BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
 

would love some feedback , help and critique


please look at my gallery and give me some opinions.. tell you what, you look at my pics and i'll look at yours.
am especially interested in feedback on the gull pictures.. what I wouldn't have given for more zoom and a higher end camera.. BUT, for now, I gotta do what I can with what I have..


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4/19/2005 7:58:26 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Second and third gull photos are too one dimensional. The first one is a winner in my opinion. Doesn't matter about the zoom. If you were any closer, you would have lost what I like about it. You have a good foreground and background with the gulls in the middle ground.

Not a Fan - I really like this one. You have the subjects off center of the frame, which is a good thing. Great subject. Good DOF.

First Dance - good, tight shot.

Winter Scene - Crop out the bare ground in the foreground and make the snow the foreground object. In a scenic, you need a foreground object, middle ground, and background.

One thing to remember is to not make it a habit to always put the subject right in the middle of the frame. Set it off to the side, or the foreground, or the background or a combination off to the side and in the foreground or background - like you did with Not A Fan.
One thing I noticed


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4/19/2005 8:29:50 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   BTW, I like your sense of the cliche. You show me yours and I'll show you mine. That's cute.


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4/19/2005 8:32:22 AM

 
Christy L. Densmore
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2005
  I am not the best really just a biginner, so that being said.... I like the gull shots the way the sun light just sparkles on the ice. If you had a larger zoom that would have been great, you could have zoomed in on a coupling of the birds. With those sparkles, wow, what a shot. Did you try that in PS? But my favorites in your gallory are Not a fan and Hey kid, I think those are just great.


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4/19/2005 8:44:56 AM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  thanks to all who've responded so far.
christy, the sparkles are from the way the sun is hitting the ice.. did not do much in ps other than crop..
my nephew said he looks like a gremlin in "hey kid" but I like that shot also.
kerry, funny thing, the 1st gull shot was the one I liked the least. but, what do I know.. I got a 1st in a fair with a photo I wasn't even going to enter.. guess we are always our own worst critic.. btw, kerry, your photos may not impress you. [other thread]but they sure impressed me..


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4/19/2005 9:35:41 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Thank you for the kind words. You need to look at your first photo of the gulls with an eye toward the total image, not the gulls. You have 4 elements in this picture. You have the water in the foreground, the ice and gulls in the middle ground, more water in the near background and rocks in the far background. There are several different elements in the photo and it flows very well. I know you were trying to just capture the gulls but you have captured a good landscape with severl different layers. That is what makes a good landscape.


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4/19/2005 9:46:31 AM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  christy, I like all of your dog pictures, especially "happy aussies".. I find that the coloration of aussies make it difficult to get good pic of the whole dog but you've captured them..


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4/19/2005 10:35:33 AM

 
Christy L. Densmore
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2005
  Thank you, and you are correct with these guys you have to get used to photographing them. Once you find the eyes the rest just tends to follow. I have been in the bred along time, that helps.


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4/19/2005 11:09:32 AM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  kerry, by 1st picture of the gulls, do you mean the one titled "reflections"?
that one is actually my favorite one also. I was confused cause it was the 3rd one downloaded and the other 2 are numbered 1 and 2..


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4/19/2005 12:01:19 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   That's the one!


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4/19/2005 12:52:45 PM

 
Ann Widner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2005
  I especially like "hey kid" and "we are not amused", (what a great title!) These photos are excellent! Your people pictures are tighter shots, and that's one thing I like about them. For the gull pictures, the first one is my favorite, too!


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4/19/2005 4:58:19 PM

 
Heather Harpel
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/5/2005
  Brigitte

I myself am just a beginner, but I looked at your photos and wanted to comment. Thought that maybe just knowing what appeals to different people might help.

I liked all your gull photos, but I liked "Reflections" the best too. I like how there is more in the photo, the water along the bottom and the rocks along the top add something to the photo I think. I don't think zooming in farther would've been better, I like it the way it is. I also liked "Not a Fan?", it's a great photo! I liked "We Are Not Amused", both the photo and the title. Too many people seem to only want the pretty photos of kids, where they are smiling and posed just right. JC Penny's photographers used to drive me nuts! Sometimes the best photos were the ones where my kids looked away, lifted their hands up instead of keeping them laying on their lap, or (God Forbid!) stopped smiling. The photographers would just say "Oops, that didn't work" and delete the photo before I could say that I liked it. I like capturing kids in all moods, and I love that about "We Are Not Amused".

