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Old 12-22-2013, 03:10 PM   #1
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Default Photography Critique and Criticism

I thought perhaps this would be a fun thread to have, since I think we have quite a few people who dabble in photography. Just a general place to share recent photos, and offer productive criticism to help each other improve. Or perhaps I thought wrong and this thread will crash and burn and end up on page 20 within a week.

And perhaps this sort of thread would be better suited for the Media sub? Just figured it would get more traffic in General.
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:16 PM   #2
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Since I've been without a DSLR for a little while now, I've had to relieve my itch with old school film. I think shooting digital has allowed me to mostly ignore my composition, and just spray and pray to some extent. It's easy to do when you can review and retake the image as many times as needed. Film forces you to take a little more time and put a little more thought into an image before clicking the release. It also allows me to not worry so much about image quality, and focus much more on composition. I shot these on an ugly, rainy, dark day on the lake, with nothing really interesting to shoot. I forced myself to try and come up with anything mildly interesting to look at, with limited success I feel.

Pentax K1000, SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/2 on Fuji ISO800.

Rip me a new one.











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Old 12-22-2013, 04:32 PM   #3
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Watch the horizon line on the first, should be corrected in post.

the next three do nothing for me, just gray and boring.

#4 is pretty interesting.

#5 could be cool if something better was in the lens, the foil is also a bit distracting.


I love the look of that film/lens, would love to see some portraits with it.
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:35 PM   #4
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Here's my latest, not your typical xmas lights:


light streaks 058-3 by The Braineack, on Flickr


light streaks 065-4 by The Braineack, on Flickr




light streaks 053-2 by The Braineack, on Flickr
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Old 12-22-2013, 05:10 PM   #5
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That's cool. Changing focal length mid exposure? I never thought of doing that. Was that lens wide open? Wish the bokeh ***** were a little more round. Otherwise, awesome shots. I like the 2nd one the best.

First one, I thought the vertical posts were more critical than horizon. Either, or.

The others, meh. It was a roll of 800 that I wanted to use up, and I was in the process of adjusting the focus on my lens after having it fully stripped down for mold cleaning. Still not completely right, as I can't get it to stop down to f/2, only to f/2.8, and it won't quite go to infinity. I need to hurry up and get a M42 to K mount adapter so I can use my awesome Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4, arguably one of the best 50mm lenses ever made. Super sharp, excellent color and contrast, and nice bokeh. All metal, and even after over 40 years it's still nice and smooth, no rattle or looseness.
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Old 12-22-2013, 05:16 PM   #6
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It was f/8 to try to reduce ambient and not let the tree light up. I want to try again at f/2.8 and use iso 50 and try it again.

but was changing focal length AND focus.
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Old 12-22-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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Agree about the first three (or four) that you need an actual subject in the shot. Is there something you're taking a picture of or just some water? what makes it worth photographing? can you zoom in or crop to that?

for example, here is a fair composition but with terrible equipment and difficult lighting. there is a subject (or subjects) to interest you and draw you in.



it could use some cropping and it's grainy as F, but it gives you good feels about the new span of the SF bay bridge and the moon, right?
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:00 PM   #8
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Here's my dock shot.



I would destroy a nice camera, so I have to settle for whatever the iphone5s can do out of the box. Its always on me, quick enough to grab it and take a pic or video of almost anything (unless I'm driving, because then its in the mount and Pandora is on) and if I destroy it I can replace it relatively easy.
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
Agree about the first three (or four) that you need an actual subject in the shot. Is there something you're taking a picture of or just some water? what makes it worth photographing? can you zoom in or crop to that?

for example, here is a fair composition but with terrible equipment and difficult lighting. there is a subject (or subjects) to interest you and draw you in.

it could use some cropping and it's grainy as F, but it gives you good feels about the new span of the SF bay bridge and the moon, right?
There were no subject aside from the occasional sea gull or a buoy. It was also a dull, grey day. Solid cloud cover and rain, so really shitty contrast and colors. I only posted those since they are the most recent shots I've taken, which was yesterday. Mostly there just because I felt I needed to post something since I started the thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
It was f/8 to try to reduce ambient and not let the tree light up. I want to try again at f/2.8 and use iso 50 and try it again.

but was changing focal length AND focus.
I'm guessing you don't have any ND filters or a CP? I think it would be better at 2.8 for sure. Though, I'm not sure how the streaks would look at such a shallow dof. They may be too blurry to look like beams as they do in the originals. Or you could just expose to the right and adjust the exposure in post.
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NA6C-Guy View Post
There were no subject aside from the occasional sea gull or a buoy. It was also a dull, grey day. Solid cloud cover and rain, so really shitty contrast and colors. I only posted those since they are the most recent shots I've taken, which was yesterday. Mostly there just because I felt I needed to post something since I started the thread.
Fair enough. And you've basically listed off a few more reasons why the photos don't work...

