Camera lust

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burntlizard
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Camera lust

Post by burntlizard » May 06 2012 3:44 pm

I subscribe to digital photography school e-mail and thought I'd share this article. I agree with it, your only as good as your skill set. I'm frustrated, but I still learn and ask for assistance from experienced photographers. Although, my life would be a lot easier if my camera could go higher than f8, f22 seems to be a sweet spot for some great photos.

http://digital-photography-school.com/s ... -and-shoot

Cheers,

Lance
Last edited by burntlizard on May 07 2012 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Camera lust

Post by azbackpackr » May 06 2012 4:04 pm

Although I have only point and shoots, (a Sony Cybershot and a Fujifilm) think I come up with some okay photos from time to time. A lot of it is composition, and learning to have something large in the foreground to provide some depth.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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jochal
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Re: Camera lust

Post by jochal » May 06 2012 4:10 pm

I'd pretty much agree with this article, and azbackpacker. Someone gave me a book recently (I think they were trying to tell me something :sl: ) all about composition, The Photographers Eye. Its got me pretty excited. I've read it through twice already, and will probably read it again a few more times. Far more important than equipment, in my opinion. Better equipment will open up more options, but yeah, the cheapest camera can take great photos, just maybe not all the photos you want.

f22 might be a sweet spot in terms of absolute sharpness in landscape photos for full frame slrs, but not for most dslrs (more like maybe f13) and compacts (maybe f5.6). I was reading some az highways book the other day where jack dykinga talked about shooting at f45 or something. Thats great if you are using a medium format camera (big), but not for the rest of us. It kind of bugged me that the book didn't explain that.

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burntlizard
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Re: Camera lust

Post by burntlizard » May 06 2012 4:51 pm

I had just noticed a lot of great shots were at f22, such as some of the Grand Falls photo sets. f5.6 works well on my camera. I've been reading some articles, especially from the Cornell lab of Ornithology http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1478 and this bird thing has got me all excited. The thrill of the chase is driving me to seek out more rare species, June will be a big month for me, I'm going on a 3 day birding marathon.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Camera lust

Post by azbackpackr » May 06 2012 5:15 pm

Rare birds? Costa Rica!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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burntlizard
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Re: Camera lust

Post by burntlizard » May 06 2012 9:25 pm

Well, rare Arizona birds anyway ;)

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azbackpackr
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Re: Camera lust

Post by azbackpackr » May 07 2012 4:07 am

I used to do a bit of "birding" on my own. No joining clubs, no taking photos, just binocs and a bird book. Kept a list. It was fun!

So, I went kayaking here in Costa Rica recently, over by the Nicoya Peninsula. I haven't posted the photos, maybe I will. Anyway, we saw a lot of interesting birds. We paddled across a bay to a mangrove swamp. It was high tide, so we could paddle into channels there. We saw a boat-billed heron, green heron and tri colored heron. Then we went back out into the bay and saw a bunch of pelicans and terns. Then we paddled up a freshwater creek. We saw snowy egrets, several ibis, and the crowning event of the day (if you knew anything about rare birds) was seeing a roseate spoonbill fly by. Huge and very pink!! But I didn't get a good look at it because it didn't land nearby. I was also excited to have seen the ibis. (Ibises??)

It was a beautiful experience, my best day in this country. I really should post up the photos. But the only birds I photographed were just the pelicans.

A marvelous bird is the pelican, his bill can hold more than his belly can, but I don't know how the helican.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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hippiepunkpirate
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Re: Camera lust

