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The Canon Thread - Page 149

post #2221 of 2651
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftnose View Post

MC,

 

Since you asked about muzzle flash photos, this is what a shotgun fired during the day looks like at the moment of truth:

 

 

 

 

Not very dramatic!

So that's what it looks like, I was hoping to see something closer with the pellets/shot actually leaving the barrel but that's a pretty tough thing to time properly. Still a cool shot though.

post #2222 of 2651
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadCow View Post

So that's what it looks like, I was hoping to see something closer with the pellets/shot actually leaving the barrel but that's a pretty tough thing to time properly. Still a cool shot though.

 

Ah!  It actually can be done with the correct lighting and angle.  There's a bit of luck involved and is much easier to do if you're staging the shot.  However, even with a shutter speed of 1/8000th, the pellets will move almost 2 inches during the exposure.  You'll see a blurry mass, not individual pellets. 

 

The super high speed stuff that you see with frozen pellets is all done in a much more controlled environment with strobes and triggers.  Way beyond my own abilities and what is possible with the gear I own.

post #2223 of 2651

My Lumodi 14" beauty dish has arrived. Fits well on my camera bracket and ready for close portraits!

 

IMG_20120907_155902

 

SAM_0081A

post #2224 of 2651

Wow, that's a lot bigger than I had imagined (for a portable setup). Looks very well-made too.

 

I recently did a shoot of my son with a 27":

 

The setup:

key light: 27" silver beauty dish @ f/10
fill: 80cm shoot-thru umbrella @ f/4.something... 4.5 or 4.8, I guess

background: 24" softbox @ f/14


Edited by MadCow - 9/9/12 at 4:21am
post #2225 of 2651
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadCow View Post

Wow, that's a lot bigger than I had imagined (for a portable setup). Looks very well-made too.

 

I recently did a shoot of my son with a 27":

 

The setup:

key light: 27" silver beauty dish @ f/10
fill: 80cm shoot-thru umbrella @ f/4.something... 4.5 or 4.8, I guess

background: 24" softbox @ f/14

 

The good thing about Lumodi is how light and portable it is, only 10 oz.  The bad thing is its build is flimsy, mostly plastic with cardboard flash mount (!).    Already I am finding the BD needs to be off camera and held closer to subject (with left hand) for better, intended BD-effect results.  Oh, well.

 

About your 27" BD.  I have the 22" version of that same ePhoto/eBay BD and always wondered if the stock speedlite mount/bracket is sturdy enough for the heavy 27" BD?  There are many reports of that flimsy bracket not able to hold the weight of speedlite/27" dish..

post #2226 of 2651
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post

About your 27" BD.  I have the 22" version of that same ePhoto/eBay BD and always wondered if the stock speedlite mount/bracket is sturdy enough for the heavy 27" BD?  There are many reports of that flimsy bracket not able to hold the weight of speedlite/27" dish..

 

I don't think it's the same model. I bought my dish and mount separately. The mount is metal:

http://www.dgcoloronline.com/v2/products.php?id=8&sid=39&pid=1106

 

The only part that is plastic is the tilt mechanism, but that one seems quite strong and rigid because I have not noticed any wear to its "teeth" so far. I usually keep the dish mounted onto the light stand all the time except for transportation, and it hasn't fallen off (yet... touch wood).

post #2227 of 2651
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadCow View Post

 

I don't think it's the same model. I bought my dish and mount separately. The mount is metal:

http://www.dgcoloronline.com/v2/products.php?id=8&sid=39&pid=1106

 

The only part that is plastic is the tilt mechanism, but that one seems quite strong and rigid because I have not noticed any wear to its "teeth" so far. I usually keep the dish mounted onto the light stand all the time except for transportation, and it hasn't fallen off (yet... touch wood).

I see.  I have a similar mount but with speedlite attaching horizontally ("T" mount), which is pretty sturdy.  Perhaps I will pick up that 27" Interfit BD to go with my 22" ones..

 

Your BD must be the Interfit 27" with S Mount (Bowen)?

http://www.amazon.com/Interfit-Photographic-INT259-27-Inch-Lighting/dp/B004EGT4XU


Edited by Jon L - 9/10/12 at 10:03pm
post #2228 of 2651

No, mine's a practically nameless china-brand product from the same local store:

http://www.dgcoloronline.com/v2/products.php?id=6&sid=60&pid=436

post #2229 of 2651

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadCow View Post

I think what leftnose meant about underexposure in the first pic is that the cat is the primary subject, and is white... but is rendered more like grey-ish in that pic. Hence underexposed.

 

However, exposing for such scenes can be very tricky. There are basically 3 options in such situations:

 

1) Expose for the subject properly. If properly exposed, your cat would be white, but this will also horribly blow out the sky. This can be fine if you don't care about the sky, but in this pic the sky takes up a significant portion of the shot so this option may not be suitable for this particular scene.

