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Wannabe Photographer

Discussion in 'Photography and Video' started by Zipitidoda, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Zipitidoda

    Zipitidoda Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I finally got to take some pictures of something other than my backyard. Everything is in Manual mode! I don't think they are too bad for my first few attempts. Not sure if the focus is on point but I'm still working on it. The first couple are of my son at a track meet and the last few are at our local park. The bird photos are behind a tinted glass.

    Please feel free to critique by pics and let me know how I can improve them. I used a 55-210 lens at the track meet and the 16-50mm and the park

    6263B6AF-FE3D-475C-9ADD-64225A6E3282.JPG
    A08293B5-98DF-4217-B4F4-C4C5D8E5703C.JPG
    I kept looking for a bug of some sort on a flower and this is the only one I could find. Not a keeper. :oops:
    62C4EEB4-FC34-46C9-B4A0-51372B722D94.JPG

    740E03C5-AC4F-41A7-BF67-142BF037DBAE.JPG

    0870297A-8BB6-4529-8716-8BC7B2738F40.JPG

    D868C878-BEEE-4DB2-8887-D49CE4A7EB0E.JPG
     
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  2. Tiggerish

    Tiggerish Resident Redhead Premium Member

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    Love the oriole shot!!
     
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  3. fractal

    fractal Premium Member

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    Nice job @Zipitidoda !

    Can you tell me the settings on the camera for each shot? You clearly had a fast enough shutter for the track photos.

    I like the bird shots - especially the 2nd. Is that a woodpecker?

    Next time you go to the park, try the 50mm 1.8.

    Also - and not to confuse things, are you shooting RAW or JPEG?
     
  4. Zipitidoda

    Zipitidoda Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    @fractal I had to laugh when I read your post. I don't know what RAW is and I don't know if it's JPEG or not. As for the pictures (I hope I say this right)

    Both the track pics had a shutter speed 1/4000 f8 ISO 1600

    Oriole 1/1250 f6.3 ISO 6400

    Woodpecker 1/1250 f5.6 ISO 1600

    Tree and bug on leaves (not good pic's IMO) 1/1250 f14 ISO 1600

    I do wish the woodpecker pic turned out brighter. He seems so dark.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  5. fractal

    fractal Premium Member

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    Thanks - you said it perfect.

    Forget about RAW and Jpeg for now, but for the record you are shooting Jpeg which is good at this stage. I imagine you are downloading the images on your computer then uploading them here; or uploading to a photosharing site then here. Right now that's not important.

    OK - take this as constructive - and I'm offering it because I was in your shoes 6 years ago.

    Think of ISO as an amplifier. It amplifies the light on your sensor like an sound amplifier increases the volume on a speaker - but if you crank the amplifier the music starts sounding worse and the speaker may blow.

    As you turn up ISO it does start to deteriorate the quality of your image. Your "base" ISO is 100 - which will generally give you the best image quality. Since you were shooting track outside and since you had plenty of light I believe you could have shoot at a lower ISO. How so? For sports (and I've shot a lot of sports) 1/1000 of a second shutter speed is fast enough. 1/4000 vs. 1/1000 of second costs you 2 more stops of light (1/1000 to 1/2000 is 1 stop, 1/2000 - 1/4000 is 2 stops). If you would have shot it at 1/1000 of a second you could have dropped your ISO by 2 stops (16000-800 is 1 stop, 800 - 400 is 2 stops). So you could have shot at 1/1000 at ISO 400. There is nothing wrong with f/8 - I'm assuming you shot at the long end of the lens (around 200mm?) so the fastest aperture would have been f/6.3 you could have used and given you another stop of light (f/8 to f/6.3). At that distance, f/6.3 would have given you plenty of depth of field to get your son in focus. I use a 200mm 2.8 lens for sports and shoot between f/2.8 and f/4. That extra stop by adjusting from f/8 to f/6.3 would have allowed you then to drop your ISO to 200.

    A shot at 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 200 would have given you the same exposure as 1/4000, f/8, ISO 1600 but with better image quality. Try it at the next meet and please don't feel bad. I once had my camera at Disney on a tripod shooting at ISO 3200 when I should have been shooting at ISO 100 and thinking I had it all figured out! But a lot of things are going through your mind at the time when you are beginning and experimenting. I know because I remember. Just keep shooting and experimenting.

    Looking at the park shots, the 50mm 1.8 would have given you more "room" or light by shooting at f/1.8, f/2, f/2.2, etc. and lower the ISO. It also would have blurred the background nicely. Shutter speed on the bird shots are fine. With the woodpecker - use the Viewfinder to judge darkness. Try to get to the point you can adjust the settings while still looking through your viewfinder. Too dark? drop the shutter to 1/1000 ( or if you had the 50mm 1.8, open the aperture to f/4 or f/2.8 or wider). Still too dark? then go to your "amplifier", ISO.

