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Photography: tips, tricks and equipment!


samagon

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It seems that there's a need, if this is better served in another forum please feel free to move, but general questions on how to shoot (from framing a shot, to lighting, to what do all those numbers mean, even post processing stuff), and what equipment you prefer should be discussed here...

We got to talking about cameras and photographs in one of the lightrail topics, and well, someone asked for a better explanation of Fstop, shutter speed, ISO, all that junk, so I'll provide my best explanation (granting I never took a class)...

I refer to 'film' to represent real film (of whatever variety), or photosensors used on digital cameras.

Aperture, Shutterspeed, and ISO are all used to determine the exposure of the shot.

ShutterSpeed is how long the film is going to be exposed for. 1/125th of a second, 1/250th of a second. It's a standardized scale that doubles/halves the exposure time. of the two listed, the 1/250th exposure is going to have the film exposed for half as long as with the 1/125th. it's easier to think of it in longer exposure times, 1 second exposure, vs 2 second, or 4 second.

Aperture is how big the hole is that lets light onto the film. The numbering is weird, but again, you're looking at double/halving the size of the hole. effectively doubling/halving the amount of light that's let in. F2.8, F4, F5.6, believe it or not, but those are double/half. the lower the number, the bigger the hole. for a 35mm format lens, the lowest aperture you're likely to see is 1.4, that's because the lens would be humongous (and pricey) compared to the body. Medium format, and other cameras may have lower apertures, but I don't know anything about it.

So at this point, not bringing ISO into the picture, if you take a picture at 1/250 and F2.8 it will have the same exposure as a picture at 1/125 and F4.

What's the difference? you may ask...

well, shutter speed is easier to explain, the faster the shutterspeed, you'll get less blur. imagine seeing a picture of a waterfall, where the water is blurry, you can't see a single drop, that's done by having a longer exposure, slower shutterspeed. faster shutter speed and you may actually be able to see individual drops. depending on what you're trying to do, is going to call for doing it differently.

aperture is very easy to see, it's called bokeh and basically the lower the aperture the more bokeh you get, it's best explained by seeing a person in the foreground who is is sharp focus, and then the background is really blurry. depth of field (DOF). again, it really depends on the goals, but if you want to have a person and the background be in focus, you'd use F16, or F11, if you want to have the person focused, and blurry BG, F2.8 or lower. distance from your focal point makes a huge difference here, and there's lots of maths. but that's basically about it :P

ISO the last piece of the exposure puzzle. lets say it's darkish, you want to have a long depth of field, and no blurry tail lights on cars to distract, so you have to have a high F number, and a fast shutter speed. but, if you were to just set F11, and 1/125th second SS, and it's beyond dusk, you won't see anything once the image is processed. ISO is the 'speed of the film' again, it's half/double ISO 50, ISO 100, ISO 200 (my dad tells me there used to be ISO 25 film). ISO 100 requires half as much exposure as ISO 50 film. So, in the example of F11 and 1/125th at dusk could be achievable with say ISO 800, or ISO1600. although, with higher ISO, you introduce more grain. so your ISO 1600 shot will be really grainy compared to ISO 100, and may even ruin the effect you were trying to produce with your shutter/Fstop combo.

The old basic rule of thumb for exposure is the "sunny F16" rule. basically, on a sunny day, you'll want F16, 1/100th shutter and ISO 100.

I'm sure I muddled some things up, or didn't explain as best as I could, but hopefully someone else can correct me :)

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Myself, I shoot with Olympus cameras and lenses. They have a reputation for having damn nice lenses (all the way back to their OM days), and I haven't been disappointed yet. and from what I've heard, their auto focus is one of the fastest available.

I recently upgraded my body to the E620. Lenses I have are a 7-14mm F4, a 14-54mm F2.8-F3.5, and a 30mm F1.8 (sigma).

If I were just getting into a DSLR, I'd still make the choice I did, I really am pleased with the quality of the images right out of the camera, and really love the 7-14mm lens, it's huge and ugly, but damn does it allow me to take some really neat shots!

skyline.jpg

circlewalk.jpg

I've also got one a point and shoot that is shock proof and water proof, I got it primarily for a trip to the Philippines during monsoon season and 3 years later it's seen plenty of water and shock, and well it is a very reliable little run around camera :)

The P&S is an Olympus Tough, here's a few from the Philippines:

PA090135.jpg

It's hard to tell, but those houses are all (very permanent) squatters. Plus a standard Jeepney and Trike..

