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  #21  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by i_am_hydrogen View Post
Then, I take a shot at -1 EC and another at +1 EC. Since my camera has an auto-exposure bracketing (AEB) feature, this can be done with relative ease. AEB allows you to take three pre-set bracketed exposures (e.g., -1, 0, +1) in rapid succession. Without it, you have to take each different exposure individually.
I have a Nikon D40X. Does it also have AEB? I've looked for it but I don't think it has it. I was planning on upgrading to the D90. Does the D90 have it?


Well I think this thread will come in handy!

Anyways, here are some tips on night photography. During the day I just shoot on Auto. At night I set my camera on Aperture and turn the dial until I get f/10-f/16. I use a tri-pod of course. And I shoot on RAW because I can edit my pictures easier without having too much noise. My ISO is set to 200-800 depending on the amount of light. If it's too dark I'll set it to 200. If it's too light I'll set it to 800. If the ISO is too high you'll get noise on your pictures which will looks bad.

Here's an example of a night shot.



ISO: 400
Shutter: 7.1
Aperture: f/14
Other things are on auto.

This next one was taken when it was lighter out.



ISO: 200
Shutter: 30
Aperture: f/14
Everything else on auto.

This was taken with a D40X which isn't too different from the one you have.
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  #22  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 11:22 PM
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^how do you get such good night shots? WOW.
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  #23  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by HomeInMyShoes View Post
I have no examples of doing the water thing.
I have an example of the water thing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by edmontonenthusiast View Post
With that photo did you have to use a tripod? So basically say you're at 50 mm on your less. 50+ for shutter will make it freeze. 49 and under will make it appear as moving, like blur? Correct? How do you exactly figure out Focal length I don't get it? What is exposure bias? In the photo you posted is the exposure the shutter? For a photo like that does the aperture really matter too much? I know big aperture is best for night, where as during day it doesn't matter.
Here's the EXIF data for the one I posted...

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)
Aperture: f/22.0
Focal Length: 28 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Off

You can get this from photo editing software, or sometimes by right-clicking the file name, going to properties and hitting the summary tab (at least this works for the program I use). You can also get it on flickr, which is what I did for this photo.

I used a small aperture (high f/# (f/22)), but a 1/8 shutter speed. This was hand-held, and you can see some blur in the rocks as a result. The smaller aperture (higher f/#) allows you to keep the shutter open for a little longer without overexposing the photo too much. Sometimes it's impossible, though, like, if you have a very light background - it will appear washed-out if you use too slow a shutter-speed.

Larger apertures (smaller f/#s) are good for low-light shots, you're right, but they can be used to give a limited depth of field (making the subject in focus, while the background is blurred) here's an example...



One of the great things about digital photography is that you can try out different settings without spending money on film just to test things out. So there are a lot of things you can learn just by trial & error.
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  #24  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by harls View Post
thanks i_am_hydrogen.. I'll try out your steps.

is photomatix available free on the web, or do you have to pay?
There is, but the free version leaves a watermark.


Quote:
Originally Posted by edmontonenthusiast View Post
I have some questions. I'm new to SLRs and I got the D40. I've read a bit about some of these things, but I just don't get it.

1) Aperture: how is it supposed to help the image?

2) Shutter: shutter speed and everything doesn't make sense! When I turn the dial too much it goes pitch black, am I going too high for 1/___ sec? I think so but I don't know how to get it just right. Like a waterfall - how to make the water blur or froze.
The Three Elements of Exposure

I. Aperture

Aperture performs two main functions. First, by expanding and contracting, it regulates the amount of light that is let onto the camera's sensor. Think of aperture like the pupil in your eye. Paradoxically, the smaller the F/number, the larger the aperture hole will be. For example, F3 will let in much more light than F12. In photography parlance, smaller F/numbers are called "narrow" apertures because the hole is narrowly open, while larger F/numbers are called "wide" apertures because the hold is wide open.

Second, as Home mentioned, aperture affects the "depth of the field" of a photo. Narrower apertures (e.g., larger F/numbers) create what is known as a "greater depth of field," meaning that the photo is acceptably sharp (or nearly so) from foreground to background, right edge to left edge. Wider apertures (e.g., smaller F/numbers) create a "shallow depth of field." The classic example of a shallow DOF is a portrait in which the person's face is in perfect focus and the background is blurred. The blurred area is known as "bokeh," a term used to describe the rendition of out-of-focus points of light. Three ways to achieve a shallow DOF are: (1) aperture, (2) focal distance, and (3) distance between subject and background. In other words, use a wide aperture, get as close as possible to the subject you want to keep in focus, and try to put some distance between the subject and the area you want to be blurry.


