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Photography QnA: Photographic Field Techniques

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Category: All About Photography : Photographic Field Techniques

Ready to learn about field technique for large object photography? How about for small object photography? This Q & A covers it all. Or if you are interested in private instruction, check out Kerry Drager's Field Techniques: Light and Composition online photography course.

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Photography Question 
Gord MacEachern
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Gord
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member since: 12/21/2007
  21 .  Shooting Photos of Cars
Hi all,
I was asked to take a few pics of a friend's muscle car. The car is navy blue with black stripes. I have about 2 acres of lawn, and it backs up to a pond and bush. I have a Canon Rebel with a Sigma 18-200 and a Canon 17-85 lens. What conditions, time, etc., would be best to shoot the car? Also any other ideas of location or background other than my large back yard? Any helpful hints appreciated.

8/21/2008 6:33:43 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Navy blue with black stripes, eh! Wow, man, good luck.

8/21/2008 10:23:59 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
 
 
  Sky
Sky

Nikkor 35 mm, F-22, bright sunlight, Provia 100

 
 
A bright, sunny day will allow you to get a bright starburst off a reflective part of the car. Just position yourself with the sun directly behind you and and look for a pinpoint of light striking the chrome or other shiny part. Then stop-down the aperture to create the starburst.

8/22/2008 1:53:14 AM

  Thanks guys!
I am going to get him to leave his car at my place for late afternoon and early evening so I won't feel rushed. Then I can try different lenses, lighting, and composition.

8/23/2008 6:07:33 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  I shoot for car magazines/TV shows so I've shot tons of cars. I would take a shot of the car on a long road really low so you see the asphalt and the car and the focus blurs on past the car. I built a 1000hp Viper and took photos of my buddy smokin the tires and doing 360s ... it's kinda cool if your buddy waves while the tires are smoking. It makes a great image. The grass with a dark car isn't sounding that great. I'd maybe shoot it on a dirt road or cliff where it'll stand out.

8/23/2008 4:15:47 PM

  Thanks.
Sounds good!
Gord

8/24/2008 6:48:43 AM

  I would also get tight shots that would feature the car's essence or curves. Make sure the light and exposure are correct, dark cars are hard to shoot.
Also, look for the unusual angle or point of view.
Good Luck, happy shooting

8/27/2008 8:44:35 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  I noticed that nobody mentioned to use a polatizing filter to knock out reflections.

Have fun and keep shooting,
Mark H.

8/28/2008 12:33:22 PM

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Photography Question 
Debbie Crowe

member since: 10/4/2007
  22 .  HDR Exposure: Please Explain
I am hearing so much about HDR and the pictures I see are really stunning. Am I to understand this is basically not much more than "bracketing"? I saw a post where someone did HDR with 11 exposures and got the "perfect" picture. Can you give me more details on this? Thank you!

8/8/2008 12:07:46 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Yes, glorified bracketing.
To put it in plain language, HDR (high dynamic range) means you make different exposures for all the wide ranges of bright and dark parts of a scene, because a camera can't get what your eyes have the ability to get.
And then you use layers to erase and combine all the parts that hold detail and you can make a picture that shows everything. And you can make it look realistic or unrealistic (some people will say surreal)
You can think of it as reaching your arms out to the side and blocking a hall way. You can't cover wall to wall, you can only cover a certain portion by shifting side to side.
But if you add a separate person and link hand to hand, you can hold on to more of what passes your way.

8/8/2008 12:42:01 PM

Debbie Crowe

member since: 10/4/2007
  Thanks Greg. But then after you take all the exposures, do you have to use software to blend into one picture? that sounds kind of complicated. any suggested software if someone wanted to try it? I have photoshop elements 6.0 but I am still learning the very basics on this and would not even attempt in such complicated software.
thank you again.

8/8/2008 1:24:46 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Hi Debbie,

you can do it in PSE if it's got 'layers'. I think PSE does. Of course CS3 does too.

Here are 2 short videos that may be interesting to budding HDR togs:

"shooting for HDR": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJS6X-pHTNg

and

Learn High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography : Setup and Shooting Exposures for HDR Photography: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdqKL22NUHk
(you may have to turn up the sound on this last one)

8/8/2008 2:12:32 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
 
 
BetterPhoto.com Photo Contest SECOND PLACE Winner
 
Remember When
Remember When
Taken at Pinellas County Heritage Village in Largo, FL. 5 images combined into one in Photomatix Pro. 17-40 lens at 17mm f.8
 
 
HDR is so much more than you can do in Photoshop also. Ben Wilmore has a DVD on it and he has done some pretty spectacular images. And BP's very own Tony Sweet has done some incredible images using HDR, check out his website. HDR is so so so much more, when you tonemap it in Photomatix its incredible what you can do with your several exposures. This image here is a blending 5 exposures -2, -1 - +1 +2 then tonemapped in Photomatix. I am still learning and playing with HDR, not all scenes look good. This pic of this old car is one of my favorites so far.
~Donna

8/12/2008 3:56:00 AM

  Are the results of HDR basically the same as using GRD filters on your camera? It seems to me that GRD filters would be easier than sitting for hours in front of a computer.

