Forum Login

Hidden in Plain Sight

 by Paul L. Richman, Ph. D.

1.  Introduction

What next?  Always that question.  Serious photographers are always after that next great shot.  We love our equipment, we love getting new equipment, and we want to use it all to full advantage.  Our last great shot propels us forward.  We want another.  But what to shoot?

My current answer to this unending question is, well, dragonflies and damselflies.  It's summer now and they are out in numbers.  They are everywhere there's standing water.  But it's easy to miss them.  They're small, fly fast, and hide in reeds and bushes.  Here's the shot that is propelling me forward right now:

Figure 1:  Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)
D3x, ISO 400, f/16, 1/160th, no flash, Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II with Nikon TC-20E III Teleconverter

For years I would see amazing photographs of dragonflies and wish I could find some to photograph close-up.  Guess where I finally found them.  Yes, in my own backyard.  There's a small reeded pond not 50 steps from my back door.  But it took me years to slow down and look.  Finally, last year, I realized that those big pesky bugs that seemed bothersome when walking our dogs were …. you guessed it, dragonflies.

Once you realize they are there, it's not too hard to grab a shot.  But who wants small grab shots with poor backgrounds?  

So, the challenge is taking fine art photographs of dragonflies and damselflies.  This entails not only getting great settings, perches and backgrounds, but also capturing an image that can be blown up to at least 20" x 30" (51 x 76 cm).  The challenge is also in finding interesting and surprising poses, not just straight on, dead centered shots.  Here's an unusual pose that tickles me:

Figure 2:  
D3x, ISO 400, f/16, 1/160th, no flash, Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II with Nikon TC-20E III

 If he's trying to hide, he's not doing a very good job of it!  Here's one with a lovely setting and perch:

Figure 3:   Four-Spotted Skimmer (Libellula quadrimaculata)
D3x, ISO 320, f/14, 1/80th, no flash, Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II with Promaster DG20mm Extension Tube

Meeting this challenge requires expert use of top notch photographic equipment, good image processing technique, and knowledge of subject behavior.  So, the following sections of this article discuss:

    • camera and lens selection
    • camera settings
    • teleconverters
    • extension tubes
    • the use of flash
    • camera support
    • measuring specimen just by using the photograph (the magic ruler)
    • image processing, including Lightroom settings and Photoshop technique
    • and tips for finding and photographing dragonflies and damselflies.

As of this writing (July, 2011), I have been photographing dragonflies and damselflies for a year, so my technique for this is still evolving.  I've tried 100mm Zeiss and Nikon macro lenses, the Nikon 600mm telephoto lens, and many in-between.   I've experimented with ISO up to 1600, and f-stops from 5.6 to 64.  I've used teleconverters and extension tubes, tripods and monopods, and hand holding.  My equipment is now Nikon, so my discussion will be Nikon oriented, but similar equipment can be found from other major brands.  My technique employs pro-level equipment which is expensive, and that is the equipment I discuss here.   However, much that is here can be adapted to other gear as well.   


 2.  Camera body

I prefer using a full frame, high megapixel camera for this and all my other photography.  I use the Nikon D3x, but the Canon 5D Mark II would also work well.   Full frame cameras have a crop factor of 1.  (Crop factor is the image magnification afforded by sensors smaller than a full 35mm frame, which is 24mm x 36mm in size.)   Many photographers prefer cameras with larger crop factors (smaller sensors) because of the extra magnification they afford.  With a crop factor of 1.5x, a 600mm lens becomes 900mm, and so on.  However, you can get allot of extra magnification by cropping a full frame image, and still make large prints from the cropped image.  For example, if a D3x 24 megapixel (6048 x 4032) image is cropped to say 11 megapixels (4064 x 2709), the resulting crop factor is 1.5x, and, with pro lenses, it can still make a tack sharp 24" x 36" (61x 91 cm) print. 

