Tag Archives: Photos

Macworld Photowalk

I’m setting up a photowalk for the Monday before Macworld, probably starting around 2PM. We’ll meet near Moscone center, probably in front of the registration area. There should be some great locations to photograph, including Yerba Buena Garden, Powell Street cable cars, and the Union Square area. If it goes late, we can probably start working our way towards 21st Amendment for the Macworld Monday Tweetup.

Photos of the day

This afternoon the sky looked like it came straight from “The Simpsons”, so I was inspired to take a few shots of the clouds. I decided to do exposure bracketing and use HDR processing so I could enter them in Hydra’s HDR contest.

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Getting perfect white balance

When you’re shooting in mixed light, most camera’s automatic white balance can give incorrect or inconsistent results. The most accurate way to get the correct white balance is by measuring it. Most photographers carry a gray card for measuring & setting white balance, but Photojojo has something a lot more convenient: the white balance lens cap.

White Balance Lens Cap

Instead of carrying around something extra, simply replace your lens cap with the white balance lens cap. Before you start shooting in a new location, measure the light and set the white balance. Then remove the lens cap and shoot normally.

On a D90, press the white balance button and turn the command dial until it shows PRE. release the white balance button and press it again and hold until PRE starts blinking. Set the camera to automatic exposure and snap a picture (which will be solid white/gray). The display will flash GOOD if it was able to successfully capture a reference image. That’s it – you can now shoot normally.

Here are two sample images, taken with automatic white balance and measured white balance, both with no adjustments. The wall is off-white and the lighting is a halogen lamp.

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Automatic white balance Measured white balance

Photo of the day

This is why I love the D90. I simply used ‘P’ mode with ISO 3200 to shoot our tree trimming party last night. I really love the lighting, sharpness, and clarity in this shot.

Tree Trimming

Many more photos here.

Video of the day

D90 Video I captured at last night’s tree trimming party, with music added in iMovie.

Lots more photos here.

A bit of Christmas cheer

The people in my condo really go all out for Christmas, so I walked around and took some photos of the decorations. The D90 still continues to impress and amaze me with its performance at high ISO settings. I simply used Aperture priority with the widest aperture and auto ISO with a maximum of 3200 when I took these shots.

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The D90’s video capability also came in handy.

Photographing holiday lights

I haven’t had much of a chance to blog in the last week, since life & work got in the way. I had an awesome time Monday night when my friends took me out to dinner at 101 Ocean for my birthday.

People are already starting to put up their Christmas decorations – they don’t even wait for Thanksgiving any more. One of my neighbors put up blue lights & butterflies, as you can see from this photo.

Shooting holiday lights can be a challenge, since the camera will try to adjust the exposure for the background, which will make the lights disappear. Instead, you want to underexpose the picture enough to darken the background and make the lights stand out.

You might be able to get good results using exposure compensation, but to really get it right, you need to use manual exposure. It’s difficult to apply any standard exposure rules, since the ideal exposure depends on how dark it is and the color, size, and brightness of the lights, so you’ll probably need to experiment to get the best results. I took these pictures shortly before sunset tonight and I found that I got the best results using shutter speed 1/30 at f5.6 with ISO 1600. A good way to start is by using one of the semi-automatic modes and noting the shutter speed or aperture it chooses, and adjusting it from there.

The D90’s excellent high ISO performance makes it a lot easier to get good results in these conditions. With a lot of cameras you wouldn’t want to go above ISO 800, so you’ll need to adjust the shutter speed & aperture accordingly.

Blue lights & butterfly

Oktoberfest

I went to Oakland Park’s Oktoberfest today. It took place for the first time in the brand new Jaco Pastorius Park, so there was a big traffic jam & lots of confusion with parking.

I took lots of photos and a few videos with my D90. Most of the activity took place in a large tent with very uneven lighting, so I had to do some experimentation to get the exposure right. I found that in this case center weighted metering worked better than matrix, since the outside light seemed to throw it off.

I had to raise the ISO since it required a long exposure even with the largest aperture. This was the worst case, at 1/20 which blurred the dancers, although I liked the effect so I kept it.

Oktoberfest 2008

Here’s another one, this time with more cowbell.

More Cowbell!

You can see the full set of pictures here.

No Oktoberfest is complete without the chicken dance, so I had to make a video of it.

D90 Real World Performance

Today I went to Lauderdale-by-the-sea, the same place we had the photowalk, with my D90 to compare it with the D40x’s performance in a similar situation. I find that the move from the D40x to the D90 is as big a jump as switching from a point & shoot camera to the D40x.

In general, the D90 gives much sharper detail and better color than the D40x. Although it’s noticeably bigger & heavier than the D40x, I didn’t find it at all uncomfortable to use.

The D90’s battery life is excellent. When I started, my battery was one bar below fully charged. After taking over 600 shots and 4 movies, it was only down two more bars.

You can see the difference in quality very dramatically in this side-by-side comparison.

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The ocean was fairly rough from the storms and there were a few skim boarders, but they stayed pretty close to shore, so I didn’t catch any spectacular jumps or wipeouts like I did at the photowalk. Besides doing continuous shooting, I also recorded a few D-movies.

You can see the full set of photos I shot today here as well as the D-Movies.

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HDR photos with a D90

The D90’s exposure bracketing feature is great for HDR imaging. When you turn on bracketing, 2 or 3 consecutive shots will automatically use different exposures. If you use continuous mode, simply press and hold the shutter release to take the 2 or 3 bracketed shots. The resulting shots are exactly what you need to merge into an HDR image. I used the Hydra HDR plugin with Aperture 2.1 for this one.

D90 HDR