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Old Apr 25, 2015, 11:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lotuslady View Post
One last question, so I see that when some of you cannot fill the frame with the subject...you crop the photo. I took the above photos thinking I could crop them and fill the frame. How much can one crop? Do you try to fill the frame and only have a small leeway with cropping?
Lotuslady, how much you can crop depends on how much resolution (pixels) you have, and how big you plan to print the result (if at all). with your 40D, at 10Mp, you don't have as much to work with as, say, someone with a 7D which has 18Mp, and if you try to crop too much, the result gets grainy and fuzzy, even if the photo was sharp to begin with. that's one of the main reasons why people buy cameras with more resolution - not just so they can make really big prints, but so they can crop the images and still have enough pixels left to make a decent print at, say, 8x10 (which is about as big as most people print their photos).

how much i fill the frame depends a bit on what i'm shooting. for instance, for landscapes and flowers, i'll often fill the frame almost completely. with animals or other moving subjects, although i want to get as close as i can in the interest of detail and clarity (that's why i bought that 150-600!), i always try to leave some room if needed to crop for composition. with animals, you want the subject to have room to "move into", or "look into" in the frame. it's a funny little trick the brain plays on us, but leaving something like that in the center, or too crowded, makes the image feel cramped. here's an example... notice in the image below, the duck is flying to the left, but the image feels a little crowded in that direction and our mind says there's no place for it to fly to without flying out of the frame. it limits our perception of movement.

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in this second image, i allowed more empty space to the left, so the duck looks like it has more room to fly, and our minds can envision it moving within the frame, which makes this a more pleasing composition.

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things like this are why i tend to leave a little more room in wildlife or other "action" shots, so the critters have someplace in the frame to "see into" or "move into", especially bird-in-flight shots. but if i crop too close, or fill the frame too much with the subject, i can't do this. it's that whole "rule of thirds" thing... don't feel like you have to completely fill the frame with your subject. a bit of negative space can definitely be your friend!
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Old Apr 25, 2015, 7:50 PM   #12
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Rocky,

I do understand the rule of thirds. I can clearly see that the 2nd photo is more pleasing to look at.

Here are a few photos I took today in Av setting, central focal point and I had it on continuous shooting. For some reason I see that I'm not sure how to focus in on the birds eyes. What do you guys think? I wonder if I should have used a higher F stop to get a blurred background?

None of them are still that clear. I attempted to crop the two center photos of the female and male crossbill. I've never cropped before so I'm not certain I know what I am doing. I'm still a bit disappointed in the softness. What could I be doing different?
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Old Apr 25, 2015, 7:59 PM   #13
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While I was sitting beside the pond waiting for birds to come by so that I could practice this hawk came down trying to grab a robin. I startled him when I positioned my camera to get a couple photos of him. The first one I just snapped off a few photos as quickly as possible so that I would at least get a photo. Then he flew a little way and sat on my purple martin perch. I took my time and took quite a few different photos changing my F stop and found this one to be the nicest. I did not crop these photos only made them small so that I could upload them.

If you have any suggestions on getting better shots next time or what I can practice tomorrow...please send your thoughts my way.
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Old Apr 26, 2015, 12:03 AM   #14
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i didn't mean to imply that you didn't understand the rule of thirds... just using it as an example of why i like to leave room in the shot (or compose while i'm shooting) to allow for that, rather than filling the frame completely with the subject...

do you sharpen your photos after you resize them for the web? i'm kind of at a loss here... i'm struggling to find any part of most of these that is really sharply focused, and not having much luck. if no part of the image is really sharp, that tells me that the problem is most likely due to camera shake.what lens were you using for these - the 150-600? do you use the IS? do you have the same sharpness issue with your SX40 at extended focal lengths?

as far as using a wider aperture to blur the background, that's a good way to isolate your subject. a telephoto lens at, say, 400mm, with the aperture at f/5.6, has a depth of field of about 12 inches when focused on a subject 50 feet away. at f/8, the DoF is about 18", and at f/16 it's a bit under 3 feet. you won't get a whole heck of a lot of difference in DoF just by changing aperture with a long lens.
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Old Apr 26, 2015, 7:07 AM   #15
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Oh Rocky, I know you were just trying to kindly help me regarding the rule of thirds....I am fine with information you are providing and only wanted you to know I knew a teeny bit I guess a bit proud of myself for knowing about the rule of thirds. lol.

