Photography gears for 2010

It’s only been 10 hours into 2010 and I’m already planning my photography purchases for the year. Here are my list thus far:

  • Kata E-702 Camera Raincover – I wish I had this last couple of weeks during the snow days so I could be out taking photos even in the middle of a snow storm.
  • Pelican Case 1510 & Lid Organizer 1519 – I have accumulated enough photography gears (2 bodies with battery grip, 5 lenses, 2 flash lights, 4 filters, 8 CF cards, etc.) to the point where camera bags are not the best way of storing them. This case will be perfect for storage and the carry-on luggage size means I can take all my gears on vacation if I need to without having to check-in.
  • Pelican Compact Flash memory card case – Having all my CF cards (well 4 of them at least) organized in a single box is infinitely better than trying to find them among all the bag pockets.
  • Brno White Balance lens cap – For the situation where mixed lighting will really play hell with the auto white balance on the camera.
  • Apple Aperture – I feel that finally I’ve grown beyond iPhoto capability, especially with my recent interest in HDR. Right now I’m hoping Apple will update Aperture in 2010, otherwise I’d pick Lightroom instead.

Fun with digital photography

Recently I’ve been diving into High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. Initially I used Bracketeer to combine three photos that had been taken with different exposure (-2, 0, +2 stops). But very quickly I became unsatisfied with the output from Bracketeer. After a little research, it turns out Bracketeer only fuse photos with different exposures. Whereas other HDR software also perform tone mapping. After listening to a TWiP podcast about HDR and read through the HDR tutorial by Trey Ratcliff, I decided to try Photomatix Pro last week to see what different result I would get.

To demostrate the difference between Bracketeer and Photomatix, here are two identical photos processed by each software with the original exposure on the left:

As you can see, the result from Photomatix is so much more natural looking (though it can also produce extremely psychadelic version) than Bracketeer. And more importantly, I get to this very good photo very easily, whereas the options in Bracketeer are extremely technical and confusing.

Both are commercial software with Bracketeer a little bit less expensive than Photomatix. But judging from the output quality, I would thoroughly recommend going straight to Photomatix if you want to experiment with HDR.

The High Line

Having a brand new camera body encourages me to take more photos during the weekend (funny that always works). Today, Leah and I went to the High Line after having brunch with some friends. From the Wikipedia, the High Line is

The High Line is a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) section of the former elevated freight railroad of the West Side Line, along the lower west side of Manhattan, which has been redesigned and planted as a greenway. The High Line runs from the former 34th Street freightyard, near the Javits Convention Center, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District of the West Village.

The High Line

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