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Tethered shooting with a Nikon D800e

Sunday 26 August 2012

It’s frustrating to learn that Adobe has dropped the ball with respect to tethered shooting. Tethered shooting allows you to connect the camera directly to your computer so that as you shoot, the images appear on screen. It’s a set-up studio photographers frequently use and one I am only tangentially interested in as I don’t make it habit of lugging my laptop out into the wilds for tethered shooting!

Nikon D800e w/ AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED; ƒ4.5 @ 1/1250, ISO1600

Be that as it may, it is lovely summer morning on the deck with an inquisitive chipmunk as my subject to get tethered shooting working. As a Lightroom user, I was excited to try this out… only to discover Lightroom doesn’t (yet?!) support tethered shooting for the Nikon D800/D800e or D4. A quick online search reveals that Capture One supports it, Aperture supports it, even onOne Software supports it. Why Adobe doesn’t is anyone’s guess. Even the latest version of Lightroom which came out after the D800 – version 4.1 – doesn’t support it.

I own Aperture, but I don’t really want to have a second photo processing/database app on the go. I prefer to keep things simple by using Lightroom, so I won’t be purchasing Capture1 either (although, it sounds like I should as its raw engine produces superior results to Lightroom). This led me to onOne Software. I have OnOne’s “Perfect Photo Suite” of applications but, being more of a “realist” when shooting nature, I have never felt drawn to the product, nor yet had the need of Layers for Lightroom. However, onOne  does offer a DSLR Camera Remote for iPad and iPhone. The app comes in two parts – the Server that’s loaded onto your computer and the App itself for the iPad or iPhone. Downloading the Server – which is free – allows you to shoot tethered to your computer without having to purchase the app for you mobile device.

And – best of all – it works! Within 2 minutes of downloading, I had it and Lightroom set up so that as each exposure is made, the file appears on screen in Lightroom. While I can’t control the camera remotely – I would need to purchase the iPad or iPhone app for that – the Remote Server tethering works perfectly well – as you can see from the photo above!

When you first open onOne DSLR Camera Remote Server, it creates a download folder for you. You can create your own folder or go with the one created. Lightroom itself was easy enough to set up. Under File, choose Auto Import > Auto Import Settings… and point LR to the folder created by Remote Server. LR will automatically move the photos from there to a folder you create. This can all be customized for each shoot you do, right down to the file names.

Anyway, technical gymnastics aside (it’s really only a cartwheel to get you started, nothing like we saw in the Olympics!), tethered shooting is easy to do. For me, I doubt I will use it often, but it’s a great facility to have available. Try it…You’ll like it!

Update

With the recent release of Lightroom 4.2, you can now shoot tethered directly with Lightroom. Thanks Adobe for playing catch-up!

More from Wellington County

Wednesday 22 August 2012

More scouting trips around Wellington County. Last Friday, it lead to a wonderful piece of pie at Marj’s in Alma. If you haven’t been, it’s a must! Marj’s is a classic village diner with great service, great food and, most important of all, great, home-made pies.

The photos I’m showing you are not final cuts, but rather works in progress. Some will never see the light of day as they are location “snaps”. I find it helpful to shoot a location when I know it’s not the ideal time, but want to keep a record of what it looks like and its exact location using Lightroom Maps module and the GPS unit on my camera.

You will notice that some of the photos are “blurred”. They are the product of the work I am doing with motion landscapes – photographs that capture varying degrees of motion to give us fleeting glimpses of shapes, colours and textures. They, too, are a work in progress! Final note: all photos are processed in Lightroom 4.1

Enjoy!

Landscapes of Wellington County

Tuesday 14 August 2012

For a while now, one of the projects I’ve been working on is a series of landscapes of Wellington County. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the area, Wellington County is an hour west of Toronto and surrounds the city of Guelph (about 120,000) and the towns of Erin, Fergus and Elora with a hodge-podge of townships trending northwest from there. Predominantly farmland with few natural areas, Wellington County is bisected by the Grand River and some of its tributaries, namely the Speed and Eramosa Rivers. It’s not exactly Madison County with its various bridges, but, there are a few places where the river courses are quite photogenic. As well, Elora Gorge offers some great photographic potential.

