to mark this holiday. I don’t usually have anything to say about this holiday, except sometimes to rant a bit about the apparent inability of most people to distinguish between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. But today a great writer up in Cleveland, Erin O’Brien, posted an excellent essay on her blog that does a very good job of expressing some of my feelings about this day. I suggest you go read it.
Getting back to photography, I took that photo while playing around with my Panasonic G5 and the 45-200mm lens that my lovely wife got me for Christmas. I was just seeing what it would do, and challenged its limits a bit with how I shot this photo. I hand held it and cranked it all the way out to 200mm (that’s 400mm in “full frame” terms). The exposure was f/10 at 1/160 using the in-lens image stabilization. And the ISO was set automatically at 1600. I shot it as a jpeg to let the camera do its thing with the file.
I uploaded a full-size file if you are curious. To get to it you need to right click and select open in a new tab. At least that’s what works with Chrome. I’m pretty amazed with the quality under those parameters.
And, just for fun, I processed the file in ACDSee Pro 7, which I just upgraded to. I’ve used one variation or another of ACDSee since I started doing digital photography. It was around providing an excellent tool long before Light Room came along. I was a beta tester for the original Light Room, but I’ve never seen a reason to buy it instead of ACDSee. This time I got a deal on a new package they call their Family Pack. It includes a bunch of programs and allows each of them to be installed and used by three users. And you don’t have to “rent” the software and pay for it over and over again. One hell of a lot better deal than what Adobe is doing to us these days. Check it out. And, no, they aren’t paying me to say this. I just think it’s a great program and a great bargain. I pay the same for it as you. The Family Pack was just too good a deal to pass up. It even includes a Mac version for those of you in that camp.
The new Pro 7 version has added a lot of RAW control and kept all the good stuff from earlier versions. I’d been using version 5, not being one to upgrade every time a new version comes out. (Are you listening Adobe?) It looks like I might be doing a lot more image processing with ACDSee and moving more and more away from PhotoShop. I used the sharpening and noise reduction tools of ACDSee on this file, just keeping them at the default settings to see how it worked. I’m very impressed. The G5 doesn’t really have much noise at 1600 ISO (that in itself is a pretty amazing fact for someone who used to develop Tri-X in Acufine in a never-really-successful attempt to get 1600 ISO) but after the noise reduction in ACDSee, there’s really no noise left at all, and it didn’t seem to hurt the sharpness.
The tools we have today are pretty amazing. It’s a good time to be a photographer, if what you care about is making photos, not making a living.