15 Minute Parking

15 Minute Parking, originally uploaded by theothermattm.

With the new camera, I've switched to shooting in RAW. To process the RAW files, I've been doing quite a bit of tinkering with Adobe Lightroom lately, this is a shot that is the result of some of the initial tinkering.

I downloaded the 30 day trial of Lightroom and I was very quickly convinced that it was worth the (unfortunately) hefty price tag. I can see why my friend Dave calls this the "best peice of software I've ever used." I did get a nice $25 discount for being "Green" and not having Adobe ship me a box.

I also got an excellent book by Nathaniel Coalson called "Lightroom 2: Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process." It's a fantastic book that includes lots of general workflow tips as well as the expected information on Lightroom.

One of the best tips: If in doubt about exposure - overexpose. Overexposing will give you more data in the RAW file which can always be underexposed during post-processing in Lightroom.

Also, it may be common sense, but Nathaniel consistently stresses writing out your workflow before you start using it, thinking about it, then tweaking it. This is something that might seem obvious to some, but for someone who loves to just "dive right in" to things, this was something I needed to be told to do.

The amount of options for processing in Lightroom is dizzying, though much more straightforward than badass-old Photoshop. This shot is one of the better end results I've come up with so far. The colors straight off the camera were very "cool". I was able to do some minimal tweaking on this one to enhance the contrast and make the colors pop a bit more.

Now, on to more shots in this amazing weather we've been having lately.

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Posted by Matt 5/27/2009 12:20:00 AM Comments (3)

New Possibilities

Parade Mall, originally uploaded by theothermattm.

I finally bit the bullet and bought a new camera body. A Canon 40D. This shot was taken with it.

Quite a step up from the 300D (aka the _original_ Canon Digital Rebel) I've had for 3-4 years now. That camera was a refurb, got it cheap, and it served me extremely well as a learning camera. Canon has really lowered the bar on the new Rebel cameras since, so I decided to step it up a notch and go for the "xxD" series, even though I still have a lot to learn about digital photography.

I researched the 50D and decided that for $300-400 more, it was not worth the extra money.

Some key features I considered and why I chose the 40D over the 50D:
1) The 50D has a Digic IV processor over the 40D's Digic III processor (I'm not advanced enough to care, yet... )
2) 50D - 15 megapixels vs. 40D - 10.1 mp (I have never made a print larger than 8x10 and have no plans to, yet ...)
3) The 50D has a better LCD (After comparing the two, I didn't notice much of a difference, though I wasn't holding them side by side)

Since the 50D is the most up to date camera for Canon's semi-pro line, prices for the 40D are much more reasonable right now. I wanted to stay under $1000.
5) I don't need to be on the cutting edge of semi-pro DSLR's. Especially not for ~$1300 ;) I'm still learning.

I did a little shopping on eBay and other sites and found that the going rate for a used 40D fell into a reasonable price range for me. I lucked out and found this one on Craigslist. Under a year old with the original receipt and warranty cards. All packaging included. Also included an extra Canon battery. BONUS: The Dxx series takes the same batteries as the Rebel 300D!

The guy who sold it to me was extremely nice and let me use it for a long time, even letting me use his computer to see the test shots on his large monitor. He also gave me a Magic Lantern DVD guide for the camera as well, which is pretty handy ... As long as the thing doesn't blow up in the next month or two, I can't believe that it's in the condition it's in. It still has warranty left on it, too.

I think the original EOS Rebel came out in 2002 or 2003, so I was long overdue for an upgrade. Regardless, I'm still shocked at how much smoother the operation of the 40D is and how fast it focuses.

The best part for me is the physical feel of the 40D. The plastic body on the original Rebel made it feel like a toy - it bothered me from day one. Having some aluminum with rubberized grip on the 40D makes you feel like you're operating some good machinery. I just hope it doesn't make me feel a little too confident so I don't bounce it around ;)

More to come...

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Posted by Matt 5/06/2009 09:48:00 PM Comments (0)