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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 
moore White

member since: 10/16/2004
  81 .  Flash - Diffuser
I have a Canon Digital Rebel with a 420 EX flash. Using a diffuser, I find I have to open up at least two stops and use an ISO of at least 200. Is this normal? Thanks for your insight.

7/12/2007 4:44:58 AM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Yes, Moore, this is to be expected, since the diffuser, by design, is spreading the light output of the flash tube to a greater degree. The tube produces a certain amount of light; if you diffuse, or spread, that light out, then it's like "diluting" the strength. You must compensate for this by opening the lens, etc.

7/12/2007 12:26:49 PM

  Hi Moore,
Anytime you bounce your strobe off a wall, ceiling or umbrella you lose light. And you spread the light you have over a larger area. If you spread your light through a diffuser, you lose light. This is why more powerful light sources are so useful: you can get a lot of light and it will be diffused. Thanks, John Siskin

7/12/2007 7:01:38 PM

Thomas Ehlers
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/20/2002
 
 
  Wedding day
Wedding day
I used a strob above camera and controlled it with aperture. the background or ambient light was controlled by speed.
 
 
ambient light is controlled by speed, strobes are controlled by aperture.

7/17/2007 8:10:27 PM

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Photography Question 
Anthony Green

member since: 7/2/2007
  82 .  Getting Foreground and Background Sharp
I am doing a shoot for a friend's company and I want to know how best to keep the people and background landscape sharp and in focus.

7/2/2007 1:06:52 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  The short answer is to use the smallest aperture that will still give you a reasonable shutter speed. (f/8, f/11 or a higher f/number would work better than f/4 or f/5.6 If you're more used to shooting in auto modes, then use the landscape mode if your camera has one.

7/2/2007 5:37:56 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Follow Chris' advice ... but critically focus on the people in the foreground. They are the primary point of interest, and even if the background is a little out of focus, it's doubtful that anyone will really care.
Also, a wide-angle lens will help you achieve your intended goal easier, but the trade-off will be smaller (more distant) background elements and possible distortion of the folks in the foreground.
Bob

7/2/2007 6:01:01 PM

Anthony Green

member since: 7/2/2007
  Thanks I will let you know how it goes, and I will try my wide angle and then try the telephoto.

7/3/2007 4:37:09 PM

Michael L. Seljos

member since: 6/8/2007
  You might also consider taking 2 or 3 horizontal shots and then stitching them together into a small panorama photo. I have used this technique many times very successfully for those situations where I don't have a lens that will work for what I want to do.

7/10/2007 11:49:01 AM

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Photography Question 
Beth McHenry
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/8/2007
  83 .  How to Shoot Portraits at an Angle?
I really like the technique some are doing by taking a portrait at an angle. Could someone tell me how to best go about doing this? I have a senior portrait shoot coming up and I want to incorporate some of these images.

7/2/2007 10:32:14 AM

  Hi Beth:
I would say the best way to go about doing so is to tilt your camera. Don't worry about always having the horizon line or other background feature level - just go with your artistic feeling and let go. You'll find that the more you play around with it, the more comfortable you'll like it and come up with your own techniques. I have had great responses with off-centered and tilted shots - they seem to sell more. Seniors love "out of the box" shots - especially angles.

7/2/2007 11:40:09 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi Beth:
Debra's answer is right on. I had been struggling with that for a long time after seeing one of the portrait greats, Donald Jack,with his dynamic images -- until I studied with him and found how easy it really was. As a senior portrait photographer I can tell you that they do love those shots but they also buy pretty traditional images. While I don't have a Better Photo gallery set up, I DO have a gallery at www.photosbydart.com with lots of seniors and others as well as the art and nature. Tip the camera in the opposite direction you want to have them lean.

7/10/2007 6:15:50 AM

Linda Buchanan
lindabuchananphotography.com

member since: 4/26/2005
  Beth, I downloaded Picassa from Google, it is a free download. I discovered a "straighten" feature which is helpful to straighten a horizon, but it is also an easy way to tilt the subjects in the photo. I believe I have one in my gallery that I used this feature on. Try it with some photos you already have and see what you think. Good luck.

