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Old Jul 31, 2010, 2:34 PM   #1
LEK
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Default Panasonic ZS3, photos from Colorado, feedback appreciated

Back from our wonderful trip to Colorado. Took tons of photos. In general very pleased with the way the ZS3 performed. Posting some photos, some I'm pretty pleased with, others I wasn't sure how to really capture the huge settings that didn't have a specific point of attention. Not sure if it is the lighting, the focus, the exposure, but on some of my pictures the mountains seemed faded somehow. On others they were crystal clear. Anyway, feedback welcome on all, even the one's I liked, I really want to improve what I'm doing!


Here's one of our favorite places, and favorite shots from the trip


Here's one I wasn't so happy with. Very big setting with no specific point of attention. Seemed faded.

I liked this one of the reflections in the lake


Cute Marmot



We loved this meadow


Trailridge Drive was so hard to photograph, so big and spectacular and none of the photos seemed to really capture it



Same meadow as above, I wanted the mountains bigger(so used the zoom, but the mountains seem faded somehow).

Last edited by LEK; Jul 31, 2010 at 2:44 PM.
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 8:25 PM   #2
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Nice picks. I own a zs3. The camera has a tendency to overexpose. Many times i play with -1 or -2 EV correction (that you can access in Normal Program) and other times the pictures need just a couple ot pp tweakings: levels, lights and shadows usually.
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 8:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting, Loren-

You can be very proud of that series of ZS3 photos. I would say that you are progressing nicely.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 8:38 AM   #4
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The photos you mention as faded, are suffering a bit from atmospheric haze, causing some lack of contrast. The best solution for this would be a polarizing filter. A linear polarizer would work on your camera, and they are less expensive than the circular polarizers. You can correct the existing photos with some post processing. Martin Sykes, one of our forum members, has written a small program called AutoHDR, which I tried on one of your photos and it really corrected the contrast problem. Check the HDR photos forum .
One little quibble about the lake reflections is that it is tilted a bit, and ought to be corrected. This isn't too noticeable in most cases, but when one has a horizon, lakeshore, or vertical building as a major element, it can stand out.

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Old Aug 1, 2010, 6:31 PM   #5
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Thanks for the nice feedback. I think I need to learn more about my camera setting, EV, ISO, as I have been saying. I chickened out and just kept it in Intelligent Auto the whole time. It's time to force myself to take the next step. Just posted a new post on photo class recommendations but a book would be fine too. It's hard to find something focused on point and shoot cameras rather than DSLR's.
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Old Aug 3, 2010, 7:19 PM   #6
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Hi Lek,

You posted some nice images. As you discovered though, auto mode can result in incorrect exposures. For example:




The image above is not just suffering from atmospheric haze but also from over exposure. Note the histogram display. Notice how the histogram is mashed up against the right side of the display while there is too much room on the left side. If you were shooting in P-mode with the ZS3’s histogram displayed you would have seen about the same thing. If you changed the exposure compensation to move the histogram to the left, the histogram would have been centered with neither the right or left side mashed up against the sides. Favor the right side so it is definitely not too far to the right. Then your exposure would have been correct.



Since the histogram is mashed against the right side of the display, there are blown highlights in the image that can never be recovered. However, all is not lost as the exposure can be manipulated in a graphics editor to shift the histogram toward the left. I did a levels adjustment in Photoshop and the before and after images are shown above. Though the corrected image is much better, it could have been even better than that had the exposure been correct when you took the picture. (With a little more work, the dark trees at the bottom could have been lightened a bit if you wanted to see more detail in them.)

Best regards,
Sky

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Old Aug 3, 2010, 7:30 PM   #7
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as has been mentioned previously. there is some atmospheric haze, not much you can do about that with a compact. but the overexposure can easily be corrected, as Ordo mentioned by adding some exposure compensation. And Sky did a nicely illustrated example of how to to recover (as best as is able given the blown highlights) a photo using levels.

composition-wise there are some positives here. "we loved this meadow" is composed quite nicely you used the stream to lead the eye into the scene. using vanishing point lead ins, especially with a nice angle like this, is always a strong element for a landscape. #2 demonstrates another technique that you can make use of in the future. i can see you zoomed in quite a bit (280mm equiv) what this telephoto does in a scene like this is "stacks" the elements together, so the mountains in the background appear closer to the foreground hills than would be the case at a wider angle. this can be exploited to give some very nice layered looks in compressed landscapes. it doesnt quite work here as there is really nothing terribly interesting in the photo, but do keep this technique in your toolbox.

thanks for sharing. looks like a beautiful trip. some nice images here and good potential for even better ones next time with a little practice and forethought.

best wishes.
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Old Aug 4, 2010, 8:28 AM   #8
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Thanks for your very nice and helpful comments. I read some information on composition before I left and tried to follow it, glad to know some of that worked out. Wish I had read more on exposure, but that information on the histogram is SO helpful, it's good to see examples like you offered. I kept reading about changing EV and I'm thinking how do I know when and by how much to switch it to. And I had a tool in my camera all along. I'll start playing with that. It's also amazing how much editing the photo after the fact can help, that's a big difference in those two photos, thanks for showing that.
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Old Aug 4, 2010, 10:28 AM   #9
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Hi Loren-

As you can see, it is with stuff like this, that a formal digital camera class would be very helpful.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 4, 2010, 10:44 PM   #10
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I heard back from the instructor at the Learning Exchange. he said the beginning point and shoot class is pretty basic so some of it will be repeat for me but some new stuff on exposure and ISO, it's only a three hour workshop so I'll think I'll take it, what do I have to lose, whatever I learn will be helpful. He said if I have a point and shoot with lots of manual controls that I should take the 4 hour beginning DSLR workshop, that alot of it would apply to my camera. After I get the new superzoom, I'll take that. They also have a one day 6 hour nature photography workshop that I'll take after I take the first two workshops that I hope will give me tips on composition, lighting and exposure with sun and clouds and snow. So that's 13 hours of workshops combined plus what I find on youtube. I'm hoping with that and practice it will make a big difference.
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