Basic photography, share your wisdom!

Michiel de BriederMichiel de Brieder The Heart of LothianHillegomRegistered Users Posts: 864 Major grins
edited February 6, 2008 in Technique
Welcome friends,

The first time I held my first digital camera a Minolta S404........ I charged the batteries anticipating wonderful moments to come.... I put the camera in 'green' mode (ya know, that green box on some kind of dial on the camera body) and snapped a photo!!!! WOW, what a feeling, instant feedback en what a cool piece of technology. But lo, behold, that picture was not what I had intended.... What happened? Why didn't I see on the screen what I saw with my own 2 eyes???

2 prosumers and 2 DSLRs further from the Minolta things finally seem to dawn on me... I can actually try to express myself by means of photography. Not that I need the prosumers for that, or the DSLRs (though there are advantages, later explained in this thread) but I am finally through the first stages of photography of which one is understanding your camera. I will add replies to this thread with information about basic photography, resources on the web and don't hesitate to ask your questions here.

EVERYONE is invited to share his/her knowledge on photography and use of cameras here. Keep it simple, so everyone may understand, from the beginner to the advanced amateur. Let me start off this thread by a short essay on taking the first pictures and an excellent resources on the web.

Excellent resource #1

Your first pictures:
Well now, taking your first pictures... That green box mode will do to start off with :D The first thing you should consider when taking pictures is that you'll have to be creative to get something you will also like on the screen. Many objects and scenes can be interested to our eyes, but it is the way we show them that makes it interesting!! Lie on yer back for a while when studying an object, study it from all sides, take pictures from all sides, learn what kind of angles are pleasing to you.
take this one for instance, I was flat on my back, just staring at the flowers when a bug came flying in and I snapped :D (Canon D30 with 28-105)
31146229.jpg
or something like this: (Minolta Dimage S404)
21644065.jpg
I had 25 pictures of these frogs, and I liked this angle best :D

Try to stir your own creativity. Become acquinted with your own taste. Keep on trying to produce pictures that *YOU* like! Being an artist you must satisfy your own creative needs, if you do that, it *will* show in your pictures. You will have fun, you will enjoy your hobby and you will get better quickly!!

So get 'into that green mode' and make sure you satisfy your own artistic needs. Practice, practice and practice and HAVE FUN! Take pictures of your friends and have them look at it!! It is rewarding when you have satisfied your own needs that others enjoy your photos too!

So far the first part of this post, I will at least write essays in this thread about:
Shutter speed (coming up, already working on it!)
Exposure
Aperture
ISO
Focal length
Anyone is invited to ask questions and add knowledge to this thread, let this be a great resource for every photographer joining dgrin. Either to 'learn from the start' or get yourself back to basics again!

Comments are also welcome :wink
*In my mind it IS real*
Michiel de Brieder
http://www.digital-eye.nl

Comments

  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited May 23, 2005
    I like this, Michiel!
    I like your approach! thumb.gif
    I can see this will become a hugely popular resource!
    Cheers!1drink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • GatorGator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 192 Major grins
    edited May 24, 2005
    This is a great thread and I would be willing to bet it will be a great help to many people. IMHO, it is worthy of its own "Forum"! thumb.gif
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited May 24, 2005
    I have the green box, no green frogs, please send. Along with a 10-22 lens, etc. List to be forthcoming.

    Absolutely great thread. I did not know it was here, going to be here, will be here, nada.

    Checked it out because of comment in another thread. How are people going to find it. Suggest it be titled, retitled, for ease, such as EVERYTHING: BY MICHIEL, everything I know.
    (sp?).

    g
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • GatorGator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 192 Major grins
    edited May 24, 2005
    Which is exactly why I mentioned it deserving its own FORUM! Hey mods, whaddya think?????????ne_nau.gif
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited May 24, 2005
    Gator wrote:
    Which is exactly why I mentioned it deserving its own FORUM! Hey mods, whaddya think?????????ne_nau.gif
    I did see the word "basic" before, just didn't get to it, and figured that it would not be "for" a really great advanced photographer like me.:lol4

    g :photo
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • Michiel de BriederMichiel de Brieder The Heart of Lothian HillegomRegistered Users Posts: 864 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2005
    Shutter speed
    Thanks for the response people!! My next essay is about the 'mysteries' of shutter speed..... what is this strange thing we call shutter speed?? Actually it is nothing more and nothing less than the time that the sensor in your camera is using to take a picture. So if we have a shutter speed of 1/1000 then it takes the camera only 0.001 seconds to take a picture. Isn't that marvellous??