7/10/2007 6:29:48 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
 
 
 
Beth,
This technique is very popular, in Glammor, Wedding and Grad Portraiture.
But, you will find that with grad you need that balance with traditional.
We are shoting this about 3 sittings a day right now and most of each sale is traditional.
wishing you the best in this venture,
Debby

7/10/2007 6:52:30 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Beth,
This technique is very popular, in Glammor, Wedding and Grad Portraiture.
But, you will find that with grad you need that balance with traditional.
We are shoting this about 3 sittings a day right now and most of each sale is traditional.
wishing you the best in this venture,
Debby

7/10/2007 6:58:59 AM

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Photography Question 
Kristine P

member since: 6/28/2007
  84 .  Blurry Photo: Shutter Too Slow
I am just getting acquainted with a new Nikon D-80 and am experiencing problems in A (Aperture-priority) mode. Some photos I took of people indoors turned out very blurry, undoubtedly because the shutter took about 3-4 seconds to shut. I've tried adjusting the shutter speed but can't seem to find how. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

6/28/2007 5:06:18 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  A mode is Aperture-priority, which means you select the aperture (f/stop) and the camera selects the shutter speed. In order to increase the shutter speed, you need to select a wider aperture (smaller f/number). You can also increase your ISO setting if necessary. You might want to sit down with your camera and the manual that came with it and go through each section, trying out the settings on the camera as you go along.
Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com

6/28/2007 5:28:12 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  If you were shooting indoors with flash, you have the flash mode set to Slow Sync. That mode will balance the ambient light (thus the slow shutter speed) with the flash just providing fill light. If you want a fast shutter speed and the flash to be the main light, take the "Slow" setting off (see pp. 40-42 of the D80 manual) and set the slowest speed desired in the custom settings (#24, p. 98).

6/28/2007 7:35:22 PM

  Try putting it on Shutter Priority (S), and set it at 60 or 125 to syn with the flash. The camera will set the aperature accordingly. When using flash, you need to adjust the white balance also to give it the correct color balance.

6/28/2007 8:44:09 PM

Karin Marocchi

member since: 2/17/2004
  Jon

Do you know if there's any way to turn the "slow" setting off on a Canon Digital Rebel?

Thanks
Karin

7/3/2007 8:36:30 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  With EOS cameras, slow-sync flash is the default in Av mode. The later model DRebels XT and XTi (as well as the higher level bodies) have a custom function that will force the shutter speed to the x-sync speed when using flash in Av mode, but the original Digital Rebel lacks that feature. No matter. You've chosen Av because you want to control the aperture. Now you are also wanting to control the shutter speed ==> use M mode. You set the aperture you want, a higher shutter speed to prevent subject and camera motion, and the flash output/exposure is still automatically controlled.

7/4/2007 6:59:53 AM

Karin Marocchi

member since: 2/17/2004
  Thanks, I'll give it a try.

7/4/2007 7:54:11 AM

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Photography Question 
Sandra Wortmann

member since: 9/23/2004
  85 .  Using Studio Lights Outdoors
Does using studio light outside make for a more even lighting on your subjects? I have used my flash for a fill. Thanks!
Sandy

6/23/2007 5:53:20 AM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Sandra,
When shooting outdoors under bright sun, the lighting ratio is too extreme for good portraiture. Lighting ratio is a measurement about the difference in brightness between light and shadow. We generally take measurements using a reflection light meter, noting the different difference highlight vs. shadow.

Our hearts desire would be a one f stop difference (100% or 1 f stop) with more light on the forehead vs. cheeks in shadows. The facts are, under bright sun conditions, typically the forehead might read f/16 and the cheek in shadow might read f/5.6 this is a 3 f/stop difference. Often the ratio will be even more extreme causing the shadows to go black (void of detail). Today’s films and digital chips remain substandard to the human eye brain when it comes to the ability to record extremes in dynamic range.

Thus we must employ countermeasures. This could be fill flash or reflectors. The idea is to try and illuminate the subject with supplementary frontal lighting. Fill flash can be used to partially illuminate the shadows thus the righting ratio is reduced to a tolerable level.

For fill flash the trick is to know the guide number published for your flash equipment. We proceed by placing fill flash at lens height near the camera. Next we need to know the f/number we will be using based on the sunlight exposure. We divide the guide number by this lens-opening f-value. The product is the fill to subject distance needed to cause the fill light to arrive at the subject at the same brilliance as the sun light. Now multiply this distance by 1.4. We place the fill flash at this distance. The result is a 3:1 ratio.

