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Posts tagged “Technical tips

Flash Experiment

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Ghost images made by multiple flash exposure. I did it once. I have not had the need to do it again. It was an experiment in using my flash settings. I would have to read the manual to remember the technique. There are many things you try. I forget more than I remember. The things you use everyday get 99% of your images. It is still useful to experiment. Sometimes you do get to use a long lost skill.

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But flash photography and I have had a long relationship in which I controlled very little in our image making. I am a reluctant user of flash and prefer available light. So this was my one and only multiple exposure foray. Thanks Dave.


Selfie

(multiple values) Flash manual bounce 1/80 SB800

Warning. Don’t try this at home. And if you do keep in mind that double chin can be the result. It is another early flash experiment. The bounce flash gives fairly even lighting. But the image needs some more front light and a catch light for the eyes. Anyway, it seems easy enough to mess up the shot. For all my past subjects, I grimace at the mistakes you had to endure.

(multiple values) Auto SB800 direct and bounce

If you get it right then you can avoid the unflattering images. But the learning curve is always interesting. My Nikon D70 had a center focus point. It neatly did exactly that and got the bookcase perfectly focused. Later I found the Nikon D200 allowed for closest subject focus. After learning that, the images all focused on the near subject without the annoying out of focus errors.

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Autofocus does work well when you plan. The manual focus of my youth does not surpass the focus on the eyes here. And it helps if you have catch lights.DSC_0030-2


Bass Harbor Light

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Another day another lighthouse, there are so many. You pick. This is a very picturesque light. They didn’t build them for photo-ops for me. So some lights are very difficult to get a good view. Some lighthouses are on the map and can’t be seen from land. I personally think that’s cheap. But, hey! Well there is a reflection.

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See, I told you. But there are also some people in the picture. Still, she’s a redhead. I have a soft spot for redheads. Her boyfriend was taking forever to set this shot up. And I wanted the reflection. The breeze was a little too strong and the reflection was shimmering. And then he asked me to take a shot of them both. I mean I’ve been doing selfies all trip long. Really! Well I ended up taking this shot and used it._DSC8399 It’s a good story. And I had given up the hope that they would clear before my travel buddy would cajole me to get moving. Say it ain’t so Colleen.


Reflection

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I think this is becoming a specialty for me. So many of the lighthouses in Maine have water in puddles or pools among the rocks. If the wind cooperates then there is often a perfect reflection. And then I sit and watch. I even saw serious photographers wandering the rocks. I know you are serious if you are lugging your camera attached to an oversized tripod. (Really? I mean really?) But I estimate 99% never notice the reflection. So I wait and pick out some nice person, Colleen couldn’t believe how gracious I was being. But just to make someone’s trip a little more special… I would share the picture at their feet. Not everyone is receptive. Some guys are just there on a mission. I don’t bother them. But for some earnest tourist, it’s a pleasure to share something special. Maybe they will look at the world a little bit differently from now on too.


Playing Around

IMG_1445 copyI was editing. Gee, I have a lot of work backlogged. There was a trip I took in April to California and New York. It’s still in the pending to do list. And then there are all the recent dive shots. Life happens. The afternoon sun was obliquely hitting the Macbook screen. It created a high key shot. Now to get that image on a digital file is the next trick. The camera was in the way. I can see the image. I can’t capture what I see. Well, after some experimenting, I got something passable. Thanks to all who have followed my blog. It seems from time to time someone will mention they saw something. And many thanks to all the kind followers who take time to comment or like my posts. Once in a while I should remember to thank my readers. Thank you one and all. And, yes, alive and well.


Crab

IMG_9861Never put your camera away early. Another rule I follow. As we were headed home to shore, I looked in one more hole. There was a brightly colored crab. One shot only, and the exposure and focus were kind. There’s no name in the guidebook. I chased to get one more shot. The other side of the hole had two spiny urchins guarding. I could glimpse the crab, but no shot, no way. I’ve been spiked by an urchin. Once was more than enough. The crab was very shy and never put in a new appearance.


I Shot What He Shot

IMG_7346I was without a dive buddy. I can’t/don’t dive alone. Rules! So I fortunately hooked up with three photographers. At least everyone had a camera. The guy with the ‘big rig’ had excellent air management. We were down together for 91 minutes. That’s long. He wasn’t too communicative. Usually it’s courtesy to point out interesting things. He has a major big ‘mother’ macro lens attachment with some expensive glass. After he paused I followed and just stuck the camera up and took an image. Yeah, definitely just blind luck. Some days my mask has not cleared well and all the images look blurred and not white balanced. Some days are better. And sometimes it’s blind luck. No, kids, glasses won’t help. Actually these fish are out and about right now, perhaps because of mating season. I’ve got a better shot somewhere. IMG_7478After all this time in the water I can say I’m beginning to understand symbiotic relationships underwater. This fish and this coral like to stick together, most of the time. The human eye is trained (survival) to detect motion. What my eye can see, often cannot be captured by a camera. This enlarged detail shows a small fish resting before it darts away from my camera.