8/12/2008 7:59:01 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Don't know what a GRD filter is, but the photo of the Garage that I attached I probably got every bit of a whole 30 minutes into combining and tonemapping. I don't spend hours on any single photo, I don't have that kind of patience.
~Donna

8/12/2008 8:11:08 AM

  You gallery is lovely, Donna. It shows that you love what you are doing in Photoshop and while capturing images wherever you are.

A GRD filter is a graduated reduced density filter, which Galen Rowell used in film photography to make his superb images. Many digital photographers use the computer and software to achieve similar results. But, I'm not that knowledgeable as yet. It takes me a lot of repetition to learn new things.

I loved Galen Rowell's work. http://www.mountainlight.com/
But never have had his eyes or level of expertise.

On the other hand, I don't think I ever saw GRD filters used on interiors, so scratch that idea.

Would HDR be the same as Double Processing and Compositing images?
~Bunny

8/12/2008 8:37:07 AM

  HDR allows you to combine the best parts of various exposures. Though "glorified bracketing" is a bit of a misnomer, the idea is similar. If, for example, you took 3 shots of a scene (one to expose the highlights, one to expose the midtones and one to expose the shadows) each of these would have different detail - especially if the scene was one that exceeded the dynamic range of your captures (things like taking shots of stained glass in an otherwise dark church, where exposing for the shadows would blow out the highlights and exposing for highlights block up the shadows).
In the case of the example, you can combine the highlights from the highlight exposure, midtones from the midtone exposure and shadows from the shadow exposure to see the detail in each, where a single shot of the scene might have favored one range or another.
Photoshop provides an HDR plug-in for combining these images (once you have made the exposures). The combination goes a little beyond just merging the best part of the bracket shot by blending some into surrounding areas. These areas of mixture sometimes make some interesting (surreal or other-worldly) results. You can also get more straight-forward results using some straight-forward techniques for layer blending. But Photoshop does provide a special 32-bit per channel option coming out of the plug-in that lets you combine multiple images into the same file ... and then coming out of 32 bit you have additional options for blending what you have combined.
The goal is to capture more, but don't be deceived ... you have only so many levels of tone to work with in any image, and then in output you have additional limitations. You will get different results than straight exposures, but "different" is not always the equivalent of better. It can sometimes be more artistic, but can just as easily fail depending how you approach it and what you expect as a result.
Certainly it is worth playing with!

8/12/2008 10:11:49 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Great explanation Richard, thank you so much for chiming in. I have not done HDR in PS but have heard that you can. I have done the “Merge to HDR” and then save it and done the tone mapping in Photomatix. I personally have played around with 3 images and also 5 images. I would have to guess that 5 versus 3 is not that great of difference, as long as one of your exposures is underexposed for the highlight and one overexposed for the shadow areas, correct?

Now I do have to say that when you are doing the tone mapping you can make a photo look very unrealistic and artistic and kind of like a drawing or almost dimensional in some instances. But I personally prefer to try to keep the image looking like an image but pull out detail from the shadows and have details in the highlights.

I have noticed that not all instances look good in HDR. I will be on vacation next week and plan to try some other different HDR images. Its been a month or so since I have played with HDR images so I am looking forward to doing some more images.

Thanks again Richard for the great explanation. Bunny, thanks for the kind comments about my gallery, I appreciate it. I have never heard of that filter. Thanks for the link I’ll go check out some of his work.

~Donna

8/12/2008 11:44:01 AM

  I am going to buy the Photomatrix software today. After hearing its praises from other photographers on my Europe trip and the fact that I took several sets of photos specifically to make HDR images from, I am excited to try this program.
Carlton

8/12/2008 3:54:32 PM

Ken Smith
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member since: 6/11/2005
  The August 2008 Outdoor Photographer magazine, page 68, has an article devoted to Photomatix. I have the software and it's super!

8/12/2008 5:59:06 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Carlton, Its not too expensive I think it was under a hundred. Its pretty cool, I think you'll like playing with it. You can download it for a 30 day trial at www.hdrsoft.com.

Aug. 8 Issue huh, I wonder if that is still in the stores. I gotta find that one. Thanks Ken.

~Donna

8/12/2008 6:20:12 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 6/11/2005
  It's $99 for the stand-alone version, according to their web page.

8/12/2008 7:37:29 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Ken is this the article on page 68?

http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/columns/digital-horizons/expanding-photographys-tonal-range.html

8/12/2008 8:28:52 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
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member since: 6/11/2005
  No. The one in the magazine has step by step instructions for using Photomatix, in terms of what to click, and what the various config options are, for the tone mapping.

8/12/2008 9:06:53 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 6/11/2005
  The title is "HDR for the Landscape" and the author is Rob Sheppard.

8/12/2008 9:10:42 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Having a program that will do tone mapping for you is great for keeping small details like tree branches and leaves.

