Saturday, January 11, 2014

What if I'm far from home?

These photographs were taken after sunset at Luukki, west of lake Kaitalampi. The area near the south edge of lake Kaitalampi is rather interesting, and it is also sufficiently far from the road so that there isn't much noise to be heard.

John asked for the EXIF info of the photographs posted here. I thought this might interest also others, so I'm posting my answer also below.

The EXIF data for my photographs is available on Flickr, but they have made it increasingly difficult to find it, and it depends on the view mode as well, so you may have to hunt for it a bit. However, the original full resolution version is available, and the EXIF info is contained in the file.

During the dark time I have mostly been using two settings, both at -1/3 EV, the other having ISO 160 and the other ISO 400. I'm not fond of going past ISO 400 with the LX5, but the OIS system is good enough to allow taking photographs even at 1/2 second exposure (at 24 mm equiv.).

I would like to use other EV settings, but as the click wheel is stuck on my LX5, I'm using only the two settings I have stored in my custom settings (-1/3 EV and +2/3 EV). Sometimes this is a bit inconvenient, but mostly it is ok. When there is snow on the ground +2/3 EV is a reasonably good default, even though +1 EV or even +1 1/3 EV might be better.

When setting up the camera I worked with the film mode a bit, trying to get rid of the oversaturation that is the default on most cameras. This is very much a matter of personal taste.

I'm allowing the JPEG file to be a bit soft out of the camera (not using the sharpest settings on the LX5), and instead adding a little bit of definition when importing the photographs as a batch to Aperture.

(Posting title is from the song Hey Brother by Avicii.)


John Marshall said...

Thank you for sharing that information about your camera settings. I found that, if I downloaded your original JPEGs, I could then right-click "properties" and see the EXIF data. If it is possible to access that data without downloading the images, I did not find that (nor do I think I need to know that). I see that you have used ISOs of 160 or 400 and EV settings of -1/3 or +2/3. Those choices make sense to me, considering your subject. I too feel that ISOs above 400 are only for emergencies on this camera. The notion of under or overexposing images depending on the dark or light (snow) subject matter is something I learned years ago when taking a course in film photography. That instructor was recommending exposure adjustments of +1 or even +2 EV in snowy scenes, but your snow images look excellent at +2/3 EV. I wondered, though, whether as a protection you considered recording images as fine JPEGs + RAW. The RAW images can be easily adjusted over a large range for exposure levels during post-processing. So, you are not reliant on your camera's ISO adjustment.
I am also curious about your statements about saturation and sharpness. I see from your EXIF data that you typically use normal sharpness, high saturation, and hard contrast. I expect that the hard contrast is useful to you in scenes where local contrast is low, and you intend to bring out differences in luminance. But, your use of high saturation seems to contradict a statement you made about reducing saturation in the set up.
In any case, your work is inspiring. I have followed it casually for over 2 years, and I must say that your collection of images is phenomenal. Please do not quit posting. As a recent acquirer of a Panny LX7, your work makes me more aware than ever that the artistry of the photographer, and not the technical equipment he/she works with, determine the quality of the images. I probably will never outgrow the capabilities of this camera. Thanks, John

Juha Haataja said...

You are right, my settings are more complex than I remembered.

What I meant by high saturation is the basic settings (iA mode and the default film modes), which give rather oversaturated results.

Instead I'm using the nostalgic film mode on the LX5, but the default nostalgic colors are a bit too undersaturated, so my settings with the nostalgic mode are: contrast +1, shapness 0, saturation +1 and nr -1.

In addition, when I had the LX3 with the original firmware, I tweaked the color balance in AWB, but with the LX5 I haven't done such tweaking any more.

Also, here is a link to the EXIF info on Flickr on one photograph; the same kind of web address should work for all photographs:

Juha Haataja said...

Oh yes, I forgot to say a few words about RAW.

I have tested RAW a couple of times, but I was unable to get as good results as I'm getting with the JPEG settings I have for the LX5, and I was not willing to put more time into experimentation.

Also, I have an iMac from 2007, the oldest model still running the new version of OS X, and it doesn't really have the power to process RAW files smoothly.

I take a lot of photographs, and a workflow which is as fast as possible is a requirement. I'm rather lazy, and don't want to spend time processing photographs on the computer.

Walking and taking new photographs is another matter entirely. ;-)