 

2) Expose for the sky, and push the shadows in post. Lightroom has a fill light slider that's designed for such situations. You get a well-exposed sky, as well as a well-exposed subject. However, when pushing shadows you will also be increasing the noise in those regions, something that Canon sensors don't handle too well.

 

3) Expose for the sky, while using fill flash to expose for your subject. This could be the best option for this particular scene, but this can be tricky if you don't fully understand how to handle both variables (ambient light and flash) properly yet. Additionally, since this is taken during evening light, it may also be desirable to gel the flash to give it a warmer tone.

 
 

 

Thanks Mad Cow.  I see what you mean about the grey cat's face.  And the drab greyish looking skin.  I purposely desaturated these photos, but shooting in jpeg I guess it made things worse overall.  I'm gonna hold off on #3 (fill flash) for now (wife is REALLY against me using flash whenever I take pics of her, so I'll get a reflector first).  When I had my flash for a short while I didn't have a chance to get a soft box/diffuser and show her how it would make the flash much more soft and pleasing).  I am using the backfocus button set to AE Lock/AF.  I know how to expose for the middle and recompose (half shutter button to expose)...not sure about how this really ties in with the AE lock/AF backfocus setting (which is the most intuitive to me), but usually I'm too pre-occupied worrying about keeping focus on while recomposing at this stage.  I'm admittedly not a very good multitasker... I currently have metering set on center weighted average, but before I was using evaluative and partial.  I've read that center weighted average can be a little more dependable on my camera with the Evaluative mode having a mind of it's own sometimes when there are harsh highlights?  

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by leftnose View Post

See below.  Mad Cow has correctly interpreted my comment and given you excellent advice.  One thing, though, he references a LR Fill Light slider.  This has been replaced by Shadows in LR4/PV2012.  To me, that slider and its counterpart, highlights, work like magic.  It's pretty amazing how much detail you can get back before you blow everything away with noise.  They work much better than Fill LIght/Recovery from LR3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyogen View Post

In what way is the subject underexposed in the first pic?  I did desaturate it overall just for the style I was going for.

 

Are you familiar with the actual dictionary definition of underexposed? It's not a subjective issue.  The only way for something to have been underexposed was if not enough light got to the sensor because of the selected exposure settings.  Because of your bright background, your camera will set a faster shutter speed than what the foreground requires thus not allowing enough light to reach the sensor to properly expose the foreground.  Madcow did an excellent job of explaining ways around this.

 

I cropped off the top of her head because wife didn't want me taking pics of her not wearing make-up -_-  Is there any other way I could have composed that photo (aside from telling the wife to look away) and not make it distracting?  

 

No, you already have a photo of your wife looking away and because of that limitation you should consider the photo a snapshot and not something that could be representative of your best work.  It's pretty tough to get good pictures of someone who doesn't want to be photographed (though take a look at Karsh's portrait of Churchill for a notable exception).

 

What do you mean what am I trying to show in the 3rd picture, Some friends liked the "motherly-ness" of my wife to the cat.  As far as white balance goes, I wonder how different it would have looked if I desaturated the colors after properly white balancing it?  

 

That's what I figured but that doesn't really come across in the photo.  I know it's the nature of your cat and the shape of its eyes but it looks scared.  I know it isn't scared but that's what it looks like.  That look plus the fact that it isn't clear what your wife is doing to the cat doesn't really portray a feeling of motherly-ness.  It loos like somthing is being done to the cat that it doesn't like.  Again, I KNOW this ISN'T the case but that is how it appears.  The lesson: feelings meant to be portrayed in a photograph don't necessarily come across as intended.

 

The WB of this photo is fine.  My point was that, based on your previous (and continued--see below) difficulties with setting a proper WB, you shouldn't be messing with color saturation.  If you can't "see" bad WB yet, you're not ready to mess with saturation to achieve different "looks."

 

Also, your wife's hair is in the cat's face.  That bugs me.  Others might not care.

 

Shoot in RAW, got it.  I think I see what you mean about the sharpening a technically imperfect photo.  It really is very difficult to take a pic of the cat sitting still when I was so close up with my lens.  This was shot with the sigma 10-20mm.  I might have been closer than the minimum focusing distance also

 

I want to know your thinking before I comment.  What's your goal in shooting such extreme closeups with an UWA?  What do you want to portray?

 

I'll look into the books, but probably won't be selling any of my lenses so I can buy books -_-  There are lots of free resources, after all..  2 lenses are arriving within a week or so, which will be better than other lenses I've had so far...  I'm still impressed with the sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 that I took the first 3 photos with.  Surprisingly nice bokeh, if you ask me.  Again, it's really hard talking sense into this gearhead....but at least I don't spoil myself with top of the line gear :)  I appreciate your input and time--it is important for me to master the technical aspects of photography. I do want to improve every aspect as time allows..really hard for me to find time away from studies right now  :(

 

We've been going around in circles on this but I think we're getting to an impasse: STOP BUYING GEAR IF YOU WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY.  If you want to be a gear head and swap your stuff constantly; that's fine: whatever floats your boat.  But you're missing the forest for the trees.  If your knowledge of photography is deficient enough that you don't understand underexposure or white balance (see below), your skills just won't improve until you learn these most basic principles.  And concentrating on buying the next lens instead of reference material isn't the way to solve that problem.  If you are going to stick with LR4, at least buy that one book.  If you use LR without fully understanding it, you can actually do some real damage to your photos.  The other day, I thought I had accidentally deleted 20GB of photos that I needed.  Nope, it's just that LR4's import tool is ever so slightly different than LR3's and the photos were imported to a different spot than I expected and then the CF card was ejected by LR.  Big pucker factor for a minute there!  

