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What I learned about photography today ...


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I find on the ultrawides, the zone of focus is very important. There is so much going on that the point of focus can be very different that what you want. Try using DMF and manually correcting once autofocus has "hit". You can also limit the focus area to center spot, focus and recompose.

 

Dave

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The 10-18 is a very good lens. One of the better Sony zooms, and the price is ok. Obviously, if you are getting some sharp images and some soft images, the inconsistency is the user. I'll routinely use this lens with a tripod, at F8. I have to remember to turn off the steadyshot, because I do get soft images (motion blur) if I keep steadyshot on when using a tripod.

 

But the lens does certainly have acceptable sharpness:

28025170101_1d37b3a2e4_b.jpgGringotts Banks by Adam Brown, on Flickr

 

And yes, renting gear is fantastic if you only need a specific item for a limited amount of time.

 

I think you and Dave talked me in to it. It will get lots of use on our planned trips to Hawaii and Yellowstone. I bought a tripod for this trip but I am returning it, it just didn't have what I wanted. I rarely take the time to use them - something else I have to learn.

 

Vic

 

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The 10-18 is a very good lens.

 

Mr. Click: Yesterday I learned that I should always download my cards as soon as they come out of the camera so you don't have to spend hours looking for that last three days of your Alaska vacation pictures.

 

Victress2007: And that is why I keep practicing!

 

YES' date=' lots of good comments, thoughts, suggestions, tips, etc., on this wide-ranging thread about photography. With my Nikon SLR camera bodies, I have used my Sigma 10-20mm lens. That added "width" has worked very well, especially when inside certain buildings, churches, etc. You can see much more, my experience has been been that this lens does not distort the image too much. See a few of my examples/details below.

 

Agree 100% on the encouragement for practice, practice, PRACTICE. The more you shoot, the better you will do. That's especially true if you are checking your results as you go, considering other angles and views that might make your results more interesting.

 

For downloading often, AGREE, that is very important, both for safety/security!! PLUS, in monitoring and verifying what quality/type of pictures you are getting and to help in thinking of better/new ways to improve your results. On major trips, I download each evening to my laptop, providing back-up in addition to what is on my camera that I am using in the field. Then, I also have a portable back-up device to use on my lap-top and keep in the cruise ship room safe.

 

Here are a couple of other thoughts that I have shared with others:

 

1. [b']Involve people and light[/b]. Make it interesting! Get that human element/connection when possible. Do NOT be boring!! Get something better than just the normal "post-card" picture that everyone has previously seen.

 

2. Hold things steady. Gently squeeze. Use door frames, walls to give more "stability" and lessen the blurs in lower-light situations. Night pictures add to the visual interest and drama.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 150,964 views for this posting.

 

 

This is Old St. Paul's church in Wellington. It is the former cathedral in the Diocese of Wellington for the Anglican Church. As an example of 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture, they adapted to colonial conditions and materials. It is at 34 Mulgrave Street, close to the New Zealand Parliament. Its construction was completed in June 1866. It is constructed from native NZ timbers. The interior has been likened to the upturned hull of an Elizabethan galleon with its exposed curving trusses and roof sacking. The flags displayed in the nave include the Royal Navy, NZ Merchant Navy and US Marine Corps. Many of our Marines were stationed in Wellington during World War II. My wife is in yellow walking down the center aisle as she absorb the building details. This was a very important and "moving" site to experience. This visual was shot at 10mm, 1/6 of a second, f4.0, ISO 800.:

 

WellingtonA9_zpse247f172.jpg

 

 

Here is a picture from our New Zealand South Island JetBoat ride that my wife loved so much. From Akaroa, we did a combination ship excursion that included both the rail trip to the mountains/National Park, plus JetBoat. Notice her hands and those of others in our row super tightly gripping the safety bar? That says so much about the speed and thrills while roaring up and down this amazing stretch of scenic river. We've had lots of great moments on this trip, but one was a unique and special ride in a location that is spectacularly world-class near the NZ Southern Alps. And, perfect weather with good friends adds to the great joy!! This visual was shot at 10mm, 1/500 of a second, f9.0, ISO 800.:

 

JetBoatOne1_zpscafe58a3.jpg

 

 

