Random C&C


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Feb 10, 2012
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Yakima, WA
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Here's a selection of shots from the past few days. They're a bit random, but would love some suggestions on all of them. I can't seem to have any luck these past few days of getting any particularly good shots. Tell me what's wrong with these so I can learn to do better! Please!


Alignment by RxForB3, on Flickr


Night by RxForB3, on Flickr


Color by RxForB3, on Flickr


Silly Boy by RxForB3, on Flickr


Cheese-y by RxForB3, on Flickr
Not much to say about numbers 1 and 2.... I find a (minimum) 400mm lens and some strong foreground are what make moon shots interesting...

Number 3 is quite nice.... I would suggest bringing your exposure value up (+1 or +2) for a little more punch. I assume this is shot with a 100mm macro.... a touch tighter for the framing would be nice to minimize the less desirable looking purple flowers on camera right edge of frame... but overall, pretty well done...

Number 4 looks like a nice candid... it is what it is....

And number 5 could use a little improvement in composition and probably a full stop more exposure to get some eye color going... I would have flagged most of the key light off the piano and added a sharp rim light from camera right with a small bounce to expose only a portion of the piano, leaving the rest of the frame black.... an improvement in composition would make that choice more sensible.
Primarily ... composition.
The moon, clouds, and stars don't seem to fit together. You probably better off just with the Moon ... or stars.

The portraits suffer from both composition and lighting.
Too much dead space on top and body parts cut out. The illumination does not compliment the subject.
#1 and 2

From the slight experience I have.

Always chose clear nights and as far away from the city as you can to avoid light pollution.

Moon photography:
You're better off with a 300-400mm lens. The Bigger the better. Having a smaller than full frame sensor to (do to crap factor, technically, greater zoom)
Exposure, Tv (shutter priority) 1/200 sec, adjust with compensation (usually no more than +1 or -1) for Moon phase and reflected light.

Star Photography:
Now, there is A LOT of documentation and guides around the web depending on what you are trying to achieve, from star trails to the Milky Way and constellations. These usually involve a fast (f/3.5 or bigger) wide angle lenses, high ISO and a lot of time.

- Star Trails: 15-30 minute exposures broken down into short exposures from 90 sec to 5 minutes. Any more than that and you risk damaging your sensor.
- Milky Way: NO MORE than 30 seconds, any more and you will have blur.

In all cases, for star photography you want a High ISO rating inter-spaced with black frames (assuming you have a dSLR). Why black frames? Noise reduction. The theory goes that your sensor tends to have spots (hot pixels) in the same place, thus, by layering exposures (or using built in noise reduction which does a second black exposure for you) noise is reduced.

If you want more info, search "Astrophotography".
Great! Thanks for the responses so far! Sooo...from what I gather so far:

1. Pick a subject...either clouds, stars, or moon, but not all. In this case the clouds were an unfortunate aspect, however the two bright spots are indeed Venus and Jupiter (taken last night) and the coupling of those with the moon were the whole intent. Use a longer focal length lens if attempting to photograph the moon. I'm not particularly interested in star trails, so use a fast wide angle lens. I did use my 50mm f/1.8 for a few shots, but I'm not turning into much of a fan of that lens. Once again I got lens flares and this time off of the moon! I did read about using black frames before I went out, but from what I had read, it sounded like this was mostly beneficial if you had one of those tracking devices (forget what it's called exactly) in order to take several frames of the stars and subsequent frames of black. Is it still advisable with just one picture to use black frames?

2. Same as 1.

3. Higher exposure and tighter framing. Makes sense. How is the background? Distracting, or do you think it adds to the picture?

4. Body parts cut out, which was my first thought as well. Unfortunately he's a squirrely subject. Less head room. Better lighting (was my first attempt with an external flash...580 exII) Now that I have a flash, I'll start perusin the strobist website. In the meantime, in what way exactly does the illumination not comliment the subject?

5. Same as 4.

Again, thanks! Any other suggestions?
If you're referring to the part about not shooting at f/1.8 necessarily, I don't believe I was. Unfortunately I've already deleted those, but I believe I used f/8. I'll admit that the lens is very nice for many things, but on two occasions now where a 50mm would make sense (at least to me) it has given very distracting lens flare. The first was when I did the cityscape of Seattle with the 3 unfortunate bright lights, but now from the moon?
Well, flares happen regardless of lens, really. You can only minimise it, one with lens build they other with lens hoods.

However, in this particular situation, the lens flare is happening because you have a bright light source direct at your lens. The moon is light a light bulb, especially at night.

Also, that lens is not really made for those types of shooting.
City scapes, wide angle. You're looking at 10-20mm, 35mm even.
Again with the night sky. The moon, telephoto.

Your 50 prime is mostly made for Portraits and macro (not micro).

50mm, f/2.8, smiling face within rule of thirds, can't really go wrong with that :)

Or you can use the lens flare to your advantage, as here:
(It's a clock refracted in a drop, it's not very clear and I would need to reshoot that one)

Huh, that IS a neat effect. Was it intentional or accidental? If it was intentional, how did you predict it?
It was accidental. I was using a technique called "Free lensing" whereby you hold the lens in your hand. Holding it further away from the Camera body gives closer focus. Tilt for DOF effects.

You can predict Lens flare to a certain extent, strong light shining straight into the lens or just off to the side.
Timoris said:
Your 50 prime is mostly made for Portraits and macro (not micro).

What is the difference between macro and micro??

Sorry it's a little off topic but I was just curious...
Timoris said:
Your 50 prime is mostly made for Portraits and macro (not micro).

What is the difference between macro and micro??

Sorry it's a little off topic but I was just curious...

Macro is 1:1 or lifesize.... Micro is any magnification greater than 1:1
Even the use for Macro is debatable. Well, true macro anyways.

The photography of tiny things, Macro would be for small objects, insects, snowflakes, tiny flowers.

Micro is basically Microscopic. Think very tiny. Flees, ticks, ice crystals, etc.

Macro, tiny.
Micro, tinnier.
It's not often you get a chance to have a new Moon, Venus, and Jupiter in the same photo, like in #1.

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