140413 D800 - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

I would like to think that this is the least interesting photo that I'll ever post here, but let's face it, that's unlikely. 

I was looking for something to photograph; I had my D800 and tilt-shift lens, and I'll admit that I was uninspired. It was the end of an outing and I was tired enough that I lacked the energy to pack up and head out. So I was procrastinating.

Making matters worse for you, dear viewer, is that these photos have been left just as bland as they could be. I could tweak them to add contrast and pop, but there's really not much point.

The detail that the D800 can capture is as amazing as this little spider's camouflage. I only saw her because she moved during my run of near-identical images, and I spotted a change in her shadow as I was going through my Lightroom catalog. So watch these two flip back and forth for a bit and try to spot her.

Now here's where things get just a tiny bit interesting. The screen shot on the left shows the photo was taken at a correct exposure of iso100, f/8, and 6 seconds – I was using my 10-stop ND filter in daylight again. The screen shot on the right is of the other photo that's in the two slide shows above, and its values are iso100, f/8, and 1/8 second. By my math that's a 5.5 stop underexposure, so I've used Lightroom to boost the brightness to compensate for the mistake.

Click on either image to see them bigger, should you be so inclined.

(Lightroom's auto tone thinks that it boosted exposure by 10 stops, which is interesting but incorrect. Setting the slider to the user-permitted maximum adjustment of 5 stops gives identical results, as seen below.)

Just for fun I turned off Lightroom's default noise reduction. There's a bit of chroma noise at 100%, but at a 50% zoom it's barely visible, so it should disappear if I ever accidentally printed this at any reasonable size. But with noise reduction turned on, it simply isn't an issue.

While I haven't wanted to spend much more time than this simple demonstration really needs, I put the underexposed image through some basic adjustments. There's still a bit more exposure latitude, although the very darkest tones take on some magenta when the black levels are lifted to the point that they look unnatural anyway. I had enough leeway to make the photo look the way I want it to – except for it still being boring, of course.

The Nikon D800: not a bad camera.

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