    How can we put this to our advantage? Well, we can figure out that if the shutter speed is quite slow then the camera might shake slightly during the moment of capturing the image. More camera shake means a less sharp picture!
    So:
    Fast shutter <-> less shake
    Slow shutter <-> more shake
    What is slow you ask???? Well now, there are some rules of thumb, but you can make a prediction yourself :D just look at your LCD and see how much the scene is moving when you try to keep the camera still! (we'll get to 'holding the camera techniques' the next time!)

    If that is all then by all means we would love to have as much speed as we can get don't we? Well, no.....(there's more to fast shutter speed, concerning field of view, but we'll save that for later :) )

    What can we do with a fast shutter?


    • Freeze movement (about 1/320)

    25582225.jpg
    • 'capture the moment' (joy, surprise, sadness... Don't underestimate a fast shutter when capturing 'the moment') (1/640)

    22526724-M-1.jpg


    Why would I want a slow shutter?
    • dynamics (1/5)

    22516558.jpg
    • softness (1/30, softness introduced by slight camera shake)

    28625703.jp28625703.jpg
    • artistic merit (5s)

    22522834-M.jpg

    Don't think the 5 seconds are handheld though :D you'll need a tripod for that!!! To be honest I even used some stuff to make the scene very dark so I could use such a slow shutter speed! (I used stuff called ND filters, we'll get to those later mwink.gif)


    Okay, now we know some of the uses of shutter speeds... The rest is up to you to discover!!! Your camera might have a Shutter Priority mode (look it up in the manual if you're not sure), which is actually exactly like the green box mode :D with one slight difference. You can change the shutter speed and the camera will adjust (as best as possible) other stuff so you can be the creative genius behind the shutter speed!!

    Well, whadda think? Worth a try? As mentioned before, go out, have fun, shoot lots of pitchas! Try your shutter priority when you think you are ready!!
    *In my mind it IS real*
    Michiel de Brieder
    http://www.digital-eye.nl
  • BodleyBodley Full Contact Registered Users Posts: 766 Major grins
    edited June 1, 2005
    Thanks for the response people!! My next essay is about
    What's next? Technique?
    Greg
    "Tis better keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
  • Michiel de BriederMichiel de Brieder The Heart of Lothian HillegomRegistered Users Posts: 864 Major grins
    edited June 1, 2005
    Bodley wrote:
    What's next? Technique?
    camera techniques coming up :D 'how to hold that [email protected] thing mwink.gif
    (and of course how to use that to stimulate your creativity, hopefully I can post it tonight!)
    *In my mind it IS real*
    Michiel de Brieder
    http://www.digital-eye.nl
  • 4labs4labs Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,089 Major grins
    edited June 1, 2005
    camera techniques coming up :D 'how to hold that [email protected] thing mwink.gif
    (and of course how to use that to stimulate your creativity, hopefully I can post it tonight!)
    can we skip to metering/exposure/histograms.

    We can learn how to hold the camera later..:D
  • BridgeCityBridgeCity Major grins Registered Users Posts: 338 Major grins
    edited June 1, 2005
    4labs wrote:
    can we skip to metering/exposure/histograms.

    We can learn how to hold the camera later..:D
    15524779-Ti.gif
  • Michiel de BriederMichiel de Brieder The Heart of Lothian HillegomRegistered Users Posts: 864 Major grins
    edited June 1, 2005
    Laughing.gif, allright, I'll finish a write-up on aperture and then I'll go directly to the combination of aperture/ISO/shutter (aka exposure :D)

    then metering and then histo!

    But fellows, honestly, I know you've got something to chime in with mwink.gif don't hesitate to share your knowledge

    (by the way, I think holding the camera is VERY important :D)

    More tomorrow, as I'm off to bed now
    *In my mind it IS real*
    Michiel de Brieder
    http://www.digital-eye.nl
  • BodleyBodley Full Contact Registered Users Posts: 766 Major grins
    edited June 1, 2005
    4labs wrote:
    can we skip to metering/exposure/histograms.

