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The one thing that just annoys me is when people over-brighten photos for no reason to the point where it's almost not believeable anymore. That's what I meant to say in the post.

 

Anyway, I have a new favorite Legoland Picture.

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This thing was 20-25ft. tall.

 

I really like this shot, mainly because of the colors. It was taken during the Brick or Treat Halloween event.

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The one thing that just annoys me is when people over-brighten photos for no reason to the point where it's almost not believeable anymore. That's what I meant to say in the post.

 

Blowing out whites is stupid unless its done for a specific reason. I find a lot of wedding photos look great with the whites blown out because it gives it an airy, dream like state to the photo.

 

 

However in general, even when I do HDR (which is the bulk of my landscape/macro shots) I only HDR it to get tone depth. Not to blow out the darks and whites and add that stupid grungy look. Yuck. HDR is meant to give you even more range than the human eye can pick up. Not destroy a photo.

 

I like that photo. Im reminded of Stay Puff for the size and general shape.

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A shot I took this past weekend, well actually 2. I couldn't decide which of the 2 I liked better so I ended up merging the 2 for a train-chasing illusion. These are not HDR, though I wouldn't mind attempting some HDR stuff next season, just need to learn how to do such.

 

A few more shots as well of one of my favorite coasters...enjoy the Flight Deck porn! (Comment/critique would be nice as I'm still learning my DSLR)

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This is currently the wallpaper on my iPhone

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Fire's such a hard subject to not get blown out, especially when trying to get the ride as well.

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Taken on an iPhone

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The individual photo from the 'train chasing' Flight Deck

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The other photo that was merged with the previous one.

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At least for me, the first thing I do when I import my photos is check for lost detail in highlights and shadow areas in Lightroom. You know, the 'blinkies". I generally will try to recover what I can so detail is not lost on either end. From there, I will adjust levels to get the final image I want and make it appear just as you would see it in person. That is generally my goal when I edit. Not to push photos away from how I saw them when I took the image. Sometimes it does help to change it a bit, but I am a fan of realistic appearance.

 

The best thing I ever did was calibrated my monitor. Recently I just upgraded it to an IPS display as well which was another huge benefit to my editing and viewing. Calibration was the biggest game changer though... Old photos that looked good once turned terrible due to how bad the monitor was off. Prints I did before did not match what I saw on my screen and it was frustrating. So I bought the Spyder 3 Pro a few years ago, and it was money well spent. Generally, monitors ship very "cool" in color and extremely bright and vivid. This is not realistic. When I calibrated my display my desktop looked extremely weird for a few days (much warmer, not as bright), but the prints I did were 100% matches in color to what I saw on my screen. I quickly got used to it and it is amazing just how accurate my display is to what I print. Sometimes due to this though, it is hard to take some criticism unless the person giving it is on a proper display and is seeing the images as you intended them to be viewed. Not in relation to composition, subject, technique, etc… But I am talking more exposure related issues, or white balance and color. This is why on photography websites, feedback of this sort will be noted in some way that their monitor has been calibrated.

 

But the big change you notice after calibration on a good monitor is expanded dynamic range viewing the images online. At work, images I view can look terrible. Some will look blown out, weird colors, etc… As soon as I get home its worlds of a difference. You can make out details that appeared to be completely gone, colors are now accurate and details much easier to see.

 

As far as HDR goes, 80% of it is done incorrectly. Seriously. People have this illusion they are nothing but trippy, over-processed images. But honestly, the best HDR are those images that you don’t even notice as being modified in anyway. THOSE are the people who know what they are doing. I did a few HDR images at work that turned out great. The camera sensor could not capture the detail that I wanted, so I had to bracket and combine due to the high level of shadow detail I needed along with highlights. Many turned out very natural looking, and they looked amazing. I would love to show them, but I am not allowed because it is government defense stuff and all that, and don’t want to get in trouble, lol.

 

I would love to practice it more because it is really effective when you need a wide range of capture. At this point I just feel bad at it, but I don’t do it enough to practice it more. I got to work on that this winter when my shooting dwindles away.

