Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Still Learning (love comments)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI USA
    Posts
    34
    Real Name
    Anthony

    Still Learning (love comments)

    I live in Michigan and during the winter it seems that there is nothing to shoot. Everything is grey and dead. I did some reading and put on my cold weather gear and went out trying to find some things. Birds, bridges, and trees gave me the most inspiration. I felt like a true noob walking around taking pictures of trees and birds. The bridges I put in black and white because I read they come out well when shooting on overcast days. I suppose that is the case. The one shot with the crooked tree looked very dramatic when I was looking at it and doesn't seem to translate to the computer (hence the color addition...thought it might be interesting). I didn't edit the picture of the log in the ice at all. I sat there with it in photoshop for a while and I couldn't think how to improve it. Finally, the pictures of the birds are my first ever. Actually they are my first with birds AND my first with any lens other than my 50mm. I felt like they were both very good. I had a lot of difficulty getting my shots of them into sharp focus. The auto-focus usually took to long or I couldn't tell from the lcd screen if the photo was in focus or not. Thanks for all the input. I am still learning. I have read a dozen books, watched untold number of tutorials and youtube videos, but it gets very overwhelming when I'm in the field. I'll set my aperture for a specific thing and then my shutter speed will be to slow, then I'll increase the ISO to compensate. Finally I'll take a few shots and realize that I had automatic bracketing on the whole time and half of my shots are over/under exposed. I have to practice more =) Any suggestions for also for subject matter in the dreary days of winter would be nice.
    Still Learning (love comments)
    Still Learning (love comments)
    Still Learning (love comments)
    Still Learning (love comments)
    Still Learning (love comments)
    Still Learning (love comments)
    Still Learning (love comments)

  2. #2
    Ricco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    254
    Real Name
    Peter

    Re: Still Learning (love comments)

    Anthony - in general well done.

    Zipping through a couple of your comments - what you said about watching heaps of tutorials / reading lots resonated with me as I did similar. All I can say is the more you shoot and learn from the shoot, the better you will be. I also sometimes find the case where I shoot a series of photos and then realise I forgot to change aperture / shutter speed / ISO or something but once you have the realisation, you are on the way to rectifying the problem. So with these aspects, more experience does make it better but I'm not sure that you ever will be 100% on top of it (at least I find that to be the case with myself). Once you think you are on top of something, you can throw another variable (e.g. flash) which sets you back to square 1.

    In terms of the photos - what do you think? If you paid $500 per shot and had them hanging on your wall in a large print, would you be happy? What were you trying to achieve with the photos and where did you fall short?

    My thoughts - I agree that the birds are excellent and you did a great job with them. No problems there. In general I also like the composition and the subject matter for all photos. However for the other ones and particularly the bridge shots, I think they are a bit soft. This could be from a number of things such as camera shake (tripod), wrong focus point or wrong aperture and hence depth of field.

    Having said all this - good effort and keep going. I can assure you it gets better with more practice. Hope this helps!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,651
    Real Name
    Shane

    Re: Still Learning (love comments)

    Anthony - your commentary made me smile a when I was out shooting the other day at the beach when I turned and headed for the car I realized that the light was hitting the hillside beautifully so I took a shot and wondered why is was so blurry...turns out the lenses were filthy from sea spray and no amount of setting adjustments could fix that

    I have also left in camera settings in place (especially ISO and exposure compensation) before only to have them effect the next shots. I try to remember to reset everything when I get home and double check it before I leave the house but that doesn't always happen.

    Anyway, you have some nice shots here and I would keep heading out into the cold if I were you

  4. #4
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,125
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: Still Learning (love comments)

    Anthony,

    Well done, for being relatively new at this. If you don't mind, I'll give my thoughts on the photos, and some things you might think about when you are out there again and/or editing the photos. I'll also give some general suggestions. Hopefully I don't overload you.

    First, the general suggestions:

    I am not sure if you used a tripod, but if not, the following applies: If you can afford a good sturdy tripod and nice tripod head, I strongly recommend you buy them and use them. I think a tripod is one of the most important pieces of photo equipment you can own; at least it's true for me anyway. Don't skimp on these either, buy something good. It's a well known occurence for people to buy a cheapo tripod and head, then buy a better one, then buy a better one. Then they wish they'd skipped the first 2.