As we entered Catherine's Palace in St. Petersburg, here was the welcoming band. This Rococo summer residence of the Russian Czars is located in the town of Pushkin, 15 miles SE of St. Petersburg. The residence originated in 1717, when Catherine I engaged a German architect to construct a summer palace for her pleasure. In 1752, Empress Anna found her mother's residence outdated and had her court architect demolish the old structure and replace it with a much grander edifice in a flamboyant Rococo style. Construction lasted for four years and in 1756 the new 325-meter-long palace amazed courtiers, foreign ambassadors and other visitors. During Elizabeth's lifetime, the palace was famed for its lavish exterior, including more than 100 kilograms of gold used to gild the sophisticated stucco façade and numerous statues erected on the roof. This visual was shot at 10mm, 1/500 of a second, f11, ISO 1,600.:

 

1A-StP-WelcomeCath.jpg

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Love the church image. Another "secret" for those longer exposures, inhale as you focus and slowly exhale as you shoot.

 

That 32GB card makes too easy to not download as often as I usually do and it is so small it is easy to misplace. From now on it will go from the camera right into the computer and downloaded. There was just too much going on that first day back from Alaska, especially with an almost two year old running around here.

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Love the church image. Another "secret" for those longer exposures, inhale as you focus and slowly exhale as you shoot.

 

That 32GB card makes too easy to not download as often as I usually do and it is so small it is easy to misplace. From now on it will go from the camera right into the computer and downloaded. There was just too much going on that first day back from Alaska, especially with an almost two year old running around here.

As always, one man's <this> is another man's <that>. Shooting RAW at 60MB/shot, a 32GB card is fairly easy to fill, or at least above the 50% mark (which means next time out, it's beyond full).

 

I have a very left-to-right flow: cards out of the camera go to the left of the card reader. Once read, they go in a pile near my mouse to indicate that I'm waiting for file verification to complete (or just do the edits and put the whole set on the archive drive), then they go in a pile to the right of the mouse to signify "ready for reuse".

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Shooting RAW does indeed fill up cards quickly. My 5D III produces 22MB RAW files that open to 60MB using factory settings. Some days I just don't shoot all that much, maybe it is raining, maybe I am not seeing things that catch my eye or it is just my mood..

 

Yes we all have our own work flows. When I was still working cards came out of the camera and were put back into the case with the backside showing so I knew they were full and needed to be download at the end of the job. Once I was done shooting it did go left to right and once I checked to see the images were safely stored then the cards go back into the case. In those days I mostly shot jpg on 8GB cards. I hated putting a whole job on one card just in case there was a crash and I always had more than one camera working..

 

It is all about person perference, Nikon vs Canon-I have used both over the years--, SanDisk vs Lexar, RAW vs jpg, Photo Mechanic vs Aperture vs Lightroom vs Photoshop Bridge.....and Celebrity vs Princess vs Royal..

Edited by Mr. Click
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Love the church image. Another "secret" for those longer exposures, inhale as you focus and slowly exhale as you shoot.

 

Appreciate the wise and kind comment from Mr. Click on the Wellington church visual. Yes, that was a very special, inspiring and classy location.

 

Part of my "secret" on longer exposures is to not use the back screen to view/preview the potential image. I use the direct eyepiece so that the camera is close to my body. And, I brace things with my arms in tight and using my body to help make more stable the shooting condition.

 

Below is one of my favorite cruise ship shots where using the 10mm wide angle lens made a big creative difference.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

From our Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean combo sailing over 26 days that started in Barbados, here is the link below to that live/blog. Lots of great visuals from this amazing Brazil river and these various Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, etc.) that we experienced. Check it out at:

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

Now at 40,746 views for these postings.

 

 

The Solarium was one of our most favorite areas for the Celebrity Solstice-class ships. Food and drinks were nearby and it was very relaxed and sophisticated. Quieter, too, as it is an adults-only area. Two hot tubs here. Not crowded, especially in the evenings. Nice art and design with this facility. Wonderful setting for relaxing and watching the outside water/shore views, enjoying subtle inside action, etc. This visual was captured at the 10mm width, f/8.0, 1/250, ISO at 400.:

 

SolsticeSolariumSunnyDay.jpg

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You are making me kick myself for not picking up that used 8-15 F4 I saw last week.....

