October 20, 2014, 01:55:41 PM

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Messages - anthonyd

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Photography Technique / Re: DoF question
« on: October 16, 2014, 04:27:20 PM »

What's wrong with the photo you have attached?  You have separation in there, and the family looks pretty sharp.  If you decrease your DOF even more, you're going to make it less and less apparent what the background is.  The background can add to your picture; give it a sense of place.  If you decrease your DOF even more, you're going to destroy any detail whatsoever in the background, and at that point, you might as well be shooting in front of a fabric or canvas background.  If anything, I'd almost rather see a little bit more DOF in that image, as right now it almost looks like it was possibly green screened. 

This is an interesting point.  I guess the optimal level of background blur is in the eye of the beholder.  I am trying to create an extreme bokeh, as I enjoy the portraits that are created so, like this, or that.
of course I do understand that with a single person you can go as open as f/1.2 which changes the story altogether, but the fact remains that the completely blurred fall leaves are appealing ... to me!

If I were you, I wouldn't waste your time on DOF calculators.  I'd spend more time on posing, especially with toddlers/infants.

I completely agree, and I ensure you that I spend a lot of time posing this particular family ... as I am part of it :-).  I am not planning to spend any time with the calculators, I just wanted to verify that doubling my distance and my focal length will increase the blur of the background while keeping the subject in focus and framed the same.  You see, everybody knows that increasing the focal length (but keeping everything else constant) increases the blur, but in my case I have to also (a) increase the distance to the subject (which tends to make the background sharper, as it decreases the ratio "distance_to_background / distance_to_subject") and (b) close down my lens.  So it was not obvious to me that the complex interplay between focal length, distance ratio, and f number would lead to a dreamier background.  Now, should I aim for a dreamier background to begin with?  Maybe you are right and I shouldn't.  I still want to try it though.

   I like the family portrait, but it is slightly ruined, and could be much better, if you could get the baby to not make a funny face and look at the camera.

Absolutely.  I hate the way the baby looks like she's hanging there and how she doesn't look at the camera (although getting a baby to look anywhere is not a small feat).  This was an exploratory shot, trying out the location, it's not "the fall family" shot.  Hopefully not anyway, as the weather has a say as well.

  Now, I don't want to say you're unable to do that, but in that case, I'd question why you posted this image over a better one.

No offense taken whatsoever. I like a good constructive feedback like yours and that's why I post shots even when they are not that great.
  Also, I'd spend some time balancing out the exposure throughout the image.  The background is a tad bright; the grass is a touch too bright,

This is the tradeoff between bokeh and exposure.  I'm shooting with a remote flash, so I'm limited to 1/250 speed (because my cheap triggers won't do HSS).  f/5.0 was the largest aperture I could set and get reasonable exposure, good DoF and good background blur.  I guess you would have closed down a bit to expose the scene better at the price of some bokeh.  I could improve it in post, but I hope my "final" shot will be on an overcast day so that I won't have to worry about that.

and the water is not the color we all know it looks like in person.

You must have not seen the Tennessee river recently :-)
I didn't alter the colors in post, so that's exactly what the river looks like.  However, if you meant "the color we all expect water to be", then I guess you are right.  I could have made it look blue-er in post, but I didn't want to bother.  I will give you this though, I rejected this location exactly because of the amount of brown river in the background, so your criticism is spot on.

  Beyond that, again, I wouldn't spend your time looking at DOF calculators, but instead, learning how to properly choose a scene that doesn't require you to decrease your DOF dramatically.  Most well done environmental portraits actually have quite a large DOF.  Think about it this way: in the studio, you have to do something special to make a family portrait interesting.  The standard family pose can be quite boring, especially in front of a solid colored background.  When you shoot so your DOF is really small, you're essentially doing something very similar.  It may be several colors, but pretty much all detail is lost.  It then becomes another boring family photo.

This is all why I recommend smaller apertures: the family remains the main subject, but your eyes are allowed to drift through the photograph and appreciate the beauty behind them as well.

I know my reply is not a direct answer to your question, but I do feel I have given you some very good advice that you can take (or leave) and possibly learn from.  What questions do you have for me?

I will keep your advice in mind.  I've always liked dreamy backgrounds in people photography, and I'll keep pursuing them -- as we only learn by trying -- but at least now I know that not everybody shares this preference.  As for more questions, they will come with my next post, which I will greatly appreciate if you also criticize.

Photography Technique / Re: DoF question
« on: October 16, 2014, 01:24:16 AM »
But the general rule is that if the same depth of field and subject magnification is desired, the longer focal length (thus greater subject distance) will give more blur of distant background objects.

Thanks chromophore, that's the confirmation I was looking for.  I intuitively expected that if instead of using ~60mm (that I used for this shot) I walked further back and used 200mm, I would get a more blurred background, even if I had to close the aperture a bit to keep the family in focus.

Photography Technique / Re: DoF question
« on: October 15, 2014, 02:31:33 AM »
Thanks everyone, especially for the pointers to the DoF calculator, somehow I didn't think it would be that easy and didn't search for one before asking (not that people here don't love repeating stuff :-p).