    If your camera supports RAW format, use it. There's more editing potential with RAW files if you use something like Adobe Lightroom, or even just Adobe camera raw just before Photoshop editing really begins.

    Not always a rule, but as a guideline I'd exclude the wide open gray sky when you can, unless there is a lot of interest such as the wide angle of the bridge with lots of trees.

    Photo commentary (hopefully you are open to constructive suggestions and it isn't too early to hear them. I apologize if these comments are too much of a critique at an early stage, but hopefully you find them helpful)

    Bridge:
    I like this photo. It looks like you could straighten the horizon a little (rotate it clockwise a few degrees). I like the use of depth of field. Though I'd try to get a little more of the bridge in focus toward the center (but the end and distant objects being out of focus is very good).

    Log/ice:
    Very strong photo, IMO. Not sure how much you cropped this, if at all, but I'd either crop it or have shot it with the log just a tiny bit higher up in the frame so it's not centered vertically. This would also allow the "cracks" in the ice to the right bottom to travel downward more and give a nice flow to the photo. I like the line of the log diagonally and then connecting to the ice crack and then flowing the crack lines down. You could possibly punch up the contrast of the photo to accentuate the ice cracks more and the texture of the wood.

    Fallen tree:
    The dramatic feeling when you looked at this, compared to the photograph= When we are at a scene in person, we are experiencing the whole situation, and our brain computes the sights, details, sounds, etc into emotions and mixes all this up so that we are fully experiencing things. The camera, however, only captures what is really in front of you, and so what we felt in our mind is not captured in the photo. With experience you will learn to separate your feelings in the moment from what is really in the viewfinder, and be able to critically decide how best to capture what you really like about it. As many will tell you, this often involves asking yourself what, specifically, you like about what you see, and then decide the best way to compose your shot to communicate that via the photo. Usually you will close in one a specific object or detail, or colors or textures, etc. Or you might utilize a certain lens to accentuate the element you want to show (IE using a zoom lens to selectively extract a detail from the scene, or a wide angle to dramatize a sweeping view or distort a unique element).
    With this tree, I see a good number of photos to be had. I particularly like the branches that are plunged into the ice. I'd zoom in on the branches and capture a bunch of shots of various branches and the ice, excluding all else from the photo. Some very close up with just a branch, and maybe a shot of a group of branches or even a panoramic type shot of all the branches. You could also focus on the angles of the tree trunk only, using an abstract close up perspective, again excluding the surrounding elements. Perhaps you could do some shots of just an interesting branch as a silhouette against the sky. And so on...

    Bird shots:
    Nicely done. Birds are really tough subjects. You will get very frustrated, especially with insufficient photographic gear. But these are pretty darn good actually.

    Bridge photo beneath the bird ones:
    I'd do a version where you focus on the bridge more, excluding some of the left and right stuff, and some of the sky. So the tree branches that are on the left in the very front of the photo that overlap, would be cropped off. Then I'd crop a little off the right side to exclude the trees that are just in front of the bridge at the end on that slope.(I like those trees, but for this photo I'd focus on the bridge more). Finally I'd take a little off the top to get rid of most of the sky and bring attention to the fantastic bridge and the wonderful ice and snow that flow beneath it. And if I were editing this, I'd probably selectively brighten up the bridge a bit, making the wood "pop" a little bit. Not too much, but just enough to draw attention and make the bridge shapes show up more. On this shot and the next one, I'd increase the exposure just a little (maybe +1/3 stop) - you could do this in photoshop, but if you shoot RAW format adobe lightroom or camera raw would be the best place to adjust your exposure, assuming you didn't get it spot on in the camera.

    Last bridge shot:
    I quite like how you have the foreground branches at the bottom. It adds depth and interest to the photo. The distant trees in the center background are also nice as they lend depth as well, and set the bridge up nicely. I might crop just a tad off the top of the photo, but not sure unless I tried it. At the scene, I'd probably have moved the frame right a little to eliminate the empty space at far left and get a little more of the beautiful trees on the right side.

    Hopefully you don't mind all of these suggestions and don't feel that I have been too critical considering you are relatively new at this.

    You are off to a very good start!

  5. #5
    JPS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Essex, UK
    Posts
    1,475
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Still Learning (love comments)

    Hi Anthony,
    lots of good advice has already been posted here, so I won't add anything on this occasion.
    I'm glad you are enjoying your photography and look forward to seeing more of your pictures soon.
    John

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •