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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20

    Smile Beginner w/Sony A300 Intro

    I just wanted to say hello and that I hope to begin posting here soon and sharing any photos for critique. I was able to read several posts including "thcheme's" post where Don gave some awesome advice on equipment which totally has helped me chart my course with my new buy.

    I have never used an SLR or a DSLR for that matter and am just reading as much as I can. My heads still spinning from all this information but the more I read the more I like and it really gives you peace of mind when you're trying to take a nice photo. I'm enjoying my new hobbie and am enjoying reading everyones post.

    Thank you and I hope to be a part of this board and hopefully one day I can offer my 2 cents.

    I've included a shot of my daughter in which I took at her Baptism. It was the second day of having my A300. Any critique is welcomed. I thought it was a great picture until I started staring at it for three days and I noticed the shadows on her face. Is there something I could have done different other than the obvious, find a new location? lol The sun was great it was 99 degrees and it was in front of the church. Would having a small collapsible reflector have helped? Sorry just tossing ideas out. I should be quiet and let someone with more than a week experience critique.



    Again, thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Lightbulb Constrasting some thoughts ...

    Direct sunlight ... problematic in most portraits. While the sun is, perhaps, the greatest light source available, with the camera you currently use, the A300, you do not need that kind of power.

    The sun, from 10:00am - 2:00pm is almost 8 f-stops of light. That is from the blackest-black to the whitest-white. Your camera's digital sensor, as well as many others, only has the capacity to process 3 to 4 f-stops of light range.

    Let's examine this:

    f/1.4 ... actual direct sunlight's blackest-black
    f/2 . . . (no change from f/4)
    f/2.8 . . (no change from f/4)
    f/4 . . . . . the camera's blackest-black (EV -2)
    f/5.6 . . . (noticable darking)
    f/8 . . . . . the camera's "0" meter reading (EV) {in other words, assumed to be the proper aperture at shutter-speed and ISO selected}
    f/11 . . . (noticable highlight change)
    f/16 . . . . the camera's whitest-white (EV +2)

    f/22 . . . (no change in highlight intensity)
    f/32 ... actual direct sunlight's whitest-white

    That's quite a gap in intensity.

    Now, suppose you have set your shutter speed to get a "0" meter-reading at f/8. Your camera can only process light that fits within 1.5-2 f-stops either side of f/8. Everything outside that range is lost to white or black saturation.

    So, in your daughter's dress ... several layers of detail are lost to the sun ... and several layers of shadow overpowered by direct (not subtle) shadow, hence the face issue.

    Now, some of this can be recovered by post-processing ...

    "B4"
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    "AFTA"
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    but blow-outs have no real way of being reduced. They are gone. So, unless seriously contrasty shots should be the order of the day ... stay away from them ... especially with white. The automatic DRO that the A300 uses offers some assistance in this by extending the capability of dealing with this wide variance of light, but still ... you controlling this overpowering level of light is your best bet. Yes, it may seem counter-intuitive, but using the pop-up flash can help balance the shadows in a shot like this.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 06-26-2008 at 09:48 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,562
    You will have to also learn how to use a photo editing program. I look at my shots right from the camera and when I edit them and it is like night and day and I am just learning. I will look for a before and after and post it just to give you an idea of the difference.
    Frank

    Don maybe you can post a before and after to show what somebody who knows how to edit a image can do.

    Before



    After



    Not the best after but you get the idea.
    Last edited by sparkie1263; 06-26-2008 at 07:46 PM.
    Sony A77
    Sony A580
    Sony A 100
    Maxxum 400si.
    Sony 18-70 Kit Lens
    Minolta AF 35-70
    Minolta AF 50 f/1.7
    Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 Di LD
    Tamron 60mm Macro
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
    Tamron 2x Converter
    Sony HVL-F42AM
    Quantaray 70-300 4.5-5.6 Macro
    Slingshot 200 Bag



    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22083244@N06/

    http://s305.photobucket.com/albums/nn219/sparkie1263/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,562
    I edited the post above
    Sony A77
    Sony A580
    Sony A 100
    Maxxum 400si.
    Sony 18-70 Kit Lens
    Minolta AF 35-70
    Minolta AF 50 f/1.7
    Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 Di LD
    Tamron 60mm Macro
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
    Tamron 2x Converter
    Sony HVL-F42AM
    Quantaray 70-300 4.5-5.6 Macro
    Slingshot 200 Bag



    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22083244@N06/

    http://s305.photobucket.com/albums/nn219/sparkie1263/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560
    Unfortunately I have begun to love using AdobeRGB colorspace ... and while the greens, cyans and blues look great "locally", unless I convert to sRGB before I post on the DCRP website ... it washes out pretty badly.