With full frame cameras, you have the choice of going either way, cropping to increase magnification, or using the full frame for increased detail.  And with these cameras, a 24mm lens is 24mm, not 36mm, as it is with a 1.5x crop factor.  So, full frame is much better for wide angle shooting as well. (Of course, I've never seen a good wide angle shot of a dragonfly.)

Cropping can also lead to much improved composition, so it's good to be able to crop images, for many reasons.


 3.  Lens

I like using telephoto lenses for photographing dragonflies and damselflies.  Using a long lens allows me to keep good distance from the subjects and still get close-in images, using adapters as discussed below.  Some dragonflies and damselflies will let you approach very closely, but others will scurry away as you approach.  And some will be beyond any close reach.   Hence being able to keep a good distance is often is very helpful. 

Image stabilized lenses enable you to shoot hand held or, preferably, on monopod, which affords much faster and freer movement than on tripod.

My favorite lens is currently the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G VR II.   It is one of Nikon's exotic lenses, with an exotic price.  But its image quality is breathtaking;  sharpness, color vibrance, clarity, and contrast are all world class.  It also works extremely well with Nikon teleconverters, staying tack sharp even with the Nikon TC-20E III, yielding a wonderful 600mm f/5.6 VR II lens.  I have been amazed at the sharpness of this last combination.  It is difficult to see any degradation in sharpness when viewing the digital file at 1:1.  And its VR II provides outstanding image stabilization.

Without any converter, the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II lens has a 8.3" (21 cm) field of view at 67" (1.7 m) from the tip of the lens hood, its closest focusing distance.  Autofocus is very fast.  However, this is too wide a field of view for photographing dragonflies and damselflies, which are typically between 1" and 3" (2.5 and 8 cm).  I won't use this lens without some kind of adapter (Sections 7 - 9 below), for this kind of photography.


4.  Exposure Settings

For much of my photography, I use aperture priority, frequently checking histograms for exposure correctness.  If I'm not using a tripod, I also check the shutter speed, to make sure it isn't too slow.  However, for dragonfly photography, I have decided to use manual settings.  In aperture priority, the shadow and light around these subjects often fools my camera into incorrect exposures, especially in bright sunlight.  So, in bright sunlight I typically use ISO 400, 1/160th second, f/16 without fill flash, and f/22 with fill flash (see discussion below under Flash).  I use these settings for any lens, as they seem the ideal tradeoff for depth of field, stop action, and acceptable noise.  I determine the exact settings for current conditions by taking a few test images that include brightly-lit bright subjects, and looking at their histograms. 

If a long (≥ ~300mm), image stabilized telephoto lens is used, this somewhat slow shutter speed could yield marginal sharpness due to magnified camera and wind shake.  Further, the point of focus may not be optimal, leaving critical parts of the subject out of focus.  To ensure getting a sharp image, use a monopod or tripod, and take several images with these settings.  Even if all your "duplicate" images are sharp, you will find variations in poses and points of focus that may be quite useful and interesting.  While "still", dragonflies sometimes lift their head up or turn it to the side, or raise wings, and background movement can create interesting effects.

If your lens isn't stabilized, use a tripod with a gimbal type head, especially for longer telephoto lenses.

I set the camera to capture RAW images, and I process them in Lightroom and Photoshop. 


5.  ISO

Keep ISO at 400 or under, to avoid losing the extreme detail from pro-quality and exotic glass due to stronger noise reduction processing.  As of Photoshop CS5, capture noise reduction in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) has improved significantly, giving excellent results up to ISO 400, with higher ISO certainly being usable, just not preferred, and lower ISO being noticeably better than ISO 400, of course. 


6.  F-Stop and Focus

Set your camera for follow-focus for this subject, as wind and your own movement can change the focus required.  To maximize depth of field, don't focus on the nearest or farthest parts of the subject, but rather somewhere in the middle.  If the subject is at a significant angle to the lens, take several photographs using different focus points.

