Went out today with my D70 for some shooting.
I've found I really like shooting macro/up close.
Everything was shot in RAW, then converted over to max quality JPEG for cropping and adjustment.
Please give me an honest opinion of what you think.
Here's a link to my Webshots album for today (5 pics). I use them as a free and easy way to store photos with no bandwidth problems.
My $0.03 (inflation, ya know?
The Good: Great job capturing a sense of joy. Bonus points for not doing the "take the picture of a 3 ft tall animal from 6 ft in the air" typical pet shot. (or if you did, the dog was far enough away that its not super obvious).
The Bad: Composure could have been a little better (rule of thirds, yadda yadda yadda) but I understand, with animals, sometimes you just take what you can get. Don't get me wrong, its not horrible, I would have just cropped it a little differently.
Suggestions for Improvement: Get even lower. See the dog from a cat's view.
The Good: Excellent Detail.
The Bad: Image looks quite flat. Hard to tell if the leaf is floating, or resting on the rocks and the water is just barely covering the rocks.
Suggestions for Improvement: Composing the image to show the shadow of the leaf on the bottom might help give the photo some depth (sorry, bad pun).
The Good: Interesting subject. Red completely dominates the image, which is good.
The Bad: Lower portion of image looks a little "busy", mostly because of the chainlink fence and stuff in the background.
Suggestions for Improvement: Get closer. Mechanical subjects often have very nice details up close - in this case, the area around the linkage.
The Good: Excellent composure, excellent choice for depth of field.
The Bad: Change in background somewhat detracts from image, mostly because of the switch from green to bright yellow/tan. Somewhat mitigated by the depth of field so it could be worse.
Suggestions for Improvement: Being a slightly higher in this case would raise the background transition to a point above the flower, instead of running through the flower.
The Good: Great composure, great detail.
The Bad: Color balance - Image seems to have a yellow cast overall.
Suggestions for Improvement: Depending on how the plant was arranged, a shallower depth of field might have allowed you to drop the buds on the right slightly out of focus, ensuring the viewer's eye was drawn to the flower on the left, but as with the dog photo, sometimes you just take what you can get. Re-adjusting your color balance or hitting it with the photoshop "Auto-Color" would probably correct that and make it a kickass photo.
Overall, I like 'em. In macro photography, its hard to be "too close". And remember -- you have the expensive part of digital photography out of the way. Shoot LOTS, keep the best. Experiment. Play around with "what if" shots.
Wow, I genuinely thank you for the very in-depth look at the photos . Everyone I've had look at 'em (friends and family, etc) have just kinda said "Looks good" or "It's alright", etc etc.
I appreciate the very deep look and outlining the good and bad and possible improvements. Thanks!
For some reason I just seem to like doing the macro as opposed to anything else. Maybe it's because when I've shot around campus there's been no real good landscapes to do. Either way I enjoy shooting up close.
However, at times I wish I could get closer. Even with the kit lens maxed out to 70mm I'm at times still too close to my subject to allow the camera to focus properly. Would this be alleviated by getting a longer lens (like a 70-200mm)? Or would I lose the clarity for good macro shots by doing that?
Once again, thanks for the in-depth critique.
FOBR hit most of my comments. The leaf has real potential and you may be able to extract it from the RAW file if play with exposure and curves. I also really liked the "Water Spout". You might also change your lighting angle, as is it's harsh and leads to lots of highlights reflecting back at you. Taking the picture from a different angle might tame that and let you see more of the real texture and detail in the surface, It would make a smoother look as well.
Also this is just a suggestion but it's better to process your photos as a TIFF if possible and commit to JPEG only once you are finished. JPEG is a final format much like MPEG and thus the more you poke on it as a JPEG the more it degrades. Plus there is detail retained in the RAW that you throw away the instant you convert to JPEG. That's gone and you can never get it back. Macro is all about detail, the more you can get the better. Converting RAW to TIFF (16 bit if possible) will leave much more color and shaddow detail for you to adjust things like curves, saturation and such. Some programs are very limited in 16 bit mode but do as much as possible in that and then go to 8 bit.