 

Yes, kick yourself again!! I do not use my 10-20mm Sigma lens that much, but when it's needed, that added "dimension" really helps to make a solid visual difference.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 201,460 views.

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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I have a 16-35, 24-105 and 70-200 and a full frame body...I thought abut selling the 16-35 to fund the other but it is already sold so...here I sit...editing Alaska, planning Spain/Portugal/Italy that departs in 35 days....

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  • 4 weeks later...

Today it's about what I want to learn. Last night I put on my 18-240 lens, checked with a wide open aperture to make sure there was nothing on the sensor, then went up the hill to practice with my new tripod. The pictures looked great in the camera, but when I checked them out on my computer there were a bunch of little tiny spots. Sure enough, when I took off the lens and checked, there was a tiny bit of dust on the lens.

 

So, the question is, how do you make sure this doesn't happen? Especially if you are outside and switching lenses, say from telephoto to wide angle and back again? Is it a matter of taking your time and cleaning all the time or are there tricks to it?

 

Vic

Edited by Victress2007
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Today it's about what I want to learn. Last night I put on my 18-240 lens, checked with a wide open aperture to make sure there was nothing on the sensor, then went up the hill to practice with my new tripod. The pictures looked great in the camera, but when I checked them out on my computer there were a bunch of little tiny spots. Sure enough, when I took off the lens and checked, there was a tiny bit of dust on the lens.

 

So, the question is, how do you make sure this doesn't happen? Especially if you are outside and switching lenses, say from telephoto to wide angle and back again? Is it a matter of taking your time and cleaning all the time or are there tricks to it?

 

Vic

 

Highly unlikely that lens dust would appear on your image unless it is the size of sand grains. The more likely issue is sensor dust. Small apertures will reveal minute dust particles that would be unnoticeable wide open. The small dust particles will eventually find their way in even if you don't change lenses since the zooming action acts like an air pump.

 

Long ago, I gave up a chunk of my budget and picked up a sensor loupe and an Arctic Butterfly brush to de-dust the sensor when needed.

 

I even pulled the ripcord on my confidence and wet-cleaned a few times when a particle of something nasty and oily was smeared by the cleaning brush.

 

My article on sensor cleaning is here, if interested: http://www.pptphoto.com/articles/sensorclean.html

 

Dave

Edited by pierces
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Today it's about what I want to learn. Last night I put on my 18-240 lens, checked with a wide open aperture to make sure there was nothing on the sensor, then went up the hill to practice with my new tripod. The pictures looked great in the camera, but when I checked them out on my computer there were a bunch of little tiny spots. Sure enough, when I took off the lens and checked, there was a tiny bit of dust on the lens.

 

So, the question is, how do you make sure this doesn't happen? Especially if you are outside and switching lenses, say from telephoto to wide angle and back again? Is it a matter of taking your time and cleaning all the time or are there tricks to it?

 

Vic

As Pierces said, it's not dust on the front element. Maybe on the back, or more likely on the sensor. See https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2008/10/front-element-scratches/ for an example of why we both say it's not the front element.

 

I often do my serious shooting with multiple cameras, which allows me to avoid lens changes (or at least diminish them). I also tend to grab the left side of the camera body with my left hand, then press the right side of the camera body into my belly (anchoring the camera one-handed). I do that with the lens opening pointed slightly down, so dust is more apt to fall out than in. I also frequently use a LowePro LensExchange 200AW case, which securely holds one lens, but opens up to temporarily hold two lenses so you can exchange them, and zips back up to a secure close with the other lens still in its spot. This helps minimize the time that lens+lens+camera are open to the elements (open up lens case, hold camera to body, grab lens with right hand and pointer finger hits the lens release button, remove lens, drop it into case, move the back cap from the new lens to the old lens, grab the new lens, attach to camera, close up lens case - 8 seconds probably).

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Sensors and dust/dirt have been a problem since digital appeared. To add to what the others have said, make sure your camera is turned off when changing lenses and NEVER NEVER use compressed air to clean your sensor. It just drives the dirt deeper into the camera where it can do more damage. If you want to blow it off use a blower like the Gotti Rocket that just gives you a puff of air when you squeeze it. I used to shoot a lot of sports and then meant shooting fairly wide open apertures and dust was not an issue but now that I have retired I pay a lot more attention to keeping things clean. I don't have the patience or the steady hand that Pierces has so I send my bodies in for regular cleanings before each trip.