PA100073.jpg

I was in the rice country, and the above is someone's actual 1 bedroom house..

Edited by samagon
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I would say Samagon's explantion is spot on...

but for those that need visual aids....

It's all a balancing act. For any given light situation you may encounter, there is one ideal solution, 0. Once you determine what that ideal solution is (with your in-camera metering).. you can change any one of the variables as long as you then balance it by going the opposite direction with one of the other 2.

For most cameras, ISO is the most limiting becasue nobody like noise in their photos, So you can set it as low as possible in extreme light situations, and as high as your camera will allow you to get away with(before the noise is unbearable) in dark situations, then you just do the balancing act with the other two variables since DOF and shutter speed affect the your photo more so visually.

Figure2.jpg

Edited by Highway6
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Since we're talkin about exposure.. I'll give a quick HDR summary. See here for examples of one of the leading HDR photographers.

The idea is that you need multiple photos at differenxt exposure then you combine them with either photomatrix or PS and it essentially grabs the low tones, middle tones, and high tones out of the indivual photos and combines it into one photo to increase the dynamic range beyond what is possible in only 1 photo.

The farther the range, the better the end result. Some cameras like my own will autobracket at +/-1. Better ones will autobracket even farther. So.. if I determined from above that the ideal solution was F16, 1/125, ISO 100. It will also take photos at F16, 1/60, ISO 100 and F16, f/250, ISO 100.

If you have the time ( non moving target ) and a tripod... You can do this all manually and get 3 or more exposures to work with.. and you can do a much greater range. For instance, -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, to get the whitests whites and the blackest blacks.

One key thing to remember is, if you're doing manually, that eventhough after rebalancing, the exposure might be equal, not all 0 solutions are equal. You do not want to be rebalancing by switching the aperature. You do not want multiple photos with different DOF. Typically you'll want to change the shutter speed to get your other exposures.

Edited by Highway6
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Great idea, Samagon. I find myself always wondering what kind of equipment people are using for their photography on the web but don't want to be the noob asking questions.

If only I could afford a new "real" camera...

Be the noob, that's what forums are for... I got my first semi-real camera after consulting with fellow Haifers Jax and WesternGulf

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Carrying on from rail discussion, this is what I was trying to avoid using an open aperture:

DSC03171.JPG

While the photo itself is all pretty (ISO400, 22Aperture, 25sec), the starring effect of the lights got on my nerves.

I took this with my 17-50mm kit lens that my camera came with (stats on a later post). been meaning to go back up with my newer lens and a shorter exposure time.

Compare it with this:

DSC07414.JPG

Notice the lack of starring because of the different settings. (ISO1600, 2.8, 1/25th 28mm) This was a quick snap and shoot and only had about 10 seconds to set it up.

Considering the area (dowling at polk), I wasn't too interested in setting up for a longer exposure, but I was quite happy with this one.

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lol Ricco, I think I see myself taking my photo from the other side of 45 in your photo! :-p

as with anything in photography, it's all preference really and what works best for the particular shot, the open aperture gives a softer shot, which really works well in the second scene, which is actually at Leeland/Dowling ;-) I'd have been afraid to even pull my camera out of the car at that intersection at night, but that's just me being paranoid I'm sure.

I think the blue lights under the freeway are what distracts me from seeing the rest of your shot with the higher fstop, more than the starring, either way, I think it's a fantastic location you found for a very unique perspective that people don't normally photograph!

I assume you shot that from the top of the Hobby center parking garage? How hard is it to get up there at night?

Edited by samagon
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You are correct as far as the location goes. I didn't bother looking at street signs.

As far as the hobby center garage goes, I just drive up there at about midnight and started up there for a total of about ten minutes.

Believe me, it was one of the longest ten minutes of my life.

after this shot, I learned abut more about F stops and such a purchased my 28mm.

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I was involved in a few photographic forums and they all seem to suffer from "Your photo sucks because.." syndrome.

They are particularly harsh at the noobs for some reason to the point I just stopped going.

Interesting. What about organizations around town?

Btw, does anyone know of a good tripod for their high end P&S cameras? I was looking into one.

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For local stuff, I'd recommend asking in Houston Camera Exchange, or going by the Houston Center for Photography. I'd expect that they both have a large enough Rolodex to recommend something for your particular wants.