8/13/2008 12:34:48 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Thanks Ken. I'll look for that magazine at the store. That in depth stuff and what all those options is just what I have been wanting to know.
~Donna

8/13/2008 3:31:59 AM

  Donna,

You said that you've done “Merge to HDR” in Photoshop. I have CS3, but not CS3 Extension. Where can I find Merge to HDR in CS3?

Thanks.

Susan

8/13/2008 9:57:20 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Susan I have CS2 and in CS2 its located under File>Automate>Merge to HDR. Not sure if its in the same location in CS3 but look there. After you do that you are not done then you'll need to do the tone mapping, I am not sure how to do that in PS, but that photomatix program seems fairly user friendly. Here is a website by Canon Digital Learning Center that explains alot about HDR. But I haven't found anything to explain Photomatix. I want to get that magazine Ken said it has a very detailed article in there about Photomatix.

~Donna

8/14/2008 3:26:39 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Helps if I put the url doesn't it. sorry~ But in the past couple minutes I found another website that has tons of tutorials on it about HDR. I will put a couple links below.

~Donna

http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=1646

http://tutorialblog.org/hdr-tutorials-roundup/

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/03/10/35-fantastic-hdr-pictures/

8/14/2008 3:42:00 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
"in CS2 [“Merge to HDR” is] located under File>Automate>Merge to HDR. Not sure if its in the same location in CS3"

Yes, it is.

8/14/2008 10:07:09 AM

  I looked under File in CS3, but could not find Automate, much less merge to HDR. I think I have to have CS3 Extension to be able to use HDR, or else get Photomatix.

8/16/2008 9:25:24 PM

  I see it. I see it! Wow! Just did not look far enough. However, do I need to shoot one image using AEB? Or, can I do the same as I would with double processing, and have one image exposed for the shadows, and one exposed for the highlights in ACR to make it work?

8/16/2008 9:46:37 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 6/11/2005
  Bunny, I often do a double-processing, then use Photomatix (HDR). I would think CS3 would behave the same way. Just try it and see...

8/17/2008 6:08:40 AM

  Thank you, Ken.

A couple of questions, which I hope does not sound lame.

I assume to up the size of the 8 gig to 16 to 32, I would need up upgrade my memory and possibly the size of my computer. Is this correct?

I generally save along the way as I acquire more and more layers, and occasionally forget to eliminate the large saved PSDs, which makes my computer freeze.

About how much memory is needed in order that double-processing and HDR be accomplished?

Thanking you in advance.

8/18/2008 12:09:16 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
"I assume to up the size of the 8 gig to 16 to 32"

What is "8 gig", bunny?

What computer have you got now? With how much RAM? And what operating system?

8/18/2008 12:19:36 PM

  WS, I think Bunny meant 8 bit (16-bit, 32-bit). However your questions are right on!

Bunny, I don't know if you need to upgrade your computer without knowing what you have, and answering the questions WS has asked. However, just to work with 32 bit images should not require an upgrade unless you have an aging computer (4+ years old). While 32-bit images are larger, they will only be about 4 times the size of an 8-bit image while holding substantially more information (on the order of 16 million times). That said, the more space you have open on your hard drive and the more RAM you have, the better your performance will likely be.

There is no set formula for how much memory you will need, but be sure to well more than meet the basic needs of the Photoshop or Elements program that you are using as per Adobe's recommendations, keeping in mind their recommendations are minimal for base performance.

I hope that helps!

Richard Lynch

8/18/2008 1:53:51 PM

  Misspoke. Meant to say bits rather than gigs. I'm obviously not a technology person.

In RAW, I convert my images to 16 bits to work and then reduce them back to 8 bits when saved. But, I save as PSD's or TIFFs while they are being worked in case the electricity goes off or just as a safeguard. These large files tend to fill my machine quickly.

I have a e-machine computer, Microsoft XP, CS3 Photoshop. Where do I go to find the amount of RAM I have? My husband generally takes care of this, but he's out of state right now.

8/18/2008 2:56:38 PM

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Photography Question 
Simone Italia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/9/2008
  23 .  Ring Flash: What Is It?
Exactly what does a "ring flash" do?

7/25/2008 7:36:08 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  It provides light like any other flash. It's just that its shape has unique characteristics that give a different look than other types of flash. You can use it for fill flash and as a main light. If you've ever seen those make-up mirrors that have a light that goes all around the outside of the mirror, that's the same thing.

7/25/2008 7:41:30 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  Simone, I own a ring flash and it's great but not nearly as easy to use as I thought. I do have a red-eye issue I had to learn to combat ... never had a problem with the 22" beauty dish I own. It does provide a great look in portraits with the cool kinda shadow/halo around the entire subject. I've used both the Profoto and Alien Bee (own the AB). Not sure of your level of light knowledge/ability, but I'd say you should be at least intermediate/advanced to use it on a shoot. That being said, I shoot professionally and can't afford to shoot photos that aren't high quality when the model/agency is paying me by the hour to produce high-quality images.

