Photographing and tips

AlexH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2017
Messages
1,258
Location
Staffordshire, UK
Two tips from me are to look for reflections and don't worry about your equipment - it's more about learning the capabilities of what your camera can do. The best camera is the one you have with you, and for me that's usually a compact camera (albeit a top of the range one for the past two years). These days, most cameras from around £200 (and maybe much less) are more capable than cameras many greats of the past used.

To illustrate the reflection and camera points, here's a reflection in the balcony of Selfridges, Birmingham, UK (taken with a bridge camera that had cost me £100 at the time, with the balcony used to keep the camera stable):

birmingham-bull-ring-selfridges-reflection-abstract.jpg


Don't be afraid to look silly could be another tip. I looked stupid while I was taking the photo, stretching over the balcony, but it won Picture of the Week in Amateur Photographer magazine, after a journalist had said he never saw any unique pictures of Selfridges any more!

I think that photo also fits Alan's tip, "Have fun with your imagination. See the things that are not there and then make them visible to others." There is also no Photoshopping on this photo, though I do find myself making contrast and/or colour adjustments on most photos these days.

One time, I didn't have my camera with me. But I did have a crappy camera on my first ever smartphone. If I didn't have that, I would have missed this moment after a subway flooded:

newcastle-under-lyme-flooded-subway-reflection.jpg


These days I'd straighten those verticals, though I still like this photo a lot.

Edit: I often look silly crouching by puddles, but I'm pleased when people realise what I'm doing and try the same!

http://instagr.am/p/BbzNDcEDQ0Q/
 
Last edited:

Astro Pen

Write now.
Supporter
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
538
Location
Wales UK
The best camera is the one you have with you, and for me that's usually a compact camera
True. I always carry a litle £10 samsung with me in a pocket because you never know what you will see. Like I met a friend in a woodland park and the cafe had this sign. It isn't a 'technical' photo but it amused me, and wanted to share it with friends on the web.
SAM_2187.JPG


This one that is stuck in the photo competition here a couple of months back was another, just out on a cycle ride and liked the curve of the lane, so I pulled out the sammy and snapped it for the memory.
Curious.jpg
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Two tips from me are to look for reflections and don't worry about your equipment...

...The best camera is the one you have with you..

...Don't be afraid to look silly could be another tip...

....I do find myself making contrast and/or colour adjustments on most photos these days.
Thanks about all these tips. They are all worth paying attention - a lot.

I have been feeling myself a bit lonely in this thread. I have felt like I was writing alone and reading alone things here. It feels good to have other people giving tips.

And I like your photos! They illustrate your tips well!
 

Dragonlady

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
280
Really good tips, thanks. Can anyone suggest how to find shots when doing suburban walks? I'm so used to lazily photographing pretty things and nature but less options now so need to get creative
 

AlexH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2017
Messages
1,258
Location
Staffordshire, UK
Really good tips, thanks. Can anyone suggest how to find shots when doing suburban walks? I'm so used to lazily photographing pretty things and nature but less options now so need to get creative
Look down, look up. Get low, get high! The first photo I posted is an example of getting high (on a balcony), and the other two low (down to the puddle). Try and find a new angle on something. I'll look for some other examples later.

You could also look closer. Look for shapes, repetition, patterns...
 

Astro Pen

Write now.
Supporter
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
538
Location
Wales UK
Aerial perspective
How green is my valley-not.
I did a bit of art teaching and one of the hardest things to do is to stop students using strong vivid greens. They "think" they see green everywhere but it isn't there or is very muted if it is.
I use this photo of a local valley to demonstrate by pulling it into paintshop or photoshop and using the colour dipper to prove that the trees opposite are not "dark green" but actualy grey blue nearly 'airforce blue' and that in fact there is very little green in the picture at all. even in the apparently vivd green foreground trees which are black with olive edges. Feel free to copy and paste it into your package to try it for yourself


aerial valley.jpg
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Can anyone suggest how to find shots when doing suburban walks?
- Watch light and shadows. Boring or mundane thing in interesting light is interesting.
- Have a theme and seek things or meanings connected to it. (Love, loneliness, shapes, connections, time, speed, history, details...)
- Pick a visual thing you want to use or show. Bokeh, contrast, colour, leading lines, negative space...
- Tell a story via one photograph. Then tell another.
- Relax. Let your mind wander. Have fun.