 

 

And Andyuk… I currently use a Canon 5D Mark II along with the 24-105L, 70-200 f/2.8L II, 135L and Samyang 14mm f/2.8 – Seems to do most of what I want at this time. But it always tends to change I would love to add another telephoto to my setup, but I am waiting to save my spare cash for the next 5D whenever Canon decides to announce it.

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I just wanted to share some stuff I've done pretty recently.

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Random flowers at my friend's house.

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A leaf while hiking last week.

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Another Leaf

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The CN tower, I went to Toronto earlier this year.

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A very old Chevy... don't ask me the model. I don't know about cars.

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My old beagle.

 

I'm currently shooting with a Pentax K-x

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Invert - Does any IPS do the trick as far as getting you closer? Im starting to get people interested in my work around here and I have had to make a few prints. Took a few smaller test prints to get the colors just right. only spent a few cents but since I do aspire to turn this into some sort of part-time gig with some more training and such, I think a monitor thats correct would be a good start.

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High end IPS monitors may be calibrated very well from the factory, but you pay big money for them. I bought a $250 Dell IPS and used my Spyder 3 to calibrate it. The viewing angle is amazing compared to the TN(?) type LCD I had prior. If you shifted just a hair off center the colors changed and it was just terrible. IPS displays eliminate that color shift and the colors are beautiful from even the most crazy viewing angles. I love it. Not to mention this screen is more matte finish, so glare is no problem either. I love it!

 

I would go for a nice mid-level IPS and pick up a Spyder3 monitor calibration device. They are very easy to run. Just install the software, select your settings (default, really) and chose what adjustments you have available to you... RGB Sliders, Brightness, Contrast, etc...

 

The program will then run a quick color test, and you will adjust the RGB sliders until you get the targets in the middle of the ideal settings. Once there, you let it run another quick check. You will then adjust the brightness level until you hit the target of 120 cm/d (default). It will then run the final color check for a few minutes where it creates a profile that boots with your computer each time you start it. Every 30 days or so it will have you re-check your calibration because over time they do change. But it is really easy to do and makes a big difference! The Spyder3 Pro will even monitor light levels for you if you want it to, but I just disable that feature.

 

Here is a link to the Spyder on B&H website:

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/525535-REG/Datacolor_DC_S3P100_Spyder3Pro_Display_Calibration_System.html

 

Note: They also have cheaper versions that have more limited features. Not sure of the differences though personally. But you can look through and see if a cheaper model will be a better fit.

 

You could also just buy the device and use it on your current monitor. Most likely your monitor is either too cool or warm, which is why your prints are not matching. It can be really frustrating (it was for me). This device fixed everything. The photos I print at home on my Canon 9000 II or the ones I send out to MPIX to get printed with no color correction come back perfect. It is worth it!

 

Hope this helps some!

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That's what I thought it was. I've seen those calibration machines in use. I manually calibrate at least the whites and blacks on my TV and wow. The colors and such may not pop like on some peoples where the contrast levels and levels are all maxed out but I hate that. I want it to look real. When I had HD Cable for sports, they looked like I was there in 120hz when calibrated.

 

Ill keep that in mind. Still debating over the 24-105L. The 24-70 f2.8 would be nice but then Id have a gap from 70-100 since my telephoto is the 100-400. That and the 24-70 is way more expensive on average. I also own a 100mm 2.8. Thinking of getting the 24-105 f4 and then a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 and calling it for awhile. I also need an external flash and that's my next buy. But the 28-135 kit lens, its nice, but its not cutting it for quality.

 

Funny you'd link me to B&H. Just got their catalog in the mail today.

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I got my B&H catelog today as well. Mine looked a bit abused though, lol

 

Would you really mind the gap between 70mm and 100mm if you went with the 24-70? It would only require a few steps forward or back if need be with either lens to fill the gap. I really love my 24-105 as a walkaround, personally. Would love the f/2.8 aperture, but I would rather take less weight and IS for my general zoom. I used the 28-105 on my bosses camera at work and hate it. Mostly the build quality though. The L zooms just have such good build quality and have much better IQ. You will be very happy with either choice, for sure. Both amazing lenses! I am waiting for the 24-70 II before I consider that one, though!

