2018: A Look Back in the Mirror - Or Mirrorless Now (if You Prefer)
Yeah, that happened. And so did a bunch of other stuff. In the spirit of the season, I wanted to take some time to look back at the Top Ten list for 2018 here on Earthbound Light. A look in the mirror, so to speak. Or mirrorless, if you prefer, because yeah, that really did happen. And a lot more.
For over seventeen years running now, I have been posting new PhotoTip articles every week without fail. That's a lot of articles. Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night and all that. But more importantly because writing is fun. Topics have ranged widely based on my interests and current happenings in the world of photography. And based on my quasi-scientific analysis of webserver and social media logs for this past year, I herewith present the composite Top Ten list of PhotoTip articles for 2018.
#10: If DNG Can Read My Files, Why Can't Lightroom?
So you've been using Lightroom for years but find that it can't read the image files created by your new camera. At one point or another, we all find ourselves in this predicament. This article from June clearly must have struck a chord with readers as it came in at number ten for the year on our Top Ten hit parade. Hint: it's all part of Adobe's clever plan to get you to upgrade.
#9: Old Filter Habits Die Hard
When I first started out in photography, I learned from books, magazines and magazine ads that filters were the secret of getting good images. Of course, that was never as true as they wanted us to believe, but that was the official line. They had filters to be sold. But what's more curious is that in many respects, it still is official line. Even in this era of digital white balance and color correction. That shouldn't be. Published way back in January, this article looking at the topic came out as number nine for the year.
#8: RAW Versus JPEG in the Age of Mega Megapixels
One of the main reasons offered for shooting raw instead of jpeg is that you needed that extra data to get the best results during post-processing. But since each new generation of camera sensors offers ever-greater resolution, it's tempting to ask whether this megapixel bonanza is sufficient yet to mitigate the need for shooting raw. If you haven't already guessed, raw is still very much needed, and likely always will be, but please read this year's eighth place finishing article for the full details.
#7: White Skies as a Measure Progress in the Digital Age
White skies have always been the bane of nature photography. It's just not that easy to capture detail in both the darker foreground landscape and in the sky above it. Cameras just can't do it in one shot, although they are getting better. This article considering the history of how photographers have dealt with this problem shows just how far we've come. Based on my tally of Top Ten articles for the year, this one from November comes in at number seven.
#6: Afternoon Thoughts on Photographing Where Ansel Adams Shot
Somewhere along the way, everyone has seen and hopefully admired at least a few images created by photographer Ansel Adams, famous for his stunning black and white images of the American west. And somewhere along the way, most aspiring nature photographers have found themselves in a position to stand where Adams once stood and attempt to mimic the work of the master. I know I have. It's often looked on as a test of skill. But looking back on how my interest in photography grew, Adams wasn't my only influence. This article from November examining this topic came in at number six for the year.
#5: Why Not Always Shoot High ISO?
Even though early digital cameras allowed the user to adjust the ISO, you'd have to have been foolhardy of desperate to do so. The noise problem was just too horrible to inflict on any image you cared about. But newer cameras can produce remarkably good results at ISO settings previously unthinkable. So good in fact that it's worth considering whether it's OK to just shoot everything at high ISO. I mean, it sure would be a lot easier. This fifth-place article for the year looks at this question.
#4: Vocabulary Terms for the Frustrated Photographer
Every once in a while, the urge to write an article with a bit of a humorous bent to it. Or at least I hope they're viewed as being humorous. This list of alternate definitions for some common photography terms came in as number four for the year, I mean, who doesn't want to know what "circle of confusion" really means. Apparently at least some of you did and got a chuckle. Either that or my evil sense of humor has everyone completely fooled. Yeah, that's it.
#3: Say Hello to Our New Mirrorless Overlords
This look at the changing mirrorless landscape from September came in at number three for the year. Yeah, that did happen. But no, all your current camera gear is not obsolete. The technology of how cameras work has been improving for years, buoyed along by advances in technology in general. The mirror was just next in line to go. It solved a problem that has perplexed photographers since the beginning. It's not as easy as it sounds to see an accurate preview of the image our cameras are about to take. Now camera sensors and LCD screens have gotten good enough, what better way than to create that preview straight from what the sensor is seeing? This change won't come overnight, but I'm guessing that mirrorless will be the norm at some point. Thankfully, Nikon and now Canon are making this shift as easy as they can. Personally though, I'm waiting a bit to see how this actually pans out before panicking. And personally, I'm not planning on panicking even then. Just taking things under advisement for future purchases.
#2: What's a Little Mirror Between Friends?
Another mirrorless article from August came in at number two on this year's Top Ten hit parade. When Nikon first introduced their new Z-mount mirrorless system, it was almost as if some users were going out of their way to fault it. Yes, I'm looking at some of you. And no, the new Z 7 and Z 6 (Nikon says there's supposed to be a space in the middle of these model names) aren't perfect. But walking such a narrow tightrope, it really wasn't possible for Nikon to please everyone completely. And on balance, I'd say they did a pretty good job, once you get beneath the rumors and internet memes.
#1: The Grass is Always Greener When You Pump up the Saturation in Photoshop
And this brings us to the number one PhotoTip article for 2018. At least as far back as Fujichrome Velvia, photographers have been working to create bolder, more vibrant images because the image buying public do. This is all an effort to stand out from the pack and get noticed of course. Color accuracy has been sacrificed in pursuit of more compelling images. But in service of proving the rule, when it comes to saturation, there can be too much of a good thing. And limiting ourselves to only the more saturated hues can limit contrast and thus apparent detail. It would seem best to paint with the full palette.
So this rounds out our recap of the top ten posts for 2018. Yeah, a lot has happened over the year. It always does, after all. Here's to more fun in the new year. My thanks to all who drop by and support the site in one way or another.