Example: Your lens is set to f/8 your flash guide number is 100. Thus: 100/8 = 12.5. This tells us that if we placed the fill 12.5 feet from the subject, the sunlight and the light from the flash arrive at the subject plane at equal intensity. This would result in a 2:1 lighting ratio (too flat). Now multiply the distance, 12.5 x 1.4 = 17.5. The fill set to about 17 feet from subject will yield a 3:1 ratio. This is the ideal ratio for portraiture.

Rater than a photographer I am a technocracy so you should consider this as marginal technical advice.

Alan Marcus
ammarcus@earthlink.net

6/23/2007 10:20:58 AM

  Hi Sandy,
The reason for taking studio lights outside would be to have more power. So what can you do with more power? Well, you can do flash fill at a lower shutter speed and higher aperture. If you wanted a shot with a sharp image from the strobe and a blurred image from daylight mixed together, this would do it. Alternatively, you could use the extra power to diffuse the light from the strobe. This would make for softer fill light, thus softer transition from light to shadow. This could be very useful. I like to use Norman 200B strobes outside. I get power and portability fromm these units.
Thanks,
John Siskin

6/23/2007 1:14:51 PM

Jeff Coleman

member since: 2/5/2005
  Hi Sandy,
I think you should take a look at strobistblogspot.com
this is a blog written by a PJ about using small flash units off camera, there is a link to the strobist.com flickr group so you can see what a couple of thousand people are doing with off camera flash many out doors.
I'll be posting a couple shots here on BP that I did a few days ago.
happy shooting
Jeff Coleman

6/26/2007 4:02:01 PM

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Photography Question 
Linda D. Finck

member since: 6/18/2007
  86 .  Automatic Focus Problem
When I am in automatic focus, the camera will focus, but when I go to press the button for a picture, it will not work. I can take a picture in manual focus, but the pictures are not coming out as clear as I would like them. Whey won't my shutter button work in AF?

6/18/2007 7:49:35 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  It depends on the make/model of camera and lens. What Many have a default setting that will not allow the shutter to trip unless it can confirm focus, but they have an optional setting to fire the shutter at your command regardless of focus. While the image may look in focus in the viewfinder, the camera may not be able to confirm if there is not enough light, too little contrast, or if slightly closer than the minimum focusing distance.

6/18/2007 12:53:45 PM

Tracy Green

member since: 1/14/2006
  You did say what make/model your camera and lens is. I recently bought a Nikon D80 that came with a kit lens, the 18-135mm. I had the same problem you are describing with the AF, lens would focus and I would push the shutter button and it wouldn't take. Sometimes the lens would continue "searching" right past the focus point, even making a horrible squeaking noise at times. I tried another lens on the new camera body and it worked just fine, so I talked to Nikon and they determined that the new lens might be defective and had me send it to them. They repaired the lens and sent it back, and it worked like a charm!

6/20/2007 8:37:18 AM

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Photography Question 
Joseph M. Kolecki
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/4/2005
  87 .  Metering with Flash
How should you meter when using a flash? Both indoors and outdoors?

6/8/2007 8:15:22 PM

  Hi Joseph,
It depends on what you mean by flash. If you mean a flash from your camera manufacturer or a TTL flash made for your camera, then your camera meter can actually work with the flash. The flash compensation dial may help you improve your pictures. Try a negative one setting outdoors. If you mean a strobe like a Calumet Travelite or an Alien Bee or a couple of dozen other brands, the camera meter can’t read the light at all. You have to rely on other means. You can buy a strobe meter, which is usually used by standing at the subject and reading the light falling on the subject; or you can guess. I am a big fan of guessing. I usually pick f8 and set my shutter speed to my sync speed. Then I evaluate the image - on a laptop if I can - and decide how to change the lights. The histogram is a big help. There is some magic in this, but experience will help.
Thanks, John Siskin

6/8/2007 9:38:10 PM

Joseph M. Kolecki
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/4/2005
  Thank you for your response John. I am using a TTL flash... My setup consists of a Nikon D200 with an SB-800 flash. While doing wedding photography, I have noticed that it is very difficult to keep my subject from becomming washed out by the flash. I have tried compensating using exposure value however this affects the entire image, what I would like is a nicely exposed subject (foreground) while keeping a nice vibrantly bright background both indoors and outdoors (while indoors, hopefully with not using too slow of a shutter speed as most of my photos are taken while hand holding). Anyway, you mentioned flash compensation, I will definitly look into that... As for metering itself, I believe my camera does meter for flash settings however my main focus is always brighter background... The metering does not always work to my advantage for that.

