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-   -   Composite images from the camera. (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17052)

hoydie17 04-25-2014 12:38 AM

Composite images from the camera.
 
I figured this would be an interesting discussion, since the consensus has always appeared to me that extensive post-processing in photoshop is largely seen as a bad thing, particularly if you add something to a photo that wasn't already there such as stars, the moon or whatever. Conversely, removal of something that was in the photo such as poles, fiberoptic markers, and branches is seen as equally egregious.

So, for those who shoot Nikon bodies and maybe others, and those who have ample experience with film cameras, you are almost certainly familiar with the concept of "multiple exposures".

For whatever reason, Canon didn't really see fit to include this feature in their digital bodies. Nikon however, appreciated the application and it is still available as a digital feature that can be produced in camera before the image ever comes off the memory card.

So my question to you is: Does processing of this nature, when performed in the camera itself, still meet the sniff test as an authentic photograph? Or does this now transgress into the realm of extensive "doctoring" of an image?

My opinion is, the photo is legit, if done with the actual Multiple Exposure feature, the image comes off the camera as a single RAW file, not multiple, much like it would have from a film camera.

As an example, I submit the following for consideration. This is NS 204 passing by a farm in Boyce, VA with a CP SD90MAC. This image was processed in the camera and spit out as a single RAW file. I have uploaded 3 versions of the photo to my FLICKR page for those that want to compare the original source image (1/200th OCF shot) with the one processed in Photoshop, and then one processed on board the camera.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7019/...84b48082_s.jpgCP 9142 in Big Sky Virginia by hoydie17, on Flickr

MagnumForce 04-25-2014 12:59 AM

Your camera does it no differently than photoshop does, having your camera do the work doesn't make you better or worse than anyone else. Is shooting in black and white more legit than converting to black and white in photoshop?

Mgoldman 04-25-2014 01:11 AM

The way I view it:

If it's no more then a slight exaggeration of what the scene looked like with your own eyes- AS IT HAPPEND, it's acceptable. I DO like to be told when more then one image is used to make the final image, but it's not mandatory.

So - preferably - don't add, don't remove - but OK to enhance (colors, detail, brightness, temperature) - even if it takes more then one exposure.

Two exceptions - light stands may at times be deemed acceptable subjects for removal and possibly mobile objects that just happened into the scene but would not be part of the scene on a return visit. Again, nice to document - and if you don't and someone else posts the same location - enjoy that, lol!

/Mitch

hoydie17 04-25-2014 01:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 177928)
The way I view it:

If it's no more then a slight exaggeration of what the scene looked like with your own eyes- AS IT HAPPEND, it's acceptable. I DO like to be told when more then one image is used to make the final image, but it's not mandatory.

So - preferably - don't add, don't remove - but OK to enhance (colors, detail, brightness, temperature) - even if it takes more then one exposure.

Two exceptions - light stands may at times be deemed acceptable subjects for removal and possibly mobile objects that just happened into the scene but would not be part of the scene on a return visit. Again, nice to document - and if you don't and someone else posts the same location - enjoy that, lol!

/Mitch

It would appear that you and I are on the same sheet of music Mitch.

The scene doesn't change from exposure to exposure. You simply need a longer exposure of one to get definition/detail in the background, and another for the "moment" so to speak.

This has really just been something I've been screwing around with for the last few weeks just seeing what I can do with it. I do think the composite images look pretty slick, and it's considerably simpler to just let the camera do the work.

This helps to minimize parallax (shifting between frames) and it also allows you to adjust the white balance, tone and sharpness on a global level as opposed to putting two images together with different degrees of post processing performed and then reprocessing the composite image.

hoydie17 04-25-2014 01:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MagnumForce (Post 177927)
Your camera does it no differently than photoshop does, having your camera do the work doesn't make you better or worse than anyone else. Is shooting in black and white more legit than converting to black and white in photoshop?

To me, it's considerably different. If you're shooting in B&W from the camera, you are making a choice then and there that you wanted a B&W photo for a specific reason. There was a motive that you felt B&W would better tell the story of the photo.

