Josh Voyles and his RAW shirt.
image © 2012 Samuel Morse
Ever wonder what “14-bit RAW recording” or “24-bit audio” really mean? Hopefully this will help clear some things up.
Bit depth, or the number of bits used to define a pixel’s color or an audio sample’s amplitude, is an indicator of image or audio fidelity. A bit is one digit in binary code, a one or a zero. For instance, 16-bit audio has 16 ones or zeros to define amplitude. I say that this is an “indicator” of fidelity, because a high quality analog-to-digital converter (ADC) is required to accurately translate the analog world into ones and zeros.
Each additional bit doubles the possible number of combinations or values. Two bits has four possible values (00, 01, 10, 11), and three bits has eight. Coincidentally, this is how you can count to 32 on a single hand, using your fingers as binary digits rather than a cumulative total. Here are some more examples of what a number of bits equates to in terms of possible values. I’ve color-coded the values to make them easier to read.
*Click for full resolution, but the image is a bit soft due to shooting wide open into a mirror.
My Nikon D800 came in about two days ago. To say I was giddy as a school girl on prom night might be putting it mildly. This camera really is a dream come true in a lot of respects. The only two things that ever really irked me about the D700 was that sometimes I just wanted a bit more resolution to work with for large prints, and it didn’t have a video mode. My D5100 filled the video gap, but only just barely. Its manual controls for video were shoddy at best, and I ran into a lot of issues, especially trying to get a specific shutter speed in fluorescent lighting to minimize rolling shutter or banding.
I recently made a fairly extensive post on facebook answering the question “Can anyone recommend a good but fairly inexpensive DSLR?” Since it was really detailed, I figured I’d repost this to share this wisdom with the rest of you. Note that this is published mid-2012, so if you’re reading this a year from now, don’t expect it to still be relevant. Also note that these are just cameras that have piqued my interest for various reasons, and I don’t receive any endorsements from them or give endorsements. Also, the quality of your photos relies on your own photographic technique. Ansel Adams once said that the most important part of a camera is the six inches behind the viewfinder.
For reference, my current camera setup (once I have it in my hands in a few days) is a Nikon D800 with about $16k in lenses, so to me, everything below is pretty cheap. This is, of course, all relative. With that, here’s the post: Continue reading
I just spent Friday at the CP+ Photo Expo in Yokohama. To say I had a blast would be putting it mildly. There were a few key things I was looking at while I was there, and at the top of the list was the Nikon D800E.
It’s a common misconception that photos just fall from the sky. It’s not that people believe in some magic photo fairy (no pun intended), just that few people really think about how the photo happened. When you see a terrifying photo of war or other dangers, rarely would you think “oh yeah, someone had to be on the other end of that camera pushing the shutter release.” As bad as the people in a photo have it, there was a photographer experiencing the same thing, only with 20 pounds of photo gear on their back. Continue reading
I recently read a “You know you’re a photojournalist when” list, and thought I’d add my own list of military-specific situations. You can read the original at this link.
Disclaimer: the following is meant for entertainment purposes only. Names and circumstances have been changed to protect the criminally dim-witted. Any resemblance to actual events is unintentional, although those people should really know better.
You know you’re a military photographer when…
As a little tongue-and-cheek, self-depricating humor, I thought I’d share this daffynition. My post processing techniques cultivated from my years as a graphic artist as well as my love of the expanded dynamic range of newer dSLRs have given my photos a certain “look” to them. So common is it for me to greatly enhance the detail in skies and other areas that many people in my office have taken to calling this phenomenon as being “morsified,” even when it’s not me who’s morsifying it. For those curious, I do plan on doing step-by-step how-to videos on my post processing techniques, and will post them here.
In any case, enjoy:
Morsifaction [mawrs-ih-fak-shuhn] ~ noun: A state or degree of being morsified, particularly in photography involving skies so heavily burned in that it looks like the apocalypse is nigh. Synonyms: burned to all hell, over-processed, OMGWTFBBQ
Many books and websites have been devoted to the topic of photography. Dozens of people claiming their way is best fill communication channels with what they perceive to be “the magic formula” for photography. The very concept is laughable. The idea of photography is vastly different from one photographer to the next, much like the concept of music is vastly different from one musician to the next. Each musician has their own instrument of choice, medium, and style in which they create their masterpieces. Photography is much the same.
From left to right, Nikon’s AF-S 24mm f/1.4, AF-S 50mm f/1.4, AF-S 85mm f/1.4 and AF 135mm f/2 DC. Photo by Samuel Morse
So, I’ve had several times where people ask me what camera gear I have and why I use it. I had to compile this list for the Air Force Public Affairs Agency to recommend equipment for their pre-assembled kits they send out to the field, so here’s more of that information. All gear is Nikon brand unless otherwise specified. Feel free to ask me about any of this gear. I’ve also included my shooting combos I most frequently use, so you can see how I assemble my kit to go on a shoot.
You can see additional camera purchasing advice here. Continue reading