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Thread: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

  1. #1

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    Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Previously, I have mentioned that when I need some opinions on my photography I often show it to the 'Scrutiny Committee' of my local pub (bar). And they always have a firm opinion on any subject . . .

    Well, I wanted to do some experimentation with my new 7D especially regarding quick shots of people, with flash. So here are a few of the regular 'inhabitants' from one afternoon last week.

    Bernard

    Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Clem

    Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Gunner

    Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Jim

    Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Morley

    Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    These aren't posed; straight 'indoor street photography' snapped as it happened. No lighting except for a Speedlite 580.

    Typical English pub ambient lighting (darkish). I tried bouncing off the ceiling but it is low with cross beams and I found it difficult to get the angle correct for these instant one off shots, so I reverted to straight flash mounted on top of the camera with a little negative flash compensation.

    Canon 24-105L lens. Camera M mode 1/125 F5.6 mostly ISO 400 Evaluative flash metering. Auto focus. I find that my best results for quick shoots of people is to use the same principles which I use for insects.

    Considering these were just quick as it happened shots I think they worked reasonably well; although obviously not perfect.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 15th December 2011 at 06:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Daisy Mae's Avatar
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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    What an expressive face,,good capture Geoff!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    What a fine upstanding body of men. A very sound looking judging panel.

    But I don't think the reaction to your images, as shown in the first one, was justified.

    Super set, Geoff. Are you enjoying the 7D?

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    Daisy Mae's Avatar
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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    The clarity is spot on Geoff!

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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Are you enjoying the 7D?

    As I mentioned elsewhere, Donald, I was initially worried about reports of it being complicated to use. And I second that, if shooting Jpeg with all the options turned on.

    However, I shoot Raw and have, eventually, managed to turn off everything which I don't need; so it now performs much the same as a 40D. Quality seems good so far; but I haven't tried flying birds with my 150-500 lens yet.

    The only slight downside is those massive files. I have a reasonable capacity computer but think I may have to consider a faster graphics card for best usage. I have started saving the Raw files separately (as normal) then downsizing my normal working edited images to around 350 mm (long edge) printable size. Unless I expect to be printing at A3 or larger.

    Full size Tiff files can be over 200 Mb which is at least twice the size of my previous 40D files.

    And thanks for the positive comments, everybody.

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    Rob Douglas's Avatar
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    Nice set. Looks as if you are get along well with the 7D. I personally like the last one (Morley I believe is the name) that is a great portrait especially using direct flash. Great work!

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    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Good stuff Geoff,

    Look forward to seeing more mate.

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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    ... I tried bouncing off the ceiling but it is low with cross beams and I found it difficult to get the angle correct for these instant one off shots, so I reverted to straight flash mounted on top of the camera with a little negative flash compensation... Camera M mode 1/125 F5.6 mostly ISO 400...
    Hi Geoff,
    I like the 'M mode' in this application because you retain all control over shutter and aperture. The lower FEV was a good idea too. Based on what you said, there a couple of things I would have tried. Did you try bouncing off any walls? If you had tried a higher ISO or slower shutter speed you could have used more of the ambient light. Did you try your camera's built in commander mode? I think you could have got the flash off the camera in your hand at least. Not sure the 580 does this, but I know the 580ex II does.

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    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Some nice candid shots there

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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Hi Geoff,
    I like the 'M mode' in this application because you retain all control over shutter and aperture. The lower FEV was a good idea too. Based on what you said, there a couple of things I would have tried. Did you try bouncing off any walls? If you had tried a higher ISO or slower shutter speed you could have used more of the ambient light. Did you try your camera's built in commander mode? I think you could have got the flash off the camera in your hand at least. Not sure the 580 does this, but I know the 580ex II does.
    Thanks for all the positive comments.

    When I first got a 580 Speedlite I was using it in much the same way as my old basic film camera flash, with fixed output, and whatever I did (P, Tv or Av) I ended up with a fully open aperture or too slow a shutter speed.

    Eventually, I thought about using it in the same way that was working fine for me on macro shots. Namely, setting a shutter speed and aperture to fit the scene then an ISO which wasn't too extreme; and letting the flash compensation sort out it's own output level, + or - a little extra compensation.

    Then I started to get better results, but I don't really do enough of this sort of photography to fully understand the potential.

    In this case, it was inside a typical English pub on a dull December afternoon, so the ambient light was fairly dark, although this has certainly improved since the ban on smoking in public areas.

    Wall bouncing wasn't really an option as most people were in the centre area and pub walls aren't reliable in their effect. A lot of variation in reflective surfaces including very dark areas mixed with photo frame glass. This was a potential problem which concerned me, and I had to do a bit of editing because of this, plus the celling lights.

    Initially, I started with ISO 800 but then switched to 400 and most of the higher setting shots got ditched. I find that with my macro flash shots I get better lighting effects at ISO 100 or 200 than at 800 or higher.

    I chose a shutter speed of 1/125 because these were quick action shots with no posing; in fact I was worried that this might not be fast enough with people 'going about their business' and moving as I was shooting.

    If these were posed shots, and I was using a tripod things would have been different. Much the same applies to using off the camera flash. At the moment, I don't have a flash control cable or wireless flash. I'm not sure what the 580 requires but I assume it needs some form of top mounted control. Something to think about.

    And once I try that I suppose an assistant to hold the flash would be useful. But when shooting in these casual conditions potential subjects get nervous and the bigger your equipment the more they get concerned. I find that just adding a straight forward external flash considerably increases the anxiety of people around me. Even with friends and me trying to appear relaxed.

    This is another reason why I didn't want to use bounced flash which would 'upset' the overall pub atmosphere and effect everybody. Targeting the flash is less distracting for other people.

    I don't know anything about a Camera Commander mode as yet, but I'm still trying to understand what the 7D options are.

    Incidentally, while mentioning the ambient light, and general atmosphere of an English pub, with it's yellowish low level lighting. I was once trying to explain to a friend about using custom White Balance so took two almost identical shots (of the landlady serving beer) with auto WB and with a custom setting.

    The custom adjustment produced perfect colours, but it just didn't look correct for inside a pub, while the AWB gave a very 'distorted' yellowish colour result, but it was absolutely right for the setting.

    This is where a high ISO and little or no flash can give natural looking results, although with rather noisy backgrounds, as Brian was mentioning. But on that day, I wanted to test the full flash effect.

    But I have rambled on a bit haven't I.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 16th December 2011 at 07:08 PM. Reason: spelling

  11. #11
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Good reasoning.
    Look more into using your 7D as a commander.
    For color balance you might consider a gel for your flash to match the ambient.

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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Cracking shots

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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Good series Geoff, you make it look easy

  14. #14
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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    Great series, Geoff!

    I'd say the Committee would be unanimous in their decision regarding this series!

    I think you'll probably find your commander mode quite handy especially for applications such as this. I wish I had it on my camera.

  15. #15

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    Re: Members of the 'Scrutiny Committee'

    I'd say the Committee would be unanimous in their decision regarding this series!

    They would never admit to anything like that though!

    Thanks for the comments and suggestions, I will try to read up on the 7D manual. Like I said, I only just got this camera and I'm still experimenting; and finding new things about it.

    I think I will return to this scene and try shooting without flash to see how the camera copes with high ISO settings. It is supposed to be quite good in this respect.

    Incidentally, I have produced a B&W version of Morley and printed onto ultra glossy paper which looks like a traditional film print.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 17th December 2011 at 11:46 AM. Reason: extra line

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