I use to take a body + one prime lens with me while walking. What ever lens I choose defines how I watch and see things. (Today it was Nifty Fifty.)

If you take a look at my photos in this thread, you can find suburban walk photos in comments #3 (lady in a church tuning a grand piano), #4 (blue, black and white), #5 (all) and #13.
 

Dragonlady

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
280
@Alan Aspie Thanks! Loads of ideas. I need to learn about lenses, I jave just the one zoom lens at the moment, a 20-40mm I think.
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
@Alan Aspie Thanks! Loads of ideas. I need to learn about lenses, I jave just the one zoom lens at the moment, a 20-40mm I think.
You are welcome.

Learning about lenses is a good idea.

Focal length + f-stops are the most important things. What apertures you have in some focal length limits how you can use bokeh areas in your photographing. And fast lenses (ones with wide maximum aperture = small f-stop number) use to be sharper.

When buying it's good if you understand something about MTF-curves. It does not matter much if you don't, but helps to avoid bad stuff if you do.


And remember this:

50mm equals normal lens in FF (=35mm = kino) and about 80mm in 1.6 crop.


Sensor size has a huge impact to the nature of unsharp area.

20-40? This?


If you open the lab test chart to it's own window, it's easy to to change f-stop and/or focal length and see what it means to sharpness of that zoom in different areas of sensor.

Unsharp areas work well in negative space of a picture. Sharp areas should be sharp. Knowing those help you to put your subject and bokeh areas the way you like the result to be.

(I don't have any zooms. I like primes more. But this is a matter of what and how you shoot + what you like. Get what you like and can afford. Then get to know it well enough so that you can push it to the limits.)
 

Dragonlady

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
280
@Alan Aspie thanks! It's a fuji xc 16-50 mm. Focuses from 15cm so good for macro. I enjoy wildlife and architecture photography so am itching for more zoom, but need to understand it better before investing.
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
@Alan Aspie thanks! It's a fuji xc 16-50 mm. Focuses from 15cm so good for macro. I enjoy wildlife and architecture photography so am itching for more zoom, but need to understand it better before investing.
This?


I suppose you mean you are itching for large variation of focal lengths?

Wide angle for architecture? Tele for wildlife?
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Use negative space

Positive space = Something that jumps out from it's surroundings. The main subject is often in positive space.

Negative space = Opposite. Areas and things which do not claim your attention.


Use negative space to direct main attention to subject, theme, message, emotional atmosphere... And when you use it, do it in a way which highlights the main message & emotions connected to it.

Voikukka vastavalossa-3235.jpg

©Alan Aspie

This big dandelion = positive space.
Background green areas = negative space.
Blurry dandelions + too sharp grass = something between positive and negative = distractive elements.

(Distraction makes them part of positive space - even that the effect is negative.)


Megafoni-Mikki-3238.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Mickey = positive space.
Areas behind and in front of him = negative space.

The emotional load these photos have is mainly from negative space. If you take pieces of paper and cover negative space areas the subject will remain but the photos become boring and flat.

A photograph without any negative space is often restless. Your attention wanders from one thing to another. The main subject + emotional impact drowns somewhere. But add some negative space and you focus your viewers eyes and attention to exactly where it should be.

Like...

Ompputorttu2-0503.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Bonus tip:

The importance of the quality of bokeh to some photographers and viewers has a deep connection to using negative space. If you can make your unsharp areas creamy and soft, it lifts the effect of negative space to the sky.
 
Last edited:

Dragonlady

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
280
@Alan Aspie that looks like the one. Yes, I'd love greater variety of focal lenths, certainly when we are able to get out and about more. I love those pics in your last post, macro shots of an object popping out like mickey are so easy and fun to do.
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Play with B&W!

No matter do you want to use black and white photos to anything or not. Take your RAW converter and play with converting some of your photos to B&W.

While you play with B&W, you find out that you must pay more attention to composition, contrast, what kind of relationship your subject has to other visual and/ symbolic and/or emotional elements.