Post by hippiepunkpirate » May 07 2012 9:32 am

burntlizard wrote:f22 seems to be a sweet spot for most great photos
Using f22 is great for getting sunstars, or just getting a longer exposure, but it does have its drawbacks. For a dSLR, as the camera's aperture narrows (the numeric value in the f-stop gets larger as the aperture narrows) past usually f/11, diffraction begins to make the fringes of the photo become less sharp. By f/22, sharpness has deteriorated remarkably compared to say f/8. Not to say that I won't shoot f/22, but I only do so if absolutely necessary. In cases where I need depth of field (a strong foreground subject with an expansive landscape behind), I usually I try to go no narrower than f/16. Of course, I am also at a point where my equipment is frustrating me. My 18-55 lens is not super wide, and is nearly impossible to manual focus, especially if trying to hit the hyperfocal distance. My only saving grace is that at 18mm, to capture big landscapes with foreground subjects I usually have to step back from the foreground quite a bit, which definitely allows me some breathing room as far as achieving depth of field and getting in the hyperfocal neighborhood without manually focusing. Getting away with the technical mumbo-jumbo, my reasons for not shooting photos enough generally stem from working six nights a week (can't shoot sunset from a pizza kitchen) with the seventh night typically dedicated to spending time with my wife. I can do sunrises, I suppose, but when I work all night, getting up pre-dawn to drive all the way out to a good location usually does not work out. Not trying to sound like a complainer, just saying that I'll shoot any sunset with the camera set-up I have, it's just a problem of getting out there.
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gummo
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Re: Camera lust

Post by gummo » May 07 2012 11:48 am

I agree with it, your only as good as your skill set.
You could be the greatest hunter in the world, but if you're hunting deer with a bb gun, then expect to come home hungry. Camera equipment matters a lot (mainly the lenses). Point-and-shoot cameras don't cut it when photographing birds unless you go to areas where birds are within range like at Gilbert Preserve or the Everglades. Even then, it's the equipment that sets the photographer apart from the rest.

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jochal
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Re: Camera lust

Post by jochal » May 07 2012 12:09 pm

gummo wrote:it's the equipment that sets the photographer apart from the rest
I generally agree with a lot of what you say except for this. The persistent theme I hear in reading about/looking at wildlife photography is about getting close. I've been going to some of the national geo lectures they have at the mesa arts center (highly recommended, though they are sometimes too expensive for me given the subject. I got a great deal this last season by buying tickets on black friday). Some of the best photos that mattias klum (go look him up, hes got some national geo covers) has, I think, could've been taken with a compact, because he was so close. Gummo, you rock at getting close (maybe rock too well).

Equipment and knowing what to do with it is probably second.

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hippiepunkpirate
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Re: Camera lust

Post by hippiepunkpirate » May 07 2012 12:39 pm

gummo wrote: Camera equipment matters a lot (mainly the lenses)
For wildlife (and sports photography) this is perhaps somewhat true, in order to get crisp telephoto shots in low light. However, just because you have a $3000 full-frame dSLR body with a 400mm lens strapped to it doesn't mean you will take a better photo than someone with a $100 point-and-shoot. Better equipment can expand your abilities, but only if you know how to use your skills, creativity and tools to do so. But tools CANNOT replace skill and creativity. That's the essence of what Lance's article is getting at. If you can only afford a $100 point-and-shoot, maybe photographing wildlife at sunset is out of the question, but use a rock pile as a tripod and shoot the sunset itself! Save up for the gear you want, but use what you have to its maximum capabilities, it can do much more than you might think.
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burntlizard
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Re: Camera lust

Post by burntlizard » May 07 2012 3:32 pm

hippiepunkpirate wrote:
gummo wrote: Camera equipment matters a lot (mainly the lenses)
Better equipment can expand your abilities, but only if you know how to use your skills, creativity and tools to do so. But tools CANNOT replace skill and creativity.
Wow, what an enlightening and stimulating conversation. Personally, I wouldn't be taking better photos if I upgraded right now especially, with the limited knowledge that I have. My mind set is what allows me to get decent wildlife shots, which is not very often, I try and think like a mammal(Gummo's advice), rather than blazing through the brush making noise. Sitting still and patience is a contributing factor, not really my gear. Although, my elbow and knee tripod still works well :)

I'm blessed to have pro's like you two to learn from, thanks Gummo and Hippie.

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gummo
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Re: Camera lust

Post by gummo » May 07 2012 4:23 pm

For Lance (or anybody): I just saw that there's a dry canal by Lake Pleasant on the 74 (you can park next to it) and see that you live close by. What happens is that sometimes snakes fall into those dry canals and will sometimes just sit in there for a while before crawling out. The canal looks short and probably doesn't offer too much opportunity to see much, but I thew a bunch of boards down there last time I was there to encourage snakes to crawl under them and to keep them protected against predation. Unfortunately, due to an ankle injury, I was not able to check them out.

