Sunday, September 20, 2009

Black bird in a black shadow?


Getting a good background for the subject is something that all beginning photographers struggle with. A combination of letting the camera take too much control, and not noticing what else is in the frame usually leads to something sticking out of the head of the subject. (You can see a tutorial I made on how to get rid of the problem.)

And yet, not all of the issue is getting a blurred background like the one in this photo. I went and saw a show of Georgia O'keefe paintings along side Ansel Adams photographs. They spent some time in the United States Southwest, and created some fantastic images. I highly recommend this exhibit if it comes around. Its run at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is over.

He co-founded the f/64 group, with Edward Weston and others. The goal was maximum depth of field. Some of the photos he made were amazing to see. (If you get a chance, go to the Weston Gallery in Carmel California, then go up Highway 1 a bit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.) But, not always what the photographer wants either.

I went through this issue and came out the other side with a basic set of rules:

Look at what is in the view finder.
Pre-visualize what you are shooting, and set the camera beforehand.
Whenever possible, take your time, and look at what you are photographing.

I still have to remind myself to follow these rules.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting close


And focusing on a cat that is a bit naturally wired. This was using the 31 mm extension tube, 130 mm on the 18-250 zoom, f.19 and 1/60 second with flash. Because of the extension tube, I had to hand focus, which was really hard. It's difficult to focus on black fur, so I kept trying to find the eye. She was not amused.

In addition, with the extension tube, I find it easier to do most of the focusing with the zoom, and then fine-focus with the actual focus. If I weren't hand-holding this, I could adjust position but that's sort of difficult when you're shooting a cat who wants dinner.

I'm not sure how other people use extension tubes in this situation, whether you use with a fixed focal length, and how you do the focusing?

This photo is not cropped in any way.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The internal fight.


I have been looking at cameras to replace my Canon Digital Rebel XT, which has provided me with many 10s of thousands of photos over the years, most not very good. I was considering the Canon T1i that was released earlier this year because of the video capabilities. However, the Canon 50D also caught my eye because of the higher frame rate (6.3 frames vs. 3.4 frames). It was a difficult choice.

Then Canon announced the 7d. At 8 fps, it should be good for the aerobatic planes I photograph, the birds, and more (which hopefully explains the photo). In addition, it handles 1080p30 video.

Part of how it does this is to parallelize two Digic-4 processors to handle the computation tasks. Coming from the computer programming background that I do, it makes a lot of sense.

Now all I have to do is to save up my pennies. Unless Canon would like to loan me one. If so, please contact me via email on this blog. :-)