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Sharpening Your Images for Online Viewing

Looking back, I can't help but go "Doh!" It's one of those moments when I realise I should have known better. After all, I've been at this photography thing for quite a while. But hey, better late than never, right?

Recently, I was browsing some images on another website and was in awe of their crispness. In comparison, my own photos always seemed a bit fuzzy. Naturally, I started questioning myself - was it my focus, my camera, or perhaps the lenses?

I have two Nikkor lenses, the 35mm f/1.8 G and the 85mm f/1.8 G, both highly regarded. So, that couldn't be the issue. Maybe it was my eyes? Being 50 and dealing with diabetes and a cataract didn't help either.

Determined to find an answer, I turned to Google for some "research". After thirty minutes of digging, I found two websites that shed light on my problem. It seemed like the culprit wasn't my gear or eyesight but rather how I prepared my images for the internet.

I decided to experiment. I had some photos taken during a brewery event and sharpened them using Nik's Output Sharpener as suggested. The difference was remarkable - the noise reduction before sharpening made the pictures stand out.

These images were captured in low light conditions, which meant shooting at higher ISO to avoid motion blur. I applied Nik's Dfine 2 to reduce noise for some of them, and the results were worth it.

Alex Helms, Troon Brewing
Alex Helms, Troon Brewing · Saturday 10 December 2016 · Nikon D5100 · AF-S Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8
Alex Helms, Troon Brewing
Alex Helms, Troon Brewing · Saturday 10 December 2016 · Nikon D5100 · AF-S Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8

When dealing with images containing noticeable noise, I've discovered that reducing noise before applying sharpening yields better results. For this purpose, I found Nik's Define 2 to be quite effective in reducing noise in the original image. With Nik Dfine 2, I can independently adjust contrast and reduce colour noise, tailoring the noise reduction for each picture. Typically, I stick to the default settings or add just one additional noise measurement control point to remove noise selectively.

These particular images were taken during Troon Brewing's Grand Opening at Brick Farm Tavern, where the indoor lighting posed a challenge. To counteract the low light conditions and prevent blur, I had to shoot at ISO 1600 and above to maintain a sufficiently fast shutter speed.

I must admit, doing this sooner would have drastically improved the quality of my "beertography". But hey, learning and growing is part of the journey.

So, here's to sharpened images and continuous improvement! Cheers! 🥂

Troon Brewing Grand Opening Brewery Tour
Troon Brewing Grand Opening Brewery Tour · Saturday 10 December 2016 · Nikon D5100 · AF-S Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8

Take Off Your Skin And Dance In Your Bones

Zombies and walking dead. I love zombie movies and zombie tv shows. My favourite zombie movie is World War Z. The zombies move quickly in this film—scary shit. My favourite zombie television show is the Walking Dead. Slow zombies. The scary shit is the remaining living human beings.

In one episode of the Walking Dead, several characters attempt to escape from their compound via a tunnel. While trying to escape, they encounter a group of rotting zombies. One of the zombies grabs onto one of the female characters. She grabs the zombie in an attempt to escape, and the skin of the zombie peels off. Like the way, skin peels off of a boiled tomato.

I don't think this was what Alex, the brewer at Troon Brewing, was thinking of when he named his pale ale, Take Off Your Skin And Dance In Your Bones. I did some more Google foo. I found a song by Les More, “T’aint no sin to take off your skin” that has a few lines of lyrics that are similar to the name of this Troon Brewing ale.

Just like those bamboo babies
Down in the South Sea tropic zone
T ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around your bones

Based on the music I heard in the brewery, I doubted that Les More was the inspiration for this pale ale's name. A few more minutes with Google and I found a song name that exactly matched this Troon Brewing pale ale's name. Take Off Your Skin, And Dance In Your Bones is an instrumental piece from the album Heathen by Thou, an American sludge metal band. You can listen to the song on Bandcamp.

Yep, I think that's about right. Now, enough with the typing. Time for a drink.

Dog-Eared Novel

Full-length comic books (often referred to as graphic novels) may count as novels. According to the definitions, I found online a novel is a “fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.” Fictitious prose. Full-length comic books … I mean graphic novels, are stories of superhuman (aka meta-human) beings or aliens from earth or other planets. The most famous of these beings is a person born on a dying planet who becomes earth mightiest hero.

Character and action. That being from another planet, first appeared in the American comic book series, Action Comics on April 18, 1938. The character gained super strength when exposed to Earth’s solar radiation. He could leap tall buildings in a single bound, run faster than a speeding bullet, and is more powerful than a locomotive.

As a boy, I would read his adventures over and over and over again. I am such a geek.

Troon Brewing's new Pale Wheat Ale, named Dog-Eared Novel, is "comforting and familiar, like your favourite book". Like, Superman.