Thanks again, I truly appreciate your time.

6/9/2007 6:03:11 AM

  Hi Joseph,
You might want to find the flash compensation dial. The button for it might be around the collar of your shutter button. The in camera meter should do a good job with your flash; it just needs to be told to give more weight to the light in the room. I thing a negative one setting with flash compensation should help with this. I know that some of the new cameras use the focus distance to help figure the amount of flash. Your camera should do that, you might want to check the manual.
Thanks, John

6/9/2007 10:07:10 AM

Marius Liebenberg
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/21/2005
  Have a look at this site, it is very well detailed and I think you will find the answers to your questions

http://www.planetneil.com/faq/flash-techniques.html

6/10/2007 3:43:05 AM

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Photography Question 
Fred Hofstaedter

member since: 5/2/2007
  88 .  Lens Hoods
Are lens hoods necessary, and do they work? Thank you!

6/6/2007 4:36:40 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  Better to have it and not need it. Under some lighting conditions, it won't matter, but in some situations, it may make all the difference. For light from above, or from an angle to the front of you, you need the hood (shade). It's also a good habit to have one on for protection of the lens. Have you ever seen video photogs at news events without a hood? Their hoods are rectangular because they do the job of shading better. Zoom lenses are hard to shade, so the hoods for these are, at best, a compromise, allowing shading at wide and narrow angles of coverage. It's better, I think, to use a hood.

6/6/2007 4:50:35 PM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
  Often, if (sun)light hits the lens, any dirt on the lens will be highlighted. Ghosting and other stuff from the light can also occur. A lens hood, in many situations, blocks the sunlight from the lens yet doesn't interfere with the field of view. It is a good investment if you shoot outdoors.
They are not always necessary. If the light is behind you or if you are in a controlled situation, it is probably not needed. Even if there is light hitting a clean lens, you probably won't notice much of a horrible problem.

Lens hoods aren't expensive, so, like Doug said, might as well get one.

Ariel
ScrattyPhotography Blog

6/6/2007 5:06:13 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  The Sigma EX lenses that I use 90% of the time come with hard plastic lens hoods. Sigma calls it a "perfect hood". It is petal shaped, to maximize the shading without vignetting at the corners. I use them whenever I use the lenses.
A couple weeks ago, I was at the zoo with the family. There is a huge oak tree that all the kids climb when they pass it. While helping my daughter down, my 70-200mm f/2.8 fell out of my camera bag and landed hood-down on a large root. The hood cracked, but protected the $800 lens. A little super glue, and the hood was good as new.
Chris Vedros
www.cavphotos.com

6/6/2007 8:25:29 PM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
  You mean, it was good enough to use. I'm sure you would rather have a new one. ;)

6/6/2007 8:36:31 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  No, unless you look really close, you can't tell it was cracked at all.

6/7/2007 10:26:23 AM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
  Was there a special glue for plastic?

6/7/2007 10:40:05 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  Nothing special, just Super Glue, available at drugstores, hardware stores, etc. I like the Super Glue Gel, because it stays where you put it and doesn't drip.

6/7/2007 12:27:36 PM

Virginia A. Ross
virginiarossphotos.com

member since: 1/8/2003
  I had the very same thing happen to me, Chris, with a one-day-old digital wide-angle lens. I dropped mine in the street, with camera attached. Both were saved by the plastic lens hood, which bore the brunt of the impact.

I superglued mine back together, also.

6/23/2007 7:47:16 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  Ooh, I bet your heart skipped a beat on that one! Glad to hear the camera and lens were okay.

Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com

6/23/2007 7:55:00 AM

Virginia A. Ross
virginiarossphotos.com

member since: 1/8/2003
  Yup. I forgot I had the camera on my lap when exiting my car; down it all went, smack onto the pavement. I had to let some time go by before I allowed myself to first, turn the camera on to see if it still worked, and then to look through the lens & check that out.