7/25/2008 10:33:19 AM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  As Mr. La Grange points out, ring flash is another source of light. Besides giving a shadow-free type of lighting to subjects for portraiture (sometimes used in studios), smaller ring flashes (like the Sigma EM140DG) are usually used in macro photography, to afford even lighting where a shoe-mounted flash might cast shadows across the subject that's too close.

7/25/2008 10:33:55 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  you can see the smaller (Macrophotography) ringflash on CSI...easy example.

7/25/2008 11:21:40 AM

Simone Italia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/9/2008
  Thank You.

7/25/2008 12:52:43 PM

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Photography Question 
Pamela K. Barrett
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Pamela
Pamela's Gallery

member since: 2/26/2007
  24 .  Shutter Vs. Aperture Priority
Seems like some photographers prefer aperture priority, and others prefer shutter priority. What are some of the pros and cons of each of these? Personally, I shy away from aperture priority because I think it would automatically compensate with a slow shutter speed resulting in blurry images because of camera shake. Is that a wrong assessment?

7/21/2008 9:47:07 AM

  It all depends on the shot you are trying to take.
- A mode is used when controlling Depth of Field is the top priority. (examples: macro and landscape).
- S mode is used when freezing or blurring motion is top priority. (examples: sports and blurred waterfall).
- P mode is used when you're willing to let the camera make a reasonable trade-off for you (sort of like auto but with a bit more control (example: unpredictable events with little time to capture scene).
- M mode is used when you want absolute control (examples: studio still life, fireworks, etc.).
Good photogs don't blindly prefer any one of these modes ... they use whichever mode best fits the occasion.
dvc

7/21/2008 10:02:35 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  These aren't that drastically different, because you can use them for the same purpose. You pick one and the camera picks the matching other.
You can easily use av mode for sports by simply choosing wider apertures that give you faster shutter speeds. It doesn't require anything more than looking at the display in the viewfinder.
Some people who use auto modes for action prefer av mode so that they don't keep shooting pictures that should've been with an aperture that their lens doesn't have.

7/21/2008 2:21:10 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  That sounds like a sports mode if you have a camera that will change iso automatically. But maybe with newer cameras, shutter priority will do that when a max aperture is needed if the lens doesn't have it.
If you want to stop action, I think in terms of a range of shutter speed. Not a particular one. And for some, they prefer to not shoot in a shaded area and have a set shutter speed and be under exposed.

7/21/2008 7:39:58 PM

  Thank you David, Greg, & W. Smith: You've been very helpful. I didn't know that about the ISO adjusting with shutter speed. I'm also going to try to start adjusting according to the situation.

7/22/2008 4:58:24 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi Pam,
David is right on with this. It all depends on what you are trying to do. You can, in theory, get the same shutter and aperture combinations no matter which mode you select, including manual. Setting in an automatic mode doesn't solve ALL problems, you still have to pay attention to what the settings are. In aperture priority you can set a smaller aperture and get a slower shutter or vice versa. Setting an aperture of say F/16 in low light with give you very long exposures that will need a tripod. I use aperture priority and manual exclusively, not of necessity, but more out of habit. Each time I still check the settings and adjust. Don't try to outguess the camera but you need to know if the settings aren't going to give you the optimum effect you are looking for. Once in a great while the wrong camera settings give you a wonderful surprise and a very nice image. Most times, it results in a bad image and a reminder that you need to pay more attention. We've all been there. Ansel Adams in his wonderful book "The Making of 40 Photographs" tells great anecdotes about each image, including "I forgot to stop down the lens." With a view camera, you adjust and make another exposure. With every other, most times you can do the same but once in awhile that means you've lost an opportunity and are reminded of why you need to check the settings. Keep shooting and enjoy!!
Bruce

7/22/2008 5:01:06 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  In practice, not just theory.

7/22/2008 2:21:24 PM

  Greg, yes, you're right.

However, the point is that, in Tv (shutter priority) the user sets a shutter speed... let's say 1/1000s... and then the camera will

1) open the aperture to get the right exposure, then, if that's not enough,
2) increase the ISO to get the right exposure

But the camera will not change the shutter speed.

No other mode will do this (excepting, possibly, a special "sports" mode or similar, if the camera has one.)

dvc

7/22/2008 8:35:44 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  I know that.
But which cameras do you know of that will change the iso on their own?

7/22/2008 10:26:10 PM

  I have a Nikon D80 which does this. Also a Cannon A570IS, which I think also does, but haven't really tested it.

dvc

7/22/2008 11:18:38 PM

  Oh, I should say, the A570 I think does this in Tv mode, but that camera I tend to shoot in scene modes mostly, where I KNOW it changes ISO automagically. I'm just not sure about Tv, since I don't use that mode much on that camera ('cause I get lazy with it :D )

dvc

7/22/2008 11:21:24 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  In a powershot camera, but that is something I've never heard of being in any of Canon's slr's, nor would I expect it to be part of Tv mode for their slr's.
At least anything above a rebel.

