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  1. #1

    Default photography on your trip

    Looking back at some of my photos and video from my recent trip I realize just how little talent my wife and I have when it comes to photography. I know practice makes perfect but what can you do in the mean time? I had thought we were prepared for anything but we missed a great shot of a moose because we had the camera not as accessible as we could have. We learned that shooting video is not as easy as one thinks. Starting and stopping the film too early or too late. Moving the camera to fast or frequent zooming can really mess up your film. A great shot can become terrible if the photographer had an unsteady hand, shaking video is a waste of film. A tripod is perfect for holding the camera steady but then there is the time consuming set-up. I have learned that your visit is only a short time but the film you get will last much longer taking the extra time for set-up could be critical for the quality of what you capture on film.
    I know that an internet search can provide many useful camera tips, but it would be nice to see some tipís on this site. I am sure many others besides myself could use some advice. Please feel free to shine in and share your wisdom.

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Ditch the 35MM

    Although I, as a amature photographer, love 35MM film, especially B&W (spent a year doing start to finish processing while in school), I have found that Digital cameras offer several good qualities:

    1) Instant 'development': most cameras display the picture right after you take it on the screen. That way you're still at that spot at hopefully can snap another, and better shot.
    2) Not as bulky as film.
    3) Some cameras offer combination of video and still frame. My Fujifilm FinePix A400 allows me to take 60 seconds of soundless video at a time. While it may sound like a bummer to some, its actually a neat feature.
    4) Camera size: digital cameras can be smaller (the non-professional ones). mine fits right in my pocket (chest pocket).
    5) More pictures (depending on memory capacity/megapixels, etc.)

    Although I would love to have a professional Digital SLR and, for my 35mm kick, a 35MM SLR, but the cost is just outrageous!

    You may be able to find a 'mini tripod' that can be used to set your camera up on a table, car hood, etc.

    Most newer cameras have auto focus and auto-speed settings. Which will help cut down on blurry pictures.

    Thats about all that I have. If Gen pops in, she'll have more. She's quite the photographer and has a very nice Digital SLR to boot!

    -Arizona Brad
    Last edited by RoadTripper Brad; 10-03-2006 at 07:53 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default It has never been a hot topic here

    Quote Originally Posted by uclid View Post
    I know that an internet search can provide many useful camera tips, but it would be nice to see some tipís on this site. I am sure many others besides myself could use some advice. Please feel free to shine in and share your wisdom.
    We started a section in photography tips (here on the Forum) a few months ago and no one posted anything, so it was dropped. It is funny in some respects because there are some really talented photographers here. I shoot 100% digital these days, and typically capture 1500 to 2000 images every month, (of which I keep about 350-450 for use on RTA and the other publications I write for).


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Shoot, There Are No Tricks

    Back when I was in college, I took a couple of courses in photography. What I learned, basically, was that there is no substitute for experience. In those pre-digital days, we shot all our pictures as black and white slides. This had several advantages. First, it was cheap. we did our own developing and could get pictures for about a penny a piece. Second, there was no way to alter or 'fix' the picture after it was taken. What you saw through the viewfinder was your final product, no Photoshopping or even cropping. Third, it let you examine your photos, and those of everyone else in the class, in excruciating detail and share comments - both good and bad - about your work. We came to expect, on average, to get one good picture out of a roll of 36.

    Today's digital media offer many of the same advantages, particularly the ability to take a lot of pictures, blow them up to bigger than 8x10 and still not have each picture cost too much. My suggestion, then, is to do just that. Go take as many pictures as you can ask yourself what do you like about them and not like. Ask your friends to do the same, and listen especially to what they don't like. If camera shake is a problem, then work on that. Take pictures of moving objects while holding the camera with different grips. Experiment to see what works best for you. If timing is an issue - work on that. I remember one class exercise we had was to shoot a four frame story in the camera. Remember, there was no editing, so you had to think everything out beforehand - including the fact that in an SLR the images are deposited on the film upside down and backwards.

    For general exercise, go out and shoot to a theme. It doesn't have to be elaborate, you're just training your eye. Shoot 100 pictures of circles or squares, By about the 50th one you'll start to see them in a new light and begin to play with composition. Go out one day and shoot 'happy', not people being happy, not cute puppy dogs, but pictures that will otherwise convey the idea, 'happy'. My favorite and most challenging exercise was to go find the ugliest, most disgusting thing you could and take beautiful pictures of it. But in the end, you put your finger right on the button when you said:

    Quote Originally Posted by uclid
    I know practice makes perfect but what can you do in the mean time?
    There is no mean time, there is just practice.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Now, if you're gonna channel Yoda.... gotta get it right: There is no mean time, just practice there is. LOL

    While I took photography in high school with 35mm film, and loved working in the lab, blowing up shots, cropping them, seeing how a shot looked in a shiney finish vs. a matte finish, etc., I never took as many pictures in the pre-digital days. The expense of developing always gave me pause.

