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Topic Photography Forum | A bit unsure.......any advice please?

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Hi,

Having just returned from a trip to The Channel Islands, i`m a bit dissapointed with the 500 or so pictures that i`ve taken.After a break of a few years i have just returned to spotting an photography.
Some were landing shots and some on the ground,taxiing and parked.
I was shooting in shutter priority mode at 1/400th sec. compensating expsure from 0, +1/3, +2/3 depending on the light conditions.
Zoom was anything from 24mm upto 400 or 500mm.
I realise it can be trial and error and takes practice.Heat haze was a bit of a problem at 28 degrees c ! !
My questions are....

1. Should shutter speed been higher? (If so what speed?) Obviously a problem with camera shake at 400-500mm.

2. OR... Could it simply be my camera not being up to the job ? (I was using a 14mp BRIDGE camera... ??? ) Would an SLR give better clarity?

Any help and advice will be gratefully recieved.
Thanks,
Stu.
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Hi,

The shutter speed seems ok, obviously we can't see the conditions but 1/400th is sufficient for normal shooting, Personally I would use manual at 1/500 and f8 if conditions are bright you can adjust 1 or the other accordingly.

Bridge camera's will not be able to give the same quality as a DSLR. What file mode were you shooting? TIFF,RAW,JPG?

and is it possible to post a few of your efforts? it's not easy to advise without seeing some examples

Regards
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Thank you for taking time to comment upsmd11. !
I have decided to do the right thing and up grade to a DSLR.
Thanks again !
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Hi
Great, hope it brings you many hours of enjoyment. I also hope to see some of your pics on P-M very soon.

Remember any advice that you may need all you have to do is ask here and I'm sure that somebody will be happy to help.

Regards
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Thanks once again upsmd11.
Hopefully some of my shots will make it on to here.
What file mode would be the best to use ,hopefully apart from a slight crop,the pictures will not need alot of editing ? jpeg ?

Stu.
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Hi Stu,

You may want to start shooting initially in JPEG format as it will require relatively less amount of editing.
Once you get some hands-on then you may try shooting RAW.

P-M has got a set of editing tips over here:
http://www.plane-mad.com/articles/photography/photography-tips.html
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I would suggest you to watch tutorials on youtube for Cropping, White Balance correction, Sharpening, etc. Thats how I am trying to learn happy
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It's difficult to say, I started with JPEG but then switched to RAW and had to learn a new way of editing. so it's 6 and two 3's really.
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Thanks for the advice. happy
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Quote Quoting Akbarali Mastan, from a previous post

I would suggest you to watch tutorials on youtube for Cropping, White Balance correction, Sharpening, etc. Thats how I am trying to learn happy


or just ask here
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Thank you for previous posts offering advice.....!
Glad to say that im happy with my new Nikon D3100 DSLR. !
I`m having great fun trying to get to know it and of course am making and learning from the mistakes that I make !
Could anyone please advise about the sharpening ,soft -hard settings within the camera ? These run from:-0 (soft) upto 9 (hard). Is it better to use a mid point?....or 0,or 9 ? or auto..? Any thoughts from users of this function on cameras are appreciated.. happy
Thanks,
Stu.
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Quote Quoting Stuntnuts, from a previous post

Could anyone please advise about the sharpening ,soft -hard settings within the camera ? These run from:-0 (soft) upto 9 (hard). Is it better to use a mid point?....or 0,or 9 ? or auto..?

I shall be interested to see what advice you receive in this respect. I use a Canon EOS 550D which has similar settings. Mine is on the 'standard' setting at present, but I am thinking of switching to 'natural', as this significantly reduces the amount of sharpening applied by the camera's own software. Hopefully, this, in turn, will allow me to make better/more precise use of the sharpening facilities contained within PS Elements.
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I use standard, though I shoot in RAW mode which I'm not sure if that affects things or not. I don't tend to bother with sharpening/digital darkroom so you'll get better advice from the others I think.

