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Techniques

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csurry
csurry  129230 forum posts92 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 7:21 PM

I have not started a thread for a while so here goes.

How about sharing a technique for an image style. Since this is in the "Taking Photos" forum it should be something achieved in camera rather than in post-processing.

Here's a starter image.

merlin.jpg

The basic idea behind the image style is to use very limited depth to make the subject pop. It is achieved by using the lens wide-open or very close to wide-open. In this case f/4. Make sure that if the subject is an animal that the focus point is the eye or the image will not work.

The foreground is rendered as a blur if some of it is too close to the lens to be in focus. Getting the exact of amount of blur to work is quite often a very fine line in terms of distance from lens, and the proportion of the lower part of the frame covered by the obstruction. An inch or so either way can be the difference between success and failure. It is also easy not to realise that you have accidentally obscured too much of the subject.

The background is rendered blurred by the normal limits of DOF.

Last Modified By csurry at 13 Jul 2010 - 7:21 PM
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13 Jul 2010 - 7:21 PM

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lobsterboy
lobsterboy Site Moderator 1014013 forum postslobsterboy vcard United Kingdom13 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 7:31 PM

Good idea for a thread Cheryl


Quote: Getting the exact of amount of blur to work is quite often a very fine line....

What do you use to judge this then, viewfinder, dof preview, screen, experience or just wait till you see it on the computer?

csurry
csurry  129230 forum posts92 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 7:40 PM

It's just a matter of being really vigilant when composing. Main thing to check is that you are not obscuring the subject, so long as you double-check this either through the viewfinder or on screen you should be OK. I would say always take a few from just slightly different positions, literally it is usually no more than an inch up or down when the composition is so tight.

The other key is to check for stray elements. In this case it would be a taller piece of heather. It may not seem significant through the viewfinder, but when you look on the computer later it can be extremely frustrating. If it is near the subject then even worse as it may appear in focus and draw the eye.

So once you have chosen a line just take a moment to check for stray blades of grass, or extra unwanted branches, or whatever.

JJGEE
JJGEE  96216 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 7:40 PM

I see many images with this type of technique, not only wildlife but with flowers etc. and they look absolutely great.

But, whenever I "give it a go" it always looks wrong.
Just me I suppose, perhaps too many years( 25+) with my film camera and using f22 and maximum depth of field is a hard concept to move away from Sad

I am trying though and will continue to practice in the hope that one day I'll begin to accept it Wink

Now that I am allowed to upload to the forum I will see if I can contribute and come up with an example of my own for you ( have something in mind but will need to scan a transparency )

csurry
csurry  129230 forum posts92 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 7:46 PM

Here's one in portrait orientation, because it can work that way as well.

merlinprey2.jpg

It's not to everyone's taste simply because it is not something that is seen naturally by the human brain/eye.

JJGEE
JJGEE  96216 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 7:49 PM

Re: the above
?
Would this be possibly what Editors would like as they could drop text onto the deliberately blurred areas

Last Modified By JJGEE at 13 Jul 2010 - 7:49 PM
csurry
csurry  129230 forum posts92 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 8:03 PM

I suppose so Jeff, but none have approached me offering riches for the shot so far Wink

Quick alert all the photo mag editors!!! Would be nice to see a nature shot rather than a landscape or nude Grin

csurry
csurry  129230 forum posts92 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 8:26 PM

OK another technique from me then.

1-zzzzzz.jpg

Two main techniques for this, but I'm going to concentrate on the one that employs a tripod.

Find a nice stand of trees, ones that are predominatly straight make the simplest image, so pines are a good choice. Composition is usually easiest with a 70-200 or 70-300 to isolate just those boughs that you want. Set the shutter speed to anything between 1/8 and 2secs really. The effect will be slightly different, but it is about matching your pan speed to the length of time that the shutter is open for.

Working top to bottom is probably easiest. Try to ensure that there is no sky or gaps allowing sky through in your choice of trees. If there is this will record as a bright streak in the final image. Sidelighting is good to render some distinction to one side of the trees.

Mount the camera on the tripod. Any type of head can be used, ball or video style, but if you have a gimbal head this is perfect as you can ensure a vertical pan by locking of the horizontal movement.

