I will post here my best photos, as well as a few collections of photos taken on special occasions. Since these are meant to exhibit the capability of the FZ300, I will refrain from posting pictures that have undergone heavy computer editing.
These photos were taken during Lucca's Luminara della Santa Croce held in 2016, as every year, on Sep. 13th. After the religious procession there is a long session of fireworks which one can see from the City Walls: I was standing in the crowd so I could not use the tripod: in fact for many pictures I had to stand in tiptoes! Luckily the FZ300 anti-shake system is very good. Most pictures were taken with 1:4.0, 1/30" and ISO400. Back home on the PC I did not need to apply noise-reduction, just some cropping and minimally improving the highlights-shadows balance.
For this feast the facades of Lucca's main town buildings are illuminated with many large candles. For these pictures I used the tripod. The moon was taken with 1:5.6, 1/200" and 1200mm (optical 600mm and 2x digital zoom).
Photos of a week's holiday with my wife in this beautiful area of West Tuscany and North Umbria.
The internal dome's mosaics, one of the great masterworks of medieval art. Flash, tripod and monopod are not allowed. As a gracious concession, I was allowed (a) to keep the tripod extended, (b) with its legs collapsed thus acting as a monopod, (c) using it only as a support for my hands holding the camera and (d) doing it all quickly! The movable LCD screen was invaluable for the task. I used ISO 400 and aperture 2.8 throughout. For some photos I was able to use comfortable shutter speeds around 1/80", but for others (such as the first 2 and the last 3 of this selection) I had to use speeds between 1/15" and 1/25". Back home in the computer I slightly increased the colour saturation and improved the darker areas caused by the uneven lighting.
Revisiting the Riviera Ligure after 37 years:
1. Three views of Rapallo.
The night pictures were taken with long exposure and tripod.
2. Three views of San Fruttuoso.
The 2 panoramic ones were obtained merging two pictures.
For the other one I used the Polarizing filter.
3. Three views of Portofino.
The last picture was taken from the Castello.
These photos were taken at the apex of the 2016 Supermoon.
- Date: 14th November 2016 at 9pm GMT
- Place: Farneta Church hill, a few miles West from Lucca, Italy. Temperature: 5ºC
- Tripod: Cullmann MAGIC SystemPod with ball head
- Shutter cable: Panasonic DMW-RSL1E9 remote control
- Filters: none, other than the always-inserted Hoya UV Pro1 Digital Filter 52mm
- Picture size: 4000x3000 px (maximum allowed by the camera's 12Mpx)
- Picture Quality: JPEG High quality
- Photo Style: STD (Standard)
- Mode Dial: M (Manual)
- ISO Sensitivity: 100
- White Balance: AWB
- Aperture Metering: Spot (as an aid for manual exposure)
- AutoFocus: Spot (every single picture was re-focused)
- Zoom: 1200mm (600mm optical maximum plus 2X digital)
About 20 pictures were taken, grouped in three different apertures, with speeds manually assigned to compensated as viewed in the screen:
f:4.0 with 1/640" f:5.6 with 1/400" f:8.0 with 1/200"
- With JPEG files, any further process and save produces quality loss: therefore, all the pictures were saved to TIFF format and this was used throughout the computer processing.
- The pictures were copied to another folder and carefully cropped (to 1345x1345 px) so that the moon was perfectly centered. This allowed a careful comparative evaluation of successive pictures.
- Even in pictures taken with the same exposure and within few seconds there were important differences. This is because the Moon moves in the sky: it is seen differently by the objective due to its imperfections, to the point of the Moon's diameter showing differences of a few pixels.
- Comparison with cropped files allowed to find that f:5.6 yielded the pictures I preferred. A best picture was selected for each aperture. To these three pictures a further six were selected, all with f:5.6 to allow for merging (see below). We now had only 9 pictures, each one in its original and cropped version.
- The cropped files now had the "canvas" enlarged to 2400x1800px, which we had decided it was to be the final picture size. This was needed by the next task.
- Each original file had the cropped file superimposed as a layer, where the empty surrouding part was selected, the selection inverted, the whole picture cropped and the layer deleted. Now the original pictures were all cropped to 2400x1800 with perfect centering.
- The best pictures were those with f:5.6. Of these, the 6 best were "merged" (superimposing layers with successive transparencies of 1/n, i.e. 100%, 50%, 33%, 25%, 20%, 17%). This involved very slight rotations and size changes for best overlay.
- Now we had four pictures: 4,0, 5.6 and 8.0 "singles" plus 5.6 "merged".
- Contrast: In all the pictures the Moon lacked contrast, so I applied "Curves" to improve this.
- Colour: no colour processing was carried on. The final colour shown is original.
- Noise reduction: once Curves were applied, the pictures showed their artifacts due to camera processing, tipically dark-grey spots all over the place. We tried to apply an Imagenomics Noise Reduction software, but it did not produce any viewable improvement except for the merged picture. (Note that these artifacts are only visible in the 2400x1800 image: when it is resampled down to 1200x900, as shown in the webpage, images look perfect)
- Sharpening: due to the dark spots, this was useless except for merged pictures.
- Merged pictures: these initially looked noticeable less sharp than the others. However, as expected, now the dark spots were gone, allowing to apply successfully a bit of both Noise Reduction and Sharpening. The final result was still visibly blurrier than original images, but also more "realistic".