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After reading the advice I took my camera for a walk. Some of the spots were from the rear element of the lens, the darkest was on the sensor.

 

I do have the rocket blower but this time I needed the sensor cleaning swab. I use those very sparingly, but it cleaned it up.

 

I guess what I learned is that while at Yellowstone I will have to remember to take those landscape shots at 8 - 10 f-stop as well as the 22 I was planning.

 

Thanks!

Vic

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After reading the advice I took my camera for a walk. Some of the spots were from the rear element of the lens, the darkest was on the sensor.

 

I do have the rocket blower but this time I needed the sensor cleaning swab. I use those very sparingly, but it cleaned it up.

 

I guess what I learned is that while at Yellowstone I will have to remember to take those landscape shots at 8 - 10 f-stop as well as the 22 I was planning.

 

Thanks!

Vic

 

Unless you have something in the foreground that is very important to the composition, shooting at f/22 is really not recommended. Not only is there the dust issue but at apertures smaller than f/11 - f/16, diffraction through the small aperture starts to soften the image. F/8 - F/11 is generally the sweet spot for maximum sharpness on wide angle lenses.

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

How much do you really use the histogram and what are the tricks of the light meter?

 

I was watching a photography show yesterday and they kept talking about the light meter when photographing against white backgrounds (like snow) or a very dark subject (like my black cat). Although the the A6000 does a much better job on automatic than any of my other cameras, I'd like to understand the whole idea better.

 

Thanks,

Vic

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How much do you really use the histogram and what are the tricks of the light meter?

 

I was watching a photography show yesterday and they kept talking about the light meter when photographing against white backgrounds (like snow) or a very dark subject (like my black cat). Although the the A6000 does a much better job on automatic than any of my other cameras, I'd like to understand the whole idea better.

The light meter tries hard, but it's "dumb". It always wants to average out to 18% gray. Depending on the camera, it's anything from 31 "pixels" to maybe 256k pixels, but it has to measure very fast, and never has the luxury of long exposure. Throw in different metering modes (spot, partial, center, evaluative) and it's still trying hard but doing so with different portions of the frame. Some of the newer cameras layer in autofocus information: the AF sensor points that are in focus identify themselves to the exposure meter, and the algorithm may prioritize those areas of the frame.

 

Since digital does much better in the shadows than it does in the highlights (much like slide film, I think), your best bet is to tweak your exposure compensation to minimize areas that are overexposed, which you can usually identify with a "Highlight Alert" function that'll make these areas blink when you review the shot. A lot of our older Canon cameras spent their life with -1/3 exposure compensation almost all the time, which usually kept the blinkies at bay.

 

Then during post-processing, I'd add in positive "Exposure" in Lightroom, until the "meat" of the histogram made it into the right-most box of the histogram. I found that for almost any kind of scene, I could ignore the "shot" and only watch the histogram, get the exposure setting just right, then look back at the shot and be very happy with the results.

 

I own a light meter, and occasionally use it for stuff like a speaker at a podium with a spotlight on them. I'll walk up before the show and get a reading, then just go into manual mode and lock that in. I use the meter a lot more for studio lights though: pick a manual exposure that'll work, then dial in the lights to match. For that, it's amazing how quick & easy it becomes with a meter, but not the usual stuff.

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How much do you really use the histogram and what are the tricks of the light meter?

 

I was watching a photography show yesterday and they kept talking about the light meter when photographing against white backgrounds (like snow) or a very dark subject (like my black cat). Although the the A6000 does a much better job on automatic than any of my other cameras, I'd like to understand the whole idea better.

 

Thanks,

Vic

 

One of the perks of using the electronic viewfinder is that you actually see what the camera will do about a difficult lighting situation.