    I hope this helps, and feel free to ask anything. I enjoy this. You are on the right path and will definitely be ready for your trip.

    Here's an assignment for you -

    Find out how to set the timed shutter (it takes a picture 2 seconds or 10 seconds after you hit the shutter).

    Go outside on a porch or a deck at night and find a subject (anything, a chair, a table,etc.). It should be dark with maybe some light coming from inside. Place the camera on something solid and stable like a table pointing at the subject.

    Then, set your ISO to 100 and your f/stop to f/8. Your back display screen will likely be black.

    Now slowly adjust your shutterspeed until you start to see the subject (without hitting "BULB" which you shouldn't). Keep making the shutter speed longer until you have a good exposure - I'll guess you'll be at around 8 to 10 seconds depending on how much light is spilling on your scene from the inside of the house.

    Focus then hit the shutter and do not touch the camera. The camera should start beeping a "countdown" for the timed shutter. It will snap then remain silent for the length of the shutter speed then will click again when the shot is finished.
    This should give you a nice clear photo of your subject in a dark area. Give it a try.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  6. fractal

    fractal Premium Member

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    Some other thoughts and encouragement.

    I do like your thought process of shooting at a fast shutter speed to freeze the running action. Too slow will blur the photo. You just need to find "fast enough" so you can make your other adjustments.
    With sports shooting (and anything with moving objects), shutter speed is everything. You did shoot a good clear photo. Congrats!

    Same with the birds - you are thinking on the right track and came away with good images. I'm just trying to help you take even better ones. I feel like I'm going back in time and talking to myself 6 years ago. Lol!
    "Nice job fractal, but you know if you did this is would even be better..."

    Keep up the good work!
     
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  7. fractal

    fractal Premium Member

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    One more thing...

    Here's one of my beauts from 2011. On a tripod - long exposure (8 seconds), f/8 and.... ISO 3200!

    [​IMG]

    I remember looking at it on my camera for a long time, trying to figure out where I went wrong... It was so depressing.
     
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  8. Zipitidoda

    Zipitidoda Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    @fractal I'll take any advise you have! I don't take criticism personally so please feel free to say whatever you think will help me.

    Thank you for the way you explained the ISO. I understand what you were saying regarding the lower ISO. I do think it will take a little longer on the adjustments with the stops and shutter speed.

    While I'm making adjustments to shoot a pic there is a scale on the bottom of the screen. kind of like...5.4.3.2.1.0.1.2.3.4.5. with a little arrow above the numbers. I'm guessing that the camera is indicating that I need the arrow above the 0 to get a good exposure. Am I correct in that thinking?

    Challenge accepted, although I won't be able to do it tonight, but I will tomorrow. I'm excited to see how it will work. I tried taking dark pic's at a choir concert and the results were... meh. I'm not near my camera so I'm not sure what my settings were but i used my 55-210mm and the girls were on the opposite side of auditorium.
    DSC01027.JPG

    DSC01045.JPG

    I'll let you know how it turns out when I get a chance to try your assignment!

    And regarding your castle pic, thanks for posting. It does make me feel a little better knowing I'm not a complete knucklehead and can't seem to catch on as quick as I'd like. Some of it just seems so foreign.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
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  9. Jahona

    Jahona Well-Known Member

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    Having not shot with the a6000 before I believe this is what you are referring to?
    It's a bit hard to see but this is the best shot I've been able to find.

    [​IMG]

    When shooting in manual this is your exposure meter. -5 to 0 means the image is under exposed. 0 in theory is the correct exposure. 0 to +5 means the image is going to be over exposed. Under exposed means the image will be dark and over exposed means the image will be brighter or some parts like the highlights will be blown out. The suggested exposure that the camera gives you is determined by the camera's built in light meter. This light meter has three different settings that you can use to determine exposure of an image.

    Here is an example of under exposed, correct exposed, and over exposed images.

    [​IMG]

    There are three types of metering modes that the a6000 uses to determine exposure. Summery of what Sony has on their site: https://alphacommunity.sony.co.in/tutorial/sony-alpha-tutorial-metering-explained

    [​IMG] Matrix Metering
    Takes light samples from all points of the image and averages out to find the best balance of exposure for light and dark.

    [​IMG] Spot Metering
    Spot Metering uses a small point as it's sample for exposure. This can either be the center of the frame or tied to the selected focus point

    [​IMG] Center-Weighted Metering
    Center-weighted metering is similar to matrix metering but will provide greater emphasis on the center of the image.


    For starting out learning how to use the camera I would stick with Matrix or Center-Weighted metering. This will give you a good approximation of the exposure of an image while being fairly user friendly.
     