A close shave, as they say....

6/23/2007 8:09:52 AM

Paul S. Fleming

member since: 4/27/2008
  Fred, I shoot with a D-70 with several different lenses. I have found that if I use the flash on the camera, (When I forget my SB-600) I get shadows at the bottom of my images with either the petal hood or a rubber one. This might be something you should be aware of. I also dropped my camera and the petal hood saved the day...and my lens and camera. Happy shooting. "ps"

6/27/2007 11:04:36 PM

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Photography Question 
Katie Parks
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/23/2006
  89 .  'Green Eye' Effect in Animals
I have been tinkering with my lights in my studio to try and get a better feel for animal lighting. However, I can't figure out how to lessen the "green eye" effect my dogs have. Anyone know how to help me on this? Thanks!

5/29/2007 10:36:33 AM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
  The eyes reflect ... if there is a green light in front of them, there you go. In Photoshop (or other program, I like Helicon Filter), just use a brightness brush with edge sensitivity (or select the eye first), and decrease the brightness. Or maybe it would be better if you could use a color adjustment brush over the area, to keep some data instead of just getting a black circle.
Ariel

ScrattyPhotography Blog

5/29/2007 11:08:39 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Animal "green eye" happens for exactly the same reasons as human "red eye" - the ambient light is dim so the iris is dilated, and the flash is too near the axis of the lens. It is green because their retina has a green cast rather than red. The fix is also the same. Close the subject's iris by raising the ambient light level, and move the flash farther off-axis from the lens or use more diffuse light including bounce flash.

5/29/2007 1:05:40 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Katie,
Human red-eye and animal green-eye are products of the same action. Some of the light entering a transparent sphere will reverberate within and a high percentage will exit. Of the light that exits, a high percentage will be aimed directly backwards in the direction of the originating lamp. In other words, reflected light from the eyes will be traveling on-axis with the light source. As an example, in your car, as you drive at night, you are sitting almost directly over one of the headlights. Thus, you are on axis with this lamp. When this lamp shines on an animal eye, a big percentage will be directed back at the headlamp - which means at you too. The key point: Someone not on this line (axis) will not see the bright eye refection. The color of this refection is a function of the sphere’s diameter types of pigments and tissues encountered.
The 3M Corporation utilized this principle in the manufacture of high-tech reflective paints and highway signage, background screens for front projection, slide and movie projection screens and the like, all use glass beads. The principles are all the same: A high percentage of the light will be retuned to the originating light source.
A camera flash mounted close to the lens is on-axis lamp-lens and reveals red-eye in humans and green-eye in animals.
There are two countermeasures: 1) A pre-flash to cause the subject's eyes to contract to a tiny purple (somewhat effective). 2) Place light sources off-axis - i.e. move the lamps away from the camera lens, the further the better.
Alan Marcus

5/29/2007 3:12:32 PM

Katie Parks
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/23/2006
  Thank you so much for you advice guys!! I turned off my flash and just used the lights and that seemed to do the trick, thank you again!

5/29/2007 4:16:28 PM

Melinda MD Laubscher

member since: 5/28/2007
  Katie

You can adjust the photo on the computer as well if you have the right photo program. Me not having any lenses had to teach myself how to cheat with the computer. If you have corrol paint shop pro there is an adjustment that reads "red eye removal". There you can get a lot of options. Good luck.

5/30/2007 6:12:47 AM

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Photography Question 
Mike J. Caudle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/10/2007
  90 .  Exposure Problem?
I can come up with the proper exposure I want with my new camera, the Rebel XTi. Let's say I'm taking pictures of a barn, with clouds in the sky as the background. With my kit lens zoomed all the way out, it creates an image with the clouds having an all-right color/exposure ... however, the barn is dark! When I move the exposure stop up +1, the barn becomes visible, but the clouds/sky are way overexposed. How can I get around this?

5/24/2007 6:29:17 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  The dynamic range that can be recorded in a single exposure is limited. The difference in brightness between the sky and the barn is too great. With film, the typical solution is to use a graduated neutral density filter (dark at top, clear at bottom) that lessens the difference between the bright sky and the dim foreground. This also works with digital.
Additionally, there are several techniques for achieving High Dynamic Range (HDR) in digital. The digital Raw file retains more dynamic range than the in-camera JPEG files, so a better result can be obtained in post-processing with a powerful editing program. Alternatively, it is relatively simple to take several shots (one exposed for the sky, others exposed for the dimmer subjects) and combine them into a single image.

