December 19, 2014, 12:32:49 PM

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Topics - Marsu42

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I'd like to ask about input and inspiration about a problem that wildlife photogs are bound to face:

The heap of digital data grows and the *absolute* "good enough" threshold for most purposes seem to be reached - so it's getting harder to excel just by using the latest gear. On the other hand, the *relative* iq progresses, so your 18mp shots from now will be obsoleted by the 36mp shots from tomorrow if they basically look much alike.

How do you handle this problem, what's your idea of being different?

Even more expensive gear (200-400L...)? Even more remote shooting locations? Novel postprocessing styles? Or as an amateur, is it you simply don't care if your shot of a white-bellied heron looks exactly like every other as long as you know it's *your* shot with *you* being there?

Thanks for any inspiration, and if there are some good replies I'll share my approach :-)

Looking at some posts about dslr beginners reasoning what camera bodies and lenses to buy, I'm asking myself: Does it really matter if you start with a 7d1 vs. 7d2 or 5d2 vs. 5d3? Do you need a 16-35L/4 instead of a 17-40L/4? Or isn't it smarter to save the money, learn a lot and then buy the next better model in a couple of years?

I know for me, "just" buying a 60d was a smart choice - a 5d2 would have been wasted. With the €1500 saved back then, I now bought a 6d basically for "free" and can even profit from it as my skill is up to it by now.

What about you? If you would have had top gear right from day one, would have it been "worth it"?

Now we know we're all great photogs, well, at least we would be if our cameras would have more resolution and dynamic range :-p. But there is an infamous fix for the latter: bracket the scene, let loose the tonemapping app of your choice and dial everything to 11!

Looking at the neighboring "best hdr shots" thread, I've got the impression that a typical photog evolution seems to include loving surreal hdr shots with histogram inversion (i.e. parts that were darker in the original now is brigher). So here's your chance to show courage and let the world see your very early creations!

Note 1: Please only link/post your own shots and not those of others around CR, even if it is tempting :->

Note 2: No cheating, only real skeletons in your closet, unlike saying "My weaknesses are perfectionism and forgetting to cash in my overtime slips" in a job interview.

Photography Technique / Why 3:2 aspect ratio?
« on: September 26, 2014, 07:12:12 AM »
I understand the 3:2 aspect ratio is there because it's the legacy of the film days. I understand you're supposed to crop shots to this native ratio to imply "Well, that's straight out of camera, look what a great photog I am". As long as you don't crop 1:1 to make it appear even more medium format "pro". What I don't understand and was not able to find an explanation for:

Is there any inherent visual advantage of this 3:2 aspect ratio in relation to human vision?

Film makes use of much wider formats which seem to be more compatible with the way we see. This seems to make sense, because 3:2 landscape often feels a bit narrow, while esp. 3:2 portrait feels very tall and often awkward to me.

Thanks for any explanations from competent photogs around here!

Animal Kingdom / Rfp (request for pictures): remote wifi wildlife shots
« on: September 25, 2014, 03:20:06 AM »
Now I've got this high-tech 6d with wifi, but I don't use it because I can just put the sd card into my laptop. But there's this other use Canon actually propagates for wifi: remote wildlife shooting. But how practical is this approach in reality w/o the ability to re-frame the shot?

I'd be delighted if some people would post their results from wifi wildlife shots, no matter how terrific the result, to lend some inspiration to others. The camera to use would be 6d, 70d or any other model with wifi addon that enables remote shooting

Thanks for any samples (or links if I missed them)!

Photography Technique / Are you affected by the "pixel cropping" disease?
« on: September 19, 2014, 04:28:45 PM »
As I'm just postprocessing a bunch of shots, I'd like to ask around if I'm the only one experiencing this effect and if there's anything I can to to improve my editing speed:

I keep cropping the shot and rotating it until it suddenly "feels right". The problem is that I do this nearly pixel by pixel and 0.1 by 0.1 degree which takes a lot of time.

By now, I generally frame ok in the camera, but it always needs this tiny last, time consuming step to go from "could be nice" to "that's it, right there". In hindsight, this is often exactly one of the known suspects (golden ratio, thirds, ...) but I cannot predict exactly where to position it from the start.

Question: Am I over-doing it with finding the optimum crop? Or are you also investing a lot of time into this postprocessing step?


Photography Technique / Postprocessing brush instead of cto/ctb gel?
« on: September 19, 2014, 04:02:33 PM »
Good photogs will probably cringe at the mere though, but I dare to ask anyway :-o ...

... my enthusiasm for "correct" flash gelling has recently diminished a bit because for many scenes with defined edges or surfaces, correcting the white balance (temperature, tint) with the postprocessing tools in Lightroom work just fine. Plus often I need to tweak the local wb anyway since 1/4 or 1/2 cto doesn't necessarily hit the correct spot, and even "real" shadows are often too blue, so why bother at all with gels?

Am I missing something here, is postprocessing wb different than flash gelling? As far as I see it, the flash blocks some up some light frequencies and taking away these from the raw file should amount to the same thing?

Note that this only applies if you can quickly smudge over whole areas with a corrected wb, for fine foreground/background details gelling the flash is the work-saving way to go.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / POLL: What's more important, gps or wifi?
« on: September 19, 2014, 07:20:43 AM »
It seems it has become clear why the 70d doesn't have gps: The superior 7d doesn't have wifi (supposedly because of the full-metal jacket) and we wouldn't have a inferior model to have better specs, would we :-p ...