 

I've had a lot of fairly in depth, formal photography training in both high school and college.  My father was a pretty serious photographer as well to the point that he was a student of Walker Evans.  He instilled into me the basics of photography from a very young age and I guess part of the reason why I'm an anti-gearhead is because I've always had good gear.  My first real camera was a "hand-me-down" Leica M2 from my father.  Pretty serious stuff for someone not even 10 years old!  And yet, I still find myself making the same stupid mistakes with my photos.  If you look through the photos on the facebook page I linked earlier, you'll see a common problem in the group shots from the closing ceremony: I consistently chop people off too high.  Part of this issue is that I'm fairly tall but I leave too much negative space above my subjects when it isn't necessary.  You can even see this from shots of people on a medal stand on top of a dais.  My head was probably level with the knees at best and yet, I left too much space above their heads.  So, whenever I see this bad habit coming back, I re-read some of my books on the basics.  Lately that's been Photographer's Eye.  My point: no matter how much you think you know, you can always improve something and having solid reference material is key in doing this.

 

Again, if all you want to do is be a gear head, that's fine, but don't expect your photography to greatly improve or for the tone of our--or maybe just my--comments to change.  If you really are serious about improving, buy the 30mm Sigma that you've talked about, stick it on your camera, and leave all your other lenses at home.

 

What do you think about this one?  

 

To be honest, I'm conflicted.  Technically, it's a great photo: nicely exposed with a good dynamic range, sharp, good depth of field, etc..  As far as composition, I wouldn't have chopped off your wife's arm.  I would have left just a bit of space below it.  Her hair is cut off on the left too.  Where I'm conflicted is blocking your wife's face with the cat.  I just don't know what I think about this.  I can make one more comment about this but I want to wait to hear what you have to say about close-ups with wide angles first.

 

and this one?  taken with 17-50 2.8 Did a little bit of softening in LR.  Also cropped it, I think to make it more level with the background if I recall correctly.  

 

Again your white balance is off.  Compare your wife's skin tone in this vs. the photo directly above.  Also, her arm is chopped off.  Always check the whole frame before taking the picture.  What bothers me is the roof.  Lots lots of textures and dissonant angles, especially the joint right above your wife's head.  This is a perfect example of when to use a bokeh monster like the 85 1.2L.  Open that lens up and blow the background away!  Ultimately, this is just a snapshot; a memento of a day spent doing whatever it was you were doing.  Don't get me wrong, I don't say snapshot in a pejorative manner.  Using a camera to document an event is its most basic purpose.  Not every photograph you take has to be fine art.

 

Do me a favor, next time you post a photo, you tell us why you think it is noteworthy.

My reply here has become longer than expected -_-  Didn't sleep yet again last night, so I'm kinda in a zombie mode right now...

 

leftnose, I appreciate that you are a very educated and experienced photographer.   I like the shadows and highlights sliders as well, and could never figure out what the recovery slider really did before.  There seems to be one other slider I used to use in LR3 that isn't there in LR4 anymore...I'll have to look again to see what it was.  Maybe it was brightness?  Regarding the 2nd to last photo above with the sky and wife's cut off arm...hmm, I remember cropping it like that in order to put the cats eyes right in the bottom and left third of the photo.  I know I did some sharpening, which I understand now was not the best idea for a JPEG.  I think it would have been a better angle if less of my wife's face was in it, since I was trying to not shoot it anyway..  What else did you have to say about it that you were waiting for a response from me for?  The last photo, I wonder how you could tell the white balance was off.  I haven't looked deeply into the actual definition yet, but is it the fact that there is is nothing purely white in the photo?  Her shirt is off-white, her skin tone is pretty close, and I'm pretty sure I tuned it to have a slightly bluer sky.  I don't have the energy to comment on the first two pics.  You were right about the cat being scared though because she hadn't been outside in a long while.  They were the best of the bunch in sharpness since I was shooting handheld at like 200-300mm with a $160 new ($110 used) zoom lens.  In the distant future I'll upgrade a canon 70-200 of some sort perhaps.  I can't help the gear head in me, unfortunately, but I'm poor and I only pay for toys with a little portion of the money I made on the side.  As far as the sigma 50mm 1.4, 30mm 1.4,  and 10-20mm 1.4 lenses I have absolutely no regrets.  I think the quality of the pics speak for themselves in that regard.  Sure, if I mastered every aspect of my camera and skill then I'm sure the kit lens could put my photos to shame in terms of composition/vision/etc..  Anyway, I don't really see why you're belaboring a point about buying lenses when I already started exchanging lenses over a month ago and announced that I would do so.  I've been satisfied/set for 2 years as of a few weeks ago--in my case, I wish I had gotten them sooner..!  A different lens (bought used) can be a huge spark to motivate an amateur to get better.  Right now I have very little time...but yet I sit here like a zombie and write this -_-