Anyway, if you have the time maybe you could take a look at my gallery and comment.


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4/20/2005 6:24:31 AM

 
Heather Harpel
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/5/2005
  I forgot to comment on "First Dance". I really like that one as well, you captured a great moment, and it's a very sweet photo.


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4/20/2005 6:26:09 AM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  thanks heather, I like your people photos , especially the little girl looking through the tree..and also your gnarly, twisty trees.. with the bluebell photo, i'd make that one bluebell bigger than the page and crop the rest..


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4/20/2005 10:07:13 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
  In General Brigitte You Have Answered Your Own Question You Need To Get Closer And Upgrade To A Better Camera Most Of Your Pics Are Made At To Far Of A Distance There Are A Couple Exceptions Though, Visit The Google Sight And Type In The Rule Of Thirds Or The Golden Mean This Will Help You Out Alot With Your Composition. As Kerry Said Keep Your Subject Out Of The Middle Of The Frame.
Reflections Is A Good Image The Other Gull Pictures My Eyes Wander To Much Looking For A Clear Subject.
When You Upload A Image Put The First Comment In Yourself And List It For Constructive Crituque,You Might Not Like What You Hear But It Will Help You Improve!


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4/20/2005 4:06:25 PM

 
Candy Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/16/2005
  I like FIRST DANCE the best. I think that the shots that just "happen" are usually the best anyway. I am also fond of black and white. You captured a special moment for this couple, I am sure they appreciated it also.

BTW, I too am open for any comments on my gallery. I have only been on BP for about a month now, so I only have the free gallery for now, but so far it has been fun :-D


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4/20/2005 6:54:26 PM

 
Debbie Truesdale
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/25/2005
  Brigitte.. my favorate ones are hey kid.. I love black and white!! It looks like the baby is smiling. Very cute!! Reflections is good too!! Like the other people I also like not a fan. It's funny!! Good Job!!! Debbie


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4/20/2005 8:24:32 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  terry, your pictures are all breathtaking.. while I agree with you on the distance thing, I don't think upgrading, much i'd love to be able to afford to, would make me a better photographer.. only practice and accepting the limitations of myself and my camera can do that..
****************************************


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4/21/2005 6:02:04 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  candy, I absolutely love the winter in yellowstone pic.. I call that style "dreamscapes" and have never been able to capture it..
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
debbie, I am absolutely impressed.. butterfly is also my favorite but it runs a close secong with the hummingbird one..


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4/21/2005 6:11:16 PM

 
Candy Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/16/2005
  Thanks Brigitte. I think Yellowstone is just a "dreamy" type place in the winter. You can't take a bad picture there, it is so breathtaking. I took about 10 rolls of film on that trip, I could fill up my whole gallery with Yellowstone pictures :0)


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4/21/2005 6:26:25 PM

 
Candy Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/16/2005
  Thanks Brigitte. I think Yellowstone is just a "dreamy" type place in the winter. You can't take a bad picture there, it is so breathtaking. I took about 10 rolls of film on that trip, I could fill up my whole gallery with Yellowstone pictures :0)


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4/21/2005 6:26:39 PM

 
Candy Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/16/2005
  Thanks Brigitte. I think Yellowstone is just a "dreamy" type place in the winter. You can't take a bad picture there, it is so breathtaking. I took about 10 rolls of film on that trip, I could fill up my whole gallery with Yellowstone pictures :0)


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4/21/2005 6:27:31 PM

 
Debbie Truesdale
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/25/2005
  Thanks Brigitte... Debbie


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4/21/2005 6:33:28 PM

 
Debbie Truesdale
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/25/2005
  Thanks Brigitte... Debbie


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4/21/2005 6:33:47 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
 
 
 
just added 2 new pics.. please look at "overlook point" and tell if i'm right to exited about this picture..


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4/23/2005 3:49:51 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   You have every right to be excited about that picture. It is beautiful. Good framing and good use of silhouette. You should be proud.