If you can do me a favor and throw more boards or cardboard or whatever when you pass by and check it out to see if I'm right about the snakes being in there. Also, there's probably nesting birds under the bridge. I should be there this week to check it out.

Also, back on the topic of cameras, I stand by what I say.

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hippiepunkpirate
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Re: Camera lust

Post by hippiepunkpirate » May 07 2012 4:45 pm

burntlizard wrote:I'm blessed to have pro's like you two to learn from, thanks Gummo and Hippie.
Not sure if "pro" is yet an appropriate term to describe me, but thanks! I would like to add that in this day in age, most people that own dSLRs would be best served to go another route. Not that dSLRs should be reserved for the elite, but we are to the point now where "super zoom" point-and-shoot cameras or even the great cameras in smartphones really do well for the vast majority of users. Past are the days of taking rolls of film to have developed, and most people will take a digital photo to post to them web, e-mail to friends and family, and mostly likely view their pics strictly via computer or some other piece of technology. Getting prints made seems to becoming more of an afterthought, and the average person that gets prints made is not enlarging to the point where a dSLR capture will make a substantial difference in print quality. If you aren't planning on printing at great quality at a large size, purchasing a $700 entry-level dSLR kit might not be the best value when your needs could be better served with a "super zoom" point-and-shoot that has a much longer telephoto range than a rinky-dink kit lens, not to mention the more versatile macro capabilities that a "super zoom" has. It might not have as big a sensor or the f-stop range, but if your just web-posting and making small prints, you will most likely enjoy the increased zoom and macro capabilities more than jump in image quality. Someone that is dead set on getting a dSLR will easily spend over $1000 just to get the same zoom capabilities, and if they aren't taking advantage of that big sensor and expanded f-stop, why save a few hundred dollars and pick up some other cool toys? And the capabilities of smartphone cameras are reaching the point where not carrying a camera is perfectly awesome for a lot of people when their smartphone takes essential the same photo as their cheap point-and-shoot set on auto. Plus, with awesome apps like Instagram that let you quickly browse through filters to get artsy with your photos, the person that simply wants to be more creative with the photos they post on the web now has an easy way to take sweet photos without even having to upload photos to their computer. Matt Hoffman (aka Hoffmaster who isn't really HAZ-active anymore) does dSLR photography, but also uses Instagram daily and has started an online store via a website that lets you sell canvas prints of Instagram photos. Matt is an experienced photographer who has been published in Backpacker magazine, and he has bought into the real capability of iPhones and other devices as being able to produce legitimate forms of photography. Yes, I shoot dSLRs and am constantly begging my wife (usually in vain) to let me buy new lenses and all sorts of other crap. But iPhones, Androids, point-and-shoots and beyond all have their own capabilities that can easily blow a dSLR out of the water. The difference is the person behind the camera, simple as that.
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burntlizard
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Re: Camera lust

Post by burntlizard » May 07 2012 5:15 pm

Perhaps it would be prudent for "ME" to re-examine my purpose for taking photos. First and foremost, I truly enjoy the experience of photography, it is therapeutic. It's about capturing the past; days, weeks or months, places and things. When I thumb through my past images, I can remember the day and time of each picture and even recall a specific species of bird or mammal. My second reason for taking pictures is being able to share them with others. Especially, people who don't take many photos, the joy of sharing experiences and/or places unfamiliar to them is quite special. Thirdly, this one feeds my inner child.....(Neil Peart, from the rock band Rush, calls it his "little baby sole")I enjoy and crave the recognition, perhaps I'm making up for a lack of childhood experiences and/or emotional support. When a friend says "wow' or "fantastic photo", the feeling is terrific, regardless of how much my camera can achieve, it's about me and my skill - creativity/or where with all, to take a specific photo at a specific time.

Really, I have a decent camera, after all it cost $450, 4 years ago, that was a lot back then :lol:

That being said, an upgrade is not in my future. Although, a few more seasons and positive experiences, that might change.