Ideally, the entire dragonfly or damselfly should be in focus.  If the dragonfly is essentially in a plane perpendicular to the shooting direction (parallel to the actual lens glass), then f/8 or f/11 might suffice.   For lateral images, with the subject body perpendicular to the shooting direction, f/16 to f/22 is preferred, in order to get better wing tip focus.  For head on images, f/20 or higher is preferred, but take several images at different focal points, and use manual focus stacking to put together a fully focused image.  As mentioned above, my default f-stop in bright sunlight is now f/16 without fill flash, and f/22 with fill flash. 


7.  Extension Tubes

Extension tubes don't have any glass.  They just move the lens further from the sensor, enabling closer focus.  There is no degradation in image quality, since no extra glass is added.  However, focus is limited to close subjects when using most extension tubes.

Nikon does not make extension tubes for its G-series lenses that will allow auto-focus and aperture control, and that's a shame.  G-series lenses don't have aperture rings for manually setting the aperture, so camera aperture control is essential.   The Promaster Spectrum 7 DG12mm, DG 20mm and 36mm extension tubes are the best G-series extension tubes I've found.  They are not built nearly as solidly as say the Nikon PK-13 extension tube, but they do work well with my G-series lenses.   I have tried the Kenko extension tubes - they vignette (at least my copies did).

The DG 20mm extension tube with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II lens has a 5.9" (15 cm) field of view at 51" (1.3 m) from the tip of the lens hood, its closest focusing distance.  If you're a foot back from this (which can easily happen in normal use), the field of view at 63" (1.6 m) becomes 7.5" (19 cm).  Autofocus is fast with this converter.  But this is still a bit too wide a field of view for dragonflies, whose wing spans are usually ~3" (7.6 cm) or less.

The DG 36mm extension tube with this lens has a 4.8" (12.2 cm) field of view at 39" (99 cm) from the tip of the lens hood, its closest focusing distance.  If you're a foot back from this, the field of view at 51" (1.3 m) becomes 6" (15.2 cm).  Autofocus is still reasonably fast with this converter, and quite usable.   This is a decent range for this subject.


8.  Teleconverters

Teleconverters do add glass, increasing the magnification and close focus of a telephoto lens.  The Nikon TC-14E II with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II lens has a 6" (15.2 cm) field of view at 69" (1.75 m) from the tip of the lens hood, its closest focusing distance.  If you're a foot back from this, the field of view at 81" (2.1 m) becomes 7.1" (18 cm).  Autofocus is still fast with this teleconverter.  This combination yields an excellent, tack sharp, f/4.8 420mm VR II lens.  However, its field of view is insufficient for this subject.

The Nikon TC-17 E II with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II lens has a 5.1" (13 cm) field of view at 72" (1.8 m) from the tip of the lens hood, its closest focusing distance.  If you're a foot back from this, the field of view at 84" (2.1 m) becomes 6" (15.2 cm).  Autofocus is slower with this teleconverter, but still usable.  This combination yields an excellent 510mm VR II lens.  However, its field of view is still not ideal for this subject.

The Nikon TC-20E III with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II lens has a 4.5" (11.4 cm) field of view at 72" (1.8 m) from the tip of the lens hood, its closest focusing distance.  If you're a foot back from this, the field of view at 84" (2.1 m) becomes 5.4" (13.7 cm).  Autofocus is slower with this teleconverter, but still quite usable.  This combination yields an excellent, tack sharp f/5.6 600mm VR II lens, with a fine field of view for this subject.


9.  Converter Conclusion

Combining extension tubes with teleconverters provides even more magnification as shown in the summary table:

Converter

Closest Focus Distance

Field of View at Closest Focus

Field of View 1’ Back

none

67" (1.7 m)

8.3" (21 cm)

-

Promaster DG 20mm

51" (1.3 m)

5.9" (15 cm)

7.5" (19 cm)

Promaster DG 36mm

39" (99 cm)

4.8" (12.2 cm)

6” (15.2 cm)

Nikon TC-14E II

69" (1.75 m)

6” (15.2 cm)

7.5" (19 cm)

