i need to take better pictures

because fucking with them in photoshop is really a pain.

This is one of those non-interesting blog posts about photography, so if you don’t care, skip it.

I picked up the Sony a700 at Best Buy as BB is quietly discontinuing them for some unknown reason. I had been considering upgrading from the a100 and the a700’s better image stabilization, shutter response, and 2 extra mega pixels were pushing me in that direction. The LCD and interface were nice bonuses. When the $1400 price tag was cut to $840 that sealed it.

And the original as taken from I think the Kinzie bridge, below.

Aside from the usual color tweaks I had to try to account for some pretty severe distortion, which wasn’t too hard to do with Photoshop. The chromatic aberration, which you can’t really see in the above versions, was pretty intense.

Here’s an example of the chromatic aberration. The bridge ironwork has blue fringing above and red fringing below. The second picture is after I messed with the fringes a little, first with Replace Color, then just getting tired of it and using Clone Stamp quickly. Obviously not a great fix. Not a problem for the web, but really annoying if I want to make a large print, as there are a lot of dark lines in that bridge.

One solution of course is to get a lens that doesn’t have as much problem with CA, but that will cost you. The picture above was taken with the a100 kit lens, the Sony 18-200 at 18mm. The Minolta 17-35 f/3.5 G would be great – problem is these are rare, and can run up to $1500. That’s a lot more than I’ve spent on glass so far (the 70-210 beercan was $180, the 50mm f/1.4 was a splurge at $300, probably could have been just as happy with a 50mm f/1.7 for $100).

Anyway. I still have a lot to learn about taking pictures, but it’s becoming apparent that mastering Photoshop is really going to be the key to producing print-worthy images. This may take the place of guitar classes.

Oh, and I don’t even really consider this my picture. There was a large photo of this bridge from a similar angle in a frame/print shop on Lake Street. It was not from exactly the same place but I clearly stole the idea from walking past that photo and staring at it many times. This was more about trying to replicate a high-quality image – somehting that’s clearly a long way off.

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6 Responses to “i need to take better pictures”

  1. kilax Says:

    I think it looks pretty good! I would love to get into photography more, even just to learn how to frame things, so my snapshots don’t look so “off.”

  2. Kayleigh Says:

    I wish I knew how to use Photoshop. Those pictures are great by the way.

  3. margretta Says:

    Ctrl-M (curves) is a lot of fun, if you haven’t figured that out yet.

    Someday I will get something better than my little 4MP point-and-shoot so I can actually print pictures at a decent size, and play with lenses and stuff, but it does alright for now.

  4. Jennifer Says:

    Cool shots!

  5. Damsel in Digress Says:

    it’s good, the picture.

  6. Holy Vataha Says:

    Photoshop is pretty amazing…there are soooo many tools that I feel like I can learn something new or a new shortcut everyday!

    Photo looks great!…taking a good pic is half the battle…and saves a ton of time in front of the screen…plus if the composition is off there isn’t much you can do about it.

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