II. Shutter Speed

As aperture controls the amount of light that is let onto the sensor, the shutter speed controls the length of time that light is allowed in. A "slow" shutter speed lets in more light than a "fast" one. Slower shutter speeds can be used in artistic ways to give a sense of motion to a photo by, for example, blurring car lights, smoothing out clouds, blurring airplane propellers, and adding a cottony appearance to cascading water. Faster shutter speeds are useful to freeze sports action.

An important rule-of-thumb is to avoid--when shooting hand-held--permitting the shutter speed to be slower than 1/focal length with which you are shooting. Thus, if your focal length is 100mm, do not use a shutter speed slower than 1/100th of a second. But there is a wrinkle. Most non-full-frame cameras have "crop factors," meaning that the sensor is cropped such that it is smaller than the sensor of a full-frame camera. Without getting into too much technical detail, it is important to know your camera's crop factor in order to calculate your actual focal length. For example, a Canon 40D has a crop factor of 1.6x. This means that 100mm is actually 160mm. Consequently, you would not want your shutter speed to dip below 1/160th of a second.


III. ISO

ISO controls how sensitive the camera's sensor is to the light that is being let in through the aperture hole. It can add an "umph" factor to that light and make an image brighter. Higher ISOs, however, increase the risk of imparting the image with grain or "noise."


IV. Conclusion

At some point, it becomes necessary to better understand the mathematical interrelatonships between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Some examples:

- f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32 are the standard full f-stops. Increasing the aperture by one stop lets in twice the amount of light. Decreasing it by one stop lets in half the light.
- Halving a shutter speed from, say, 1/500 to 1/1000 lets in half as much light. Increasing it from 1/500 to 1/250 lets in twice the light.
- A wider aperture allows for a faster shutter speed.
- A narrower aperture forces a slower shutter speed.
- Doubling the ISO doubles the amount of light, which allows you to increase the aperture by one stop or halve the shutter speed. For example, assume the following: ISO 200, f/4, 1/1000. If you double the ISO to 400, you can widen the aperture to f/2.8 or halve the shutter speed to 1/2000.
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  #25  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by edmontonenthusiast View Post
I use a Nikon D40. So with the skies you are saying focus where you want it to focus then move the camera to frame it properly?

With that photo did you have to use a tripod? So basically say you're at 50 mm on your less. 50+ for shutter will make it freeze. 49 and under will make it appear as moving, like blur? Correct? How do you exactly figure out Focal length I don't get it? What is exposure bias? In the photo you posted is the exposure the shutter? For a photo like that does the aperture really matter too much? I know big aperture is best for night, where as during day it doesn't matter.
Not quite for the skies. I find spot metering problematic for focusing, so take a gander at the readings coming out of the camera when you push the shutter halfway down on certain points (dark area if you want that to come out, or a brighter area you don't want overexposed and check what the camera is saying for aperture and shutter speed.) When you focus normally for the framed photo just use the exposure bias/compensation/fooling thingy and use the exposure compensation (exposure bias is the same thing) to bump it up or down according to what you were reading off the important areas (to you) in the photograph. And try a few bumps above and below the baseline (exposure bracketing) and compare the results. You'll start to get a feel for when you need to go which way.

Aperture always matters. It controls how much is going to be really crisply focused in your photo (depending on your distance away from all the objects in the photo.) If everything is generally the same distance from you then it matters less. It also controls how fast the shutter will go. Try and think of it as there is one F-stop which has things exposed the way you want it to. Given that when you set the aperture, you are forcing what the shutter speed will be for a proper (what you want) exposure.

For that photo, I'm pretty sure I had no tripod, but I was holding the camera base against a rock to keep it steady. I use objects around me a lot because I'm lazy when it comes to carrying equipment.

Focal length is the length of the lens and determines how wide a field of view you are getting (or how close you are getting when you zoom.) Our eyes see things at about 35mm. 28mm is wide-angleish. Things past 35mm are zooming in a bit.

There's no definitive line for when you'll get a blur out of an object, it depends on how fast the object is moving. To freeze the rims on a car going 50km/h, you'll need to be shooting somewhere around 1/1000. Here the wind was blowing pretty good and the grass was moving pretty good. Generally shutter speeds greater than 1/60 is the speed at which you'll start to get unintentional blur because you yourself can't hold the camera steady enough (tripod, or some other immobilization would be needed.)