On the shutter speeds, I'd add that as a general rule try to match the speed to the size of the lens you are using but also with you camera you need to factor in the 1.5 sensor multiplier. So a 200mm lens becomes a 300mm.
However this is only to remove camera shake and not to stop action as you need to consider that too. I try to shoot at least 1/500 sec.

Good luck with your new camera by the way, hope you enjoy it.
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when shooting in raw mode no sharpening is added
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Quote Quoting bluechalk, from a previous post

when shooting in raw mode no sharpening is added


Thanks.
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I shoot raw and I never add in camera sharpening. try to keep around f8 and 400/1 as a minimum speed.
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P.S. In addition to In camera sharpening that i mentioned before,does any body know if the in camera image size (ie large ,medium,small) affect image quality ? Which would be the best to use? Would it matter ?
Hopefully any answers will also help other people too !
Thanks,
Stu.happy
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Quote Quoting Stuntnuts, from a previous post

does any body know if the in camera image size (ie large ,medium,small) affect image quality ? Which would be the best to use?

I always use the largest image size, which, in the case of the 550D, is 18MP. I was told that, if you reduce the number of pixels and then find that you need to magnify the subject as part of the post-editing process, you risk losing picture quality.
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always use the highest pixel count . as said above it keeps the best quality in editing
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Can I ask peoples thoughts on photo editing software please ,for somebody on a budget ? I must add I`m a bit of a novice !!
Should Gimp 2.6 do the trick ? If I get to know it.
Thanks , Stu.
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Gimp 2.6 is pretty good and replicates most of the features found in Adobe Photoshop Elements. However, PS Elements is still worth buying, especially if you keep an eye out for cut-price deals - I got my brand new copy of PS Elements 10 (the latest version) for under £30.
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Irfanview is great for free though depends if you want to do a lot of faffing around, it can do batch stuff as well.

I have the first version of Elements which came with the DSLR but don't really use and stick with Irfanview.
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Baltimore just started using would you believe a old copy of ps3 given to me and now thinking of buying ps10 elements could you give me your thoughts on it please .
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PS3 is the best in my view. I've used 3,4,5 and now 6 but 3 was my favorite. Although 6 has some great extra features.
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Quote Quoting Baltimore, from a previous post

I am thinking of switching to 'natural', as this significantly reduces the amount of sharpening applied by the camera's own software.

Having gone ahead and changed the picture settings on my Canon 550D from 'standard' to 'natural', I am now having an absolute nightmare when it comes to getting my photos through the screening process. For the record, I have also stopped relying on the 'auto-sharpening' facility in PS Elements 10 and am now using the 'unsharp mask' filter instead.

Having uploaded ten photos over the weekend, half a dozen of them were almost immediately rejected for being 'soft' or 'blurry'. Having applied some additional unsharp mask, I then re-uploaded the pics concerned, only for the majority of them to suffer exactly the same fate.

I am currently using the following settings in PS Elements 10:

Amount - between 100 - 200 per cent
Radius - between 0.2 - 0.5 pixels
Threshold - nil

Any suggestions as to where I might be going wrong would, therefore, be gratefully received.
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This post was edited on Sunday 9th September, 2012 at 21:02 GMT
Hi,

I can offer what I generally use for edits that I now submit here, and have also submitted at A.net for many years - if they get through their sharpness requirements (which I personally think are rather too extreme) then they must be pretty sharp. I've used the same process on each of the bodies I've used 350D/400D/550D/7D, the last two still in use. I do use it in CS2 but the same settings are available in PS Elements 9, so I guess 10 is pretty much the same.

I do all my other editing before sharpening at the full size straight out of the camera, then I apply the following before reducing size.

