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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 02 Feb 2015 (Monday) 15:38
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What do you do to improve your photography?

 
itsallart
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Feb 03, 2015 09:29 as a reply to  @ post 17413231 |  #16

I fully understand that wild life is not always a stationery subject but I suppose some shots could be fixed in post processing to enhance the composition etc. Just shooting may not work for every shot: imagine a wolf running out of the frame by the time you pushed the shutter and you only have the animal's butt in your image. Well, maybe there is some artistic value in a butt too :)


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Poindexter
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Feb 03, 2015 09:54 |  #17

Attend workshops. Not only do you get critiques and advice from the person leading the workshop, you'll meet aspiring photographers too. It really sounds like you're at a point where socializing (in person) your photography could help quite a bit.

I did a few of these when I lived in Virginia Beach: http://www.washingtonp​hotosafari.com (external link)
And this would be another place for you to check out: http://photo.meetup.co​m/cities/us/md/bethesd​a/ (external link)

Google "Bethesda Photography Workshops"


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Overread
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Feb 03, 2015 09:56 |  #18

Remember there is no crime in cropping.

Sometimes you cannot get the shot you want - you might not have enough focal length/be close enough; you might not have the AF point in the right place etc... Cropping after is never a crime and like most editing its perfectly honest so long as you admit to it.

Of course you can use cropping to "lie" with the camera; but you can do the very same lies with the frame content as well - so in all its as honest as framing a shot unless you've a 360 degree camera on you all the time.


Tools of the trade: Canon 400D, Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L M2, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 OS, Canon MPE 65mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro, Tamron 24-70mm f2.4, Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 8-16mm f4.5-5.6, Raynox DCR 250, loads of teleconverters and a flashy thingy too
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Larry ­ Johnson
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Feb 03, 2015 12:01 |  #19

itsallart wrote in post #17413358 (external link)
I fully understand that wild life is not always a stationery subject but I suppose some shots could be fixed in post processing to enhance the composition etc. Just shooting may not work for every shot: imagine a wolf running out of the frame by the time you pushed the shutter and you only have the animal's butt in your image. Well, maybe there is some artistic value in a butt too :)

The overwhelming majority of wildlife shots are cropped, not just some. I would expect this to be true with sports photograpy (and other action photograhy) as well. You take what you can get from your limited vantage point from the sidelines and shoot as many fps as you can to get the desired, or best, image. There's one or two images on my flickr page that aren't cropped and the only reason they aren't is because I wasn't quick enough to zoom out to get the entire bird (an osprey) in the frame. The result was that I unintentionally clipped off the wing tips.

You're correct, no one wants to see an animal's rear end. That would not be a "keeper". One of the unwritten rules in wildlife photography is to get the animal moving into the frame, not away from it. And by all means, GET THE EYE IN FOCUS. I've learned a great deal from this photographer; http://www.wildphotoad​ventures.com (external link)

Another great source is http://www.digitalbird​photography.com/conten​ts.html (external link) .


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Overread
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Feb 03, 2015 12:28 |  #20

On the subject of wildlife don't overlook the use of lures and sets.

A great many fantastic wildlife shots make use of them such as:

1) Trips - typically laser trips today (infra red) where you setup a camera at a regularly visited spot and let the animal trip the camera (one of the winning shots of wildlife photographer of the year of a snow leopard used this). This is for subjects who just won't be there if a human is present; or animals who live in woodland or other very confined environments where they won't be there if you're there; but also if they are chances are you're putting both parties at mortal risk (animal kills you - typically sparks a hunt to kill the animal/several of its race in response).

2) Lures - food typically, this lets you bring an animal into a place where it might not otherwise go, but lets you get the animals position relative to you and to the surroundings and the sun in a more controlled manner. You don't harm each other and ideally end up with a good shot and they a small treat. This won't harm the animal unless you're using an excessive amount of bait to the point where you're not supplying a treat but a substitute for its normal meal (great example of the latter is how many put out and fill bird-feeders - they allow far more birds to live in an area than normal esp during winter months - that's good for the birds in modern environments where winter feed is reduced - its a disaster if you suddenly stop feeding because you got your shot).

3) Traps and sets - this is typically for rodents and other tiny animals that you otherwise just won't see. Many photos of these are either captive and staged or wild and staged. You can certainly get lucky in the field - but you've got to get super lucky (because even just getting close will set them to hiding up from your footfalls).

4) Photo-traps/camera traps - these are typically cheap cameras in a weatherproof box. You can use them to scout out locations without being there to see if there are any visiting wildlife. It might not get you a great shot, but it can tell you an animals movements so that you can plan for a great shot

Wildlife is tricky because the photography skill is the easy and almost lesser skill. Tracking, lures, tricks etc.. these are all part of it


Tools of the trade: Canon 400D, Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L M2, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 OS, Canon MPE 65mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro, Tamron 24-70mm f2.4, Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 8-16mm f4.5-5.6, Raynox DCR 250, loads of teleconverters and a flashy thingy too
My flickr (external link)

  
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nathancarter
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Feb 03, 2015 13:15 |  #21

I'll second the above recommendations to seek out constructive critique, especially from those whose work you admire. Of course, not everyone has the same aesthetic/artistic vision, but it's helpful to get opinions from people who aren't your friends & family.