I do understand very well the impact of the sensor (I've shot with a P&S, 60D and 6D) and print size (I have some 16x24 prints on my wall).  The reason I'm asking is simple.  I want to do a fall family picture and would like to create as much bokeh as possible while keeping the whole family acceptably sharp. This rules out wide open apertures and it also means that the framing is more or less fixed (the whole family has to fit with a little room to breathe). So my only tool is to walk further away and use a longer lens.  From the calculator I saw that the DoF decreases with increased focal lengths, but not dramatically.

For reference, here is the base shot that I'm trying to improve.

Photography Technique / DoF question
« on: October 13, 2014, 11:18:37 PM »
Sorry if this has been answered before, but I wonder if someone could explain to me how to derive the relation between DoF and f number.  Let me make the question more specific:
Say that I have determined that using a 50mm lens and f/6.3 I have enough of the picture in focus to do a family shot (let's not debate this, it's just an example).  If I move twice as far away from the family and use a 100mm lens (to achieve the same framing of the subject), can I still use f/6.3 or do I need a different setting?

Beyond a simple yes or now, can someone explain the basic optics here (as at least a quasi-math rule of thumb).  I would even be happy with a pointer to a detailed analysis.

Canon General / Re: seeimpossible.usa.canon.com?
« on: October 06, 2014, 03:21:21 PM »
I'm betting that they are simply launching a new marketing campaign. I could easily see a bunch of ads built around the concept that Canon helps people "see the impossible."...

is a new ad campaign, as is explained in this article in italian:


I guessed right. So, what's my prize?

You get to see impossible first!

Post Processing / Re: B&W Process
« on: August 08, 2014, 04:56:56 PM »
If you are not afraid to experiment a bit, and/or you have a limited budget, let me recommend "Gimp".  It is open source software that aims to provide Photoshop like functionality.   Photoshop lovers hate it, but I won't enter that religious war, it does what it does.
Anyway, it offers you a channel mixer option, where you can create a B&W image from a single RGB channel, or any custom combination of channels you want (i.e. 80% R + 15% G + 5% B).  You can even use negative values, which in some cases it makes sense (e.g., negative blue if you want to darken that bright purple shirt that your model was wearing without affecting the skin tone).

If you go down this route, you might also want to install the "g'mic" plugin and play with its channel mixer.  That one allows you to mix in different colorspaces (CMYK, HSV, Lab, RGB and YCbCr).

Happy hacking.

Business of Photography/Videography / Re: Who owns the photo?
« on: August 07, 2014, 09:43:56 PM »
Mr. Macaque has no revenue or cash equivalents. He throws feces at lawyers.


Business of Photography/Videography / Re: Who owns the photo?
« on: August 07, 2014, 05:25:13 PM »
The one pressing the shutter button owns the photo, it is their creative property.

So if you set up a shot on tripod, and your assistant does nothing more than press the button on a wireless shutter release (and doesn't even look through the viewfinder) then the assistant owns the shot?  I find that very hard to believe.

You have an assistant for pressing the button on a wireless release? wow you must be a busy photog. :-D

Lighting / Re: Speedlite zoom setting in flash modifiers and camera ISO
« on: August 04, 2014, 04:15:12 PM »
+1 for testing.  However, your setup sounds like it ought to work, unless your flashes are too weak.

In the following shot you'll see a (super-messy) setup I used to do some shots last weekend.  The softbox is about 40''. It was a good 2m away from the subject and the flash (a crappy, old sunpak) was at 1/16 power.

In the first shot the window seems to be casting a lot of light, but as you'll see in the following two (one with the flash on and one with the flash off) the window only provided fill.

The settings I used were: ISO 200, f/1.4, 1/160

+1 for YN603C. I have three flashes all hooked to one of these little tranceivers.

And here is a sample (w/ two flashes):


Lenses / Re: New Canon L Primes, but Not Until 2015 [CR2)
« on: July 29, 2014, 02:53:30 PM »
Guys, you all misunderstood.  This is the year of the lens.  That means that they will release just one lens this year, that's it!  ;D

Lenses / Re: New Canon L Primes, but Not Until 2015 [CR2)
« on: July 29, 2014, 02:13:43 AM »
It feels like Sony to Canon is like Apple to Microsoft.

Oh...flashy, overpriced and useless versus dependable, reliable and built to get the job done?

That's funny, it almost sounded like you called Microsoft dependable and reliable.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Sigma 50 1.4 Art NOT bokehlicious?
« on: July 27, 2014, 09:36:22 PM »
"As everything works with lenses, no lens cannot be strong somewhere without being weak somewhere else."

Want to borrow my 200? 8)

Your 200 is weak at zooming, but I'd borrow it anyway :-)

Lenses / Re: Review: Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG II HSM
« on: July 22, 2014, 11:16:40 AM »
The link to Amazon is broken. Instead of "http" it starts with "ttp".

Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 135mm f/2L
« on: July 20, 2014, 01:54:42 PM »
You took a shot with a 135 at 1/10 of a sec and it turned out sharp!!!! Either you used a monstrous tripod, or you are my new hero. :-)

Thanks for the review, some of us like this type of review much better than charts of numbers.

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