    We can learn how to hold the camera later..:D
    Yes, the lure of metering/exposure/histograms is strong but one should always build on a solid foundation. Camera Holding sounds rudimentary but I believe allot of complaints about "soft" photos comes from poor techniques. You see lots of people taking "pictures" (not photos) flapping their wings like a chicken instead of steady like a marksman.

    If I'm wrong straighten me out (sure wouldn't be the first time).

    Remember, one must always hold before they expose mwink.gif.
    Greg
    "Tis better keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
  • Michiel de BriederMichiel de Brieder The Heart of Lothian HillegomRegistered Users Posts: 864 Major grins
    edited June 4, 2005
    Holding the camera
    Against some wishes :D but I already had this one finished almost mwink.gif

    If you're exactly a person like me then you will be very sceptic as to holding the camera. "Hey now, I can hold a camera?!?!"

    There are a few things to consider! First of all, going against my write up I will tell you to 'use whatever works for you'!

    Now, to get to the point of holding the camera!! I've used my DSLR to show you what I mean, but I also simulated taking the pictures by means of the LCD :D
    A few general tips:

    1. relax! (the most important thing when taking a picture and holding your camera steady is to relax)
    2. control your breathing! take it the sniper way: take a picture either on fully inhaled breath or fully exhaled breath. Fully exhaled might make you more relaxed, but it seems to be quite dependent on the person
    3. try to lean into something at slow shutter speeds. Lean into a trea or wall or whatever you can find :D
    4. Don't try to hold the camera at a speed that you are sure you can't keep it steady :D take a tripod
    5. Contradicting 4: take as many shots at shutter speeds barely handholdable for you until you get it right!
    Okay, some examples for holding the camera:
    simple landscape mode when shooting with an optical viewfinder:
    23803671-M.jpg
    bring your elbows inwards, press the camera against your forehead an' *shoot*
    If you use your LCD then I suggest relaxing and bringing your upper arms to the sides of your body. relaxation is the biggest part in this technique. If you're going to overstress your arms you will definitely get camera shake!
    23803679-M.jpg
    Go crazy with your LCD (this needs practice)
    23803687-M.jpg
    at slow shutter speeds use Andy's neck strap method :D stretch your arms and keep the strap around your neck to steady the camera position:
    23803690-M.jpg
    going portrait with an ovf (and no extra shutter on the bottom of the camera :D):
    again, bring your elbows inwards and steady yourself. To bring your elbows inwards you really need to have the shutter at the bottom!
    23803667-M.jpg
    or be creative with the LCD! Be sure to rest the camera on the lower hand and control your breathing:
    23803684-M.jpg
    23803681-M.jpg
    Going portrait with a camera that has a shutter at the bottom is like shooting landscapish:
    23803677-M.jpg

    As I said, make yourself comfortable to shoot, and if you're shooting with other techniques than the ones described above you may want to try these. plaese share your camera techniques, everything is welcome :D



    Next article will cover aperture!
    *In my mind it IS real*
    Michiel de Brieder
    http://www.digital-eye.nl
  • Maple LeafMaple Leaf Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 7 Beginner grinner
    edited June 5, 2005
    How do you post photos?
    Hi, Michiel: A simple question...how do you post photos on dgrin? I find it difficult to bring other contributors' photos up on screen to view as well as no idea how to post my own photos when I wish to.

    This looks to me like a great place to be, but I found it easier posting photos on STF than here. When I first come on I can click on a thread and make my reply, but that is all I have been able to do so far.

    My e-mail address is: [email protected] just in case I miss your reply here.

    Bob
  • windozewindoze a life long newbie Registered Users Posts: 2,830 Major grins
    edited June 5, 2005
    insertimage.gif <== This is the icon i refer to in my message to you.



    Bob, Here is how I do it. Maybe it will work for you. I copy the URL address from my pictures posted on smugmug.com. I know you use pbase but i would think it works the same. Anyway, you see the icon at top of the reply box, it's a little yellow box with mountains inside it. Cick on it! Then remove whats there. Last step - Paste the complete URL address of the picture you want to post and click OK. This works for me.
    Good Luck,

    troy




    Maple Leaf wrote:
    Hi, Michiel: A simple question...how do you post photos on dgrin? I find it difficult to bring other contributors' photos up on screen to view as well as no idea how to post my own photos when I wish to.