Ok, perhaps this information will help. I was using the Tamron 150-600. It was a cloudy, dull gray day, I was hand-holding my camera while leaning it on a wooden object. I get my tripod next week and will definitely be using that immediately.

I've done nothing with the photos except to reduce their size in paint (as I do not have my computer back from repair with my photoshop on it). I did attempt to crop 2 of the photos of the crossbills.

Do you place the center point (little square) right on the birds eye? Is that what you mean by focusing on the eye?

I cannot say that I get crystal clear photos from my SX40 either but then I've only shot that in auto mode also. I'm determined to learn manual shooting. I agree the photos do not look great like the rest of yours. I'm so bummed about that. I will see how the tripod works and if that does not help I am going to attend a few classes when they begin. I love nature so much and would love to capture it on photo.

So just to be clear when I have the setting on Av...it appears all I can change quickly is the Fstop by turning the dial. Is that correct.

I am using image stabilization (IS) right now as I have not used a tripod perhaps I will try some photos with that off this morning. Gosh, this is the pitts.

Thank you so much for all the help and advice. You have been a wonderful person to spend time trying to figure out my problems.
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Old Apr 26, 2015, 7:20 AM   #16
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One more thing. This link really explains clearly what Rocky has been trying to explain to me (correct me if I am wrong). The difference is this is complete manual mode while he is saying use Av mode...these things are still happening in the background. I'm hoping I do not get in trouble for adding it to this forum. I am not affiliated in any way to this person, I do not know him. But out of all the videos I have been watching this one seems to really make the manual terms easy to understand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PH8spP4bO8
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Old Apr 26, 2015, 11:05 AM   #17
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Lotuslady:

You should be able to get reasonably sharp images using Av (Aperture Priority) and Auto focus...at least that's what I use 99% of the time. I wonder if your lens is a bad copy, or if you camera body is in need of servicing (calibration of the AF and exposure). Here's what I would do, if I were you.
1. Reset the camera to its default settings (see owner's manual)
2. Set the camera on Aperture Priority with an aperture of f/8.
3. Photograph a still object with the light source behind you with various lenses.

Post the results here and perhaps we can continue to help with the trouble shooting;

Here is another example with the Tamron 150-600 mm at full zoom (600 mm) on my Nikon D800. I have resized and applied some sharpening to the final image. But overall it has decent clarity and sharpness. In this case, I focused on the center of the emblem. Due to the full zoom, the peripheral area of the image is out of focus which is normal due to the shallow Depth of Field. And this was shot hand held at 1/125th of a second with the VC in the "on" position.

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Old Apr 26, 2015, 11:45 AM   #18
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[QUOTE=Lotuslady;1389398]Oh Rocky, I know you were just trying to kindly help me regarding the rule of thirds....I am fine with information you are providing and only wanted you to know I knew a teeny bit I guess a bit proud of myself for knowing about the rule of thirds. lol.

Ok, perhaps this information will help. I was using the Tamron 150-600. It was a cloudy, dull gray day, I was hand-holding my camera while leaning it on a wooden object. I get my tripod next week and will definitely be using that immediately.

I've done nothing with the photos except to reduce their size in paint (as I do not have my computer back from repair with my photoshop on it). I did attempt to crop 2 of the photos of the crossbills.

Do you place the center point (little square) right on the birds eye? Is that what you mean by focusing on the eye?

I cannot say that I get crystal clear photos from my SX40 either but then I've only shot that in auto mode also. I'm determined to learn manual shooting. I agree the photos do not look great like the rest of yours. I'm so bummed about that. I will see how the tripod works and if that does not help I am going to attend a few classes when they begin. I love nature so much and would love to capture it on photo.

So just to be clear when I have the setting on Av...it appears all I can change quickly is the Fstop by turning the dial. Is that correct.

I am using image stabilization (IS) right now as I have not used a tripod perhaps I will try some photos with that off this morning. Gosh, this is the pitts.

