Grass Seeds — No. 1 BGW Edition

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow click HERE. Note: this is what I recommend. When you click the link, it will open in a new window and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button near the top-left side of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos as this will pause the slideshow.

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

I’ve resolved to be more proactive in my Black & Gray & White conversions. Meaning, no taking canned settings; instead, I will move sliders and stuff with the goal to improve what is usually an already decent conversion. 

I have a few different tools I can use but I processed these with DxO’s Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2. What can I say; I’m having a DxO week.

You might also note grain in the photos; that’s because I’m using film settings. I don’t know that I like the effect and there are different grains depending on the film one chooses, but it seems to work for most of these shots.

Opinion only (as opposed to fact): I don’t mind a bit of grain when the details are small. For larger subjects, I think I’d prefer a cleaner image. For example:

Cruise 2014, Grand Turk (click for a larger view)

I’d have to experiment with it more but, for now, back to grass and grass seeds . . .

As in the previous post, I’ve included a SmugMug Gallery since I’ll eventually add more photos than what’s here. But, knowing most people can’t seem to find their way to SmugMug, I’ve included crops of each shot; crops that show nearly — but not quite — a 100% magnification of the image.

I had mentioned my writing in the last post so, let me mention my photography in this post.

For one, I’m way behind posting my Samsung Note 8 efforts. I must remedy that soon, but what I want to discuss is my renewed interest in doing dedicated shoots. Meaning, choosing a few subjects and photographing the snot out of them.

That requires a workspace and controlled lighting and use of a tripod and a background that won’t interfere with showcasing the subject.

All of that is inconvenient at this moment because I don’t yet have a dedicated space for that sort of thing and I’m too lazy to set something up and then tear it down when I’m done.

Plus, I need to get my hands on a decent lighting set. The one I had before was OK but underpowered. I mean, barely sufficient, but more light seldom hurts.

I have two off-camera flash units I can use but those require testing and trial and error since you can’t see what you’ll have until after you snap the photo. I hear some new LED lights are good but, again, not ready yet.

I much prefer natural light but that mean commandeering different portions of the house depending on the time of day and which window gives the most light. Ideally, I’d like an outside studio but Summer — and now Winter — aren’t conducive to comfortable working conditions. It’s one thing is one is walking around with the camera looking for a subject; it’s a different matter when one sits nearly still in one place.

I am considering changing my equipment; getting rid of the 70-200mm f/2.8 (an excellent lens) and my 80-400mm f/5.3-6.5 lens (a great lens for older cameras but showing its limitations with the D7500) and replacing it with a Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens.

I would use the kit lens that came with the D7500 (70-300mm f/4.5-6.3) as the lens I’d keep on the camera as it seems a good compromise between performance, zoom, and portability. The 70-200mm is the better lens, but it’s bigger and heavier and has less zoom. I’ve done comparison shots and I can live with the difference in quality for most situations.

I’m keeping the 105mm macro, the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle and I’m debating the fate of the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 versus the 18-55 f/3.5-5.6. The Sigma is the better lens but is larger and heavier and, again, for most situations, the kit lens would be fine.

Before deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, I plan controlled tests for each lens. Most photographers would call the decision a no-brainer . . . keep the expensive lenses. If I were a pro, that would be an easy decision . . . but I’m not, and it isn’t.

Thanks for reading and here’s the gallery of the above.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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