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Messages - RobertG.

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Animal Kingdom / Re: Your best animal shots!
« on: May 28, 2014, 06:48:35 PM »
I rarely shoot animals these days. But this portrait of a ashy gecko (Sphaerodactylus elegans) is one of my better ones.
Canon 450D with EF-S 60mm & 580EX II f16 1/200 ISO 200

Axel, wait for better natural light. Weak sun light in the morning or early evening would be best. At the moment the background looks like it was an overcast day. The colors are pretty dull. The subject (the frog) shows a different lighting than the background, caused by the flash. That's not appealing to me. Get rid of the flash. Warm sun light would look better because all colors would be warmer and more vivid. These rather cold colors and too tight framing don't appeal to me.

As a travel tripod I recommend the Feisol CT-3441T. I use it for several years already and I'm very satisfied. I would buy it again without hesitation.

When you compare both mentioned Manfrotto tripods to this Feisol tripod, you will see that the Feisol is higher, lighter, can carry more weight, has a shorter length for transportation and it is cheaper, too. I'm 1.83m and with a ball head the Feisol has a pretty good hight to work with. It should be OK for your body size, too.

Software & Accessories / Re: Square or round filters?
« on: May 21, 2014, 06:02:58 PM »
When you shoot with several lenses, which makes sense for landscapes, you will need either several nd filters for each lens diameter or just a few adapter rings (less weight & cheaper) and one filter holder + a few nd filters. I prefer the filter holder, so that my nd and grad nd filters can be used with each lens.

With the Lee filter holder you can combine easily several filters like nd + grad nd or nd + pol filter or grad nd + pol filter. All these combinations make sense. With a screw in nd filter, it will be hard to combine it with another filter.

A disadvantage of the filter holder is its size. I always take it with me in my backpack but never in the smaller photo bags because it is too bulky. But for landscapes I need quite often my tripod, which is attached to the backpack...

I have taken a look on the website, which is linked under your user name. Sorry to be blunt but that's what I think: the website was made by an amateur and clearly looks like this.

The website itself looks very unprofessional and cheap. I guess that's what it really is. A decent wordpress theme for photographers costs less than $100. An alternative would be Squarespace, which is more comfortable to maintain. But it is focused on the US market and without the online shop it's hard to justify the costs. With your background in netwoek engineering it should be quite easy for you to maintain a website.

The second and even worse impression I got came from your pictures. There are a few good ones among them but the majority of them should not be shown on a professional photographer's website. Under exposed, flat lighting, bad framing... all can be found. The kid potraits are great and professional looking but the family ones aren't. Don't show them.

You have a section for pets but all I can see are a few shots of them same dog. There are some great shots among them but 3 or 4 shots of this dog would be enough. What about cats or any other kind of pet? Show some other dogs, too. It can't be that hard to find any other dog to photograph.

The section "commercial" shows as the 2nd picture a twig with some lichens. Anyone with a macro lens can take a picture like this within minutes. You don't name the scientific name of this lichen, so I guess it was not shot for some scientific purpose. What was the purpose of this shot? Just the nice background blurr? What is the commercial aspect of this picture? I can't see any at all. Better take a high quality shot of a watch or pen.
The next one is an abandoned house. Why? The first architecture shot shows a HDR with too high saturation of the lawn, flat light, artificial looking purplish grey sky and it is clearly visible that the house was not shot with a shift lens. This is by all means an amateur shot. The same can be said about the landscape shot coming next. Too much saturation, flat light, bad framing... it goes on like this for a dozen or so pictures. Then there are some good wedding shots. Why do I need to search for them? Just show the wedding pictures. Leave out the rest.

You advertise "a very affordable price" for your commercial shots but most of the shown ones can't be used for a commercial purpose because of their quality. What's the matter of "a very affordable price" in this case? Why should anybody pay for car shot like the ones you are showing, if they can take exactly the same with a p&s cam?

The section "SJL SERVICES" says: "With our extensive experience in the glamour and fashion photography world if you are looking for the glamorous look, we can create any image you desire." If you claim extensive experience, why are there just 4 different amateur models found in "MAKEOVERS"? Why is no professional model among them? Why is no fashion shot shown?

As you say in the beginning of this thread: "I am trying to get my photography business running..." The website and most of your pictures look like they were done by an amateur. Change this. Get a professional website (not just the layout but also professional texts), get a logo, get rid of most of the pictures and just show your best work. Say something about yourself. For the beginning just advertise your strengths like kid portraits and pets. Don't show architecture, landscape etc. shots on an amateur level. If you do so, tell your customers that these shots are just a hobby.

At least here in Germany the law requires you to inform customers about the legal form of your company. The tax number has to be shown, too. You don't even mention your full name or address on your website. Your price list does not say anything about taxes. BTW, are the prints measured in inch or centimeter?

English is not my native language and I don't try to offend you. Sorry if some sentences sound too harsh. I just want to give you a honest feedback.

BTW, David duChemin's book "Vision Mongers" is a really good read for anyone trying to start a photography business.