Thank you so much for all the help and advice. You have been a wonderful

Okay...

first of all, hand-holding that Tamron is certainly doable... i do it frequently, though i also use a monopod quite often for that little extra bit of support. but that's a fairly heavy lens, and if you're not accustomed to it, it can tire you quickly... and even the slightest movement will be magnified by that long zoom. the IS works well, but it's not a "silver bullet"... second, i've found that the Tamron is not at its best on dull, gray days. it seems to do noticeably better on brighter days. doesn't need sunshine, but it does like good light.

yes, placing the focus point over the bird's eye is correct... that should give you a clear focus on that part of the image. if you haven't applied any post processing to your photos other than resizing, two things are happening. one, your images will not be as sharp as processed ones... it's pretty rare that an image straight from the camera doesn't need at least some touching up, including sharpening. two, when you resize, you lose sharpness, because the resizing process compresses the file and you lose image data. so if you had a slightly soft image to begin with, and then resized it without sharpening, it'll likely be pretty soft. it you don't have photoshop right now, you might try downloading a program called Irfanview. it's a free download, and it lets you do things like crop, sharpen, resize, rotate the image, adjust brightness and contrast, etc. it's very easy to use, and best of all, it's free!! i've been using it for years as my default image viewer, and also for some of my image processing tasks, depending on what processing the image needs. you can get it here.

you're correct about Av mode... mostly. when you turn the main dial (the little wheel next to the shutter button), you change the aperture. of course, that also changes the shutter speed as well; a smaller aperture means a slower shutter, and vice versa. but assuming you don't slow the shutter down too much, there's nothing about shooting in Av mode that would cause images to be soft... you should get results just as sharp as in any other mode. the only difference between Av and Tv is which of the exposure elements you're manually changing - aperture or shutter speed. either way, the camera does the rest, selecting the optimum settings to produce a good image with your input. (there's a way to change shutter speed in Av without changing aperture, using the command dial on the back, but that's a different matter...)

at this point, i think the best thing you can do is wait till you get your computer back with photoshop, or download Irfanview if you can't wait, and then see what your photos look like with some sharpening applied... especially the ones you resize for the web! then let us have a look and see where to go from there.
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Old Apr 26, 2015, 11:47 AM   #19
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Lotuslady,

first of all, hand-holding that Tamron is certainly doable... i do it frequently, though i also use a monopod quite often for that little extra bit of support. but that's a fairly heavy lens, and if you're not accustomed to flinging a large lens around, it can tire you quickly... and even the slightest movement will be magnified by that long zoom. the IS works well, but it's not a "silver bullet"... second, i've found that the Tamron is not at its best on dull, gray days. it seems to do noticeably better on brighter days. doesn't need sunshine, but it does like good light.

yes, placing the focus point over the bird's eye is correct... that should give you a clear focus on that part of the image. if you haven't applied any post processing to your photos other than resizing, two things are happening. one, your full-size images will not be as sharp as processed ones... it's pretty rare that an image straight from the camera doesn't need at least some touching up, including sharpening. two, when you resize, you lose sharpness, because the resizing process compresses the file and you lose image data. so if you had a slightly soft image to begin with, and then resized it without sharpening, it'll likely be pretty soft. it you don't have photoshop right now, you might try downloading a program called Irfanview. it's a free download, and it lets you do things like crop, sharpen, resize, rotate the image, adjust brightness and contrast, etc. it's very easy to use, and best of all, it's free!! i've been using it for years as my default image viewer, and also for some of my image processing tasks, depending on what processing the image needs. you can get it here.

you're correct about Av mode... mostly. when you turn the main dial (the little wheel next to the shutter button), you change the aperture. of course, that also changes the shutter speed as well; a smaller aperture means a slower shutter, and vice versa. but assuming you don't slow the shutter down too much, there's nothing about shooting in Av mode that would cause images to be soft... you should get results just as sharp as in any other mode. the only difference between Av and Tv is which of the exposure elements you're manually changing - aperture or shutter speed. either way, the camera does the rest, selecting the optimum settings to produce a good image with your input. (there's a way to change shutter speed in Av without changing aperture, using the command dial on the back, but that's a different matter...)

at this point, i think the best thing you can do is wait till you get your computer back with photoshop, or download Irfanview if you can't wait, and then see what your photos look like with some sharpening applied... especially the ones you resize for the web! then let us have a look and see where to go from there.
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Old Apr 26, 2015, 11:51 AM   #20
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PS... if you want, you can email me one of your photos, and i'll run it through some basic processing steps, and see how it looks, and post the results... that'll tell you if all you need is some processing, or if the image has issues that PP can't resolve... if you want to try that, just PM me and i'll send you my email address.
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