Tripods, I'd again recommend HCE, IMO in a tripod you want something heavy and sturdy, unfortunately the trend in tripods over the past 20 or so years is to go lighter and flimsier. I imagine with a P&S you probably don't want to spend as much on a tripod as you spent on your camera.

The issues you'll face with a cheapo tripod are the same regardless of the kind of camera, in that a lighter and flimsier tripod will move when you don't want it to, being that the purpose of a tripod is to keep the camera steady for longer exposure times, you can see where this is a cross purpose :P

I know a lot of people who don't want to get the higher priced ones will go out and get a sandbag, or something else heavy to use as a weight on the tripod to help add stability through weight.

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For local stuff, I'd recommend asking in Houston Camera Exchange, or going by the Houston Center for Photography. I'd expect that they both have a large enough Rolodex to recommend something for your particular wants.

Tripods, I'd again recommend HCE, IMO in a tripod you want something heavy and sturdy, unfortunately the trend in tripods over the past 20 or so years is to go lighter and flimsier. I imagine with a P&S you probably don't want to spend as much on a tripod as you spent on your camera.

The issues you'll face with a cheapo tripod are the same regardless of the kind of camera, in that a lighter and flimsier tripod will move when you don't want it to, being that the purpose of a tripod is to keep the camera steady for longer exposure times, you can see where this is a cross purpose :P

I know a lot of people who don't want to get the higher priced ones will go out and get a sandbag, or something else heavy to use as a weight on the tripod to help add stability through weight.

When I first purchased my camera, I got a cheap tripod (20?) and regretted it, particularly with this picture:

DSC05508b.JPG

(ISO100, f4, 10sec, 85mm) it was a bit windy and I could feel my tripod moving. I was hoping to blow up this pic and frame it, but no.

Which reminds me, I need to go back and try this shot again.

I went out the next day and purchased a studier one from Camera Exchange (90?) and it was awesome.

I'd recommend you get one with a quick release for quick shoot and scoots.

I tried pixtus.com and a few others, but I was less then pleased with the treatment on newbies on asking questions and feedback on how to make the photos better.

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Great idea, Samagon. I find myself always wondering what kind of equipment people are using for their photography on the web but don't want to be the noob asking questions.

you can always look at the exif data for pictures and see what camera was used, the aperture, shutter speed, focal length, ISO, etc. Picasa lets you do this, and their are ad-ons in browsers that do it as well.

i had been playing around with all the manual settings as much as i could for several years and I finally pulled the trigger and and got a DSLR last fall. been loving it.

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I know there are options when saving files for web use from most photo editing software to 'preserve exif data'.

oh yeah, forgot to add what IMO is the best review site, www.DPReview.com has really (Really, REALLY!!) thorough camera reviews..

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If anyone is interested, the Panasonic LX5 point and shoot is on sale at Amazon for $279.48. You get the $75 gift card when you buy the camera, so just subtract the cost of camera with it, thus the $279 price. Just remember, you get free shipping and pay no tax.

Samagon,

What was the location in your first pic of the highway and city skyline?

Ricco,

What was your location for the Houston skyline?

Btw, my Uncle gave me his tripod today after i asked him on which one to buy. Thanks everyone. Good tips.

Edited by sifuwong
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Mine was taken from the Sabine street bridge. You can also go a bit farther back to the first parking area off of Allen pkwy and get it pretty good as well, if you don't have a really wide angle lens.

skwarta, this is probably a great resource for people who want to buy either Canon or Nikon but can't figure out which is what they should choose, but they don't review any other lenses that don't fit those systems.

Either way, more resources for review before you make a jump into a DSLR is very important. you may only need to spend $350-$500 for a decent kit to start, but then when you want to buy additional lenses, realistically as a hobby, photography is expensive, and it's best to do as much research to figure out where you should go with it, so you don't waste money. :)

Edited by samagon
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Ricco.. you wanna share what Montrose location got you that skyline angle by any chance ???

I did a little fast talking and got some security to allow me to take pictures from the top of the garage at Kirby. I did it using my 70-300 lens and it was my first attempt at such a shoot, but I made some fairly critical errors as a newbie.

The first was the crappy tripod, but also I neglected to turn off the image stabilizer. The flare you see off to the right was a refinery that JUST started as I clicked the shutter.