People who jump over to B&W when they get to post processing are usually trying to polish a turd. Their exposure was off, the colors were poorly reproduced or any number of other problems. There often seems to be this misguided theory that B&W can "cover up" the technical mistakes one makes when shooting a photo.

Call a spade a spade, how many people have you seen use B&W to cover up high sun, or hideous backlighting that was painfully obvious in color?

JRMDC 04-25-2014 01:39 AM

Sean, this seems like nothing more than what one might call nighttime HDR. And the in-camera dimension, well, don't those Nikons do in-camera HDR also? What am I missing?

To me the essential element of composite photography is that the composites are of different elements. Did you shoot one exposure of the train, positioning the flashes accordingly, and then shoot another of the scene without the train, repositioning the flashes to light other parts of the scene?

hoydie17 04-25-2014 01:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 177931)
Sean, this seems like nothing more than what one might call nighttime HDR. And the in-camera dimension, well, don't those Nikons do in-camera HDR also? What am I missing?

To me the essential element of composite photography is that the composites are of different elements. Did you shoot one exposure of the train, positioning the flashes accordingly, and then shoot another of the scene without the train, repositioning the flashes to light other parts of the scene?

Some of the newer Nikon bodies are capable of HDR from the camera. The D700 can also do this, but it still requires you to stack the images in your chosen software package.

That said, in the photo in question, it was fairly simple. It's 2 exposures, one at 10 seconds with zero flashes, and the final WITH flashes at 1/200th of a second with the train in the scene.

The flashes were not moved at any point during the production of the shot.

JRMDC 04-25-2014 01:57 AM

OK. I wouldn't call this a composite, just multiple exposure of the same scene, but that is just semantics. Nice technique. I prefer the version on flickr with a well defined sky and less exposure of the grass.

As for your original question, I personally don't think that "doctoring" takes anything out of the realm of photography. RP does not cover all parts of the realm, of course.

JimThias 04-25-2014 02:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoydie17 (Post 177930)
To me, it's considerably different. If you're shooting in B&W from the camera, you are making a choice then and there that you wanted a B&W photo for a specific reason. There was a motive that you felt B&W would better tell the story of the photo.

People who jump over to B&W when they get to post processing are usually trying to polish a turd. Their exposure was off, the colors were poorly reproduced or any number of other problems. There often seems to be this misguided theory that B&W can "cover up" the technical mistakes one makes when shooting a photo.

Call a spade a spade, how many people have you seen use B&W to cover up high sun, or hideous backlighting that was painfully obvious in color?

So what you're saying is if someone is inspired to shoot in B&W because they think they'll like the way it makes the scene look, then it's unacceptable to wait until post processing to come up with the same result?

And what would those "specific reasons" be that someone would shoot in B&W, hence making it acceptable, as opposed to using those specific reasons to later convert in post?

This all sounds like a bunch of ballyhoo to me. The end product is what matters to me, not the process in which it was achieved.

hoydie17 04-25-2014 02:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 177934)
So what you're saying is if someone is inspired to shoot in B&W because they think they'll like the way it makes the scene look, then it's unacceptable to wait until post processing to come up with the same result?

And what would those "specific reasons" be that someone would shoot in B&W, hence making it acceptable, as opposed to using those specific reasons to later convert in post?

This all sounds like a bunch of ballyhoo to me. The end product is what matters to me, not the process in which it was achieved.

You're twisting my comment.

At no time did I say it was 'unacceptable'... I said it is different than seeing a scene in front of you at picture time and saying, "Hmm, this would look neat in B&W." as opposed to looking at the photo when you get home realizing that B&W is just a shortcut to covering up a mistake on poor exposure, backlighting or any one of a dozen other problems that are much more obvious in full color.

Chris Z 04-25-2014 02:41 AM

I see photography as a form of art, or a way of documenting a scene as accurately as possible. Then you have photographers anywhere in between that spectrum.

Then the arguments, my picture is better because it is really creative and artsy.
My picture is better because it more accurately depicts the scene.

What else is new?

Chris Z

KevinM 04-25-2014 03:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoydie17 (Post 177932)
Some of the newer Nikon bodies are capable of HDR from the camera. The D700 can also do this, but it still requires you to stack the images in your chosen software package.