So after so many threads about the benefits of built-in gps vs. an external tagger and eye-fi vs. idiosyncratic built-in wifi implementation, I think it's time for a poll! Are you the gps- or wifi type of photog?

Photography Technique / POLL: Did you peak and what did you do about it?
« on: September 16, 2014, 01:59:20 PM »
I'm wondering about how the skill progression of other people is/was and if they feel they've "peaked" at some point and your photography results didn't get better. Did you ever feel you keep shooting and doing the same things over and over again, but lacked the imagination or skill to move on? Did you even feel that you were better in the past, for whatever reasons?

If so, I'd be interested what you do/did to be able to move forward. Keep experimenting? Read internet tutorials or books? Participate in dynamic range discussions on CR :-> ?

I hope some people vote and share their thoughts. For me, learning to shoot "good" pictures was easy with some trial & error, "very good" is possible but requires a lot of concentration & time, but "really excellent" might need something I haven't acquired. Yet :-)

Photography Technique / POLL: Do you crop (and why)?
« on: September 11, 2014, 09:09:21 AM »
I've been told real photogs don't crop. Is this a remnant of over 60 years old from the good old analog film days? I are these clueless youngsters simply not able to frame in camera?

I've tried to include all possible reasons for (not) cropping I can imagine, I hope it's not too much clutter. If I still should have forgotten something or simply voting is too limited feel free to elaborate in the thread!

This is a re-issue of an older discussion thread of mine, but now as a poll. I hope a lot of people vote again, I find these results very interesting to get an idea about how other people work.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / POLL: How many shutter cycles do you burn through?
« on: September 07, 2014, 01:34:48 AM »
Having worn through my 60D in four years and having reached 160k, I wonder how much other people use their camera(s). I'm in a bad spot doing wildlife (= a lot of missed shots or the subject moved) and focus stacking, doing other photography styles certainly preserves the camera for a longer time.

I know it's hard to explain to people who are still rooted in the film/analog world how many digital shots I sometimes take home. But I'm curious about the dslr folk here and if I should go see the doctor about pressing the shutter button too often :->.

Feel free to elaborate in the thread how you achieve the shutter count you voted for (which photography style, full-time pro or weekend amateur, ...). Enabling Live view also counts as a cycle here, if you want to get the stats use a computer app or Magic Lantern.

Technical Support / Any way to extend a failing shutter's life time?
« on: September 06, 2014, 08:31:35 AM »
My old 60d's shutter shows some hiccups then and again, usually the first frame after the camera hasn't been used for a while (like the attached picture) or after a lot of fast brackets the camera crashes with err80. I'd like to keep the crop camera around for a while for macro work though, so:

Question: Is there anything I can do to make a complete shutter failure less likely? Like probably...
* don't shoot at high shutter speeds (like what? no 1/8000? or even no 1/1000?)
* don't shoot at max x-sync speed which needs the most precise shutter sync (60d: 1/250s)
* don't shoot in hot or cold conditions (like what?)
* talk to the camera in a calm voice

Edit: This 60d's shutter now has 160k cycles (it's rated for only 100k).

Thanks for any hints (even if I learn there's nothing I can do)!

On the slight chance anyone has figured this out, unlikely as it is:

I'm often playing back postprocessed images onto the camera for viewing and reference. This worked just fine with my 60d, but the 6d crashes on zooming if the file as *any* exif metadata attached. So the only way is to remove all exif data which is unfortunate since it cannot be used as in-camera reference anymore.

Did anyone manage to figure out what exif data is required for proper in-camera usage? Even copy/pasting the whole metadata from a sooc file doesn't work, I think the embedded jpeg thumbnail (or lack of) is to blame.

My original decision for Canon back then was because they had these fantastic silent usm lenses that allow you to mf at all times even when the lens is set to af. However, nowadays I find myself using af most of the time except for macro (Magic Lantern focus peaking...) and some in between landscape shots. When in doubt I rather take some safety shots in case the camera's af screws up.

I am wondering: Do I have to learn to mf because I'm missing out and would get better results?. One opportunity would be horse shots, I often struggle to get the eyes in focus as they are rather tricky to af when the horse is looking directly towards the camera. Another opportunity would be people portraits and mf'ing the eyes with thin dof.

The reasons for me using af (except for macro) are:
  • The vf on my crop 60d is too tiny to see anything and the 6d is still a lot smaller than my old analog film eos cameras. This makes it very difficult for me to see where the focus is, esp. outdoors.
  • I don't have much experience setting the correct mf override, so af focus & recompose is quicker.

I'd like to ask for your experiences and input on this: (When) do you use mf or af override? Thanks!

Edit: Clarified poll options, I hope if squares with the intent of the people who already voted. Usually you perform a pre-test when doing polls :-o

Photography Technique / Intentional "wrong" afma for creative backfocus?
« on: August 21, 2014, 03:10:37 AM »
I was always wondering if this is possible and would like to ask around for experiences: Afaik the servo af simply focuses to the front of the object, at least my 60d/6d do. Now there would be the possibility of intentional backfocus for ...

a) using the optimal dof because focusing on the very front results in a 1/3-1/2 dof thick layer layer of sharp air
b) getting an animal's eyes (or even human's?) in focus because otherwise the nose (or whatever front part) is in focus

Obviously the problem is figuring out the correct afma value, did anyone try this and succeeed?

Imho it's pity today's dslrs are still so dumb you cannot tell them "please focus 1cm behind" because the lens does return an approximate distance information. With Magic Lantern, you can use extended afma values of -100...+100 (Canon fw only allows for 20), but they don't have access to the af module yet.

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