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Tech Data: October 2007
© 2007 KenRockwell.com

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I get my goodies at Ritz, Amazon and Adorama. It helps me publish this site when you get yours from those links, too.

Introduction and Gear

This describes how I made my 2007 Eastern Sierra and Yosemite Valley 2007 photos.

I used my Canon 5D, a borrowed Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II, my Canon 14mm f/2.8L ultra-ultra wide angle and my 70-200mm f/4 IS.

I also brought my Nikon 35Ti and Nikon F6 film cameras, but haven't gotten to processing the film, much less scanning it. As usual, Nikon's newest cameras like the D3 and D300 I ordered back in August 2007 are still vaporware as of November 2007. I can't make the trees wait for Nikon to deliver.

I also used an expired Fuji 400 disposable camera. I still haven't finished the roll because I had to flee Yosemite early to attend to the devastating wildfires at my home in San Diego.

Metering and Exposure Mode

I always use the default evaluative or matrix metering mode.

I usually shoot my 14mm at f/11, its sharpest aperture. I shot the 16-35mm II there, too.

Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation controls a photo's brightness. I set compensation by turning the power switch one click past ON and spinning the big wheel.

It's simple to set: change it for each shot until the playback image (and RGB histograms) looks correct.

You have to activate RGB histograms in the 5D at Menu > Histogram > RGB. Sadly this is not the default. The default is only a useless black-and-white histogram!

See also How to Use a Histogram and Color Histograms.

Correct exposure compensation will vary depending on your taste and the subject. Most shots were made at -2/3 stop exposure compensation, but varied anywhere from 0.0 to -1.3 stops.


Not everything fits into the dorky 1:1.5 aspect ratio of old 35mm film and today's digital SLRs.

I crop when I need a squarer or skinnier frame. These are called anamorphotic crops. I never use anamorphosis itself, I crop to fit.

Digital Settings

File Format

Everything was shot on Normal JPG (the staircase L icon), the setting below Fine JPG (the quarter circle icon). I hate wasting time and money with RAW; I never use CR2.


Most were shot at ISO 100. I used higher ISOs in the dark.


Most of the images are exactly as they came from my 5D. I rarely had to tweak any contrast or exposure afterwards, and never had to play with the excellent color.

I get the wild colors I do in-camera by changing settings under Menu > Picture Style > (select User Defined 1, 2 or 3 with the big spinner knob) > (press Jump button) > and using settings of:

Sharpness (really sharpening, not sharpness): +3 (default).

Contrast: 0, the default, or rarely -2 if the subject contrast was extreme.

Saturation: +3 or +4.

Color Tone: 0 (default). Don't touch this!

You can check this quickly when shooting (LCD off) by pressing the INFO button. You'll see Picture Style indicated as a set of four digits, one for each of the above. I'm usually at 3, 0, 3, 0 for the above settings.

White Balance

I almost always shot on Auto, the default.

See my pages on Setting White Balance.


Development, just like with film, is what I do to the camera files before I show them.

Fast Downloading from Camera

I copied all the files into my four-year -old, bottom-of-the-line Apple 12" iBook 800MHz G4 Mac laptop using the Finder. I don't use any software.

I used the newest SanDisk Extreme IV cards and Firewire reader, so I could transfer each day's shooting, about 2GB, in only 60 seconds.

Sorting (or Digital Asset Management if you prefer)

I use iView to see, sort and dump what I shot. I've been using iView for years, and have no need for anything different like Adobe Bridge, Lightroom, Apple Aperture or other sorting programs. They all do the same thing, and I prefer the way iView lets me sort.

Post Production

I reduced the images to a generous 768 pixels wide to fit your browser window.

After resizing, they were sharpened for the web with Photoshop CS2's Smart Sharpen filter, at usually 100%, 0.2 pixel radius and the "Lens Blur" option. These are custom settings; they are not the defaults which suck.

I marked them "© KenRockwell.com" as explained at Adding Your Copyright Notice. You don't need to mark them to protect them; today the © symbol is merely a formality. I brand my images so it's obvious when someone purloins them. There is a separate law making it a crime to remove or obliterate a © notice from an image. See copyright.gov. I also mail in and pay for formal federal copyright registration with The Library of Congress to let me collect the big bucks if I catch someone using my images.

I created all the gallery pages by hand in Macromedia's Dreamweaver.


I don't use no stinking tripods. Tripods went obsolete with the introduction of digital SLR cameras back in 1999. See Digital Killed My Tripod.

I did use a tripod for time exposures longer than a second.


If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

Thanks for reading!



Caveat: The ads below come from a third party and I don't see or approve them. They are sent to your screen directly from a third party. They don't come from me or my site. See more at my Buying Advice page. Personally I get my goodies at Ritz, Amazon and Adorama.

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