Nikon TC-17E II

72" (1.8 m)

5.1" (13 cm)

6” (15.2 cm)

Nikon TC-20E III

72" (1.8 m)

4.5" (11.4 cm)

5.4" (13.7 cm)

DG 12mm + TC-20E III

66” (1.7 m)

3.7” (9.4 cm)

4.4” (11.2 cm)

DG 20mm + TC-20E III

64” (1.6 m)

3.4” (8.6 cm)

4.1” (10.4 cm)

DG 36mm + TC-20E III

60.5” (1.5 m)

3” (7.6 cm)

3.5” (8.9 cm)

Figure 4:  Converter Table for the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G VR II

This kind of information is not provided in the manuals that come with the adapters and lenses, and I have not seen it posted elsewhere.  You can of course duplicate these measurements for your equipment simply by using a tape measure and a ruler.

All these converters improve close-up performance, but based on this analysis, I have switched to the TC-20E III, mostly with the DG 12mm.  Surprisingly, the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G VR II plus TC-20E III plus DG 12mm does focus at infinity.  Occasionally, a bird or other subject will present itself while photographing dragonflies and damselflies, and now I won't miss those images.

This combination is steady enough on monopod, thanks to the lens VR II.   Focus is quick enough, and depth of field is adequate, especially at f/22.  Here are two examples taken with this combination:

Figure 5:   3.1" (7.9 cm) wing span, Mature Male Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)
D3x, ISO 400, f/16, 1/160th, SB-800 fill flash, Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II with Promaster DG12 and Nikon TC-20E III
5590 x 3726 crop (from 6048 x 4032)

Figure 6:   1.7" (4.3 cm) 12-Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)
D3x, ISO 400, f/22, 1/160th, SB-800 fill flash, Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II with Promaster DG12 and Nikon TC-20E III
Full frame:  6048 x 4032

Using the DG 36mm instead of the DG 12mm should be better for damselflies, as they tend to be about an inch or so.   However, this combination will not focus on distant subjects.  Of course, additional extension tubes can be added for even more magnification.

The last 32 dragonfly / damselfly photos in the Dragonflies in Ultra-HD app were taken with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II plus TC-20E III, some also employing the DG12mm.  Much higher resolution images are included in this app, so that detail can be better assessed.


10.  Support

I use a Gitzo GT5540 monopod, which handles my chosen load with aplomb.  It is now available in two versions:  GT5541 and GT5561T.  I use it with Really Right Stuff monopod head:

Figure 7: 

Really Right Stuff Hi-Capacity Monopod Head with B2 AS II

This head restricts movement to one plane, so the camera will not flop left or right when panning up and down.  A monopod offer flexibility in positioning yourself relative to the subject.  With it, you can easily achieve the closest focusing distance, for the greatest magnification.  You can do this by manually setting the lens to its closest focus, positioning the monopod foot at approximately the correct distance (plus or minus a foot or two), and loosening the monopod head so that the camera swivels freely.  Then, keeping the monopod foot fixed, move the camera in or out until the subject is focused in the view finder.  Don't touch the focus button during this.  Once there, use the focus button to take the picture.  Yes, auto-focus does not work at exactly the closest manual focus.  But you can get very close to this by focusing manually slightly back from closest focus and then activating auto-focus.

Telephoto lenses usually come with a collared foot.  Mount the foot in this monopod head, rather then the camera body.  Keep the lens collar fairly loose while shooting, so that camera angle can be quickly adjusted.


11.  Measuring Specimen - The Magic Ruler

For images taken at the closest focus distance, the size of specimen in your image can be easily measured.  Just bring the full image into Photoshop, set units to inches, set the image width to the field of view in the table (3.7" for the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II + Nikon TC-20E III + DG 12mm), and use the Photoshop measuring tool to determine the specimen's body length and wing span.  Of course, this will only be accurate if the parts being measured are perpendicular to the shooting direction.


