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Tom Robbins
November 27th, 2008, 02:00 PM
Hennepin is a little town situated along the Illinois River. It has a grocery store that serves the needs of the barge tug crews, and there are several barge loading points located just up and down river.

It is a place rich in subjects for photography. Not surprisingly, the things that seem so cool to my eye - the visitor - are old hat to the inhabitants. This old dock piling photographed this morning is an example:

http://www.pbase.com/salty_one/image/106424887.jpg

These old utility pole-sized pilings are slowly being replaced by metal tripods. They are probably better than the old wood pilings, but they have no soul.

Thanks for looking,

Tom

Asher Kelman
November 28th, 2008, 01:46 PM
Hi Tom,

We really need Jim Galli, Ben Rubenstein et al to comment. I will do my best. First I like the choice of B&W since it is the medium for just dealing with shapes, composition and texture, the sensuality of the form without the specific distractions and perturbations that color may bring.

In that, this subject of the weathered wood and ropes of what must be the barge mooring or an access gate, is overlapping loops of rope at the right 1/3 mid point and balancing that extended vertical structures of the wood posts.

I feel that, in this case, the ropes might be enhanced by processing them separately so they are a separate subject that imposes itself on the wood. At present its just part of the totality, so tension which might be there, is not brought out.

Again, the fine grain and pitting of the wood, cracks and broken ends could be worked on separately, each with their own range of tonalities.

A question, is this an image just desaturated, the color values just discarded, or did you reassign RGB colors to tonal ranges? The latter method allows a much greater degree of enrichment than straight dropping of color information.

Im any case I like this work and hope you have more from this series.

Asher

Tom Robbins
November 28th, 2008, 02:28 PM
Hi Asher,

Very interesting observations with regard to the subjects within the frame. I will need to ponder these possibilities.

The shot was taken using my Canon 5D with a sensor modified to near infrared. I do not like tobacco brown or false colors, so I usually convert to b&w using a method described by Tim Grey:
create new layer in layers pallet
edit > fill > use option to black
change blend mode from normal to black
click background layer
selecte hue/saturation
adjust hue to taste

This method works most of the time, but even when further tweaking is needed, it's often a good starting point.

Another scene the residents would probably chuckle over taken that morning -

http://www.pbase.com/salty_one/image/106428116.jpg

Unmodified Canon 5D for the above.

http://www.pbase.com/salty_one/image/106423950.jpg

Near infrared of ADM's elevators located above the flood plain of the river. The morning light was almost behind the subject from the right. There's way too much sky here, but since the image is already out of bounds, who cares about such things?

Tom

Asher Kelman
November 28th, 2008, 02:41 PM
'Whttp://www.pbase.com/salty_one/image/106423950.jpg

Near infrared of ADM's elevators located above the flood plain of the river. The morning light was almost behind the subject from the right. There's way too much sky here, but since the image is already out of bounds, who cares about such things?


This is wonderful. The wisps are so ephemeral and really seem like spirits checking out the ADM massive structure, as if to ask, "What are you doing here?"

I am really interested in the IR work. What I ask you may have already answered elsewhere in OPF so maybe you can just give us the link. Here's my questions:


It would be a good learning experience to see that scene with those clouds taken with both the unmodified and the modified cameras.


Now which company modified your 5D?


Did it come like that and what replacement for the IR cut out filter do you have.


What add on in front of the lens filters?


Which MFR, do you use any other filters for vis light and UV?


Do they give you an IR scale or tell me that's on the lens to get the right focus distance!


Thanks for sharing this wonderful photograph and for sharing the information on IR with the converted 5D.


Asher

Tom Robbins
November 29th, 2008, 02:53 PM
Asher,

Thanks for your kind comments.

I didn't take any photos of the scene with the unmodified 5D, but thought you might be interested in the file before it was converted to b&w -

http://www.pbase.com/image/106490223.jpg

This was sized for the web without adjustments or sharpening.

Life Pixel did the modification about nine months ago. I think there are several solid companies that will convert cameras to IR, or more correctly, near infrared. The original AA filter is replaced by one that is transparent to near-IR wavelengths. Once a camera is converted, it can no longer take photographs in "normal" wavelength light. It can be returned to the company for conversion back to a normal AA filter, if desired.

I have never used a filter in front of the lenses on my 5D IR. A c.p. might be interesting to experiment with.

Not sure about your focusing question, but all of my IR photos are done with the camera rigged for manual everything - including focus. If the image is sharp at the viewfinder, it is sharp at the sensor. The camera's meter tends to be a little less trustworthy than normal, but a check of the histogram after an initial shot can help you dial things in quickly.

I don't much care for the classic infrared look. It has a gee-whiz factor that gets old quickly. Any green plant material will show up white, so I try to avoid it. The IR files converted to b&w have a different character than those converted from normal color files. Sometimes one is much better than the other, but I don't yet have enough experience to know beforehand which will be which.

One thing to be aware of is some lenses will introduce a light circle in the center of an IR image. I think it might have something to do with the lens coating on the element facing the sensor (ocular element?). The list of such lenses is known, and is published on the web. If I recall, it might have something to do with IR light bouncing from the sensor to the lens, and back again. For example, the Canon 50mm f/1.4 has the problem, while the el-cheapo 50mm f/1.8 does not. On the other hand, the Canon 135mm f/2 works perfectly, so the price of the lens is no guide.

Tom

Jim Galli
January 13th, 2009, 04:30 PM
Hi Tom. Excellent that you're out looking for good B&W subjects. I suffer from can't see the forest because of the trees syndrome. I think mine is can't see the desert because of the sagebrush though. Keep up the good work. The picture with the reflections is nice. In the desert we have to really look for nice reflections to add interest. The one of the pier pilings needs a seagull and some crap.......something. Just not enough there to hold my 4 year old attention span. I tried tweaking it in photo shop but it didn't help.

Asher Kelman
January 13th, 2009, 08:53 PM
Hi Tom. Excellent that you're out looking for good B&W subjects. I suffer from can't see the forest because of the trees syndrome. I think mine is can't see the desert because of the sagebrush though. Keep up the good work. The picture with the reflections is nice. In the desert we have to really look for nice reflections to add interest. The one of the pier pilings needs a seagull and some crap.......something. Just not enough there to hold my 4 year old attention span. I tried tweaking it in photo shop but it didn't help.
Jim there are two subjects you have raised and I'm not sure I totally understand. The first is the idea of adding a blob of seabirds or other interesting subject on the utility pilings. Would this be better zoomed in to just the ropes? Or else should one pull back and then this must find a place in the backgrounds that's been excluded.

Is it that you don't feel the composition/design of the physical elements is strong enough and would be more agreeable with other strong element? Or else it's the meaning of the picture where you are disappointed?



Tom,

In all the cases I'd love to see more land and sky to make the industrial submit to the landscape. I'd do that even if I had to cheat and make up the rest of the picture from other shots. However, I'd be proud to have taken these pictures especially the IR one converted to B&W.

Asher