Exposure bias is the same as compensation. Generally my images tend to be -2/3 EV (or 2/3 of a stop underexposed in comparison to what the camera was thinking.)

Yes, the shutter speed was 1/50 of a second. The camera magically records the focal length (17mm) for you in the EXIF information. If you're checking out photos on flickr, there's a link (if the user isn't hiding it) to see more photo properties and you can get all of that stuff plus more.

Having said all that, there is no right answer. It's about finding something that works for you. Listen to everyone here and you'll hear some things the same and some things different, but I know I take everything I hear and try it out. See what happens. Adjust. And add it to my bag of knowledge.
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  #26  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 1:09 AM
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I have started doing more urban photo shoots, but I am new at it. I am a little concerned about any problems or dangers taking pictures on city streets. Anyone have any problems of negative reactions from people on the streets when taking photos to create a thread for the skyscraper forum? Any guidelines you follow or just follow your own instincts about when to back off or out of an area?
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  #27  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 11:02 AM
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.

id get to know any street or neighbourhood first if i thought the area was a bit dodgy.wouldnt be walkin around with a big camera around my neck.Scout for the pic you want and then snap,busy times of the day are good....but in general be polite and walk away from any agro.......id more afraid of being blown of a clifftop than getting grief on a street..thats my two cents
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  #28  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 2:41 PM
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I get a lot of crap from security guards that don't know the laws of photography. They are just doing their jobs but they don't know the laws and your rights. Don't let them bully you. Even the police have really no idea but im not really going to start an argument with them haha.

People ask for money a lot, they assume because you are taking photos you aren't from there, so they will try to take money, i just tell them I don't carry money when im taking photos. And to have a nice day.

The best way to handle any situation is to be professional at all times. Know what you are allowed to do by law, and be polite.
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  #29  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 2:48 PM
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Okayy, so I'm not an expert in Photography but I do like it a lot. I've wondered about photography editing softwares lately. Specially about Aperture and Photoshop.

What are the differences?
Which one is "better"?
Is CS better than Aperture?
Is Aperture better than Elements?
Which one is "better" in price?

I currently use Photoshop Elements 6 which is pretty basic. I like it for most of the time. I really wish I could create a Tilt Shift on Elements though. I've seen tutorials on how to create it on CS but not Elements. But anyways, can anyone give me a basic comparison on CS vs. Aperture or Elements vs. Aperture?

software depends on your needs really, I use several different ones when i process.

Adobe photoshop, best results hands down. for anything. but requires time and patience, and a lot of practice.

corel paint shop pro, easy to use, lots of effects at the click of a button, doesn't yield the best results though.

photoshop lightroom. If you don't do much more than crop, and fine tune adjustments this is awesome. You can also add presets that allow some crazy edits with ease and still produces some good results. Its geared to photographers that need to do a lot of editing faster. I still fine tune with photoshop though.

Photoshop elements 7. Not bad for the price, doesn't do as much as photoshop for for the price not too bad at all.
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  #30  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 3:53 PM
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Thanks HomeInMyShoes & i_am_hydrogen

I just want to put it into my words to see if I get it, feel free to point out where I went wrong.

Aperture.

Measured in f stops. Higher f stops mean smaller aperture (opening). Lower f stops mean larger aperture. Larger apertures are better for night photos so that more light can come in. Larger apertures help focus things in more. Going one down f stop will double, going up will halve.

Shutter Speed

It is measured in fraction of second(s). It determines how long the camera is exposed to the photo. Higher numbers (eg 1/1600) happen to freeze whatever motion is going on. Usually it depends on the zoom of your lens. If you're at 53mm, going 53 and higher can freeze the photo. Going under will blur motion. Usually going more than a few under will require some support as it will blur easily. If you go to low, the photo will be completely white, if you go too high the photo will be too black.

ISO

How the camera reacts to the light hitting the sensor. Higher ISOs are better for night time (because ... ?) but often times they will be more grainy.

Any close?
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  #31  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 4:41 PM
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my attempt at hdr last night. I used a tripod and Photomatix 3.