7/23/2008 3:22:11 AM

  How do you determine that your camera changed your ISO setting? What about a Canon 30D? That's what I use.

7/23/2008 4:48:22 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi Pam,
I had never heard of a camera changing the ISO to compensate for exposures; most times they (used to anyway) just not work at those settings. So I called my local camera dealer and "Oh Yeah! several cameras will do that!!" I guess you just have to test it and see. Testing your equipment in the extremes of the kinds of images you will do, NOT a trial by fire when you really need it, but a TEST, is always a good idea. Once you do it, you will know and can watch for it in those situations. When I got a new flash to use for weddings that was supposed to be "automatic" from 2-22 feet, I tried it at 2 feet and at 22 feet and found that it was overexposed at the 2 feet and underexposed at 22. So I stopped down a stop on the lens when I moved in close and opened up when at far distances. (This is before TTL obviously, but the point is the same.) Now cameras tend to compensate for all sorts of things and the photographer has to watch the settings for find out why.
Bruce

7/23/2008 5:45:07 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
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member since: 6/11/2005
  Pam, I have the 30D and use the P, shutter, aperture, and manual modes. And the ISO does not change, unless I manually change it.

7/23/2008 7:19:16 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Some of the higher level Nikon DSLR's have a "Auto ISO" function.

It is NOT used to compensate for exposure problems. It IS used to automatically (UP) the ISO when shutter speed falls to a "user defined" point.

EX: The ISO will automatically increase (IF) shutter speed falls below 1/30th; or ANY shutter spped the user dictates.

I'm not sure about the D-80 etc; but this feature is highly customizable with the Nikon D-3 and D-300; probably the D-700 too.

This is one feature many reviewers agree on; in that Canon has fallen short leaving this out in their fine line of DSLR's.

Pete

7/24/2008 5:07:33 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Fluff feature.

7/24/2008 12:49:47 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Some camera models use ISO adjusting and call it 'vibration reduction' or something similar. But that's a plain lie: it doesn't reduce vibrations but it ups the shutter speed by setting a higher ISO.
Of course that also increases noise.

7/24/2008 1:11:38 PM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  The 40D has an auto ISO setting. I've never tried it. I don't want my ISO being changed without my knowledge.

I used shutter priority when I was shooting the dragsters at the Mile High Nationals. I wanted a specific shutter speed for a certain amount of panning blur, but yet fast enough to keep the car sharp.

Most of the time I use aperture priority, and manual when needed.

7/24/2008 2:44:38 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  "Fluff" Greg?

Do I detect a Canon user in the house? ;)..or ya just stirring the pot again?

David is quite correct in that choosing the ISO gives us greater control; especially when we have time to set up the shot.

The Nikon Auto ISo feature is quite useful in some instances.

EX: A photo journalist is walking around, shooting candids, street life etc....all of a sudden he/she sees a great capture in a dimly lit alley and zooms in.

"Nuts!..ISO 100 forced me to shoot at 1/10th sec and I missed the fleeting moment." "Hold it!; lemme' adjust my aperture..Rats!..Too late!"

Not sure about other systems, but in the D-3 and D-300, the user can select at what shutter speed auto ISO kicks up and then limit the ISO to any value..say; don't go above ISO 1600 or 3200 or whatever.

Hardly "fluff" to some styles of shooting.


Pete

7/24/2008 9:51:58 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Fluff, as in not needed, regardless of brand. Like sports mode, landscape mode, cruise control.
You can use them all, some people feel they have to have it. What's it take to do without out? Nothing.

7/25/2008 12:02:42 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Besides, if got away from f/11 at 30ft, you'd probably wouldn't need it either.

7/25/2008 1:15:38 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  A friend of mine thinks that anything beyond a wooden box and a shutter that opens with a timer is fluff, so it is all relative. The correct tool for the job makes any job easier.

7/25/2008 11:17:11 AM

  No, David B, your friend is absolutely right... all this camera/digital/exposure compensating/auto what not is totally a waste :D :D NOT!!!!!! (JK!)

Seriously, (all), the tools either let you get the pic you want or not. If you're spending your time diddling with ISO or other params, while missing the shot, it does you no good.

Yes, the Nikon D-80 WILL adjust ISO for you automagically in A (Av) or S (Tv) modes... I know, because it's done it to me.

Also, the Cannon A570IS WILL do this too, at least in certain scene modes... I know, beause it's done it to me.

All you need to know is in the EXIF data and whatever software you have that will show it to you.

