I got my gear...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nbs2, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    I did take the advice from all of your seriously, but in the end I had to buck the peer pressure and get the Pentax K100D. I had been thinking about trying to reserve the K10, but decided that I'm too much of a beginner to take advantage of it. Also, the manager at Ritz said I wouldn't have been able to do that (I was swapping out the D50 and 28-80 that Lori had won in a raffle). It worked out even better since they had given us the body and lens as separate pieces (instead of the kit), we got $660 ($550/$110 for the body/lens) instead of the $600 the kit goes for.

    Anyway, I'm picking up the 50-200 on Monday afternoon. Thanks to Chip's help, I have a nice camera bag (we decided to go with the Lowepro Orion II) and a couple of cheap UV filters. We have spent a total of $426 (eventually $576) for what I think is a pretty nice set up.

    I have been looking at software - there are some things in PixelNhance and iPhoto that I can't do that I would like to. Also, I can't seem to figure out GIMP - that is an incredibly confusing application. Maybe I'll blow part of our savings on PSE, depending on how the included software plays out.

    I picked up camera yesterday and have blown through my first 50 pictures. There have been a few pictures that I haven't been able to figure out how to get that I hope I will eventually understand.

    If anybody has any suggestions, there is one that caused me some problems yesterday - I was trying to get the sunset as the sun was behind some clouds. I couldn't get the camera to meter/expose the image without either blowing the highlights or losing the shadows. How do I get the bright (not blown) sunset, with a clear foreground?
  2. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    Congratulations on your new camera and gear! :) Will be eagerly watching for some images now! You really lucked out with Lori winning that D50 setup and being able to swap it for the camera and lens you really wanted. Way to go!

    Software: I would recommend PS Elements. It's a "light" version of Photoshop but has more than plenty for the novice to do and learn and you won't miss PS a bit. I believe PSE 4 is out for the Mac now and I've just seen an announcement of PSE 5 (Windows) already. I think PSE 4 for the Mac would do you just fine.

    Shooting sunsets has never been my forte, but I believe the idea is to deliberately underexpose by a stop and to meter on the sky adjacent to the sunset, NOT the sunset itself. Someone who is more knowledgeable and experienced with this can tell you for sure the best way to do this.
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Yeah, point the camera into the sky (not at the Sun), and meter. Underexpose, but do so by as much as you want. Just test things out and see what you like, because it's hard to say for each camera. I love my sunrises and sunsets, but I'm not sure what looks good to you. :eek:

    If you still don't get results you like, I think you're going to find that shooting in RAW will help because you get that extra stop or 1.5 stops of dynamic range, meaning you can see more shades of white or black before you completely lose detail either in the highlights or shadows.

    I took these 2 weeks ago at sunrise. They're far from my best, but they're the only sunrise photos I have moved into Adobe Lightroom. :eek: I have others, but the sun isn't directly behind them. So not the best photos, but I got the beams of light and preserved the details in the clouds.

    Attached Files:

  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    (1) About Gimp. Did you read the book? It is not more complicated than PSE. Yes Gimp is a professional level tool so it as lots of features. All photo editors work much alike. There are eye dropper tools, coor clood tools and selection tools, magic wands and so on. Gimp PSE and CS2 all use the same icons for the same tools.

    (2) About the bright clouds. That's just the way it is. Digital is not film and has a MUCH smaller dynamic range then film. Some digital cameras are beer then others in this regard Digital is more like shooting slides, you expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall. OK there are two other things you can do (A) Use a neutral density gradient filter. These are darker on top and clear on the bottom. Works OK if there is a clean horizon line. Many of these on the market (B) Use Gimp, CS2 or maybe PSE. You need to make two exposures in the camera, one for the sky and one for the shadows. (You can extend this technique to three exposures) Soot the shots with different shutter speeds then in Photoshop or Gimp make a mask with a slightly fuzzy edge and composite the images. If you are good at mask making the result will look good.

    If you shoot the image in RAW frmat you might be able to correct just a single exosure. Expose it for the sky then in Gimp select just the shadows and then brng the exposure up in curves or levels

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