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Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Sr Telchilde Hinckley
 

Newbie question re photographing black and white a


HI, newbie with Nikon D70 and 28-200 lens here...I photograph animals a lot and I am wondering about recommended settings. They are often dark colored sheep or black cattle with a white belt around their bodies (Dutch Belts, Belted Galloways). The contrast of the b & W can be very striking. I am experimenting but the combinations are endless and sometimes confusing to me. it would be helpful to have some recommendations of aperture and shutter speed combinations just to start with and depart from. I prefer narrow depth of field and warm colors. I can often prevent the black from becoming blue by adjusting the EV down or changing the WB. but let's face it, I have no idea where to start!! thanks for any advice
S T


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9/21/2007 1:30:47 PM

 
W.    Since high contrast is the prob here, I'd want to do this HDRI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDRI). Only... cattle and sheep won't stand still long enough!
Next best: shoot RAW, process into high-key, middle-key, and low-key files, and blend those into one wide dynamic range image (with Photomatix: http://www.hdrsoft.com/).
Just thinking out loud.


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9/21/2007 7:24:41 PM

 
William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  While W is correct, I have not found such animals to have a contrast range requiring HDR (High Dynamic Range) techniques. From your email, I think some simpler fixes are in order. Depth of field is mainly dependent on two things - aperture and distance to the subject. The wider open your aperture and the closer to your subject you are - the narrower your depth of field will be. Bluish shadows come from a white balance issues. Light in shade is actually blue but our eyes automatically adjust so we don't notice. Adjust your white balance to a cloudy or shade setting and you will mostly correct this. If you shoot in Raw format, your Raw converter will allow you to change the White Balance in the computer. Finally, as far as settings, I have found that matrix metering generally works well in pastoral scenes unless you have strong backlighting. The types of animals you are takling about generally don't move that fast so if depth of field is important use aperture-priority mode and set it at or near its maximum aperture.

Bill


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9/22/2007 2:46:24 AM

 
Sr Telchilde Hinckley   Thanks! I will work on this
S T


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9/22/2007 2:57:16 AM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  If you consider the "latitude" of digital (dynamic range) you will have to re-think your exposure setups.

In the days of slide film shooting the adage was "expose for shadows and develop for hi-lites" With digital, you need to do the opposite.
This is a sound principal when shooting anything with digital.

With the D-70, if you wish to "warm" the tones a bit, dial in -1 or -2 WB.


Pete


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9/22/2007 4:14:59 AM

 
Sr Telchilde Hinckley   Pete, remember I am totally new to this! I had a 35 mm SLR 30 years ago but it's been point and shoot since then...
so when you say dial in -1 or -2 WB is that the same as -1 or -2 EV?
thanks s t


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9/22/2007 3:21:57 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  No...WB= White balance. EV=Exposure value

To "warm" the photo a bit; you press and Hold the WB button while rotating the front command wheel until it reads -1 or -2. -2 may be too warm.

A positive value will "cool" the image toward a blue cast.

Hope that helps.


Pete


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9/22/2007 4:25:18 PM

 
William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  This is also something you could adjust in post processing if you shoot Raw. All Raw converters that I am familiar with will give you an option to change the white balance.

Bill


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9/23/2007 5:05:00 AM

 
Sr Telchilde Hinckley   thanks, I have not yet tried to shoot in RAW. will have to try that sometime!
What do you recommend if shooting in the glare of full sun? everthing looks so washed out. Or if shooting animals in the shade but other parts of the picture are sunny or there is a sunny barn in the background?
S T


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9/23/2007 12:57:55 PM

 
William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  The washed out look comes from direct light entering your lens and bouncing around the glass elements. This will happen with even the best lenses although the better lenses with more multicoated elements will do it less. The only solution is to keep direct light from entering the lens by using your lens hood or otherwise shading the front element or changing your shooting angle. For pictures where the subject is shaded but the background is bright, you can try two things. 1) Expose for the shaded subject and let the background be overexposed. 2) Get more light on you subject by using a reflector or fill flash.

Bill


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9/24/2007 4:37:22 AM

 
Sr Telchilde Hinckley   Thanks so much Bill. I will try your suggestions. At some point I was going to ask about when to use/not use the lens hood and so this is answering that question as well. I am having a lot of fun navigating the learning curve here. This forum is so helpful because there is a lot that is written and it can be hard to integrate it all at first. A few direct questions and answers can help me to get launched and I know I'll learn from there.
thanks S T


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9/24/2007 6:37:00 AM

 
W.   
"shooting in the glare of full sun? everthing looks so washed out."

Minus 0,5 or 1 stop.

"Or if shooting animals in the shade but other parts of the picture are sunny or there is a sunny barn in the background?"

Fill-flash or reflector.


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9/24/2007 9:28:15 AM

 
William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  My practice is to use the lens hood whenever I can. It not only reduces glare but also lowers the risk that you might inadvertently bump your front lens element into something. About the only time I do not use it is when I am using a polarizer filter since I need to rotate it or my Lee filter holder because it makes using the hood impossible.

Bill


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9/24/2007 4:56:31 PM

 
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