Returned from Borneo trip

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. I've returned from Borneo and have done an initial trawl of my images
    and put them online here:

    I might need to spend a bit of time on some photos to remove a bit of
    noise but, overall, I'm fairly happy with the results.

    In terms of camera equipment, you'll probably guess that I had a new
    toy...a Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro which arrived a day before I flew
    out so I had a bit of a learning curve to go through on the strengths
    and weaknesses of that lens and figuring out how to best use it. It
    was fun but very frustrating especially if I hadn't taken a tripod
    out on a particular trek with me. The depth of field was very small
    on some of those shots and the slightest breeze would throw a shot
    out of focus. Well, you learn by doing as they say!

    I had a "Bear Grills" jacket which I pressed into using as a
    camera-jacket but on a few occasions when leaning down taking macro
    shots my 70-300m f4-5.6 IS USM lens would slide out of the pocket and
    drop onto the muddy jungle floor (that lens needs a proper
    cleaning!). I think that I need a proper camera-jacket with pockets
    deep enough to fully secure longish telephoto lenses. Any

    I hardly ever used my 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM EF-S. So really I was
    mostly swapping between the 100mm macro and the 70-300mm telephoto. I
    left the following lenses at home:

    16-35mm f2.8 L USM

    28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM

    70-200m f2.8 L IS USM

    I also left my Epson P5000 at home and instead relied on a bunch of
    CF cards. I really did want to travel light!

    It was quite dark in the forested areas and I had to go to ISO 400 or
    even ISO 800 on some occasions. Very difficult lighting conditions
    especially if you're traveling light and don't have a lot of time to
    set up for a camera shot. And with leeches crawling over your body
    your mind tends to concentrate on getting the job done quickly!

    It was very wet and we had a lot of rain even though we were at the
    end of the rainy season. So I used floats-bags to keep my equipment
    dry in my backpack, which was especially useful when crossing rivers

    Also when I had my camera out around my neck in the jungle I attached
    a small float-bag on the camera-strap and used it like a waterproof
    cover for when the rains came, so the camera was still accessible.

    I almost wished that I had taken a waterproof camera housing so that
    I could have taken some shots from the raft when white-water rafting.
    Or perhaps I should have used an additional but smaller camera for
    use within the raft?

    OK, back home, I've image-processed now using a 90 cd/m2 instead of
    the 190 cd/m2 used for the Antarctica photos. I hope that the picture
    don't look too dark now, but I do recognise that I still prefer dark
    images! I'd probably need to ramp up the curves on some shots but let
    me think about that for a while as I get to know the images and
    figure out what I'm trying to convey.


    Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Website :
    Contact :

    Blog :
    Experimental :

    Brain! Brain! What is brain?!
    Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Mar 31, 2008
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  2. A lot of very good stuff there and elsewhere on your site. You do a bit
    of traveling, don't you. ;-)

    Harry Lockwood, Mar 31, 2008
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  3. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Allen Guest

    I especially like the picture of the egret with the shadow of its neck
    and head shown on its right wing.
    Allen, Mar 31, 2008
  4. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Thanks for sharing the photos. As usual your photos are too dark. See
    for instance this image:

    The histogram ends at 200 and beyond 128 there is very little image
    content. Most of the image brightness values are squeezed between 0 and

    Same for this image, where the histogram abruptly ends at 200:


    the histogram ends again at 200 but has its peak around 0, which means
    that there are large aread of solid 0,0,0 black in the image with no
    detail. You seem to like darkness.

    Here is another example:

    Here the histogram even ends at 160.

    I suppose you shoot RAW. Try adjusting the black point and the
    brightness so that all brightness values are inside the image and
    nothing is cut off, neither at the dark not at the bright end.
    Alfred Molon, Apr 1, 2008
  5. With Photoshop, it's so easy to vary the image from completely black to
    completely washed out white, that almost any original exposure is adequate
    for the task.......Unlike the slide film that I use, it would seem that
    worrying about the original exposure is almost a complete waste of time when
    shooting digital.....I have taken a whole group of photos sent to me by a
    friend on disk, and completely reworked them to dig the details out of the
    shadows without blowing any of the highlights using my CS2 program.
    William Graham, Apr 1, 2008
  6. On Tue, 1 Apr 2008 20:35:54 +0200, Alfred Molon

    I know what you're saying but I was using a monitor at 90 cd/m2 and
    that matches my prints very well. I just like dark. Also, most people
    are using LCDs at 200 cd/m2 or above and they're not really motivated
    to turn down the luminance on their monitors despite any instructions
    from myself, so they're going to see nice bright images. For example,
    at work, checking people's monitors and my images all looked fine and
    there were no complaints on darkness.

    I almost think of this as a compromise in terms of me preferring
    darker images and most people seeing brighter images on their newer
    LCD monitors. For printing, I can apply a Curves adjustment layer if
    required to suit taste.

