photos, tips, tricks, and thoughts from an avid amateur photographer


Archive for January, 2009

Amazing shrinking memory

Micro SD

I just ordered a SanDisk 4GB Micro SDHC memory card to add a little storage capacity to my BlackBerry Curve. I know these things have been out for a while but it never ceases to amaze me how small they actually are.

I picked it up for $4.54 from The shipping charge of $4.95 cost more than the memory card itself. I think it is safe to assume that the bottom has fallen out of the memory market ;-) My guess? The memory manufacturers are busy trying to invent the next great memory format so they can try to actually make some money again. My advice? Upgrade your memory TODAY!

Just for the record, here’s that Micro SD card next to the SD card-sized adapter it came with…

SD adapter + Micro SD HC

Oh, and I would suggest picking some of these $4 Micro SD cards up for your digital camera applications but this version only clicks along at 15MB/s. If you’re going to upgrade then be sure you upgrade (30MB/s should be your target).

chip mill photos

chip mill

Here’s the above image without processing in Lightroom:

chip mill unprocessed

As you can see it was a grey and dreary day. I tried to manage the exposure to make sure I kept some cloud detail in the highlights of this photo. However, this meant the foreground was a bit dark. It got even darker when I pulled back the Exposure to -1 to really get the sky to pop. So, I dialed in a big handful of Fill Light and a touch of Recovery. Finally, I tweaked the individual color Luminance sliders to get the blue sky and the yellow crane to really pop. I applied similar settings to the rest of the photos I took with varying results:





Unfortunately there was a locked fence around the facility which greatly limited my composition options. I’ll have to try again sometime when there is better light.

no plastic

White balance lens cap

Interesting concept from BRNO- lens caps that facilitate the setting of white balance for DSLR users. As a product designer I admit that this is a very clever idea that is well executed. However, the photographer in me suggests pocketing the $54.00 and just shoot RAW. Available from B&H photo if you are so inclined (shoot RAW!). –via

UPDATE: Seems this is nothing really new. Pick one up at Amazon for a video camera for $7 if you still think it’s something you need.

Pentax K10D RAW noise reduction

I shoot a lot of long exposure shots with my Pentax K10D. One of my pet peeves is waiting for the built-in noise reduction to take a 1:1 dark frame subtraction exposure. This ends up doubling the length of time for each shot. Not that big of a deal if you are shooting 1 second exposures but a bit of a PITA if you’re shooting 5 minute bulb shots.

In-camera noise reduction is pretty critical for shooting JPEGs. Sure, you can always shoot your own series of dark frames at different ISOs and use them with 3rd party software to remove hot spots, etc. but this seems a bit extreme. So, I have just left the in-camera NR on and lived with the dark frame subtraction double exposure.

Many times I’ve noticed that there are hot spots in the initial Adobe Lightroom previews of my long exposure RAW files that disappear the first time I zoom in to 100%. This got me to thinking that maybe Lightroom could take care of long exposure noise on its own without the camera’s help. After searching Google in vain for a definitive answer, I decided a quick test was in order. I was pleased to learn that, now that I am shooting exclusively in RAW, I can turn off the in-camera noise reduction on my K10D and eliminate the wait between long exposure shots. (In-camera NR is still recommended for JPEG shooting).

Here’s what I found in the test. All shots are 30 seconds at f/16 and ISO 400 using my 50mm f/1.7 SMC-A lens with only LR’s default processing applied. Sorry for the crude composition…



100% crop of JPEG w/ NR OFF

100% crop of JPEG w/ NR OFF

RAW with NR ON

RAW with NR ON

100% crop of RAW w/ NR ON

100% crop of RAW w/ NR ON



100% crop of RAW w/ NR OFF

100% crop of RAW w/ NR OFF

From what I could tell from this test, there is virtually no difference in noise between the RAW images with and without in-camera noise reduction. In fact, to me the images without the NR has slightly better contrast and more shadow detail. Keep in mind that these are unprocessed RAW files so I could easily get similar contrast and saturation as the JPEG image while maintaining the greater detail and dynamic range of the RAW images.

What’s in my bag?

what's in my bag?

Jump over to my Flickr page for a detailed listing of what’s in this photo.


I'm an industrial designer and an avid hobbyist photographer. People are always asking me "how'd you do that?" So, I decided to create this site as a place to share my experiences and insights about photography, the gear and what it all means to me. I'm not sure if this site will make anyone besides myself a better photographer but I figure it's worth a try. Take a look around and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by!


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