 

Make sure you have "Setting Effect On" enabled. (Menu > Settings (little gear) > 2 > Live view Display> Setting Effect ON) Also set the AEL button to Spot AEL (Menu > Settings (little gear) > 6 > Custom Key Settings > AEL Button > AEL Hold (there are two - choose the one with the little rectangle with the dot in it)). I chose AEL Hold which locks the exposure where you point the center spot in the viewfinder before recomposing as long as you hold the button down but you may prefer AEL Toggle which locks on the first press and unlocks when you press it again. Setting effects on allows you to see what effects your exposure adjustments will haveon the final image before shooting. The AEL hold button can replace time-consuming +/- dial adjustments by allowing you to point the center spot of the frame at different areas of the scene, lock the exposure and recompose. For example, if you are shooting a beach scene and the cabana off to one side is dark and the sand is sort of muddy-looking because of the 18% gray average that the meter is dutifully striving for, you can center the cabana, lock the exposure and recompose. The cabana will now be well-exposed and the bright sandy beach will be bright. If it is too bright or too dim, you can choose another spot in the scene to lock on to. This also works like a charm on back-lit people. Calculating the metering needed to expose perfectly used to be a giant PITA but the tools built into the modern camera make it much easier.

 

Play around with AEL. It is a real time and post-processing saver.

 

Dave

Edited by pierces
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One of the perks of using the electronic viewfinder is that you actually see what the camera will do about a difficult lighting situation.

 

Make sure you have "Setting Effect On" enabled. (Menu > Settings (little gear) > 2 > Live view Display> Setting Effect ON) Also set the AEL button to Spot AEL (Menu > Settings (little gear) > 6 > Custom Key Settings > AEL Button > AEL Hold (there are two - choose the one with the little rectangle with the dot in it)). I chose AEL Hold which locks the exposure where you point the center spot in the viewfinder before recomposing as long as you hold the button down but you may prefer AEL Toggle which locks on the first press and unlocks when you press it again. Setting effects on allows you to see what effects your exposure adjustments will haveon the final image before shooting. The AEL hold button can replace time-consuming +/- dial adjustments by allowing you to point the center spot of the frame at different areas of the scene, lock the exposure and recompose. For example, if you are shooting a beach scene and the cabana off to one side is dark and the sand is sort of muddy-looking because of the 18% gray average that the meter is dutifully striving for, you can center the cabana, lock the exposure and recompose. The cabana will now be well-exposed and the bright sandy beach will be bright. If it is too bright or too dim, you can choose another spot in the scene to lock on to. This also works like a charm on back-lit people. Calculating the metering needed to expose perfectly used to be a giant PITA but the tools built into the modern camera make it much easier.

 

Play around with AEL. It is a real time and post-processing saver.

 

Dave

 

That's all true --- But be careful about over-relying on the EVF. It is "simulating" the final exposure, based on the estimate of the ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

But there are times this simulation is inaccurate --- your lens aperture might not actually open up all the way to the expected aperture, for example.

Or you may have the brightness of the EVF cranked up, and you might perceive it being brighter than the actual image.

Plus, the EVF is applying what jpeg settings you have on... so a raw file may come out quite differently.

It isn't uncommon for me, to find that my final images look pretty different than what I saw through the EVF. So it's still good to occasionally check that histogram or peep at the pictures, and make sure they are coming out as you wanted.

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Man,

You would have thought I would have remembered this stuff from high school photography class. If you dont use it you lose it...thanks for refreshing my memory on using the skills that I had learned, and keep them coming...I am also learning again what I learned over 25 years ago.

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  • 3 months later...

Lots of new camera users out there, maybe they can get some easy tips here.

 

What I learned? After taking pictures in a specialized mode, put it back to your regular settings!

 

Yesterday was bright and sunny, so I headed for a bird sanctuary. I picked up my camera to take the first picture and there was the rattling of broken glass. Oh s***! Luckily it was just the filter that I had left on the lens while traveling. Ok, clean that up, brush off the lens, take the picture. Hit the button and nothing. Rats! I found a place to pull off the road (drive around sanctary, your car is your blind). Finally figured out that I had left it in continuous shot delay mode, which I set it in while taking family pictures on Christmas.

 

Have fun learning your new cameras everyone!

 

DSC09245_zpsgkb3eslh.jpg

 

 

How many bird species can you experts identify?

V

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Lots of new camera users out there, maybe they can get some easy tips here.

 

What I learned? After taking pictures in a specialized mode, put it back to your regular settings!

 

[

 

I can't count the times I patiently waited for the 2-second timer delay on the first shot out after shooting still life or landscapes.

 

I set a memory recall space with all the "regular" settings.

 

Now I'm hoping I don't have to count the times I forgot to recall the settings.

 

:o

 

Dave

Edited by pierces
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