F .A. Q
Published here are some of the most frequently asked questions. I thought it necessary to address the issue due to the high demand. Hopefully this will help to answer many of your queries. This page will be updated from time to time so please check back whenever you can. Therefore, I wish to apologise to those of you who haven’t always received a reply – unfortunately due to the restraints of time I am unable to answer all queries. Although I will endeavour to try to reply to as many as I can. Thank you for your time.
Q. - What equipment do you use?
A. - All Canon equipment, EOS 1Ds mkIII, EOS 5D mkII, EF16-35 mkII, EF24-70, EF100 macro, EF70-200 F4 IS, EF300 F4 IS and carried in either a Lowepro Pro Trekker 300AW or a Flipside 400AW, finally a Gitzo Tripod.
Q. - What software do you use?
A. - Capture One and Photoshop CS5
Q. - Do you use filters?
A. - Yes, I use Lee filters. I have a set of both soft and hard graduated neutral density filters, a B+W polariser and a Lee 10 stop (Big Stopper) plus a 0.9 pro glass ND.
Q. - What was your first camera?
A. - Canon G5 compact
Q. - How did you learn about photography?
A. - I set about teaching myself through the use of books and magazines. I also found the Internet to be a great resource - photography websites such as ephotozine are extremely informative.
Q. - Do you manipulate your images?
A. - As is the nature of using RAW and choosing to shoot in this versatile format as I do, will evidently mean that not only for me but for any photographer working in this medium - the need to convert RAW images into a usable file, this process is very much a necessity and cannot be avoided. The question is, do you want to interpret this to be a form of manipulation or not, is purely down to each individual. Whichever way you choose to look at it, we need to bear in mind that in fact it isn't all that different to the development of film in the darkroom, it is just a more up to date process. Personally, I like to keep the scene/subject as natural as possible. Therefore, I believe the way to achieve this is to capture the best exposure within the camera and use the histogram to check that the shadow and highlight detail is retained. I will also try to keep any further adjustments down to an absolute minimum.
Q. - Do you use any special software for black and white?
A. - No, I use Photoshop to convert the image using a black and white adjustment layer.
Q. - When did you start in photography?
A. - 2003
Q. - Would you recommend using clikpic for setting up a website?
A. - Absolutely, it’s one of the easiest ways to set up a website without the huge cost involved in having a website built professionally. You can personalise as much as you like and with a little web building knowledge you have endless variations to develop. Clikpic also have a comprehensive and intuitive instruction PDF manual covering all the necessary.
Q. - I am new to DSLR photography and keen to learn, would you recommend any magazines?
A. - There are so many publications to choose from these days it can be difficult to make a definitive choice when you see the array on sale. However, in my opinion I believe Digital SLR Photography magazine to be the best for beginners through to advanced photographers. It features all subjects and it covers many skill levels for all abilities. I also have a soft spot for Outdoor Photography magazine for obvious reasons. I particularly like the viewpoint section.
Q. - What is your workflow routine?
A. - First and foremost it is extremely important to find a workflow that will suit you and then you want to make it a routine to adhere to. Obviously, it’s not set in stone when what or even if you do a particular action, it simply speeds up the process if you can keep to some sort of order. My workflow consists of capturing the best possible exposure within the camera. This not only saves me time at the computer but allows me to do minimal adjustments and it also keeps noise levels to a minimum. A typical shoot goes something like this - Import images into Capture One and view at 100% - check white balance and exposure and adjust if need be, then process my chosen images. The next stage is open up Photoshop to check the contrast using curves and levels, adjust if necessary. I then check the colour balance and again adjust if necessary. Finally I clean any dust spots, title and keyword before saving as an unsharpened TIFF file.
Q. - What lenses do you use for panoramas and do you use a special tripod head?
A. - I use different lenses for panoramic images, usually no wider than 24 mm and going up to 200mm. I have a specialist pano tripod head, a Manfrotto 303SPH.
Q. - What software do you use for stitching your panos together?
A. - I use Photoshop for stitching; it does the job as good as any.
Q. - Do you ever use HDR?
A. - No I don't, although I am not totally against anyone using it if they choose. When I first saw HDR, I thought WOW - that looks good! However, the more I looked at it - the more I began to dislike it. If the process is overdone, the image can look fake and cartoon like whilst leaving strange colour attributes throughout. If the settings are kept to a minimum it works better, although, it needs only to be a subtle change. At this time and in its current form - HDR won't convince me to change my mind. Sometimes it can be impossible to use ND grads and in those situations the alternative is to blend 2 or more exposures using Photoshop layer masks, in most cases it will give a more natural looking result to that of HDR.
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