Mine was taken from the Sabine street bridge. You can also go a bit farther back to the first parking area off of Allen pkwy and get it pretty good as well, if you don't have a really wide angle lens.

skwarta, this is probably a great resource for people who want to buy either Canon or Nikon but can't figure out which is what they should choose, but they don't review any other lenses that don't fit those systems.

Either way, more resources for review before you make a jump into a DSLR is very important. you may only need to spend $350-$500 for a decent kit to start, but then when you want to buy additional lenses, realistically as a hobby, photography is expensive, and it's best to do as much research to figure out where you should go with it, so you don't waste money. :)

Plus also remember, that Nikon and Canons aren't the only cameras out there. For me, Sony is the perfect camera that had the most features in a reasonable budget. Photography IS a bit of an expensive hobby, (I got about $2k in filters, lenses, bags, etc) but it can be a very relaxing hobby.

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Mine was taken from the Sabine street bridge. You can also go a bit farther back to the first parking area off of Allen pkwy and get it pretty good as well, if you don't have a really wide angle lens.

skwarta, this is probably a great resource for people who want to buy either Canon or Nikon but can't figure out which is what they should choose, but they don't review any other lenses that don't fit those systems.

Right, i noted that it was for Canon and Nikon lenses only. I agree there are a lot of other options out there, but even if you are looking at other mfrs its a great site with in depth reviews that are worth reading to understand what you should be looking for in a lens.

And for that shot from Sabine you need a pretty wide lens! I need to get out to the new ped bridges by Montrose and Allen Parkway to get some shots from there.

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Right, i noted that it was for Canon and Nikon lenses only. I agree there are a lot of other options out there, but even if you are looking at other mfrs its a great site with in depth reviews that are worth reading to understand what you should be looking for in a lens.

And for that shot from Sabine you need a pretty wide lens! I need to get out to the new ped bridges by Montrose and Allen Parkway to get some shots from there.

I had missed your caveat to the website, and I agree, the more info you start with the better off you are!

I shot that with a very wide angle lens, 7-14mm i think it was set at 10mm for that shot. That lens is the main reason i bought into the Olympus cameras. Since the sensor is so small compared to a standard 35mm film negative, it's effectively a 14-28mm, but I'm sold that it's the best wide angle lens available. :D

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  • 4 weeks later...

I thought this was aweseme:

"The f/stop controls how much we see and don't see in the background. F/3.5 means only "three things" will be in focus. F/22 means "22 things" will be in focus. (Not really but I'm using that as a visual cue to help you remember the concept.)"

-Kathy Adams Clark

http://kathyadamsclark.blogspot.com/2012/03/lens-how-to-blur-background.html

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It seems like an easy thing to remember, but for some reason, I can't seem to get the full grasp of "DOF" and I think I fail miserably at it.

Recently, I just purchased a 50mm 1.7 and I'm thrilled about the potential of getting some awesome night shots. Does this mean I can get only one thing in focus? I'll try to find an example a bit later.

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i am by no means an expert, i spent a lot of times reading different reviews on lenses (which give tips and examples) and tutorials. unfortunately i can't find my favorite ones, but I'll search more later.

simple answer to your question is no, you can compensate with the shutter speed. though you'll have issues if there is motion. If you have a DSLR, I would just go play around with it. I have a similar lens and love trying out different things at night. The Tolerance sculptures on allen parkway and montrose are a pretty good setting lit up at night, and you can go to the bridge and get good downtown shots as well.

you should have different modes that allow you to change the Aperture (Av or something like that), Exposure (Tv) and full time manual. If you set your aperture in Av, you can let the camera pick the right shutter speed and take a mental note (push the shutter button halfway and it should tell you the settings if you want to quickly step through things, or click away and you can look at display in review mode, or the exif data later). You can go to Tv and play with shutter speeds and see what Aperture stops it sets. After playing with that, you'll get an idea of the possibilities (this is the camera making decisions based on the amount of light, etc). Then as you get used to those settings you can start playing with fill time manual and adjusting both settings yourself. You'll probably get in to situations where the camera won't let you shoot (mine the setting in question will blink) because there's not enough light or it can't focus.

