The Digital Photo Guy

Tag: photoshoot

Keep an Eye on Shutter Speed

by on Jan.02, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips

Monday Morning Tip – 1/4/10

Here’s a photo of Fred, a shoebill stork. Students who have attended a Hands-On Photoshoot with me know Fred is one of my favorite critters. He looks as if he has a real attitude but is described to be fairly mild mannered. In the left photo, Fred is calling his girlfriend. On the right, Fred is smiling and showing his sensitive side.

Fred calling   5325_shoebill2 

At first glance, both photos appear to be perfectly fine in terms of focus. The feathers on Fred’s wing are clear, crisp and finely detailed. Moreover, Fred’s eye is sharply in focus and contains a catch-light. However, at 100%, it’s easy to see the beak in the first photo is slightly blurred due to Fred vibrating his beak when calling.

5319_FredBarking_100pct   5325_shoebill2_100pct

Both were taken at 1/1000 second and you can see the rest of the photo is perfectly sharp so the only explanation is that Fred moved his beak. The point to all this is that shutter speed is relative. Because I didn’t know Fred’s beak vibrated or quivered at such high speed when calling, I assumed 1/1000 was more than adequate.

During my next Hands-On Photoshoot Workshop on Jan 23, if Fred is cooperating, I’ll try again with my shutter set for 1/1500 or more  to see if I can freeze his beak. With such a high shutter speed, I’ll need a wide open aperture and/or a higher ISO. Since this photo was taken at f/6.7, 1/1000 and ISO 200, I can gain 1.5 stops more light by going to f/4 at ISO 200 and increase my shutter speed to 1/2500. Fortunately, depth of field isn’t too important here since Fred is practically up against the reeds in the background so there’s really not much room for a nice smooth bokeh. Of course, this also assumes we’ll have a nice bright San Diego day.

0633_MadDogHere’s a final photo of Fred “mad dogging” a photographer. This is his usual station. Notice the sun is to his right (camera left) and there’s enough space behind him for a nice creamy, soft bokeh. This was taken with a Canon 20D and a 100-400/4.5-5.6L (1/640, f/5.6, ISO 200, 390mm).

There are three take-aways from this MMT. First, always keep an eye on your shutter speed. If you’re in Shutter Priority, don’t assume whatever you set it to is adequate for the situation. If you’re in Aperture Priority, don’t let the Shutter Speed drop below a predetermined point in your mind.  The second take-away is: Know your subject. Had I known how fast Fred’s beak vibrates when he’s calling, I would have compensated. As it was, I learned something new but this could have been a bummer if I had traveled to Africa to learn this. Finally, third, if you’re using the LCD to examine focus, be sure to magnify the image to closely examine areas of interest. In this case, I examined the feathers but failed to examine the beak.

Good light, good memories and good luck for 2010.

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New Year, New Look

by on Dec.29, 2009, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Photoshop CS2/4, Photoshop Elements, Schedule, Webcast, Website, WordPress, Workshops

The Digital Photo Guy Blog Gets a Facelift

This is the 6th year for this site. During the first 4 years, it was a static site that was rarely updated because making changes was excruciatingly slow, complex and costly. In 2008, I resolved to fix the problem and commissioned a web developer to develop a new site that I could easily and quickly update myself. He recommended WordPress and the initial implementation took just 6 weeks. As soon as he was done, I started making changes and quickly learned how to do just about everything by myself. I’m no rocket scientist but WordPress makes everything simple and straightforward.

Now, a year after the initial launch, a new static home page has replaced the previous dynamic home page. A dynamic home page was fine in the beginning but, now, with so many articles and posts, it was quickly becoming unwieldly. Readers couldn’t easily find the information they sought. A static home page can act as “street signs” to help point readers in the right direction. As you can see, some of the signs are still not working. That’s because all the MMTs, posts and articles weren’t always correctly or fully tagged.

Tagging the material at this time would be counter productive because each update would generate an e-mail notification of an update and readers wuld be innundated with e-mails.

Starting in 2010, I’ll be more careful about tagging each MMT, post and article so readers can quickly find all material pertaining to Cameras/Lenses/Gear, Photo Editing and Photography.

In the meantime, the existing tags (right side of main blog) can help you find specific articles or MMTs. You can also use the Seach box along the right side of the main blog.

A website is a never-ending process. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment here. Good light, good memories and good luck in 2010.

