DougZ's photography learning thread

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by DougZ73, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. DougZ73

    DougZ73 Fading off.........

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    Mods: I read the rules for the Pics, Pics, Pics forum, and I know this might not be the exact right spot for it, BUT, to goal is to learn to take better shots, which will involve motorcycles and scenery at one point. I typically try to stay out of Jo Momma, but if you insist on moving it there, I'll understand.

    This thread comes out of me starting this thread:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=636531

    Long story short, I just want to learn to take the best possible shots I can, with my camera, a Canon SD850 is . Like many have mentioned, best thing to do is just start reading the owner's manual and experimenting with the features and settings. I am a pretty scientific guy, so that is the approach I am taking with this.

    I invite anyone to offer any advice they have...hopefully it's constructive. I also invite anyone to learn as I learn, and ask any questions of me or anyone else that offers advice. I will admit I am a total camera noob, and know very little. I did take a photography course back in college, to fulfill some credit requirement, but remember the girls in class, more than anything I was taught...although I did well.

    * If no notation is made for a setting, its in "auto".

    So, here we go:
    ISO 100
    [​IMG]

    ISO 200
    [​IMG]

    ISO 400
    [​IMG]

    ISO 800
    [​IMG]

    ISO AUTO, exp -2 ( camera range is -2 to +2, in thirds increments)
    [​IMG]

    ISO AUTO, exp +2
    [​IMG]

    What I learned from these shots is, the ISO speed lets in more light, but does so as it makes the shot grainier. The exposure also effects the light....but differently.

    I wanna try the same shots, changing ISO and Exp at the same time.

    More to come in a little bit...similar experimenting with shots of the moon through the trees.
    #1
  2. DougZ73

    DougZ73 Fading off.........

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    I had more shots to upload before, but company had come over.

    Anyway, back to the shots. Also, I was told to get really good low light shots, I would need a tripod..so I got one I saw a friend had this past weekend. A Targus:
    http://www.amazon.com/Targus-Digital-TG-5060TR-50-Inch-Panhead/dp/B001DAIW74/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1290225632&sr=8-2

    Also, to avoid any shaking, I took each shot with a 2 second timer option. The camera does not have a set up for a remote release.

    On with more shots. Moon shots through the trees in my backyard.

    I again played with the ISO settings, and then then exposure, with the ISO on auto.

    ISO 100
    [​IMG]

    ISO 400
    [​IMG]

    ISO 800
    [​IMG]

    ISO 1600
    [​IMG]

    I then realized I had left the outside light on, for the deck, where I was taking shots from.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    * Outside light turned off.
    ISO 80
    [​IMG]

    ISO 100
    [​IMG]

    ISO 200
    [​IMG]

    ISO 400
    [​IMG]

    ISO 800
    [​IMG]

    ISO 1600
    [​IMG]
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    ISO AUTO for this set below

    Exp -2
    [​IMG]

    Exp -1
    [​IMG]

    Exp 0
    [​IMG]

    Exp +1
    [​IMG]

    Exp +2
    [​IMG]


    I saw the same theme here....ISO with higher number lets in more light, but picture gets grainy.

    Exposure, in these shots, does not seem to do too much...probably, guessing, due to the ISO being on auto?

    OK, so here is 1st question. What should I do, to grab the light for a night shot, but try an avoid the graininess??

    What should, if any, be the relationship between exposure and ISO setting?
    #2
  3. FlatlanderInVT

    FlatlanderInVT Been here awhile

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    I'm no camera expert, but this is how I think of it:

    setting a higher ISO is kind of like digital zoom, and the exposure is like true lens zoom. You might be able to "fake it" with a higher ISO, but to truly get a good low light shot you need a longer exposure. What you are doing with a longer exposure is exposing the sensor to more light, without artificially introducing noise. You run into problems when your subject is in motion (technically the moon and stars are moving, albeit rather slowly), or when your camera is in motion (this is why the tripod is so important). Both with introduce blur, which a higher ISO setting won't do. But a longer exposure shouldn't introduce too much noise, which you've noticed a higher ISO setting does do.
    #3
  4. 2whlrcr

    2whlrcr gooligan

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    Do you know about this website?

    http://www.dgrin.com/

    I believe it is owned or run by the same folks who bring you AdvRdr. You might get better response over there and everything you need to know about photography.
    #4
  5. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    Not to hijack this thread, but anyone have suggestions on indoor photos? I've set the camera (Nikon Coolpix P1) for museum and the shots turn out terrible. If I use auto, it always uses the flash and only directly in front gets washed out and the subject is left in the dark. I'm about ready to toss this camera in the trash, except it takes much better outdoor shots with ample light. I've tried changing the ISO as well to 400, but then the processor is so slow, I cannot hold still enough without it getting blurry.

    [​IMG]

    As opposed to this photo even in overcast is better than the indoor photo..


    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    Three things impact exposure : aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. (it isn't the processor making your indoor shots blurry, it is a slow shutter speed and your hand moving).

    Read Understanding Exposure by Peterson and your camera's manual. All will be revealed.
    #6
  7. DougZ73

    DougZ73 Fading off.........

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    Even the inside shots where on a tripod with a timer....so that should have not caused any of the blurry. That was probably due to the changing of ISO settings.

    With my canon, I can not control the aperture...so I will be trying to shoot as best I can, working around that.
    #7
  8. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    Sorry, the blur part was directed to the other poster.

    Basically shoot in program mode, limit auto ISO to 100-400, and use the exposure compensation to adjust for different scenes. Basically, brighter scenes need EV+, darker scenes need EV-. Find out if you can turn on a live histogram in the LCD, and center the curve without pushing anything too far left (dark) or right (light) which means no shadow detail or blown highlights, respectively.
    #8
  9. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman .

