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Raindrop Berry

By woody176
First time using my partners Nikon D40x . Taken in Brickcroft Nature Reserve while out on a rainy walk. Since I'm a complete beginner I would appreciate some kind criticism.

Very dull day and loosing light, no flash used. Not using a a macro lens.

Tags: Flowers and plants Close-up and macro Wildlife and nature

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2013 10:29PM
Hi, welcome to the site and to the Critique Gallery, I see that you have just joined. I hope that you enjoy it here, it's a good place to learn. And we are very kind, honestly we are.
First off, full marks for not using flash, which would have introduced all sorts of problems. What you have is subdued, understated, natural.
The last of the sloes, sitting very nicely above a natural V-shape, that cradles the berry.
I'd like to go in closer. A cropped Modification will appear in due course, under the Modifications button above - click on the thumbnail.
Were you using a tripod? I suspect not... You have a steady pair of hands but with the 55-200mm (I was using mine this morning...) at maximum focal length, try to avoid anything slower than 1/320 second hand-held, 1/250 at a pinch.
This says winter to me. Like it a lot.

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10 Nov 2013 10:42PM
Thanks for the advise. I don't have a tripod...yet.
At this point I didn't know how to control anything other than aperture so let the camera figure out the rest. After doing a lot of reading on this site i feel a lot more informed already, i can already see where I could have improved on a number of photos taken.

Thanks, Chris
paulbroad 10 123 1249 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2013 9:01AM
A good try, welcome to the learning curve. Ideally you needed a faster shutter speed to hold the lens still and you needed the berry several times bigger to become more dominant in the frame. No one always carrys a tripod. I often carry a monopod, a sort of single leg tripod which are cheap and are great for added support. Google MONOPOD.

At 200 mm you could probably have used the camera flash and it would have hit the subject. The background would then go rather dark, but the berry and tree would stand out and be sharper as the flash becomes the shutter speed.

mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2013 9:14AM
You've learned the first important lesson, which is to that you need to take a degree of control over your camera. It has a very good brain, you've paid for that and you are entitled to make full use of it - but it has no imagination and it's not intuitive, it can't guess what you are trying to do.
Think of exposure as filling a bucket from a tap. The wider open the tap, the quicker the bucket fills. So the wider open your lens, the less time needed, ie the faster the shutter speed.
The lower the F number the bigger the aperture. That allows you a fast shutter speed, which will help avoid both subject movement and camera movement.
But the wider the aperture, the shallower the depth of field, ie the distance between the nearest and furthest object in focus; so with a low F number, careful and precise focusing becomes even more important.
The other factor is ISO - light sensitivity. You can get round poor light by increasing the ISO - the camera has given you 800 here, which has coped with the light. But at that level you start to get a fall off in image quantity.
Basically, photography is a whole series of compromises...
Regarding shutter speed, the general guide-line is to go for the nearest speed that you have to the reciprocal of your focal length x 1.5. Now read on because it isn't as complicated as that sounds...
You used the full length, you zoomed to 200mm. 200 x 1.5 = 300. So 1/300 second - the nearest you have will be 1/320. The thing to remember is that the longer the lens, the harder it is to hold it steady, because the weight pulls down against the camera.
I would suggest that you set the camera to 200 ISO for good light, 400 for slightly duller days, try the camera on A (Aperture priority), try F numbers and look carefully at the shutter speeds that they give you as you zoom in and out. If you want to use the full 200mm in winter light you are going to need a tripod, or alternatively a much higher ISO which will give reduced quality. But there's a lot to be done at lower focal lengths (I assume that your partner has the 18-55mm kit lens that came with the camera, it's a really good little lens).
There's a lot more that you need to know but that's your homework for today! The important thing is to take pictures, download them, look at the results and see what has worked, what hasn't. Then try to understand why.
In case you don't know - you can check out the settings for a picture on your hard drive by right clicking on it, then select Properties, then Details.
paulbroad 10 123 1249 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2013 4:58PM

Can I suggest you put a blank line between each paragraph. You give a lot of information but it is difficult to read all in one huge block. Report writung courses teach you to separate each paragraph with a blank line. It makes fore easier reading.


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