EXIF data is gold! Study it. Understand what it tells you about how your camera reacted / compensated for a particular scene. Learn from it to understand how to control your camera when control is needed or let your camera make choices when it is good at doing so.

dvc

7/25/2008 9:06:21 PM

  Oh, and just to note: in the Nikon D80, auto ISO is NOT used a "vibration redution" approach, just exposure comp, nothing else. Same for the Cannon A570IS, from what I've experienced.
dvc

7/25/2008 9:19:30 PM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Pam, I reread your original post, and I would like to answer your question. Yes, using aperture priority could result in a slow shutter speed. I tend to shoot lansdcapes with foreground elements that are feet or inches away from the front of the lens, so I need a lot of depth of field. I set the apeture to what I need, and the shutter speed falls where it may. I almost always shoot on a tripod. For me, a slow shutter speed is expected.

If you are in a situation where you need a fast or specific shutter speed, then shutter priority is absolutely a valid tool.

7/26/2008 8:29:44 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Her original assessment of av mode was wrong, though.

7/26/2008 1:21:27 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Pam,

DOF is important in a variety of situations. Av is the preferred way to accomplish this.
Often the shutter speed will be too slow to hand hold with a certain combination of ISO & aperture..This is why we have tripods.

I guess it depends on who yuo ask this question to. Personally, I rarely use shutter priority since controlling the DOF is important in what I shoot.

I suppose I COULD shoot shutter priority and keep dialing until I reach the DOF (f/stop) I desire.

It's a simple matter of convention....I'm more comfortable setting my f/stops.

all the best,

Pete

all the best,

Pete

7/26/2008 2:30:24 PM

  Thank you everyone for such helpful comments. I will definitely start being more flexible with the AV, TV, M, & P Modes. I wished I would have done this on my Caribbean vacation. I would have gotten much better landscape shots if I would have used AV instead of TV. Also, I need to utilize my tripod more. But the thing is, it's a bit of a hassle to carry around on vacation. Any tips on how to carry all the gear easily?

7/28/2008 5:46:56 AM

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Photography Question 
Gretchen J. Gilkey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/19/2006
  25 .  Purchasing a Flash and Mount Bracket
Hey BP Gang! I am looking to purchase a flash and possible mounting bracket for my Canon 20D. I am leaning towards the Canon 580EX ... any suggestions?
Thanks!
gretchen :0)

6/24/2008 1:19:40 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Two thumbs up for the 580EX II. Many good brackets to choose from. With any, you'll need the OC-E3 off-camera shoe cord.

6/24/2008 2:32:00 PM

  Hi Gretchen,
I started with the 580EX and then added a 430EX and later an STE2 transmitter to allow me to set both lights at different positions away from the camera. The 580 will also trigger the 430 in a master/slave configuration. Starting with the 580EX is a smart choice.
I still don't have/use a mounting bracket because I have never found one that felt comfortable to me - but many people swear by them. I rely more on my tripod for most of my photography, but for weddings, I can see a flash mount as being very beneficial.

6/24/2008 8:26:30 PM

Gretchen J. Gilkey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/19/2006
  Thanks for the info!!!
gretchen :0)

6/25/2008 7:09:43 AM

Bill Boswell

member since: 3/22/2004
  You won't go wrong with the "wedding bracket" from Really Right Stuff. It is a bit pricey but with the L bracket for your camera it will be very comfortable and versatile. It also gets the flash up to reduce red-eye.

7/8/2008 5:06:44 AM

Gretchen J. Gilkey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/19/2006
  Thanks Bill!!!

7/8/2008 6:52:53 AM

  Hi Gretchen,
I have both canon 20D and 5D and use two 580EX speelights and a STE2 and that set up is like a mobile studio. You do not need mounting brackets and you have the widest degree of flexability possible. 10 stars on a rating of 10 I does not get much better than this.
Emile

7/8/2008 1:09:02 PM

Gretchen J. Gilkey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/19/2006
  Thanks Emile!! I went ahead and purchased the 580 ex II and a bracket. Now I am working on learning to use both of them!!!
Have a great day!!! gretchen :0)

7/8/2008 1:37:01 PM

  I started with a 420EX with my Canon Elan 7E, before going into digital. I now use the 420EX as a slave and place it on a light stand, and either use the 580EX as a master in the hotshoe, or on a light stand, and if the latter, use the ST-E2 transmitter on the camera and the 580EX as another slave.

It depends what type of photography you want to do with your camera and lights.
If you want macro photography, there are two lights either of which can be used for macro, although the 24MT-EX I believe would be preferable to the MR14-EX, ring-lite, which my husband (who knows little of photography) talked me into purchasing. Macro lighting is heavy and some people put the macro lights on a bracket, which Really Right Stuff makes, and place both the lighting and the camera on a sturdy tripod.

RRS makes a variety of brackets for lighting equipment, but it depends on your interests and finances. http://reallyrightstuff.com/flash/index.html

~Bunny

7/9/2008 4:03:14 PM

  Gretchen,

If your interest is wedding or press type photography, Paul Gero has an excellent course, which will cut short your learning curve.

Paul helped me learn to use the 580EX as a slave.

