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Menard
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« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2008, 08:20:28 PM »

One thing I always stress to anybody interested in photography is that the equipment you have is meaningless. A photograph is only as good as the photographer taking it.

I could never disagree that it is the photographer's ability to recognize a shot, and then take that shot that matters the most.  However, having good quality gear can make actually getting the shot a lot easier (or even possible, depending).  It can also keep you from getting frustrated.  When I got my SLR, it was so I could have a single camera, with a variable focal length lens, that could snap pictures as quickly as I needed.  I only ever had a 50mm lens and that 28-200 for the camera.  They covered the bases I needed to cover.  I had the 35-80mm that came with the camera and such, but never used them.  I did use filters and polarizers, and having a good set of those can be fun to experiment with and give you some neat results.

If you are doing action photos, then sometimes you need a lens that has a low f-stop.  If not, you have to shoot on higher speed film, and you really can tell the difference between 100 speed and 400 speed once it is enlarged.  The 50mm 1.4 is almost a godsend in that respect.  It's the best lens you can get for the money. The only detracter is that it is fixed at 50mm.  However, somebody once gave me some good advice.  They told me to practice by using the 50mm for everything.  The lens has a great f-stop, that that did not limit me.  What I had to do was see and position myself for the shots, based on the focal length.  Actually, that person gave me great advice.  When I finally get back into photography, I'll probably do the same thing for a few weeks.

A quick and reliable autofocus, and a fast photo-taking rate are also very helpful if you are doing action, sports, or wildlife photography.  Being a snob about someone's equipment is silly.  The equipment is just a tool.  The photographer is the important part.

Most every shot I do can be done with a single focal length lens.

Zooms, telephotos, and wide angles come in handy. Anybody wanting to be a photographer, however, should learn with a single focal length. Being that this is difficult anymore, as they are not made for anything other than high end professional cameras, my recommendation is to set the zoom at about a, for its range, normal focal length, and learn to move closer and farther from the subject. This is simply learning perspective which someone is likely not going to learn by sitting on their ass and zooming in and out.

I would carry three lenses for wedding shoots, using 35mm equipment: a 50mm normal lens; a 35mm wide angle lens; and a 100mm tele lens. 90% or more of a wedding, sometimes even 100%, was shot on the 50mm; my form of zoom was called two legs. I only used the 35mm if my back was against a wall and I could not move back any further* or I needed the depth of field. The 100mm was only used for when I was at the back of a church or as a portrait lens and when I wanted less depth of field.


*I once was shooting portraits in a Catholic church, actually attached to a monastery, in Cincinnati. I had about an hour or two left to go when I realized that my zoom had stuck and would not go any wider than 135mm (using a 75-150mm zoom with 70mm film; about the equivalent of a 35-70mm zoom on 35mm film).

Hoping against the odds of a large family coming up didn't work as my next to last group was a family of 12. I had to be creative in getting 12 people posed and still had myself all the way back and standing in the window to take the shot. The posing additionally had to be creative to overcome a narrower depth of field with a large family than what being zoomed out to 75mm would have afforded.

Having worked my way up from an old SLR I bought at a pawn shop, which had a single 50mm lens, I had to learn how to use that to its best advantage, even if a tele or wide angle would have been more convenient because I could not afford them (different times well before the internet when used equipment was not that easy to find and camera shops warned you about buying out of magazines, but would be more than willing to sell you the same equipment for two or three times as much...hmm).


I don't tell people not to expand their equipment if that is an affordable option for them, but I do tell them that does not make them a photographer; only doing the best you can with what you have, and doing a good job at it, does.

I was not afforded that advice when I started in photography, and often made to feel that I needed certain equipment to be a photographer. Learning better over the years, I do give that advice to others, especially in the face of other photographers, or so-called brand junkies, giving them bad advice.


Certain specifics to your post, Andrew.

The 50/1.4 and 50/1.2 are silly money. At one point they afforded that extra bit for someone who needed it and, other than for someone who needs a narrow depth of field or who shoots constantly in low light situations, it does not afford advantages commencerate with the added cost. The additional increase in exposure latitudes alone had lessened the need for such fast lenses. I don't own such a lens myself.