12.  Flash

I use a Nikon SB-900, with a Quantum Turbo SC battery pack attached.  The battery pack gives faster recycle times and makes my rechargeable batteries last longer, so I don't loose shots due to failing batteries.  I frequently insert freshly charged batteries before going out to do photography; I don't wait for batteries to fail.  

When I can, I take dragonfly and damselfly pictures both with and without flash, to see which I like better, and to use as guides during image processing.  (I usually prefer the fill flash photograph, but process it to take on some of the nicer characteristics of the un-flashed photograph.)  I keep the SB-900 set to TTL for fill flash.  I've found that I can stop down one full f-stop when using fill flash, which adds significant depth of field.  So my settings with TTL flash in bright sun are:  ISO 400, 1/160th, f/22, as mentioned before.  

Fill flash pictures of this subject just look sharper, and reduced shadows yield a more pleasing photograph.   Fill flash often makes the subject appear a bit flat, but good processing technique can usually compensate sufficiently for this.  Here are two comparative examples:

Figure 8:  
 Fill flash (left) comparison with no flash (right)

Figure 9:  

 Fill flash (left) comparison with no flash (right)

13.  Image Processing

There are many ways to accomplish similar results in image processing.  I'm just going to discuss my particular workflow and processing methods.

When working with large numbers of RAW images, load them into Lightroom and select the best images by using ratings.  Delete images of no use, to save disk space.  Set Lightroom to show only the top rated images, and work on them with all the Lightroom RAW processing tools.  RAW processing is superior to processing in Photoshop, so do as much as you can here.  Technically, this has to do with working in a linear scale rather than a logarithmic scale.

I use the following Detail settings:

  • Sharpening (for all my lenses):  Amount = 35, Radius = 0.7, Detail = 69
  • Noise reduction for ISO 400:  ~30 for both Luminance and Color
Figure 10:  
 Sharpening and Noise Reduction Settings

Too much sharpening will create halos around sharp edges, and artifacts.  Too much noise reduction will reduce image detail.  Evaluate your settings at 1:1 or 2:1 zoom.

Enable Profile Corrections.  The Photoshop lens database has a tremendous number of lenses in it, even including Zeiss lenses.  These built-in lens corrections do a terrific job of automatically correcting chromatic aberration, vignetting and distortion.  They seem to work well even with teleconverters and extension tubes attached.

Crop the image to improve composition, using the golden rule guides to help.

Adjust Color Temperature and Tint, which have a major impact on the color and warmth of the image.  The "As Shot" RAW image setting delivers neutral color renditions, and is often much cooler than the Daylight setting.  I usually move towards daylight, although I don't want the image to appear too yellow.  If the image is too green, increase tint.  If it's too magenta, decrease tint.  These adjustments affect exposure, so do them first.

Adjust Exposure, Fill Light and Blacks until the histogram is full, but does not show any highlight or shadow warnings.  Adjust Brightness, usually down, until you achieve the look you want.  Moving Brightness down can also move the right end of the histogram leftwards, so upping Exposure is sometimes needed to compensate for this.  To avoid burned out looking highlight areas, you may need to use the Adjustment Brush  to reduce the exposure of over-exposed areas.

If needed, use the Graduated Filter to darken or lighten broad areas of the image.

Use the Spot Removal tool  at 1:1 zoom to remove all dust spots.

I rarely use Recovery and Contrast for this subject.   I never use Clarity as it's not very sophisticated, and prone to ugly haloing.  

I sometimes use Vibrance but never Saturation with this subject.  My exotic lenses generally produce plenty of color, once Color Temperature is set suitably.  Some images do look better with added vibrance, which is a subtle control that tends to avoid over saturation of colors.  I sometimes experiment with increased vibrance and reduced color temperature.

You can copy and paste all these settings to the next images, so that you don't have to repeat all this work on each image.  However, be careful that pasted spot removal corrections do not create ugly spots on your image, especially if they are on the primary subject or in other focus areas.  Check this by clicking the Spot Removal tool, to see where the corrections landed.  Remove or redo problem spot removals.  Other adjustments may need to be tweaked for each image.