 

I'd like to relate this to tennis, which I used to play very actively and was very active on tennis forums several years ago.  Tennis is clearly a sport with a steep learning curve. It's hard for people of different skill levels to play with each other.  Someone who is of higher skill level can actually get worse by playing against someone who is more of a beginner, with no rhythm, control, and strategy.  Then there are "ball pushers" who can play at a higher level (even professional level :P) who simply get the ball back, no matter how "ugly" or "cheap" they play.  It's especially frustrating at a non-professional competitive level...  Anyway, I used to obsess about tennis racquets and specs.  Stiffness, head balance, materials used, "paintjobbed" tennis rackets that pro's use to make it look like they're using the leading companies' latest model with latest technologies..  I've owned some of the racquets that many pros have grown up with and some still use under paintjobs, i.e. Pro Tour 630, PT280, Prestige 600, etc etc.. Well, after so many years of playing and passionately obsessing about racquets, I actually did find my ideal racquet.  As I played more and more I got a sense of what qualities of a racquet would complement my style of play.  I never had a membership to a club, but played as much as I could and at every open men's night possible.  Went off on a little tangent there, but basically because tennis has a steep learning curve, many players quit the sport and/or get stuck in a level of play with no real improvement.  Beginner rackets are made with huge oversized heads and very stiff construction.  While this may be the only type of racquet children or seniors can hit with, it is not the most ideal for a lot of young or adult players.  Not everyone can afford private instruction and tennis club memberships are super expensive, so unfortunately a lot of kids/teens/beginning adults develop bad form and learn bad timing, footwork, technique.  A double whammy is that these stiffer frames are really harsh on the wrist and elbow.  A smaller head, less stiff frame/neck/tighter string patterns, head-light balance which is what most pros/serious players at any competitive level play with.  If people who have played for a few weeks and have decent hand-eye coordination, I think many many beginners would do better to go with a more "pro" spec'd set-up.  This forces them to hit the ball correctly with the small head, generate their own power with correct mechanics, timing, and footwork, and not rely on the racquet/strings/string pattern for topspin/slice, etc.  While I'm sure it's not true for everyone, some people just need to learn from a bumpy ride with the real thing with a crash suit on.  

 

Hmm, not sure if my photos are noteworthy (and again sorry if they're eye sores) and possibly the brighter/overexposed/contrasty/saturated look will not be everyone's cup of tea...  During a small break from my studies (test date got scheduled for almost 3 weeks from now)  I took more careful portrait shots--out of the 30 or so I edited (mostly using presets that I made as I went along and adjusted each a little here and there) I'm sure there could have been better framing/cropping.  Also, it was impossible for me to get a blue sky most of the time because a lot of pics I was shooting against the sun.  I sold the 420EX flash to help fund my lenses for the time being, but plan on getting another and possibly a reflector in the future if my car windshield visor doesn't work well.  The next monitor I buy in the distant future will be an IPS monitor.  I've been shooting in RAW 50% of the time maybe - almost 100% of the time when I intend to do post editing, and deleting the RAW files of the ones that don't turn out well and for now keeping the raw files of the ones I do edit.  Remember I was thinking before that the 40mm pancake was too long for me a couple months ago?  I found pics of when I had my nifty fifty a couple years ago--don't know why I got rid of that lens. Back then I thought that I would get almost the same bokeh with the 17-50mm zoom lens throughout the whole 17-50mm!  Absolutely loving the Sigma 50mm 1.4 which I used for all of these pictures (save for one - the 30mm 1.4 hasn't gotten much use yet.  It'll be handy for more group photos/when out to dinner with family/friends). 

 

I see now that you can't polish a turd, even when shot in RAW.  Unfortunate because I really like these (3rd and 4th CR2's) This is the best I could do with the 4th one (I like the 3rd more, but it's in worse shape).  It seems kinda ridiculous now that I was trying to polish JPEG turds only a couple weeks ago :)  

 

In post, I went for a little more warm look - I have a really hard time finding a place in the picture with the eye dropper where each color is within a few % of each other... I usually first start adjusting the temperature.  From the point it looks slightly blue, I go a little warmer...and for these I went a tiny bit more.  Also, to get the blue sky (do I need to use a polarizing filter?  I had to turn down the highlights for the blue to show up this much I believe...also played a little with blue levels.  Saturation was usually around -2 to +2, vibrance between -2 to +2, Clarity between -15 but usually more at 0 or +2.  I turned up contrast a little bit for most and whites turned down maybe -5 (left), blacks turned down -5.  I can't remember what I did with shadows, but I'm pretty sure it was up maybe +5.  Sharpened a little and reduced noise just a little bit and selectively sharpened faces on a couple that looked a little soft in the face that I wanted to keep.  I tinkered with almost all of these, but it was definitely easier saving presets as I went and micro-adjusted the presets for pics that were taken in similar situations.  