Camera Shy

IMG_6514I dove at a place I haven’t visited in a while. This blue fish is hard to photograph. I’m usually in a backlight position so the deep blue black fish has no detail. Though they are very common on the reef they are also very camera shy. I might see a school of them or a few. No matter the exposure is usually poor and the fish swim away so the best I get is tail view. It seems there are often exceptions to all rules. I had this guy challenge me. He knew I was there. IMG_6511I was shooting and he wasn’t going to budge and give up his position. I didn’t see any reason for him to guard this piece of reef. But he would circle and circle. So I got the exposure corrected and then I got the head on shot. Head on is the hardest. Nobody swims toward a larger object blowing bubbles and I can imagine how intimidating I must look to these fish.IMG_6508


Unfinished Story

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A few posts ago, I gave a long rambling recitation of detective work or early dementia. I have been having a recent series of camera mishaps. Briefly, I lost one and then another camera (due to stupidity). I’m usually OCD, but lately…. Well, (don’t ask), I’ve been experimenting. I have decided that, of my two used Canon G12 cameras, that I have tested, the newer is fine and that the older (first) is now having some serious focus issues. I told you Canon service said, “Send the camera, pay $189, and we’ll tell you what’s wrong, fix it, and charge you more as we decide what’s wrong. It’s not a very good deal. I figured to send the first camera in anyway. But the logistics of getting it to and from the US is a problem. Canon has a repair center here in Jeddah. It is not too inspiring. I’ve been there. It shares space as a luggage company. And if they can’t get parts…. I gave it a try. What can you lose? It doesn’t work already. I have the other camera to compare and the broken one is ‘broke.’ IMG_6010

Then for some silly reason, I took an image after I got a hair cut. They say, “Be careful what you wish for.” On one image (and it is reproducible), there is a single line of pixel errors (see vertical line; medial right eyeglasses). It is on the image/sensor. It doesn’t show on every image depending on the subject , but the defect is definitely real. This is a problem for me, especially as it is my primary dive camera. There is a workaround. I use Photoshop and heal the pixel defect – press ‘shift’ and then draw down the repair brush. Voila! The damage I magically repaired. The repair guy said it might be possible to repair this problem also, or maybe not. Or maybe you need a new optical (expensive) system. But if you saw the squid, the newer Canon G12 is sharp! I’m thinking I’ll wait a while. I’d rather have mostly sharply captured images than to introduce another variable. When I finally get all the troubles solved I will be so happy to just worry about technically getting a properly exposed image. Anyway, having a backup plan is always good.


Crazy

IMG_8235I have to admit that I’m in a quandary. Sometimes you look at something … and then it’s like you really ‘look’ or you just discover you’re seeing it for the first time. I did try to notice when Lisa cut her hair. It’s very annoying even dangerous (for me) when she changes things and I don’t take note.

My Canon G12 was acting a bit funny. Don’t ask; we don’t have enough space here. Canon’s repair website feedback was no help. They just sent back a series of generic answers. No prob, what could they really do? My paranoia is worse because this was purchased as a used camera. The images were soft almost unfocused. It was not consistently bad. But it was noticeable when we rode and saw the Pepsi sign.

IMG_8738The example provided here shows that the center of the image is in focus with definite blurring at the edges. I panicked. This is my primary dive camera. And if it’s broken, I have no way to conveniently or reliably get it repaired or replaced here in Saudi. Then I wondered if I was simply crazy. Was this just a function of the camera and lens? You can also see wide angle distortion at close focus as well. To cut to the chase, I took the G12, S100 and my trusty Nikon D200 to the field – soccer practice with Farid’s kids. I shot comparable images. What I can say: the Nikon has better images. Larger and better glass (lens) appears to win every time. The G12 is okay at the center but it was definitely soft on the edges. My problem is that I am shooting wide angle and close up while diving. Shutter speed is slow and the f stop is wide open, not a good combination. (I did have reasonable shots underwater in California, before I noticed the problem.) The S100 is actually pretty good with reasonable edge to edge sharpness.

Has the Canon G12 been like this all along and is it only now that I noticed the edge blurring?

IMG_8132Solving my problem is not going to be simple or easy. I’m locked into the G12 because I have the underwater housing and don’t really want to upgrade and get (spend for) another housing. So I made a compromise and got another used G12 from a reputable camera store. I’ll try to see whether the first camera is really broken. I can go back to the S100 but the battery life is terrible – too small battery for multiple dives. I don’t want to change batteries and risk getting the camera wet/fried.

And then logistically, this all happened just before I returned to Saudi. Now the trick is getting the newly acquired G12 into my hands in Jeddah. Mail it? A US postal package can take more than a month. And Saudi customs is very much a problem. They x-ray and examine everything for contraband. Things like bibles are illegal and confiscated. I have been told that someone with a magic marker blots out magazine pictures with inappropriate pictures. (Maybe not.) Someone has told me that the customs people may take what they want and a camera is certainly something that can be easily “lost in transit.” Insurance is no consolation. I also had medication renewals that did not arrive before I left. A perusal of the website states that medication cannot be sent without obtaining some certificate from the Saudi government. Good luck. The good old internet is no particular help; there is too much conflicting info.

In a wild/frantic/hopeful series of emails, I tracked down my neighbor Wissam, a neurologist, who had casually mentioned he would be in Pennsylvania this week. Great! I found him! He graciously agreed to carry camera and meds with his hand luggage back to Saudi. David FedEx’ed the package. David did me a big favor to find and go to FedEx just as he was headed out the door on an evening out. We needed delivery the next day. I had to send it to a hotel. I double checked and made sure Wissam was a registered guest and that the hotel would accept a FedEx package in his name. As I write, the final story is not complete but it does look like I’ve got a solution going. I had no past problems with medication coming into Jeddah. I’d hate for Wissam to be in trouble.


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