Amount 500%
Radius 0.2
Threshold 0

Then I reduce down to the size to be used, usually 1200x800 pixels for here and A.Net. I will then do a second run, as above, but varying the amount between 150-500% depending on how soft the image is. but usually in the 150-200% area. In rare and extreme cases (usually if it requires this as well, then the pic ought to be dumped as unrecoverable) and when a pic is otherwise interesting enough to warrant an attempt to save it, I will do a third run at the setting below;

Amount 20-40%
Radius 0.3
Threshold 0

The effects of a 0.3 radius on a 1200 wide pic will be quite harsh, so this needs care if used, the recent twin Vampires over North Weald and a couple of the head on Typhoon shots of mine on the site were sharpened in this way.

Gary
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Gary, you're an absolute star! Thank you so much for going to the trouble of explaining things in a way that even a complete dullard like me can understand. I'll give it a go and see what happens. Rest assured that if I ever come close to achieving results that come anywhere near the standard of your Vampire and Typhoon shots, I'll be well pleased!
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No problems, I just hope it helps. I just realised that my post isn't clear on the last piece. The Vampire pair over North Weald (uploaded today) and some of the straight down the runway/nose on Typhoons were done with the three run pattern, but the vast majority of my shots are usually edited with just the first two stages. All done on picture style 'standard'.

The Vampires suffered from some motion blur and were a borderline upload, but heavy sharpening brought them back to a acceptable standard. I find that rare with motion blur, as it normally kills a picture and no amount of processing will usually recover it.

Those nose on Typhoons in low light were extremely soft due to distance (still down the runway), and a lack of light also made them noisy and soft. Heavy sharpening worked pretty well on them.

Gary
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Thanks from me too Gary for taking the time etc.

What might be a good idea is perhaps to post before and after shots, i.e straight from the camera and then processed - that's if you have the time, if not don't worry and thanks again.
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Having read the above, I feel that there is no 'Right' way to sharpening. While this method that Gary uses works for his images it's not guaranteed to work on somebody else' pictures.
Now please don't think I' m questioning anybody's work flow but 500% (30-70% is around what I use) seems quite a lot,however if it work's then great. I would advise to apply smaller amounts in several stages, also after re-sizing. It's difficult to advise on sharpening as everyone has different camera,lens,settings and editing suites. Just 1 note though Baltimore, soft shot's can be sharpened, blurry 1's can't. I'm not trying to patronize you in anyway but I was doing the same thing some time ago.
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This post was edited on Monday 10th September, 2012 at 18:04 GMT
Hi again gents.

Good idea about posting up a comparision listed above. Problem is I can't seem to get any image files into a post on here. Attempting the usual forum [img] link, but it just hangs the forum when I post so what I've done is uploaded two originals to my photobucket account and will link them. I'm not sure if they will come out at 100% of size or not, so you may have to click on them to bring them to full size. Interesting thoughts above, personally I will try and minimise the number of edits I make in photoshop to the smallest number required. Another point to remember is that the effect a sharpening will have varies depending on the pixel size of the image it is applied to. The 500% at 0.2 radius has quite a small effect on a image still at the pixel size it comes out of the camera, but will make a massive amount of difference to a image that has been resized down to 1200 pixels. So as long as the image is still in the 3 to 5 mega pixel range, the above settings do have not much of a effect (the reason I do it is mainly because I will also save a image at 3400 pixels for personal use before sizing down to 1200 pixels for the database websites).

This is a link to my original at Photobucket of the two Vampires at North Weald shot on Friday. The 7D puts this out as 5184x3146 pixels at the highest JPEG setting. For the comparison I have sized it down to 1200x800 pixels, the uploaded size here, but no other changes (crop, levels, saturation, noise, colour balance all untouched).

http://s410.photobucket.com/albums/pp189/gary1701/?action=view&current=test1.jpg

This is the edited version accepted onto the site yesterday.

http://www.plane-mad.com/aviation-photos/view/private/-/off-airport/43254.html

As you can see, it's one big crop (not to mention the one sharpish image from about a dozen frames!). This went through the following on unsharpen mask with Photoshop CS2

5184 pixels wide, 500%, 0.2 radius
1200 pixels wide, 500%, 0.2 radius
1200 pixels wide, 30-40%, 0.3 radius

Last one has the variable as I can't remember which exact percentage I used. All the above was done after all other editing. I must say though that I don't normally do this amount. I usually only do the first two runs at 0.2 on the radius. As posted earlier, I only get to this stage if a image is interesting enough to try and save. As previous poster said, if it's just very soft, then sharpening may bring it back, motion blur or focus problems cannot be saved, regardless how much sharpening is applied.

