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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 8:59 AM
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General Photography Chat

I've always had questions about a certain topic in photography. But, with all these threads being about a specific subject/topic, I've never been able to ask my questions, have them answered completely or answered at all! So I decided to create a General Photography Chat thread so that people can discuss photography.

What to discuss? Just about anything...

-Tips
-Tricks
-Programs
-Favorite Photographers
-Style
-Questions
-Camera's
-Equipment
-Photo uploading sites

and anything else having to do with photography!
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Last edited by Aleks; Apr 2, 2009 at 9:11 AM.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 9:09 AM
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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?
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 9:40 AM
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^I can't help with the comparison, but I've done psuedo tilt-shift in Gimp which is free. There's nothing automated for it, but it's not an overly complex process either and unless you're doing large numbers of images it's not that bad.

I'm sure you could do it in Elements, but I find Elements overly clunky memory-wise. I tend to use Picassa for quick editing because it does the basic functions I need in lightning time and a memory footprint that's actually useable on my antiquated machine.

From what I can see Aperture 2 is twice the cost of Elements 7. About par for the course for Apple products. I love Apple, but the price is unweildy sometimes.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 9:48 AM
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Here's a sample for Tilt-Shift using Gimp.




I could have pushed the blur more and faster out towards the edges, but it was a first attempt.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 2:11 PM
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There's an easy website for Tilt shift - I've tried it and it works pretty good.









http://tiltshiftmaker.com/
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 2:15 PM
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I'd like to know more on how to do HDR photography. All the way from camera settings to what software to use.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 2:19 PM
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Me too. I've never tried HDR..
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 3:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Tony View Post
I'd like to know more on how to do HDR photography. All the way from camera settings to what software to use.
It's pretty straightforward. First, place your camera on a tripod or similarly stable surface. Hand-held HDR is do-able, but you need very steady hands. Some of my attempts have succeeded, but most have not. Second, shoot in RAW mode, not jpeg.

Depending on the dynamic range of the scene--the range between the darkest shadows and brightest highlights--you generally want to take three to five exposures. In my experience, three is usually sufficient. While in manual mode, I first dial in my desired aperture. Once that's locked in, I'll look at my meter and adjust the shutter speed until the needle is centered. I take the shot. 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.

The final step is to process the files in a software program. I use Photomatix Pro 3. You open it up and load the RAW files that will comprise the HDR. Once Photomatix is done blending the RAW files, it will display the HDR image. Next, it's on to tonemapping. Click the tonemapping button, and you'll see the same image, except that various adjustments have been applied to it. From there, it's a matter of tinkering with various settings (strength, saturation, etc.) to obtain your preferred result. HDRs range from looking unreal, hypersaturated, and cartoonish to so subtle the viewer may not even be aware that the photo is HDR.


Steps:
1) Tripod
2) RAW mode
3) Take multiple exposures
4) Process
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 6:14 PM
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thanks for starting this thread alex,as i have an interest in photography too ,probaly will learn alot on this thread....
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 6:50 PM
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thanks i_am_hydrogen.. I'll try out your steps.

is photomatix available free on the web, or do you have to pay?
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 7:00 PM
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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.

3) Get rid of washed out skies. I think that's the right term, the skies in some of my photos just look like crap.

4) Tips on night photography.

I mostly do urban scenes for photography. I am just new to SLRs but I really like them and I really really enjoy photography so it bugs me when this stuff comes up.(Shutter, etc.)

Thanks.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 7:47 PM
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First, make sure you get a tripod. That'll help with night shots and getting those waterfall shots you want. I'd reccomend a basic photo class. It'll help you really understand what all the different settings are for.

To start out trying shooting in aperture mode. That affects the depth of field. The higher the f# the smaller the hole and the more depth of field you have. Try to think about how you want the image to look and set the aperture accordingly.

Another good rule of thumb to remember is that you don't want you're shutter speed to be slower than your lens. If you're shooting by hand (no tripod) with a lens of Xmm, then your shutter speed so be no higher than 1/X.

If you're shooting with a 50mm lens then shoot at 1/50s, 1/60s 1/70s or lower... If you have the 300mm zoom on make sure your at least 1/300s. That's where the tripods come in.

One more thing. Check your ISO. The lower the ISO the better the shot. But for most things, especially if you're just posting to the web, you won't notice much of a difference. Drop down to 400 or 800. It'll be more forgiving for a beginner.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 7:52 PM
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Aperture
Think small numbers as a big hole and big numbers as a small hole. Aperture is directly related to depth of field, or how long of a range (distant from you) that will be in relatively crisp focus. Small apertures have small depths of field and are useful for getting the subject you want in focus as the only thing in focus.

shutter speed
There's a concept called exposure which is a combination of shutter speed and aperture. As you decrease one you need to increase the other in order to let the same amount of light hit the film (or the CCD for digital). There are a multitude of combinations giving you the same amount of light, but with the different apertures you get a different depth of field and as you fiddle the shutter speed, you can stop motion, or blur motion. The best motion photos for waterfalls tend to be duskish or overcast days when you can close down the aperture (high number) and get everything around the subject in focus, but then still slow the shutter speed down to sub 1/30 of a second and still not overexpose the photo.

washed out skies
You could use a polarizing filter to help reduce the refracted light in the sky, but another method is to spot focus on something midrange in the sky and take your photo with that setting. If you have exposure compensation, just dial it down to shoot minus a half to a full stop below what the camera is thinking.

