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Author Topic: Photographing in the wilderness  (Read 4626 times)
boku
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« on: August 03, 2005, 08:20:27 AM »
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Bring a tripod. That should be on your list.

With the dull light a factor, you might consider scanning the slides and adding some "pop" in Photoshop.
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Bob Kulon

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dazzajl
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2005, 10:44:02 AM »
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Pretty much everything is in those two posts above, with a tripod being the one thing that you could have with you to open up the most possibilties.

From the example pics you linked to, I'd have to say that if I was going to shoot in cloudy conditions that is exactly the kind of landscape I would want to be in.

The potential for great detail shots of rock, leaves, vegitaion and water should be huge and I'd hope you could have loads of fun.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2005, 11:08:06 PM »
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About film: I just received my film slr yesterday and loaded in my first film in five years. I'm planning to have the image as ready as possible straight from the camera and would prefer a film with vivid and strong colors. The print size will be small. I have access to a Minolta Dual Scan III film scanner so I'll do the scanning myself if needed.

For photographers who love vivid colors, the film of choice is the slide film Velvia.  Velvia is famous for its *very* vivid colors and its fine grain.  You'll have to scan it if you want to make make prints, of course.  If you aren't confident of your ability to get a good exposure, you'll need to bracket a lot, as most slide film is not very forgiving of nonoptimal exposures - the flip side of that, though, is that the color and contrast look lovely straight out of the camera if you get it right.  (When I used film, I actually used negative film, since it has a significantly larger dynamic range so it's much more forgiving of poor exposures - the flip side being that it needs extensive digital manipulation to get something with good-looking contrast afterward.  That and I could easily get prints of a whole roll at the local photo lab.)  

Re your tripod questions:  I'm not a tripod expert (I've asked many questions on the subject here myself), but you might learn something from my (albeit limited) experience.  I started by buying a cheap, lightweight aluminum tripod (though still about $100), and found that whenever there was a moderate breeze it would wiggle so much that the images would be unusably blurred in even slightly low-light conditions.  After losing too many pictures that way, I gave up and got a much stiffer (though much more expensive) tripod.  If you do a forum subject search for the word "tripod" (under "Cameras & Shooting Gear" or whatever it's called), you'll probably find a lot of good discussion and advice on the subject, as it's a popular topic.

Lisa
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2005, 12:06:05 PM »
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One more useful comment on tripods:  Most are either aluminum or carbon fiber.  If weight is a serious issue for you (for example, if you're going to be carrying it a long way while hiking), then carbon fiber would be best because it's much lighter for the same stiffness.  However, carbon fiber is quite a bit more expensive.  If cost is more of a problem than weight, then aluminum is the way to go.

Lisa
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JussiS
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2005, 12:27:48 PM »
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Home again. It's so hard to take pictures when others are waiting to move forward. Next time I'll dedicate a few days for photography only and take that tripod with me.

Here are a few pictures that I managed to take. Feel free to comment: pictures

Note to self:
- know your equipment or go through a checklist before taking the photo
- learn to use slide film
- don't leave the tripod on the backseat
- dedicate a couple of days for photography only
- investigate the surroundings, be prepared to return to the site
- not everyone has to understand your pictures
- let others take the snapshots: it's ok to focus on your own area of interest without recording everything on sight.
- learn from other photographers
- learn from your own pictures
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JussiS
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2005, 02:45:47 AM »
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Greetings to everyone! I've been reading these forums for quite a while but haven't participated until now.

I have just moved from a digicam to a film slr and am going for a trip to north soon. I've visited the place a couple of times and find it more and more intriguing. However, this time I also want to bring home some fine landscape pictures and could use some help in planning them.

The previous years my pictures have looked almost exactly like these, even the angle is usually the same: http://www.mesa.nl/~schuur....ma (note: these pictures are not taken by me). This time I want something different.

What photographic suggestions do you have when shooting in a location such as this? I cannot choose the weather, what can be done to make a cloudy scenery look more interesting? In what kind of situations should I use shallow/deep DOF etc...

Another question about equipment. I have a Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 5 with a basic 28-100 mm lens. I also might have a chance to use an older Minolta 35-135 mm quality (?) lens. Is the 100/135 mm difference doing any good when shooting this kind of locations? What film should I choose? Anything else? I have considered buying a polarizer but the lens barrel turns during focusing so it might be difficult to always check the polarizer.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2005, 10:26:28 AM »
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If you want to learn to take more creative photos, I suggest that you go to your local library or bookstore, or even just searching on the web, to look at a wide range of photo collections.  They can give you ideas for things to try yourself, help you identify what it is about some photos that appeals to you (so you can look for it in your own work), and generally inspire you.  It helps to make this a long-term habit as your "photographic eye" gradually develops.
Make sure to check out some of the "big names" in photography, but there's no need to stick with just the big names; look at whatever appeals to you too.

