Aperture to make the amateur's results better, what next?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by TWX, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. TWX

    TWX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I went through my e-mail records, we ordered the 77D almost exactly one year ago, February 16th, 2019, and it arrived on February 21st. Since receiving it I've put a little over ten thousand shots through it, the vast majority single-shot snaps. I understand the exposure triangle. I think I've got a decent enough handle on framing my subject much of the time, and what I can't get in-body I can usually get with a crop. I've discovered the world of the fill-flash to reduce shading on faces in bright outdoor settings. Holding the camera level seems to be coming along. Physically getting the camera to an appropriate height for a given subject is the norm, even if I'm contorting myself a bit or looking for something to climb up onto at times. I feel I've got a good handle on how wide aperture allows the photographer to downplay the surroundings/setting for the benefit of the subject, especially people as subjects.

    So for someone attempting to self-educate, what do you suggest next, bearing in mind the equipment that I already own and that my ability to leave town is limited? It's incredibly unlikely that I'll ever shoot a professional model, and not especially likely to work with an amateur one either.


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Do you want to do portrait work, landscapes, product? What's your favorite genre?
     
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  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Next... a single focal length lens...the 24mm EFS pancake, the 45mm EfS pancake....the EF 85mm f1.8, or maybe the EF 100mm f/2...this would give you a degree of "sameness" to learn with, plus give you wide apertures with high quality.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Exif data mining will show you what focal lengths you tend to gravitate toward. . In the early days of my 1.5 x shooting,I found that using my 35 to 70 millimeter lens, I had a particular fondness for 43mm. I bought the Nikon 45 mm f 2.8. P series and I used it a fair amount.
     
  5. TWX

    TWX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nudes appeal, but since I have no models at all you know how that would have to go, and no one wants to see that... :biggrin-93:

    This may sound a bit weird, but I've found I like looking at historical images, basically seeing things as they were in the past. Often this is images of the city I live in, sometimes streets, sometimes buildings or districts, sometimes just cars or even infrastructure like the canal system.

    I haven't been to a local science fiction and fantasy convention in awhile but I probably would want to take pictures of the various costumed attendees. I'm not usually inclined to take pictures of strangers too much, but with a venue like a convention it's sort of implied that people are going to be taking photos, so attendees should expect it and not complain.

    While my wife was driving today I took some photos of an airport monorail terminus being constructed, it's a pretty big mammoth of a station, I gather it's for the car rental lots, not sure if the offices/counters are going to be inside, but it looks like it's big enough to house them.
     
  6. TWX

    TWX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I actually did that with the photos we'd taken with the Rebel XS when I ordered the 24mm f/2.8 pancake lens. At that point most of the photos were of the baby/kiddo, indoors, and 24mm seemed to be wide enough to cover the vast majority of this, with the f/2.8 lens offering better low-light than the kit lens. We found the focal length good enough that we bought the EFM 22mm f/2 for the M100. We usually don't even put the zoom lens back on the M100, using only the one focal length when we go to the park etc.

    I have done the one-focal-length thing a couple of times with the DSLR, once with the 24mm and once with the 50mm f/1.8. I had removed the rubber collapsible hood expecting the recess of the front element in the lens to be enough but I had pretty severe lens flare, it was not deep enough.

    I basically have four options for fixed focal length with what I have on hand. 18mm f/3.5 by locking the 18-135 in its widest angle with the switch on the side, 24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8, and using the 1.4x teleconverter, 70mm f/2.5. The teleconverter hurts image quality some but it seems worse the further the subject is from the lens, it doesn't look too horrid for subjects that are reasonably close. I've been thinking about an 85mm, but I'd almost rather spend that money on the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, haven't decided, but largely it depends on what I find for a good price as I browse pawn shops, thrift stores, secondhand stores, and classified ads.

    Shooting that balloon festival was a lot of fun. I'm thinking about going to other events, there's a car show March 8th or so and the St. Patricks Day parade the following weekend that Dad might be representing his car club in. If so maybe we'll go to that depending on how things are going.
     
  7. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You said you took "... a little over ten thousand shots..." - in a year's time? What could you possibly ever do with that many? To keep doing this won't help you gain good photography skills, it's just hit or miss or odds are something will turn out, rather than skill development.

