Practice Practice, Plan, and practice more..

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by D7K, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. D7K

    D7K This is the right time.. Supporting Member

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    So, I wasn't quite sure if / where this topic would fit into the forum, however, please feel free to delete or move the post if it's not suitable here.

    The reason I have posted here in the beginners forum, is to highlight that planning and practice are key to continued development and success, to achieve the image you want. We have all been places and returned to find that we've not caught the image we wanted or had in our mind, and become frustrated by it, some to the point that they would put the camera back in the box and think "I can't do it"..

    Anyway, As you will see from the below images, I had just that issue. I have walked past this fountain many times, and longed to catch it in full flow at night (sometimes they're shutting it off).
    The first shot was my first attempt; I took the shot, at a glance liked what I saw in camera and shot a few more from the same / similar position and that was it. When I got home and edited, I clearly saw many issues which frustrated me badly.

    South_Park_Fountain.jpg


    1) Blown highlights in the front water arcs
    2) Despite straightening and cropping it felt off centre
    3) Pretty bad framing and composition
    4) THE WATER JET IS OUT OF LINE WITH THE CRACK IN THE WALL!! Clearly knocks the entire image off and for me it was unrecoverable.
    5) Lens flare (caused by the water splashing the lens as I was too close, which was too much to remove in post)

    Number 4 was the breaking point, how could I be so stupid as to not take the time to ensure my composition and alignment were correct, why did I allow such blown highlights, was I just being lazy or simply pleased to eventually be passing here when the fountain was still on and having a chance to shoot? Feel free to add additional criticisms to that..

    Last week we again were visiting the park and the again the fountain was still playing, This time I was adamant I would not make the same mistakes. I set up, carefully, checked my angles, positions, composition, double checked my ISO/SS/AP. I wanted what I had imagined for a long time.
    Below is the image that I left with from that evening.

    Fountain.jpg

    Immediately I was happier with every aspect of this shot. I shot a couple of exposures allowing me to recover some of the highlights in post from being totally blown, and despite the editing differences (and improved composition/backdrop), I think you would agree it is a more pleasing shot.

    It's a very long winded way of me saying, if you don't get the shot you saw in your mind, don't give up or get mad, use it to drive your learning, choose the areas you feel you didn't quite capture correctly and work on them, make a note or a mental note so when you return to get the shot, not only will you come away with something you wanted, but you will have improved your understanding and knowledge of your photography.

    Let me know what you think..


     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  2. Fujidave

    Fujidave Blue eyed and Beautiful

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    Second image for me as it looks more pleasing to the eye, the whites look good as does the composition and lighting. Like you say practice and practice more, sometimes I will go back and really take my time to get the image I want.
     
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  3. D7K

    D7K This is the right time.. Supporting Member

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    Thanks Dave, The first one was binned for sure, but maybe and hopefully it may serve as a lesson to others that just because you leave a location and end up with an image you didn't imagine, doesn't mean you can't get it, just got to put the work in :)
     
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  4. PJM

    PJM No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ha! I’m a newbie and if I had gotten that first pick I’d be happy as heck. Great pics!

    I’m new to trying to take really good photos and definitely experience the frustration you talk about. I constantly have to remind myself to give myself the time to learn and not just think I can’t do it.

    Quick question... How much time do you spend setting up for a shot like the second one?

    Thanks for your post.
    Pete
     
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  5. D7K

    D7K This is the right time.. Supporting Member

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    Hey, Thanks Pete,
    For me, the second shot took me a few minutes to set up for, calculate my exposures, couple of test shots, review, tweak, test, review and then when I was happy, shot a few at the settings I had, then underexposed a couple without moving the tripod to make sure I could recover some highlights in post. I'm sure that many others are way more skilled than me and can do it much quicker.
    In these types of cases where it's a slow walk around the park, and I have the time, my usual flow would be something like: Decide what shot I want to achieve so I can set ISO / SS / AP (Long expo / freeze action etc) > Compose > Test shots > review & tweak > final set of shots.
    As with everything, with practice it gets easier, you know your camera, your settings and your starting point is closer to what you want to achieve. If you have the time to set up, take the time to set up, it's worth it.
     
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  6. Winona

    Winona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Beautiful fountain! Thanks for sharing your efforts with us frustrated beginners!
     
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  7. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Number two for me.....
     
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  8. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I'm a firm believer in the six "P's", but even then I have to force myself to slow down and think through the shot. It's like I get extreme tunnel vision once I look through the view finder.
     
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  9. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Older thread so forgive me for resurrecting it.

    But I wanted to put a few thoughts on this.

    As a firearms aficionado of times past, one thing that was hammered into my head was practice, practice, practice.

    So I did and spent ALOT of money on ammunition. But my practice seemed only marginal at times as my targets seemed to miss the center many a times.

    Then one afternoon an older gentleman of the WWII crowd saw what I was doing and politely sat me down to tell me a few war stories.
    The one thing he did after the war was teach "gun shooting the right way" to police and military.
    The man had experience from Rwanda from what he told me as a private Merc. And told me there was a secrete to learning the best shooting methods, that happen to translate very nicely into the photographic world.

    Technique...

    But what he meant was more than simple technique taught by most.

    He also told me to practice stance. Same is true in photography.

    He showed me that the modified Weaver stance is only ONE of many stances with a hand gun and actually used a camera as a prop for this. The squat technique, one knee technique, and then he told me to work my muscles. Train them to hold weight for long periods. Wont be perfect, but the more you do it the more steady you grow. Same in photography.

    Patience: Learn to wait. the best shot comes to those who wait. Best practice method he used was Taekwondo. Yoga, meditation and other techniques are useful. This includes breathing exercises.

    Observation. Learn to see what the camera sees and set up the shot that way. Especially med. and Large format shooting, the view of what you want should be set up carefully, vs. fast journalistic shots or spur of the moment.
    Frame the image you want to see. One way I was told a few years ago was to use a plastic, wood or cardboard frame of the format size and look through it for the careful shots. Then match that to the camera.
    Hold the camera at different levels, angles, etc.
    Like tactical shooting, try lying down, or on the side. try other angles. Etc.

    Learn every aspect of your equipment including strengths and weaknesses. then learn to use it in the dark.
    This isn't a complete list, nor a be all end all.

    But just picking up the camera and shooting is only part of the job.

    Most of all, make it fun.
     
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  10. Ash Telecaster

    Ash Telecaster TPF Noob!

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    I actually like how the first shot is asymetrical but I see what you mean. The second is composed better and is the better picture.

    I like your perspective regarding planing your shot. I am a beginner and have been doing that very thing, predetermined what I want, ask on the forum how others would approach it, then getting the picture. That is so that I act with intent so I develop some skills.
     
  11. jogesh debnath

    jogesh debnath TPF Noob!

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    Good tips to start as a beginner.
     

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