I did know someone who worked for a small local paper taking shots at school football games. They only provided him with a manual 35mm SLR, with a 50mm lens. He succeeded in getting the shots, but on more than one occasion he was one of the bodies in a sideline tackle.

Football, basketball, Nascar, Motocross; these are all specialized events and those who make a living at it use specialized equipment for it. If someone has an interest in this type of photography, they need to be looking at a lens that can get them closer to the action while providing wide enough of an aperture to give them good shutter speed if they need it, and that will keep their body at a safe distance.

In addition to the equipment, though, they need to learn the basics of dealing with speed in their subject and how to move with the subject to reduce motion blur, which increases with the use of a long lens. Following a subject with a lens longer than 200mm (35mm) is truly a mastered art.

Wildlife photography uses specialized equipment. Not just for the safety of the photographer, especially when photographing predatory wildlife, but for maintaining a calm with wildlife where too close will cause many animals to scatter.

Wedding photography can be done with a standard SLR and lens, but it is best to accessory lenses if available, and an absolute must to have a backup camera, and preferably a backup photographer. Wedding photography leaves zero room for screw ups. This is a one time event at which you have only one shot, and if you screw it up, well...I'll let everybody finish that for themselves.


These are specializations in photography and are not where a photographer starts, but where a photographer may find they are heading with their photography. They don't need to be looking at possibilities for equipment just starting out. Any equipment they have is just fine and all of the aforementioned subjects can be done with the basics so long as they learn to step back when necessary, run when necessary, and never never ever say to someone 'I have a camera; I'll shoot your wedding' unless they have a backup, and backup on top of backup, and have read my article.

They may find that they are happy just where they are; though, there is nothing at all wrong with wanting someone more in a camera or lens, and, even if it's silly, if one has the money and wants it, go ahead.
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Menard
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« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2008, 08:29:30 PM »

I'm going to agree with Menard on this one.

That must have been tough. Kind of like tying a string to your nads and yanking real hard...huh? TongueOut
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« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2008, 09:53:10 PM »

I'm going to agree with Menard on this one.

That must have been tough. Kind of like tying a string to your nads and yanking real hard...huh? TongueOut

Wha...??? Did I leave my web cam on again? Dang it!!!!!!   TeddyR Twirling
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Trevor
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« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2008, 01:13:24 AM »

I'm going to agree with Menard on this one.

That must have been tough. Kind of like tying a string to your nads and yanking real hard...huh? TongueOut

Wha...??? Did I leave my web cam on again? Dang it!!!!!!   TeddyR Twirling

 Buggedout but also  TeddyR TeddyR BounceGiggle
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Zapranoth
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« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2008, 02:01:43 AM »

I liked the dog owners rant, too, Susan.   And ya opened and closed it to my favorite ELO song.    I was expecting a Texan accent, for some reason, surprised me that you basically have no accent.  (to someone like me who basically grew up in the Midwest.)

I have seen one cat that would probably tolerate having clothes put on him... one.  He was a very unusual cat.  His owner could brush his teeth (I've never seen that before, and my cat is a Ragdoll and will tolerate almost anything).   Regarding the tolerant cat, though, his owner would never have tried to dress him up, fair to say.

Oh, the juggling to Abba was pretty funny, too.  Haven't heard that song in a long time.

Obligatory post content relevant to thread:  I totally, totally suck at photography.  But having a good camera has made me at least capable, by brute force, of catching a good image once in a while.  With plain film I wouldn't be able to hammer away enough images to luck upon something decent.  =)    My wife, though, has a pretty good eye for composition.
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Susan
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« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2008, 07:11:42 AM »

I liked the dog owners rant, too, Susan.   And ya opened and closed it to my favorite ELO song.    I was expecting a Texan accent, for some reason, surprised me that you basically have no accent.  (to someone like me who basically grew up in the Midwest.)