There is not much in the way of topography, though, with the highest point being Starkey Hill, just east of Arkell (southeast of Guelph) atop the Guelph Moraine, part of the Galt-Paris Moraine complex left over from the last glacial period. The Grand River valley also provides some topography, but with most of the land being private and the natural areas being either wetland or forest, there are few “vistas” ideal for landscapes.

If I could photograph only one thing, it would be landscapes – those broad, sweeping, three-dimensional vistas filled with  detail that start at my feet and extend to the horizon. However, to really work, they require just the right combination of timing for vegetation and lighting – that dramatic moment that says something more than “I was here”. And, more often than not, landscapes are at their most stunning when I’m on my way somewhere else and can’t stop to photograph. Such is life… Needless to say, my landscapes of Wellington County continues to been a long-term project.

Yesterday morning I made a point of doing some exploring to re-familiarize myself with some spots I hadn’t been to in some time. It was a fine summer morning still fresh after Sunday’s rain. Thank goodness for the rain over the last week, otherwise the river courses would have been nearly dry. I worked in the area just north and east of Guelph – the Eramosa Township area.

Field techniques included, as usual, a Nikon D800e mounted on Manfrotto 055 legs and head, mirror lock-up and an electronic release. Shooting data for each photograph is in the caption. The raw image files were processed using Lightroom 4.1

Here are a few from yesterday…

Lightroom: There is more to print resolution than meet the eye

Friday 10 August 2012

While surfing today (hey, it’s raining out, why not!), I came across an excellent article from last year by Lightroom guru Jeff Schewe that sheds an incredible amount of light and detail on print resolution. If you are printing your own prints using Lightroom then I strongly suggest you read this article and adjust your printing routine accordingly.

I’ll warn you, the article is 5 pages long and full of detail that just might cause some head-scratching, but persevere and you will come out the other end much more knowledgeable about printing.

Here is the link from the magazine Digital Photo Pro :

The Right Resolution

The conventional wisdom says set 300 dpi and forget it, but it turns out that there’s more to optimizing image resolution for fine-art printing

Text And Photography By Jeff Schewe

Process HDR images in Lightroom

Thursday 2 August 2012

I’m not big on HDR, but while surfing this morning, I came across a great tutorial for processing high-bit HDR image in lightroom 4.1. No, you still can’t merge images in Lightroom, but you can take a merged 32-bit HDR file (from Photoshop or Photomatix Pro) and manipulate it in Lightroom as many of the adjustments are now “HDR-aware”. That is, LR now recognizes high-bit images and extends the ability to adjust them. For example, the Exposure adjustment extends to +/– 10 stops!

Here is the link for this tutorial over at LightroomSecrets.com:

http://lightroomsecrets.com/2012/07/process-your-hdr-images-in-lightroom/#more-3839

A few “pretty” nature photos from the cottage – Nikon D800e

Saturday 28 July 2012

Spent a few days at the cottage and managed to capture a few photos between reading and eating and family and rain storms and wind and heat. I call them “pretty” as they are, in my mind, more nature snaps than they are artistic. Enjoy!

My First Canvas Print – Kilimanjaro

Friday 13 July 2012

I have often toyed with the idea of having canvas prints made of some of my photographs. To me, canvases always appear to be decorative rather than artistic. However, that changed after seeing some of the work done by Gregg Parsons of Guelph. He is making exquisite canvas prints of his work and prints for others as well.

I knew i had the ideal location in our home for a canvas print and knew exactly which photograph would go there – a photograph I made of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. On our trip in 2007, we flew into Nairobi then flew on to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. Well, that flight took us right by Mt. Kilimanjaro – the Kibo and Mawenzi summits in brilliant sunshine above billowy white cloud below. As we banked around the airport, a wonderful scene unfolded – the scene captured in the photograph below.

Amazingly enough, I had Gregg print this 5mp photograph, made through the airplane window, to 18″ x 46″ – and it turned out wonderfully well. The tone is perfect as are the subtle highlight details in the clouds. Many thanks Gregg. You can see Gregg’s work and find out about his canvas printing at greggparsons.ca.

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