    What I might do, is perhaps increase brightness as an experiment and
    see what that looks like on other people's monitors.

    Thanks for the comments as I'm always looking at improving.

    Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Website :
    Contact :

    Blog :
    Experimental :

    Brain! Brain! What is brain?!
    Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Apr 2, 2008
  7. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    I tend to like dark images as well.

    They are actually fairly difficult to shoot, and it is often hard to resist
    simply making the subject brighter in order to draw attention to it.

    Nice Work,
    Dudley Hanks, Apr 2, 2008
  8. Histogram my ass. Now I've seen it all. We're basing the subjective
    quality of pictures based on the quantitative analysis of the histogram?

    Have you people forgotten that photography is an art? Just because it's
    digital doesn't mean it needs to be looked at as a science.
    thepixelfreak, Apr 2, 2008
  9. I liked them!

    Some I might have shot differently, but I think it show very good use of
    There is one or two that seem a bit dark to me, but not greatly.

    John Passaneau
    John Passaneau, Apr 2, 2008
  10. On Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:01:08 GMT, "Dudley Hanks"

    Thanks. It is a difficult balance to achieve. It's funny, when I had
    my monitor luminance at 190 cd/m2 people said that my Antarctica
    images were too dark (it was assumed that these people were operating
    at around 90 cd/m2). I've now processed the Borneo pictures using
    monitor luminance at 90 cd/m2 and people are still finding the images
    too dark. I thank that just shows that "dark" is my thing.

    The interesting thing is that most people like the images "as is" and
    I've also had no complaints on the prints that I've done. So it must
    be rather subjective and some people prefer bright and others dark.
    But I like to experiment and may even ask people to compare images. I
    may post the results here.

    Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Website :
    Contact :

    Blog :
    Experimental :

    Brain! Brain! What is brain?!
    Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Apr 2, 2008
  11. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    I live in an area that is snowbound for nearly half a year. When I shoot
    outside shots, I like to get a bit of texture in the snow, which translates
    to a shading of the snow from white highlights to much darker shadows.

    I, personally, think that this is the way it looks at the time of exposure,
    but others seem to like that bleached, ultra-white look to the snow. As a
    result, I tend to field a lot of similar comments about my winter shots.

    But, hey, life would be awfully boring if we had nothing to compare notes

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Apr 2, 2008
  12. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Alfred Molon Guest

    It's not a subjective issue. The histogram of a properly exposed average
    scene (not one of for instance a dark room, or of a hill covered with
    white snow under the sunshine) has a bell shape.

    If the peak of the bell is around 0 and the bell is cutoff (as was the
    case in one of your images), it means that the photo is underexposed and
    there are large patches of 0,0,0 black. Solid black areas are to be
    avoided as are solid white (255,255,255) areas.

    You can choose to do what you like with your images, but personally I
    would avoid making the main subject so dark that it becomes difficult to
    see the detail. Also, IMHO photos should reproduce the light levels in a
    scene, i.e. a photo of a bright sunny day should look bright and sunny
    and not dark.
    Alfred Molon, Apr 2, 2008
  13. I did too! I thought that the narrow field of view was just a tad
    overused until I read the posters comment about his new macro lens.
    thepixelfreak, Apr 2, 2008
  14. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Rob Stanley Guest

    Alfred Molon after much deep thought made the following comment/s within
    Maybe it the quality of light is intentional or just maybe you need to
    alter your screen settings a tad Alfred?

    personally i enjoyed looking at the pictures and found them most
    Rob Stanley, Apr 3, 2008
  15. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Alfred Molon Guest

    As I wrote the histogram is squeezed to the left. This has nothing to do
    with my screen settings.
    Alfred Molon, Apr 3, 2008
  16. I recall a similar argument being used by the lecturers at an art
    college as the reason why they no longer bothered to teach their
    painting students about the chemitry of pigments. As a result of which
    some of the students (or purchasers of their paintings) were upset to
    discover in later years that the colours had faded badly or turned
    into what became known as "college mud". Because although painting is
    an art, it is also a technologically based craft, and if you don't
    properly understand the science behind the technology you use your art
    may fail.
    Chris Malcolm, Apr 3, 2008
  17. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Allen Guest

    Well, I guess that all of this just proves that some people like to look
    at pictures and some people prefer to look at histograms. To each
    his/her/its own.
    Allen, Apr 3, 2008
  18. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Alfred Molon Guest

    I don't prefer to look at histograms. The point simply is that some
    photos are dark and this can be proven with a histogram check.
    Alfred Molon, Apr 3, 2008
  19. And in the same breath, you can have a spectacularly deep grasp of the
    technology, but can't paint to save your life. A proper exposure does
    not instantly make any subject and composition art.
    thepixelfreak, Apr 3, 2008
  20. Kulvinder Singh Matharu

    Pudentame Guest

    I don't have much problem with the exposure, but a little fill flash
    would bring the people out of shadow a bit more.
    Pudentame, Apr 3, 2008
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