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 Post subject: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:16 pm 
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Location: Sunny Mpumalanga - Ok, Ok - White River
After reading a bit on the forums, it seems that there is a general tendency to DSLR camera's among the forumites, and the battle rages on.... Sony, Canon, or Nikon.
I also see a lot of queries regarding which lenses to buy.... should I get the 400mm, 0r the 150 - 500mm? Which works better, wide angle or Macro.... and things like, I want to shoot portraits as well as landscapes.... and maybe some nature photography....
What can I do to improve this photograph (with aftermarket software)?....

What I don't hear is things like.......
Wow, for a sunrise shot, what sort of ISO should I choose?
Any idea why my impala has its head in focus, but not the tail?
Why should I use aftermarket software heavily in the first place if I can get the bulk of the stuff right with the shot I take right off the bat.

And my personal favourite, the camera has so many different dial settings, why do I only ever use full auto?

What is composition, and how do I go about doing it right?
Ever noticed how many photo's posted here have the animal on one half of the photo, and the animals head in the middle with a whole lot of nothing on the other half?? And if that wasn't bad enough, when is it actually a good idea to take the photo that way and not have it look as though it was a mistake.

Anyone know what perspective is, and how it changes the mediocre shot into the WOW moment?

Why is the rule of thirds such a cool rule that is generally useless in nature pohotography?

What about things like aperture, shutter speed, ISO rating, depth of field, lighting, fringing?

Maybe what we should do is create a small photography school right here and get our photo's better from the get go - and not have all the questions on how to get it right later..
An out of focus shot is one you cannot fix.
Backlit, or highly contrasted pictures can't be fixed efficiently, fringing is there for good. Badly framed images can only ever be cropped, not 'touched up'.

Anyone want to take a couple of lessons with me to improve not only their knowledge of the camera, what it can do, and by default take MUCH better photo's???

If this sounds pompous, maybe it is - but who can afford to let the opportunity go by to learn how to do something better than you already do??

Anyone know why the focal length of the lens is important when taking sharply focused images?
Why a prime lens is sharper than a zoom lens? Why they are particularly difficult if they are your only carry around lens?
Why aperture is so critical and turns a good, to a great photo?
Why Full auto setting on the camera is probably your worst enemy taking nature shots?

Anyone want to hear more??

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A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?
"Author Unknown"
Do-nv-da-go-hv-i
until we meet again - Cherokee language


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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:41 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Haplo wrote:
Anyone want to take a couple of lessons with me to improve not only their knowledge of the camera, what it can do, and by default take MUCH better photo's???

...

Anyone want to hear more??


I am ALL EARS... I mean EYES! :big_eyes: Please continue. I have a simple point-'n-shoot, FujiFilm Finepix S1000. It may not be able to take lenses or shoot in RAW, but it's got lotsa settings...

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Marius
Hunter, nature lover, conservationist.

I believe that for man to survive, we must work with nature rather than against her. We need the land; the land doesn't need us. Too many people have lost sight of this fact. - Bruce Truter


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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:18 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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I am 100% behind this idea. I have a Sony Alpha. I was offered lessons, but at a time that was inconvenient.. and alsoat a price that would have cost a Kruger getaway. The result is a camera that is not properly used.

I do believe that I have a stunning camera, but it does not matter how good the tool might be if the operator is not up to scratch.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:43 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi I am also hear and would like to learn as much as possible!
I have a nikon D80 and a 18-135 and a 70-300 and I am about to order the Sigma 150-500!I am only studying so it takes allot of saving from my part!

My recent trip to KNP was the 1ste time with my DSLR and some shots came out very nice while some say 40% have this greyish matt over it not sure where I went wrong?Coz I didnt change the settings much!I kept it on mode "S" and just changed shuttterspeed and ISO! :huh: :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:34 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
yes please. I'm definitely keen to learn and share (what limited knowledge I have).

I can answer some of your questions, but as they say, 'the more you know, the more you know you don't know'.

Currently using:
Nikon D40X
Nikkor 18-200mm F4-5.6 DX VR
Nikkor 80-200mm F2.8 with Kenko 2x teleconverter
Also used Sigma 150-500mm F5.6-6.3 in the past (but switched to F2.8 Nikkor and t/c as above)

Another big thing for me in nature (and general) photography is metering and the various metering options (matrix, centre-weighted, spot etc). Makes a big difference when you're trying to take of birds against overcast skies etc.

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FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal


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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:57 am 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
I think it is a good idea to have a SANParks Photography School. It would have been nice to create a few sticky's like: Depth-of-field, The Exposure Triangle or ISO, but that would create a lot of sticky's...

How about a weekly topic to discuss stuff like ISO, DOF, Metering, Why not to use Auto mode etc...?

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:02 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
not a bad idea, my only reservation is that stuff has been written about so many times before on the Internet, by people who know a lot more than I do. Might be easier/better to point to some existing resources.