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    Think of ISO as "receptivity." The higher the ISO, the more receptive the film/sensor is to light. But as you've noted, increased receptiveness comes at a cost, which is increased graininess and reduced sharpness and contrast. So, shoot at the lowest ISO conditions will allow.

    What you are referring to as "exposure" is exposure compensation. When you dial in a compensation amount, say -1, you are telling the camera to expose one stop less than the metered value. The camera will accomplish this a number of ways, either by reducing the aperture, increasing shutter speed, lowering ISO, or some combination of the three.
    #9
  10. DougZ73

    DougZ73 Fading off.........

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    OK, I think I am understanding some more. Thanks for the replies guys.
    #10
  11. Bodwick

    Bodwick Odd Bod

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    Your camera is shooting a 'soft' image. You need to sharpen your shot. What software are you using to process your pic's? I use Photoshop but for something free try gimp which has good reviews.

    Try a search on your camera model and look for the best settings to reduce the 'soft' effect your getting. I'd start by shooting ISO100 outdoors and ISO200 indoors and see how you get on.

    One of the best places to learn about photography would be Dgrin as mentioned above.
    #11
  12. Bodwick

    Bodwick Odd Bod

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    Lots going on there Doug.

    If your going to copy a picture/painting as in your first example you need to fill the frame. Your camera works in Evaluative, Centre Weighted and Spot metering mode. The way you shot it you would have needed to use 'Spot' to pick up an area of the main subject, the painting. With 'Evaluative' all the white gets thrown into the equation.

    Camera flat to picture surface (fill the bloody frame), evaluative (for a general meter reading from the whole pic) lighting is then the most important aspect. What you see is generally what you get in a photo. If you flash it from a foot or two away it will blow out the middle in a reflection. If you have the picture lit from natural light coming in from a window then that's the lighting you get in the final pic. A light-bulb at each corner of the pic would be even lighting. A strip light or two will give a cast but will light your pic. two or four synced flashes will illuminate it etc...

    For best results lay flat and set up a studio. For cheapest result use good natural light.

    Off to Dgrin with you for a short course...:freaky
    #12
  13. Bodwick

    Bodwick Odd Bod

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    Ok, lets have a look at those tree's...:evil

    What are you trying to do? Shoot the moon? shoot the tree's? the little camp? All of it together? Where to start... I'm no teacher, and you've done a college course!...You should have shot those girls and not just ogled them.:rofl

    The moon is way too bright to just drop into a shot that includes a pitch black forest. You'd need to expose your shot for the moon then combine it with an exposure of the forest. A graduated grey filted can reduce the moon brightness for a one shot pic but your looking at needing lights to illuminate the scene. You cracked it with the outside lights on at ISO1600 (if you want lit trees) No idea how long your exposure was but I'd look at maybe a 15 0r 30 sec exposure at ISO400 or less. You could shine a torch over your trees to light them or you can run like a fairy with a wee lantern through your pic. Depends what the hell your trying to photograph.

    Decide what you want the end pic to look like and start working towards creating that image. Drop the moon(and the sun) until you know what the limits of your camera are. Actually, drop the whole midnight forest theme for a while. Pick an image that you'd say to yourself "yes, I'd like what I'm looking at to be printed and hung on my wall" or "that's an interesting thing, I'll take a shot and look again at that"

    Not a darkened tree in a garden...


    :freaky
    #13
  14. DougZ73

    DougZ73 Fading off.........

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    Some of the things you suggest Bodwick, I can do, some I can not. See the links to camera specs I posted: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Canon/canon_sd850is.asp

    I can not change long exposures, or do anything with the aperture. I also do not have the ability to add any filters....this is a P&S camera, and not a DSLR. I also do not want to do any photoshopping.

    My goal is to get to a point where I can take the best shots possible, with the camera I have. I know it has some limitations, but I am confident it will take better pics than what I do with it normally.

    I look at it this way, a camera is like a bike. You learn the basics on a lesser camera, all that knowledge will transfer to a better set up, if that is the way I decided to go. Sure, A Hyabusa will be faster than a Ninja 250, but one will learn how to be a much better rider on a Ninja 250.
    #14
  15. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

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    Don't worry about all the little things right now. Just get out there and take pictures. I would be working on your compositions first and then get into the fine details once you learn a little more. Do 10 different pictures a day and put then into a gallery and look and compare your work today with your work a month from now. I guarantee you will see improvements.

    I know its a video about a phone but I think you'll get the idea.

    good luck!

    Josh

    <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/0lotlwm38OM?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/0lotlwm38OM?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>
    #15
  16. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    Thanks GB and Bod. Here are my specs of my camera.

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CPP1/CPP1A.HTM

    Sorry for elbowing in Dougz.
    #16
  17. DougZ73

    DougZ73 Fading off.........

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    Its all good..I started the thread for anyone to learn, not just me. :wink:
    #17
  18. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

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    :*sip*
    #18
  19. Bodwick

    Bodwick Odd Bod

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    I ran a touch of sharpening on each of your pic's. (hope you don't mind)

    Try going back to your original. Cut the jeans leg. If you take this pic again wait till everyone is clear and drop down to shoot from a lower height taking in some of the wall as a backdrop.
    [​IMG]

    For this I'd have gone for a higher angle looking down on the bike to try and minimise the sign and toilet from the shot.
    [​IMG]

    Take a look at Flying Eyeballs pic's as per his sig line. Amazing... :clap


    :freaky
    #19
  20. Bodwick

    Bodwick Odd Bod

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    Hi Doug,

    I lightened up a couple of the woods shots and had a look to see what was hidden in your pitch black shots...:evil

    You never know what's out in the woods at night...

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    :freaky
    #20