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Thread: pelicans

  1. #1
    sbartell's Avatar
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    pelicans

    my first post!

    I'm a new photographer and find this site to be gold. I've been talking to people and wandering around the net for some good explanations about what is going on in my camera and here it seems well laid out. So thanks to all who contribute!

    Here a a few pictures. I have my opinions about them and would like to know what trained eyes think.


    I did some post processing on this one. I wanted the yellow on the birds' heads to pop, so I increased exposure. For the rock, it was originally black. I wanted to see some detail. I forgot what I did, but got some detail out of it.
    In messing with the image, there was a side effect Im not too sure about. Looking at the histogram I find that each r, g, and b has a distinct peak. I feel this can't be good given that there is a high level of contrast between each color. So what are your thoughts?
    pelicans
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3111/...ed3376.jpg?v=0

    The second,
    pelicans
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3220/...dcde5a.jpg?v=0
    Last edited by sbartell; 30th December 2008 at 12:21 AM.

  2. #2
    milleniummuppet's Avatar
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    Re: pelicans

    I would like to see the pictures but it seems you must have attached them wrong

  3. #3
    sbartell's Avatar
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    Re: pelicans

    Ok, Ive updated the images to come through as links. I can also right click on the 'question mark' and select open in new window. This goes to my flickr account. Maybe I should look into finding a server that allows larger images

    -sb

  4. #4
    milleniummuppet's Avatar
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    Re: pelicans

    For me, its not really about all the graphs and data,
    I tend to just take a pic and edit until I am happy with the result.
    For me, Histograms etc can be useful when you have a picture that has problem areas and your not sure why they are occurring.

    So I wouldn't really worry, the pic looks great

    The second image however, looks almost as though the sky is a little to under-exposed?
    Not sure weather this is because of shooting conditions or anything, but if it was me i would boost the contrast and brightness in the sky region.

  5. #5

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    Re: pelicans

    For what it's worth, I really struggled with getting photos to display inline here - until I figured out what I was doing wrong.

    What the system want is a URL to the image - not to a page that the image happens to be on. Best way I've found to get the exact URL is to display the image then right-click on it - choose properties - and copy/paste the URL from there.

    eg ...

    pelicans

    and ...

    pelicans

    (In the above cases I needed to trim off everything after the .jpg)

    Hope this helps,

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:41 AM.

  6. #6
    milleniummuppet's Avatar
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    Re: pelicans

    Yea, you just copy the whole URL eg "http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3111/...ed3376.jpg?v=0"
    then click on the 'insert image button.
    in the pop up just paste the URL, and it will display inline .

  7. #7

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    Re: pelicans

    OK ... on to more exciting bits

    First up, welcome to the community!

    With regards to the images, the first isn't really my style, so I don't feel qualified to comment on it other than to say I wish that the shadow detail in the 2nd photo was exposed in the same way.

    With regards to the 2nd shot ...

    1. There's very little colour in it - if you want nice colours then you need to shoot this kind of shot at first light, or last light.

    2. Since the image had so little colour anyway, you might like to consider converting it to a greyscale image, and just work with the contrast.

    3. As mentioned above, the shadows are pretty much clipped (very little detail left in them) - so hard to do much with that - If you can't get enough dynamic range (ie shadow detail without blowing the highlights), you might eventually like to consider either taking 2 bracketed shots or getting into the wonderful world of Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Filters.

    4. Too much cloud for my liking - as a general rule put the horizon 1/3 down from the top (or if it's a particularly interesting sky, 1/3 up from the bottom).

    5. If you change the aspect ratio to 2:1 it gives the image more of a panorama look.

    Hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of incorporating a few changes to illustrate what I mean - they're pretty crude since this is a pretty low res JPG, but hopefully you'll get the idea.

    pelicans

    Hope this helps,

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:41 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: pelicans

    Hi & welcome to the forum

    I think you are suffering from a common newish photographer syndrome, namely still finding your way to synchronizing what you see and what you capture - in the first shot the line of birds is rudely cut off half way through a bird on the right, the second far too much fresh air around the bird array. I have been here myself. Get the composition and crop right, then time to worry about fine detail; much easier to get exposure correct if you are not shooting areas you don't actually want in the final image.

    Look forward to more pics

    Chris

  9. #9
    sbartell's Avatar
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    Re: pelicans

    This is great! Just what I was looking for. I've been fumbling around with about two cents of advice and now I've got some direction.

    Thanks for the help on how to post the pics. After a few more posts I should have it down.

    Chris you hit it on the head. I look out over a scene and have reasons for why it captivates me. But getting the camera to agree with what I see (in addition to what I imagine it could be) is quite another story. You know I didn't even notice how the bird on the right got cut off. It kind of bugs me now. I've been screwing around with exposure times, fstops, iso numbers to get it right. I'll even take pictures of the same exact scene with different settings to see the differences. With time I guess. Among that, framing is my biggest focus right now. On a side note, I just read an article on the Golden Ratio as put forth by Fibonacci. Its real interesting to find that nearly everything in nature applies this sequence and from it we find thirds most appealing. So cool.