That said, in the photo in question, it was fairly simple. It's 2 exposures, one at 10 seconds with zero flashes, and the final WITH flashes at 1/200th of a second with the train in the scene.

The flashes were not moved at any point during the production of the shot.

For whatever reason, I cannot see the Flickr image that started this thread, but I don't see the problem with the type of image that you describe. You are just using an innovative technique to capture a scene that might not be as well captured using more conventional techniques.

You mention the in-camera HDR feature of the Nikons. I have experimented with that on my D4, and it's pretty much limited to shooting off a tripod. It takes two quick shots at different exposures and then attempts to blend the two into one file. The photographer can either let the camera determine the difference in exposure, or control it more closely. The only drawback that I see is that the result is a JPEG file, not a raw file.

Here is an example: [photoid=478762]

The shot is challenging, because the locomotive is in a very dark location, yet you have skylights behind it that are normally blown completely to hell if you try to balance the exposure. Although this shot is no great shakes, you can at least see the details in the window frames. In every conventional attempt that I made, most of those details are nuked.

Holloran Grade 04-25-2014 04:57 AM

Here is my answer.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/36722129@N06/11642661766" title="Airplane - [2013 Winter Solstice +1 Series] by El Roco Photography, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5548/11642661766_88b7dea9cf_c.jpg" width="800" height="570" alt="Airplane - [2013 Winter Solstice +1 Series]"></a>

Both subjects were visible in both frames.

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevinM (Post 177940)
Here is an example: [photoid=478762]

The shot is challenging, because the locomotive is in a very dark location, yet you have skylights behind it that are normally blown completely to hell if you try to balance the exposure. Although this shot is no great shakes, you can at least see the details in the window frames. In every conventional attempt that I made, most of those details are nuked.


Classic use of HDR.

Blending high lights and low darks was what HDR was meant for.

troy12n 04-25-2014 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 177933)
As for your original question, I personally don't think that "doctoring" takes anything out of the realm of photography. RP does not cover all parts of the realm, of course.


Agreed 100%, if it's acceptable Ansel Adams and O Winston Link, it should be ok for us.

We are not photojournalists and not bound to any sort of ethical code

bigbassloyd 04-25-2014 02:53 PM

I'm ok with whatever Sean does because Sean is cool. (Even though he never calls anymore) ;)

I see nothing wrong with composite imaging myself, especially when playing around in the dark.

Loyd L.

ACR_Ted 04-25-2014 10:37 PM

Flickr says 'image unavailable'...

I see nothing wrong with 'enhancing' a image...I've removed poles, other foamers, etc to make what I think is a better photo. I don't pretend to be recording for history, but rather creating an image that shows what I want the scene to be.

After all, way back in the dark ages I used to dodge and burn B&W photos in the darkroom.

JRMDC 04-26-2014 12:21 AM

Looks like Sean moved the picture, the link no longer works for me.

hoydie17 04-26-2014 12:30 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 177971)
Looks like Sean moved the picture, the link no longer works for me.

Ahh crud, sorry about that gents... my OCD kicked in and I deleted the "duplicates" off of my FLICKR feed. So I attached all 3 versions directly to the post. (1st is the "in camera", 2nd is the "shopped" and 3rd is the "flash-only" exposure)

And Loyd, I was out of the area for the preceding 2 months on assignment. Although I did have a very short period that I was back here for some meetings, it was only like 3 or 4 days.

troy12n 04-26-2014 01:24 PM

Is this such a photo?

[photoid=479251]

Looks blurry

Dennis A. Livesey 04-26-2014 03:35 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by hoydie17 (Post 177930)
To me, it's considerably different. If you're shooting in B&W from the camera, you are making a choice then and there that you wanted a B&W photo for a specific reason. There was a motive that you felt B&W would better tell the story of the photo.

People who jump over to B&W when they get to post processing are usually trying to polish a turd. Their exposure was off, the colors were poorly reproduced or any number of other problems. There often seems to be this misguided theory that B&W can "cover up" the technical mistakes one makes when shooting a photo.

Call a spade a spade, how many people have you seen use B&W to cover up high sun, or hideous backlighting that was painfully obvious in color?