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you should have different modes that allow you to change the Aperture (Av or something like that), Exposure (Tv) and full time manual. If you set your aperture in Av, you can let the camera pick the right shutter speed and take a mental note (push the shutter button halfway and it should tell you the settings if you want to quickly step through things, or click away and you can look at display in review mode, or the exif data later). You can go to Tv and play with shutter speeds and see what Aperture stops it sets. After playing with that, you'll get an idea of the possibilities (this is the camera making decisions based on the amount of light, etc). Then as you get used to those settings you can start playing with fill time manual and adjusting both settings yourself. You'll probably get in to situations where the camera won't let you shoot (mine the setting in question will blink) because there's not enough light or it can't focus.

DSC02049.JPG

Aug 10, 2011

ISO: 100

Exposure: 30.0 sec

Aperture: 18.0

Focal Length: 18mm

This is an example of one of my first attempts at full manual, adjusting the armature, white balance, and focus. There is the "starring" we talked about previously, but I was also using the 17-50mm kit lens.

DSC06058.JPG

This was me using my new (to me) 28mm 2.8 lens. Note: No starring.

ISO: 100

Exposure: 2.0 sec

Aperture: 3.5

Focal Length: 28mm

The trick I found with not finding someplace to focus on is to simply aim to a viable object to focus, move to your object and shoot. the other is to simply learn how to focus manually, or set the lens to Infinity and you should be able to get decent results.

I took an opportunity to sneak a camera into a concert and was able to take good pictures, problem was that I had to really push up the ISO.

DSC05231b.JPG

ISO: 800

Exposure: 1/100 sec

Aperture: 2.8

Focal Length: 28mm

I am by no means an expert at it, but practice and tips always help.

Edit: Just realized I essentially did a double post and already covered this. Good god, how will I be when I get old(er)?

Edited by ricco67
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Hey guys,

I was searching around for places to photograph around Houston, abandoned buildings and other good places to shoot as I'm new to Houston, and stumbled upon this site. When I started cruising the site, I found this discussion and decided I'd join as I think I may be able to help a little. Just a little background on me: I received a BFA in studio art emphasis in photography in Dec 2011 and I am currently working at the Houston Center for Photography in the education and outreach department, which is why I'm now in Houston. I've been really photographing since 2004 and was always helping my dad shoot weddings and other events for his friends. In short, I've been around photography for a while now. (I'm not trying to sound pompous or anything, I just wanted to let you all know where I'm coming from.) And if I make any mistakes on quoting or anything really, just let me know. Now, for the help... I hope.

I thought this was aweseme:

"The f/stop controls how much we see and don't see in the background. F/3.5 means only "three things" will be in focus. F/22 means "22 things" will be in focus. (Not really but I'm using that as a visual cue to help you remember the concept.)"

-Kathy Adams Clark

http://kathyadamscla...background.html

I have to say I'm not particular to this teaching method of f/stop and its functionality. The f/stop does not control how much we see and don't see in the background. The f/stop is the aperture in the lens and controls how much light is let in to expose the medium (film/digital sensor). The way I like to teach f/stop is that it controls the aperture of lenses. It acts just like your eye does. When you open your eyes up as wide as you can, you let in a lot of light. Skwint and you let in less light. But, and this a big but, f/stop does not alter the depth of field, i.e. blurring and creating bokeh, all that much with standard lenses (non-telephoto and non-macro).

One cannot magically change what is and is not in the background by simply changing the f/stop, though that would be awesome if it were possible since it'd make life much easier. The f/stop does control depth of field, and in macro and telephoto lenses you will get bokeh, as samagon explained. But, you can achieve this effect fairly easily with any lens depending on the focal length of the lens and where you are in relation to an object. Every lens has an effective focal length letting you know how close you can be to an object for that object to be in focus. So, for example, with a 50mm prime lens the closest you can be to an object and retain focus is 1.5ft. Anything out of that 1.5ft sweet spot will be out of focus. Likewise if you were to be closer than 1.5ft but chose to focus on a different object outside that 1.5ft, the foreground object would then become out of focus. This creates that blur, or bokeh. Bokeh is easy to achieve but not as simple as changing the f/stop outside of macro photography.

