April 18, 2014, 03:29:26 PM

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Messages - StephenC

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Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 14, 2014, 03:12:19 AM »
Here are a few more examples (just the jpgs, as I'm away from home), but no post processing. I'm still in Av - old habits die hard - but I switched the camera shutter speed settings back to normal and switched on the high speed sync instead. They were taken around midday, in partial shade. (Constructive) comments welcome.

70-200 ISO400, f4, SS1/2000:

70-200 ISO400, f4, Ss1/1250:

I'm about half way through Syl's book (some good background but assumes a willingness to carry around giant umbrellas everywhere) and also read through the NK Guy PhotoNotes article. More practice needed.

Photography Technique / Re: 10,000 Monkeys Shots
« on: April 13, 2014, 09:41:49 PM »
Wow great shot. Even if it was 'lucky', your perseverance got the shot.

Lenses / Re: Lens calibration
« on: April 13, 2014, 09:36:20 PM »
I'll second the Reikan software. It make the process very simple. I may be using it as I wouldn't know how to do the job the manual way though.

Unless you are planning on upgrading to a full frame sensor anytime soon I would recommend the EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM. It isn't an L lens but it really should be. You get the same 2.8 wide aperture as the very expensive 24-70 but don't loose out on the wide angle with your crop sensor and get IS. In my opinion, you wouldn't miss the 55-70mm range if you teamed this with one of the 70-200's (which I agree are also "must have"). Personally I went with the f4 version, as it is less heavy.

My 2 cents.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 13, 2014, 05:59:10 AM »
You have very good gear

I'm compensating for something!  ... A lack of photographic skill.

I'm sure a skilled photographer can manage with almost any equipment but, even at my level, I have found some improvement with better equipment. The 5D certainly makes better use of available light than my old 400D and I struggle to fault the 70-200. I've been less impressed with the 24-70 but only in comparison to the white lens.  I do miss the old EF-S 17-55 f2.8 with IS.

My reading continues. Slowly.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 12, 2014, 06:12:31 AM »
I'm not sure if I haven't expressed myself poorly. 

It is not that I am unwilling to learn from the experts here. Far from it, everybody has been so helpful.  It is more that I don't use my camera every day, or even every week, so want to pace myself and learn to 'walk before I run'.  My initial goal was to just get the flash working for me to get a respectable shutter speed for indoor shots.  I think I am pretty much there so now need to practice this and put it into action. 

If I seem reluctant to jump to doing all the things recommended here it is partly that I want to get to grips with each before I try the next and partly that I want to keep things relatively simple so I can continue to enjoy photography, rather than make it a chore.  My reluctance to switch to M mode partly stems from my cock-up that caused me to buy a flash in the first place, namely somehow switching my camera to a fixed ISO of 100 and then wondering why all my shutter speeds were so long!  For now, I am happy to let the little camera brain do some of the thinking, as mine can't do it all!

I have already learnt a lot from this forum thread and I now have links to a whole pile of resources, which I will gradually digest and try to use to advance my photography.  This will be a slow process though as I have other pressures on my time. 

I really appreciate the help I have received here.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 12, 2014, 05:14:38 AM »
All shots of my son are good shots, then again I am biased!  Essentially I achieved what I set out to do, which was work out the basic controls of the flash and how to get it and the camera to work together with minimal fuss.  For now I am content to stick with this 'a bit beyond point and shoot' mentality, but as I digest the various resources mentioned here I have a camera and flash that will let me work up to more sophisticated scenarios.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 12, 2014, 04:39:37 AM »
This is CR forum at its best. I'm learning slot from this thread being a light beginner also.

I agree.  So here is my first example:

I know the composition is awful and the background is fussy (but the subject is somewhat dear to me).  I used the 24-70mm in Av mode (with the Camera set to keep the shutter between 1/60 and 1/200) and had the flash in simple ETTL mode, mounted on the camera and pointed straight ahead - i.e. in simple mode!  I'm pretty happy with the result - it has had no post-processing beyond that which Aperture does on import.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 11, 2014, 08:24:22 PM »
Thank you to all the great comments and advice. I think I am getting some early understanding of what I am supposed to be doing.  I've read the Speedlite manual and now I understand at least the basic functions.  I've had the same vibe as that given by PrivateByDesign that I really don't need to be fiddling with the Ext.A mode.

