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Old 08-29-2012, 08:21 AM   #21
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I have Nikon D200. I use 2 lenses -Nikkor AF-S DX zoom 18-135mn and a Nikkor 50mn AF

I also use a simple point a shoot Nikon S610 when I dont want to carry the larger camera. I will say the body of the D200 is beastly tough - its taken a drop with no damage...I got the gray hair thinking I destroyed my camera but glad to see it lived up to its rep.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:09 AM   #22
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OK, here's a question for you advanced guys (and gals).
These photos were all taken from the top of King Solomon's Dome just outside Dawson City. It doesn't matter which way you face, the view is the same.
If you look closely, there are mountain ranges in the distance. They are hard to distinguish from the clouds.
I shot these mid-afternoon, using the auto settings on the camera (something for which I am admittedly lazy).

Question: How would I make those distant mountains stand out to better effect ?
Would a polarizing filter help ? (I've never used one) Or would fiddling with my depth of field have made a difference ?
How would you guys improve these ?
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:36 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon Don View Post
OK, here's a question for you advanced guys (and gals).
These photos were all taken from the top of King Solomon's Dome just outside Dawson City. It doesn't matter which way you face, the view is the same.
If you look closely, there are mountain ranges in the distance. They are hard to distinguish from the clouds.
I shot these mid-afternoon, using the auto settings on the camera (something for which I am admittedly lazy).

Question: How would I make those distant mountains stand out to better effect ?
Would a polarizing filter help ? (I've never used one) Or would fiddling with my depth of field have made a difference ?
How would you guys improve these ?
Yukon Don - A polariser can certainly help in situations like these depending upon the angle of the sunlight vs where you are pointing the camera. POL filters work best when the sun is at right angles (off to your left or right) and have least effect when the sun is behind or in front of you. Haze (UV) filters may also help. Depth of Field isn't really an issue with this type of shot assuming you aren't focused on anything close to you. Large landscape shots with the subject far away tend to have plenty of DOF when your focus point is way out there. Remember DOF is controlled by your aperture setting. So if you were using f5.6 or smaller (f8, f11 etc) then DOF should be fine, especially when using a wide angle lens.
You can try 'bracketting' your exposures if you are able to - shoot one picture with the camera exposure, then one underexposed and then one over exposed. You may find the under exposed shot bring out the mountains in the distance a bit better, although the foreground may be a bit too dark.
Controlling contrast in these types of shots is the big task - you have relatively dark foregrounds (fields and close mountains) and relatively light far-grounds (clouds, sky, distant mountains). If you have the ability to use a 'graduated neutral density filter' it can really help bring the far-ground closer to the exposure of the foreground. Think of this filter as a pair of sunglasses that are only tinted on the top half. Darkens the sky but doesn't affect the foreground. This is often the best way to handle landscapes with bright skies.
Hopefully this helps.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:42 AM   #24
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Thanks, Randy -it does.
I intend to be back on top of that mountain next year.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:12 AM   #25
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I should also mention - anytime you put any filter in front of the lens it can impact image quality. Filters, like everything else come in different qualities - the better filters use better 'glass', less distortion etc. Filters can also increase the likely hood of 'flare' or 'ghosts' in your image when the sun hits the filter directly. Use of a 'lens hood' or shading the front of your lens with your hand or hat helps a lot in this regard (just be careful you don't end up with hands & hats in all your images).

Also, a POL filter is very difficult to use if you do not have a way to look at the scene before taking the image as the filter needs to be rotated to get the effect desired. For DSLR's this isn't an issue and for most point and shoot digital cameras it isn't either as the display screen on back shows what is coming thru the lens. Just keep in mind that they do need to be rotated into the correct position.

I don't use a lot of filters, however I always carry a good quality POL and one of the graduated ND filters I mentioned.
TIP - buy a good quality POL that is sized for your largest lens, then buy inexpensive step rings so the POL can be used on lenses with smaller front threads. Saves you buying more than one POL, allowing you to buy a better one. A good POL is expensive so being able to use it on all your lenses helps lessen the pain. Most of my lenses are either 77mm or 52mm threads - so I have a 77mm POL and a 77/52mm step ring. I also have a 52mm POL, but when I want to carry minimal kit it helps to only have to lug one filter.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:58 AM   #26
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Yukon Don - I looked over the images again. Another suggestion, from a compositional perspective, might be to zoom in more on the distant mountains if that is indeed what you want to emphasis. It is a similar scenario to a late evening shot that has a nice big full moon in the image. We want to include as much of the landscape as we can (wide angle shot) however when we do this the moon which looked so big to us in real life ends up being a small dot in the image. By using a longer focal length lens (or zooming in) we can keep the moon nice and large in the frame (albeit at the sacrifice of the broad landscape). These mountain shots are pretty much the same. Try a mix of both - some wide angle shots that provide context to the overall scene and then some zoomed in shots that embrace those distant mountains, bringing them in much closer (and clearer) than they normally appear.

