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Author Topic: Beginner with first dslr - please critique  (Read 4655 times)
shothunter
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« on: March 10, 2007, 02:22:06 PM »
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Hi there,

I would be what you consider a newbie to the world of dslr - just got my 30D + 28-135mm at the end of January.
I started getting serious about photography about a year and a half ago and by the end of last year I thought I' be ready for my first dslr - after shooting with a Canon Powershot SD 500 (IXUS 700 in Europe - that's where I purchased it) for somewhat more than a year.
This is my first post in this forum and it looks like its going to be a learning curve - just what I'm looking for, so go ahead and tell me what you think  

[attachment=2065:attachment]

eddie

ps.: pls excuse mistakes in my english, since my first language is german  
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2007, 02:46:04 PM »
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I like the concept.

A couple of questions...   Why did you include the bottom content of the frame?  Particularly the negative space on the bottom left?

I like the graphic nature of the power lines against the sky - whould it have been possible to frame without the trees etc?  So just the sky, bird and power lines?
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 02:46:29 PM by Tim Gray » Logged
shothunter
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2007, 03:15:34 PM »
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Quote
I like the concept.

A couple of questions...   Why did you include the bottom content of the frame?  Particularly the negative space on the bottom left?

I like the graphic nature of the power lines against the sky - whould it have been possible to frame without the trees etc?  So just the sky, bird and power lines?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105907\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for your contribution.
The empty space on the bottom left is the top part of an arch of the bridge that I was standing on and is due to my low vantage point. I'd have to either crop it or remove it in ps. I could have framed without the trees by shooting the opposite way but that would have ment to include more of the top part of the bridge.... I just checked the focal length I was shooting with and discovered that I could have zoomed in a little more to exclude most of the trees...
I'll try to crop and remove the arch in ps.

I appreciate your input, thanks a lot!

eddie
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jule
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2007, 03:37:48 PM »
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This is my first post in this forum and it looks like its going to be a learning curve - just what I'm looking for, so go ahead and tell me what you think   

eddie
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105902\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Eddie, Thanks for posting your image. Once hooked on photography, it will give you much pleasure - and frustration    for the rest of your life!

First things first. To be able to work digitally, it is important to have a fairly accurate representation of your digital data on screen. Depending upon your level of requirement, this will vary, but you at least need to have a colour managed workflow and a reasonable screen - otherwise you will not be seeing what the data for the image represents.

On my screen, and as the histograpm shows, your image is very dark and flat, and therefore lacks life. Before you look at composition etc, I think it would be a good idea to start to learn how to use the histogram and processing programmes.

Just for a very quick example - For starters, I have just used one levels adjustment to modify the histogram and you can see the difference.
[attachment=2068:attachment]


Are you using Photoshop? and are you processing RAW images? If not I would suggest choosing a RAW converting programme, and find out as much as you can about image editing from threads here, internet , books and workshops.

I am by no means an expert, and am myself learning all the time. There are others here who are far more competent and capable than myself, but I think my suggestions would be a good starting point upon which to build.

Have fun,
Julie
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 03:49:43 PM by jule » Logged

jule
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2007, 03:47:22 PM »
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oops, had a little hiccup with the attachment for the quick levels adjustment -

Image included in post now. Not sure what was happening. My internet connection was very slow and it kept dropping out when the image was uploading. I still don't understand why there is no thumbnail showing? oh well.
Julie
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 03:52:56 PM by jule » Logged

shothunter
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2007, 03:47:34 PM »
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Here is the cropped picture - I didn't do a particular good job cloning away the arch - but does that come close to what you ment, Tim?

[attachment=2067:attachment]
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shothunter
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2007, 04:01:04 PM »
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Hi Eddie, Thanks for posting your image. Once hooked on photography, it will give you much pleasure - and frustration    for the rest of your life!

First things first. To be able to work digitally, it is important to have a fairly accurate representation of your digital data on screen. Depending upon your level of requirement, this will vary, but you at least need to have a colour managed workflow and a reasonable screen - otherwise you will not be seeing what the data for the image represents.

On my screen, and as the histograpm shows, your image is very dark and flat, and therefore lacks life. Before you look at composition etc, I think it would be a good idea to start to learn how to use the histogram and processing programmes.

Just for a very quick example - For starters, I have just used one levels adjustment to modify the histogram and you can see the difference.
Are you using Photoshop? and are you processing RAW images? If not I would suggest choosing a RAW converting programme, and find out as much as you can about image editing from threads here, internet , books and workshops.

I am by no means an expert, and am myself learning all the time. There are others here who are far more competent and capable than myself, but I think my suggestions would be a good starting point upon which to build.

Have fun,
Julie
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105915\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Jule,

maybe some info on my digital darkroom: I use a Laptop for editing my images (acer aspire 1690 I know, not the best screen for imaging) and I do it with Photoshop. RAW is still pretty new to me but I've tried to work with some RAW images, just to get the feel of it.
I am in contact with a pro photographer and read a bunch of books he gave me and some others like Hedgecoe's Book of Photography and one by Freeman Patterson (Photography and the Art of Seeing). One of the galleries I browse most is photo.net - learned some stuff there as well.
I haven't really printed any of my work, because I don't have the equipment to do good prints - its a budget thing, that also applies to the screen I'm working with.
And yes, you're right: It's a lot of fun to do photography but also a lot of frustration when things don't work out the way you thought they should   but I'm willing to learn...

eddie
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shothunter
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2007, 04:08:17 PM »
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Hi Eddie, Thanks for posting your image. Once hooked on photography, it will give you much pleasure - and frustration    for the rest of your life!