I'll continue to read through the various articles I've been pointed at and will keep experimenting, though I don't get anywhere near 40 shots a day, probably not even a month!  I will even give M mode a try.

Site Information / Re: Smartphone users - interested in Tapatalk?
« on: April 11, 2014, 08:14:09 PM »
I'd prefer to be using TapTalk.  I do most of my forum reading on iDevices and TapTalk definitely beats browsing in Safari.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 11, 2014, 09:21:01 AM »
I will do. Tomorrow, it is 11pm here. I am just reading the PhotoNotes article posted above. I'm guessing that the limited SS range setting on my 5D only applies when the flash is on, not all the time. It is in the Speedlite settings page. I will experiment. I certainly wouldn't want to neuter my available light Av settings.

I would use M mode but I find there are already too many settings to keep track of - see my 'needing a flash as all my photos have motion blur (because I set ISO to 100, not Auto)’  post at the beginning of this thread.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 11, 2014, 08:58:17 AM »

The "drawback" is that you are still using Av.
If you are in a very dark place, the exposure will lengthen and you might get blurry shots.
The flash will freeze parts of the image, but you still get the smear of the long exposure.

But there is a setting, on the camera, to limit Av shutter speeds to 1/60 - 1/200 (the x-sync for the 5D III), which essentially makes Av act like P, as far as the flash is concerned.

I haven't had time to read the articles you linked but I'm sure you are right, there will be times a clever photographer uses a flash for landscapes. At least I eventually worked out to use Landscape mode not Night Portrait (on the point and shoot) for after dark landscapes!

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 11, 2014, 06:55:28 AM »
The flash (600EX-RT) has arrived, so I've started mucking around to try and work out what all the buttons do (remember I am an amateur). I'm still reading Syl's book. I'm also chewing my way through the Speedlite manual. For now I think I will put the ST-E3-RT away and concentrate on working out on-camera flash. My first question is: what is the difference between ETTL mode and Ext.A?  When would I choose one over the other?  As far as I can work out, the only difference is that ETTL has the option of high speed sync. 

I generally shoot in Av mode, as I like to set the depth of field.  If I want to use the flash at it's most basic, essentially as the missing pop-up flash from my old 400D, presumably I would just leave it in ETTL and click away?  I can then work my way into more sophisticated scenarios.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 08, 2014, 01:56:13 AM »
Don't spend another penny until you get, read, and digest, this book. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321832752/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&tag=pasoroblphot-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0321832752

He has another book too, but this one is more appropriate for you. If his rumoured 600 EX RT book comes out I'd recommend that but it hasn't appeared yet and he now has a full time educators job.

Thanks for the advice, I bought the Syl Arena book, but haven't had time to get into it yet.  I also had a look at the Strobist web-site.  I'm still waiting for the flash to arrive from Hong Kong.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 06, 2014, 03:36:32 AM »
Hi all, I'm a bit of a photography novice so am looking for some advice.  I have just ordered a Speedlite 600EX-RT (and was persuaded to get an ST-E3-RT at the same time!).  The reason for this was that I was having trouble getting non-blurry photos at a recent family gathering.  It tuned out I had accidentally switched the ISO from Auto to 100, but by the time I discovered this I had paid for the flash!  There have been a few occasions when I genuinely needed a flash so I'm not too worried.

From the above, it is clear I don't really know what I am doing.  Can anybody point me to a "flashes for dummies" primer so I can take advantage of my new kit?  I do landscapes (which are unlikely to need a flash), portraits and wildlife mostly (all amateur).  I recently bought the 100mm macro (2.8L), which is probably where the flash will be of most use.  I'm guessing the secret here is to have the flash off camera, which is why I didn't protest too much about getting the ST-E3.

I'm using a 5D mkIII and also have the 24-70 mkII and 70-200 (f4L).

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