Saturday, November 16, 2013

Photos Holiday at Torquay, Victorian Coast, Australia

Before I get to the rest of this year's photos, I apologize for a whole bunch of chatter about the new camera and editing software. Of course, you can just scroll down if you just want to see the pics :)

I've got to say - I am sooo happy I upgraded from the Canon SX-120 to the Canon G1X. The almost APS-C sized image sensor and the ability to be at higher ISO levels with incredibly less noise, have resulted in my most successful and fun photo holiday yet! I also used the Circular Polarizer in some of the shots, which really enhanced the look of the water.

I went with my family down to our annual holiday at Torquay, to the southwest of Melbourne, along the start of the Great Ocean Road (Victoria, Australia), and took my new camera along (I'm still calling it 'new' though I've now had it since July) and had a great time :)

I also got to go to a number of scenic spots around where we were staying, and try out the G1X. Earlier in my blog, you'll see last year's trip, and some of the photos I took with the Canon SX-130. They look good for holiday point-and-shoot snaps, but not as good as the G1X. Also, the old photos looked good mostly when shrunk down to Photo Size, due to noise, blurring, etc, in the small sensor. The new photos have so much more detail, and less noise, that they look great on my 32" TV screen on my PC, but viewing them on an Ipad Retina screen they look fantastic! Because of the lower noise level, I was able to make HDR photos much better than before (since noise in photos gets enhanced during the HDR process, and can make final images hard to clean up).

Some of these shots were actually taken at 1600 ISO, freehand! That's an unbelievable high ISO setting to be using, but the G1X's low noise means it is equivalent to 800 ISO or a bit better on many other cameras, but enabling greater photo-taking speed, which was good because it was so windy, and it was hard at first to capture handheld shots, but somehow the photos using that ISO still look great! The other shots were taken at 100 ISO on a tripod to get clear triple-exposure with bracketing. So, the shots of the cliffs for example at the start, are the 100 ISO high quality, while the shot of me at the beach at the bottom (handheld shot taken by my father with my camera) was at 1600 ISO, and still looks pretty good!

All of my photos have been played with using a program called Dynamic HDR Pro 5. Almost all of them were assembled by using Exposure Bracketing on the Camera, which lets me take 3 photos, each at a different light exposure level - one dark, one normal, one bright. The program on my PC then lets me 'merge' the three photos together (so it's important to use a tripod to avoid alignment problems and blurring) to create a new image that takes colour information from a much larger range of values than a single photo can capture.

A couple photos - usually ones with people in them (this post only has a sample of my favourite scenery shots) were also processed in the HDR software, even though they were only single-image photos, as it has a 'pseudo HDR' mode that lets you transform single-image photos to make them look more like the full 3-image HDR shots.

Anyway, have a look at some of the shots from my holiday, and I hope you can see the big difference in quality since last year's photos.

A note on colour calibration: I should point out too, that colours/contrast look different on different monitors and screens - they aren't manufactured and calibrated to the same standard out of the factory. It's been ages since I used my colour calibrator device on my screen, to change the brightness/contrast/saturation/hues to be close to the industry standard and actual look of the photo's colour data. When I first edited these photos, I couldn't get the colours right for my tastes - the greens looked very fluorescent, but then I decided to try colour calibrating my screen again, and after the calibration back to industry standard colour profile and appropriate brightness/contrast levels, I discovered that all the photos looked natural and great after all! I use a calibration device called the Spyder 4 for PC, and it really does do wonders, and let me see the photos as they actually are supposed to look, and so I can know that anyone else using a screen that has been calibrated will see about the same thing that I see on my screen too. I find that my Ipad 3 does a pretty good / accurate job naturally, though it is a little bit warmer/glowier than the calibrated monitor, and the greens still look just a little bit brighter on the Ipad, as opposed to the natural look on the calibrated screen.

Anyway, enough talk! Here's some shots from my holiday :)

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