a motivated beginner... don't spare my feelings

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by SoonerBJJ, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. SoonerBJJ

    SoonerBJJ TPF Noob!

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    New to the forum and relatively new to "real" photography. I've been wanting to learn more about photography for awhile but with the recent birth of my daughter I've finally been motivated to get with it. I have read a great deal on the internet and have read a number of great books. A few recommendations of the top of my head:

    Understanding Exposure (Bryan Peterson)
    Understanding Photography Field Guide (Peterson)
    Digital Photography Masterclass (Tom Ang)
    Within the Frame (David DuChemin)

    I also enjoyed Michael Andrew's Canon 50D "crash course" DVD.

    After much research I decided on the Canon 50D and bought two lenses with my first DSLR... the Canon 28-70mm f/2.8L and 50mm f/1.4

    I've been shooting for about a week and have decided that at least for the first few months I am going to focus (no pun intended) on optimizing "in camera" processing and cropping. I will probably get Lightroom later but for now I'm just using the included Canon program for minimal adjustments to contrast, saturation, etc without any cropping.

    I read everything I could find before I had my camera in hand and went straight to manual and creative modes. Auto mode in an expensive DSLR is for posers IMHO... but I digress.

    All shots are in manual or aperture priority mode and made with natural light. Shot in RAW and converted to JPEG for publication. Minimal processing in Canon's program.

    Have at it...


    [​IMG]

    Canon 50D 70mm f/2.8 1/400



    [​IMG]

    Canon 50D 50mm f/1.4 1/30



    [​IMG]

    Canon 50D 70mm f/2.8 1/30



    [​IMG]

    Canon 50D 70mm f/2.8 1/400
    This was a metering challenge. There was harsh sidelighting that made it difficult to keep the foreground and not blow out the sky. I would've like to see a little deeper blue in the sky on this one but I couldn't bring it out without changing the overall character of the photograph. I have a polarizer filter but didn't use it.


    [​IMG]

    Canon 50D 70mm f/2.8 1/50

    The couch is the same color as the cat's eyes but it's been washed out a bit. I only had a few seconds to get this shot and was in manual mode. I would've liked more time to nail the exposure.


    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. SoonerBJJ

    SoonerBJJ TPF Noob!

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    Uggghhh... just noticed that the top half of #3-5 look somewhat washed out against the white background of the forum. Oh well...
     
  3. Jane58

    Jane58 TPF Noob!

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    I'm a big fan of DOF & love the first shot!!! The lantana pops. I'm a nature fan so that is my fav! The others don't really grab me, but that's just me! I love cats, too (have 2) but nothing jumps out at me with yours, sorry.
     
  4. SoonerBJJ

    SoonerBJJ TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Jane! That's why I'm asking for opinions. The color in the cat photo is coming across better on my camera than it is in the forum format. It does look kinda blah. I wish I could've done a better job of pulling out the matching color of the cat's eyes and the couch.
     
  5. TakenAptly

    TakenAptly TPF Noob!

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    #1 I like the colors.
    #2 My favorite. I think it's actually quite nice. The lighting and the matching colors of the wall and the skin tone. Plus just the overall composition. I like it.
    #3 Doesn't really do anything for me.
    #4 Same here.
    #5 his face is so dark that I can't see any definition. More light on his face would have been nice. Other than that, I like it.
     
  6. SoonerBJJ

    SoonerBJJ TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, TA. That really is her face fully illuminated. It really is that black

    A real benefit of putting photos out there for C&C is that it forces us to take a second look from a fresh perspective.

    I'll let #1-2 stand on their own.

    #3: I was fresh out of Peterson's book and his discussion of elements of composition. From a technical perspective I was fascinated by the texture, use of line, symmetry, color and perspective but the image lacks emotional impact. I really like it because I was there and I made it, but I have failed to convey that enthusiasm to the viewer.

    #4: I was looking at interesting objects but I couldn't figure out how to compose the photograph in order to convey my enthusiasm. I took multiple shots from different angles and one in particular held the most interest but there were distracting elements (branches) that forced me to chunk the lot. I liked the posted image because for me it represented a technical challenge, but again it failed to achieve emotional impact.

    This is how we get better.
     
  7. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    These shots look really good, Looksl ike those books helped you a lot!
     
  8. hulk

    hulk TPF Noob!

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    These are nice shots! I like all of them (maybe the 3rd and the 5th the least, just because they're less interesting to me).
    For the first pic, although I really like the shallow DOF, I feel like a stop more would have been better (to bring more of the flowers in focus).
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Except for the slightly bald sky in that one shot, you seem to have the basics of a good exposure and good focus down. Exposure control is a big deal,and many beginners struggle with it, so you're off to a solid start I think. I think on the first shot, of the flower, that it would have looked better if you'd gotten a frame-filling closeup, like you did with the old window latch. I grew up in a house that used that same style of window latch.

    Just keep at it, and your pictures will continue to get better and better.
     
  10. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    i'm gonna throw a few references out there for you . . . since i gagged when i read the references you put out ;). kidding of course- i'm a fan of bryan peterson, BUT you might benefit from viewing the work of some of these photographers. Business is an integral part of life for pro photographers, but especially those not selling their work directly as art. . . meaning those who's aesthetic is for sale.

    troy paiva, edward weston, david lachappelle, SEBASTIO SALGADO, joel peter witkin. there are tons of great photogs out there, and i think sometimes its nice to get to view work that wasn't created for a specific job.
     
  11. tom123

    tom123 TPF Noob!

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    Your second picture is the best of them. The others are not bad but the depth of field is sometimes not sufficient. Sometimes you may want to have more of the subject in focus. For example I'd like to see all blossoms in focus and the background blurred out.
     
  12. SoonerBJJ

    SoonerBJJ TPF Noob!

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    newrmdmike, your point is well taken. I am much more interested in people photography, ie environmental portraits, street candids and storytelling, than art and aesthetic photography but I'm finding these subjects much more convenient for learning the principles and technique. Peterson's photos are beautiful and are inspirational for my own practice but that isn't what I ultimately aspire to do.

    Thanks for those references! Those are awesome images and one can learn a great deal from them... but until Salgado writes a book about exposure I'm stuck with reading Peterson. :D

    The first photographer I became aware of by name was Mary Ellen Mark. An exhibition of her street images at The Getty was part of my inspiration for learning to photograph.

    Agreed with the points about DOF on the red flower. Unfortunately that was one of the only subjects for which I didn't take multiple exposures at different settings. What are the odds I can find it again in that field?
     

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