    Colin, I'm so glad you broke down the second photo like you did. I purposely left it untouched to see the difference in comments between it and the first. The two photos were taken at the same place and time of day ( which I admit was a bad time for lighting... a little after noon). I originally tried exposing the second picture a bit to bring out the detail in the rocks like in the first, but like you said, the highlights blew. It must be caused by, like Chris mentions, the abundance of fresh air. The camera's metering probably favored the highlights. So in the end a greyscale definitely does it justice. I like what you did with it.

    And colin, I have looked through your gallery and you get what I want to get. So eventually I will wander into filters. I feel i need to get a few other things down first though.

    Thanks for the input!! I'm looking forward to what this group has to offer.

  10. #10

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    Re: pelicans

    Your very welcome

    Just a few notes that might help ...

    - None of us were born with cameras in our hands, and there's no "magic pill" that any of us can swallow that'll make us "instant experts" - success comes from thought and effort; thinking about what's required (including searching various resources, asking questions etc), and then getting out there with you camera and just doing it. When you get it right you learn what works - when you get it wrong you learn what doesn't work - either way, you get an education - and step by step you get a little closer to what you want to achieve. When I started out I made LOTS of mistakes - I'd shoot an entire set with the aperture wide open and wonder why I had no depth of field - I'd inadvertantly leave the camera on manual and wonder why the exposures were all messed up - and even now it'll sometimes take me 30 seconds to figure out why I can't see anything at night on the screen in liveview before I discover that the lens cap is still on! (personally, I blame it on old age!). So don't be discouraged. Get out shooting - make mistakes - try to figure out how you can improve - look at what others have done and try to figure out how they did it (or even better, ASK them how they did it) - post images here and let us give you suggestions.

    - Consider making up a checklist. In a "previous life" I used to fly twin-engine aeroplanes - really enjoyable - but - if you don't stay ahead of the game then they can kill you in a blink of an eye. One of the biggest aids to staying ahead of them was to print out checklists and work them until they were 2nd nature. You can do exactly the same with a camera - and it forces you to think. Get into the habit of checking off the essentials with you camera: "what mode?" "what aperture?" "what shutterspeed?" "what ISO" "what focusing mode?" "what metering mode" - how will this tiny image look when I print it out? are the key parts of the scene too big? too small? in the right position? During checkrides in the twin-engine aircraft instructors are forever shutting down one of the two engines (just after take off - in the cruise - on finals - you name it) - to "stay alive" you have to think think think - but you know what? You might think that shooting a sunset would be a walk in the park compared to an hour of engine failure procedures - but I think that I have to do JUST AS MUCH THINKING shooting a sunset or sunrise. Just like the aircraft, things are constantly changing - you have to work out to do to get a multi-minute exposure to smooth out some water - but allow for what the light will be doing several minutes later towards the end of the exposure - long exposures smooth water, but also smooth clouds which you may not want - so you have to think what you need to do to the camera to get a shorter exposure for that - and think about how you're going to need to focus that - and repeat the whole shooting match over and over and over again. You know what - it ISN'T easy - it's bloomin hard work - but the more you practice it, the better you get at it. Blood, sweat, and tears (literally! - especially at 4:45am going over sharp rocks with 2 bags, a tripod, and a torch!)

    Go make us proud!

    (end of motivational speach!)

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:42 AM.

  11. #11

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    Re: pelicans

    PS: Just a quick one regarding exposures ...

    In scenes like you had, take two exposures - one for the sea & foreground, the 2nd for the sky (usually 2 to 3 stops difference). In photoshop its an almost trivial task to stack the two as layers and paint a layer mask that reveals only the best bits of both images.

    And "hey presto" - instant digital graduated filter.

    Try it next time and I'll shot you how to process them.

    Cheers,

    Colin - photo.net/photos/colinsouthern

  12. #12
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    Re: pelicans

    a quickie before i hit the hay,

    good notes there. The checklist is a great idea. Its funny because one of my brothers is into rc planes and he tries to drill a preflight checklist into my head. The one day i didn't do it I took off with no rudder. So that was the last day I forgot the checklist
    And taking those two separate shots must be the bracketed shot you were talking about. I'll go play around with that and get back with you. Sounds like a good idea for the meantime.

    thanks for all the insight!
    sb

  13. #13

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    Re: pelicans

    "And taking those two separate shots must be the bracketed shot you were talking about."

    Yes. If you can shoot them from a tripod then it makes it easier to align them later, but even hand held is very "doable". The biggest thing is to get the exposures in the ballpark - the rest is just "smoke and mirrors".

    Movement CAN cause complications (where the same item transitions into portions taken from both shots), but if the movement is isolated to the bits you'll be using from one image or the other then even that isn't a problem (eg if you're taking one image for the sky and one image for the sea, it doesn't matter if the sea changes because you're only using the sea from one of the images anyway).

    Give it a go - you'll probably eventually find that using manual mode is the easiest (or use the built in bracketing) - but keep in mind also that it doesn't matter if you end up taking even 10 bracketed shots to get the exposure right - nothing says you have to use all of them. If you need help combining them just let us know - I'd be more than happy to do one as an example for you and pass on a few notes as to how to do it.

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:42 AM.

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