Keep shooting. I like what you got so far.
I made sure to save every RAW file for all pictures shown. I'll need to learn what to do in the RAW editor to tweak the picture a bit.
No problem! I'm well acquainted with the "Wow, that looks better than anything I could do." responses to photos. Nice to hear, but doesn't really help any.
Clarity will depend on the lens, and usually comes with rather steep price tags (like most things, but I'm sure you're aware that the saying "you get what you pay for" is especially true in photography). You can also look for dedicated macro lenses, that will allow focusing on close (sometimes very close) subjects.
No problem. I do sometimes worry that I might be overly harsh -- and I'd like to re-iterate that the photos ARE quite good, and show much more "maturity" (for lack of a better word) than most people running out and buying a digital camera and thinking they're the next Ansel Adams.
Processing for only the web is a totally different animal and much more forgiving. That said I always go on and process any photo I feel worthy of display as though it will be printed at 11x14. I do that because on occasion I have been asked by family and friends for prints of some of my nature series of photos. I never know which one they (or I) may want later on down the line and I might not remember just exactly how I processed it to get the look it has on the website.
Now that's me and my needs. If you know you won't need them printed or will be printing at small sizes then FOTBR () is absolutely right. There is no point to detailed processing of each image other than curves and maybe sharpening and effects. That you can do in JPEG and save some time.
Well, I made a quick trip out to do some macro around campus. I think tomorrow I'll head out to the zoo (didn't get a chance to do it last weekend) and see if I can get some shots of the critters so that they don't look like they're in captivity.
I ended up taking about 5 shots today, but ended up only keeping 2. The others looked good in theory but didn't execute too well. Here's a link to the new album if you guys wanted to take a gander .
One is of a nice pink flower. The other is of a cover for a water main that I thought looked very "unwaterlike" so to speak.
On campus tonight there's a carnival going on from 9-11:30PM. Any suggestions as to what I should do to get some decent shots? I've been using ISO 200 so far. How far do you think I could bump it before noise becomes a problem. I was thinking of trying 400-640 and keeping exposures as long as possible without shaking and blurring becoming a problem.
One thing I thought would look cool would be to rest the camera as rock steady as possible, set the apeture to 22 or so, and take a nice long exposure of a ride going around and about. With any hope the lights from the ride would make neat trails and what not.
I like the flower. Focus looks good and it's very contrasty. You do have some blown highlights on the edges of the petals that would probably do better with a -1/3 or -2/3 stop EComp. You could then bring the flower back up with curves and levels. Nice shot though. I like the dark background.
The cover is pretty good too. I like the detail and the mosaic of colors. Pretty neat shot of something everyday.
As for the night time work. Don't expect to get much hand-held. The exposures may be tricky and noise will be a big factor at ISOs over 800. You need a tripod or a monopod really for that kind of work. You may be able to get some good ones from any concreat surface or other solid point you can set the camera. Set your meter to 'spot' or as close to that as you can. You don't want the camera setting exposure to bring a black sky to 18% grey.
If you use direct flash as the light source expect poor results. Very few "blasted in the face with a spotlight" pictures look like anything but snapshots so I'd not waste my time with that.
Your long exposure idea is a good one. Try to keep your view free of street lights and such so you can take longer exposures without too many hyper blown-out blobs from bright street lamps.
Thanks. I appreciate the advice. Anything I eventually keep and convert always has its original RAW file saved to tweak later.
Do you think I have any potential to be a good photographer? I used a regular old SLR in college but this is the first time I've used a DSLR and definitely the first time I've gone to take photos from a more artistic standpoint (instead of just photographing items for sale or people in snapshots).
As for tonight, I have no source for a tripod or monopod of any kind, so I doubt I'll be able to bear much fruit, but I'll give it a shot anyway. There's picnic benches around so it's possible I could just set the camera on there for a sort of level. Getting any kind of a shot composed will be difficult from that standpoint though.
