Gear!

Well, you could’ve figured it out by now, after my previous post about new LR-settings and a D90, here’s the official announcement:

I bought a new camera!

It’s the D90, combined with the 18-105 kit-lens, and the magnificent Nikkor 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR IF-ED.

Below some product pics, more is to come!

D90:

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Nikkor 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR IF-ED:

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New camera, new settings

Lightroom’s Default Develop Settings:

If you are anything like me, then you have spent all too long wondering a couple of things about lightroom (I use version 2.6) regarding importing RAW files and the default settings that Lightroom applies to them before you begin working on editing them.

Firstly, I wondered how to change those default settings that Lightroom applies – for example, it always applies certain values to the Basic settings as follows:

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Note that the white balance is always defaulted to “As Shot” meaning it takes the setting from the RAW file each time.

Due to previous encounters with Lightroom’s messing with the white balance, I’ve found that the “As Shot” usually gives me the best result, as the camera itself does a better job (or even me) at figuring out the white balance than Lightroom does.

Camera Calibration:

Now the second thing that I have been wondering is about camera calibration. Since I’ve seen my pictures having much more vivid colors after applying a camera-setting instead of the Adobe default, the regular setting is a camera standard for me. This setting gives you the opportunity to start off your editing with a particular colour/camera profile that is designed to look somewhat like what your camera would produce if you were using a picture style, such as Landscape or Portrait.

Lightroom automatically knows which camera your RAW file was generated in (and even the serial number!) and will give you the available options based on that. I believe you can download profiles from the Adobe web site, but for now I have stuck with the ones Lightroom already has.

The menu looks a little like this:

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By selecting a camera profile for your image you are assigning it a new starting point from which you can perform any post production you wish. Note that this is not changing any of the Develop settings like Brightness, Contrast, Exposure etc. In fact I don’t really understand exactly what it is doing, but I do know that it produces a much more attractive image straight from the get-go.

Now the problem is that if you want to apply a camera profile to your images as you import them, you may have to think about creating a preset that can be applied on import… Something which is not exactly seamless…

So…

How to change your default develop settings and apply a camera profile automatically

Starting with a freshly imported RAW file, choose a camera calibration profile of your liking. I went with a standard one as I’ve found out it gives me the best starting-point, and it only needs changing after careful examination of the picture itself. Next, make any adjustments to the develop module settings which you want to become the new default settings to be applied to all newly imported RAW files (and the settings to which the “Reset” option will revert back to).

Once you are happy with your settings, (here comes the lightbulb “aaaaahhhh” moment!!), press the ALT key and the reset button will turn into a “Set Default” button. Wow! Hidden feature!

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On clicking “Set Default” you will be presented with a popup like this:

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Next you should click “Update to Current Settings”, then confirm your selection – and Voila!! Every RAW file you import from that camera from now on will have these new defaults. Magic!
Lightroom even understands the fact that you have two separate bodies, or even two bodies of the same type! My D40 and D90 both have associated default settings, which differ and are applied to the appripriate imports. More magic!

The thing is, I have seen this last popup before but never really understood what it was doing. You can find it in the menus but just by opening it in the way I have described it’s context somehow just makes more sense.

As this specific information is only traceable if you know about the fact that a standard setting can be applied upon import, I thought I’d share the info with you guys. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Original post can be found here.

Holiday in Greece – part 1

It’s been quite a while since we’ve returned from our holiday to Greece, and I’ve been very busy editing the raw pictures I’ve taken.

In total, there’s over 2000 photo’s that needed attention, which was reduced to 1850 due to the crash of my HDD and the incomplete restore from my memory cards. Of those, the following made the cut for posting here. 🙂

BTW: There’s 117 pics in total, so I’ve created several post-sets. Here’s the first 40!

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Pan-o-rama!

I’m still really busy working on the pictures we took during our holiday.

Today, it’s creating panoramas by stitching them together. There’s a whole lot of tools capable of doing so, including the ancient Photostich, several paid programs, and my saviour:

Hugin.

I like!