Then bring the image into Photoshop for final processing.  If parts of the subject are out of focus and you have several images with those parts in focus, bring all these images into Photoshop and manually blend focused areas together, to create a single image with a fully focused subject.  This requires good layer, selection, and blending technique, and allot of time.

I sometimes use the Shadows / Highlights adjustment on these images:

Figure 11:  
 Shadows / Highlights Adjustment

It can tone down overly bright areas and / or bring up shadows.  To get the best results with this adjustment, check the Show More Options checkbox and start with the following settings:

Figure 12:  
 Default Setting for the Shadows / Highlights Adjustment in Photoshop

Save these as your defaults.  In use, vary both Amounts to achieve the look you want.  I almost never change Tonal Width and Radius.  Lower values of Radius can yield ugly haloing.  I do sometimes vary Color Correction (to lessen or heighten color changes) and Midtone Contrast (if the image needs more punch).  Rather than using Black Clip and White Clip, I use Levels before making this adjustment, to eliminate empty or flat lines at the left of the histogram, and eliminate any empty area at the right of the histogram, like this:

Figure 13:  
Levels in Photoshop

To achieve the overall brightness I desire, I compensate for the left and right adjustments with the middle adjustment, as shown above.  Using Levels first makes Shadows / Highlights work better.

I often use the Topaz Detail 2 plugin to add clarity to the dragonfly or damselfly.  This does what the Clarity slider should have done in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW).  It increases the micro-contrast of the subject, making sharp detail much more pronounced.  It's as though you've removed vaseline from the lens glass to reveal an incredibly sharp image.  The lattice structure of the wings and the hair detail of the body are dramatically enhanced.  Unfortunately, background grain and noise become much more pronounced as well.

Don't use noise reduction software to eliminate the heightened noise, as it would also reduce detail in the clarified subject.  Noise in the complex subject is much less apparent, and usually needs no reduction.  Instead, press control-J to make a copy of the image in a new layer.  Then apply Topaz Detail 2 to this layer, choosing the third preset in its list of presets:  Micro Contrast Enhancement.  On that layer, select the dragonfly (including wings and legs) using the Quick Selection tool:

Figure 14:  
Quick Selection Tool

Be careful to include very little of the background in this selection, while still including body hairs which usually go into the background.  You may also need to use the Polygonal Lasso tool  to refine the selection.  Set its Feather to "1 px" and check Anti-alias:  .   Expand and Feather the selection:

Figure 15:  
Expand and Feather

by about 3 pixels, invert it, and clear the rest of the layer, to eliminate the heightened background noise.  Having the subject on a separate layer allows further processing on the background, without effecting the subject.  Noise reduction, brightness and other adjustments can be applied just to the background.  If desired, you can take just a percentage of the Topaz effect by reducing its layer's Opacity.  But if you do, take care in what processing you do on the background layer, as now the subject on the background layer will partially show through.

Until recently, I had used Lucas Pro 6 for adding clarity, but the Topaz algorithm has now surpassed Lucas in the quality of its resulting micro contrast.  And the Topaz Plugin is just $40, whereas Lucas Pro 6 costs $595, is only 32 bit, requires the use of a USB hardware dongle, and will not be upgraded to support new versions of Photoshop on the Mac.


14.  Dragonfly Hunting Tips

Look for ponds with lots of reeds at their edges.  Dragonflies and damselflies like hiding in and landing on them, and they make beautiful perches and backgrounds for photography.  Some areas of the pond and reeds will be more favorable than others, so explore.

The warmth of mid-day in summer offers the most opportunities, but I have successfully photographed them at all times of day.  I have seen striking photographs of perched, dew drop covered dragonflies in early morning, but I have yet to find this myself.

The fresh young dragonflies that come out in early July make wonderful subjects.

Dragonflies and damselflies are often quite still for short periods of time.  When they are, and the wind is still, shutter speeds as low as 1/80th can deliver very sharp results, even with the 600mm setup discussed above.

