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Thread: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

  1. #1

    Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    My wife and I each got an XSI and have started learning photography. I've had it for about three weeks and I've been glued to youtube, forums, and the manual learning how to take proper pictures.

    I'm beginning to feel comfortable with shutter speeds and exposure settings, but my focus has been on composition. I do not have any specific questions, but thought I would do well to start a conversation on my samples so I can see their weaknesses and improve.

    Though, I have realized I like the soft focus on portraits. I do not have any filters (besides UV) but I am trying to achieve soft focus through manual focusing. It's hard, any tips on that?

    I'm mostly using the standard 18-55mm lens, but I've borrowed a 78-300 (no IS) lens from a co-worker.

    This entire site rocks!

    p.s. You can see other trial and errors at www.flickr.com/photos/chrisandphill
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  2. #2
    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    Firstly, welcome to the site,

    As to composition there are certain basic rules. And thats just it, they're basic and rules, for me, should be broken. All I will say is you've made a very promising start and I like the duck (see comment). Read the tutorials here and you're also on to a good thing. There is also a very thoughtful discussion on what makes a great photograph in general discussion.

    Good luck

    Mark

    P.S. As you're on flickr, join some groups and post images there.

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    Re: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    Quote Originally Posted by phillip mabry View Post

    Though, I have realized I like the soft focus on portraits. I do not have any filters (besides UV) but I am trying to achieve soft focus through manual focusing. It's hard, any tips on that?
    As Mark says, you seem to have the makings naturally, so keep shooting and posting wherever you feel comfortable.

    With digital you don't need to worry with physical filters; it is safer to focus correctly, with the camera set to 'medium high' or 'normal', then use the many tools available in PP software to soften where (and only where) necessary. That includes the possibility of softening backgrounds to look as if you used low f no even if you didn't and portraiture often includes selectively sharpening the eyes (they being the normal optimum focus point).

    Pretty well slipstreaming the use of the camera, you need to try a few different software options to see which suits your style best.

    Chris

  4. #4

    Re: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chelseablue View Post
    Firstly, welcome to the site,

    As to composition there are certain basic rules. And thats just it, they're basic and rules, for me, should be broken. All I will say is you've made a very promising start and I like the duck (see comment). Read the tutorials here and you're also on to a good thing. There is also a very thoughtful discussion on what makes a great photograph in general discussion.

    Good luck

    Mark

    P.S. As you're on flickr, join some groups and post images there.
    Thanks for the comments. I started reading the great photo thread the other day and I like it. It's funny, I never understood photography. I didn't understand what made some pictures great and others not so great. But that's the fun, i think, is trying to find the balance between the rules and the spontinuity. Much like improvising in music or something.

    I will look into the flickr groups, I didn't know they existed. Thanks!

    Kind Regards,
    Phill

  5. #5

    Re: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    As Mark says, you seem to have the makings naturally, so keep shooting and posting wherever you feel comfortable.

    With digital you don't need to worry with physical filters; it is safer to focus correctly, with the camera set to 'medium high' or 'normal', then use the many tools available in PP software to soften where (and only where) necessary. That includes the possibility of softening backgrounds to look as if you used low f no even if you didn't and portraiture often includes selectively sharpening the eyes (they being the normal optimum focus point).

    Pretty well slipstreaming the use of the camera, you need to try a few different software options to see which suits your style best.

    Chris
    Thanks for the tip. What is PP? Is that the software that came with the camera to edit RAW images? I haven't played with that yet though I understand the concept I think.

    I really want to master my camera. I want to be able to set my depth of field with confidence and less trial and error. At the moment I guess-timate to get in the ballpark then kinda play with it. However I miss quite a few great shots that could have been spectacular but I missed 'em messing with my camera.

    And I have to learn how to be more patient. I am beginning to think that patience is the real 'trick' to a good picture. I had to follow that silly duck for 10 min just to get that one shot. Trust me, I don't like ducks that much.

    I am going to go read the tutorial on RAW images right now!

    Thanks again!

    Phill

  6. #6

    Re: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    Hi Phil,

    Some really promising shots. PP is 'Post Processing'. It's what some folk refer to as Photoshopping. Seldom will you ever take a photo that a little creative dodging and burning, cropping, altered contrast / colour saturation / brightness or a bit of sharpening wouldn't enhance. It doesn't have to be hours of painstaking changes - most of my PP works takes no more than a few minutes per photo. However, converting from RAW to JPEG is seldom sufficient.

    Few of our photos are truly 'great' in the sense of those taken by the real 'masters' of photograhy. However, all we strive for is to make our shots the best they can be. It's also a bit of fun.