Landscape phot is hard because so many things have to be right. And while you have full control over the camera, you have limited control over the shooting location and lighting. Even less control over the crap in the shot.

One of the best single pieces of advice I've seen for getting a shot of something like that is to put yourself where most people don't. Everyone gets the easy shots from the trail and scenic overlook.... you can probably google the location and get that shot.

Just today I was at the Campbell farmer's market and saw a shot of Vernazza in Italy. It was almost exactly the same view I had taken a picture of. That's because it's from the trail that descends into the town from above and it's a striking shot. But just to prove my point:

first "vernazza" google image:


my photo (slightly different location but you get the idea)
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:22 AM   #11
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I was actually switching between fishing pole and camera. I shot all of those within 10' of one another. Very lazy and a poor excuse for photography I must say.


That is a good thing to do, and typically what I practice. When it comes to landscape it is REALLY hard to do anything original, that doesn't look like every other picture ever taken. You either have to go where no man has gone before, or catch something happening at just the right time (animals, wind blowing objects, clouds in an awesome pattern, water whirlpools, ect.). This is why I can't wait to get a camera in caves more often. Those locations already look so alien to the vast majority of people. Then you can find very unique looking locations and get creative angles and lighting. It's like working on a blank canvas, since you bring ALL of your own light to the image. The only bad thing is most caves are colorless, so you have to think creatively to add color to the image. Something like a waterproof flashlight with a color gel submerged in a pool of water, and then have a subject wearing a brightly colored cave suit. Little pockets of color in an otherwise grey/brown world.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NA6C-Guy View Post
I'm guessing you don't have any ND filters or a CP? I think it would be better at 2.8 for sure. Though, I'm not sure how the streaks would look at such a shallow dof. They may be too blurry to look like beams as they do in the originals. Or you could just expose to the right and adjust the exposure in post.
Not yet, all new lenses. I have a 55mm CPL, but that does me no good on 82mm glass. Should have one on Wednesday

I did fool around at 2.8 last night, makes the bokeh ***** a bit too large and they didn't turn out as well, and like I feared, it was allowing too much ambient in the shot and the tree was being rendered.

Quote:
They may be too blurry to look like beams as they do in the originals.
Remember, I was adjusting the focus while zooming in/out as well, so the beams will end up as tight streaks regardless.

Notice in #1 and #2, they are fairly tight streaks? Well I first held the shot wide open, then quickly spun the focus right THEN the zoom. In #3, I turned the focus ring and zoom at the same time, so it's a move transition.

Quote:
I was actually switching between fishing pole and camera. I shot all of those within 10' of one another. Very lazy and a poor excuse for photography I must say.
YUP.




I absolutely stink at landscape photography, for one, my area doesn't lend itself to great landscapes (coupled with the lazy factor).

This is probably my best landscape shot and it's nothing to write home about:

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Old 12-23-2013, 09:28 AM   #13
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ND squares are the way to go. Hold it in front of the lens, and it fits every lens in your arsenal.

I was talking more much harder it would be to zoom and focus with such a shallow dof and keep it consistently in focus so your beam wouldn't do from thick and blurry to thin and sharp. I bet an ND would make the ***** look smaller by removing some of the softer light around the edges.

Most of my photography is pretty lazy. I tend to rush my shots. I've been trying to break myself of that lately and really take my time more than I used to. I can't wait to get another camera and get back to work. Film just isn't my thing.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:30 AM   #14
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What I've been fooling around most with is flash photography, which add an entirely extra level of difficulty.


Pookie Under Tree by The Braineack, on Flickr

In this shot I put the flash in front of Pookie, firing directly towards the two gift bags in front of him. If you look at the reflection in his eyes you can see it. There's also another off camera flash firing at the front of the tree to light it up a bit, but I brought the exposure of that back down in post because it distracted a bit.

I really want to shoot more studio style portraits, but I have no one to really shoot and I don't quite have the equipment for it. I've been practice lighting on myself and it's really no fun and harder to learn doing it this way. Every now and again I can practice on a cat. I set this shot up in anticipation to take some family portraits on Wednesday:


xmas cats 051-1 by The Braineack, on Flickr

Here I used a high ISO and slow shutter (1/40) to exposure the xmas lights. I used a wide open aperture to then bring them into bokeh *****. Then I used the flash to expose the subject. I'm going to try to replicate this shot on Wednesday with humans and two flashes for key/fill on them.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NA6C-Guy View Post
ND squares are the way to go. Hold it in front of the lens, and it fits every lens in your arsenal.