Also, an f/stop of 3.5 does not mean only three things will be in focus and an f/stop of 22 does not mean 22 things will be in focus. A good example is Ricco's photos. As you can see he has a low f/stop but everything in the images is in focus because he is within the focal length of his lens (everything in the images are within the distance that the lens can clearly focus on) despite shooting at a low f/stop. This is because the f/stop is the aperture which is how much light is let in to expose the film/sensor. In this regard, a low f/stop, wide aperture and long shutter speed is necessary because he is shooting at ISO 100 in low light. For a good, although tedious (he calls it that himself!) explanation on f/stop, check this site out: http://www.uscoles.com/fstop.htm

DSC02049.JPG

Aug 10, 2011

ISO: 100

Exposure: 30.0 sec

Aperture: 18.0

Focal Length: 18mm

This is an example of one of my first attempts at full manual, adjusting the armature, white balance, and focus. There is the "starring" we talked about previously, but I was also using the 17-50mm kit lens.

DSC06058.JPG

This was me using my new (to me) 28mm 2.8 lens. Note: No starring.

ISO: 100

Exposure: 2.0 sec

Aperture: 3.5

Focal Length: 28mm

The trick I found with not finding someplace to focus on is to simply aim to a viable object to focus, move to your object and shoot. the other is to simply learn how to focus manually, or set the lens to Infinity and you should be able to get decent results.

I took an opportunity to sneak a camera into a concert and was able to take good pictures, problem was that I had to really push up the ISO.

DSC05231b.JPG

ISO: 800

Exposure: 1/100 sec

Aperture: 2.8

Focal Length: 28mm

I am by no means an expert at it, but practice and tips always help.

Edit: Just realized I essentially did a double post and already covered this. Good god, how will I be when I get old(er)?

Ricco, first I think your pictures are really good (yours too samagon). I wanted to address your issue with starring in your long exposure images. The reason you are getting that starring effect is because of the long exposure time. With long exposures the shutter remains open for a set amount of time, in the case of the above "starry" image, 30sec. All this time light is streaming in to the sensor exposing that area with all the light coming from the streetlights and essentially what is happening is because of all that light, all that exposure, the sensor is overloaded with data (or in the case of film, the film is essentially overexposed). The digital sensor is made up of many small squares that record the data, since it's digital it's 1s and 0s, and basically what happens is that data overflows to other squares on the sensor because of the time the shutter is left open causing the starring effect. A factor to this is the ISO. With digital the ISO is reversed from film ISO. Digital ISO requires a higher ISO for lowlight exposures whereas film requires a low ISO for lowlight exposures. The second image you took, the convenience store on Dowling, you had an ISO of 1600, which allows the sensor to gather more light data in lowlight situations. In your long exposures though, you were shooting at an ISO of 100, causing you open the shutter for a longer period resulting in the streetlights starring. With the last image before the singer, though, you were much closer to your light sources and therefore had more light available to make the image without having to boost the ISO and leave the shutter open. As a side note, the focal length also comes into play in determining available light to properly expose an image. The longer the focal length, the longer it takes light to travel to the sensor and the more light is required to get a properly exposed image. Samagon, you did a fine job explaining this in the first post :D .

I hope this helps a little and it wasn't too long winded.

Edited by bdimit
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Here is my current setup

Nikon D700

17-35mm f/2.8

50mm f/1.4

24mm f/2.8

105mm f/2.8 VR

Plus flashes, tripods, etc. Previously I used a Nikon D70.

I like night photography. Here are a couple of my favorite pics that I've taken in Houston.

6816068075_6236c770a3_z.jpg

Untitled by wools, on Flickr

6054169_315d2e4e7d_z.jpg

Construction Worker by wools, on Flickr

6054314_0e95cb5e37_z.jpg?zz=1

The Machines Rest At Night by wools, on Flickr

3436438513_75b497cf7b_z.jpg

flower by wools, on Flickr

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I have to say I'm not particular to this teaching method of f/stop and its functionality. The f/stop does not control how much we see and don't see in the background. The f/stop is the aperture in the lens and controls how much light is let in to expose the medium (film/digital sensor). The way I like to teach f/stop is that it controls the aperture of lenses. It acts just like your eye does. When you open your eyes up as wide as you can, you let in a lot of light. Skwint and you let in less light. But, and this a big but, f/stop does not alter the depth of field, i.e. blurring and creating bokeh, all that much with standard lenses (non-telephoto and non-macro).