Just try as many different combinations and find what works for you. I tend to shoot aperture-priority mode so the camera deals with the shutter speed for me and I just determine what I want for depth of field (aperture) and watch the shutter speed in the window, then use exposure fiddling to bump things down 1/5 to 1 full stop below what the camera is thinking.

And I'll go against brickell (no malice intended) and say set your ISO to the lowest number your camera will do. You'll thank yourself later. Unless you are trying to stop motion you'll get crisper photos out of lower ISOs.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 8:14 PM
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Thanks both for the help.

Additional questions (some based of what you said)

1. I tried a high shutter speed. It froze the motion (shower), perfect. Right? Well I turned it down to the opposite. It blurred yes, but I noticed that the movement still froze!

2. Aperture: you say it focuses certain things when it is a small aperture (high #)? But mine didn't focus anything it was a regular photo!

HomeInMyShoes, I don't quite understand anything you are saying about washed out skies, it doesn't make sense. Dials? Combinations? Is the Polarized filter a UV filter cause I have one of them. I usually don't do ISO higher than 400. My lowest is 200.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 8:18 PM
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Thanks Hydrogen! I too will try those steps.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 8:22 PM
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Originally Posted by edmontonenthusiast View Post
Thanks both for the help.

Additional questions (some based of what you said)

1. I tried a high shutter speed. It froze the motion (shower), perfect. Right? Well I turned it down to the opposite. It blurred yes, but I noticed that the movement still froze!

2. Aperture: you say it focuses certain things when it is a small aperture (high #)? But mine didn't focus anything it was a regular photo!

HomeInMyShoes, I don't quite understand anything you are saying about washed out skies, it doesn't make sense. Dials? Combinations? Is the Polarized filter a UV filter cause I have one of them. I usually don't do ISO higher than 400. My lowest is 200.

Thanks for all the help.
You need to pick up a book and go through it. Maybe something from the library. Your manual will also explain some stuff to you.

To answer the easiest question you posed above, no a UV filter is not the same as a Polarizing filter.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 8:47 PM
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And I'll go against brickell (no malice intended) and say set your ISO to the lowest number your camera will do. You'll thank yourself later. Unless you are trying to stop motion you'll get crisper photos out of lower ISOs.

That was the advice I was given as well. I don't disagree with it. But I found myself trying to force a lot of pictures when there wasn't enough light and becoming disappointed with the whole thing. I had to teach myself that it's better to shoot with higher ISO than to end up with 40 blurry pictures.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 9:01 PM
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That was the advice I was given as well. I don't disagree with it. But I found myself trying to force a lot of pictures when there wasn't enough light and becoming disappointed with the whole thing. I had to teach myself that it's better to shoot with higher ISO than to end up with 40 blurry pictures.
I've been told tripods have been made obsolete by today's high ISOs. Crank it up to 3200, and open your aperture to the max f/1.8 or f/1.4 or whatever and go with it.

I still use tripods for long shutter shots when I want some motion blur or a good skyline shot.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 9:07 PM
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^Polarized is different. A UV filter just takes out the UV range. A polarizer actually spins and you rotate it to get the right angle to take out the range of light.

If you shoot too slow without a tripod you will get a blurry picture (everything.) I'm not sure what happened with your photo (can you post it here for us to look at (EXIF information as well?) I'm guessing you didn't hold steady with the slow shutter speed and moved a bit with the shower motion and "froze it" and blurred the rest.

Skies. What camera are you using? What you are looking for is the exposure compensation/bracketing feature on your camera. Most DSLRs do this by pushing a couple of buttons to move the exposure either up (overexposed) or down (underexposed). You'll want to underexpose a bit to avoid washed out skies. Depending on what your camera is doing for determining exposure (middle, spot, overall average) you will need to either spot on the object you want properly exposed and push the shutter button halfway down then move back to where you want it in the frame and push the rest of the way. This would be so much easier in person.

I have no examples of doing the water thing. This is the only example I could find right now of using motion in a photo. Keeping the shutter reasonably slow (1/50) to keep the grass blowing in the wind.)


Exposure: 0.02 sec (1/50)
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 17 mm
Exposure Bias: 0/6 EV
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2009, 9:33 PM
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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.
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