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Old 08-28-2012, 11:28 AM   #1
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Photographers: tips, tricks, equipment, etc

Everybody's got a camera. We all visit beautiful country and record it on "film".
Since most shutterbugs I know just love comparing notes, I thought I'd start a thread for just that.
What camera(s) do you use ?
What lenses, filters, etc.
Got any good do's or do not's (I've got plenty of the latter to share) to pass along ?

To get things started, for the last 10 years or so I've been using a Nikon D50 SLR. It's an entry level camera but it's far more capable than the guy standing behind it.

Lenses consist of the 18-55mm zoom lens that comes with the kit. I've heard "serious" photographers talk down about that lens but it's taken some awfully nice pictures for me over the years.
A 70-300 zoom lens does critter duty so that the next time I'm dangerously, stupidly close to a bear the photo doesn't eventually look like a fuzzy black dot 400 yards away. Better yet, I won't have to get dangerously, stupidly close to a bear to get a good shot.
And recently, I bought a 50mm prime lens (for non-SLR users, "prime" means it's not a zoom lens) with a wider aperture (f1.8) that I hope to use for night landscape photography.

I'll post up a few examples I've found recently that could have been much better shots had I been watching more closely or used something different.

I'm an SLR shooter, but I hope the point-and-shooters and even video-cammers will chime in.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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I have some of the same lenses you have (18-55, 70-300), but in the Canon version.....I don't think your Nikon lenses would work with my Canon Rebel T1i. Those 2 zoom focal lenses are vesitle lens for starting out.

I just have an entry level camera, and if the shutter button pusher were better, it would take fantastic photos.

If I ever get another lenses, I hope to get a true macro....there is so much small stuff around that I just can't capture with my 2 current lenses.

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Old 08-28-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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Took these today

We just got a new camera this spring and I love it to death !
I'll post info this evening.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnguy View Post
I have some of the same lenses you have (18-55, 70-300), but in the Canon version.....I don't think your Nikon lenses would work with my Canon Rebel T1i.
Remember the handyman's secret weapon: duct tape

Looks like you're doing pretty good with what you have.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:31 PM   #5
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Camera gear is expensive. Here's a couple of examples of "you get what you pay for":

The first is a filter that creates a star effect around light sources. They're kinda gimmicky -maybe even tacky to some people but I've always liked the effect they produce.
This was a very cheap filter I got from Amazon. Look how 'in-your-face' the star effect is. A better quality filter would tone that way down and would have made this a pretty neat night shot.
(granted, there's plenty else wrong with that shot; I should have used the eyepiece cover so that the moon wouldn't be showing through and I've got way too much foreground showing before the river -but the cheap filter is the point here)

The second was a lens hood for my 18-55. They're hard to find (I find). So I ordered this one -again from Amazon. It cost me less than seven bucks. Now I see why.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:36 PM   #6
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All I have is a Canon SX110is. I couldn't tell you how many thousands of photos I've taken with it. The camera has been all over the U.S. and also to Egypt, Italy, Mexico and Canada and for all the abuse, it still takes pretty good pics. It is scheduled to become my backup camera when Canon releases the SX160is.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:43 PM   #7
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A little trick to help take more stable pics in the field (saw this tip on the internet a few years back):

Items needed:

1. A bolt that will fit the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera.
2. A piece of string long enough to reach from the bottom of your camera when held at normal standing height in front of you, to the bottom of your foot.
3. A larger flat washer

Tie one end of the string to the bolt and screw it into the bottom of your camera. Tie the other end to the flat washer.

Now you can stand on the washer and pull the camera up till it is tight along the string. You can hold it tight, and this will take the wobble out of your pics.

You can also just wrap the string around the washer to shorten it, when needed (if crouched down)...as well as just unscrew the bolt and put it along with string and washer in your pocket when not needed.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon Don View Post
I should have used the eyepiece cover so that the moon wouldn't be showing through and I've got way too much foreground showing before the river -but the cheap filter is the point here)
I have contributed the "moon" effect mentioned as a filter problem. If I can see it in my camera screen view, I can remove my UV filter and the next shot will be good. Too many times I don't see it in my camera screen view, and don't notice it until I download the photos to my computer.....then it is too late.

I use a "cheap" UV filter, so that may be the problem.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:52 PM   #9
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OOh, I do like to take firework pics. Here some from Disney I took. I use an Olympus e620 DSLR with a 14-54 (28 - 108 for you Cannon and Nikon peeps) f2.8 - 3.5 on a tripod with a cable release. Biggest thing I found is never let the white balance be in auto I also preset it myself.

When I do fireworks, nothing in auto, all manual. Shutter speed is however long I feel like holding in the button for, aperture is anywhere from 15 - 22, white balance set to SUN, ISO set to 100. Image stabilization turned off. I stake out my spot and stand in it for about 2 hours before the show starts...people line up quick.

My Album from a couple of years ago.

Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon Don View Post
I should have used the eyepiece cover so that the moon wouldn't be showing through and I've got way too much foreground showing before the river -but the cheap filter is the point here)
I have contributed the "moon" effect mentioned as a filter problem. If I can see it in my camera screen view, I can remove my UV filter and the next shot will be good. Too many times I don't see it in my camera screen view, and don't notice it until I download the photos to my computer.....then it is too late.