    This looks to me like a great place to be, but I found it easier posting photos on STF than here. When I first come on I can click on a thread and make my reply, but that is all I have been able to do so far.

    My e-mail address is: [email protected] just in case I miss your reply here.

    Bob
  • BodleyBodley Full Contact Registered Users Posts: 766 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2005
    Maple Leaf wrote:
    Hi, how do you post photos on dgrin? Bob
    Info covered in this link - http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=5724&highlight=exif

    Greg
    Greg
    "Tis better keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
  • NappaloniaNappalonia Advanced Amateur Registered Users Posts: 96 Big grins
    edited June 6, 2005
    thumb.gif Great thread!! I'm subscribing so I don't miss anything :lurk
    http://nappalonia.smugmug.com/gallery/580776

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    20D :clap
    Canon
    18-55
    85 1.8 :wink
    Tamron
    28-75 2.8
    Sigma
    70-300 DG APO Macro
    30 1.4:thumb
  • SeamusSeamus Reading is hard Registered Users Posts: 1,607 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2005
    Michiel, thanks for the informative thread, just to go off topic (as usual with me) is that a battery grip attached to your camera? Looking forward to the rest of the series and thanks for the help in the past.


    Seamus.
  • NetgardenNetgarden Beachbum Linda Registered Users Posts: 829 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2005
    Hi Michiel! Great stuff as always. thumb.gif Thanks. I'm heading for Yosemite saturday, and was looking for landscaping tips. [actually aperture tips] I guess I can cheat and slip a few from the Landscape mode and go from there...
    Seamus wrote:
    Michiel, thanks for the informative thread, just to go off topic (as usual with me) is that a battery grip attached to your camera? Looking forward to the rest of the series and thanks for the help in the past.


    Seamus.
  • Michiel de BriederMichiel de Brieder The Heart of Lothian HillegomRegistered Users Posts: 864 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2005
    Aperture essay
    Now then people, I've been so terribly busy that I didn't have time to cover this essay, I'm not finished as of yet (14th of May 2005) but I'll write up my first stuff! Thanks to everybody for the encouragement!

    Soooooooo Aperture...

    Another 'enigma' from the world of photography is aperture :D
    As a matter of fact, it's not an enigma! It's quite easily actually!!

    It's explained rather nicely here (check em out later on mwink.gif):
    http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glossary/Exposure/Aperture_01.htm
    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/fototech/apershutter/aperture.htm
    but I'll give you my own version with effects 'n stuff!!

    First things first, where do we find this aperture thing on the camera??? It's the thing known as F-stop or F-number. You might remember setting your camera to something like F/4, now what does that mean??
    Okay, first a principle about camera technology (which also goes for analogue cameras :D):
    In the world of cameras we work with something called 'stops' of light. You can probably imagine that it's an important thing, as a camera is all about gathering light :lol In simple words the aperture is just the size of the hole through which the light passes onto the film or sensor of the camera.

    Now if I have a certain shutter speed, a certain aperture and a certain ISO (to be discussed later on) I can call that an exposure. It's just a word, so don't be afraid :D
    An example:
    22522357-M.jpg
    now this image has an exposure that consiste of the following values:
    Shutter speed: 1/4000s
    Aperture: F/4.5
    ISO: 100
    I was talking about stops, so I'll have to explain where you can 'find those'. A simple rule:
    If I want to decrease this image a full stop in light (remember, those are just some terms, you can experiment with everything after this essay or while reading it :D) you can do either of the following:



    • make the shutter speed twice as fast: 1/4000 / 2 = 1/8000s
    • close the aperture down a full stop (more on this below): F/6.3
    • Set the ISO to half the current ISO: ISO 50
    these are the aperture values in thirds of stops:
    F1.0, F1.1, F1.2, F1.4, F1.6, F1.8, F2.0, F2.2, F2.5, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0, F9.0, F10, F11, F13, F14, F16, F18, F20, F22, F25, F29, F32, F36, F40, F45, F51, F57, F64, F72, F81, F91
    Does it make any sense? Well it does actually :D here's the mathematical calculation for a given stop (skip this if you suck at math mwink.gif)
    2^(n*1/2) where n is the stop. For the real geniusses, yes it *is* rounded each time, sometimes a bit strange, but people have put a lot of thought into this, give them some credit mwink.gif
    so, if we take the first 3 stops:
    1. 2^(0*1/2) = 2^0 = 1
    2. 2^(1*1/2) = 2^(1/2) = 1.4
    3. 2^(2*1/2) = 2^(1) = 2
    Okay, now we know something about this exposure, and if we want to change the exposure we change the aperture, ISO and/or shutter speed. What does aperture offer us in this equation??