Randy
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:10 AM   #27
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What's some good tips for using the panoramic feature ?
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:05 PM   #28
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Turbo

My cameras do not have the built-in pana mode however I have used it on other cameras a few times. "In-camera" pana is very cool and in the Fuji X10 I used it was amazing. I think it probably varies a bit camera to camera so i'm not sure what kind of tips to offer, especially given my limited exposure.

Generally the use of a tripod I would think would always be a good bet.
Be mindful of the 'over-lap' required if your camera requires you to take individual shots (some you just click once and swing the camera, then let go).
If you have a choice always use the slowest ISO speed you can get away with to help increase final output quality - pana's tend to get printed on larger than normal paper so you want to eliminate the 'grain' look if possible.
If your camera allows it use the vertical orientation (portrait) of the camera during the pana, you can always crop later. This way you get max amount of image up & down as well as left/right of course.
Play with it and have fun. Pana's are the type of picture that the more you do them, the better you will get. Each camera will have it's little quirks so practice, practice, practice.

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Old 08-29-2012, 12:17 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker25
Turbo

My cameras do not have the built-in pana mode however I have used it on other cameras a few times. "In-camera" pana is very cool and in the Fuji X10 I used it was amazing. I think it probably varies a bit camera to camera so i'm not sure what kind of tips to offer, especially given my limited exposure.

Generally the use of a tripod I would think would always be a good bet.
Be mindful of the 'over-lap' required if your camera requires you to take individual shots (some you just click once and swing the camera, then let go).
If you have a choice always use the slowest ISO speed you can get away with to help increase final output quality - pana's tend to get printed on larger than normal paper so you want to eliminate the 'grain' look if possible.
If your camera allows it use the vertical orientation (portrait) of the camera during the pana, you can always crop later. This way you get max amount of image up & down as well as left/right of course.
Play with it and have fun. Pana's are the type of picture that the more you do them, the better you will get. Each camera will have it's little quirks so practice, practice, practice.

Randy
Thanks Randy,
I've used it a once to try it and yes you click the shutter once then start panning.
Although I did it without tripod it seemed to work well.
I'm going to try it this weekend of the cg and we'll see how it works.
Thanks for the info.

Ron
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:58 PM   #30
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Camera: Nikon D3X and a D4.

Lenses:

normal length

Long length

Wide angle

macro

Whole bunch of other lenses I have no idea what they're for.

Plus: more flashes, shields, reflectors tripods and timers/remotes than I know what to do with.

But those are the wife's bits.

If you haven't already guessed, she's a professional military photographer. Does everything from passport photo's to accident scene documentation, landscapes to portraits, macro to telephoto, combat camera to diplomatic, seriously disturbing stuff to the "gripe and grin" snaps. She has a huge "portfolio" to pull out when anyone wants to see her work. There's also lots of stuff in there that people don't want to see......Heck, I'm military SAR and there's things in there I never want to see again.....

I use her older stuff (usually a D2X) and whatever lenses she still has around for it or one of the "point n shoots" we have lying around. Honestly, I usually also ask her to dial in the settings and then I point it or go on "full auto".

Lately, I find my iPhone 4 is doing most of the opportunity snaps because I just can't be bothered to carry all that other gear around....
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:51 PM   #31
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You can try 'bracketting' your exposures if you are able to - shoot one picture with the camera exposure, then one underexposed and then one over exposed. You may find the under exposed shot bring out the mountains in the distance a bit better, although the foreground may be a bit too dark.
I use exposure bracketing on most of my shots, along with the continuous shot mode. My camera is just set up for a 3 shot bracket exposure, so it will only take 3 shots with a constant shutter release until it "reads" those shots. I find that about 50% of the time the camera knows best, about 40% of the time the 1/3 under is the best shot (better colors if not too dark), and about 10% of the time the 1/3 over is best. I tried setting the camera at 1/2 increments, but found that too extreme....if you can believe that.
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:02 PM   #32
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Quote:
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I use exposure bracketing on most of my shots, along with the continuous shot mode. My camera is just set up for a 3 shot bracket exposure, so it will only take 3 shots with a constant shutter release until it "reads" those shots. I find that about 50% of the time the camera knows best, about 40% of the time the 1/3 under is the best shot (better colors if not too dark), and about 10% of the time the 1/3 over is best. I tried setting the camera at 1/2 increments, but found that too extreme....if you can believe that.