I have seen one cat that would probably tolerate having clothes put on him... one.  He was a very unusual cat.  His owner could brush his teeth (I've never seen that before, and my cat is a Ragdoll and will tolerate almost anything).   Regarding the tolerant cat, though, his owner would never have tried to dress him up, fair to say.


I get that a lot about my lack of accent, people here ask where i'm from and i've lived here since i was 10. I guess it's because i grew up all over prior to that age. Same with my brother. My dad has no accent and grew up in new orleans, my mom has no accent anymore, but when she talks to her family her arkansan accent quickly comes back. I can easily talk with an accent if i want to but maybe i never aquired it because i don't like southern accents..lol  I still use southern slang, like 'ya'll.

The videos up there were mostly when i discovered i had a video feature on my cam. I created a vlog for fun basically and i haven't done it in awhile. I did a few cooking skits because a friend of mine put up cooking challenges, clearly i'm no cook..lol

My cat won't let me brush her teeth but she'll brush her teeth on her hairbrush. Go figure. She'll also get in the bathtub, even when i'm in there..which i don't tolerate..lol

PS: ELO rocks!
« Last Edit: October 06, 2008, 07:14:21 AM by Susan » Logged
Susan
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« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2008, 08:49:20 PM »

btw i agree that the equipment won't make someone a better photographer. But it does give you more flexibility. There are different things you can do with different cameras and lenses. I have fun with my A620, but having used the Canon rebel G years ago I know what i'm missing. I finally put one on my wishlist, if i can't find any deals around here i guess i'll go through amazon. At least there's no sales tax

One thing I wish I did have is photoshop, i can't afford it. I would also need a class on how to use it because i tried the trial version and got frustrated in specific things i wanted to do. I use GIMP but that is equally frustrating. For instance i had a pic that produced a glare, i managed to clone out the glare but the touchup is not flawless so it's rather disappointing because I like the shot otherwise.
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Menard
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« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2008, 09:39:42 PM »

btw i agree that the equipment won't make someone a better photographer. But it does give you more flexibility. There are different things you can do with different cameras and lenses. I have fun with my A620, but having used the Canon rebel G years ago I know what i'm missing. I finally put one on my wishlist, if i can't find any deals around here i guess i'll go through amazon. At least there's no sales tax

One thing I wish I did have is photoshop, i can't afford it. I would also need a class on how to use it because i tried the trial version and got frustrated in specific things i wanted to do. I use GIMP but that is equally frustrating. For instance i had a pic that produced a glare, i managed to clone out the glare but the touchup is not flawless so it's rather disappointing because I like the shot otherwise.


You don't have to buy a photo editor to do much of what you can do in Photoshop. There are plenty of freeware alternatives, of which the best is Magix Photo Clinic. Obviously it's not going to compare to photoshop for advanced features, but for day to day photo editing it will provide the tools most any digital photographer can use.

I have a fairly extensive list of free photo editors and plugins that I will put up on my site for anyone who is not aware that you don't have to spend $600 on software to edit digital photos.

If you feel better spending money ( Lookingup) check out Paint Shop Pro and PhotoImpact (PhotoImpact is my preferred editor, though I mostly use it for web graphics, while Paint Shop Pro seems to be a little better oriented to digital photographers).
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Menard
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« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2008, 09:58:49 PM »

I have a fairly extensive list of free photo editors and plugins that I will put up on my site for anyone who is not aware that you don't have to spend $600 on software to edit digital photos.


