Photography forum: The road to great photos

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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
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gasrocks
Jun 9, 2016 2:42 PM CST
1. Learn the basics of photography. Aperture, focus, how to hold the camera and such. A class for this is best.

2. Learn your camera. How does it work, setting it up correctly ( I have yet to run into a student who had their camera set up correctly!) You will not use all the buttons on it so relax perhaps. What can and can't your camera do? All cameras are compromises. They gave a lot of control over X at the expense of no control over Y. Practice setting it in your office cubicle, while watching TV. If you are looking at your camera, you are missing out on life and certainly not taking pictures. I can change any function with one hand on my camera while I walk without looking at the camera. Get there.

3. Take a class on composition.

4. Shoot with the best lens you can afford. Yes, if you are serious about photography you will get a DSLR.

5. Study and learn light. All photography is really about capturing light. Good light vs. bad light. Can you see it, can you find it? A or B, who wins? A - great subject under bad (plain, boring, dull) light or B - everyday subject under great light? B!!! every time.

Ask me more. Gene
[Last edited by gasrocks - Jun 9, 2016 5:28 PM (+)]
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jun 9, 2016 6:03 PM CST
right on Gene, couldn't agree with you more!
I need some classes. It would probably be fun to take some, but, right now, while I'm still resentfully crippled by my student loans I'm going to the school of hard knocks Hilarious!

Not that I've completed steps one thru four on your road map there or anything, but good light -- Can you see it, can you find it?-- I don't know, I'm really trying

Bad light? Yes! I can see it and find it any day!
magic light is much harder to come by. I think it doesn't happen very often in my world and IF or when I think I see it I am invariably doing something else and don't manage to catch it

I thought the light was kinda cool on this rose, so I ran and grabbed the camera


what do you think?
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
Hummingbirder Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Jun 9, 2016 8:40 PM CST
Light on rose is good, not great. Background is way too busy. Most times the difference between a good and great pix is the background. You know you are becoming a better photographer when you spend more time looking at the background than you do at the subject. Gene
[Last edited by gasrocks - Jun 10, 2016 3:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jun 9, 2016 9:19 PM CST
True that! background/foreground was even worse from other angles Hilarious!

Hey, we started a photo critique thread over winter and you are, of course, welcome to share any great pearls
The thread "Photo critique thread: I'll show you mine if you show me yours..." in Photography forum

I know I'm extra busy right now with a few too many pressing projects, and yet I'm always interested...it's a long road Smiling
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 9, 2016 10:54 PM CST
I have been working on step one off and on for a year on my own as there is no class available up here in the mountains where I live. That is the big minus.

The big plus is that I have a camera ... Big Grin

I am not certain what you mean by "setting up your camera".

So far, I am not using any of the additional lenses I got with my camera because I want to learn what it can do before I advance to that step. I've taken a lot of photos, few are keepers. Often I don't remember what I did right.

I surprised myself by capturing the shadow of the bloom. It sure wasn't planned.

This photo seems "almost" right, but I am still uncomfortable with it. Could you tell me what you think ?

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/18b648

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
Hummingbirder Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Jun 10, 2016 3:49 AM CST
Be honest, your eye is spending all it's time looking at the white blob on the left when the subject was probably supposed to be the flower. The lightest area on any picture will get extra attention - let's hope it is the subject. It is almost like 2 different pix in one frame - hardly ever a good idea. Again, busy background behind the flower. If you had just done the shadow and properly exposed it, it might be good. Hey, I'll bet that for the first 10 years I took pictures I never saw the background until I looked at the prints from the drug store a week later. Gene
[Last edited by gasrocks - Jun 10, 2016 3:53 AM (+)]
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 10, 2016 8:16 AM CST
I tip my hat to you. Thank you.

That light spot bothered me, too. I did want your honesty. There is no other way to learn to see.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 10, 2016 8:17 AM CST
Oh ... back to my question ... what do you mean by "set up your camera" ?
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
Hummingbirder Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Jun 10, 2016 9:05 AM CST
Go to the menu. Lots of choices other than the default settings. Out of the box, most cameras are told to do stupid things that you do not want. AND, excellent attitude! Too many people ask you about their pix and all they want to hear is how great it is. Gene
[Last edited by gasrocks - Jun 10, 2016 9:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 10, 2016 12:08 PM CST
Thank you. I have never liked the automatic settings. Not even on my old obsolete camera. I still haven't managed to learn how to set up this camera so that I get the shots I want consistently. Yes, I've been playing with it, but ...

btw ... I took the photo above and split it into two photos just for fun. Much better. Now, if I had got the focus right, they might have been better photos ... Smiling

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/6639af Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/b79858

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
Hummingbirder Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Jun 10, 2016 1:40 PM CST
Let me use an example from a slightly different field than flowers. For over 35 years I did pix of fairs and festivals. (now you couldn't pay me enough to go to one.) I averaged over 40 parades a year. See that tuba player over there? I'm going to get his picture. I'm setting the camera as I walk, changing lenses. I know where I will stand and how I will frame the shot. What a is my only concern? Light and background. Where is the good and bad light? Where are those trash cans, those ugly telephone poles, that boy scout carrying the American flag? Walk around your subject, look at it from all different angles and distances before you even touch your camera. Find where it looks best from and shoot from that spot. I do not care what lens you have with you. Shoot from that spot. Don't let your equipment tell you where to stand. Gene
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 10, 2016 3:27 PM CST
Gene ...