Generally speaking, friends and family aren't going to give you a critique; they'll just tell you that everything is great - which makes you get lazy and complacent.


In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with just going out and shooting without any specific direction - even if it's just as exercise, so that adjusting the camera controls become almost like muscle memory, and knowing the right settings is second nature. You don't want to be fumbling around with camera and guessing at exposure settings, when the "moment" is going to last only a few seconds.


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http://www.facebook.co​m/VictorVoyeur (external link) for fun stuff

  
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Larry ­ Johnson
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Feb 03, 2015 13:36 |  #22

Overread wrote in post #17413607 (external link)
On the subject of wildlife don't overlook the use of lures and sets.

A great many fantastic wildlife shots make use of them such as:

1) Trips - typically laser trips today (infra red) where you setup a camera at a regularly visited spot and let the animal trip the camera (one of the winning shots of wildlife photographer of the year of a snow leopard used this). This is for subjects who just won't be there if a human is present; or animals who live in woodland or other very confined environments where they won't be there if you're there; but also if they are chances are you're putting both parties at mortal risk (animal kills you - typically sparks a hunt to kill the animal/several of its race in response).

2) Lures - food typically, this lets you bring an animal into a place where it might not otherwise go, but lets you get the animals position relative to you and to the surroundings and the sun in a more controlled manner. You don't harm each other and ideally end up with a good shot and they a small treat. This won't harm the animal unless you're using an excessive amount of bait to the point where you're not supplying a treat but a substitute for its normal meal (great example of the latter is how many put out and fill bird-feeders - they allow far more birds to live in an area than normal esp during winter months - that's good for the birds in modern environments where winter feed is reduced - its a disaster if you suddenly stop feeding because you got your shot).

3) Traps and sets - this is typically for rodents and other tiny animals that you otherwise just won't see. Many photos of these are either captive and staged or wild and staged. You can certainly get lucky in the field - but you've got to get super lucky (because even just getting close will set them to hiding up from your footfalls).

4) Photo-traps/camera traps - these are typically cheap cameras in a weatherproof box. You can use them to scout out locations without being there to see if there are any visiting wildlife. It might not get you a great shot, but it can tell you an animals movements so that you can plan for a great shot

Wildlife is tricky because the photography skill is the easy and almost lesser skill. Tracking, lures, tricks etc.. these are all part of it

Don't want to high-jack this thread and convert to a wildlife photography thread, but feel the need to reply to above suggestions.
Uhhh, I will just say that these "photography techniques" aren't methods that many feel are "ethical", "responsible" or "proper", but more importantly, probably don't interest the Thread Starter.


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Overread
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Feb 03, 2015 15:15 |  #23

Larry Johnson wrote in post #17413708 (external link)
Don't want to high-jack this thread and convert to a wildlife photography thread, but feel the need to reply to above suggestions.
Uhhh, I will just say that these "photography techniques" aren't methods that many feel are "ethical", "responsible" or "proper", but more importantly, probably don't interest the Thread Starter.

The debate on what each will and won't use is endless and mostly comes down to personal experiences and standards/desires. I know that the BBC uses all of those methods as do quite a few photographers. Heck even just using a natural or artificial lure is done (there's a good few who get shots of ospreys in the USA at points where the birds at attracted by human activity - I forget but thin ka few of those sites were managed to generate further interest by the birds for photographers).

In general there is a perception that a photographer of wildlife should only head out to get shots purely from stalking; and certainly you can do a LOT that way. However success might be more difficult and some subjects are near impossible unless you're exceptionally good.


Tools of the trade: Canon 400D, Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L M2, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 OS, Canon MPE 65mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro, Tamron 24-70mm f2.4, Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 8-16mm f4.5-5.6, Raynox DCR 250, loads of teleconverters and a flashy thingy too
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Vaun808
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Feb 04, 2015 02:18 |  #24

I like to restrict myself to one focal length for periods of time. It forces me to get creative. Unconventional at times but it's helped me develop my photography a lot.




  
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jefzor
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Feb 05, 2015 11:04 |  #25

Things that helped me a lot:
-Examine available light, even when you're not photographing; where does it come from, is it harsh or soft, what effect does it have on objects etc...
-Try to see 2D shapes instead of objects (kind of esoteric, I know)
-Be aware about how moving left, right, up or down changes the relation between objects.
-Use a fixed focal length prime for a while.
-Especially on subjects that don't move: THINK and move around before you take your photo.
-Read comments on other people's photos, they may apply to your photography too
-Examine composition in movies and high end TV series

On the wildlife topic: Sure, you don't have little control over your subject, but that doesn't mean you have no control over composition. It's mostly anticipation, predicting where your subject is going to be. And remember: luck=patience.


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OhLook
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Feb 05, 2015 11:23 |  #26

jefzor wrote in post #17416610 (external link)
-Examine composition in movies and high end TV series

And in the better (classier) commercials and public service anouncements. Also take note of lighting and color schemes there. Advertising agencies have art directors who pay attention to the effect of these things on viewers' emotions.


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What do you do to improve your photography?
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