They often return to the same perch several times before moving on, so if you see one land and leave, set closest focus on that spot, and await a return.

While perched dragonfly sightings require patience, damselflies are almost always available, mostly low and closer to the water.  They are smaller, more slender and easy to miss, so look carefully.

"You want that perch?  You can have that perch."  You see a photographically interesting perch near the dragonflies.  You'd like a photograph of a nice dragonfly on it. Yes?  Keep trying and eventually you will get the shot.

I prefer calm, brightly sunlit days for photographing this subject.  I look for well lit subjects and unusual poses.

I would love to hear your thoughts about all this, so send me an email.


15.  Links to Related Information

The following links may be of interest to anyone pursuing this subject:

http://odonatacentral.org/index.php/PageAction.get/name/DSAHomePage

http://www.abbottnaturephotography.com/about_john.htm  

http://www.dragonflies.org/

http://www.insectphotography.com/

http://www.greglasley.net/odephoto.html

http://www.durmphoto.com/index.php

http://www.alexanderwild.com/

October, 2011


Update

Shortly after writing this article in July, I changed my noise reduction settings as follows:

  • Noise reduction for ISO 400:  ~30 for both Luminance and Color, Detail = 95 for both
  • Figure 10:   Sharpening and Noise Reduction Settings

    Note that Lightroom noise reduction automatically increases as ISO increases, even for fixed Luminance and Color settings.  Using a Detail setting of 95 protects detail during noise reduction.


Paul Richman

Paul Richman has been a professional photographer for a decade. He retired from his first career as a Computer Scientist (Ph. D. from Stanford University) with over 20 patents, a dozen articles in prestigious math and computer science journals, and 32 years service at AT&T Bell Laboratories.  His technical background prepared him well for a second career in photography.

Paul has a permanent gallery at the Millennium Harvest House Hotel in Boulder, and another permanent display at the Sloat Law Offices in Boulder.  His photography has won awards and been licensed for use by various corporations.  People from countries around the world have purchased his photographic works for iPad, iPhone, home and office decoration.

All of Paul's extensive portfolio can be seen in his 20 apps for iPhone and iPad.  Just search iTunes for "pbp" or "Pixels By Paul".  There you will experience his passion for landscapes, flowers, wildlife, travel, architecture, sculpture, studio work, and more.   Paul adds new content to his apps regularly, so his apps are not static.  This article was excerpted from his Dragonflies in Ultra-HD app.

Paul loves to hear from his readers, so do drop him a line. p.richman@comcast.net

NOTE:  Two apps from Dating DNA Inc. may show up in this search - that's being fixed, and soon they will not show up in this search.  These two apps show other photography licensed from Pixels By Paul, but are not part of the Pixels By Paul portfolio.


Filed Under:  
Tutorials   

show page metadata

Concepts: Focal length, Aperture, Digital single-lens reflex camera, Photographic lens, Photography, Telephoto lens, Raw image format, Nikon

Entities: Boulder, discussion, Canon, AT&T, Mac, Millennium Harvest House Hotel, ISO, Autofocus, Photoshop, Ultra-HD, image processing., color temperature, Stanford University, Sloat Law Offices, Michael Reichmann, Zeiss, Paul, Paul Richman, Paul portfolio, Lucas, TC-20E, D3x, 5D Mark II, Photoshop, iPhone

Tags: image, VR II, Nikon, extension tubes, Nikon TC-20E III, closest focusing distance, dragonflies, camera, monopod, flash, lens hood, crop factor, noise reduction, dragonfly, damselflies, show, Photoshop, telephoto lens, photograph, spot removals, histogram, color, telephoto lenses, magnification, shutter speeds, bright sunlight, equipment, shooting direction, image processing, Adobe Camera RAW, G-series lenses, Autofocus, photographing, Spot Removal tool, Paul, color temperature, raw image, monopod head, lens glass, lens vr ii