This shift of your attention makes your understanding and gut feeling about photos better.

It's good to make a virtual copy of a photo before converting it to B&W. And then you can do what ever needs to be done to make it as good B&W photo as you can.

Squint your eyes to see your composition better. It helps you not to drown to details.

Some photos are worth of nothing in colours but ok in B&W. And toning might suite them well.

Lehdetön koivumv-2822.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Sometimes you can highlight your own feelings about something by converting photos to B&W - positive or negative.

Heikuramv-0709.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Sometimes you can make your main subject or it's emotional effect to pop up more in B&W.

Kallamv-2556.jpg

©Alan Aspie

Or symbolism... Playing with B&W can be very powerful way to make your point.

Ristimv-0443.jpg

©Alan Aspie

And remember.. Post production has always been as important in B&W world as shooting. You shot your film but you printed and developed your photos!

I'd love to hear your composition and B&W tips!
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Eat your models!

You can train & practice with your food.

Currykana vihanneksilla-1704.jpg

©Alan Aspie

If it's in your plate, your fridge, your fruit basket you can shoot it.

It's food. Shoot it that way. Fresh or well aged, colourful...
Värikkäät rehut-1534.jpg

©Alan Aspie

tasty, sow, fast...

Hamppari Kauppahallissa.jpg

©Alan Aspie

...not easy to swallow...

Puuropää-1850.jpg

©Alan Aspie

...looks like someone...

Muna.jpg

©Alan Aspie

...has something you want to share...

Tomskuugeleita-0573.jpg

©Alan Aspie

...or is too important to be eaten.

Pääsiäisflamingo-2116.jpg

©Alan Aspie

You think and/or feel something that is connected to that food? Shoot it that way. Share the feeling, not just outlook.
 
Last edited:

CupofJoe

some medals you wear on your heart not your sleeve
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
Messages
393
Any suggestions on a DLSR or Mirrorless camera?
Something with interchangeable lenses...
I want to start doing some nature photography [there is a bird-watching site not far from where I live, so seems a good place to start]
At work, I've used a Canon 500D. It is good but getting on for 10 years old [and it's a tricky legal position if I take it home and break it].
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Any suggestions on a DLSR or Mirrorless camera?

I want to start doing some nature photography.. ..bird-watching..

At work, I've used a Canon 500D.
All main camera brands and most models are good. So you must find the one that suits you - not to someone else.

And a camera body is just a part of a system.

What lenses are you thinking? Expensive telephoto lenses for birds? Small and light pancaces for light travel & good visual quality? Primes or zooms? Wide angles?

Big or small hands? Glasses or not? Big budget or small? Do you want or need weather sealing? Pro stuff? Consumer stuff? Crop censor or FF?

One way to think it:

In the beginning 50% of money goes to camera body, 50% to lenses. No dark & shitty zooms. It's better to have one good prime and learn with it than to have something that is no good in anything. Buy more lenses when you really know what you want.

Know what you want and how much you are going to work to get it. Start with what is enough and will be enough for some time.

(My gear is Canon 6D Mk2 + 20/1.8 + 35/2 IS + 50/1.8 + 85/1.8 and I might change that 85 to 100/2.8 IS Macro. My gear suits me now. It might not suit you or someone else. And it's possible it does not suit me in some part of a future.)
 

Alan Aspie

Insta: jallepergeri
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
150
Location
Finland and my autistic mind.
Any suggestions on a DLSR or Mirrorless camera?
You might start by learning the difference between FF (24x36mm) and a crop censor (15x22mm or near). The best way to learn it is to watch the difference or to try both.

After or during that you might teach yourself how aperture (f-stop) affects to the picture.

Most of my photos in this thread have been taken with f-stops like 1.8 - 2.8. That's why and how I have made background blurry.

If you buy a lens with maximum f-stops something like 4-5.6 you can't take photos like that with same focal lengths. It's impossible. But you can take photos like that with any digital FF from any big manufacturer.

And you can't take photos like that with a crop censor and same or analogous focal length. If you use a bit bigger aperture it's very similar, but not exactly.


(Hyun makes some mistakes f-stops but don't care about it.)

About aperture...


 
Top