Lava Lamp Photos C&C

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ucddyan, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. ucddyan

    ucddyan TPF Noob!

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    Hello There,

    I'm new to photography and have posted a couple of times, but nothing quite so artsy... but then again a lava lamp isn't exactly the most exciting subject. Any thoughts on these photos? Do you find them interesting? (yes, they've been post-processed)

    #1 Nikon D200, 18-200mm dx/vr @200mm, f/13, 1/4s, ISO 720
    [​IMG]


    #2 Nikon D200, 18-200 DX/VR @ 200mm, f/13, 0.80s, ISO 250
    [​IMG]


    Thanks guys!
     
  2. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would freakin' love the first one if it had some sharpness at the top of the "bubble".
    Keep trying. These are too soft to my eye.
    Do more!
     
  3. ucddyan

    ucddyan TPF Noob!

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    I was trying to reduce some noise from the photo, here's another version where I didn't add the blurring effect. I wish I could figure out how to smooth the image without losing clarity but I'm not that great with CS3... I also don't have noise ninja... (this was produced by cropping the image, selecting the right side then copying and flipping it horizontally to produce the symmetry - in the previous photo I also adjusted brightness/contrast and added gaussian blur)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Unfortunately you have to start with a sharper image.
     
  5. ucddyan

    ucddyan TPF Noob!

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    Alas, THAT I do not have... Here's another attempt, I give up now, it was fun to play with for a while though! Thanks!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    The title of your thread was not very exciting (roll my eyes here) but I'm glad I opened it anyway.

    Love those. Personally I like the softness. I think it actually helps the abstractness. I could see one of those as an album cover for Tangerine Dream if you know who they are.
     
  7. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    I love the softness in the second. Definitely helps with the abstractness; nice smooth, continuous tones, which are just fun to enjoy sometimes.

    But, the first needs to be sharper indeed. Keep at it! If you nail a nice, sharp image, that could be really darn cool. :D

    Take a look here to figure out how to get the best performance out of your lens. I would suggest pulling back the focal length to get closer to that sweet spot at 100mm for CA (less important since this isn't a highly contrasting image, but still), and use f/8 (which is pretty darn sharp in the centre; you'll get way more sharpness from the lens at f/8 than f/13). Shooting at f/8 will also let you up the shutter speed without changing ISO (and thus increasing noise), which will also contribute to a sharper image. At the last, finding a way to increase ambient light would also give your more room for a faster shutter speed, to get rid of motion blur.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2009
  8. three_eyed_otter

    three_eyed_otter TPF Noob!

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    #2 is worth printing and framing...

    have a good one
    3Eo
     
  9. ucddyan

    ucddyan TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies and encouragement guys! This is the first positive feedback I've been given so far, and it's encouraging me to keep up with it. (not that the other feedback isn't helpful - it definitely helps me learn!) I really like the first one and I think I'll try to retake it with the settings you've suggested musicaleCA, it's not like the lava lamp is going anywhere and I'm glad Im glad it's an easy subject that sits still so I can play with my settings!
     
  10. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think that, if the photos were a little sharper, they could be absolutely fantastic. What this looks like to me is you've focused too closely, or the camera couldn't "see" the sharp bubble and failed at autofocusing. Also, just out of curiosity, if you used 1/4s shutter speed (which would imply you using a tripod), why did you use ISO 720?

    I think that it may be worth trying to manually focus. Focus until the image appears sharp to you. If it never does, try backing away a little bit.

    However, I must say, this is only my personal opinion. I can certainly see how, in some people's minds, the softness appeals to them. I prefer almost all of my shots (wrongly...?), but I think it'd look fabulous sharp, with just that little bit of light peeping through the top of the bubble.

    Edit: Also, I forgot to mention, in CS3, go to Filters > Noise > Reduce Noise. From there, you'll see a popup where you can adjust the strength, colour noise reduction and how much of the details to attempt to preserve.
     
  11. Misfitlimp

    Misfitlimp TPF Noob!

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    What ISO where those shot in?
     
  12. ucddyan

    ucddyan TPF Noob!

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    The ISO data is above the original photos (720 for the 1st, 250 for the 2nd). I was just using the auto settings because I was playing around with the camera, but I had some inspiration once I saw the photos on the computer (kind of glad I didn't delete them like I was going to - they at least gave me ideas for something interesting). Both have gone through significant noise reduction and a lot of softening by gaussian blur. I am going to try to retake the 1st sometime with better settings, getting that stupid beautiful ball takes effort since the lamp does it maybe twice before it gets too hot and ends up looking like... well... lava. =P The other issue is I can't get too close with this lens and it's the only one I've got right now, so both photos are significant crops from the original.
     

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