Regarding cloudy weather:  As the old saying goes, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  If it's cloudy, look for ways to make the cloudy conditions enhance your photos rather than detracting from them.  A little fog or mist can produce some beautiful photos.  If you just have high overcast clouds, well, that can help you if you're photographing in dark forests because it reduces the dynamic range of the scene.  If nothing else, get the sky out of the picture and focus on things nearer the ground.

Regarding shallow/deep DOF:  In general, if you want to direct the viewers' attention to some particular object in the foreground, it helps to have that object in focus and the background out of focus.  Otherwise, deep DOF generally works best.  However, there are always exceptions; try some different things, and sometimes you'll get something unusual that works well.  (Again, it helps to have looked at other photographers' work to see what sort of effects are possible.)

Regarding film:  We need more details from you to help make suggestions.  Are you comfortable at determining the optimum exposure yet, or are you inexperienced at that and let the camera always determine the exposure?  Do you want to be able to project the images on a screen, or make prints from them?  Will you be scanning the film yourself, or sending it out to a lab to be scanned, or not having it scanned at all?  Will you spend time improving the photos with a program like Photoshop, or want good results straight out of the camera?

Regading the polarizer rotation problem:  I hear you.  My first lens had the same problem.  I did manage to use a polarizer on it, but it was annoying.  A good reason to save up for a better lens.  :-)

Have you considered getting a good reference book on taking photos?  A good one would answer these and a lot more questions of this sort.  In English, the book "Photography" by London & Upton (there are several editions, as it is regularly updated for digital etc.) is a good introductory textbook with a lot of good information.

Lisa
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JussiS
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2005, 11:54:35 PM »
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The tripod: what qualities should it have if I were to buy one? At least it should be quick to assemble. I have seen some very light tripods for about 20 € although they seem to be a bit elastic. Keep away from those?

I'll be mostly shooting in A and P modes. Full manual is out of the question because of my minimum experience with film. The Dynax 5 has exposure bracketing. Maybe I should use it if the scenery has a large dynamic range? How big should a step be, one stop or more/less?

About film: I just received my film slr yesterday and loaded in my first film in five years. I'm planning to have the image as ready as possible straight from the camera and would prefer a film with vivid and strong colors. The print size will be small. I have access to a Minolta Dual Scan III film scanner so I'll do the scanning myself if needed.

I have read some books by John Hedgecoe, currently reading Practical Landscape Photography. I usually browse the photo collections at Photo Points. A visit to library might be in place for more inspiration.

Thanks for the tips on cloudy weather, too. I'm feeling more confident already
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JeroenM
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2005, 09:44:48 AM »
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Quote
The tripod: what qualities should it have if I were to buy one? At least it should be quick to assemble. I have seen some very light tripods for about 20 € although they seem to be a bit elastic. Keep away from those?
yep, keep away from those.
a tripod needs to do one thing very well: keep your camera and lens very steady.
take your camera (and heaviest lens if you have more than one) with you to the shop and try the tripods.
it must have a quick release system. it's also very usefull if you can get very low to the ground. or pretty high so you don't need to bend for every picture.
I've got a Manfrotto (Bogen?) 055PROB. I've paid about 250 EUR and thought that was a huge amount of money. If I'd have to buy a new one I'd probably spend twice that much (note: photography is a hobby for me. Those who live from it probably spend a lot more for a tripod)
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jcarlin
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2005, 11:56:53 PM »
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A note on tripods.  It is more important to get a tripod that is likely to make it out of the house with you.  The worlds sturdiest tripod will do you no good if you leave it at home/the store because it is to heavy/costly.  Also if you don't plan on long exposures a good monopod might meet your cost/size/weight restrictions, they are quite handy and shouldn't be underestimated.  Regardless of what you get make sure it has a removable head so you can change heads as your needs change.

John
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jonkhill
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2005, 12:23:23 PM »
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Many artists develop a creative style by experimenting and then dwelling on a theme that they hit on during experimentation.  A friend who is a wildlife painter gets an idea and paints it for months, seeing what she can come up with.  Sometimes the theme you explore can come about by accident.  A couple of years ago I took a photo of a lion that just happened to have another lion out of focus in the background.  I liked it and looked for similar opportunities on a recent trip.  I got some nice results. You can see some at SafariShots.com

-Jon
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howard smith
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2005, 02:44:33 PM »
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All your notes above seem reasonable.

I believe that if you can take a creative photograph at home or in the studio, you can do it anywhere else.  Practice, learn your craft and equipment and study (art and other photographs you like and why).
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