5/24/2007 8:41:28 AM

Mike J. Caudle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/10/2007
  Thanks for the reply. Do most images require that much work outside of taking the picture? I have Photoshop CS2, so editing wont be a problem. However, right now I only have a 1 gig card, so RAW owns me.

5/24/2007 8:51:43 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Mike, the quick answer is yes. Taking the picture is only the capture of the moment. Creating artwork, instead of a "snapshot," requires a lot of steps and knowledge. Film or digital, it doesn't matter. The end results are the same, but can be acheived in different ways. I don't see it as any different than any other artisan skill. Just because someone put paint on a canvas doesn't make them a painter or their final product art. Sawing wood doesn't make someone a carpenter. It takes experience and technical knowledge to achieve artistic results.

This is in no way directed as an attack on you. Honestly, I didn't look at your gallery. It is simply a response to your question about images requiring that much work. Anybody can point a camera at something and take a picture. True artists control their tools and use their knowledge of their equipment, light, framing, etc... to create beautiful images.

5/24/2007 9:11:20 AM

Mike J. Caudle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/10/2007
  Haha, no offense taken. Im soaking up all this knowledge. For some reason I always looked at someone who used Photoshop to be an amatuer photographer. But I guess Photoshop is the equivalent 'digital darkroom'.

5/24/2007 9:15:07 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  When shooting digital, there will always be some processing involved. If you have used on-camera filters (GND and/or polarizer, for example) and have the perfect exposure, there very well might be only minor processing, but there will always be a little. Remember, even if you shoot jpeg, there is processing, only it is done in the camera instead of PS. Like any other tool, PS can be used to turn a great initial shot into a beautiful image, or it can be used as a crutch to try and cover up flaws in the original shot.

5/24/2007 10:10:43 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Hi Mike,

"How can I get around this?"

Like Jon said, it's a dynamic range problem.

You can get around that with HDRI photography:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDRI
http://www.hdrsoft.com/
You WILL need a tripod, though!

Have fun!

5/24/2007 10:26:50 AM

Mike J. Caudle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/10/2007
  Wow, that is amazing. Now I get to have even more fun with my camera. Thanks guys.

5/24/2007 10:37:19 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  You can also use a graduated neutral density filter cut back the light of the sky. Your camera's automatic sensor sees the "bright" sky and adjusts accordingly, e.g., a darker barn. Or, you compensate for the barn's exposure, and the sky is washed out. This is the same challenge for sunrise/sunset pictures. The graduated ND filter will help balance exposure.

5/24/2007 1:48:51 PM

Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/15/2004
  This type of shot will require extra time either setting up a GND filter in the field or extra time in front of a PC.
Both ways require the use of a tripod.
I choose to use the filters and spend the time outdoors rather than in front of a PC/
The question "Is one way better than the other?" is like the endless Raw vs Jpeg debate. If you are happy with your choice,that is all that really matters.

5/24/2007 8:09:58 PM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Here are a couple of links on GND filters.

http://www.pictureline.com/newsletter/article.php?id=47

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/Using-graduated-filters

http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/content/2005/may/gb_nds.shtml

5/25/2007 8:44:12 AM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
  The problem of dynamic range is with film and digital, but mostly digital. The camera can only see 8 bits of color depth, and the eye can see much more.

GND filters will not always work, unless the horizon is more or less flat. With less uniform pictures, you will need to create an HDR image using Photoshop, Helicon Filter, (Picasa if you are careful to align the shots before-hand) or another program. What you do is set up on a tripod, expose one shot for the dark, one for mid-tones, and one for the sky. Then the program you use can combine the shots into one picture with more brightness information. Adjustments to brightness after combining the pictures can results in a shot close to what the human eye sees.

Ariel
ScrattyPhotography Blog

5/28/2007 5:00:30 PM

Helena Ruffin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/5/2005
  So glad to see this thread. I just returned from Normandy, france, and spent upwards of 20 hours in my "digital darkroom". Kicking myself because I didn't have the GND filters.
Thanks so much for the reminders.
Mike, this is a universal challenge.

5/30/2007 7:57:45 AM

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