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Old Apr 19, 2010, 8:16 AM   #11
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Thank you Ned,
When I visualize your tips about the windmill picture.. I really believe it would be a more interesting one. At the time of shooting I did not know that stepping down would have brought a bit more focus on the windmills.. luckily now I do with the help of the nice helpful members here (my respect to that). Luckily the windmills are nearly in my backyard so I could do it again sometime.
And yes it would have been even nicer if my girlfriend turned her head a bit.. I believe she is still a bit scared of the camera though hahah.

Hmm strange that the photo's are not showing.. not sure what's wrong.
Yes the jacket is black.. so the WB is ok I guess.. but the underexposure makes the photo a bit sad.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 8:29 AM   #12
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Oi, mate, cheers for that... Hey, listen, you know, I for one enjoy it when we discuss photos, what can be improved upon, what we like, this and that... we all learn together, and main thing, we all have fun taking pictures. Frankly, I wish someone would tell me more of what I can do better, with regard to my photos. Anyway, with the photo of yourfriend, if she is patient, go back and try this again... Have her standing, facing the windmills but putting her back at slight angles, or different increments... or... have standing, slightly turning to the right just a few degrees... it is YOU who can see that her head is at a right angle look at the windmills, rather than just straight ahead... Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to be critical, I like this picture... A LOT... but I know it can be better... Also, there is sort of a psychology of how people like to see themselves., so that is one more reason for taking several pictures. My wife has learned this lesson, so when we are out walking, and I start taking several pictures of the same things, she knows I am up to something... Also, try experimenting with a telephoto lens, with this same picture, you want more of the windmills in this... If this is your first month with a KX, then a few months from now you are going to be chuffed to bits with what you have learned and experienced. All the best. Ned
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 8:40 AM   #13
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I'll try to convince her to go there again in the near future... and I'll force her to pose so I can make nicer shots, haha nah just kidding.
I really appreciate all the comments I get, and do not see them as critique intended for burning down my pictures but instead as great tips to get better with every shot I take.
The only telephoto I have atm is the DA L 50-200 kit lens so it does not have a lot of zoom (I would love to have at least a 300mm but my girlfriend is already complaining about the amount of money I spent so far). When I get back there I'll use it and see what results I get. Just for information.. the picture was taken with my 18-55 kit lens @ 50mm with f5,6 and iso 200 (it's so funny I did not have a clue about what the f number could do at that time.. everything was in automode )

Kindest regards,

Carlo
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 8:50 AM   #14
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The kit lens will do fine, you easily use the 55-200, no worries.

By the way, do you like reading any photo magazine's? Dumb question, I know, but I like "Digitial Camera World" and "Digital SLR". I get so many ideas from these... I was reading one magazine... which gave some pretty explicit instructions... wow, it was just reall exciting... I just ordered a Pentax K7, and I can't wait till it comes... but some of these tips are the "bee's knees".

Thanks, Carlo... All the best.

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Old Apr 19, 2010, 9:04 AM   #15
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To be honest.. I've never really read a photo magazine. I do have a couple of e-books on photography.. and I read a lot on the web. However unfortunately my time is limited since my studybooks and thesis scream for attention also... (as well as my part time job, girlfriend, sports, friends) If I only had more than 24 hours a day
But I'l have a look at the stores to see what kind of magazines there are here in Holland.. it's always interesting to read new stuff.
thx
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 11:27 AM   #16
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Hi JC!
You're off to a very good start.
For the first set of pictures, one thing come to my mind. Fill the frame! We (me too) often spontaneously point our camera at the main subject (usually the head or face of someone) and take our shot with the subject in the center of the frame. Then there's a lot of less interesting sky or other background taking up a large part of the picture's area. If we instead recompose and fill the frame with our subject the head or eye or whatever might be at the left or the top, and the picture gets an orientation and direction. And the picture is filled with interesting details.

As for the last two shots I made a superquick fix: I used "autocontrast" in CS3. Took about 30 seconds for the two shots, including saving them after the change. I'm sure a lot more could have been done in five or so minutes, but I think they are fine as they are.