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  10. Rider

    Rider Premium Member

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    Keep in mind that getting the exposure guide to 0 may not give you the pictures you want.

    You may want to purposely under or over expose a shot instead of just shooting what the camera thinks is best (this is sometimes called creativity).

    In addition to learning / experimenting with the light meter settings you should find the setting that turns on highlights (aka "blinkies") on your previews so you can tell if you are blowing out parts of your photos (like fractal's castle pic) Even if the camera says you got a proper exposure you may have blown out detail you wanted to keep. Blinkies will alert you to that.
     
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  11. Zipitidoda

    Zipitidoda Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Every time I read comments I just have to laugh. Blinkies! So much to learn.:D
    @Rider I'm not sure where to look for highlights. I don't have my camera with me but I'll make a mental note to look at my menu when I get a chance.

    @Jahona Thank you for explaining the exposure meter so I could understand. I saved the sony link so I can watch it later when I have time. Thank You!
     
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  12. Rider

    Rider Premium Member

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    Not sure on your model camera but you can probably Google it easily.
     
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  13. Zipitidoda

    Zipitidoda Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Yes, your right. Youtube has been my friend a lot lately too.
     
  14. fractal

    fractal Premium Member

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    thanks for that post @Johana !

    The numbers at the bottom of the screen show your exposure in stop increments. And yes, you generally want the exposure at 0. if it's at 2 to the left of zero it means you are underexposed by 2 stops of light. Be aware that this is dependent on your "metering". Metering is just where the camera is taking the exposure reading. Spot metering means the camera is taking the reading from the very center of the frame (where you are pointing) which is what I mostly use.

    Let's take a step back. "Exposure" means the amount of light or (brightness) in your shot. (which you are controlling by the exposure triangle (SS, Aperture & ISO)) if you are underexposed the photo is too dark, if overexposed the photo is too bright. If you hear "blown out" exposure - that's my castle picture. In your last photo of the singers (which is rather nice!), you want the exposure on the girls to be proper so having the camera on "spot metering" and putting the spot on the girls will guide you to the proper exposure. If you had the metering on "Matrix" it would have mixed in the dark background which would have likely given you an underexposed photo. For now, I would just keep it on spot and work from there. I'm almost always on spot myself and typically expose off the brightest object. Don't get too caught up on how metering "works" - bottom line is it's a tool to help you get the exposure you want - and lucky for you, you have a mirrorless camera which shows you in the viewfinder how the exposure looks. Those poor DSLR folks don't see how their adjustments are changing the exposure until after the shot (for the most part).
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
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  15. Jahona

    Jahona Well-Known Member

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    Hey now! That's what we have live view for. At least on Nikon cameras it gives a fairly good approximation of exposure of the image. Although I hardly use Live View when shooting. I love a good viewfinder.
     
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  16. fractal

    fractal Premium Member

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    That was why I added "for the most part". :D
     
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  17. Zipitidoda

    Zipitidoda Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Can I tell you that I love my Viewfinder!! I have to wear readers when looking at things up close and I was worried about always having to have them near when taking pictures but after watching a youtube video and learning about the diopter in the viewfinder I literally WHOO HOO'd!! :inlove: Cheesy, I know. It's the little things that make me happy.

    And I had some great advise from @fractal who taught me all about mirrorless camera's. I didn't even know they existed! :eek:
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
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  18. Zipitidoda

    Zipitidoda Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Another quick question @fractal. I want to get a second battery and a charger. Does it need to be a Sony brand battery and charger? I see so many off brands but didn't know if I should chance getting one. On amazon.com they have 2 for around $24 that is an off brand. some even have a charger included. Seems like it's to good of a deal. Any words of wisdom?
     
  19. fractal

    fractal Premium Member

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    And the EVF is a great learning tool. You can see the exposure change as you play around with the settings.

    I've bought and used wasabi batteries without any issues. good idea.
     
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  20. Rider

    Rider Premium Member

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    I have a Nikon but reviews for some of the third party batteries made me think twice so I went with authentic Nikon. But your mileage may vary.

    Anyway, I did want to share a few pics I took since we were talking about night shots and shutter speeds and ISO. The first I managed to shoot at ISO100! I did that by using a shutter speed of 1s. I wanted to see the blur of people leaving the park so that was an artistic decision. I shot it without a tripod too! I don't recommend that but I got lucky and got this clear handheld shot after only 4 attempts (I didn't have a tripod and this was basically an experiment that worked).

    Second pic was a more traditional night shot 4000ISO and a reasonable hand held shutter of 1/60. That one was shot in aperture priory which is how I usually shot unless I'm going for a specific look like the first one.

    [​IMG]Going Home by cchard, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Final Light by cchard, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
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