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Old Nov 5, 2008, 6:03 AM   #1
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Hello Everyone,

What is your favourite gadget, technique or words of wisdom that you think most photographers would benefit from? (Either really useful stuff that newbie's [like me!] overlook / don't know about or old knowledge that is still pertinent today. <grin>)

Take care,
Glen


(I saw this question asked [in a slightly different way] in the Canon forum and thought it was very interesting! They asked what gear they should get next, but I'm expanding it to include techniques & words of wisdom [because its not always about gear<grin>])


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Old Nov 5, 2008, 9:24 AM   #2
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Practice what you read. Skill with technique comes from use. When you read something about better technique or a way to get better photos, go out and use it. If you find it useful then practice it until it is second nature to you. In the digital age we have free film. Don't be afraid to shoot lots of photos to get your technique down pat. I see so many new photographers that think having the knowledge in their head is all that is needed. Not so! Skill comes from use of that knowledge and that means going out and shooting many photos with the purpose in mind of skill development.

Practice getting sharp photos with out and with a tripod. I shoot most photos without a tripod so I'm not tied down to the three legged monster and with this skill and practice over the years I've gotten pretty good hand held. Here again..You can read how to do it for years and not get this skill...You must practice it.

My Dad always said " A Shortcut is Usually The Long Way Around." Don't be lazy and avoid the effort needed to get better at what you do. Skills come from repetitive use not from just reading how to do it.

Dawg
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Old Nov 5, 2008, 9:25 AM   #3
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One gadget and one tip:

The gadget: Sto-fen Omni bounce. It works wonders for flash photography and only costs US$20.

The tip (picked up from my wife): Wait 1-2 seconds after pressing the shutter button before moving the camera away from the eye. I am amazed at how fewer cases of camera shake I have since I practice this technique!
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Old Nov 5, 2008, 10:23 AM   #4
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Coming from the former way of life, I still am in the habit of trying to conserve film, so I tend to take too few shots. Whenever I loan my camera to one of the kids here at school, they go nuts and just keep firing away! With digital cameras that is the way it should be done. The more you shoot the better chance you have of getting the right light, the right expressions, the right sharpness, and the right focus.

Another thing that helps me is to try and forget what you see with your eyes and concentrate on what you see in the view finder. Your eyes see in stereo and that in itself enhances landscapes whereas the camera, alas, sees only in mono!

And finally, I have to practice lining up my camera with something in the picture otherwise it ends up tilted just enough to look amaturish. It is amazing how many shots look better once the horizon is staight!

Glenn


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Old Nov 5, 2008, 1:11 PM   #5
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Hi Glen,

My 3 favorite gadgets are the Pentax F 1.7x AFA which give me a whole lot of AF options for my tele lenses, and has literally saved me thousands of $$s in lens costs, the Joe Demb Flipit with Diffuser which is, IMO the most versatile flash modifier on the market, and the Camdapter grip strap, which is easily the nicest of this type of grip.

As far as tips -- the ones already mentioned are very good -- and I'll especially echo Dawg's reply -- practice practice practice -- there's no replacement for really knowing your camera and pushing your techniques to the limit. The more I shoot, the more I know. . .

. . . but I still too often find myself shaking my head when reviewing my shots for the day, thinking that I could've done this or that to get a better result. Knowing something and being able to actually put that knowledge to good use at the right time are two entirely different things. The difference is experience -- the more you do something, the less you have to think about it when you need to use it.

One last tip for birders or wildlife shooters -- your car is a great "hide" -- most animals are used to seeing cars, and aren't intimidated by them unless they are about to be run over. You can get surprisingly close to a lot of animals in your car, and if you move slowly, they won't even notice what you're doing inside.

Scott
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Old Nov 5, 2008, 9:30 PM   #6
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Gadgets - Learn how to use a polarizer and don't forget about it.

Keep photography fresh to you - read about new techniques, even ones you don't think you'd have much use for, and then practice them. You'd be surprised what you might end up using and when. Try something new every month or two.
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Old Nov 5, 2008, 10:19 PM   #7
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Tip: It sounds so simple, but I would wager that every shooter on this forum has done it at least once, resulting in degraded photos. Take 30 seconds when you pick up your camera, hit the Fn button and check your White Balance, ISO, and shutter mode. It's so easy to use a custom setting for a special setting, set your camera down when you get to the computer, then pick it up and start shooting, assuming your on your "normal" setting.

Gadget: a wireless remote shutter release for working off a tripod. There are a number of cheap ones available through E-bay. When shooting with a very long lens, they can save your shot.

Good idea for a thread. I would bet that even experienced shooters are getting some good ideas from reading these tips.

Paul
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Old Nov 6, 2008, 11:07 AM   #8
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#1 Tip IMO for people that really want to improve: Seek out HONEST feedback from the people in best position to help you improve. Practice makes permanent. So, practice will give you consistency, but without the context of feedback you may end up making some of the wrong things permanent. To be sure, much of photography is art. So there is no single right way of doing things. BUT, if your passion is say wildlife photography. The single best way to improve is to seek out the advice of other wildlife photographers. Don't limit yourself to just looking for people that tell you every shot is great. And keep in mind, so much of photography is manufacturer independent. In this same scenario (i.e. passion for wildlife photography), you will get MUCH, MUCH better advice from a wildlife photographer who happens to shoot Nikon than you will from a Pentax photographer that never does. It's great to have BOTH. But as I look to improve in my phogotraphy I don't care what system the photographer uses I want the photographers with experience in what I'm shooting.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"This approach requires a thick skin but you'll be surprised how much quicker the learning curve is accelerated when you use this approach.
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Old Nov 6, 2008, 2:10 PM   #9
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Trojansoc wrote:
Quote:
Tip: It sounds so simple, but I would wager that every shooter on this forum has done it at least once, resulting in degraded photos. Take 30 seconds when you pick up your camera, hit the Fn button and check your White Balance, ISO, and shutter mode. It's so easy to use a custom setting for a special setting, set your camera down when you get to the computer, then pick it up and start shooting, assuming your on your "normal" setting.

Paul
Great advice Paul! :G
Glen, I'm glad you posted this topic, and thanks for everyone's input! I for one, appreciate them all.
GW:bye:
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Old Nov 6, 2008, 2:42 PM   #10
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Gadget: a monopod

Words of wisdom: Always remember that great images come from the head not from the camera bag. Obviously you need good tools but never let the tools get in the way of the process.
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