    The idea of "... what I can't get in-body I can usually get with a crop" is something that can be done if needed, but shouldn't be necessary all the time. It's making extra unnecessary work for yourself. You seem to have plenty of short wide lenses - and cropping a lot - that should tell you something.

    "Holding the camera level..." is a basic skill to develop. Keep being aware of this and practice til you can do it consistently, every time you take a photo.

    And the idea about "...how wide aperture allows the photographer to downplay the surroundings..." doesn't take into account that the background is still there, even if it's out of focus. If there's something bright and colorful, or as I found doing sports plenty of lines and posts and poles, it's still there, just blurry. Learn to move yourself, change your vantage point, til you get a background that looks good, that's part of the image.

    See what you get at the car show, parade, etc. I usually use a short telephoto (135mm) to take me in closer, to get a tight shot of a subject without a lot of extra useless stuff that has nothing to do with what's being photographed. If something doesn't add to the picture, then it needs to be out of the frame. It would depend on the venue if I'd need a 45 or 50mm to get shots of a banquet room, larger groups, etc.

    What's next - learning to frame shots well, focus, get proper exposures, and spend more time looking and thinking about what's in your frame.
     
  8. TWX

    TWX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hence my asking.

    More than half are of my kid and wife, and a good chunk of those are from playing at the park, serving both to try to get cute photos of her but also to learn the use of the camera itself, where I'm not fiddling but actually meaningfully changing settings. Probably three to four hundred are technical photos for work-related purposes. Probably more than five hundred snaps in early attempts to stitch images together for particularly high-res photos before I had any clue what I was doing, so basically wasted results for those photos, but at least I learned that I needed to manually control and lock everything. Probably another five hundred shots of distant aircraft in-flight to learn to use my telephoto lens. Several hundred are me farting around in the garden, taking pictures of the roses growing on the property.

    I'm sure that less than half are anywhere close to being really usable, and only a small portion of those are anywhere near good, but the number that to my eye are reasonably good as a percentage is better lately. It took me quite awhile to figure out what exposure settings I needed for landscape shots on smoggy days for example.

    If it's any consolation I have no interest or expectation to ever make any money, I'm merely doing this for my own entertainment. I just would like to have less lackluster or outright bad shots to go through, storage is cheap, but it's not free.
     
  9. TWX

    TWX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So we went four-wheeling on Monday out in the desert. Had a good time, only took a few photos though.

    One of my problems is definitely related to composition. There was a field of saguaro cacti that looked really cool, but the resulting photographs are lackluster. I suspect part of the problem is the eye and brain can pick-out what one wants to look at in-person in ways that the camera can't, such that seeing a bunch of cool looking cacti becomes just a field of cacti, and creosote bushes, and rocks, without anything really highlighted.

    This is a composite photo of three photos:
    IMG_0631 - IMG_0633-no-offset-scaled-down5000x1390.jpg
    Canon EOS 77D, 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 at 50mm f/11 ISO 100 1/125th Second, three images stitched together and scaled for forum

    It was also far too bright out to open up the aperture to narrow the depth of field, I was already having enough trouble with atmospheric haze even with the aperture stopped-down to f/11 as the sheer brightness of the scene meant I couldn't get a slow enough shutter speed even at ISO 100 for what I wanted. I'm not ready to invest in ND filters yet, but if I go out into the desert much more and still find that the lighting is just too bright I might need to consider it.

    Others turned out a bit better:

    IMG_0608-adjusted.JPG Canon EOS 77D, 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 at 24mm f/11 1/30th second, contrast increased and brightness decreased in software and scaled for forum

    I'm sure it could be better still though.

    I'm not going to bother you with the photos shot through vehicle window glass.
     
  10. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    No. 2 is actually fairly decent.
    i would focus on composure and despite the shagrin of many here, start with the rules of thirds, golden circle, etc.
    Learn to balance and un balance the photograph.
    everything else is secondary at this point.
     
  11. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Try shutter speed next. Try shooting faster than you normally would, say 1/400th or 1/500th sec. What would happen if you upped the shutter speed om your cactus shot?

    Then can you use slow shutter speeds to create intentional blur? then can you can try using movement to create blur.
     
  12. TWX

    TWX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One more from this outing, basically straight out of the camera:

    bc-4(IMG_0634).JPG Canon EOS 77D, 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 at 35mm f/11 1/125th second ISO 125(?) scaled for forum

    I might have too much sky in this shot. Might have benefited from some white balance control as well.
     

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