Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Love Shack; Honey Jones Trading Post

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

I started writing a detailed entry about the Love Shack and Honey Jones Trading Post experiences we had today, but Sarah has already written about those and covered them pretty well; instead, I’m going to talk about some photography topics. You can find all the photos posted today here.

I continued to use my new lens today, and I think I’m getting a better feel for it. It’s fantastic for shooting in lower light, which is tremendously useful for things that are inside abandoned buildings, under overhangs, etc. A lot of the shots I took today wouldn’t have worked with another lens, because there just wouldn’t have been enough light.

Another advantage to my new lens is its short depth of field. That link will give you some definitions of depth of field, but basically, it’s how much of a subject is out of focus. The blurry parts are called bokeh. Consider this image:

Sewing machine found at the Honey Jones Trading Post.

The “Width” knob is in sharp focus, but the other one, even though it’s just a few inches away, is blurry. You can achieve this effect to some extent with almost any lens, but the large (f/1.8) aperture on my new lens allows me to really blur the other knob, which is just inches away. The bokeh with this lens is not as smooth as it could be, containing a few doubled-up lines (which you can really only see on the large or original size versions on Flickr), but for about $100, it’s pretty good.

This photo of some books illustrates the short depth of field of the f/1.8 lens.

I set the depth of field too small on this one; “SINGER” is out of focus. On the other hand, the background might have been too distracting if it were more in focus.

I’m not really sure what this is, it says “Westinghouse” and appears to be some sort of cooking appliance.

I also had some fun with some more abstract/minimal photos, like this one:

Open Spaces
Despite its strong composition, this photo is all about subtletly.

Left to its own devices
Shadows, texture, decay — but no subject in the traditional sense.

Bibble, RAW processing software which I tried in a demo and purchased yesterday, is working out great. What I love about it is that its workflow is so slick. I go through a directory of NEF files (Nikon’s RAW format), applying the changes I want to each photo, and at the end, batch convert to JPEG.

The tools for adjusting exposure, color, contrast, etc., are powerful, yet easy to use. The default settings are overall pretty sane. Even some of the automatic settings work great. The time I spend doing RAW processing has already become a fraction of what it was, and I still need to learn more about Bibble.

Bibble’s “Perfectly Clear” image optimization tends to be pretty heavy-handed, resulting in images that are too bright and very high in contrast, but sometimes it works well. The highlight recovery works great, as does the “fill light,” which helps to recover shadow detail. In some of my photos, this effectively allows me to increase the dynamic range, bringing out details that were captured by the camera, but were previously invisible.

So far, I’m pretty happy with my lens and Bibble. I bought a circular polarizer today, which I haven’t had a chance to test yet. Maybe tomorrow. This should help me get some higher-contrast shots with more stunning colors. I can’t wait to try it!

Image of music
Just for kicks: another turntable we found today.

One Response to “Love Shack; Honey Jones Trading Post”

  1. furiousball Says:

    these shots are really cool. i have no idea what any of that stuff meant…except for the words sewing machines and turntable…oh and books.

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