    Anyway ... I made the correction to the little girl image and it seems to have been somewhat effective. Again, though, that direct sunlight plays hell all over the place.

    I will try and post a direct sunlight w/ & w/o fill flash, later in the week, when it quits raining. That may help demonstrate and explain some typical exposure issues with outdoor portraits.

    Also remember that a Circular Polarizer (CP) and/or a ND-filter can extend the aperture control of your lens, in bright sunlight.

    Psst: Frank, how old is that plane image? Looks like you have "dust" about mid-sensor
    Last edited by DonSchap; 06-26-2008 at 09:57 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20
    Thank you guy's. That's why I truly enjoy visiting this board. I'm heading on a trip to the Magical Kingdom and expect to come back with at least one worthy shot.

    I'm finding it difficult to find a good read on what ISO, F Stops and Shutters all do and they work together.

    I think it's really just reading and practicing.

    Again, thank you I'll take your advice and I do have photoshop so I'll be able to practice.

    I'm trying to find the Tamron 300mm but am not sure I'll have it before I leave.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560
    Hey, remember that a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 is designed for outdoor use and, usually, a subject needs to be at least 5 feet away ... more like ten.

    For reading on the plane, get your hands on Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera . (<- Click on title)

    If your don't get anything out of that book ... put the camera back in the box and quietly return it to the retailer.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 06-30-2008 at 07:54 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,562
    Don the spots on my sensor were when I posted last week on how to clean my sensor. Did you see any on my Humming bird shots? I hope not because it will have to be cleaned at a shop.
    Thanks for spotting them.
    Frank
    Sony A77
    Sony A580
    Sony A 100
    Maxxum 400si.
    Sony 18-70 Kit Lens
    Minolta AF 35-70
    Minolta AF 50 f/1.7
    Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 Di LD
    Tamron 60mm Macro
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
    Tamron 2x Converter
    Sony HVL-F42AM
    Quantaray 70-300 4.5-5.6 Macro
    Slingshot 200 Bag



    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22083244@N06/

    http://s305.photobucket.com/albums/nn219/sparkie1263/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560
    Nah ... I get spots all the time ... well, not ALL the time, but when I begin swapping glass in the field ... it starts to accumulate. That's when I:

    1. Remove whatever lens I have mounted,
    2. break out the Giottos Rocket Blaster (this thing is worth its weight in ... well, something),
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    3. Go to "wrench" menu 3,
    4. enter the command for Cleaning mode,
    5. throughly blow off that sensor (w/o touching the tip to the sensor!),
    6. shut off the camera,
    7. remount my lens and
    8. ease on down the road.


    It has always appeared to be a good idea to clean the sensor prior to a major shoot. Especially when you are doing a lot of sky shots. I figure "an ounce of prevention" ... makes up for plenty of pounds of post processing woes!

    Dust ... it's just ... just ... everywhere!
    Last edited by DonSchap; 06-30-2008 at 10:46 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20
    Don thanks for the info I ordered the Peterson books on Exposure and Shutter from Amazon. I also ordered the A300 book that hasn't come out yet. Hopefully that should hold me over.

    I couldn't get my hand on the telephoto lense from Tamron but they had the Sony one for $229. I resisted the temptation and am going to place the order for the Tamron for around the same price when I get back.

    I'm starting to like night photography a lot. I was reading the current issue of Digital SLR Photography and they had an article called, "Exploring urban nightscapes", which showed some great photos. In it they recommended buying a wide angle zoom such as the "Canon EF-S 10-22mm" because they're ideal for "urban nightscapes, as they allow you to include more in a scene".

    What would you recommend for a Sony a300 that's equivalent to what was mentioned?

    I'm off to buy a bag, cleaner and anything else I need on a trip to the Magic Kingdom. I was looking at the lowpro bags. Not trying to break the bank. lol

    Again, many thanks.

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