    Well now, what *does* it offer? the smaller your f-number, less of a picture is 'in focus', the larger the f-number the more of a picture is 'in focus'
    [to be continued as I'm kinda tired right now mwink.gif]
    *In my mind it IS real*
    Michiel de Brieder
    http://www.digital-eye.nl
  • nzmacronzmacro Major grins Registered Users Posts: 200 Major grins
    edited June 17, 2005
    Whats macro
    Macro in photographic terms is capturing an image at 1:1 (life size) and larger on film or sensor size. If we take a 12mm fly as an example and its 12mm on the film or sensor, that's macro or photomacrography. The subject does not change size, only the format does.

    Macro is determined and defined as a ratio size. 1:1 (life size), 2:1 = 2x, 3:1 = 3x, 4:1 = 4x life size, etc.

    As we go down in ratio its termed as a part of 1:1 and its not termed as macro. More correctly it should be termed as close up.

    So we have 1:2 = half life size, 1:3 = a third life size, etc.

    We can achieve true macro in several ways.

    By using true macro lenses that are capable of 1:1

    By adding simple dioptre supplementary close up filters

    By adding twin element achromatic supplementary macro lenses

    By adding a bellows.

    By adding macro photo lenses designed for bellows use.

    By adding extension tubes.

    By Reversing lenses

    and so the list goes on.


    What's important to remember is that the term "Macro" does have a true definition in photographic terms. That is, 1:1 or larger on film or sensor. It has nothing to do with magnification outside of that film size or sensor.
    Personally I prefer the term closeup, but macro does have a true meaning in photographic terms.
    All the best folks. Danny.
  • HiggmeisterHiggmeister Major grins Registered Users Posts: 909 Major grins
    edited June 17, 2005
    Hi Danny, a little clarification please
    You said that 1:1 or greater on the sensor is macro, but if I shoot a 1:2 and print it at 2:1 size, this would not be considered a macro? The final output (print) would be greater in size than the original. Just curious.

    Thanks for the explanation and clarification,
    Chris

    A picture is but words to the eyes.
    Comments are always welcome.

    www.pbase.com/Higgmeister


  • nzmacronzmacro Major grins Registered Users Posts: 200 Major grins
    edited June 17, 2005
    You said that 1:1 or greater on the sensor is macro, but if I shoot a 1:2 and print it at 2:1 size, this would not be considered a macro? The final output (print) would be greater in size than the original. Just curious.

    Thanks for the explanation and clarification,
    Chris
    Thats a point that was made on Dpreview Chris and a few of them wanted to change the definition of macro rolleyes1.gifheadscratch.gif , go figure. Thats the entire reason I put it on my site like that Chris. This part here is essential

    "It has nothing to do with magnification outside of that film size or sensor."

    Any magnifications made outside of the box has nothing to do with macro. mwink.gif Lets take it one step further for example. I use a 1200mm lens to take a shot of a light on a hill. I then magnify that up with software to a huge proportion. The light is now huge. Does that make it a macro. So now we have a 1200mm macro lens, cool or is it a macro monitor and printer.

    Where does that leave a true macro lens capable of 1:1. In that case, that macro lens is now capable of 60:1 with just a very simple magnification in software. It doesn't work like that Chris. It has to be on the film size or sensor size. Thats true macro. I do understand exactly what you are saying, but its something we can't change in photographic terms. IMO anyway.

    All the best Chris, interesting question for sure and it does make us think. I love the term closeup for it all to be honest, because then its all covered either way mwink.gif

    Danny.
  • PackMulePackMule Big grins Registered Users Posts: 24 Big grins
    edited February 6, 2008
    [to be continued as I'm kinda tired right now mwink.gif]


    lurker.gif
Sign In or Register to comment.