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  #1  
Old June 13th, 2015, 11:56 AM
Lee Tracy Lee Tracy is offline
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Hi,

I'm so much looking forward to becoming part of this community. I have been looking for a photography forum for a while and after perusing the threads today I have seen a number of like-minded thoughts about photography being shared so I am very excited to join.

I am by no means a professional photographer, but I am a passionate photographer who is intent on honing the craft to the best of my ability. I am also very interested in the craft of photography and photography as art.

I have just recently upgraded to a DSLR (Nikon D3100) from a Canon SX40. I was mostly happy with using a bridging camera - being quite content with having the convenience of being able to take zoom shot and macro without faffing with lenses (still have lens swopping / heavy bag / loads of equipment issues). I bought a remarkably low shuttercount 2nd hand camera which came with a Tokina 90mm macro which I absolutely love. Although I don't so much love it for looking up once in a while and trying to take a landscape shot but for almost everything else I shoot it is a dream lens.

I like finding the beauty in the small or hidden things around us, that many would just walk past and not notice. A leaf, a flower, a bug, a spider-web, whatever I see that "grabs" me. I prefer handheld to a tripod feeling that I need the connectedness of holding the camera as an essential part of the creative process. I have recently been reading a few books about zen photography and aspects of that process really appeal to me and I have been attempting to put them into practice. I am not sure if I can entirely classify my photos as 'art' but would like to work on that aspect of them as sharing the beauty, capturing the beauty of what I see, is a big part of why I take photos. I can't take you on a walk with me and point out the bug, or the pattern of light, or the beautiful new ferns, but I can share a photo.

I am mildly adverse to post-processing. Not fanatical about not doing it, but definitely tend towards a minimalist approach - I will do a mild sharpen, and some small colour / contrast adjustment, but nothing much more. For me the photo is what happens between me, the camera and the subject in the moment, not in the computer. Because my lens is an old film camera lens and has to be entirely set manually (no auto function at all) I have to concentrate on getting the right aperture and shutterspeed before I take the photo otherwise total mess, and this very manual process has made me far more aware of the value of getting it right in the moment, and has become a part of my creative process.

Wow lol that was a lot I had to say - as I started saying - I feel like there are a lot of like-minded people here and I'm looking forward to being a part of this community.
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  #2  
Old June 13th, 2015, 12:22 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Tracy,

It's rewarding to see an immediate post by a new member. I had to go through 12 other registrations, checking for evidence of humanity, before finding one genuine human to welcome to our community!

I just noticed you're from South Africa - exotic but tough! David Loubser is also from your amazing country and a talented photographer too!

I fell in love with the amazing South African landscape and sudden findings of so many different aspects of society and culture - from the rare aboriginal to urban European locales, bustling townships and everything in between.

Your care in manual focus is something discovered by many enthusiasts and professionals - it does seem to pay off in slowing us down, so we end up choosing the framing with more considerations. I even use manual focus in my studio with perfectly good AF lenses. But for fast work, for sports, weddings and bird photography, AF gets more keepers......unless you are Doug Herr!

Looking forward to your pictures!

Asher
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  #3  
Old June 13th, 2015, 10:02 PM
Lee Tracy Lee Tracy is offline
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Hi Asher,

Thanks for the welcome. I have no choice in the matter of AF - my camera simply won't recognise the lens is on in any other setting other than manual - so I have had to learn fast what does what. Still not sure I could entirely explain it, but I have figured out some basic settings that work (probably doing it all wrong, but hey the pictures are good so ... ) The only annoying thing about it is that the camera settings are not recorded in the EXIF data so I can't look back at what settings I used and adjust from there. And there is no way I can remember later because somehow the light always shifts a dozen times on a walk and I used a dozen different settings to compensate.

Here are a few recent photos:

Seeds on an agapanthus:



New shoot on a Seven Week Fern:



Jelly mold on dead branch in the forest:



Antique BSA motorcycle - a beauty!



Wire Art giraffes begging to be bought:



Abstract web:


Hold thumbs I got this right and these post.

Lee
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  #4  
Old June 13th, 2015, 10:12 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Tracy View Post
Hi Asher,

Thanks for the welcome. I have no choice in the matter of AF - my camera simply won't recognise the lens is on in any other setting other than manual - so I have had to learn fast what does what. Still not sure I could entirely explain it, but I have figured out some basic settings that work (probably doing it all wrong, but hey the pictures are good so ... ) The only annoying thing about it is that the camera settings are not recorded in the EXIF data so I can't look back at what settings I used and adjust from there. And there is no way I can remember later because somehow the light always shifts a dozen times on a walk and I used a dozen different settings to compensate.

Lee,

The way I work with a manual lens is to either use it at wide open or at one other f stop for that entire shoot. Then it's obvious which pictures are wide open and which are say 5.6 or whatever the second setting is.

But it really doesn't matter - except that as you decrease the aperture, you will start to see any dust on the sensor. In fact, if I see any such evidence on my pictures, it reminds me of the rare use of a small aperture. When I download the files, from the camera, I will put it in a folder, "Summicron, 2.8 and 5.6, for example. But, it doesn't really matter, as anyway, we do not need the aperture information for corrections, (unless we have constructed settings for that).

I do recommend using a Gretag Macbeth color chart to develop a custom correction for the color that each foreign lens - sensor combination gives. It's quite easy. The curves get embedded in Photoshop and can be chosen from a pulldown menu in Adobe Canon RAW.

