Word and Image

Posts tagged “Technical tips

Night Shots

In the days before digital it was darned hard to do night shots as an amateur. Flash won’t light the Eiffel Tower. You used the film that was in the camera. Lights are bright but will not be sufficient to light up everything in your picture. Digital makes hash of all of that worry. The mini computer can compensate on the fly. ISO adjusts automatically as the light changes. The processor will adapt to artificial light.

Then – You accept noise in your image. Basically, you are thankful for a shot. Now –  The shots are so exceptionally better that you don’t realize how easy it all is today. I’m amazed. I take it in stride and even shot the stars (recently) in the night sky without a tripod. I’m not bragging. I can only say that you can push the envelope and it often will give you something better than expected.

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Perspective

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The Tour de France is a bicycle race of 2000 miles in three weeks. I have no desire to photograph it. Some people wait/camp along the route for weeks before the bikers pass. Then 100 riders go by at 28 miles an hour and it’s over. Too little bang for your buck. A British royal wedding? I’m not related. So, I would be among millions lining a street for a glimpse. If I lived there overlooking the parade route… My good buddy, Charlie (Bell 47 helicopter), loves the whole picture. Get the whole thing (ship). But, if you include the whole ship (helicopter) with its rotors, you lose detail.

There are times when detail (close-up) is better. It means you were there. You saw the finer details. And the whole (ship) can be discerned from its part. It’s a fine point. And, it’s an opinion. When film was limited, I shot frugally. I did not shoot well. Now that digital is plentiful, I shoot lots. I still don’t always shoot well. More is not more. Nor is more less. I find that I shoot more. I shoot wide angle and telephoto. It takes a second. But, lately I find that zooming in I utilize the camera’s capability to fulfill my vision better. No, Photoshop will not save you if you are lazy. You can crop the hell out of a poor image and get something. How about getting it without thinking you have a ready crutch to fall upon. I like to mix metaphors. Get the point?

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An image is two dimensional on the page. Telephoto perspective can crowd what you see by its depth of field. Perspective is something that has many meanings. It all depends on you. Technical or philosophical?

 


Different perspective

I used to hold the camera to my eye, look through the viewfinder, compose, adjust the settings, and shoot. Point and shoot has liberated me. Autofocus, auto exposure, and auto ISO have made it a virtual breeze. There are a high percentage of misses and out of focus shots. But, the payoff is good too. Forget straight horizons. The image is way more interesting if the picture is angled. Break the rules. You still have to know the rules to break them wisely. I do get some interesting shots. The good news is that I am not static and am still learning. Are you?

What was I thinking when I included this trio? Not much to see or admire. Useless shots abound. They don’t look good when I shoot them and rarely surprise me when I reject them. There’s no point of interest and the color is monotonous. It is a view of the back yard only a mother would love.


What’s been working

It’s not so much that you take pictures. I take the same ones. Not really. Confused? What I’m trying to say is that I take pictures that work for me. The subject may change. But, there are poses that work. I experiment. Digital allows me to do this relatively easily. Lately, what I realize is that I zoom a little closer. I pay attention to distracting backgrounds. Mostly, what I have posted of late are images that are straight from the camera without too much manipulation. That’s pretty good. I kind of plan it out that way. It’s been working.


Focus – II

Okay! So, read your manual. Or my manual. Duh! Don’t laugh. I neglected to do so. I was lazy and haven’t refreshed myself since I got the camera. Digital is like a computer. You can unlock a lot of secrets by reading the built-in tricks in the software. Geez! I did some hand wringing recently. My images were not in sharp focus. So, after some adjustment I think I’ve got the problem less worse. I shot a bunch of tests. There were still a high percentage of duds. But I was trying to test the camera. Nikon D610. It’s spiffy and I am supposed to be able to make it do what I want. To that degree, it does. I’ve been shooting way more with my point and shoot Canon G7 so I got out of the habit of looking in a viewfinder.

I have an array of cameras at hand. The iPhone is always in my pocket. A point and shoot G7 goes with me wherever. The big Nikon and it’s big glass is available. The happy medium? I don’t like the tiny iPhone lens. Yes, it’s good but not as much as my Canon point and shoot. I have a smaller Canon S100 too. And a Canon G12. But I prefer the larger lens and image size on the G7. Underwater photography convinced me of the merit of a point and shoot over the potential for heart breaking loss of a big rig DSLR. Bottom line: My point and shoot Canon G7 is about 90% of my shooting these days. TMI!


Orchid Redux

Change the lighting. High contrast. Focus. Whoa! It’s brilliant. What is the process of making an image? Lately, I have largely stopped doing much Photoshop. And, after much editing, I realize that “crop” is important. I do it in the camera before I get to Lightroom. I’m lazy. Sorry. A few tweaks. Not much more. Not bad. So many flowers, so little space to post. I hate to post more than one image. Sometimes, I just give up and post multiples.


Fireworks for Christmas!

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Manhattan Beach does their annual firework display at Xmas. They don’t compete with the neighboring beach community that does it in July. It’s a very large beach. You have to get a good seat. And so we did. The traffic was horrible. But we were already parked. I guess that was the limiting factor.

We sat alone with no one nearby and had the best seats in the house. It was chilly! And I got fireworks! Next July I’ll look for fireworks images. For now we got some great ones. How do you know he’s going up? He was. I suggested it would be easier to pull than push. But the image? It could be more likely he’s going downhill with the stroller…except he’s not.

On the technical side: I shot the fireworks handheld. This meant I could not use an extended exposure. Ideally: Use a tripod. Set the shutter speed to 3-4 seconds. Adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly. You get sharp trails of light and even multiple bursts. Handheld? Hey, it works too if you set up correctly. It’s what I did when I started. It’s not what I’d do now. But one adapts to the conditions provided. No, it’s not worth buying a tripod special for this occasion. I’m not OCD. Ha!


Jump

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The kids taught me to do this silly pose. I’m too old and can’t jump too high any more. But here’s the secret. Bend your knees under you. Even a few inches of elevation will look effectively dangerous scary. The trick is to look like you are hovering in air without the ground beneath. Someone thought of this. Who? And, I did it. The significant other in my life is afraid of heights. She took this.

Did I mention that visiting the Grand Canyon was on my bucket list too? As with most things it/this happened spontaneously. I don’t recall ever going somewhere specifically because of a such a desire that I planned it. Mostly, I fit life into what is happening at the moment. We were on a cross country trip. You have to cross over somewhere? See the hat? Gloves? It’s was da** cold! I got mittens which allow my fingers to hold/feel the camera controls. And for those who know me, this is probably the last photo of my beloved pair of jeans. Kaput, three years, alas, poor jeans.


Timing

Here’s a non-sequitur. At the average of 1/100 sec per image for 100,000 images over three years that would be about 160 minutes or 2 ½ hours. Therefore, I have recorded/documented about a scant two hours of my life during that time. Since I shoot a lot of doubles, it would be a far smaller representation. Video? You shoot a lot more “nothing worth saving.”

Here’s an exercise I struggle with. Timing. Get that breaking wave sharply focused as it rolls showing maximum curl. Of course, it should also be a big wave. I frequently miss. …try again. Usually the camera is in my pocket as I see a large wave break. And another won’t come along till I have the camera tucked back in my pocket again. Insanity! Or, Murphy’s law?


Focus

The challenge here was in focusing. The camera doesn’t want to do it. It would rather focus upon the background. Yes, I bet you wanted to hear me say it was hard. You don’t care….’cause I got the shot. Ha! Otherwise there’d be no post. We don’t show misses. But to get these, I took a lot of pics that were not good. If I had stopped after shooting one, we would not have anything but a lament.