 

The pics below are some of my best ones as well as a couple of my worst possibly (not counting the ones I immediately erase).  These were shot at the same location as my last entry minus the cat.  Shot wide open at 1.4 on the 50mm, (next time I'll try stopping down and moving a little closer to the subject), AWB, Center dot focus + recompose mostly, AE Lock/AF for the backfocus button, Center weighted average metering.  I'd be happy to upload all my raw files onto dropbox if anyone has the time/desire to edit any.  I think I'm doing pretty well for the week or so I've been editing in RAW, the little joyous moments I get to do this away from my studies -_-  Time FLIES when I take pics AND work in lightroom.... If I were independently wealthy I would do this for free for people...hehe.  Again, thanks for the critical advice / constructive criticism.  I actually don't have very thick skin, but I'm determined to be the best I can.  Again, sorry I have a hard time following advice about equipment - I usually buy and sell my stuff from previous hobbies or whatever to fund new hobbies like this (and pay a heavy tax to my wife at the same time of the funds I come up with from "nothing")  :-P  I'm not good at reading books/textbooks, but how is it that I can spend ridiculous amounts of time on head-fi or photography forums?  

 

Which of these poses is better?  I paid maybe 35% attention to the rule of thirds when framing / cropping these pics.  I'm pretty sure a lot of these I have too much head-room, but it was hard for me to chop off pics that I took so much effort into taking in an opportunity I don't get often.  Summer sunlight is going to be really hard to come by in Portland pretty soon as well.  CPL.  I got one used for 6.  It's not a slim profile one, so I'll get vignetting on my 10-20mm Sigma, but I don't want to spend $80-150 on a slim B+W CPL right now.  When taking pics against the sun (without flash), was it just a matter of metering correctly to get the blue sky?  

 

 

 

This one is probably not one of the better ones--it looked way more exposed SOOC.  I played around with the sliders--especially highlights to tone it down.  Anything I could have done differently?  Should I have done more more selective work on her face and not subdued/darkened the background as much?  I left this in landscape the way I shot it, just because a lot of my other shots were shot in portrait mode.  The second photo is clearly soft, but I like the pose so I selectively sharpened/contrast/etc her face.  I kinda turned down the background similarly with the left picture.  Is this more rescuable? 

right one looks a little soft in her face, should i have selectively sharpened/played with highlights/contrast/etc her face?  Or is this not worth keeping?  

Mimicking the dance from the ridiculously popular Gangnam Style music video which has taken the world by storm.  I think I shot these at 1/100 sec.  I was afraid if I went faster I would get an underexposed photo.  I have some more blurry photos in the same set that I took time to edit - mainly selectively made her facial features sharper/dark/contrasty to make it less blurry.  Even in these, the jacket and hands look a little soft.  I guess I should have gone up to maybe 1/150sec or so.  I didn't think to selectively sharpen the jacket and hands...perhaps for the better?  Should these two have been shot in AI Servo mode?  Everything else was taken with One Shot.

I think I like her expression more on the left photo better, but prefer the warmer color of the right one.  Which one is better in your opinion?  I think most of my pics I went with more of the scheme on the right.  

I like this pic on the left if only for the fact that it's different from the others.  It makes the picture to the right of me look a little too warm.  I set the camera to AI Servo mode and had my wife hold the backfocus button for this one.  A little less exposure on the right or less warmth would have been better?

 

Couple friends liked this photo a lot, although someone pointed out the arm could have been more relaxed.  I was going for flare on this next one.  The framing is horrible right?  I don't use a UV filter.  I kinda like this rainbow colored flare element on the left.  Should I crop a 1/4th off the right?

 

I think for the black and white one, I just simply pressed Black & White on LR after I was done.  It was harshly criticized by a friend who's also into photography saying that I should only do black and white if I intended to do it in the first place, and that it's overused by no-talent photographers :)  I get harsh criticism in the non-web world as well :P  

 

I'm noticing that I have quite a bit of head-room in most of these... would it have been better to crop it off?  I rarely cropped off her knees (maybe not once).  I'm also seeing a trend of centered photos - like I said, I didn't pay too much attention to the rule of thirds more than half of the time even when I was processing.  

 

back to studies.  Thanks for the feedback.  


Edited by hyogen - 9/11/12 at 9:59pm
post #2230 of 2651
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyogen View Post

..