Asher
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  #5  
Old June 13th, 2015, 10:30 PM
Lee Tracy Lee Tracy is offline
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Aah see lol I told you I was probably doing it all wrong, but I have found that my camera has a 'sweet' spot at ISO 400 so I tend to leave it on that and not change it unless the light gets really difficult (like excessively bright as the sun in Africa has a tendency to be) then I waft between a shutterspeed of 1/200 max and 1/100 min depending on the light but only when necessary - and use the aperture (on the lens) for making slight adjustments to the light so there I wander anywhere from F11 (when its really bright) down to F2.5 (for lower light conditions). I will take a test shot, make my adjustments then shoot.

Quote:
I do recommend using a Gretag Macbeth color chart to develop a custom correction for the color that each foreign lens - sensor combination gives. It's quite easy. The curves get embedded in Photoshop and can be chosen from a pulldown menu in Adobe Canon RAW.
This bit LOL ... um why? I don't fiddle that much with my pictures
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  #6  
Old June 13th, 2015, 11:55 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Tracy View Post
Aah see lol I told you I was probably doing it all wrong, but I have found that my camera has a 'sweet' spot at ISO 400 so I tend to leave it on that and not change it unless the light gets really difficult (like excessively bright as the sun in Africa has a tendency to be) then I waft between a shutterspeed of 1/200 max and 1/100 min depending on the light but only when necessary - and use the aperture (on the lens) for making slight adjustments to the light so there I wander anywhere from F11 (when its really bright) down to F2.5 (for lower light conditions). I will take a test shot, make my adjustments then shoot.
Choice of F stop

The idea is to use the f stop as the way of carving out a zone where the scene is in sharply drawn an in focus and making other areas, not so significant and less well defined. So an f stop of 1.2 will deliver a razor thin plane of focus, perhaps just the eyes and then f 5.6 will deliver a greatly more useful deep area of sharp focus.

Going to a tiny aperture beyond f 5.6, one very gradually has degradation of the image as the actual edges of the aperture blades scape the light waves coming in and the sharp plane of focus gets degrades by a series of circular waves of varying focus spread. So one can gets increased depth of field, but eventually, and likely with your camera by f11, the sharpness of the zone of focus is decreased enough to be detectable. Still if you MUST use that aperture, then use it!

But there are options. If it's too bright, then increase shutter speed. If that's not enough, lower the ISO. Another option is to use a neutral density, ND filter.

The best way to do photography, as a start, to all other possible ways, is to set and leave the aperture to f 5.6 and then one does not have to be so exact about focus. Anyway, one can bracket the focus, at no cast), with digital. If one uses a lower ISO, then one does not need to stop down as much.


Asher
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  #7  
Old June 14th, 2015, 02:11 AM
Lee Tracy Lee Tracy is offline
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uhhhhhhhh I will have to go and think about that one ... just one point ... 'focus bracketing' = anathema May the force, not bracketing, be with you
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  #8  
Old June 14th, 2015, 01:31 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Tracy View Post
uhhhhhhhh I will have to go and think about that one ... just one point ... 'focus bracketing' = anathema May the force, not bracketing, be with you

Well, consider this, I am upside down in a deep pit trying to get the part and serial numbers of an axle below the water line, so I can repair my pool cover motor. I do not want to do this again, LOL. So I focus bracket.

I am in Costa Rica, photographing birds on a tree far away, my tripod on the deck of a river boat. I MF focus on a moving bird - so I bracket.

It's cheaper than going back to take it again!

Asher
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  #9  
Old June 14th, 2015, 10:48 PM
Lee Tracy Lee Tracy is offline
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Ok ok LOL there MIGHT be rare circumstances where it may be a useful tool. I never deny that however ... for me ... who rarely ends up upside down in a deep pit ...
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  #10  
Old June 17th, 2015, 01:20 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Lee,

I love the macro pictures you show here.

Could you add a link to any online gallery you may have so folk could enjoy your work as I do?

Asher
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  #11  
Old June 17th, 2015, 02:45 AM
Lee Tracy Lee Tracy is offline
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Hi Asher,

Here and Nat Geo are the only two places I'm sharing photos at the moment.
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  #12  
Old June 29th, 2015, 04:07 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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A warm welcome to another fellow South African! You made an excellent choice to host your colourful nature work on National Geographic, it's just "right" :-)

Over the past 8 years that I've been part of this community, I've always found it a rather quiet one, and many regular contributors from the past have left, but those that remain are always open for insightful and unbiased discussion of photographs, without the typical gear-measuring flame wars of other forums.

Looking forward to your contributions here!
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  #13  
Old June 29th, 2015, 06:08 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Did I welcome you, Lee?
If not, consider it done.
This place annoys me immensely.
It's like eating chocolate. You know it makes you fat but you come back for more.
Everyone is so nice and polite. They take great photos and talk some real ****. Let me know if you need to know more about anyone in particular. I'll make something up.
Your new best friend.
Tom
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  #14  
Old June 29th, 2015, 06:22 AM
Lee Tracy Lee Tracy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser View Post
A warm welcome to another fellow South African! You made an excellent choice to host your colourful nature work on National Geographic, it's just "right" :-)

Over the past 8 years that I've been part of this community, I've always found it a rather quiet one, and many regular contributors from the past have left, but those that remain are always open for insightful and unbiased discussion of photographs, without the typical gear-measuring flame wars of other forums.

Looking forward to your contributions here!
Thanks Dawid, it's nice here indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Did I welcome you, Lee?
If not, consider it done.
This place annoys me immensely.
It's like eating chocolate. You know it makes you fat but you come back for more.
Everyone is so nice and polite. They take great photos and talk some real ****. Let me know if you need to know more about anyone in particular. I'll make something up.
Your new best friend.
Tom
LOL ok I shall bear that in mind....
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