Andy and Al's Great Minnesota Adventure

Discussions on Equipment, Locations and Tips for getting the photograps you want of Vermont scenes.Note: You must be registered in order to post. If you have trouble registering, use the contact us form on Scenes of Vermont's home page.

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deaner1971
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Postby deaner1971 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:55 pm

Andy, those fireworks photos are wonderful. Would it be rude to ask what lense you used to grab those?


Andy
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Postby Andy » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:50 pm

Deaner: No, not rude at all. My photography is an open book :-).

I used a Nikkor 70-300 zoom. I set the camera to manual and most were shot at an f8 aperture, adjusting the speed to get the exposure I sought.

Focal length for most was set right at 100mm. Obviously, that will depend on your distance from the subject.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

autzig
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Postby autzig » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:50 pm

I've now posted my photos at http://www.goldimagesphoto.com/new/index.html

Hope you enjoy them.

Al

Andy
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Postby Andy » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:28 am

As Lawrence Welk might say, Al: Wunnerful, wunnerful, wunnerful!
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

Andy
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Postby Andy » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:36 am

If you look at Al's last photo, you can see the kind of light conditions we were working with on that waterfall. We both shot frames to combine with HDR. I don't think either of us has had any time to work with them.

I had a minor "catastrophe" shooting during mid-day Saturday. Still learning the controls and getting a comfort level with my D700 (while mostly the same as my prior Nikon Bodies). In the heat of the moment, so to speak, you can start turning dials while your eye is still in the viewfinder. Somehow, I turned a dial that set the image quality from RAW to the LOWEST resolution JPEG!. We took a break for a sandwich at Split Rock and I noticed something different on my display. it said 14k instead of the number of images left on the card. Rich grabbed it and started playing with it and said, "dude" why are you shooting jpeg. FULL PANIC :lol:

I hustled back out and re-shot my lighthouse photos. But some of the mid-day waterfall shots are just going to have to stay low-res jpeg, including my shots for HDR. We will see how they come out. The good news is that Al and I agreed that none of these images would be "award-winners" anyway. Wrong light conditions for starters.

I have been shooting ONLY RAW since I switched to my first D100 DSLR in 2000. The moral of the story -- with all settings -- is, in my view, no matter how comfortable you are with your camera and skilled a shooter you are -check and re-check constantly, to be sure the "gear" is set the way you think it is. Probably fodder for a Blog post in the near future.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

abby
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Postby abby » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:36 am

Al, Those photos are beautiful!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing them.

Andy, I don't think there is one among us who hasn't had that type of experience before with their gear. It's unfortunate that you accidentally set it to the lowest resolution jpeg, but at least you will still have "something" and I bet posted on your website they will look just fine.

I have made so many stupid mistakes myself :roll: .
Carol :D

faxmachineanthem
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Postby faxmachineanthem » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:07 am

Really interesting shots, guys. Very unique situation w/ the fireworks and the lighthouse. Andy, I know what you mean-- sometimes I find myself shooting at high ISO because I forgot to check my settings.

autzig
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Postby autzig » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:53 am

Actually, the photo of the Temperance River is an HDR image. The sun was very bright and either the canyon wall was black or the waterfall was blown out. Photomatix came to the rescue.

Later today I will update the site with comments about each the the photos.

Al

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Postby Andy » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:37 am

Al: I thought you just got the capture right :-).

We talked about the images "begging" for HDR that day. I have finally been able to get my images converted, renamed and am putting them in my Archive and labeling, etc. I will take a run at some HDR and at some of the DOF stacking photos I prepared for later.

Carol: Fortunately, I had enough good light and time to get back and shoot the stuff I was really concerned about. I will keep the jpgs and fool around with them as some of them look really nice on screen.

Probaby won't put anything on my website that cannot be printed though. Thats still the end game in my view (though I guess I could just "advertise" them as for screensaver or web use only). Have to think about that one.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

deaner1971
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Postby deaner1971 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:07 am

Al, absolutely great photos. I thought both of you did fantastically with the fireworks. The exposures were absolutely great.

Question on HDR, does everyone just brackett or do you use an off-camera meter and specifically select your exposures to combine later?

Sometimes, especially shooting places like Vermont where there can be a vast range of light in a given scene, I find myself wondering if bracketing still leaves me a bit too close to the average exposure and makes me miss out on some additional details to be found in the darker areas.

Just curious if I am on the verge of over complicating something that technology has made convenient or if I have been letting the same convenience limit what could be.

Andy
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Postby Andy » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:59 pm

its really a simple concept. But it does take a little pre-planning. I would plan to set your camera to all manual and set a constant aperture. Then, you need to find the brightest part of your scene and the darkest. Meter to expose each of these properly and remember those settings. It doesn't really matter which one you start with, as long as you are consistent. I have been using a finger in front of the lens to show start and finish (obviously you can't use the frames with the fingers in them :lol: ). The reading I have done suggests that if you are shooting RAW, you only need to capture every 2 full stops (the literature suggests that closer together is overkill -- but your own mileage may vary and I encourage you to experiment with it). Then simply take a series of exposures from brightest to darkest (or vice versa). For those unfamiliar with exposure, you will have what appear to be terrible exposures at the ends (the bright areas will be properly exposed and the darks completely blocked up -- black, and the in the other extreme, the dark areas will be properly exposed and the brights completely blown out - white). Not to worry. What the HDR software does is takes the best parts of all the series and pulls it out and combines it, throwing away the "ugly" stuff.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

autzig
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Postby autzig » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:21 am

I'm not sure that Andy and I differ in our approach but I rely on my histogram. I choose a shutter speed or aperture based on what I'm looking for in my photo. Then I expose that shot. I then expose until the histogram shows that the whites are no longer over exposed. Then I do the same for the blacks; exposing until the blacks are no longer under exposed.

Photomatix will use RAW files, so I just open them in Photomatix and let it do the work.

Al

Andy
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Postby Andy » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:50 am

I don't think its a much different approach, just another way of getting to the same thing. We are both "bracketing."

My concern is trying to be sure I have all the range of tonality in the photograph I can capture, from the highlights to the shadows and in-between. To me, that means getting the highlights and shadows and then depending on how many stops apart that is, enough exposures in between to make sure I have the "best" of each tonality range. My "head" told me to bracket lots (e.g., start at the shadow point and bracket 1/3 stop all the way up to the highlight blowing out). Thats a lot of exposures and a lot of information for the HDR software to churn. Knowing there are supposed to be several stops of information in each raw image, common sense took over and told me I didn't need to bracket that much. So . . . . . how much?

One of my (many) "failings" is that I read too much and carry too much extranea around in my head (well, I guess I really don't see that as a failing. More like a different way to view life). But I have 3 books on HDR photography. The concensus of these "experts" seems to be that any closer than 2 stops apart is redundant.

However, you onlyl need to look at Al's results to see that his method works very well indeed.

One caution about using the histogram on the back of your camera. It is created on the fly by your in-camera software, based on that software's rendering of a jpeg image. Empirical evidence shows that if you are shooting raw, you probably slightly more range or headroom than the histogram shows. So you might want to blow the highlights and block the shadows just slightly. Obviously, every different sensor will be different and you will need to experiment with yours.

The other is, if you are not shooting raw, all of the above needs to be taken into context. How much dynamic range in a jpeg from your camera? Maybe the brackets need to be closer. I don't know -- I NEVER shoot JPEG (not on purpose, at least :lol: )
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .



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