 

leftnose, I appreciate that you are a very educated and experienced photographer.  Trust me, I still have lots to learn and much I can and should practice!  I like the shadows and highlights sliders as well, and could never figure out what the recovery slider really did before.  There seems to be one other slider I used to use in LR3 that isn't there in LR4 anymore...I'll have to look again to see what it was.  Maybe it was brightness?  Regarding the 2nd to last photo above with the sky and wife's cut off arm...hmm, I remember cropping it like that in order to put the cats eyes right in the bottom and left third of the photo.  This was my point about the rule of 1/3rds earlier.  Here you followed it to the letter of the law and you created a problem with the composition.  Don't treat it like a rule that will magically make a better photo.  Always look at the whole composition.  Just because your subject is at a 1/3rds intersection doesn't mean the photo is composed correctly.  I know I did some sharpening, which I understand now was not the best idea for a JPEG.  I think it would have been a better angle if less of my wife's face was in it, since I was trying to not shoot it anyway..  What else did you have to say about it that you were waiting for a response from me for?  Be careful taking close-ups with an UWA.  You'll get distorted features.  Here your wife's arm looks bigger than it really is.  In the other, your cats head looks humongous.  The last photo, I wonder how you could tell the white balance was off.  Just by looking at it.  It looks yellow.  I haven't looked deeply into the actual definition yet, but is it the fact that there is is nothing purely white in the photo?  No  Her shirt is off-white, her skin tone is pretty close, and I'm pretty sure I tuned it to have a slightly bluer sky.  Look at the photo of just your wife vs. the photo of the cat blocking out her face just above it.  Look at the skin tones.  In the photo of just your wife, her skin is very yellow, almost like she has jaundice.  Her skin tone looks much more natural in the one with the cat.  I don't have the energy to comment on the first two pics.  You were right about the cat being scared though because she hadn't been outside in a long while.  They were the best of the bunch in sharpness since I was shooting handheld at like 200-300mm with a $160 new ($110 used) zoom lens.  In the distant future I'll upgrade a canon 70-200 of some sort perhaps.  I can't help the gear head in me, unfortunately, but I'm poor and I only pay for toys with a little portion of the money I made on the side.  As far as the sigma 50mm 1.4, 30mm 1.4,  and 10-20mm 1.4 lenses I have absolutely no regrets.  I think the quality of the pics speak for themselves in that regard.  Sure, if I mastered every aspect of my camera and skill then I'm sure the kit lens could put my photos to shame in terms of composition/vision/etc..  Anyway, I don't really see why you're belaboring a point about buying lenses when I already started exchanging lenses over a month ago and announced that I would do so.  I've been satisfied/set for 2 years as of a few weeks ago--in my case, I wish I had gotten them sooner..!  A different lens (bought used) can be a huge spark to motivate an amateur to get better.  Right now I have very little time...but yet I sit here like a zombie and write this -_-  As I said, do whatever you like but the more you concentrate on your gear, the less you'll concentrate on and master the basics.  I'm not alone in this opinion.

 

I'd like to relate this to tennis, which I used to play very actively and was very active on tennis forums several years ago.  Tennis is clearly a sport with a steep learning curve. It's hard for people of different skill levels to play with each other.  Someone who is of higher skill level can actually get worse by playing against someone who is more of a beginner, with no rhythm, control, and strategy.  Then there are "ball pushers" who can play at a higher level (even professional level :P) who simply get the ball back, no matter how "ugly" or "cheap" they play.  It's especially frustrating at a non-professional competitive level...  Anyway, I used to obsess about tennis racquets and specs.  Stiffness, head balance, materials used, "paintjobbed" tennis rackets that pro's use to make it look like they're using the leading companies' latest model with latest technologies..  I've owned some of the racquets that many pros have grown up with and some still use under paintjobs, i.e. Pro Tour 630, PT280, Prestige 600, etc etc.. Well, after so many years of playing and passionately obsessing about racquets, I actually did find my ideal racquet.  As I played more and more I got a sense of what qualities of a racquet would complement my style of play.  I never had a membership to a club, but played as much as I could and at every open men's night possible.  Went off on a little tangent there, but basically because tennis has a steep learning curve, many players quit the sport and/or get stuck in a level of play with no real improvement.  Beginner rackets are made with huge oversized heads and very stiff construction.  While this may be the only type of racquet children or seniors can hit with, it is not the most ideal for a lot of young or adult players.  Not everyone can afford private instruction and tennis club memberships are super expensive, so unfortunately a lot of kids/teens/beginning adults develop bad form and learn bad timing, footwork, technique.  A double whammy is that these stiffer frames are really harsh on the wrist and elbow.  A smaller head, less stiff frame/neck/tighter string patterns, head-light balance which is what most pros/serious players at any competitive level play with.  If people who have played for a few weeks and have decent hand-eye coordination, I think many many beginners would do better to go with a more "pro" spec'd set-up.  This forces them to hit the ball correctly with the small head, generate their own power with correct mechanics, timing, and footwork, and not rely on the racquet/strings/string pattern for topspin/slice, etc.  While I'm sure it's not true for everyone, some people just need to learn from a bumpy ride with the real thing with a crash suit on.  