One cannot magically change what is and is not in the background by simply changing the f/stop, though that would be awesome if it were possible since it'd make life much easier. The f/stop does control depth of field, and in macro and telephoto lenses you will get bokeh, as samagon explained. But, you can achieve this effect fairly easily with any lens depending on the focal length of the lens and where you are in relation to an object. Every lens has an effective focal length letting you know how close you can be to an object for that object to be in focus. So, for example, with a 50mm prime lens the closest you can be to an object and retain focus is 1.5ft. Anything out of that 1.5ft sweet spot will be out of focus. Likewise if you were to be closer than 1.5ft but chose to focus on a different object outside that 1.5ft, the foreground object would then become out of focus. This creates that blur, or bokeh. Bokeh is easy to achieve but not as simple as changing the f/stop outside of macro photography.

I feel the opposite; aperture has a big affect on DOF in typical real world use, and the differences between f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, and f/4 are extremely significant in how a photo will look.

And yes, focus distance is one of the factors in DOF (focus distance, focal length, aperture, sensor size). You can move closer to your subject to create a shallower DOF. But this also changes your perspective.

Sensor size is also really important. Given the same perspective and field of view, you'll get very different DOFs with different cameras. Let's take 40 degrees FOV as an example. On a "full frame' 35mm camera, this is a 50mm lens. On a "APS-C" camera, about 35mm. And on compact cameras, it could go down to something like 8mm. If each of these lenses was at f/2.0 and photographing the same subject (same distance), they would all produce roughly the same photograph and require roughly the same exposure time for a given ISO. But the DOF between them be very different. The full frame camera would have the shallowest, increasing to the compact camera which would have the widest.

Ricco, first I think your pictures are really good (yours too samagon). I wanted to address your issue with starring in your long exposure images. The reason you are getting that starring effect is because of the long exposure time. With long exposures the shutter remains open for a set amount of time, in the case of the above "starry" image, 30sec. All this time light is streaming in to the sensor exposing that area with all the light coming from the streetlights and essentially what is happening is because of all that light, all that exposure, the sensor is overloaded with data (or in the case of film, the film is essentially overexposed). The digital sensor is made up of many small squares that record the data, since it's digital it's 1s and 0s, and basically what happens is that data overflows to other squares on the sensor because of the time the shutter is left open causing the starring effect. A factor to this is the ISO. With digital the ISO is reversed from film ISO. Digital ISO requires a higher ISO for lowlight exposures whereas film requires a low ISO for lowlight exposures. The second image you took, the convenience store on Dowling, you had an ISO of 1600, which allows the sensor to gather more light data in lowlight situations. In your long exposures though, you were shooting at an ISO of 100, causing you open the shutter for a longer period resulting in the streetlights starring. With the last image before the singer, though, you were much closer to your light sources and therefore had more light available to make the image without having to boost the ISO and leave the shutter open. As a side note, the focal length also comes into play in determining available light to properly expose an image. The longer the focal length, the longer it takes light to travel to the sensor and the more light is required to get a properly exposed image. Samagon, you did a fine job explaining this in the first post :D .

I hope this helps a little and it wasn't too long winded.

What you're describing is CCD blooming. CCDs are analog devices. Photons are converted to an electrical charge, and this charge is amplified and converted to a digital value during read out using an analog to digital converter. Each pixel can hold a certain amount of charge, and if a pixel overflows with charge, it can spill out into adjacent wells causing bright spots across relatively large areas. However, most digital cameras have anti-blooming devices to keep this fairly well controlled; it's rare to see examples of blooming except in extreme exposures.

The "star bursts" in Ricco's photograph are diffraction effects caused by point sources of light interacting with the physical shape of the aperture blades. In a typical camera aperture diaphragm, there are a number of curved aperture blades. At large apertures (or wide open), the rounded parts of the blades are OK at forming a circular aperture. However, when you step down quite low (say, f/16 and higher), the aperture starts to have harder corners. These corners cause a diffraction pattern, and to a rough approximation the "star bursts" will have the same number of points as the blades in the aperture. You can reduce the effect by using a larger aperture, which will have a more round aperture.

Film requires low ISO because high ISO film is terrible. But most good digital cameras are nearly as good at ISO 800 as they are at ISO 100. At higher ISO you get less dynamic range and higher noise, but given a reasonable exposure (not underexposed) it isn't a problem until 800, 1600, or higher. Higher ISOs do give you much less post processing room, though, which is why getting the right exposure becomes much more important.

I'm not sure what you're talking about with how long it takes light to travel.

Edited by woolie
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  • 4 months later...

