What is a lens’s “sweet spot?”
Everybody wants sharp and focused photos. You can get good sharpness near to far in a photo by hyperfocal focusing, but what are the limits of sharpness of your lens? At what aperture (f-stop value) will you get the sharpest photos? This is also known as the “sweet spot” of the lens. Here is a simple test you can do to find out where your lens is sharpest. But first, some basic rules…
General Rules for Lenses
The rules are about the same for every lens. Here are the general ones: Continue reading
When it comes to your photos, how sharp is sharp enough? Almost everyone wants crisp, detailed photos without blur and in good focus. In addition some sharp edges look great in the right places. But how to achieve all of this? Continue reading
Ludington Michigan on the West coast of Michigan’s lower peninsula is a beautiful lakeside city. Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, it attracts visitors who are eager to get away from the cities and towns, and who are looking to enjoy the lake. This photo was taken on the beach at Ludington, late in the day.
I got down low for this shot because I really wanted to capture that look and feel of a late summer day on the beach. However, the land and sky were hardly cooperating with me! I made do though and here’s how…
Focus Magic is a piece of software that sharpens and de-blurs photos in a special way through use of sophisticated algorithms. Besides using it to repair photos that have blur or focus issues, I also sometimes use it as a final-pass item that punches up the sharpness. It’s another of my “secret weapons.” Continue reading
Adobe Lightroom has some good sharpening tools built into it, but what are the best settings to use? It is not an easy question, but I’ll tell you what I do and hopefully make it easier to get started. Continue reading
I hate having to correct for motion blur in post processing. It’s easy enough to do with programs like Focus Magic, but it frustrates me because it could all have been avoided if I’d have just set-up my camera correctly! Motion blur happens when the camera is moving and the shot is taken, but there are some simple rules I have that can help.
The rules I use are as follows: Continue reading
The sun is bright and when you look toward it, your eyes can’t see any detail in it. It is “blown out” in your eyes. Is this any surprise? No. Shocking information? No. Well then why do we as photographers complain when our photos show the sun as a feature-less blown-out highlight? It is, after all, what you would have seen had you been standing there behind the camera isn’t it? Of course it is.
Let’s say you’re standing in a dark ravine looking up with dark rocky outcroppings all around, but a bright sun shining above. Do your eyes see detail in the shadows? Of course not. Surprising? No. Something wrong with your eyes? No. It’s a high-contrast scene and this is what your actually seeing. So why do we as photographers when we look at the photo later, feel as if we’ve failed somehow because the shadows in our photo are black without much detail. It was, after all, exactly what we saw when we were there.
How well can you see details on the horizon? Are treelines perfectly clear to you? No. What about the haze in the air. Do those distant tress or mountains look perfectly clear? No. Could they be a little out of focus to your eyes? Sure. When we get behind the lens though, we want everything to be sharp and clear – but clearly not how we actually saw it. Why?
Who wants to use a tripod all the time? Sure it gets you blur-free shots, but how awkward carrying the thing around. Some places don’t even let you bring one (certain parks, monuments, busy areas, etc.). But how do you know if you’re going to get blur (camera shake) if you’re hand-holding your camera? You have to know your “steadiness limit.” Here’s how. Continue reading
Focus Magic Rescues Blurred Photos
When I have a photo that needs to be corrected for focus or motion blur, I use the stand-alone version of Focus Magic. I also use Lightroom first and have integrated Focus Magic into my workflow shown below. Please use it whole or in part as you need. I’m not going to show you each detail, but all the information you need will be in here. The part that is different from my standard Lightroom workflow is shown in bold. Continue reading