With exposure bracketing, you can do some intersting HDR (high dynamic range) stuff. I got a trial of Photomatix and took the following shot off my house deck.

(normal exposure)


And tone-mapped with photomatix.



I got carried away with playing with the software and really overblew the procesing on purpose, but it shows what the software can do.

go to Stuck In Customs for more info on HDR photography.

Tim
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:20 PM   #33
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I have a Nikon Coolpix 5900 that is several years old. It is small and light, easy to use and carry. I have sold some prints made from that little point and shoot.
I also have a Nikon D80 body that I bought after the D90 came out. I am not interested in the video features of a D90 style camera and I got a screamin' deal on the D80 because it was no longer being produced. I mounted a Nikon DX 16 - 85 mm wide angle zoom lens on it and a hood is never removed from the lens. The lens gathers an amazing amount of light - which is usually a problem when shooting landscapes on bright days
The photographers skills are far more important than the camera.

These are from the point and shoot. The first one I cropped, softened the edges and had it printed poster size and framed it for about $35. I gave it as a gift to a friend who saw it on our wall.
I rarely edit any photo.





These are from a $650 camera body with a $700 lens.



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Old 09-16-2012, 09:20 PM   #34
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I planned my recent trip to coincide with the new moon. Thought I'd try my hand at some serious low light situations.
I'm using my 50mm lens at f1.8 and 30 second exposures.

Number one is looking across a lake to the north. We've got a bit of northern lights happening and you can see the shape of the trees on the horizon.

Two is allegedly the Milky Way Galaxy (that's me in the middle ). Blurrier than I hoped for but I find it interesting how the different colours of the stars show up.

Three is just a shot looking up through a few trees.

I'm finding it very tough to see the stars through my viewfinder and thus can't seem to focus worth beans*. I realize a long exposure will blur somewhat due to the earth's rotation but I'd hoped to get things a bit sharper than that.
Any experienced night shooters out there willing to share a tip or two?



*a further problem with focusing and maintaining a good stance while crouched behind an upward-pointing camera is that I tend to drink beer while I wait for it to become full dark. I usually commence this activity around three in the afternoon. However I realize this problem is best solved by a wife or some other form of adult supervision rather than by an experienced photographer...
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:03 PM   #35
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Check out some star gazing/photography forums.
grcooperjr is a member of PopUpPortal and has some fairly exotic equipment.
Unstable Tripod is a member of that same forum and is an accomplished picture guy also.
Mike Whitson owns Take a walk with Mother Nature - check out his work.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:36 PM   #36
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Hi Twisty

Some great shots there. And I couldn't agree more - like most things it's not so much the equipment, but the operator.

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Old 09-17-2012, 03:44 PM   #37
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Yukon Don

Interesting shots. Here is a website that has some interesting info regarding how to photograph star-trails.
How To Photograph Star Trails - Photography by James Vernacotola
Stars are one thing I haven't shot yet but I think I will give it a try. This weekend we were on a beach-side camp ground and the stars were amazing.

Let me know how it goes. I will post some images once I get another chance ot get out and try it.

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Old 09-17-2012, 03:56 PM   #38
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I took this picture (along with several others) several years ago with a point-and-shoot camera, and they have become some of my very favorite pictures. Also, I was so focused on getting good pictures, I failed to notice the really bad storm approaching me from behind. I was on the very end of a pier about 1/3 of a mile out in the Gulf of Mexico when the storm hit, and I was drenched.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:03 PM   #39
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And, I love the blueish tint that showed up just a few minutes later.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:19 PM   #40
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OK, thanks for the links Twisty and Randy. Gives me some good stuff to go on.
(an aside: Twisty and randy ??? - sounds like the title of a very naughty book ).

Beautiful shots, Robert
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