Most of the photos I've saved are with my old camera, so for composition that's what I can offer and most are of plants and flowers. Some are of the view across the road. A few of what I think were kind of interesting were submitted in a thread that Asa started called "The Circle of Life: everything else".

I am trying not to use that camera, so most of what I have with the new camera is not even something I want to keep.

So just running through the old archives, here are a few:

I only have one photo where I just took the shot. I was headed out to the front of the house to take flower photos. I knew at that time of day that part of the yard was in shade, so I had the camera set up for that kind of light and surprised a buck:

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/eb1cf5

A couple of flower shots at different times of day

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/f33598

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/2c49e8

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/4eff8c

One close up for the "Circle of Life" thread

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/6d49cc

These photos were taken with the new camera, but came out too dark

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/9fff1d

Thumb of 2016-06-10/RoseBlush1/135146

again, I missed what I was after

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

marichap
Jun 17, 2016 12:12 PM CST
Any advice for point and shoot digital photographers? I have a few that I love, but it's mostly a matter of luck. I do think I' m pretty good at framing. Marichap
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
Hummingbirder Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Jun 17, 2016 12:35 PM CST
P&S is photography just like using any other camera. Composition would be key, yes. You are only limited by having a smaller sensor which changes some things. Technical things. DOF for example. Do take a class on composition, Mine is coming up in July again. Show us a pix or two please. This thread need much more activity, IMO. Gene
[Last edited by gasrocks - Jun 17, 2016 12:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
Hummingbirder Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Jul 2, 2016 11:42 AM CST
Over 2 weeks and no activity ? ! Come on photographers and snap shooters. I'll bet this is the prime time of the year for taking pix for many, many people. Gene
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 2, 2016 1:51 PM CST
Funny you should ask today ... Smiling

I have been trying to figure out how to compensate for my light problems with my camera without having to resort to using filters.

I know the best light is supposed to be in the mornings and afternoons or on cloudy days. I do have a sense of what camera settings I should use, but my photos always seem to be over exposed.

I live in the mountains and it seems like both the morning light and afternoon light is still incredibly intense. I might as well be taking my photos in the middle of the day.

During the summer months, it is so hot up here, taking photos is kind of a hit-and-run kind of thing, so I'd like to be able to set up my camera, run out and take a few photos and then get to work. So far, I haven't figured out how to set up the camera for intense eastern sunlight. There is very little shade available to filter the light.

No, I am not using the auto settings.

I have a Kodak EasyShare Z740 zoom digital camera
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
Hummingbirder Garden Sages
Image
gasrocks
Jul 2, 2016 2:37 PM CST
Yes, filters are not the answer. Very few filters are used in the digital world. Intense light is not the real issue. The problem is probably (hey, an example. a photo that did not turn out is what we need here!) the tone (notice I did not say color. Exposure has little to do with colors but is about tones on a B&W scale) of the subject vs. the tone of the background. The camera is judging exposure by looking at the whole scene. It has no idea what your subject is. Most of my students have trouble with exposure when they have too much background and not enough subject in the frame. But here I am assuming a certain situation. We need EXAMPLES to look at!! Gene
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 2, 2016 4:57 PM CST
OK ... I've got a few shots with morning eastern light and and a few with evening western light. Yes, the evening photos look crispy ... that's because it was 107F in my back yard yesterday.

Morning light photos:

Thumb of 2016-07-02/RoseBlush1/f245aa


Thumb of 2016-07-02/RoseBlush1/cd5664


Thumb of 2016-07-02/RoseBlush1/8609e6

Evening light photos:


Thumb of 2016-07-02/RoseBlush1/8ca2b3


Thumb of 2016-07-02/RoseBlush1/a174dc


Thumb of 2016-07-02/RoseBlush1/e1e4a2

Yes, I was trying to make adjustments so that the last two photos were not so bright as the first one in the evening photos, but sure didn't get there.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Houseplants Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Butterflies
Hummingbirder Garden Sages
Image
gasrocks
Jul 2, 2016 5:02 PM CST
I like 'em. Yes, dark background fools the camera into over exposing the pix. Not the best quality of light. You did probably the best that could be done. Overcast days, dusk, dawn, storms is your best light in general. Gene
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jul 2, 2016 5:24 PM CST
That first photo I think has more of the balanced lighting look you are after. How early in the morning were those photos taken. How late? How much longer till dark?

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