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4/23/2005 6:04:01 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  thanks kerry, it's been a rough day and seeing how that pic came out took my mind of things a little.. now if only the location was within the city limits of ellsworth, i'd have my show entry for the photo club..


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4/23/2005 6:48:07 PM

 
Kerby Pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
Contact Kerby
Kerby's Gallery
  Hi Brigitte I left a comment under the picture and I really like it. It beautiful. Kerby


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4/23/2005 8:13:44 PM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Hi Brigitte. I think three tips that would really help out a beginner are:

1. Learn how to use the Rule of Thirds for composition. Terry mentioned this above, and like you said, her photos are great. Photos need to have some sort of organization that makes sense to the viewer. Once you master this rule, you can learn when to break it. It can and should be used for portraits, landscapes-- everything, pretty much. While you're at it, check out all of BP's basic photography tips if you haven't already.

2. Study, study, study great photography. Study actively. Ask yourself, "Why do I like this photo?" What kind of lighting was used? Where was the photographer during the shot-- close or far? What angle did s/he use? Observe the color, composition, etc.

3. Learn how to understand light. All advanced photographers understand that lighting MAKES OR BREAKS a photo. After all, photography literally means "writing with light." A photographer doesn't leave the house at any old time of day to take photos. The best time to take outdoor photos are early in the morning, late in the afternoon, and on overcast days. Otherwise you get unsightly glare on water and leaves, and harsh shadows.

And you are on the right track asking for advice and critiques... keep doing that.

Hope that helps,
Nancy


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4/24/2005 10:05:29 PM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
  Hi Nancy! I Vaule Your Opinions To Your Work Speaks For Itself!
I Am A Male Though!LOL!!As A Rule Males Are Spelled With A Y And Females With An I,But I Have Seen Alot Of Parents Confused About This:-)


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4/25/2005 9:33:27 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I know how you feel Terry. I run into the same problem with my name, except it is often spelled the same for both sexes.


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4/25/2005 9:38:06 AM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Oh, very sorry, Terry! Thanks for correcting me. Now I know. :)

Nancy


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4/25/2005 9:40:03 AM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  nancy, thanks for your input.. your pics are wonderful... now, that pesky rule of 3.. I do use it, honestly, and then I look at the whole thing and wind up cropping everything except my subject.. now, before I remove it from the gallery, am I the only one who likes "who loves ya baby"? I have a gazillion pictures of this bird at all stages and from all angles and that one's my favorite.. of course, I use it totally extracted from the background, fuzzy around the edges and ironed onto a white sweatshirt.. I just think he should be be the centerfold of pigeon monthly..


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4/25/2005 11:27:07 AM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Hi Brigitte-- it is a cute bird in a cute pose. However, the lighting is too harsh... there are several areas of the "fur" that are "burnt out" (too bright & overexposed)... is there any way you can reshoot it in more even light? Also the resolution looks low-- I can't see much detail. I'm sorry if I am being harsh, but I benefitted (and still benefit) from other photographers' frank opinions about my work...

Nancy


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4/25/2005 1:52:09 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  now that I have a little better camera, I wish I could reshoot.. BUT, like children, baby birds grow up .. that particular baby was only 2 weeks old at the time and is now a 2 1/2 year old fully grown, too fat to fly, pigeon with attitude.. that's pretty much what he looked like,, motheaten looking "fur" and all..
BTW, you think he's cute???


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4/25/2005 3:32:57 PM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Wow, that pic was taken 2 years ago?

Yeah, sure... in an "only a mother could love..." sort of way!

Nancy


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4/25/2005 5:23:01 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Glad you told us it was a pigeon. I thought it was a picture of me!


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4/25/2005 7:23:14 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  we didn't know what zilla was until he grew real feathers.. we did know he was UUUUUUUUUUglyyyyyyyy..
like I said, I have a gazillion photos of him.. his story is going to be book for the local bird refuge, along with a slide show dvd for kids..
I just don't want it to be cute enough to encourage kids to bring home eggs to hatch..