The other example below was a more steady shot, but was taken at a large zoom in rapidly deteriorating light. This was offset by planning it advance with a manual exposure, yet the 7D, despite it's high cost and usually impressive performance, is not good in low light as noise becomes a issue.

Same as above, this is the original.

http://s410.photobucket.com/albums/pp189/gary1701/?action=view&current=test2-1.jpg

With the edit on this site as below, same settings as above, the difference on the extreme tip of the nose cone is a good indicator of how much sharpening was involved.

http://www.plane-mad.com/aviation-photos/view/uk-royal-air-force-(raf)/eurofighter-typhoon/raf-coningsby/42700.html

This one is also on A.Net (took two attempts!). I hope that helps a little bit more but by all means shout if there's any other queries.

Gary
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Quote Quoting gary1701, from a previous post

I hope that helps a little bit more but by all means shout if there's any other queries.

Gary, thanks again for taking the time and trouble to elaborate on your earlier post. Seeing the 'before' and 'after' shots definitely helps to put the whole sharpening issue into perspective (if you'll excuse the pun!).
Quote Quoting upsmd11, from a previous post

Baltimore, soft shots can be sharpened, blurry 1's can't. I'm not trying to patronize you in anyway but I was doing the same thing some time ago.

Message received and understood! I've admitted defeat and removed the offending shots from the screening queue. Oh, and by the way, no offence taken - all advice is gratefully received.
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Although I've said many times and will probably continue to that I don't 'do' the digital darkroom, I've got the greatest respect for what can be achieved and Gary's before and after's just show what can be done nowadays, been interesting reading his advice too.
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Thanks to all who have taken the time to post in this forum.
I am so glad other people have got positives from it.
After my original post back in August,I`m off to the Channel Islands again tomorrow for Thursdays airshow. Armed with a new DSLR and a bit more knowledge.
I am going to try shooting in both RAW and JPEG.
Fingers crossed !!!
Blue skies to all !happy
Stu.
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Have a great time, Stu...and don't forget to post some of your shots here on P-M when you get back!
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Quote Quoting Baltimore, from a previous post

Have a great time, Stu...and don't forget to post some of your shots here on P-M when you get back!


Yep, we like trip reports!
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I know somebody who's gone to Jersey for the show. They should have a rare European appearance of a B-52 which would make a good pic.

Gary
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Thanks upsmd11 for your view on photoshop. One last question please is ps 10 elements just a shorter version ? Thanks
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This post was edited on Wednesday 12th September, 2012 at 09:19 GMT
Pete, apologies for not responding to your earlier post. PS Elements 10 is the first version that I've used, so you will appreciate that I'm not really in a position to comment re. the advantages (or otherwise) of using version 10 versus version 3. Sorry!
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Quote Quoting pete, from a previous post

Thanks upsmd11 for your view on photoshop. One last question please is ps 10 elements just a shorter version ? Thanks


Afraid to say I have no idea, I used elements once to give a tutorial but could not find my way around it. I'm a PS-er and stick to what I know. I know it's an expensive programme but for me worth it, after all no point spending the money on the camera's and lens' if your editing suite can't match it.
I suppose it's each persons preference, i was a big fan of Corel pro in the beginning but soon changed my 'team'
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Thanks guys for your feed back.
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BINGO ! !
Thanks for all the above replies,as I have said before I am glad other people have got something from the original post that I started on this topic back in August.
With your advice,I have had 5 photos accepted on P-M in the name Stuntnuts.
Thanks people.
Stu. big grin
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