Bunny

7/9/2008 4:06:31 PM

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Photography Question 
Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  26 .  Reflector: What It Is, How to Use It
I just bought a set of lights and all the goodies that come with it, including a reflector disc. What is that used for? And how does it work? Thanks so much for any responses. Dee :)

6/24/2008 11:14:03 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  You use a reflector to reflect/bounce light from the source onto the subject. It's usually used to "fill" shadows on the subject with a bit more light, so that they won't be too hard, too harsh, or too black.

6/24/2008 11:26:13 AM

Dee Augustine
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  THanks so much for the response.

6/27/2008 8:12:00 AM

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Photography Question 
Chris Michaels

member since: 6/22/2008
  27 .  Flash Photography: Preventing Red Eye
When I try to shoot indoors with my long-range lens from any distance, I get red eye. I am unsure how to stop this. I am using a D70 with a AF Nikkor 80-200mm 1:2.8 ED lens. Thanks.

6/22/2008 7:32:54 AM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Chris,
Red-eye has little to do with lens; either focal length (zoom position) or aperture (f/number like f/2.8 etc.). Red-eye reduction is achieved by separating the flash from the camera. To accomplish this, you will need a flash unit capable to be dismounted from the camera. Additionally, you will need an interconnecting cord, flash-to-camera sync cord, long enough to accommodate two to three feet separation.
An added benefit will be realized when the flash is dismounted, that facial shadows become more distinctive, giving an illusion of depth i.e. three dimension effect.
Other countermeasures: Use bounce flash. Flash is directed at the ceiling, this gives the necessary separation plus shadows are softened by the vast expanse of the ceiling reflection.
Your camera likely has built-in countermeasures. Red-eye mitigation is accomplished by a pre-flash. A short duration flash of low power precedes the main flash. The pre-flash is bright enough to cause the subject’s eyes to contract. With the pupils contracted to a tiny circle, the odds of red-eye are reduced. Likely your camera features red-eye reduction, check your camera manual.
Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)

6/22/2008 12:58:30 PM

Dale M. Garvey

member since: 3/13/2006
  Turn on more lights. The SB800 has a head that can tilt and a card that you can bounce the flash from. The red eye shutter release delays when the camera take a photo. It sends a preflash so you might not get the best shot. Most photo programs have red eye removal programs. Picasa from Google is free and works great. Therre are also pens that do the same thing.

6/24/2008 6:46:08 AM

William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2006
  "When I try to shoot indoors with my long-range lens from any distance, I get red eye."

Chris, my take would be that as you get farther from your subject, the relative distance between the flah and the lens decreases which increases the possibility of red eye. As Alan pointed out, the solution is to get the flash off the same axis as the barrel of the lens. You didn't say what flash unit you have but if it is an SB-800, it will wirelessly control other Nikon flash units so that you can use off-camera flash without wires. A super clamp from Bogen lets you attach or stand the off camera flash almost anywhere.

Bill

6/24/2008 11:00:28 AM

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Photography Question 
Krista BonAmour
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/8/2008
  28 .  Portable Backdrop Stand
I just purchased a portable backdrop stand that I need to use for an outdoor shoot next weekend. I set it up yesterday, which was extremely easy to do. My problem is that it is so lightweight that it kept falling over due to the wind. Any suggestions?? Thanks!

6/21/2008 8:04:34 AM

  I sent you an email about this. :)

6/22/2008 10:40:51 AM

  Sand bags. You could use the ones for a flood, but there are refillable bags from camera retailers. The problem is that a large background will act like a sail outdoors, so sometimes you need very heavy duty-stands to use for a background. Consider C-Stands for such use, also called "century stands".
Thanks, John Siskin

6/22/2008 1:39:13 PM

Andrew M. Zavoina

member since: 3/23/2006
  I had several of the cheap nylon briefcases you get at conferences laying around. I filled two gallon size plastic bags with sand from the lumber store, covered them with duct tape for extra strength, put them in a nylon bag I had and put this in the conference bag. Viola, nearly free sandbag with a handle, shoulder strap or both. And because I used two gallon bags, you can get a natural crease to place over the leg of the stand. I have one for each of my stands now.

Many weighty things could replace the sand if you have them. It was a good way to recycle those bags I've had taking up space.

6/24/2008 10:42:47 AM

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Photography Question 
Jessica C.
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/30/2006
  29 .  Using Alien Bee with Nikon SB-600/D300
Hi there,
I recently upgraded from the Nikon D70 to the D300. With the D70, I would use my SB-600 on camera to trigger my Alien Bee AB400 studio strobe. This doesn't seem to work when the SB-600 is on the D300 body. The AB still fires (or looks like it does), but all I get is a black image. Help!

6/7/2008 9:07:06 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  The SB-600 works in i-TTL on both the D70 and D300, and fires a pre-flash for metering. The pre-flash will trigger the strobes before the shutter opens. I'm not sure why this would not be the case when using the D70. Maybe when on the D70 the SB-600 was set for M output which doesn't use the preflash, but switched to i-TTL on the D300?

6/7/2008 11:32:16 AM

Jessica C.
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/30/2006
  Thanks for responding, Jon! I used the flash in ttl mode on both the D70 and the D300 because I wanted -1 stop from camera settings. I could try setting up the flash in manual output and see if that works.

