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Thread: My First Attempts

  1. #1

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    Warren

    My First Attempts

    Spent the morning at a nearby park. My camera is a Canon EOS Rebel XSi. My main goal today was to see the difference filters made, alternating between no filter, UV and a polarizing one.

    I welcome all comments and suggestions.

    My First Attempts

    My First Attempts

    My First Attempts

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Frank Miller

    Re: My First Attempts

    Hi Warren, it is always good to run a series of tests to compare the differences between any filters, camera features, settings, lighting, etc. When you do, you get the best comparison when the number of differences is minimized. For a filter test, I would shoot with all three filter conditions for each image. Here are some of the things to look for with filters.

    1. Filters are great for protecting the lens from scratches and damage but every time you put something between the lens and the subject you run the risk, however slight, of distorting the image so this is something to look for in your testing.

    2. If you are shooting into a bright light, filters increase the risk of flare appearing in the image so for night and sunset shots you don't want to use a filter unless it is essential.

    3. UV filters were designed for use with film and have very little, if any benefit when used on a digital camera. Many folks use a UV filter on digital cameras as a reasonably inexpensive protection for the lens.

    4. Polarizing filters are used for increasing the sky contrast against clouds and for controlling surface reflections.

    5. Other types of filters are available, such as neutral density filters to reduce the amount of light, but in each case it doesn't make sense to use a filter unless you need the effect it provides.

    OK, back to the testing. I would run a series of tests using scenes that would benefit most from the filter I want to compare. For example, unless there are reflections that need to be controlled in the first image, the polarizing filter isn't likely to add any noticeable benefit for these shots.

    I would take a controlled set if shots with each of the filters and look for the differences. When you see a difference that matters to you, note the conditions and test further with and without the filter until you are convinced that you need a specific filter for those conditions.

    As a side note (your mileage may vary!) I no longer bother with UV filters and although I have a full set of circular polarizing filters for all my lenses, it is rare that I find that I have to use them.

    These are three really nice shots by the way!

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by FrankMi; 16th October 2011 at 01:08 PM.

  3. #3

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    Re: My First Attempts

    I totally agree with everything that Frank has said.

    Sometimes I carry a polarising filter but rarely use it when shooting digital and using Raw as most problems are relatively easy to correct during editing.

    In fact, I find that polarisers can cause more problems than they solve by darkening the whole scene which doesn't accomplish anything different from adjusting the exposure compensation.

    That, however, doesn't mean that they should never be used with digital photography. Just use them more sparingly than one would do with film shots.

    With regard to these examples. With the first shot, I think you did about all you could at the time of shooting. The bright area on the light coloured boats (are they aluminium) is the limiting factor. But this makes the rest of that scene excessively dark so I would do my editing on an adjustment layer (once again) and selectively apply less brightness to those bright areas.

    The second one has some interesting textures but to me the whole scene lacks overall interest. However I think that increased contrast may greatly help (possibly try a Local Contrast Enhancement with Unsharp Mask around 20 amount and 40 radius).

    Also those bright coloured areas in the background are distracting. Ideally they should have been moved at the time of shooting (if possible) otherwise I would reduce their brightness while editing. Yet again, an adjustment layer might help.

    You were simply too far away from the stag, which isn't sharp, possibly due to a slow shutter speed. This is a pity because you have captured a nice bit of action there.

  4. #4

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    Warren

    Re: My First Attempts

    Thanks for the input Geoff, I see what you're saying, and they are things I hadn't thought about. As for the buck (stag), that little sucker surprised me! I'm shocked I even got a shot off!

    What would you recommend as an photo editing software? Is the Adobe Photoshop powerful enough for making the types of edits you suggested?

    As for the first photo with the canoes (yes, it's aluminum), is there a way to take that picture and "dim" the bright spot at the time of the photo? I really liked the lay-out, but the sun just wouldn't cooperate. Guess I could have come back later in the day.

  5. #5

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    Re: My First Attempts

    Which software is the best for you is always a tricky question. Have a look through some previous posts in the Editing Forum where it has been discussed in depth fairly recently.

    Some free programmes like Gimp are quite effective but you could go all the way up to Photoshop CS5 at around 500 for the full works. And there are over 10 versions of Photoshop, including the popular Elements series.

    Somewhere around the 50 to 100 area will give you a wide range of opportunities but there just isn't a 'this is best value for everybody' answer. Certainly one of the cheaper Elements like #8 or 9 should be sufficient, but it doesn't have to be Photoshop.

    Before CS5 I always used Serif Photo Plus and found versions 12 or 13 to be relatively user friendly and they should be available at a good discount now. But still dearer than the free alternatives.

    With regard to your first photo. All you can do with that sort of scene is to set an exposure which doesn't over expose the highlights then try to recover the dark shadows with editing. Two or more shots at different exposures which are then merged is sometimes an option; but I don't think we should go into details about that at this stage.

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