Set you shutter speed and adjust the ISO as necessary. The aperture is not really that important, f/8 is good enough, but select something to allow your chosen shutter speed. Focus on one of the key trees in the composition, but to some extent as long as the area is generally in focus and not a total blur then the technique should work.

Now the key for getting a smooth pan. If your camera allows it set the shutter delay to 2s. Press the shutter and start your pan. The actual image will be taken part way through your pan, but because it was started before the shutter was released it will be smoother as you won't be jerking in to action as you fire the shutter. You should try to time your pan to end somewhere near the base of the trees, but remember to keep panning after the shutter closes for best results. This is key to all pan techniques, not specifically to trees.

Pete
Pete Site Moderator 1318433 forum postsPete vcard ePz Advertiser England96 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 8:29 PM

Speaking from personal experience as a cover image selector, that would be a bit too open for a cover for most magazine's tastes. But on the right lines. Generally the pic needs to be as big as possible for maximum impact on the shelf, yet just enough space around to add the tasters. They would dominate that pic and spoil the overall balance.

Edit oh and btw thanks for starting this and sharing some techniques I do hope others will take your lead and do the same. It's a great way to help people. And those who get something from any could add one as a thank you...let share our skills Smile

Last Modified By Pete at 13 Jul 2010 - 8:40 PM
csurry
csurry  129230 forum posts92 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 8:39 PM

Notice big smiley face Pete, wasn't expecting anyone to want to use it really Grin

Leaving space for text is key, but even if the space exists as you say not all images would work. What is left unobscured needs to work in its own right. Maybe just a feature of mush shots then Wink

Pete
Pete Site Moderator 1318433 forum postsPete vcard ePz Advertiser England96 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 8:42 PM


Quote: Would be nice to see a nature shot rather than a landscape or nude

It wasn't too many years ago that no one dare put a landscape on the cover even. Practical photography was always a girl - no alternative was allowed - just in case it flopped.

lobsterboy
lobsterboy Site Moderator 1014013 forum postslobsterboy vcard United Kingdom13 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jul 2010 - 10:31 PM

kettlewell.jpg

181 Seconds at f/22 Using a 10stop ND filter.

First I setup the camera in manual mode and took a straight shot at f/22. A look at the histogram confirmed a 0.3nd grad would be needed to calm down the sky and consequently lighten the land.
Another shot to confirm that 0.3 filter was correct, then switch to manual focusing as focusing through the 10 stopper dosn't always work.
Screw the 10 stop ND back on and then the 0.3ND.
Using the ND Calc iphone app calculates how much the exposure is lengthened by adding the 10 stopper. Switch to bulb mode and then use the timmer built into ND calc to time the exposure. Then just open the shutter till the timer goes off and try not to get bitten by too many mossies.

ubik
ubik  447 forum posts United Kingdom
14 Jul 2010 - 11:50 AM

Excellent thread, csurry your wild bird shots are stunning the best I've ever seen.
And I could look at landscape pictures like that all day Lobsterboy, need to get myself a set of ND filters. Please can you explain the reasoning behind using such a deliberately slow shutter speed? How does this shot compare to your test shot at f/22? Would love to see them side by side so you can see 'what you're getting' for the technique

lobsterboy
lobsterboy Site Moderator 1014013 forum postslobsterboy vcard United Kingdom13 Constructive Critique Points
14 Jul 2010 - 1:17 PM


Quote: Please can you explain the reasoning behind using such a deliberately slow shutter speed?

The main reason was to get all that movement in the sky and the completly flat water, otherwise (as it was still quite light) it would look pretty much how it does to the eye with none of the bluring in the clouds.


Quote: How does this shot compare to your test shot at f/22?

I'll have a lok to see if I still have the test shot tonight and if I have it I'll post it - may well have deleted it.

ubik
ubik  447 forum posts United Kingdom
14 Jul 2010 - 3:33 PM

I've seen the technique used for water, and looks really effective here for the sky as well - I'm guessing many if not all of the best landscape shots use the long shutter speed. The reason I ask about the comparison is to see how much different it is, and how it transforms an image from ordinary to extraordinary.

Is this kind of thing only achievable through the use of ND filters?

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