Sunday, May 10, 2015

Harvey Bear Ranch Park: Using the dSLR

Here are a few photos from my first real attempt to use a dSLR seriously.  The camera was in spot focus the whole time with focus in the upper middle spot.  Just didn't know how to change that around at the time.  Some photos seem good and some need help or a re-do.  This is a reflective learning post and your comments are welcome!

Goal: learn how to compose a long view and use the camera's functions to optimize the focus.

The morning was overcast, with a grey light.   This composition seems OK, maybe some different cropping.  The contrast on the figures seems too extreme.  But I like the subdued tones.  Would like more overall focus.  

Looks pretty flat & maybe too much going on?  I tend to crop, crop, crop my tree shots and don't know how to use the camera to reveal what I see in real life.  Would like more dimensionality and depth here.  

Have been doing a lot of macro shots with my point&shoot in the last few years and was relieved to see that the dSLR (without a macro lens) can also capture close-up beauty.  

OK, its blurry and weirdly vibrant pink.  But I like the composition and love all Clarkias.  

It was breezy and this branch was moving up & down.  There seems to be quite a bit of light here and maybe this could use more post-production contrast.  

Love these butter-and-eggy flowers, especially that they're tricolored.   The dSLR seems to pick up more depth in some macro shots, making them look messier and wilder.  

Even messier and wilder, plus too breezy to focus completely.  Anyway, I do like this wildness as an alternative to my usual "portrait" flower shots. 

A bit of inter-species interaction.

Like the wire and thistle combo here but there's some oversaturation going on.   Think this is from using the "vivid" setting to counteract the gray sky.  

Thank you for your attention to this experiment.  There will be more.  


LeeAnn Gorthey said...

Hi Tina,

I like your photos! I would probably just crop a little off of the right side in the tree photo, to emphasize the foreground trees, which are great.

You do get more depth of field in closeups with digital, which is often helpful, but sometimes you want the background to be out of focus, to avoid distracting backgrounds... the larger the aperture, the less the depth of field. I almost always have mine on aperture-control, so I can change the aperture, and the shutter speed adjusts accordingly. (And I override that with my exposure-compensation knob if necessary.) My camera also has a depth-of-field preview button, which is nice, and an optical viewfinder, so you can preview the results pretty well before you take the shot. (But it's so heavy!-- anyway, back to your shots.)

I really like the wire and thistles; don't mind the saturated look.

With longer range shots, I try to get a feel for what shutter speed I can get away with (i.e., how slow without camera shake) so that I can use a small aperture -- assuming that lots of depth of field is what you want. (If it's a really bright day, which happens a lot in CA, you don't have to worry about that so much. You can close it down pretty far and still have plenty of light.) And generally there will be more stuff in focus behind your point of focus than in front of it.

Well, that's enough for now; you may already know a lot of this. It's stuff I learned from reading and going to photo classes. But it takes practice to make it routine -- then you can think more about composition and artistry! (which I have always found to be a big strength in your shots).


TinaPete said...

Thanks LeeAnn, that's just what I was hoping to find out. I do use aperture mode, a holdover from the p&s. Now I need to find the exposure compensation knob or equivalent. Also need to get firmly in my mind what is a small aperture in my range from F3-22. Always assume I know nothing! More info is always better. And, thank you for the comments on the wire & thistle and my composition & artistry (which is the most fun for me).