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boogerwolf
Post subject: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 22.04.2009 08:51



Joined: 21.04.2009 Posts: 9

Hello All.
I am a budding photographer and wanted some advice/guidance/info.

I've been a fan of Farktography (read: lurkker) for some time and have an intrest in photography for a while now. I just recieved a Nikon D50 with a kit lens (18-55) for my birthday. I have an old Canon T-50 and an Olympus IS-10DX that I was using. I plan on taking some classes at the local college here sometime next month.

Couple of questions:

1) I had some prints developed at Walmart (via their on-line service) to underwhelming results (color off, grainy). I then printed the same prints on my Canon printer with much better results. Any of you Atlanta Farkers out there know of any good developers on the southside of town?

2)Being new to this I'd of course like to learn how to use my camera manually. I've found a few resources and like I said I plan on taking some classes at Clayton State but are there any books or websites that will explain focal length, F-stops, etc. concisely?

Thanks for any info you guys can slide my way.
 
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staplermofo
Post subject: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 22.04.2009 09:35
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Joined: 21.12.2005 Posts: 1288

Wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining focal length, f-stops, etc concisely. They even have pictures.
 
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boogerwolf
Post subject: Re: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 22.04.2009 09:48



Joined: 21.04.2009 Posts: 9

      staplermofo wrote:
Wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining focal length, f-stops, etc concisely. They even have pictures.


You know as silly as this sounds I would have not thought to Wiki all of that. Thanks.
 
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orionid
Post subject: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 22.04.2009 10:02
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Joined: 04.09.2008 Posts: 3175

I'll spare you of my delving into the explanations in detail, lest I put you to sleep with mathematics and hardcore science. But, I will say that the D50's a great camera for using manually and given time, you can really make it sing. I know SilverStag used one for a while, and I just [tragically] lost mine a little over a week ago.

Here's a few quickies though (I make no promise on spelling):

f/ Stops - Aperture: How "wide" the tightest part of the lens is. The numbers are inverse, like with shotgun gauges. Lower numbers are wider openings, and therefore let more light pass through. In optics, this is balanced out by causing a shallower depth of field (dof). Bigger f/stop numbers are smaller holes that let less light through, but allows for a deeper dof.

dof - Depth of Field: The range of the image extending out from the lens that is in focus (or very near focus). In a shallow dof, only the main subject will be in focus, foreground and background objects will be out of focus if not blurred completely. Using this concept artistically is called bokeh. In a deep dof a large portion of the objects in the image will be in focus.

Focal length: the natural focus point of an optical element or group. If you take a table lamp, a magnifying glass, and a sheet of white paper and line them up until you will see a blurred light on the white paper. If you adjust the distance between the magnifying glass and the paper, you'll eventually see a focused (albeit upside down) image of the lamp on the white paper. The distance between the magnifying glass and the paper will be the focal length of that magnifying glass.

Focal length has two effects on photography. 1) As focal length goes up, the dof will get shallower. 2) As focal length goes up, the "zoom" factor goes up.

Focal length should not be confused with focusing distance. Focusing distance (usually measured as some relatively short distance to infinity) IIRC, the 18-55 kit lens has a focusing distance of about 8 inches to infinity. (It's been a while since I had that lens connected to my camera)

ISO: Know and love your iso settings. They can turn a mediocre photo to a great one or vice versa. I learned this lesson the hard way a day later than what whould have been nice. ISO is basically a measure of sensitivity of your sensor/film. As with everything else, though, there is a tradeoff. Low ISO numbers will give a cleaner, sharper image but require more light. This is accomplished by either physically having more light (flash, etc), or by having a longer exposure. Higher ISO's are more sensitive and can allow for lower light or faster shutters, but will tend to be noisy (digital) or grainy (film).

Shutter speed / exposure time: The amount of time that the shutter is open and the film/sensor is being exposed. Typically when dealing with shutter speed, it's refered to in fractions of a second. A shutter speed of 250, for example, is 1/250th of a second. On the d50, if you put it in manual mode, your thumbwheel will change the shutter speed. Anything that's just a number (down to 1.3) is a fraction of a second. once you get to 1/1 or one second it will display the quotes to signify seconds and goes up to 30". Past 30 seconds is bulb mode which means that as long as you press the button, the shutter will be open.

That covers most of the technical basics. Feel free to keep asking questions. That's the best way to learn. (A dig through the archives will show that I've asked my fair share). Also, I know the D50 pretty much inside and out, so if you have any questions about it, I should be able to help.

Good luck, and happy shooting!

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~Leonardo Da Vinci
 
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orionid
Post subject: Re: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 22.04.2009 10:03
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      boogerwolf wrote:
      staplermofo wrote:
Wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining focal length, f-stops, etc concisely. They even have pictures.


You know as silly as this sounds I would have not thought to Wiki all of that. Thanks.


Yeah, I forgot about wikipedia, too. Good call, 'mofo.

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For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

~Leonardo Da Vinci
 
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bucky_bacon
Post subject:   PostPosted: 22.04.2009 10:04



Joined: 10.01.2009 Posts: 298

      boogerwolf wrote:
Any of you Atlanta Farkers out there know of any good developers on the southside of town?


First of all, welcome! I'm pretty much a n00bers too. Just got my dslr in september, started doing Farktography in late December. This has been an invaluable tool for me, to go out and challenge myself to find new subjects to shoot and new ways to shoot each week. I still have a ton to learn but feel that just by entering these contests each week that I have already advanced by miles. IMO nothing can really beat experience for learning how to use your camera.