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Topaz ReMask2 Video Tutorial

by on Dec.06, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Photoshop CS2/4, Photoshop Elements, Schedule, Webcast, Workshops

Monday Morning Tip – 12/07/09

If you’ve ever tried to cut a person or pet out of a photo and found it to be an exercise in frustration, you need to watch today’s Video MMT. Topaz Labs has released ReMask2 and it is an order of magnitude improved over the first version. Here’s a quick example of what ReMask2 can do for you.

The initial pass took about 3 minutes and I spent another 3 minutes cleaning up the edges. It’s still not perfect but much, much better and faster than previous manual methods. Click here to read the rest of this MMT

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Monday Morning Tip – 11/30/09

by on Nov.29, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips

Today’s Monday Morning Tip

I have a Wild Animal Park Photoshoot this coming Saturday so I thought I would roll my MMT into the instructions I send the students beforehand. During “hands-on” photoshoots, I concentrate on three areas: Nailing Exposure, Sharp Focus and Compelling Composition. Today’s MMT is about nailing the exposure.

Exposure is a balancing act among three controls: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. These are covered in this previous MMT. After I wrote that MMT, some students didn’t understand the relationship among the three so I wrote this MMT. Then, students wanted step-by-step instructions for adjusting EC (exposure compensation to get the desired exposure. I also wrote this MMT this year as a refresher.

Bottom line, there are 3 variables (controls): aperture, shutter speed and ISO. To help you adjust these, there are 3 major tools: histogram, EC and “blinkies”. Use these tools to determine if your photo needs more or less light and adjust the appropriate control. Click to read more

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Monday Morning Tip – 11/2/09

by on Nov.01, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips, Photoshop Elements, Schedule, Workshops

Today’s MMT, as usual, is in the MMT page behind a password on the Tips & News section. (To get a password, please register) This MMT was inspired by a friend and former student who just bought a new Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 super wide angle lens and sent me some photos from his trip to Taos. Readers who have an 18-55 kit lens as their primary WA might have noticed that distant subjects tend to appear tiny when using a WA. This can be both a benefit and a disadvantage.

It’s immediately obvious that a WA isn’t a particularly good lens for photographing small, distant objects because they appear even smaller than they already are. But, if the small, distant objects form a pattern, the WA may be the perfect lens. So, while a WA isn’t useful for photographing the quarterback in the pocket from your seats in the nosebleed section, it may be just the lens for capturing the colors and patterns in the seats across the stadium.

A key technique when using a WA is to get as close to the main subject as possible and give the viewer the sensation of being in the photo instead of observing the photo.

We Have a Winner

Tracie from Hawaii is the first winner in the Photoshop Elements webinar and the class doesn’t even start for another 12 days. Tracie registered herself and two friends for the webinar and won a complete Topaz Labs Suite (Adjust, DeNoise, Simplify, Detail, Clean, ReMask, DeJPEG) worth $179.

There’s one more chance to win a complete bundle and that’s during the webinar when one lucky student will receive a complete Topaz Labs bundle. If you’re not familiar with Topaz Labs Photoshop and Photoshop Elements plug-ins, check out the cool tools on their site

But, even if you don’t win the bundle during the webinar, not to despair because I have a great deal for the rest of you. Go to Topaz Labs’ website and order the bundle using the code digitalphotoguy for a 15% discount. That gets you $340 worth of software for just $152.99. It don’t get no better’n that, citizen!

Remember, we also have lots of other door prizes including the 800+ page Workbook from Photoshop World, a BlackRapid camera strap and 1-2-3 of Digital Imaging book on a CD. Click here to see the door prizes and read the descriptions.

Wild Animal Park Photoshoot – Dec 5, 2009

The next WAP Photoshoot class is just 5 weeks away. If you’re the type that likes to see which buttons I’m pressing in what direction and why, this is the class for you. In just 4 hours, we’ll cover Exposure, Focus, Composition and basic photo editing.

Some challenges you’ll learn to overcome include setting the desired exposure by using the Exposure Level Indicator, Histogram and Exposure Compensation. You’ll also learn how to use flash during broad daylight to improve your photos, set your camera and lens for kids and critters in motion and composing for impact.

We end the session by meeting in my RV for a photoshop Elements session to learn the basics of photo editing. This is the fastest, easiest path for new dSLR owners to get “up-to-speed”.

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