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4/26/2005 8:16:47 AM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Hi, just to say Kelly is right about being one dimensional on the gulls. Im no expert and I go by what grabs the eye, or first impression. If a picture grabs my attention as an amateur, I just go by what I think looks good to me. I firmly believe that these shots would be better with shorter dof, you can achieve this by good zoom. Photos always look best to me with the subject sharp against a faded background. this draws the attention toward the subject making it stand out. See if your camera. aperture can also be opened wide while doing this. If your zoom is limited, you can get some of the effect with a wide open aperture. BUT. zooming is faster and easier on quick notice. Also, the distance behind the subject must be fairly deep unless you are very close to subject.


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4/26/2005 11:17:36 AM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Well unfortunately I have never seen a non-SLR camera make photos with good DOF (depth of field). Even if you open it way up to 2.8 or bigger, compact cameras just don't seem to have the optics capable of blurring the background unless you are very close to the subject (hard to do with birds), AND the background must be very, VERY far away-- as you said. So you may be advising her to do something she can't do with her current camera.


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4/26/2005 11:29:37 AM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Well, Nancy all I can say is you havent seen the right ttl digital camera. I take them with short dof all the time, and at least my machine does it as well as any 35mm slr


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4/26/2005 11:43:16 AM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  That is true, maybe so.


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4/26/2005 11:44:36 AM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Oh an afterthought for you Nancy, keep in mind that im using a camera that zooms to focal lentgh of 380mm equiv, which will fade out any background. You are right in assuming that she may not have the focal length capability with her present machine. also my dimage is a step up in lens quality, touted as one of the very best optics for a mid range digital. But the slr designation really doesnt have anything to do with the focal length. It just means you can interchange lenses that some of them would have different focal lengths and of course more lens options. You are correct is saying the optics count


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4/26/2005 11:48:09 AM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Hey Nancy, I guess Im getting really into this again. I enjoy talking about this junk! Just wanted to say as an example look in my gallery (which is mostly crap) but that one of the big butterfly was taken on full zoom from the front door ten feet away, and the tree was right behind him. Look how that bark blurred up!!


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4/26/2005 11:53:03 AM

 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  John- you are probably right about those super zoom cameras; I haven't tried one of those and was just thinking about those little compacts vs. SLRs. Certainly if you can zoom to an equivalent of 380mm you would have a good DOF. I saw the butterfly in your gallery... the bark is blurred, but what may have helped was that the butterfly & flowers are also slightly out of focus (sorry!).

I am trying to be consciencious of hijacking Brigitte's thread... if you would like to discuss this further you can email me. :)

Nancy


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4/26/2005 11:58:42 AM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  hijack away, i'm learning stuff from this.. speaking of lenses, I did ask on another subject and never got an answer,, how about the optional telelens and wide angle lens being offered for the fuji finpix cameras?
on the gull pix tho', I didn't want to blurry the background.. the pics are about where the gulls are.. I would have liked more clarity, but close ups of gulls looking in a puddle wasn't what the pictures are about..


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4/26/2005 12:16:12 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
 
 
 
Hey brigitte thanks for your understanding. Yeah, the gulls are OK, I may have thought you were trying tomake them stand out better, but as far away as you were, thats about the best you could get. About the only way to make them best clarity would be to really get as much light into it as you can with slower shutter and tripod for steady, but then you have to worry about subject movement. Its a lot of trial and erro too.mI think you did well. as far as the teleconverter, what those do is multiply your focal length by whatever designation it is. they are all light critical, that is to say that they use a heck of a lot of light. Some work ok, but most Ive seen tend to vignette the corners, and sometimes they will show the ring ring on yourlens unless you zoom in. So be careful and ask questioons before you buy, they are not meant to be replacements for zoom or tru fixed telephoto lenses. they are a cheap way to cheat a little bit. But the right ones can be great. Also when fully utilized, you will find it impossible to hand hold. The wide angle works prety well and takes minimal light. I just ordered one myself.


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4/26/2005 12:40:18 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
 
 
 
Hey brigitte thanks for your understanding. Yeah, the gulls are OK, I may have thought you were trying tomake them stand out better, but as far away as you were, thats about the best you could get. About the only way to make them best clarity would be to really get as much light into it as you can with slower shutter and tripod for steady, but then you have to worry about subject movement. Its a lot of trial and erro too.mI think you did well. as far as the teleconverter, what those do is multiply your focal length by whatever designation it is. they are all light critical, that is to say that they use a heck of a lot of light. Some work ok, but most Ive seen tend to vignette the corners, and sometimes they will show the ring ring on yourlens unless you zoom in. So be careful and ask questioons before you buy, they are not meant to be replacements for zoom or tru fixed telephoto lenses. they are a cheap way to cheat a little bit. But the right ones can be great. Also when fully utilized, you will find it impossible to hand hold. The wide angle works prety well and takes minimal light. I just ordered one myself.