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Old Apr 19, 2010, 11:36 AM   #17
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Kjell, tahnk you for the quick fix of the two pictures. There are some autofunctions in CS lightroom and cs 4 also.. but as of now I have not used them to change the picture permanently. I first want to check where the flaws are in my photo's so I can work on that. Of course in a later stadium I will do PP to make the pictures even better.
I believe I get what you mean with filling up the frame.. however sometimes.. especially yesterday at the zoo, I'm limited by the max focal length (200mm) of my lens not enabling me to fill the frame more.. and sometimes I believe it is nice to see the setting where e.g. the animal is active.. so you can see its size.. activities whatsoever.
Nevertheless I agree that e.g. the picture of the giraffe would have been much better if only the head would have been shown in detail.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 3:03 PM   #18
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If you want my 2 cents (and be warned, composition is the hardest thing for me so take anything I say about it with a grain of salt) - the giraffe could have used a larger aperture, to put the background more oof (say something like f5.6, I think the 50-200 goes that large at 200mm, doesn't it?). Since it's so centered and since that's the full frame, I'd crop out some on the right side - that would get rid of some empty space and make it less centered. Using 200mm was good because it helped to limit the dof (longer focal lengths at the same distance from your subject not only bring your subject closer, it also makes your depth of field smaller). Besides cropping the first one some, you might try another thing to separate the giraffe from the background - in CS4, make a copy of the background layer. Then lighten it some (I like levels for this - use the histogram to judge the lights) and get the giraffe to look right. Then use the quick selection tool to select just the giraffe. Go down to the bottom of the layers and add a layer mask. What that should do is keep the lighter giraffe and let the darker background show through (or if the selection is backwards, you'll have the lighter background and darker giraffe - go to the mask tab and choose inverse if it's the wrong one). The neat thing about layer masks is that if any of the edges aren't quite right, you can easily change them by painting either in white (to show the top layer) or in black (to show the bottom layer) and correct it.

I like Ned's crop of the second one, the picture otherwise is nice.

Wouldn't change a thing on your reptile - love the lighting.

The white balance looks off for your friend. The problem is that he's in the shade, while the camera "saw" (and partly exposed more for) the much lighter outside background. You can't do much about the blown-out bits of the background, but you can change the white balance very easily in Lightroom - just adjust the sliders until his skin looks right. Also, since the background isn't important and it's already blown out in places, adjust the exposure slider some to get your friend's skin right. Next time you take a picture in this difficult lighting situation, you might take along a white piece of paper (ideally it would be a grey card, but a piece of paper is much cheaper), hold it up in front of his face and use it to set a custom white balance. Then shoot the picture. If you were using matrix metering, then I think the camera did better than I would have expected for the exposure (it's a little off, but not as much as it could have been). You might want to think about changing to either center weighted or spot metering for situations like this (and accept that you'll blow out the bright background). Another idea would be to chimp and decide if you want to dial in a +Ev to compensate for your subject being in the shade. Or else relocate your subject (that's often easier said than done!).

The elephants are more difficult - given what you have there, I'd probably crop out the left side and the people standing. If you were to shoot it over, I'd probably either try a vertical (which, depending on what's below the frame might not work), or reframe, with the heads more toward the left side and showing more of their bodies. However, I wonder if it would work as it looks like the elephants are tied or that there might be very distracting things out of the frame. I can see why you'd want something longer with this picture. Since the elephants are so backlit, you could try using some fill light in Lightroom, to lighten the darks a bit and bring out a bit more detail. That could be my work monitor influencing the picture too much - the darks might not be as dark as they look to me here (judge based on your own monitor, not this one which isn't calibrated or in the best light for judging photographs).

Your blue heron is a bit dark, which again can easily be adjusted in Lightroom. Otherwise, it has some really nice feather detail, I can see why you like it. Other than being underexposed, I like it.

Macro like that last one is HARD - use as small an aperture as you possibly can to get as much dof as you can. An off-camera or external flash can help as it gets your shutter speeds higher (enough that it's possible to hand-hold better). A tripod is best, but not always possible with things that move.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 3:49 PM   #19
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JC,You're off to a great start!
I won't bother to add anything to the others critique as they already said it better than I could. I just wanted to jump in and welcome you to the forum.The image quality of your shots is quite nice, better than I've ever gotten with my kit lenses.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 4:10 PM   #20
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Thanks again for the comments.
I will dig into photoshop a lot more in the near future to make the most out of the photo's.
I don't know much about metering yet...but all will come in time (hopefully)
Indeed I noticed that it's hard to make sharp macro photo's and with the smc 50mm 1.7 + 2x teleconverter it is hard to use a tripod since there is not that much working distance. However for flowers and stuff other then being living creatures I will surely use my cullmann nanomax 260 (yes I'm excited I bought it even though I know it's still a budget tripod)
I don't have an external flash (yet), although I have an old cullmann dc 25 I'm afraid to use it.. I would first need to check it's voltage etc I guess.

Thanks goldwinger, for the warm welcome. I don't have much to compare with but so far I'm very pleased with the two kit lenses, they produce nice colors and focus quite well.
I'm happy I bought the smc 50mm 1.7 also because it's a lot of fun to use for portraits etc and help me use manual focus and manual aperture. Even though this lens is probably older than I am it still produces nice images. And it's a nice start for cheap macro-ing in combination with a teleconverter or macro rings/tubes.
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