 

I used the 24-105 on my 7D and it was an amazing combo. Not the widest lens, but very usable. Have you looked at the 17-55 f/2.8? That lens is awesome on crop bodies as a walkaround. Not much reach on the long end though. So many options...

 

Between the 50's, go for the 1.4... The 1.8 is not bad, but you get so many improvenance in build, AF and IQ to make it worth the upcharge.

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The 1.4 is the one I am eyeing up the most. Simply for the reasons you stated.

 

The gap between the 70 and 100 - I'm not sure how it would work. Maybe Ill rent it first, see how the gap feels. Weight isn't an issue with me. I carry around a 100-400 which weighs 3lbs by itself. I just get used to it. Plus my tripod goes everywhere I go and its carbon so its not holding me down.

 

There are way too many options though. Its ridiculous. Just when I think this is the lens I want to save for, something else comes into the picture and starts to play games with me. First thing I need is a good flash. Looking like the 430 EX II is the one for me. I cant justify the 400-500 USD pricetag on the 580. Plus, the 430 has virtually all the same features and considering I don't need 58m of reach, I think 43m will be ok. That's a LONG way. Plus I can get one of those, new or used from 200-250 and that's in my window. Everything I have other than my 100mm Macro is used. I figure when I start making money off my work Ill use that to purchase new or barely used equipment. For now, I make do on the small budget I have.

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I had and used the 50 1.8 for well over a year. I got it for like $60 cash locally and it was a fun little lens. But once I start using much better lenses it fell to the backburner. The build is like a fisher price toy at best. Optically it is not bad, but background blur is not nearly as nice as many other lenses (bokehhhhh!) and the AF is clunky. The 50 1.4 improves in all the areas the 1.8 falls short. My buddy has one and loves it. I never used it personally.

 

The 430 II flash is great. Like you, I could not justify the price of the 580 for myself. I simply don't use flash enough. I have always been more of a natural light type of person, but use it when I really need it. When I have used it, I was surprised at the range of it. Where I thought there was no way it would reach so far it would. I have been impressed with it.

 

Where do you get your gear used? Have you ever been on the Canon (photography on the net) forums or Fred Miranda? That is where I buy all my used camera gear. Honest sellers, very detailed on condition and history (for the most part). I have snagged some amazing deals there. I always try to avoid flea-bay myself. Especially for selling, as you avoid the insane eBay fee’s. So you make a lot more money when you sell as well on those forums.

 

I always try to get my gear used… You can save some really good money that way and eliminate much of the depreciation. The little lenses actually have. I can sell almost every lens I own for more then I paid. That is one good thing about this hobby... Prices may be insane up front, but if you ever need to unload your gear or exchange for other lenses, you get 95%+ of your money back if you got a good deal on it new or bought it used for a good price. Plus with all the Canon price increases and such, a few of my lenses are worth more than I paid now. So at least it is not a permanent money pit. I have a ton invested in my gear, so it is nice to know I can get almost all my money back if I had to sell it off.

 

Good luck with your decision!

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So far I have gotten it all off ebay but I am VERY particular about the product. I typically ask several questions, make sure they supply me with enough pictures of the lens (and not crappy phone pictures...come on, if you're a photog, you have something else nice laying around), I want dates for the lenses if applicable, etc. Ill probably get the flash new since its so cheap. Glad you said what you did about the 430. I'm the same way, I prefer natural light. That's why i spent good money on my tripod. Ill take a long exposure over flash 99/100 times. But as I get into more sports simply because people will pay me and I enjoy it, I need that flash to stop the action.

 

I have looked through the Fred Miranda stuff. I always check there but deals literally last only hours there. So I havent been able to be lucky enough to catch a deal there.