To answer (or not actually answer) your second question - If you are interested in using an online printing service, I strongly recommend mpix.com. The quality is great, prices are cheap, and the shipping is very fast. I was also impressed with how easy the uploading/ordering process is.

Welcome, again, and good luck!

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orionid
Post subject:   PostPosted: 22.04.2009 10:06
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Joined: 04.09.2008 Posts: 3175

some of the other mpix.com products are good, too. I've given out a number of their books and calendars (full of my photos) as gifts.

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For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

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staplermofo
Post subject: RE: Re: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 22.04.2009 10:14
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Joined: 21.12.2005 Posts: 1288

DPreview.com's lens tests do a great job of showing some of the subtle stuff about how cheap zoom lens looks like crap at 80mm f/4.0 but looks great at 50mm f/8.

It's nice, clear and easily understandable. It also explains why some people pay used car level prices for L lenses.
 
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staplermofo
Post subject: RE: Re: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 22.04.2009 10:58
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Joined: 21.12.2005 Posts: 1288

Here is a great video with a variety of exercises to make you a better photographer.
It might be in Japanese, it might not have subtitles, it might be hundreds of megabytes and sub-VCD quality, it might involve only Japanese pop stars using Polaroid cameras, it might be interrupted several times with variety skits, it might (and so on)
BUT!
It definitely involves photographing Russian Roulette and people going around in circles with their foreheads on bats.
If you have friends you get drunk with, some of them are handy for getting your sense of timing and sense of everything that isn't in your viewfinder that maybe should be.


We really should do the bat thing and Russian Roulette thing on here sometime. Maybe if we ever have a farktography party.
 
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monsieurstabby
Post subject:   PostPosted: 22.04.2009 11:54



Joined: 29.10.2008 Posts: 53

I'd recommend Showcase (Cheshire Bridge & Lavista) for prints, though it might be slightly out of your area.
 
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sleeping
Post subject:   PostPosted: 22.04.2009 12:59
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Joined: 21.12.2005 Posts: 853

If you want an actual book, I highly recommend Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson.
 
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boogerwolf
Post subject:   PostPosted: 24.04.2009 08:04



Joined: 21.04.2009 Posts: 9

Thanks to all of you who responded to my question. If everything holds out I should be starting a photog class at the begining of June. After speaking with the instructor I feel this to be the best way to get me on track.
 
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boogerwolf
Post subject: Re: RE: Re: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 24.04.2009 08:30



Joined: 21.04.2009 Posts: 9

 
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boogerwolf
Post subject: Re: RE: Re: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 24.04.2009 08:34



Joined: 21.04.2009 Posts: 9

      staplermofo wrote:
DPreview.com's lens tests do a great job of showing some of the subtle stuff about how cheap zoom lens looks like crap at 80mm f/4.0 but looks great at 50mm f/8.

It's nice, clear and easily understandable. It also explains why some people pay used car level prices for L lenses.


Thanks for that mofo. DP Review and DC Resourse are great!

I was pricing some glass at KEH and other spots on the web. I am mainly looking at pre-owned (nice way of saying "used"). When I know enough to be dangerous I'll be better at this but I sat down and figured out how I'll be using my camera:

1) General outdoor and candid shots. I think my kit lens should do OK for now.

2) Football and possibly baseball. My son plays both and I have access to the sidelines when he plays football. I figure a 55 to maybe 300mm zoom to get in on the action. Now here's the question: I've never done macro but the way I see it zoom/macro lenses aren't that big a jump in price from just zoom-only lenes so I might as well get one. Is that flawed thinking? Is 300mm too much?

3) Real estate photography. This is going to be a HOBBY. If I make money at, so-be-it. If not, no big deal. In my slice of the world the MLS photos look horrible so I figured a wide angle lens to get the job done. Here is the rub: Wide angle (and I'm thinking 10-24mm or 10-20mm) are a little cost-prohibitive for me right now. I did some experimenting with my 18-55 around the house and got cool results in medium to large rooms but smaller rooms take some effort. I found a cool website for realestate photography www.photographyforrealestate.net

Those are my uses. Pick away at it.
 
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staplermofo
Post subject: Re: RE: Re: RE: N00bie photographer  PostPosted: 24.04.2009 09:44
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Joined: 21.12.2005 Posts: 1288

      boogerwolf wrote:
Those are my uses. Pick away at it.


First of all, no staplers in the list. Totally unacceptable. You need to work on that.

Second, you're probably not used to looking at lenses like someone who just broke up looks at women. Try to think of it that way.

You're not some Ferrari-driving movie star. You're going to have to compromise. You're passionate, you're getting an idea of what you like and don't like, but you should resist the urge to rush into things and getting unpleasantly surprised when you get to know them better.

That friendly 6' tall blond with silky smooth legs? She is a tranny.
Of course, if you're into that, awesome, but a lot of people will regret it.
*casts hateful glance at his 70-300mm "macro"*
Personal decision, matter of taste, blah blah blah.

Find out what you want and don't discount complaints people have with a lens just because you don't think it'll be a problem.
For example, I used to say "OH MY GOD THESE PANSIES ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT A LENS'S WEIGHT! WHO CAN'T CARRY 2LBS!?"
I later found out that a two pound lens on a camera with a hand grip the size of trout bait is discouragingly uncomfortable.

I would hold off on trying to go wider than 18mm until you can afford something significantly better than the lens you already have. Maybe try using a tripod or something to get closer to the wall than your body allows.

For the sports, 300mm isn't too much for baseball, certainly, and if you get a zoom you should be set for football.
 
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