I use a "cheap" UV filter, so that may be the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon Don View Post
The second was a lens hood for my 18-55. They're hard to find (I find). So I ordered this one -again from Amazon. It cost me less than seven bucks. Now I see why.
I have tried the lens hood for my 70-300 mm lens on my 18-55 mm lens. It works fine down to about 30 mm of so, then the edges start to show. In my case, the lens hood has a straight cone edge instead of 1 of the scalloped units, and it gives an interesting effect when taking wide angle pictures.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
A little trick to help take more stable pics in the field (saw this tip on the internet a few years back):

Items needed:

1. A bolt that will fit the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera.
2. A piece of string long enough to reach from the bottom of your camera when held at normal standing height in front of you, to the bottom of your foot.
3. A larger flat washer

Tie one end of the string to the bolt and screw it into the bottom of your camera. Tie the other end to the flat washer.

Now you can stand on the washer and pull the camera up till it is tight along the string. You can hold it tight, and this will take the wobble out of your pics.

You can also just wrap the string around the washer to shorten it, when needed (if crouched down)...as well as just unscrew the bolt and put it along with string and washer in your pocket when not needed.
Wow, that is a great idea !!!

I installed a bolt in the top of my walking stick, and use that as a monopod on the trails.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:14 PM   #12
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Skorp1on, I am jealous. Very very jealous. Those were incredible.

Mtnguy, I have a small piece that came with the camera that's meant for blocking the eyepiece. Seems to do the trick.
Really doesn't pay to drop it in the dark though

My lenses -all three- are different sizes at the business end so I need different hoods for them all.

Agreed about wmtire's idea. I have a walking stick/monopod but have never really tried it out.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:29 PM   #13
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S
Mtnguy, I have a small piece that came with the camera that's meant for blocking the eyepiece. Seems to do the trick.
Really doesn't pay to drop it in the dark though
Yes, I have the eyepiece shield with my camera also. I may need to go back through my directions, but I understood that I needed to use that when my eye was not up against the camera, so that the camera would not take a false reading on exposure via the light coming in the eyepiece.

Once the mirror flips up, shouldn't the eyepiece be completely isolated from the sensor ??
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnguy View Post
Wow, that is a great idea !!!

I installed a bolt in the top of my walking stick, and use that as a monopod on the trails.
Hey, I like that idea Chap.

Another thing about the bolt/string/washer. You can actually get by without a washer by just tying a loop in the end of the string, then putting your foot thru the loop to hold it down.

You would want to tie the loop (instead of a slide loop), so it wouldn't tighten on your foot as you pulled the camera tight.

This technique also works for camcorders and using your camera in video mode......and will let you take videos without the shake.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:51 PM   #15
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Hi everyone

Finally, a topic I may be able to help contribute towards, instead of just taking from others
I have been in photography for 30+years and taught a few different basic photography courses as well. So this thread is very dear to my heart. Now that I am back on the 'camping' scene I always try to lug around some of my kit with me. I shot film up to just a year ago but I have just begun to convert my bodies over to digital. So far I have a Nikon D7000 which for a small format sensor is very good. From a lens perspective I have a wide mix of wide angle to telephoto prime lenses as well as a couple AF zooms.
I have just recently started a 'photo-blog kind of thing' on facebook (not sure if I am allowed to self-promote on the forum so I won't paste a link unless someone says it is ok) where I post a photo once every few days with a brief description, what was involved and offer tips & tricks. If anyone is interested I can always pm the link also.

Photography, camping and hiking are great combinations and the A128S makes a great home-base. This summer it's mostly been about the trailer and getting back into the camping groove - next spring thru fall will be more about the photography while being in the outdoors.
Great thread and there are some great images posted.

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Old 08-28-2012, 01:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnguy View Post
Yes, I have the eyepiece shield with my camera also. I may need to go back through my directions, but I understood that I needed to use that when my eye was not up against the camera, so that the camera would not take a false reading on exposure via the light coming in the eyepiece.

Once the mirror flips up, shouldn't the eyepiece be completely isolated from the sensor ??
You may very well be right.
Now I gotta go and check my book (something I should have been doing all along).
I'm glad I started this thread -it'll give me that kick in the pants I seem to need every so often.

EDIT: OK, according to my book, you're right.

I also found this gem:
When operating the diopter adjustment control with your eye to the viewfinder, care should be taken not to put your finger in your eye accidentally.
Sage advice.

Randy -jump in here anytime.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:02 PM   #17
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That is sound advice for sure Written by a lawyer no doubt.

The little eye-piece shield is used to block any light from entering the camera via the viewfinder which could influence the exposure calculations.Normally your head does the trick however for situations like when you are using a tripod you may not always have your head up to the rear of the camera. How much effect it has depends on camera design, specifically where the exposure sensors are and WHEN they take the readings. You can also just hold your hand over the viewfinder if you dont have the cover (I think I lost all of mine ages ago). Some cameras have a built-in "shutter" where you flick a little lever on the camera body and the shutter blocks the light from entering the viewfinder. generally on hi-end camera bodies)

As to the string trick - I have used it many times. In a pinch all you need is just the string - wrap it around a couple fingers on the camera hand and then step on the other end once you have the camera at the correct height. There are some situations where I find it actually works better than a monopod. Of course nothing beats a good tripod (except maybe someone who will carry your tripod for you).
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:00 PM   #18
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As an update to my earlier post we bought

sony cyber shot dsc-hx200v
hd gps 18.2 mega pixels full hd movies

very user friendly camera

takes pics like this !

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Old 08-29-2012, 02:22 AM   #19
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Nikon D300 w/ 18-200mm Nikkor and 150-500mm Sigma


A few of my favorite shots.



CSL_4015 by Rebel702, on Flickr


2009_05_02-1129 by Rebel702, on Flickr
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:23 AM   #20
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Beautiful snow shot. Love it.
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