 

Sort of have to disagree with you here.  There are certain basics to photography that you can learn on any camera, especially composition.  And while good camera gear will allow you to be more versatile, you can get distracted by features you really don't need.  There certainly is a floor, though.  But for general photography (not including sports, low light, studio work, and other niches), I bet I could do just about as much with a PowerShot S100 as with my 5D2.

 

In post, I went for a little more warm look - I have a really hard time finding a place in the picture with the eye dropper where each color is within a few % of each other... I usually first start adjusting the temperature.  From the point it looks slightly blue, I go a little warmer...and for these I went a tiny bit more.  Also, to get the blue sky (do I need to use a polarizing filter?  I had to turn down the highlights for the blue to show up this much I believe...also played a little with blue levels.  Saturation was usually around -2 to +2, vibrance between -2 to +2, Clarity between -15 but usually more at 0 or +2.  I turned up contrast a little bit for most and whites turned down maybe -5 (left), blacks turned down -5.  I can't remember what I did with shadows, but I'm pretty sure it was up maybe +5.  Sharpened a little and reduced noise just a little bit and selectively sharpened faces on a couple that looked a little soft in the face that I wanted to keep.  I tinkered with almost all of these, but it was definitely easier saving presets as I went and micro-adjusted the presets for pics that were taken in similar situations.  

 

This is my point about buying a book on Lightroom.  You realize that if you adjust the color temperature using the slider and then use the eye dropper to select a neutral, you'll undo all the work you did with the slider?  They're two different tools to accomplish very much the same task.

 

The pics below are some of my best ones as well as a couple of my worst possibly (not counting the ones I immediately erase).  These were shot at the same location as my last entry minus the cat.  Shot wide open at 1.4 on the 50mm, (next time I'll try stopping down and moving a little closer to the subject), AWB, Center dot focus + recompose mostly, AE Lock/AF for the backfocus button, Center weighted average metering.  I'd be happy to upload all my raw files onto dropbox if anyone has the time/desire to edit any.  I think I'm doing pretty well for the week or so I've been editing in RAW, the little joyous moments I get to do this away from my studies -_-  Time FLIES when I take pics AND work in lightroom.... If I were independently wealthy I would do this for free for people...hehe.  Again, thanks for the critical advice / constructive criticism.  I actually don't have very thick skin, but I'm determined to be the best I can.  Again, sorry I have a hard time following advice about equipment - I usually buy and sell my stuff from previous hobbies or whatever to fund new hobbies like this (and pay a heavy tax to my wife at the same time of the funds I come up with from "nothing")  :-P  I'm not good at reading books/textbooks, but how is it that I can spend ridiculous amounts of time on head-fi or photography forums?  

 

Which of these poses is better?  I paid maybe 35% attention to the rule of thirds when framing / cropping these pics.  I'm pretty sure a lot of these I have too much head-room, but it was hard for me to chop off pics that I took so much effort into taking in an opportunity I don't get often.  Summer sunlight is going to be really hard to come by in Portland pretty soon as well.  CPL.  I got one used for 6.  It's not a slim profile one, so I'll get vignetting on my 10-20mm Sigma, but I don't want to spend $80-150 on a slim B+W CPL right now.  When taking pics against the sun (without flash), was it just a matter of metering correctly to get the blue sky?  Yes, to me, too much headroom.   Color and exposure are nice!  Maybe a little too warm but not problematic.

 

 

 

This one is probably not one of the better ones--it looked way more exposed SOOC.  I played around with the sliders--especially highlights to tone it down.  Anything I could have done differently?  Should I have done more more selective work on her face and not subdued/darkened the background as much?  I left this in landscape the way I shot it, just because a lot of my other shots were shot in portrait mode.  The second photo is clearly soft, but I like the pose so I selectively sharpened/contrast/etc her face.  I kinda turned down the background similarly with the left picture.  Is this more rescuable? I don't like either of these.  The one on the left isn't exposed very well.  Background is too dark and her face is too overexposed. The one on the right is soft.  Remember what I said about the cat photo previously.  If a photo is technically deficient, Lightroom won't fix it.  These are ones that should have been passed over.

right one looks a little soft in her face, should i have selectively sharpened/played with highlights/contrast/etc her face?  Or is this not worth keeping?  

Mimicking the dance from the ridiculously popular Gangnam Style music video which has taken the world by storm.  I think I shot these at 1/100 sec.  I was afraid if I went faster I would get an underexposed photo.  I have some more blurry photos in the same set that I took time to edit - mainly selectively made her facial features sharper/dark/contrasty to make it less blurry.  Even in these, the jacket and hands look a little soft.  I guess I should have gone up to maybe 1/150sec or so.  I didn't think to selectively sharpen the jacket and hands...perhaps for the better?  Should these two have been shot in AI Servo mode?  Everything else was taken with One Shot.  Why, if you shot faster than 1/100 would you get an underexposed photo?  Are you familiar with reciprocity?  And, with digital, not only can you adjust aperture and shutter speed, you can adjust ISO on the fly as well.  Within reason, you can set any shutter speed you want and still get a properly exposed photo.  If you don't know reciprocity, again, I have to recommend "Undestanding Exposure" as previously mentioned.  

