They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and the cam in the iPhone 4S is pretty impressive for the dinky little thing that it is. It also automatically GPS tags every image you shoot. I’m using it to commit the 8th Deadly Sin of Americana.
(Ladder Company 3 lost more men as a percentage of its total complement than any other firehouse in NYC on September 11th. It’s next door to the camera repair place I use.)
another one from the archives
I’ve been slack about blogging lately. Lots of other stuff going on.
Yesterday, 24 July 2011, same-sex marriage became legal in New York state. I headed down with Sarah to the City Clerk’s Office in lower Manhattan, where we were legally married almost a year ago, to record the first official gay marriages in the city.
It was hot and extremely humid. Some had been waiting in line from 4:30am. The doors opened at around 8am to let hundreds of couples begin their progress from one official to the next, accumulating one piece of necessary paper after the next. At times there seemed to be more cameras than participants in this drawn-out, somewhat ad-hoc process. (Why do so many big changes in society involve standing in line?)
There was no shortage of stages on which to perform. Frivolity danced with deadly seriousness. A helluva lot of happiness spread itself around.
The images below are a first, loose edit from a place where the intensely personal became expansively (but not always easily) public and political, old rituals shifted their forms and thousands of people walked into a new phase of their lives.
One day we might look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. I’m glad I made it out of bed at 5am to be there.
*NOTE: All images are copyright Adam Welz 2011. If you would like to reproduce them anywhere or anyhow, please contact me first!
sometimes, mr mondrian…
Hurricane Bill passed off somewhere to the east, bringing rain. I took the crazy sharp Sigma 20mm f1.8, which turns into something like a 35mm SLR’s 28mm on the D300, my favourite focal length. We walked along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, under the Bridge, and home.
in a quest to get a handle on producing quality digital images I have decided to spend a little time each day getting to know a couple of software packages (after all, my pro photographer days were in the mid 90s to about 2000, when film was still king).
One package that intriges me, and that I bought ages ago but have only just now started tooling around with, is DxO Optics Pro, an image editing and processing programme. The rather bright people over at DxO have figured out various ways of compensating for a suite of lens defects, including colour fringing, curvilinear distortion and vignetting by doing detailed analyses of a range of lens/body combinations and then writing software that will use the shooting data from your camera to move pixels around to straighten wavy lines on the edge of the frame, get rid of horrid purple fringing and improve overall sharpness. DxO Optics Pro also has a range of other features including noise reduction etc. etc., and has been designed (to a large extent, but not yet completely) to talk to Adobe Lightroom, the image library/processing programme I’ve decided to use to archive and process my images.
First impressions are that DxO is rather slow on my mid-range machine, so I am definitely not going to be running all my images through it by default (in contrast, Lightroom is impressively fast). As an experiment I ran a ‘defective’ image through DxO using the manufacturer-recommended ‘default/auto’ settings to see what it did — this is a night scene shot on my Nikon D300 with Nikon 18-200mm VR lens at 18mm. The ISO was set to 3200. I call it ‘defective’ because it shows a lot of digital noise and plainly demonstrates the lens’ inability to keep lines straight.
Here is a JPEG generated by Lightroom (no modifications) from the NEF (i.e. Nikon RAW) file from the camera:
Here is the DxO version generated from the same NEF file:
As you can see DxO has straightened lines very effectively – producing a far more accurately-rendered and natural-looking gate – although in moving pixels around has lost a few bits on the very edges of the frame. The Nikon 18-200mm lens, like all other extreme-range zooms, suffers from noticeable curvilinear distortion at most focal lengths and DxO has eliminated this nicely. DxO has also saturated the image’s colour and lost a lot of chroma- and luma-noise in the shadows, although in my view a little too much — some detail and tonal subtlety has been lost. I must figure out how to tone down the noise reduction or perhaps turn it off completely and just use Lightroom’s.
The learning curve continues!