I was talking more much harder it would be to zoom and focus with such a shallow dof and keep it consistently in focus so your beam wouldn't do from thick and blurry to thin and sharp. I bet an ND would make the ***** look smaller by removing some of the softer light around the edges.

Most of my photography is pretty lazy. I tend to rush my shots. I've been trying to break myself of that lately and really take my time more than I used to. I can't wait to get another camera and get back to work. Film just isn't my thing.

gotcha, I've been looking at them more and more lately, but it's hard to find a quality set that isn't like $200, I'd rather spend that on something else. (I'm saving up for a 70-200 2.8 VC) The cheaper stuff tends to be plastic or low quality that ruins the IQ. The cheaper stuff on amazon isn't even in grayscale and adds a weird green hue to people's shots who use them.
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Old 12-23-2013, 06:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
gotcha, I've been looking at them more and more lately, but it's hard to find a quality set that isn't like $200, I'd rather spend that on something else. (I'm saving up for a 70-200 2.8 VC) The cheaper stuff tends to be plastic or low quality that ruins the IQ. The cheaper stuff on amazon isn't even in grayscale and adds a weird green hue to people's shots who use them.
Yeah, a good 4x4 ND is an investment, but as long as you take care of it, it's a lifetime investment. I'm thinking I'm going to give this one a shot. For $50, why not. Baller status ND and grads can come later.

Cavision Solid Neutral Density 0.9 (8x) Glass Filter FTG4X4ND09

Going for the Tamron 70-200 2.8? I assume so since you said VC. That lens is supposed to have awesome optics, especially considering it is less than half the cost of the Nikon/Canon equal. I can't wait to get my new DSLR so I can start buying my first real professional glass, albeit budget professional glass (Tamron, Sigma). Up till now I've only shot with lower end lenses and a few decent primes. Never had fast zooms. What I have in my mind is 8-16 Sigma, 17-70 f/2.8-4 Sigma, and 70-200 2.8 OS Sigma. Sigma has slightly worse optical quality than Tamron, but I've never been a Tamron fan. Their lenses to me always look and feel slightly cheaper than Sigma.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:45 PM   #17
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Still boring and not all that good, but I wasn't doing anything so I thought I'd fix it, as it's the only picture worth keeping from that trip. Fixed the horizon line and tweaked a few other minor things.

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Old 12-24-2013, 01:00 PM   #18
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Going for the Tamron 70-200 2.8? I assume so since you said VC. That lens is supposed to have awesome optics, especially considering it is less than half the cost of the Nikon/Canon equal.
Correct. To match the optics of the Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC I already have.

Quote:
I can't wait to get my new DSLR so I can start buying my first real professional glass, albeit budget professional glass (Tamron, Sigma). Up till now I've only shot with lower end lenses and a few decent primes. Never had fast zooms. What I have in my mind is 8-16 Sigma, 17-70 f/2.8-4 Sigma, and 70-200 2.8 OS Sigma. Sigma has slightly worse optical quality than Tamron, but I've never been a Tamron fan. Their lenses to me always look and feel slightly cheaper than Sigma.
I had the Sigma 17-70 2.8-4; good budget all-around lens. The Tamron stuff feels built very well to me. The Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC I have is a tank in comparison. I have yet to try the new ART line of sigma. I can't stand the direction the sigma stuff zooms in/out with.

I honestly dont care what they look like so long as they perform...like the Tonika stuff looks like utter ****, but apparently they are pretty good lenses.
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NA6C-Guy View Post
Up till now I've only shot with lower end lenses and a few decent primes.

gotta love primes. here's a snapshot:


Happy Julia by The Braineack, on Flickr
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Old 12-24-2013, 02:07 PM   #20
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Nice and sharp ^

I also hear Tamron has inferior AF motors. Slow and prone to hunting. They may have fixed that issue recently.

I wish Tamron and Sigma would stop discontinuing their non VC/OS lenses. Since I will have a Pentax, it will have in body image stabilization, so I can buy the cheaper non stabilized lenses. But now the only place I can find most of them is the used market.

I'm still sort of on the fence about Tamron. The main reason I am considering Sigma over Tamron is the perfect lineup with the 8-16, 17-70, and 70-200. Tamron doesn't make a wide zoom that I really like, and I feel weird mixing and matching 3rd party brands for my main glass.

*edit, the non VC is the one with the **** motor. And they don't make the VC version for Pentax, so fail there.

Also, why won't or can't camera makers give a feature to disable use of lens AF motor and force screw drive? If I had the choice, I'd use screw drive 90% of the time. Fast, reliable and accurate, just a little noisy.

Jesus, another edit. Apparently the non VC Tamron 70-200 does operate off of screw drive on the Pentax variant... hmm. A big plus for the Tamron there. Maybe I will end up with Tamron glass after all.

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