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4/26/2005 12:40:28 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I agree with John to an extent. SOME pictures do look better with a limited DOF. You would want to limit the DOF sometimes when you photography people, to make the subject stand out from the background. With landscapes, however, the entire scene is the subject. Therefore, you want to increas the DOF. That is why most landscapes are shot with a wide angle lens (inherently has a greater DOF), at minimum aperature (to increase the DOF) and at hyperfocal distance (again, to increase the DOF).


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4/26/2005 12:42:57 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Right on Terry, the short dof is best for portraits and concentrated shots


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4/26/2005 12:48:25 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
 
 
 
Hey for Nancy, I am trying to show you a better short focal attempt. That first one was windy, the flowers and the fly were really moving. Perfect focus will not offset movement


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4/26/2005 12:52:39 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
 
 
 
Oh well, I cant seem to get a photo in here, I used to be able to, but this site changes so much Ive lost it. somebody tell me how to do it


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4/26/2005 12:56:32 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  john, I love your first 2 pics.. they really belong in those "amazing photos" that get passed around the internet.. also liked the sqirrel and the second butterfly.. the blurred tree bark made me dizzy and I could not focus on the butterfly..


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4/26/2005 2:14:48 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Thanks, I think. Actually my best picture to date in my opinion was that third one of Mary. I liked the comp and the nice morning light to it. Yeah the big fly bark will make you cry, but I dont think the fly is that unclear, it made a nice 8 x 10 that I framed.


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4/26/2005 2:38:09 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  i liked the fly and the flower but would have done something to the bark.. actually we have folders at work that have that "psychodelic depth" that I can't stand but a co-worker went out and bought one to frame.. so, I guess it's truly in the eye of the beholder... were those winter pics of a usual winter or had something extraordinary happened?


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4/26/2005 3:11:43 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  No, that was taken in September. That bark is a litle bit wierd to start with as it is a pecan tree. But I got the effect I wanted of blurring it out of focus with dof. I thought it worked well, but now that you mention it, the out of focus bark on that tree is kind of lsd land


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4/26/2005 3:31:18 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  WOW!!! that frozen van and ice covered road were in september.... and there I thought our maine winters started early..


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4/26/2005 4:12:28 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  Oh no no hon, I didnt mean that. The butterfly and flower were in sept here in Orlando. You were talking about the ice age. that was taken at Geneva on the Lake Ohio in the winter yes. Notice lake Erie right there below the breakwall. there had been a pretty good storm amd blew the lake all up into the trees and street.


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4/26/2005 4:23:52 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
  when I showed my husband the picture of the van, he thought there'd been a fire.. but we figured by looking at the other one that water had splashed over for some reason... a historic building in bangor burned winter before last.. the whole thing christalized like that van.. there were some incredible pictures taken of that.. unfortunately none of them by me..


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4/26/2005 4:45:59 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
 
 
 
dumped a bunch of photos out of the gallery and put in some new ones..
anyone have any ideas on getting better shots of fish in tanks?


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4/28/2005 5:09:55 PM

 
John C. Schwentner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/24/2004
  It looks really catchy because of the vivid color. A good subject. But see the flash in the glass? Try more of an angle to get rid of that. I assume by force flash you mean fill flash meaning it will fire always regardless of lighting


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4/28/2005 7:30:13 PM

 
brigitte stahre
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2004
 
 
 
my camedia called it forced flash but that's what I mean .. firing regardless of lighting.. the camedia was very light sensitive.. meaning if subject was in front of window there woulf be no flash on auto.. and i'd have a pic of a sillouhette [sp?] in front of a window... was gonna try the fuji on the same fish and found he doesn't have any right now.. this next one is a blenny, when there are two and you drop food in the tank, they'll come out and have a tug of war.. when there is only one, they're very timid.. I have a lot of pictures of that rock..


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4/29/2005 12:25:23 PM

 
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