I have noticed professional photographers at the Olympics are not using flash. I'm sure part of the reason is they're not allowed? I know the venues are well lit, but I would think they'd still need them, especially since they are action shots. Are their cameras and lenses just that awesome?

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I have noticed professional photographers at the Olympics are not using flash. I'm sure part of the reason is they're not allowed? I know the venues are well lit, but I would think they'd still need them, especially since they are action shots. Are their cameras and lenses just that awesome?

Even at a texan game, I didn't have problems shooting without a flash.

Yes. The equipment is that awesome. Saw an article about what they carry, and some of the lenses alone were in the ten grand range.

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I have noticed professional photographers at the Olympics are not using flash. I'm sure part of the reason is they're not allowed? I know the venues are well lit, but I would think they'd still need them, especially since they are action shots. Are their cameras and lenses just that awesome?

Then there's this guy.

The lenses they have on those cameras are really really amazing. And expensive.

Saw this article yesterday

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/19/an-olympic-photographers-endurance/

Guys a hoss, breaking all the traditional rules, and really proving the old adage "it's the Indian, not the arrows" granted the guy uses some really expensive arrows, just not what you'd expect for a sports photog to carry around. Imagine, in this day and age the pro bodies those guys use can take 11 frames a second pretty much till the card is full, he gets one shot, if they go through his frame. Simply amazing.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Even at a texan game, I didn't have problems shooting without a flash.

Yes. The equipment is that awesome. Saw an article about what they carry, and some of the lenses alone were in the ten grand range.

+1 on the equipment being that awesome. My 5dMkII will go up to about 6500 ISO and with a little work I can get a pretty decent image. I hear the new ones can pull a usable image at 25,000 ISO, or something to that effect. They don't really need flash at sporting events much anymore, but most of those guys still carry them, just in case.

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FYI, Adorama via Ebay dropped the price on their Canon 5D Mark III yesterday to $2,750(body only)....they did this for several hours and then they raised it back up afterwards. Canon also is taking pre-orders for their full frame Canon 6D listed at $2,099.

Edited by sifuwong
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  • 2 months later...

Depending under what conditions and type of photography uh intend to take.

I haven't been able to get a good shoot of the construction at rice because I need a smaller lens (18mm or smaller.) to capture the entire scene.

Edited by ricco67
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Some of you may have noticed that I enjoy taking some construction photos etc. I think I need a better lens and need to upgrade from the kit that I bought with the camera. Anyone have suggestions on what type? Wide angle?

I have a Canon T2i

Start with a straight 50mm lens. Then get something wider. In construction photography you almost never need zoom, but you very frequently need to go wide.

Also, a 50mm lens is just about the best lens you can have for everyday street photography. It's very close to what your eye sees, and they almost always have very few elements -- and the fewer pieces of glass the light has to pass through, the better in terms of clarity, lighting, and pretty much everything else.

I once had this crazy huge fisheye lens -- something like 16mm -- and it was HUGE! It looked totally stupid mounted on the camera, but man did it come in useful. I remember one day I was shooting RIverfront Center for Hines, and they wanted a shot that had both towers in it, and the sign out front. Fisheye to the rescue! Though, today I would probably rent a scissor lift and Photoshop a bunch of pictures together instead.

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Start with a straight 50mm lens. Then get something wider. In construction photography you almost never need zoom, but you very frequently need to go wide.

Also, a 50mm lens is just about the best lens you can have for everyday street photography. It's very close to what your eye sees, and they almost always have very few elements -- and the fewer pieces of glass the light has to pass through, the better in terms of clarity, lighting, and pretty much everything else.

I once had this crazy huge fisheye lens -- something like 16mm -- and it was HUGE! It looked totally stupid mounted on the camera, but man did it come in useful. I remember one day I was shooting RIverfront Center for Hines, and they wanted a shot that had both towers in it, and the sign out front. Fisheye to the rescue! Though, today I would probably rent a scissor lift and Photoshop a bunch of pictures together instead.

like this?

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup/ef_50mm_f_1_4_usm

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  • 3 weeks later...

Adorama is having a sale on entry level full frame camera:

Nikon D600 Digital SLR Camera with Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S VR Lens - Bundle - with Adorama VIP Member Extended Protection Plan, 32GB Class 10 SDHC Card, Camera Case, Spare Battery, External Battery Charger, Remote Trigger, WiFi Mobile Adapter, Cleaning Kit

$1,997 with free shipping and no tax for Texas.

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