Today, I wanted to take a shot of something landscape(ish) and with plenty of detail in, because I wanted to do a little more experimenting.
I wanted to experiment with the “in camera” contrast and sharpness settings, to see how it effected the final image, and also I wanted to experiment with focal length and compression.
If you remember yesterday, I am trying to fine tune my style, especially in the highlights where I want to pull more detail out, which is at odds with the big flat shadows that I like.
Normally, I have my contrast in camera fairly high, and also the sharpness on maximum, however I did wonder if that was negatively effecting the highlights in the final image, once digitally developed.
I tried with completely standard settings, then with my normal settings, and to be honest the difference was pretty minimal, to me anyway. Marginaly I preffered the images with my normal settings. I am aware this might be through familiarity, or even a placebo effect, so although I have parked this for now, given the minimal difference, I will revisit it.
I also tried all three of my lenses out on the same scence, and the resutls are below. First up, my 50mm.
Funny enough, the scene I chose for this experiment included Frodsham Hill in the background, which was nice!
Next, my 18-55mm (some call the kit lens) at 55mm.
As you would imagine, not a lot of difference, give there is only 5mm difference in the focal length. So, onto the “kit lens” at its widest focal length, 18mm.
This is a slightly different angle on the scence, but you can clearly see the wider angles involved, and also the increased sense of depth, from the reduced compresssion.
Then, I went the other way, with my long lens (70-300mm) and introduced a load of comression!
This shot is a lot more compressed, and the whole scene is simplified by the fact the shot is much norrower, if thats a thing in photography.
Lets go all the way into my longest focal length, I thought, to 300mm.
Although this isnt really telling me a lot in this experiment, I am pretty chuffed it came out so cleanly, I used to really battle with this Tamron lens to get a half decent image, in terns of sharpness. However, I learnt that above f/11 its OK, and of all todays shots I took at f/16 for comparisions, and at that aperture the lens was cool to use.
Actually, I was so comfortable using the lens today I even braved a shot of the war memorial on top of Frodsham Hill, which is 1.97 miles away from where I took the shot. Yes, I measured it on Google Maps! Oh, and I found somewhere called “Frodsham Caves”, that definately sounds like a location for the future to explore for a photograph……
Learnings – I learnt a lot about focal length today, how to use it to my advantage in creating a composition and to compress or expand an image to portray distance, or to enhance detail or draw attention to elements.
I also learnt that I dont know really what the in camera settings are actually doing to the final image, but, I have a suspicion that they would strongly effect Jpeg images, which if you are not aware are automatically edited to a degree within all cameras, even those on your phone. As I’m shooting exclusively in RAW at the moment, a file format that doesnt apply any automatic settings or edits to the image (but holds 5x the light data) that is probably why I havent seen the in camera settings make a noticable difference. But, I only realised that during writing this blog entry, so some reading up to do on that score to see if my assumtion is right, or not.
Well, that was a real learning experiance, I guess I was out for about half an hour, but I feel like I’ve been on a two week intensive focal length course! I love it!!