I'll think of it as a challenge .
Thanks again for the advice and critique.
Your welcome. Glad to help if I can. I'm by no means Asel Adams myself but I'm working to improve.
Of course you have the potential to be good. You are already looking for what's interesting and taking time to think about how to compose a shot to capture that. On that score you are already light years ahead of most snap shooters. The vast majority of people buy a camera to snap away at family events and vacations. Nothing wrong with that, but they won't have any pictures in a gallery anywhere. On the other hand even the smallest effort at pleasing framing and avoiding crappy lighting can make a snapshot a really good photo.
On the flip side, expect that family, friends and other 'snappers' will not understand why you took "another picture of a flower' or a 'picture of some pump somewhere". They won't always appreciate or understand why you choose to take pictures other than at family gatherings and at dinner. They aren't even often equipped to give you feedback but they every so often know they might like to hang that one in thier den. Ultimately it's about what YOU like. Whenever you feel you are getting to be good go to www.photo.net and view the gallery there. There are some outstanding people who submit there and they are harsh judges of quality and it's a great way to get ideas of what you might like to try.
The more you take the better you'll get. I look back on my first attempts at something beyond snapshots and I smile. I can see how far I've come and I still have a long way to go. You seem to have a good eye and if you enjoy this you'll get better every year. We have the luck of having digital at our disposal. If I had been tied to film I doubt I would have ever got started. It's just so easy to see what worked and what didn't right at the scene.
Again, don't be too concerned what others think. Shoot, read, browse others' work, and compare to yours. You'll figure out when you are doing what you like and good things will follow.
Sounds good .
I just tried to shoot a night lacross game on campus, which was an exercise in futility. No chance in hell of getting a shot at any ISO below 1000, so I notched it up to 1600. Even with it maxed, my 18-70mm kit lens couldn't handle the darkness.
I needed some semblace of telephoto so I had to max the lens out to 70mm. At that point 4.5 was the widest open it would go, meaning shutter speed was 1/30sec or 1/60sec if I was lucky.
Every action shot ended up unrecognizably blurry and even some still shots were blurry and grainy (as a result of the 1600 ISO no doubt).
I'm assuming if I had some kind of a 70-200mm 2.8 lens things wouldn't have been so bad. However, I don't have anywhere near the $850 to drop on that kind of lens, so I'll have to stick to daylight for now.
I plan on going down to the football game tomorrow afternoon to try to redeem myself after a bit of a failure tonight.
Sorry I didn't get to chime in yesterday. I really like the flower, even with the blown highlights it is still a great shot.
As far as being a "good" photographer, I'd say you're already beyond what most people will ever achieve, and already have a lot of the traits of a "good" photographer -- Gruntled hit most of them already.
Night photography is an interesting challenge. Sports photography at night is a difficult challenge. Sports photography at night with equipment not specifically bought for that purpose is an extremely difficult challenge. Your results (blurred beyond usefulness) are pretty typical, and you shouldn't feel bad about it.
One trick you can use IF your end use is the web, is to set the telephoto lens down where you can have a decent shutter speed -- then crop the image to "zoom in". It won't work for print, but it can work in a pinch for web uses or slideshows.
Another tip for long exposures at night -- a large lens hood. Even something like a shoebox cut to fit is a huge improvement since it will help you shoot from areas that would otherwise cause a washed-out image -- like shooting down a street, with a streetlight above and just in front of you. One of my biggest challenges is making cheap "equipment" to solve specific problems (like the shoebox mentioned above, for the situation mentioned above).
I'll check back for the zoo pics! Keep your distance from the poo-flinging monkeys though; monkey doo and camera equipment probably doesn't mix very well.
How'd the football game work out? Probably didn't help you redeem yourself. Hard to shoot football with less than a 300mm lens unless you're only shooting goal line plays.
Here's some work product from the weekend:
Didn't make it over to the game that day.
Some good-looking shots Novagator.
Think I have any potential to work for your company someday?