I can't tell you the number of times in the days of film where I shot on B&W and wished it was in color and vice versa.

Often when I am shooting, I am see something that I know will work in B&W but I do not bother shooting in camera that way because it screws up my way of archiving. So I convert later.

Here is an example of thinking "This shot is B&W, I'll convert later."

[photoid=479256]

Often however, while I am trolling my own stuff, I see an image that is blah in color but I like the rest. So I go B&W to see if it works that way and viola! a nice shot.

[photoid=479046]

See attached the shot out of the camera. I "found" the above shot, taken in 2010, just a couple of nights ago.

So I suppose it's your point of view: I polished a turd or I legitimately created an image.

I say it's the later. If the shot works in the final analysis, that is all that matters.

Which goes back to your original question Sean. I heard old pro still guys talk more about what makes a good picture than how legit it was.

If it is not journalism, I say do whatever it takes to make the image you want.

Attachment 8550

Holloran Grade 04-27-2014 03:49 AM

Well, in my camera (5D MKIII) there is no difference in the file if I save the image in B&W or color if I am shooting in RAW format - which I always do.

The information to show it as a color or a B&W is all contained in the same RAW file.

Therefore I don't think it makes any difference whether the processing is done in the camera by the on board firmware, or manipulated later on the PC.

mersenne6 04-27-2014 01:23 PM

The Nikon multiple exposure feature is good and it mimics the short term double/multiple exposure of the film world but one thing in the world of multiple exposure in the film field that it cannot mimic is double exposures over a long period of time - something which was done often in the days of film.

The way you did it then was lock the mirror in the up position, put the shutter on "bulb', and then start recording your image. The trick was to use the lens cap as an external shutter and cover up the lens in between waiting for whatever it was that you wanted to record.

This permits time lapse records of movement such as a night time situation where you want to record the comings and goings of things like an overview of a yard where you want to have streak shots of the helpers moving around on various tracks. If you don't cover up the lens when the engines come to one of their many stops what you get is a gross over-exposure and burn out of the headlights of the engine at each stopping point.

You can't do the front lens trick with digital because of the electronic noise so the only way to reproduce exposures of this type is to take separate long exposures and run multiple overlays in the camera (note: Nikon states that overlays in the camera are superior to Photoshop overlays - not having tried it in Photoshop - I don't know if this is true or not).

I used the film version of the method many times and I've gone the overlay route several times with digital. I do have one example which made it onto Railpictures and I took pains to point out the method of multiple exposure to the screeners and I described pretty much the same thing in the picture caption for the viewing public.

[photoid=318721]

So, short answer - it depends on what you are trying to do.

JimThias 04-27-2014 04:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Holloran Grade (Post 177942)
Here is my answer.

Both subjects were visible in both frames.


Not really. WHERE is the rest of the moon?? :confused:

Attachment 8558

kszok 04-28-2014 02:45 AM

Here are a couple images I purposely used more than one exposure to create the final image. I know the OP was talking about in camera composites, but the discussion seemed to move to using more than one exposure to make a composite.

Crossing at National Trails Highway (historic Route 66) just east of Ludlow. I used two 15 second exposures and combined them in Photo Shop.

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3545/...0f213001_o.jpgCrossing Route 66 by K-Szok-Photography, on Flickr

This picture of three trains at Sullivan's Curve was taken a twilight. I combined the sky with the long exposure. Not the best job, but it's much better than what the sky looked like in the long exposure.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7023/...c75712ab_b.jpgThree at Sullivan&#x27;s Curve by K-Szok-Photography, on Flickr

I bit of a more serious image using the moon. Both subjects were visible but impossible to have in focus. When looking a the scene with my eyes, my eyes quickly focus on each subject giving a sense of both being focused. A camera cannot do this. I used the same focal length for both subjects and took the moon in focus an added it to the image with the birds.

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3678/...bc1db685_b.jpgPerched below the Moon by K-Szok-Photography, on Flickr

Composites have their places in photography.

Holloran Grade 04-28-2014 03:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 178048)
Not really. WHERE is the rest of the moon??

Ask a scientist, I don't know why it looked like that.


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