Part 2 - Off-Topic - advice, experiences, and examples for images being processed in DxO Photolab

I see. I never used that focus peaking.


If I was wealthy, I’d already own a Z9 and the better Nikon lenses.
If I was wealthy, I’d probably be driving an Aston Martin, or a Bentley.

When and if I win the lottery, we can discuss this, assuming I ever start to buy lottery tickets - which I’ve never done.

The reality however is that in the highly unlikely chance I become wealthy, I would be using the same photo gear as I use now, along with a new long focus lens.

I never wrote that, or implied it. That’s your scenario, not mine. I learned those basics a lifetime ago, and the photos of birds with a blurry butt are on purpose, for the very reasons you refer to. I used the settings I felt were the best compromise.

Of course, and obviously, my photos are “random” as you define it.
Random is better than being stuck in a rut. It’s also a benefit of being retired. I can do what I want to do, at any time I select (within reason). There’s also a “learning curve”, which means trying lots of things, and selecting what is most appropriate. Being retired means I can mostly do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it, and I’ve learned from experience that photographing birds over Biscayne Bay is a waste of time.

I don’t remember your posting any of your own photos (processed in PhotoLab). Maybe I missed them. Anybody can write stuff here, but very few people back their words with photos they have captured, and both explain and show what they have done. The photos I post come from PL6.

Go look at Steve’s BCG forum, and you’ll see what I want to do.

Been there, done that, and that is not what I am currently trying to learn how to do, which I’ve already posted.

Yes, but that is not what I’m currently working on. Thanks for describing all that. Everything in time.

I appreciate the effort, but for me, it is one thing at a time. For right now, I simply want to capture images from the D780 using Live View, similar to what I can already do in DSLR mode. Some people here are telling me it’s not possible. Others think it is “trivial”. :slight_smile:

Focus peaking? I read about that, but trying it on the D780 in Live View comes after I learn other things.

When it comes to learning Live View (ML mode) on the D780, I’m still in what feels like the first grade. Oh well, I’ve been through that many times, and eventually things start to make sense.

Thank you all!!

GREAT – now you have the chance … and don’t come back with pics, that just got your watermark on it!

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You’ve got to stop calling it that. As I and others have said before, the camera doesn’t have a “mirrorless” mode. It has LiveView and, in LiveView, you have access to auto-focus and auto-exposure technology that originated in a true mirrorless camera.

Personally, I wouldn’t dare be seen using my camera in LiveView for anything other than studio work or, maybe, covert street photography, where I don’t want the subject to know they are being photographed (the equivalent of a medium format camera with a waist-level finder)

How about **a “hybrid” camera with both:

  • an optical viewfinder for DSLR photography, and
  • mirrorless functions that are viewed on the rear screen.**

:face_with_symbols_over_mouth: SHUT UP! Go and take sharp images instead of wasting our time with your hyperstuppirn posts! :rage: Do you really want to be called a dumb old fool?

Post 1032

My main question - while I wanted a “sharp bird” in front of a “blurred background”, anything I might have done to make the back of the bird sharper would have done the same for the grass and stuff.

If you understood how to control DOF in your camera you wouldn’t post these questions/comments

Post 1042

In my first photography class, I failed. I re-took the class, doing things their way, not my way, and aced it.

Looks like you are determined to repeat that first experience. What’s that old cliche’ about doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result…

And there’s the comments that you like to “re-act” or “go with the flow”. Another old cliche’ comes to mind - Fail to prepare means prepare to fail.

Is this Steve Perry’s approach to photography?

If you don’t really want to plan your shot than switch your camera mode to “A”. That’s what it is there for.

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Sigh, have it your way. I know how to control DoF, but this photo below is exactly what I wanted to capture, just the way it is shown below. Everyone in this forum thinks it’s a mistake, but the bird photographers in Steve’s forum like it this way, and more importantly understand why I shot it this way. In fact, some of them posted links to their own photos done this way with similar out of focus “tail ends” deliberately. I captured what I wanted to capture, the way I wanted to capture it. All the mud on the bird’s beak added to the effect. People’s attention is directed at the bird’s head, and beak, along with the feet. I like the photo, and the people in BCG like the photo, and understand my reasoning. I also like that with PhotoLab, I was able to “enhance it” the way I did. Had I changed the DoF to have the whole bird sharp, would have prevented me from getting what I was after. I do appreciate all the help and feedback I get in this forum, but in my opinion, “fixing” the DoF issue would have ruined what I was after. When I look at this photo, as it is now, my eye goes right to the bird’s eye/head/beak, and the DoF along with the tree helps achieve this.