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That is the only downfall, those quick-deals that you always seem to miss. I hate that! I almost bit the bullet on a used 7D for like $1050 I believe it was, mint. That is a great price. I would not mind having two bodies again. Especially the 7D/5D2 combo. It would be nice to get the extra reach with a few of my lenses and have the ability at some of the events I shoot to have two bodies with two different lenses and not having to swap. I will keep looking I suppose

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Same here. Someone posted that 50mm 1.4 that I want for like 250 (absolute steal) gone within like an hour. I work almost 40hrs a week! LOL I need to script a program to scour the site every 10min and report back to me. Well, going out for some macro fun. Going to search for creepy crawlies and maybe some flowers if anything is left.

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HDR Panorama of my city, Toledo OH from our suspension bridge. Its comprised of 25 photos. 5 deep for exposure and 5 across. Its my first attempt to do this. very meticulous and not the best outcome but its my first effort at this kind of HDR Pano.

 

Definitely click for larger image.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another panoramic from me, taken at Columbus Zoo Lights this past weekend. It is composed of 55 full size images, stitched together in CS5. I had to reduce the size down quite a bit to upload to Flickr... It is only 44% of it's original size, still huge though.... 11,000 pixel across. The original is 25,000 pixel on the wide end.

 

If you click on the image, view original size.

 

Columbus Zoo WildLights Panoramic by invertalon, on Flickr

 

 

Also, a picture from GL at the end of the season.

 

Wildwater Kingdom @ GL by invertalon, on Flickr

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Invertalon: Is the lights at Columbus Zoo pretty sweet? We have some at Toledo each year at the Toledo Zoo and they are quite good. I never knew Columbus Zoo did the same thing and Im always up for a trip down there. Worth the trip?

 

Heres a recent one from Cleveland Zoo. Finally got the "eyes" shot I had wanted for so long.

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Real,

 

It is really nice at the Columbus Zoo... Never been to the Toledo Zoo, but Columbus has nice displays everywhere you look. Cleveland Zoo back when they had Zoo Lights was nothing compared (although still nice). The day we went it was packed, but not a big deal since just walking around looking at lights anyway. We enjoy going every year.

 

That is a nice picture of the Tiger, can I give one suggestion though? Straighten the "horizon" so the eyes lay equal distance from the top. I noticed it right away that it appeared "crooked". If you wanted it crooked no problem, just giving a friendly suggestion! I think it would make it look better though.

 

I miss having my telephotos when I go to zoo's and such... At one point I had 300mm and 400mm lenses, along with my TC's and my 7D (1.6x crop). So at one point I had the equiv. of 672mm of reach @ f/5.6… But after switching to the 5D2 I sold off those lenses and currently 200mm is my limit, 280mm with a TC. I may pick up the 300 or 400 again though to use, but I just feel like I may not use them often enough. I been more on a wider kick ever since I got my 5D... Oh well, that is the fun of it, right? Swapping gear all the time... I may just pick up a 7D again or a 50D, I seen a few 7D’s selling for just around $1000 now… The crop factor with my 70-200 and TC will give me 448mm again when I need it, versus more lenses.

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I am wondering how it got off center. I used lightroom to fix that.

 

 

Yea. I have the 100-400L and love it. For not being calibrated, its pretty dang sharp at 400. from 100-300 is very good. Im going to send it away this winter though and have it calibrated to my 40D since I dont have the microadjustment of the newer bodies. I expect very good results after that. But yea, the 400 x 1.6 crop @ 5.6 is so much fun. I plan to do a lot of motorsports photography next year so its basically a given that I need telephoto.

 

I love shooting wide but I find I do it more for pleasure. Im thinking of trying to find a few niche areas here around town to photography different sports at different levels and sell some pictures. I found 1 niche already, looking for more

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some of my favorite shots from various Orlando attractions:

 

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Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

 

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Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

 

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Hogwarts Express

 

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Mel's DIE-IN at HHN 21

 

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ZombieGras Scarezone from across the lagoon at HHN XX

 

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Generic long exposure of a ferris wheel

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VERY nice! Some look a bit noisy, or if they were HDR, youve got some pixels blown out.

 

Do they take your picture in Rip Ride Rocket in the building you pass through? It looks like your time lapse was strobed because I see the train inside the building clear as day.

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