First things first. To be able to work digitally, it is important to have a fairly accurate representation of your digital data on screen. Depending upon your level of requirement, this will vary, but you at least need to have a colour managed workflow and a reasonable screen - otherwise you will not be seeing what the data for the image represents.

On my screen, and as the histograpm shows, your image is very dark and flat, and therefore lacks life. Before you look at composition etc, I think it would be a good idea to start to learn how to use the histogram and processing programmes.

Just for a very quick example - For starters, I have just used one levels adjustment to modify the histogram and you can see the difference.
[attachment=2068:attachment]
Are you using Photoshop? and are you processing RAW images? If not I would suggest choosing a RAW converting programme, and find out as much as you can about image editing from threads here, internet , books and workshops.

I am by no means an expert, and am myself learning all the time. There are others here who are far more competent and capable than myself, but I think my suggestions would be a good starting point upon which to build.

Have fun,
Julie
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105915\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for uploading the quick edit - I see what you mean, your adjustment really adds to the shot...

thnx
eddie
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2007, 07:06:36 PM »
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I second Julie's suggestion of brightening up the shot, and I agree with cropping out the trees, but I would leave the bridge in. Even though it's not obvious what it is, it seems to fit the space below the power lines well, which the trees do not.

For more learning tools, check out the various tutorials and essays right here on the Luminous Landscape web site. There is a ton of good stuff here, as well as in this forum.

Welcome aboard!
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shothunter
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2007, 09:39:40 PM »
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Hi Eric,

thank you for the warm welcome!
I'm not quite sure whether to include the bridge or not, on the one hand it kind of counterbalances the horizontal power lines and helps the eye to travel through the image. On the other hand it takes away from the otherwise abstract image (abstract in terms of the amount of composition elements).
I'll post a version with the bridge and the levels adjustment.

thanks a lot!

eddie
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shothunter
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2007, 10:05:26 PM »
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Here it comes - for some reason I couldn't get the upper right corner to be as light as Julie's version just using levels. But it's a definite improvement over the version posted at first.

[attachment=2072:attachment]

regards
eddie
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2007, 10:08:23 PM »
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I like the new version just fine.
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2007, 06:54:30 PM »
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Welcome to LL virtual class room.

You have already gotten very good advice on the image above and there is already a good deal of improvement.

I'll dare to give you one quick general advice: don't try to shoot too many subjects. You'll learn more by focussing on a limited amount of subjects and by approaching them in various ways (composition, lens,...).

For a few weeks/months, try to behave as if shooting within a given subject were free but changing subject cost some money.

Either way, have fun with your new camera!

Cheers,
Bernard
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shothunter
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2007, 08:27:14 PM »
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Hi Bernhard,

that sounds like a very interesting approach that I will probably end up trying, although my choice in terms of lenses is limited to my 28-135mm zoom.

And besides having fun with my camera I'm starting to encounter all kinds of little bugs that come along with dslr-life: Dust on the sensor-cleaning kits-post-processing, colour space (I've been reading the "understanding series" at the LL homepage, a little
confused right now with sRGB, Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB and colour calibration in generell) and much more  

regards
eddie
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2007, 10:37:13 PM »
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Hi Eddie,

I think you are making a good start.

Boy was I naive when I first started dabbling in digital three years ago, after over forty years of film (virtually all B&W, with some color trannies all processed by Mother Kodak.) I soon discovered that it was easy to shoot color in digital, but I could send reams of paper through my printer trying (unsuccessfully) to get the colors to look vaguely plausible. I finally signed up for a one-day workshop with Bruce Fraser (bless him) where I heard the phrase "color management" for the very first time. That workshop, plus a few books, some expensive calibration equipment (& software), plus the Luminous Landcape website, and I have finally gotten to the point where I get more satisfaction than frustration.

Good luck to you! It's confusing at first, but there are lots of knowledgable and helpful folks here to lessen the pain.
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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2007, 01:20:29 AM »
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Bernard wrote:

Quote
I'll dare to give you one quick general advice: don't try to shoot too many subjects. You'll learn more by focussing on a limited amount of subjects and by approaching them in various ways (composition, lens,...).

For a few weeks/months, try to behave as if shooting within a given subject were free but changing subject cost some money.

I remember two contrasting exercises from 'Photography and the Art of Seeing' by Freeman Patterson.  Was to randomly walk a certain distance outside your front door (preferably not into the middle of a busy street), and without moving from that spot, shoot a roll of film.  The other was to pick on subject and shoot a roll of film on that.  In both cases, try to make every shot interesting.  Digital is certainly cheaper to experiment with (after initial costs, anyway... Oh for the day when an A-1 was only a few hundred again...)

Mike.
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shothunter
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2007, 09:03:25 PM »
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Hi guys

I really appreciate your help - I've learned a lot since I joined this forum. And I, too, remember reading about those exercises by Freeman that Mike mentioned - and others like taking pictures of your home from your pet's eye level...

@ Eric:
Its good to know that one is not the only one having hassle with the technically intricate world of colour management  

cheers
eddie
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"I never bracket (...), bracketing is a sign of insecurity, (...) it means you don't really know what you're doing..."
Ansel Adams, 1983 BBC Series
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