newbie advice needed - out of focus shots

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by wufflebunny, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. wufflebunny

    wufflebunny TPF Noob!

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    Dear All,

    Every evening I get these rainbow lorikeets coming to my windowsill for a feed. I've been trying to take pictures of them, but none of my photos have been turning out the way I want. My main problems are:

    i) at the time of day that the birds come, it's lighter out than it is in, so the birds look like they are in shadow. When I use the flash, the birds' colours look very washed out. I've had all the lights on indoors to compensate, but this doesnt seem to make much of a difference.

    Example pic of too dark birds: http://flickr.com/photos/wufflebunny/298371993/
    Example pic of flash/washed out colour:
    http://flickr.com/photos/wufflebunny/298371998/

    ii) whenever I do a close up of the birds, the pic always ends up out of focus - ie. the bird in the foreground is all fuzzy and the background is crystal clear. I've fiddled around with the macro settings but again it doesnt seem to do much.

    Example pic:
    http://flickr.com/photos/wufflebunny/298371997/

    I am using a Sony Cybershot camera DSC F77. Can anyone offer me some tips on how to improve my photo taking?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    Exactly how close are you getting to the birds for the closeups? There will be a limit on your cameras ability to focus to things too close to the lense.

    The flash does seem to wash out the colors on all cameras, but for your pictures I would think that is correctable using post processing such as photo shop.

    As for the picture where the birds are dark... this is because your camera is metering for the background. Using its fancy formulas of weighted distribution the camera has decided to get the most pleasent exposure, settings X and Y will be uses. Obviously that doesnt work. If your camera has a menu option where you can change your metering mode to spot meter, that will help get the birds in color at the expense of the background being blown out. If your camera has manual settings you can do that yourself.

    Great pictures, you're very lucky to have the opportunity to shoot such colorful birds up close.
     
  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It looks like the birds are only underexposed by a single f stop. Just set the exposure compensation dial for +1 and you should be fine. When you get to photoshop you can use the highlight/shadow control to bring the birds up closer to the harbor vista in terms of luminance. Then you can darken everything to the level that appeals to you. A touch of additional contrast and you should be there. You certainly have a nice view of Sydney harbor.
     
  4. wufflebunny

    wufflebunny TPF Noob!

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    Thank you xfloggingkylex and fmw :) I have found both the compensation dial and spot metering options on the camera and will be experimenting over the next few days to take better pictures.

    Yes, I love the harbour and the birds. They are very tame and will eat from my hand.

    Regarding the harbour, I have a camera set up to take photos at intervals during the day as there is always something interesting happening on the water. I've been turning my efforts into a short stop motion film which is fascinating to watch. I am also trying to experiment with settings for good firework photos come new years eve :)
     
  5. wufflebunny

    wufflebunny TPF Noob!

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  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    wow, there is some great improvement.. especially the last image!
     
  7. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    Hi "Wufflebunny" Noticed your shots and couldn't resist posting a couple of mine, first two at home in Wahroonga and the third which will be obvious to you.
    www.philipweirphotography.com

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    Wuffle, it is great to see learning in action. I think it is safe to say you have become a better photographer with just that extra working knowledge of your camera. Way to go :thumbup:
     

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