Long distance shot - DOF = frustration

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by pbelarge, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    I have been photographing a particular location, even before I purchased my current camera. It is a palisade (rock formation) that is a little more than a mile away, across a river. I shoot it from fairly high up and close to the river water level.
    My issues:
    The lighting is difficult for me (I think lighting is one of my strongest weaknesses) at best. I have shot it in the morning, daytime, rain, cloudy days, and evening, even a couple of times after dark.

    1. Can I zoom in (I have Canon EF 70-300 f/5.6) and shoot with a wide aperture and still get focus?

    2. I have shot with a 18-55mm lens, with a small aperture (ranging from 7.1 -22 and have not had very good success.


    I have UV filter on the lenses, as per keeping the lens safe, should I remove this filter for the shot?

    What am I doing wrong?
    What can I do to improve the shots?

    I was wondering if it was possibly the lenses, but I think it is really me.
    Woe to be inexperienced at such an age...


    The shots come out looking either under exposed or over exposed. I have once in a while shot a good exposure, but it has never been even close to tack sharp.
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Can you post an example photo?
     
  3. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    photoxopher
    I only have about 1,000 images to choose from. ;)

    Let me organize a couple and I will post them on Saturday.
    thanks for the quick response
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think you might want to see if you can get a copy of Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson - I have a strong feeling that its simply a case that you need a more refined understanding of the aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings that you have access to and that a better understanding will give you far more creative control to get the shot you want.

    When you post up your example give the first thread in my sig a read and try to include as much info as you can :)
     
  5. myfotoguy

    myfotoguy TPF Noob!

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    I would say I agree, it would really help to see some pics when you get a chance to post them. Also, +1 on the Bryan Peterson book. In the meantime, maybe an article as a primer.

    I love your attitude to learn!

    The UV filter may or may not be the problem. That has been hotly debated. I have used them at times without noticeable quality degradation. But, if it's a "cheaper" one, the coatings aren't as good and you can get flare and other problems. Some would say cheap ones will visibly degrade the image, but there may be other factors. As was mentioned, and image or two to look at would be a good place to start.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I don't use UV filters, and here's why:

    Consider that it's unlikely something will contact the UV filter from the objective lens side. So, if the UV filter is going to get hit, it's most likely the blow will be through the UV filter towards the lens, at some angle.

    Filters are made of thin glass and are easy to break.

    At any rate when it does break, all those sharp shards of thin glass will hit the front lens with some amount of force, and being sharp glass can gouge/scratch what they were "keeping safe".

    The part of the filter that holds the glass usually bends, holding those nice sharp shards up against the lens objective so when you unscrew the now shattered UV filter the shards scrap along the objective lens making nice round gouges/scratches in it.

    Lens objectives are thicker and usually backed by additional lens elements and will take a much larger blow than many people realize.

    If you go look in the Buy/Sell forum you can look at closeups of 3 lenses I have for sale that have never had a UV 'protective' filter on them.

    UV filters can not improve the image quality of your photos until you get up around 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), but they can sure degrade it.
     
  7. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Here a couple of my shots. I know they are not great, so please help me.


    Catskill Mountains NY - this one is with my 70- 300mm - hand held using image stabilization
    [​IMG]


    This one is with my 18-55mm hand held as well. I cannot remember if I was using IS
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Andrew Boyd

    Andrew Boyd TPF Noob!

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    The issue may very well be your lenses. The two lenses you say you have are both amateur quality glass. Unfortunately, neither of these consumer zooms is going to give top quality, professional results.
    You can keep shooting with them and do some sharpening in Photoshop; you could try using a tripod to see if that helps, or you could buy some better glass.
    You really do 'get what you pay for' with camera lenses.

    Good luck!

    Andrew
    The Discerning Photographer
     
  9. burstintoflame81

    burstintoflame81 TPF Noob!

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    Were both of those shots using a UV filter as well? I have only been shooting for like 6 months, and per the typical "myth" advice, I put a UV filter on my Tamron 70-300 since the moment I bought it. Never bothered to try it without, not knowing that a cheap filter can degrade quality. Long story short, I took off the filter one day to clean and took some shots with out it. The color was so much better and I have never put that filter back on. I am not saying filters aren't good, but cheap ones certainly aren't.
     
  10. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    I do not think I have taken a photo without the UV filter on my two lenses. That is probably 30,000 photos since August of '09

    Tomorrow I am going to see what happens without the filters. If you here a someone screaming far off...that would be me ;), then you will know the filters did not do what I was told.
    They are not cheap filters, they are middle of the road price-wise
     
  11. Aggressor

    Aggressor TPF Noob!

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    It's not necessarily that you have amateur lenses. At the apertures you need to be working at, it shouldn't be a factor, unless you're close to the smallest aperture available to you.

    #1: the blur is due to a couple of things: the slow shutter speed (which may be countered somewhat by IS) and your aperture (f/7.1)
    #2: your aperture is sufficient in this photo. i would recommend that you drop your iso (just to improve your image quality)

    To do landscapes better, look into getting a graduated neutral density filter, study up on hyperfocal focusing, get to the lowest ISO, and shoot with a tripod.
     
  12. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    John
    Thank you for the info and website locations. I will work on it trust me.
    I have been looking into the ND filters, I have not decided yet because I am not sure which ones are a waste of funds and which ones are worth the money.
     

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