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  #32  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 4:54 PM
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If you do not mind me asking in addition to the previous,

How do you properly work flash? To me it really annoys me. When I want to do interior shots it is really hard. For say I want to blur motion, yet keep everything else still, or the opposite, which worked outside, it just comes out not so good inside. The light settings are terrible and if I change it so it doesn't say "Subject too Dark" it ruins the look. It just freezes or completely blurs. Then it tells me to turn on the flash. Fine. But the flash helps me not at all. It ruins the blurring because it lightens up everything and that ruins the blur. Not to mention it sometimes turns shiney, like wierd. It sucks also for night photography, when it tells you to use flash, but that is a different subject.
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  #33  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 11:08 PM
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@edmontonenthusiast: for the shutter speed, it's not correct what you are thinking that at 53mm you need to shoot 1/53 to freeze the photo. It's a guideline as to how fast you need to shoot given a certain lens size to prevent getting inadvertant blur from you yourself not being able to hold the camera steady enough. Smaller lenses (shorter in mm) are easier to hold steady, but it tends to hit about 1/60 when everyone has problems regardless. To summarize if the maximum mm on your lens is 300, you need to shoot 1/300 or faster (1/500, 1/1000) or you'll risk getting blurry pictures from general shaking while you hold the camera.

As far as flashes go. I am not the person to ask. I don't take pictures of people and I turn the flash off almost always. When you're getting shiney spots it's because the flash is too powerful for how close you are to the subject (it's reflecting and not illuminating at that point), so you need to step back and zoom in instead or you need to get a flash that you can tilt/swivel and bounce the flash off the ceiling of walls to illuminate the subject.
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  #34  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 11:58 PM
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^My lens is 18-55mm though, how does 300 apply? It seems when I go around 20 it blurs, but even up to 40 sometimes. Other times 40 makes it still, depending on the lighting conditions and zoom. I think the only thing I really get is a higher number (not to high) will still it, and low number (not to low) will blur motion. So in essence I think I partially get shutter speed but yeah.
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  #35  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 10:10 PM
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After looking at the whats your camera thread it seems a lot of people have Nixon,im interested in buying a slr camera this summer but am confused about the numbers i.e nixond50 70 etc.have basic knowlege and what would be recommended..saw nixon d70 on ebay....good time to buy as euro and sterling are at parity.my buget is 400 or 500 euros,dont know what that is in dollars....advice please
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  #36  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2009, 10:21 PM
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Nikon D40, D60, D90, D300, D700, D3, and D3x are the current SLRs being sold. D70, D80, D50, D40x, D1, etc. are not sold anymore but you can still buy them on eBay.

If it is going to be your first SLR, the Nikon D40 would be the best bet. I've been using it and loving it, even in auto mode it produces pretty good photographs. Plus it is easier to understand and you can pick up a few books. The Nikon D40 is also the cheapest SLR, and very high quality.
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  #37  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 3:51 AM
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Shooting in RAW... is it worth the hassle?
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  #38  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 6:01 AM
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YES, RAW lets you take more control over the final image.

-Blacks look blacker. The 'Blacks' tool easily allows you to control the dark colors and how dark you want them.
-Colors come out better
-Instead of 'sharpening' you choose the amount of 'clearness' in the image which means that sharp corners aren't created and the sky doesn't get as much noise.
-You can saturate images or choose 'Vibrance' which saturates some colors but not all. It also creates less noise on images.
-You can choose the exposure which is better than using 'Brightness' because it doesn't make the image look all ugly.
-Contrasts look better
-Brightness level is wayyy better
-Temperature and Tint affect the image more without making it too red.
-'Recovery' allows you to make the image darker or lighter. It's not the same as Brightness or exposure. It balances out the lighting in the picture if you will.

So in the end, yes. It is. And these are the only things available in Photoshop Elements! Of course, the downside is that you need special software in Microsoft computers to view the images and edit them. Like Photoshop or Picasa. You can't view them on default photo viewers.
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  #39  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 5:27 PM
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Originally Posted by edmontonenthusiast View Post
Nikon D40, D60, D90, D300, D700, D3, and D3x are the current SLRs being sold. D70, D80, D50, D40x, D1, etc. are not sold anymore but you can still buy them on eBay.

If it is going to be your first SLR, the Nikon D40 would be the best bet. I've been using it and loving it, even in auto mode it produces pretty good photographs. Plus it is easier to understand and you can pick up a few books. The Nikon D40 is also the cheapest SLR, and very high quality.
I would suggest the D60 as it comes with the VR lens and has a few more features and ups the resolution to 10MP
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  #40  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2009, 6:01 PM
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^you can't really notice the difference between 5,6,10,12 mp unless you blow it up lots.
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