Perhaps next time, I’ll take two photos, one done this way, and one done as @Joanna suggests.

Here’s my original post here in our forum:

I’m no Ansel Adams, but I am an Ansel Adams fan. Sometimes he captured images as you suggest, and other times he came upon an image with no time to prepare, just barely enough to capture one image. In his mind, he knew what he wanted, even if it’s not visible in a contact sheet - but he SAW something, and worked rapidly to capture it before it was gone.

I saw this bird photo and immediately captured it as you see it here. Fifteen seconds later it was all over. There was only enough time to “do”, not enough time to “think”. Raise camera, focus, compose, shoot, shoot again.

If you ever decide to capture photos like these, you’ll quickly understand. Maybe take a little time and check out Steve’s forum, or any of the “birding” forums. Every time I do that, I realize how little I know. And I realize I am a total beginner at this, and how little I know about birds… Fortunately, I know some good people who are helping me with real advice, suggestions, settings, and so on.

Been photographing birds for more than a decade. As stated above, I’ve had the pleasure to bird/photo with, and learn from, National Geographic photographers and many other excellent photographers. Steve Perry at BCG is also a “good” photographer if you like his style. He also mentions some good points about preparation, visualizing the shot, recognizing when/what type shots are possible in some situations. But you seem determined to do it your way just like your Photography class years ago.

I came to Photolab because their denoising routines “saved” many a high-iso photo. Other posters have been very helpful with processing techniques to help me learn more about Photolab.

I can see this thread is now dead.

There are plenty of times that Mike says things that frustrate me or makes me roll my eyes. On occasion I have even gotten angry with him, but we can’t let our frustration get the better of us. I only occasionally comment on his posts anymore and I suggest you do the same. I am afraid that your comment above was way over the top. I hope we would all like to keep this forum civil.


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Well Mark, there’s the effect of annoyance, ignorance and curiosity which lets “his” two threads grow beyond 4.000 posts and counting. You decide if that’s way over the top. I actually don’t see a good enough reason anymore to step back and watch him doing his game, because asking question after question and not even try to understand at least part of the responses but jump to another topic on and on - I call that abuse of goodwill. Of many forum members, who really tried their best to help him. Do you call that “civil”?

Not long ago I switched him to the “ignored” list for one day. After that, the post number diminished about 40%. And this numbers don’t say much about the quantity of text and time he’s spending to produce them. I see his behavior meanwhile as pathological. And I posted some clear and harsh words to shake things up, judge it like you want.

If you want to take the time and sift through those 4000 posts looking for those from me, you will see that I posted a number of very unflattering comments in response to Mike. It is unnecessary to rehash them here. However, as strong as some of my comments were, there is a line past which I will not go. As I suggested in my previous post, as much as he may annoy some of us, we need to maintain civility on this site and especially be careful of the language we use here.


Show me one post of him in which his response helped any of us. I mean, not to master the anger and write no spicy reply but a real photographic or PL related question. I don’t like this kind of one-way-only posters. Everybody can decide if a question is worth an answer. But his trick is “write dozens of questions, don’t care to understand the answers and jump forward to the next dozen”. Feel free to define your civility. You won’t define mine as this is my business. :wink: also, there are some bounds of social behaviour which will not be overruled by more or less blurry definitions of language.

Heheheh. I think you meant ‘P’. ‘A’ requires thought :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

With that particular image, maybe but, with others like the crane, you totally missed it.

I just read every post that replied to yours in those forums and nobody directly said anything like your “quote”.

I was not talking about necessarily getting the whole bird in focus, which is very difficult if you shoot beak first or, in the case of a tall bird, from above, but you should be able to everything in focus side on. Above all, you need to get the eye and, preferably, the head sharp.

Except the tree, being in focus, also draws the eye away from the bird. Looking at the best bird photos, I see folks shooting from lower down, with a beautiful soft bokeh in the background to isolate the bird.

Now how about demonstrating your knowledge of DoF control by telling us what the DoF is for a shot with a 300mm lens, aperture f/10 at a distance of 5 metres (16ft)?