I think I like her expression more on the left photo better, but prefer the warmer color of the right one.  Which one is better in your opinion?  I think most of my pics I went with more of the scheme on the right.  

I like this pic on the left if only for the fact that it's different from the others.  It makes the picture to the right of me look a little too warm.  I set the camera to AI Servo mode and had my wife hold the backfocus button for this one.  A little less exposure on the right or less warmth would have been better?

 

Couple friends liked this photo a lot, although someone pointed out the arm could have been more relaxed.  I was going for flare on this next one.  The framing is horrible right?  I don't use a UV filter.  I kinda like this rainbow colored flare element on the left.  Should I crop a 1/4th off the right? The one on the left is quite nice.  I might have composed only slightly differently and had more space on the right than on the left.  That's a bit more natural since she's looking in that direction.  It allows the viewer "look" with her.  If you ask me, if a photo has flare in it, forget it.  It's not a look you should go for.  It's something that's wrong with a photo, especially in this case where it's right next to the subject.

 

I think for the black and white one, I just simply pressed Black & White on LR after I was done.  It was harshly criticized by a friend who's also into photography saying that I should only do black and white if I intended to do it in the first place, and that it's overused by no-talent photographers :)  I get harsh criticism in the non-web world as well :P  My start in photography was with B&W film in a wet darkroom.  I can more easily judge if a photo is right (contrast, exposure) in B&W than in color.  So, if I spend any serious amount of a time in Lightroom on a photo, I always look at it in B&W to see if I'm headed in the right direction.  I don't keep the photo in B&W but it's a useful tool for me during PP.  Your friend is right that B&W won't transform a horrible picture into a work of art and I also agree with him that you should set out to take pictures in a certain style, whether or not in B&W.  These photos, with the few exceptions of those that have technical problems, are the best that you've posted so far.  However, they all look different even though they were all taken at the same time.  If you want to shoot a series, that series has to be cohesive and part of that is for each photo to have a similar feeling.  Some of these are warmer than others, some are beautifully exposed whereas with others you have chosen to blow out the sky.  Pick one look and stick to it for each shoot.  If you want to showcase your ability to achieve different looks/feels, do it with separate series.  As for the above B&W specifically, it's pretty nice!  I wouldn't blow out the sky quite as much but otherwise, good contrast and dynamic range!  And there's enough texture to make it work as well.

 

I'm noticing that I have quite a bit of head-room in most of these... would it have been better to crop it off?  I rarely cropped off her knees (maybe not once).  I'm also seeing a trend of centered photos - like I said, I didn't pay too much attention to the rule of thirds more than half of the time even when I was processing.  This is the same mistake I make, you put your center AF point on the place you want sharp (her face) and then you don't recompose.  I probably would have taken the exact same photo but I think this would have been better served seeing her feet and the extra texture of the grass at the bottom rather than the blown out sky.

 

back to studies.  Thanks for the feedback.  


Edited by leftnose - 9/12/12 at 2:06pm
post #2231 of 2651

Thanks leftnose.  can't respond to each comment right now, but I thought I'd share a screenshot of my settings (don't have a screenshot of sharpening/noise reduction)

 

I used the highlights slider for other pics with her face facing the sun, but didn't think to do it for these.  Is that something I can do for this shot as well, or more selectively just for the sky?  Oh, and I know using the eyedropper will change my temp/tint settings--I just stopped using the dropper for now

post #2232 of 2651

Drag an ND filter over the sky.

 

Also, learn tone curves and how to read a histogram.


Edited by leftnose - 9/12/12 at 6:44pm
post #2233 of 2651

So finally Canon has made their pre-Photokina announcements. Canon 6D, a bunch of new printers, and a bunch of compacts.

 

6D doesn't interest me, but makes me wonder if I should sell my 5D Mark II before its resale price drops. I am interested in the Pro 100 printer though, as I have been holding out on buying an A3+ printer for a while now to see what Canon brings out.

post #2234 of 2651

The 6D really is not being received well by the Canon community, especially with the very strong Nikon D600 at the same price.  

 

I so wish the Canon EOS-M would have come with full frame sensor or the Sony RX1 (full frame) with interchangeable lens.  No cigar.. :(

post #2235 of 2651
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadCow View Post

So finally Canon has made their pre-Photokina announcements. Canon 6D, a bunch of new printers, and a bunch of compacts.

 

6D doesn't interest me, but makes me wonder if I should sell my 5D Mark II before its resale price drops. I am interested in the Pro 100 printer though, as I have been holding out on buying an A3+ printer for a while now to see what Canon brings out.

 

Even if 5DmkII's have been getting a nice price drop to around $1600 as some stores clear them out, I think it's still a superior option to the 6D based on how the specs look as an entry to full frame.  I think it'll hold it's value well enough if you're just hanging onto it as a backup. 

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