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Trishness
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Re: Camera lust

Post by Trishness » May 07 2012 8:50 pm

Well gentlemen...I'm an old school amateur photographer who learned to shoot 35mm film back in the 1970's BEFORE the dawn of the Canon AE-1 (which was the riche de rich of that time) and way before the dawn of digital. I was forced to learn about ASA, F stops, depth of field, film speed and all that photography lingo because my 35mm camera did NOT have an automatic setting on it. Some of my best pics were captured on Tri-Pan-X (I love Black and White) with a red lens filter. I recently bought my hearts desire....a DSLR Canon Rebel T3i. I'm still learning how to use all of it's functionalities but I was able to take what I learned shooting 35mm and apply most of it to the DSLR. However I also feel like I need to take a class of some sort to utilize all the functions. I find myself fumbling to adjust the settings as they seem endless.

My favorite camera (before the Rebel) was my old trusty Olympus Camedia 765.....4 megapixel. Man I love that camera and still have it. It took thousands of pictures over the years and was like a mini-DSLR as it had the action settings, nightime settings etc. I usually got a good shot with it and occasionally an outstanding shot with it.

Trish
Trish-Kabob

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds" Ed Abbey

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jochal
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Re: Camera lust

Post by jochal » May 07 2012 10:39 pm

@burntlizard
Very well put.
Trishness wrote: BEFORE the dawn of the Canon AE-1
:scared:

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te_wa
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Re: Camera lust

Post by te_wa » May 08 2012 4:51 pm

i just got a Nikon D300. itching to take it out, am i.
:D

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desertgirl
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Re: Camera lust

Post by desertgirl » May 10 2012 3:28 pm

Excellent discussion. Thanks Lance for the link!

Here's what has worked for me :M2C:

1. Get out & shoot with what you have, This makes you use your "Creative Eye" & get a feel for seeing.
2. Understand what is needed to get the images you want -- light is key in photography. Either the presence or absence of light ususally makes for a remarkable image. Learn to read the light on the object you are taking a photo of. If you know how to work the scene you can get fairly decent images in different lighting conditions.
3. If you are after "the image" - pre visualize and work to make all the conditions come together. I think the most visible example of this on HAZ is Joel!
4. Gear matters -- it does not have to the most expensive gear but get the right gear & know how to best use it. If you are into serious SLR photography understand Aperture prioirty, Shutter Prioirty & Manual Focusing. If you learn to use your fill flash effectively you will be amazed at what your camera can do for you! My best learning experince came when I had to work with an SLR with no view finder or auto focusing -- I had to eyeball the image & estimate focusing point ( hyperfocal by the book).
5. Read the manual. Some of the finer aspects & tools can be found in online or digital manuals ...... (anymore)
6. Practice makes Perfect. When things are happening you should KNOW what you need to do & not have to think too hard. Great light or amazing wildlife opportunites are fleeting & genereally once in a lifetime! Get out and shoot delibrately so you can analyze what worked and what did not & modify your approach / technique.
7. Study the work of others - those that you admire, images you like ( part of previsualizing a place - not necessarily a particular image since that just leads to replication). Look at the technicalities of how the image was created. Read & try new things -- some will get added to your tool kit.
8. Know the limitations of your gear. Sometimes its satisfying to enjoy the moment and have great memories rather than futilely capture an image that exceeds your gear / skill! That for sure is frustrating ](*,) Been there - done that!
9. Learn to efficiently edit your work - master developing a digital image. The editing process will hone your creative eye -- every time you crop to a better image you are training your eye. Next time out in the field - create that crop in-camera & you will off to a better image.
10. Some times good images are about being at the right place at the right time!
11. Sometimes its just wonderful to HIKE :y: or BIRD and capture a few images for your personal record! or just take home some wonderful memories!
12. Some of my personal favourites are from point & shoot I carry when I hike ...

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Trishness
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Re: Camera lust

Post by Trishness » May 10 2012 7:25 pm

That about sums it up Ambika! Your are my #7 since I always admire your eye for a shot.

Trish
Trish-Kabob

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds" Ed Abbey

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