Also, I've found from personal experience while learning and teaching that most people don't really understand a lot of this stuff from reading, they need to be playing with their cameras in their hand (especially things like perspective, white balance etc). Maybe we should plan a meeting in a national park ;)

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

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Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal


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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:07 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Nikon offers outing to various parks with pro-photographers to teach you more in practise, but it is usually a bit expensive for the normal guy on the street, like me... Nikon does offer the use of all their equipment though which is nice.

If we could do the same by just using your own equipment it would work out quite a bit less expensive. Even if we could meet at a local place like a Botanical Garden to learn about Macro Photography or at a bird hide etc etc with someone quite knowledgeable about the subject and technique needed.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:15 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
Yes, Nikon and others (Outdoorphoto etc) offer those tripes but they are hellish expensive. Also, as you point out, what good is my using a fancy body and lens etc on a trip when I use my own kit all other times?

I like the idea of meeting locally. I've often done this when teaching friends what I know, usually at the botanical gardens in Johannesburg (Emmarentia). I'd be keen to meet somewhere to learn some stuff, and am also happy to teach what little I know. Even if its not 'hosted' by an 'expert', there's always something to learn.

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:32 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
I agree, an expert may just charge us for his time as well... Ha-Ha! :twisted:

Ok, should we start a poll to see who will be interrested in local get togethers or how would you propose we continue on this idea?

Maybe we can identify 2 - 3 forumites in each region (Cape, Jhb, Pretoria etc...) who can organise bi- or tri- monthly get togethers and exchange photography tips, hints and info. This could be part of a bigger SANParks photography club? :hmz:

I know there is the Birding club already on this forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:38 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
Sounds good to me. I'm willing to put effort in. It would be great to get an expert, but as you say, they may charge. I have some non-forumite friends who are quite into photography. I could ask them if they'd be willing to share their knowledge.

I'm also a member of the birding club (Stiffnecks) :) .

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:45 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
I also don't mind putting in some effort, it's always good to learn from other's experience / knowledge. I photographed another wedding this past weekend and taught myself a nice technique when taking photos of people dancing - just by playing around.

I would post a picture, but is people dancing considered wildlife... Ha-Ha!

I'll start a poll for 2-weeks so long to see if we get any feedback.

PS: I love to photograph birds, but my knowledge of birds is far behind that of my knowledge of mammals, thus not really part of the Stiffnecks yet...

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:48 pm 
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Oh help! :big_eyes: I've never started a poll on this forum again and can't find the option to do so. How do I go about it?

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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Haplo,

This is a great idea, especially for those of us from overseas who cannot get together so easily. I always look forward to learning more.

When does lesson 1 start?


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 Post subject: Re: Learning to use your Camera
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:53 pm 
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Location: Sunny Mpumalanga - Ok, Ok - White River
There does seem to be some interest here, which I am happy about.... I must tell anyone here who thinks that they are in for a quickfix however, that there really isn't one available. What we all hope to achieve I think is an understanding of what your Camera is, what it does, how it does it, and what results you can achieve through doing a few things differently.

I am not a professional, I do not know everything about a camera, but I do have a better than average grasp of what stuff is and what it does. If I can help any of you guys get a better result through using a bit of the information I can give you, that is my reward.
I would ask though, that the guys who decide to read along, and try this out, actually get involved, as I can tell you what the importance of certain things are, but I can't make you a better photographer, only you can do that by doing the "homework" I can ask you to do - and seeing if you are happy with the results.

I will also only go as deep into nature photography, cause that is mostly what I know, portraits and landscapes employ the same concepts, but just do it differently.

To those of you who want to create groups in your areas - I applaud photography clubs, you guys will learn lots of things from many people if you get together, each of us at the end of the day has something to teach the other. We learn best from one another on an interactive basis.

What I pondered was - could other folks learn anything from me?
And it appears that the consensus is that there are a few folks who would like to try.
I will prepare "Lesson 1" and post later. Then you can decide for yourselves if this is going to be worth it.
I promise to use little words, and give you basic concepts and not confuse the hell out of you, as has happened to me so many times when listening to other folks who think they know more than I do, but only tell me what I already know in difficult and complicated ways.

Firstly - Do you know what the heart of your camera is, and what it does??
This is the Sensor - 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 21, or 24 megapixel, or any other number in between. It is the part of your camera that records the captured light and renders it as an image that you can see.
Let's start with a 10.1 Megapixel sensor, you do realise I take it that a Megapixel is actually 1 000 000 pixels, or dots on a screen?
Did you know that each pixel consists of three distinct separate colour sensing units? That means that on a 10 Megapixel sensor, you are able to record around 30 million different points of light and shades in colours, the three sensors per pixel, determine the colour of that 1 dot amongst the other 10 million.
That is, I am sure you can understand an enormous amount of information to process all at once. Now think, does my camera take 3 shots per second?
That would mean 90 million points of colour to be calculated in the space of a single second......
Just to give you an idea of how complex your camera really is..... :D

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A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?
"Author Unknown"
Do-nv-da-go-hv-i
until we meet again - Cherokee language


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