Where on earth did you get the idea that he didn’t prepare? Don’t forget, with a 10" x 8" camera on a tripod, it can take multiple minutes just to set the whole thing up. The fastest we have ever taken an LF shot was around five minutes, but with three of us grabbing equipment out of the trunk of the car, Helen measuring and calculating the exposure, Jean-Yvon setting up the tripod and me putting the camera on the tripod. Helen then had to use our framing card to decide on which lens to use, shout out her choice to one of us to fetch it from the bag and fit it, while she took a couple of minutes, watching the light starting to change and hoping that she could get the shot in time. She then transferred the framing, setup the movements and focus, inserted the film that Jean-Yvon had passed her and pressed the shutter.

One shot, only one shot, completely prepared, correctly exposed on Fuji Velvia 100 transparency film with only 5 stops dynamic range…

please excuse the low resolution, we lost the original scan in a disk crash

Which explains why it is a “something or nothing” shot that you are trying to justify.

If you want to compare your snapshots of birds to Ansel Adams finely crafted, well thought out and previsualised images, then perhaps you should watch this video…

… and note well his emphasis on taking time and preparing.

But, apparently, Mike believes that, after one outing and a couple of visits to a birding forum, he knows better :woozy_face:

Except, this time, it is worse, as he seeks “tuition” from multiple photographers who all have their own style and then ignore all of them in the same way as he ignored his course tutor.

Well, long, long ago, through the mists of time, he did mention using back button focusing - something which I will never forget and which changed my photography for the better. But, yes Mike does see to be much more of a consumer than a sharer.

I have been far more openly critical of Mike than most people who post on his threads. I am not going to even try to discuss whether or not his posts provide any real value to members of this forum.

I guess I was being too subtle when I mentioned maintaining civility here. I was not setting the boundaries of your social behavior. I was trying to warn you that aggressively nasty language can get you banned from this site. Regardless of what many people believe, DxO does monitor this forum. I am retired and have been an extremely active member of this forum daily for over 6 years and have seen several people banned for comments milder than yours. I myself was once warned about some negative comments I had made.


If you’re looking for help in the “birding” forums, why are you still here – instead of blaming people? Likewise, your questions about the camera have nothing to do with PL.

OK. I couldn’t resist. How to photograph a crested crane with low quality gear…

  • Nikon D100 (6Mpx)
  • Nikon’s not so hot 28-200mm lens at 200mm (equivalent of 300mm full frame)
  • 1/500 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 400
  • only cropped left side to suit 5x4 proportions, otherwise full height.

@swmurray I would value your opinion.

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Lots of people here have posted that basic photography knowledge is more important than camera settings, and most of the time I would agree. For the past week or so, I’ve been concentrating on camera settings, as I want to try what I call ML photograph (using the Z6 II hardware, functions, and controls), but without having a viewfinder that shows me the digital image.

On the Nikon D780, when I turn on “Live View” mode, it not only switches the way the camera works, but it replaces many of the DSLR menu choices with those from the Z6 II. Maybe I’m just slow, but it’s taken over a week just to get that sorted out - and the people at Nikon were no help until I reached “James”, who understands both Nikon’s mirrorless cameras, and the D780. He found the reason for my issues, I changed the settings accordingly, and as of yesterday afternoon, everything is sorted out.

To shoot the D780 in Live View/Mirrorless mode, there is no viewfinder to look through - the only choice is the rear screen. So many people here have told me that is silly, or stupid, and insisted on my going back to where my eye is behind the viewfinder (meaning DSLR mode).

Like I tried to write, I want to try to test shooting it that way, using what I call “mirrorless” mode, for lack of a more appropriate term. I can’t call it “Live View”, as that will just display the DSLR information on the rear screen like any other DSLR Nikon. I want to see the Z6 II (mirrorless) information, and the only option is to view it on my rear screen.

Much of the frustration up above comes from my wanting to try to hold the camera at arm’s length, and view the rear screen. As far as I know, none of you can do this, and as none of you have a D780. (I’m not saying I’ll use this from now on, but I am saying I want to try it myself, regardless of how stupid this obviously sounds to everyone else here.) I will be seeing all the information a Z6 II user will see, but it will only be on my rear screen. It’s a test, and I want to try it.

(Joanna, you wrote about similar scenarios with your D850, and I would agree with what you wrote, for any DSLR. What you wrote about what you saw is NOT what I see once I switch modes. I think until/unless you try a mirrorless camera, you won’t (can’t) understand. )

Don’t write/talk about it. DO IT.