    Now, I might take 10-20-30 pictures of something and then delete the garbage shots on the spot to free up disk space. It's almost impossible not to get a good shot or 2 when you're taking a lot of pictures of something, imho.

    My digital camera takes unlimited video (as long as disk space allows) with sound. I love this feature. While the video it takes isn't as good of quality as a separate digital video camera would take, it's nice to have it all in one package that can fit in my pocket. I find that I can keep video relatively stable if I either lean on something so that I can rest my elbows or hands on it, or if I tuck my arms into my sides so that my arms are stabilized by my body.

    When I'm traveling, I typically place my camera right next to the driver's seat so I always have it handy. I have gotten some very cool shots even while driving without hardly slowing down. (OK, probably not always the safest thing to do but it was the only way I could get the sheepdogs herding the sheep and it's one of my favorite pictures....I'm a dog lover.) Having a large display on the digital camera makes this easier. I have a view-finder but rarely use it.

    And don't forget that there are lots of great programs out there that let you do fun things with your photos. I've taken mediocre shots and made them into something special by cropping and/or using different special effects. I really like ACDSee but would love to invest in something like Photoshop someday for even more options to play with.

    Another fun thing to do with your trip photos is to make a slideshow. I have had a lot of fun adding captions, special effects, and music to my photos to make a DVD slideshow that can be watched on TV.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Photos

    In high school I took a photography class, learned many techniques and had a lot of fun doing it. Like you, I wish I had more time to practice shooting.

    This past Summer, I took another photography class at my college and re-learned many things I had forgotten, such as how to fix film pictures after they've been taken (dodge & burn by hand, cropping, etc. - much different then digital). Seeing as how it had been 15 years since that last photography class, it was an eye opener - especially since a box of Ilford paper has gone up to ~$55.00(!) and it's getting harder to find.

    I've been eyeing digital SLRs for some time now, but they're out of my budget for now, so I have to make sure the shots count with my film camera. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

    I like to use a tripod when doing mountains shots, buildings, etc., depending on the atmosphere and environment, and the lighting conditions. Of course, when doing long exposures, it's a must (artsy waterfall shots, night shots and the like).

    Looking at things from different angles, getting perspective, paying attention to lighting - a polarizing filter and a UV filter both have helped me in many situations - and composition. I've seen far too many pictures of people with trees that appear to be growing out of their heads (I admit I am guilty of similar crimes). Don't be afraid to stage things, either. I'm not talking like that famous Civil War photo of Devil's Den, but maybe like Doisneau?

  7. #7

    Default Photo Tips

    There are loads of resources on the web for tips about photography.
    I'm just a hobbyist but can offer a few tips.

    I attended a photography lecture by Bob Krist last month and he mentioned
    that a good travel photo is a combination of great color, composition and

    Best color is often a result of great light. Great light is usually in the early
    morning or the time before and just beyond sun set. The low sun angle
    often has the most interesting light. I find the most difficult light to shoot
    is mid-day light, especially for photos of people. There are harsh shadows
    that are unattractive. Fill flash is really helpful in these cases.

    Composition is important. The rule of thirds is a basic rule where you divide
    the frame into thirds (vertically and horizontally) and you place the
    subject a a point where the lines intersect. I wouldn't necessarily
    abide strictly to the rule, but, I'd certainly take at least one photo using
    the rule of thirds.

    Work the shot. Try different angles, shoot from a high position, or a low
    position. Digital cameras are liberating in that you don't have to worry
    about burning film, so creatively, they are a terrific tool (you end up
    spending money on computers and hard drive space though).

    The moment would be a interesting subject or situation. I like to shoot
    things that interest me. Think about what's interesting about a subject
    and make sure that the photo emphasizes that feature.

    Too often photographs contain so much information and it's not clear
    what the subject is. Filling the frame with the subject is the most basic
    method of emphasizing a subject.

    I've also found that the moment you take a photograph can never
    be recreated so it's best to use the best technique as you can. Getting
    to a location is an investment of time and money, so do the best you
    can. Use good camera holding techniques, or better yet use a tripod.
    I know a tripod is a real hassle to setup, but it's worth it. It slows
    you down and forces you to examine what's in the viewfinder.

    Learn how to use your camera. Learn how to use manual mode and how
    to meter a shot. Learn about the relationship between aperture and
    shutter speed. Learn about aperture settings and depth of field.

    Shooting digitally makes learning so much faster because you get
    immediate feedback.

    Despite being aware of the basics, I still take many poor photos, but
    I'm happy when I get a few that I like. I can't tell you how many times
    when viewing images on my computer I wonder what the hell was I thinking
    when I shot the image. So it take practice.

    Photoshop is a great tool as well. You have amazing control, but you can't
    make a bad image into a great image.

    I hope this helps some.

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