500px

For anyone enjoying my photography, I’m maintaining my favorite photos on 500px. Even though it’s a rather snooty and popularity-driven community, the web interface is rather useful, and it’s a free place to keep a simple photo album, so I’ll use it until I get sick of the people.

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Split Toning: When People Appreciate Fine Processing Over Fine Photography

I appreciate straight forward photography with minimal processing (you know, real photography), but most online photography communities ironically prefer over-processed imagery that borders more on the side of “art”, rather than photography. In such cases, nothing is quite as useful for making fauxtography that everyone will drool over as split toning. If you want to impress the boogers out of social network photographers, you need split toning in your toolbox. Both DxO and Photoshop support this technique, and many photographers have made a living creating fake works of art with it. To give an example, I took my two favorite Kirkjufell photos (which you can find in my blog) and applied the following split-toning techniques:

Step #1 (DxO): Sepia Gold / Sepia Terra Split-Tone, apply Agfa Precise film from Film Pack. Load into Photoshop.
Step #2 (Photoshop): Split tone in Camera Raw, 261 @ 22 Saturation, 360 @ 15 Saturation. Low-Key mask with Nik, adjust brightness.

Voila, two amazing looking photos that don’t really exist, and never really happened… but people on the Internet will drool over. It’s better than Instagram! You’ll find many fauxtographers lean toward a magenta split-tone, but personally if I’m going to wreck a perfectly good photo, I prefer to do it with golden overtones. Magenta is over-done in my opinion. For that “classic” look, it’s much better to puke gold tones all over your photos.

Golden SM

Poured Out SM

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The Village of Bøstad, Norway

Here’s a stitched panorama of the village of Bøstad, Norway on a foggy day, at sunset. You can see Borge Church, a well known landmark. This stretch of road is along the E10 corridor heading through the Lofoten Islands. Three stitched shots with my Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, f/13.

Bøstad SM

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A Few Creative Edits

I usually like to stay true to the photo in my workflow. Once in a while, though, I get a little creative and start doing things such as low key masks, leading line shading, color manipulation, and other processes. I think these photos turned out pretty cool. Sometimes photography is storytelling with a few white lies thrown in.

Passionately SM

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Out of Towner

A very gloomy welcome into Grunnstad, Norway. I like it.

Out of Towner SM

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Color Accuracy Differences: Nikon D810 vs. Canon 5D III

My wife and I took a few photos of this old church in west Iceland. She shoots a Canon 5D III, while I shoot a Nikon D810. Upon developing them (using the same, simplistic workflow in DxO), I was surprised at just how different the colors were between the two photos. Granted, different lenses (Canon 24-105, vs. Sigma 35mm DG A), different focal lengths (40mm vs. 35mm), aperture (f/5.6, vs f/8), etc.. this isn’t a lab test… but IMO reproducing color accuracy in a lab versus in the real-world is very different; you shouldn’t need a lab to get color accurate results. Here, the Nikon D810 (highlighted in red) is much more color accurate than the Canon was. The canon recorded the blue hues to be much darker and more saturated than they actually were. The clouds and sky also got a much darker blue cast to it, where the Nikon rendered the grays and the whites in the snow accurately. The rock wall ended up with a green cast as well, where the Nikon version brought out more of the grays and yellows. My initial thought is that the cameras chose a different white balance (both were set to auto), however there seems to be more going on than just that, as trying to correct the image didn’t resolve the color discrepancies.

You can correct the Canon, of course… but that is extra work, multiplied by hundreds of photos we both took on this trip. Just something to keep in mind about the difference in color tonality between the two brands. I may follow up later with some lab-style tests; I’m sure in a lab the two are much closer, even though there are a lot of tests out there that still show noticeable differences. In the real-world, however, it comes down to more than just the sensor. The camera’s build in white balance logic, metering, and even ISO selection (if set to auto) come into play here. Strangely, the Canon was grainier than the Nikon, yet the Canon image was shot at ISO 100, whereas the Nikon was set to ISO 250. Part of this was likely that I had to raise the shadows of the Canon image more, as it shot a darker overall image. This too may have been responsible for some of the cast.

Mountain Prayers Comparison

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Norwegian Serenity

Norwegian Serenity, Nikon D810, 80mm, f/13.
Fisherman’s Sunset, Nikon D810, 135mm, f/13.
Tiny Village, Big Sunset, Nikon D810, 70mm, f/13.

Norwegian Serenity SM

Fisherman's Sunset SM

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Six Stunning Photos of Iceland’s Kirkjufell Mountain with a Nikon D800E

Here are the best photos of Kirkjufell from my 2014 Iceland trip, all taken with a Nikon D800E and 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens. I also used the Fotodiox Wonderpana system with an ultraslim ND32 circular filter and an ND 0.6 GRAD square filter. Fotodiox’ new stuff is really impressive.

Don’t listen to those photogs droning on about how overshot this mountain is. They’ve lost the true wonder that is photography. It is an absolute privilege to get to shoot this location. Considering the falls are private property, the owners have been quite generous for generations to let people stop and shoot here. They could have easily asserted copyright claims over all our photos. Kirkjufell is a special place, whether or not your buddy has taken a photo of it.

Classic Kirkjufell SM

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Top Aurora Shot of the Trip

This was my top Aurora shot of the trip; Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland. Back at home now, taking some extra time to process / reprocess some raws.

Aurora Over Kirkjufell SM

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Some Reine Photos by Jess

Jess got this great panorama in the morning, without a tripod, hanging out our cabin window… sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair. She makes it look so easy. She also decided to walk along the fjord while I was snapping photos, in high winds, on the very edge. She explained to me that her Norwegian blood makes her what I guess you’d call badass.

Sunrise Docked SM

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Some of Jess’ Best Iceland Photos

It’s been raining for the past 24 hours in Tromsø, so I’ve had some time to develop my wife’s camera reel. She really nailed some great shots. I’m jealous of her version of my “Mountain Prayers” shot. I had my 35mm on at the time; she shot it at 24mm. A photographer once said you should either shoot water real slow, or shoot it real fast. I shoot mine slow and silky. Jess shoots her water fast. I think part of the reason is so that she can run fast when furious ocean tides are about to engulf us. We teetered in dangerous territory at Djupilon, a volcanic beach, when the tide was inbound. Very large (10ft+) waves came crashing in suddenly out of nowhere. She did a great job of capturing some of the shots.

Beach Mountains SM

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