Street & City / Re: Your best street shots of any kind.
« on: May 12, 2014, 05:37:33 PM »
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Photography Technique / Re: Photographs in the "Blue Hour"
« on: May 11, 2014, 06:49:19 AM »
Blue hour in Berlin, Germany
Canon 5D II with EF 35mm L, f13 @ 25sec ISO 100

Lenses / Re: New TS-E Lenses for Photokina [CR2]
« on: May 10, 2014, 04:15:04 AM »
With such a lens collar like the Zörk one or an integrated lens collar in the right position, you can create a panorama by shifting to the left, no shift, shifting to the right without any parallax error. Even full tilt can be used at the same time. If you shift the lens instead of the camera body, there is a parallax error. That's what my own tests have shown. Modern software like PS or Kolor Autopano Giga does correct the parallax error very well but there are sometimes applications (e.g. in interior photography) when such software can't be used. In such a particular case the photos need to be stitched manually and here parallax plays a big role.

As I said before, I do shot mainly landscapes with my TS-E lenses and use software to stitch my photos, so the parallax error is no issue for me anymore. But in case it does become an issue, I do have at least a solution at hand.

About the hefty price: in November 2011 I paid €180 + €6 shipping + 19% VAT = €221,34 . That's OK for me, especially considering that's there is no cheaper alternative. If you consider the price of the material and the time to manufacture it, it is actually quite cheap. No wonder the price increased. The Hartblei "Canon TSE Tripod Collar" costs more than twice as much. That's what I would call a hefty price. But both lens collars can't be compared to each other because they do not offer exactly the same functionality.

"privatebydesign", if PS is such a great software, why bother to use a TS-E lens at all? (It is a rethorical question and no answer is expected.)

Tilt-shift lenses are highly specialized gear and the same can be said about lens collars for them. For some shots these tools are needed and sometimes a smartphone will do.

Lenses / Re: New TS-E Lenses for Photokina [CR2]
« on: May 09, 2014, 08:42:08 AM »
"privatebydesign" calls all such lens collars for the Canon TS-E lenses pointless. I guess he has no own experience with any of them....
I use the Zörk lens collar with the TS-E 17mm and TS-E 24mm II, so I can write about my own experiences with it. But I don't speculate about the usefullness of sich collars without having used them. IMHO it is true that an integrated collar would probably be the better solution. The Zörk lens collars works pretty well but it is obvious that the lens barrel of the TS-E 17mm and TS-E 24mm II were not designed for this purpose.

Kind regards, Robert

Lenses / Re: I'm done - I have all the lenses I need
« on: May 07, 2014, 05:43:01 PM »
Most of the lenses you own can be improved in one way or another. So I guess at the moment you have a pretty good set of lenses to cover your work. But every new sensor demands more and more of your lens, so an update becomes inevitable sooner or later. I saw it with older medium format lenses adapted to a modern Canon ff camera body. The results are less than mediocre and so I really appreciate newer lens designs and coatings.

I have no shortage of lenses but still want better ones. Especially a proper tilt-shift lens in the range of 40mm till 60mm is lacking.

Photography Technique / Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« on: May 06, 2014, 08:04:50 PM »
I use mainly the TS-E 24mm II. But the TS-E 45mm is also used from time to time. Seldomly the TS-E 90mm is used, although it is clearly sharper than the TS-E 45mm. I use some mm of shift in almost every panorama to compose the picture. But I try to avoid multi row panos, so normal lenses are no longer used. In the past I had good results with the EF 35m L and the EF 50mm f1.4 too.

I like the view of wide angle lenses (24 till 35mm) but I don't like the perspective change of super wide angle lenses because of the too strong accentuation of the foreground. With the tele lenses the compression of the scence is often clearly visible, no matter how wide the panorama later on is. The whole scene looks then easily a bit flat. So I choose the focal length depending on the intended compression of the scene and also the needed final picture size later on.

Canon General / Re: Tilt & Shift Fan?
« on: May 06, 2014, 07:56:28 PM »
They are great once you get past the initial learning curve.  It's actually somewhat difficult to go back to normal lenses after you use T/S ones and you wonder why all lenses can't be T/S :)

After having bought 5 tilt shift lenses I can fully understand your statement above :) Same for me.

Lenses / Re: Next Lens Canon Should Release?
« on: May 03, 2014, 06:38:54 PM »
TS-E 45mm f/2.8L II
TS-E 43mm f/2.8L

Totally agree! But a TS-E 50mm f/2.8L would also be OK.

Lenses / Re: TS-E 90mm f2.8 photos???
« on: April 21, 2014, 05:46:34 PM »
F/9 at 1/200sec ISO 100 - just resized, nothing else

Lenses / Re: First tilt shift lense
« on: April 20, 2014, 07:43:22 PM »
A toy effect as seen in the vimeo video can't be done with the Canon TS-E lenses. The effect of the TS-E 24mm, TS-E 45mm and even the TS-E 90mm is less strong. It's clearly visible in the video that different focal lengths were used and the toy effect applied in post production. The transion between the sharp and the blurred parts is not smooth enough and both blurred parts of the frame look identically blurred, which is normally not the case with a TS-E lens.

BTW, the use of a large aperture already helps a lot to achieve such a effect.

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