    Hope to see more of your stuff. All the best. Paul.

  7. #7
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    Quote Originally Posted by phillip mabry View Post
    What is PP? Is that the software that came with the camera to edit RAW images? I haven't played with that yet though I understand the concept I think.

    Phill
    Yes PP stands for post-processing, NO!!!!! it does not mean using Photoshop; there are several alternatives which you will find discussed in the "image post-processing" thread.

    Shooting RAW means that the camera keeps ALL the information it can gather while the shutter is open in an unedited form. When you use automatic settings and .jpg output files, you have allowed the microcomputer in the camera to do some machine-editing for you. If you do some machine-translation on foreign language web-sites you will see that there is still use for the human brain!

    Manufacturers do usually provide some free software with a camera, but not necessarily the best option. I used to use Canon's DPP, but found it inadequate. With a Nikon, their free View NX is a good browser/sorter but will not read other makers RAW. Usually you have to pay for their Capture NX2, which is the serious editing software that (a) has exactly the same software under your control as the camera has for automated use, so you can effectively change some camera settings reptrospectively (b) editing tools that allow you to make an optimised selection from the RAW (nef) surplus material that is discarded from a .jpg output (c) makes it unecessary in most cases to EVER convert from RAW(nef), but still extract forum sized .jpgs in addition. (Canon DPP also obviates need to convert, but is inadequate for serious editing).

    You get a similar result by using, for example Lightroom for non-Nikon instead of View NX (though I think Capture 1 is probably better), but you do then HAVE to convert from RAW to use editing software. Photoshop Elements v Paintshop is debated in the "image post-processing" thread. Nikon Capture NX2 is a serious alternative to both, but more expensive, tho still cheaper than legit Photoshop.

    I suspect that with your Xsi, it is like my former Xs, ie it is better to convert using either a 'neutral' conversion such as included in Photoshop Elements with as few tweaks as possible than using the DPP converter, which tends to 'manufacture' colour that makes serious editing more difficult later, though throwing away much advantage of RAW/CR2. Or go to serious converter ie Capture 1 for best of both.
    Last edited by crisscross; 14th November 2008 at 09:21 AM.

  8. #8

    Re: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    Like I said.......it's what "some people call photoshopping". It's a generic term which means altering (usually improving) the image fro the file rendered by the camera.

    Some use in-camera sharpening, contrast, colour enhancement, etc. then print or post without using any PP work. When I first started digital photography and didn't have any PP software, that's what I did - because I knew no better.

    As Crisscross says, Photoshop is only one (though, arguably the most comprehensive and industry standard) PP programme. I have the CS3 Extended version but I use Nikon Capture NX2 much more as I find it more intuitive. In that I may be unusual - it's probably just how I'm wired.

    There are some PP programmes downloadable from the net - Google Picasa, GIMP and Photofiltre are three I've heard people referring to. I haven't used them myself, so I can't vouch for them. Incidentally, if you want tips on PP work, also check out:

    http://adrianwarren.com/index.shtml
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/

    Adrian's a really excellent photographer and quite a whizz with anything techie. Luminous Landscape is a fantastic site. You have to pay for some of their tutorials but a number of my contacts use them and swear by them.

    Have fun.

    Paul.

  9. #9
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Manama, Bahrain (Day and Night)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Analog Kid View Post
    ...Photoshop is only one (though, arguably the most comprehensive and industry standard) PP programme.
    Paul.
    If there is anything I loathe its an 'industry standard'. 'Industries' are for making money, often for the directors and shareholders off the backs of semi-enslaved workers. Photoshop is for the advertising and marketing industry and includes photo-editing material, but among a morass of other stuff for trying to make things look as if they are going to change your life when viewed for 5 seconds flat. It probably does include everything, but remains notoriously user unfriendly and, yes typically does force you into paying out for a course. Huge thanks again to Sean McHugh for demystiying so much of it, and yes web-searches on particular subjects, eg High Pass filter, do bring up some other really good free material.

    Arguably precisely because other progs have had to fight against this near-monopoly situation, thay have tended to specialise and excel in their particular area. So maybe you do need to look at things like Capture 1 for RAW conversion and I would back Nikon Capture NX2 against the field for photographic editing, but only that, except that for Nikon users you get the browser/preview and optional conversion thrown in.

    NX2 is not that easy to get into either, hence those of us who do use it and like it will go to a lot of trouble to get newer users over the hump, just ask via the specific thread Using Nikon Capture NX 2

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