6/7/2008 11:40:00 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Jessica,
Instead of wasting the bulb life of your SB, why not just use the built-in flash on the D-300 to trigger your strobes? This is what I do all the time. Unless you're using the SB for some bounce fill?
I dial down my on-board flash to 1/64th and bang away in full manual.
all the best,
Pete

6/7/2008 7:39:36 PM

David B. Coblitz
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/15/2005
  I used to have this same pre-flash problem on my Canon Rebel 350Xti. Everyone told me it was impossible to overcome; however, I found a way that may work for your situation as well. Use exposure lock to set off the preflash & your strobe before you take the picture, then just make sure you've waited till the strobe has had time to recycle it's power before shooting & the preflash will be long gone & your external flash will trigger while the shutter is open.
Dave

6/10/2008 5:26:46 AM

Jessica C.
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/30/2006
  Pete, I am using the SB for fill, and I did play around with the onboard flash and that seemed to work well.

David, Thanks for the suggestion! I will definitely try that, and it would be great to keep using the SB as fill until I can get another AB.
Jessica

6/10/2008 6:38:47 PM

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Photography Question 
Brad A. Harr

member since: 5/22/2008
  30 .  Engagement Pictures for a First Timer
I have been asked to take my friends' engagement pictures, and honestly, I am nervous. I typically photograph wildlife and landscapes but occasionally dab in photographing people. We are going to be outside at early afternoon in Alaska. I have constructed a homemade silver reflector, and it works well. Do you have any tips for good poses or anything dealing with photographing people for engagement pictures? Any help I can get would be GREATLY appreciated. I'm hoping to make this a great time for my friends. Thanks!

5/22/2008 2:52:36 PM

Michael  Wasson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/28/2006
  Search BP for engagement photos. Having a few initial poses in mind helps you to get going and will also get those creative juices flowing. Know your equipment. Be aware of backgrounds (no trees coming out of their heads). Remember to keep cropping in mind and leave room around the edges for it. Most of all just have fun. If the couple has some crazy ideas of poses they want to do, go with it. If it's possible to have an assistant, that would definitely help. In most shoots like this, I always start out a little nervous but once you start shooting, it just begins to flow and always turns out better than you thought. Good luck and hope to see some of your photos.

5/22/2008 3:22:26 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  You probably know what you're doing, Brad, but in case you need reminding: set ISO 100 or 200, WB to daylight, a longish focal length like 80 or 100mm (35mm equivalent) for a flattering perspective, and remember to use fill-flash when useful. And shoot in RAW.
Got an assistant to hold the reflector? (Your very own wireless remotely controlled intelligent soft fill light ;-) )
A circular polarizing filter is probably not a good idea for skins. But, if you're at the seaside or at over 3,000 feet altitude, a UV filter probably is.
Could be a fun gig!

5/22/2008 4:14:22 PM

Ryan Glaze

member since: 2/9/2005
  Brad -

I shoot a lot of engagement pictures. When I first started shooting engagement pictures I would look at other websites that had engagement photos on them and I asked myself if I liked the picture or if I didn't...and then I tried to answer the question, "Why?" What I found is that I really liked candids...I would have the couple account something in the past that would get them talking to each other and me (e.g. tell me about who asked who out)...I then sort of act like I am setting my camera when I am actually getting ready to snap a photo. They often will look at each other when it comes to that question or one of them will look off as if they are trying to remember if the story is accurate.

I also find that my photos are better received when there is less separation between the couple. That might mean she needs to snuggle up to his arm, his head might need to touch hers, her hand could be placed on his chest or shoulder, he needs to wrap her up and squeeze her in a fun way.

I also tell them a very few simple rules...it is a fun event...and they must look good...both individually and as a couple...it is my job to make them look better...it is there job to look good. I also give them very general posing guidelines (e.g. Let's get comfortable in a sitting position close together) I then take the opportunity to tweak the image...a knee needs to come up, hands interlock, head tilt, etc. The whole time I am engaging them in conversation and keeping it light so that they are comfortable and enjoying the process.

I hope this helps.

Ryan Glaze
www.RyanGlazePhotography.com

5/29/2008 5:45:23 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
 
 
  Lovers
Lovers
 
 
Brad,
I to do alot of these and can tell you that it is all in making them feel comfortable,so that the love they share shows.
get them where you are going beach,park,zoo resturant ect.
Then just lay back and let them relax,before jumping in to pose.
the candids you will catch will be awsome!
Then on & off put your two cents in.
and get those poses you want & need.

Great places for poses are as stated here,others web sites, and Magizines.
one of the poses shots that I get compliments on all the time came from a "Iternity" ad and it also leads to some Very Cute candids!
I hope this helps,
Debby

5/29/2008 6:42:14 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Brad,

Posing is the least of your worries. Proper exposure is.

Get a friend and go practice first!


all the best,

Pete

5/29/2008 10:01:49 AM

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