Free to use, maintained by the community and easy to use. What more to wish for?
(Well, some binaries would be nice though. 🙂 )

The second week in France, part III

Today has been pretty much exhausting, which is partly due to the fact our bed in our mobile home really sucks and partly due to the fact that getting up early and walking for almost five hours in the blistering heat (33+ degrees Celcius in the shade) has the tendency to wear one down pretty hard.
I’m assuming both are true for today.

We went to a place referred to as ‘Prapic’, which is more commonly known in this region as a ‘mountain village’. It turned out  to be really touristic, really tiny and car-free. And, not unimportantly, pretty busy. We eventually grasped why, but this was not for a full two hours later after we entered the village. If you could name it that, it existed of exacly (and we counted them carefully) 15 houses, 17 sheds, 1 church, 1 camping (in a car-free village!) and three restaurants/bars/terraces/tea-gardens/souvenir-shops. Goes to show the tourist-mindedness of the inhabitants.

So we set out for a thing called ‘Saut de Laire’, of which we knew nothing more than it would be a 6 quarter walk with 300 meters of height-gain. Well, see for yourself.  Saut du Laire is a small cascade with a bridge, and is probably called after the plains that it resides in. The main attraction though were the ominously present marmota marmota, which we know all as Alpine Marmots. We saw at least 8 of them, while still hearing loads more. Some were pretty much domesticated by the many people that had come before us, and most likely will do after us, and some were really ‘wild’ in the sense that they would duck for cover when grabbing the faintest scent of us in the vicinity.

The sun was shining relentlessly, and that is why I’m having a little trouble colour-adjusting the pictures, so I’m only showing a small selection of the Marmot-photo’s. Perhaps the others will be added later on.
By the way: mum & dad, thanks for getting me the camera-tripod for my birthday! It has been a great tool these past few days!

And now, marmot-galore!
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The second week in France, part II

The following Monday, a major undertaking was on the schedule. We would drive all the way to the other side of the Parc des Ecrins (which is the reserve we’re in by the way) to La Grave. A two hour drive from our general direction, leading us through the best parts of the Parc, showing us the best the Parc could offer. Or so we’re told.

Long story short: the road up to La Grave as pointed out to us by TomTom was twisty , bendy, narrow and heart-stoppingly beautiful all in one. I most certainly loved it, even though Kirsten does not agree with me on at least several occasions in our memory. (These do include very narrow darkish twisty downhill roads, with another car coming from the opposing direction at death-defying speeds.)

La Grave is apparently filled with Dutch people at this time of year, and so we went up the ‘Téléphérique des Glaciers de La Meije’ with another Dutch couple to 2400 and even to 3200-something meters to be immediately peppered with snow and other icy stuff. Luckily, this only lasted for a few minutes after which we could marvel at the grandeur of the view available at that height. The ‘Table d’Orientation’ showed us the fact that Les Deux Alps was only a short distance away, as was the Alpe d’Huez and the view also included the Mont Blanc. The nearest rock was the La Meije at nearly 4km’s of height, after which the site has been named.
After some time of marvelling we decided to go down to the middle-station to go for a stroll to a nearby lake, which we did. Back down, we thought it would be nice to go the other way around the parc (generally speaking, one could drive from South to North through either the West or the East. We did the first on the way there, and did the latter on our way home.)
It was a great, yet exhausting day. Great!

Warning: lot’s of pictures. 🙂

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UPDATE:

The maps below kind of show our route to and from La Meije. It’s quite a distance. Please note the D212f on our way to La Grave. It’s tiny!

To:

Grotere kaart weergeven

From:

Grotere kaart weergeven

The second week in France, part I

A major update today: I’m posting a bunch of pictures we made over the past few days, arranged by day.

Sunday, we went for a short stroll ‘just around the corner’ from us, which ended up being a gigantic detour of over 2.5 hours for what could’ve been a short stumble of only 30 minutes. Damn bad roadsigns.
However, the view has been great, and we finally came round to see the subject of our tour: an abandoned and disused ‘viaduc’.  Le viaduc du Buzon, it’s history unknown to me, but the fact that it has been in use once, and not is not anymore.

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BTW: the last few pictures actually were taken with that sloped field. It’s not me being drunk or something. 😉