I have posted the list on my G8 forum here.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2008, 10:21:05 PM »

btw i agree that the equipment won't make someone a better photographer. But it does give you more flexibility. There are different things you can do with different cameras and lenses. I have fun with my A620, but having used the Canon rebel G years ago I know what i'm missing. I finally put one on my wishlist, if i can't find any deals around here i guess i'll go through amazon. At least there's no sales tax

One thing I wish I did have is photoshop, i can't afford it. I would also need a class on how to use it because i tried the trial version and got frustrated in specific things i wanted to do. I use GIMP but that is equally frustrating. For instance i had a pic that produced a glare, i managed to clone out the glare but the touchup is not flawless so it's rather disappointing because I like the shot otherwise.
Hi Susan, I admit I'm very glad I didn't buy photoshop, though I have yet to find the solution that's right for me.  I haven't been around much myself these days. 
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Susan
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« Reply #40 on: October 12, 2008, 08:31:09 AM »

know any good freeware? LIke i said I use GIMP, i also use the canon software that came with my camera but it doesn't remove glare - that was something specific i wantd to do. I definateyl at this time do not want to pay for one because right now the camera on my wishlist is expensive enough and i don't like to do all that extensive editing. The great thing about my A620 is the camera features have a lot of options that you would otherwise use in an editing program. i'll be more back to basics with the new cam i'm eyeballing :)
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Susan
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« Reply #41 on: October 12, 2008, 08:34:01 AM »

btw i agree that the equipment won't make someone a better photographer. But it does give you more flexibility. There are different things you can do with different cameras and lenses. I have fun with my A620, but having used the Canon rebel G years ago I know what i'm missing. I finally put one on my wishlist, if i can't find any deals around here i guess i'll go through amazon. At least there's no sales tax

One thing I wish I did have is photoshop, i can't afford it. I would also need a class on how to use it because i tried the trial version and got frustrated in specific things i wanted to do. I use GIMP but that is equally frustrating. For instance i had a pic that produced a glare, i managed to clone out the glare but the touchup is not flawless so it's rather disappointing because I like the shot otherwise.
Hi Susan, I admit I'm very glad I didn't buy photoshop, though I have yet to find the solution that's right for me.  I haven't been around much myself these days. 

photoshop is like the same price as buying a camera, to me that's just not worth it. BUT, i have a coworker who offered to give me a free copy. The thing is, i tried the trial version and to me..it wasn't user friendly. I'm the type of person where i hate reading instruction manuals, i like to figure things out for myself and usually i'm pretty good with that. Except with photoshop.

people who have photoshop act like they're in a cult or something. I guess that's what spending $600 will do to you.
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Menard
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« Reply #42 on: October 12, 2008, 08:52:34 AM »

know any good freeware? LIke i said I use GIMP, i also use the canon software that came with my camera but it doesn't remove glare - that was something specific i wantd to do. I definateyl at this time do not want to pay for one because right now the camera on my wishlist is expensive enough and i don't like to do all that extensive editing. The great thing about my A620 is the camera features have a lot of options that you would otherwise use in an editing program. i'll be more back to basics with the new cam i'm eyeballing :)


Ahem

I already posted this, but here it is again. Lookingup


http://5g8.net/forum/index.php?a=vtopic&t=7
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Derf
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« Reply #43 on: October 12, 2008, 08:57:52 AM »

photoshop is like the same price as buying a camera, to me that's just not worth it. BUT, i have a coworker who offered to give me a free copy. The thing is, i tried the trial version and to me..it wasn't user friendly. I'm the type of person where i hate reading instruction manuals, i like to figure things out for myself and usually i'm pretty good with that. Except with photoshop.

people who have photoshop act like they're in a cult or something. I guess that's what spending $600 will do to you.


I used Photoshop for a number of years at my last job, so I hope I don't sound too "cultish"  TongueOut. There's a reason Photoshop is at the top of the list for professionals: it works better in subtle ways. I've used several of the alternatives, and Photoshop is definitely better for those who depend on graphics for a living. That said, most people don't need it. If all you are looking to do is simple color corrections and such, there are better, simpler programs such as Picasa and Irfanview (my personal fave for just looking through mass numbers of pics). I agree that Gimp is not very user friendly; I've been having trouble with it since I downloaded it. But if you are looking for something more along the lines of Photoshop (i.e., to go in and manipulate images, adding or subtracting elements, putting yourself into other photos, etc.), it is one of the more powerful freebies out there. I glanced through the list of programs on Menard's site, and there look to be some good possibilities there, too; I'll have to look into them when I have more time.
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