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 Post subject: Rail photography...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:48 am 
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Location: Brisbane Queensland Australia
Hi folks.

I'd like to post the best pic I've taken so far with my Canon EOS 400D. At the moment I still only have the 18-55mm kit lens, I am saving for a new lens and tripod for slow shutter speed photography.

Anyhow, this pic was taken in ISO 800 and normal exposure.

Image

I like showing my pics so I will leave a link to my fotopic site.

http://colin7336.fotopic.net//

Yep, trains are my thing. :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:43 pm 
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Location: London, UK
Colhad,

Thanks for sharing. You seem to favour photos that are overexposed, judging from your other thread; it's not to my liking. Composition-wise, it's good with the front of the train in focus and the following carriages as a leading line across the frame. I can't really fault that. It can do with a little straightening.

But technically this is a very poor photo; here's the EXIF I've extracted -

1/500, 25mm, f16, ISO 800, 0Ev, Sunny WB, Sharpness +3

With such bright conditions, you really don't need to go as far as ISO 800. I understand you need to capture a moving object, but there is the reciprocal rule for focal lengths - you've shot at 25mm so your maximum shutter speed should be 1/30. Here it's 1/500 so you've gone overboard with wanting to stop motion. So an ISO of 200 would have been possible, and would give you better image quality and less noise. It also shouldn't reduce your shutter speed so much that you won't be capturing a sharp train.

The aperture at f16 will give a sharp image throughout, but it is leaning on the small side where diffraction will become an issue. Using f8-11 will put you closer to the sweet spot of the 18-55mm and remove the risk of diffraction. This will still give you a sharp frame.

Sharpness is a tad too much, with faintly visible halos in places.

You used 0Ev - given your current settings, -1 might be beneficial.

I'm not convinced with the white balance either as colours on all my calibrated monitors show desaturated colours and the temperature looks too cold.

Finally, I assume this is all a characteristic of your photography as I've seen the photos on your fotopic site, and this is a recurring theme. Of course you're entitled to your own shooting style; but for me I feel that there's a lot of work to improve on technically to get more aesthetically pleasing photos. This will ring true if you plan to explore slow shutter speed photography - I'd suggest lowering the ISO will be the starting point and then working from there.

Apologies for all the critical comments, but I hope there's something here that will help you improve.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:19 pm 
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Criticism is only way I'll learn.

Should I be shooting trains in "Tv" mode??

Should whitebalance be kept at "AWB", I do keep it at "Sunny".

In very bright sunny conditions, is it to my advantage to have Oev at -1 more often than not??

What settings should I aim for in overcast conditions??

I have a habit of sharpening pics in PSP7 or Irfanview, should I be avoiding this??

I've only had this camera for two weeks so I am still learning. Most of those pics on that site are taken with an old compact digital camera. I can see that I have the equipment to let me improve my abilites as a photographer.

Any advice is well taken, I want my photos to be of the highest quality. I never settle for "poor or no good", need to be number one. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:08 pm 
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Well on a sunday day to enhance colours i bring down my EV -1

In this thread i was out shooting ona very sunny day! so i just bumped down the EV.

Well i would try to decrease the f/number *this is just my opinion* to make the train come more in focus and the background get a lill blured.

Try to take a look at some "basic" reviews on dslrtips.com and read ur manual :D

try that out

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:35 pm 
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Location: London, UK
Colhad wrote:
Should I be shooting trains in "Tv" mode??...Should whitebalance be kept at "AWB", I do keep it at "Sunny"...In very bright sunny conditions, is it to my advantage to have Oev at -1 more often than not??...What settings should I aim for in overcast conditions??

I have a habit of sharpening pics in PSP7 or Irfanview, should I be avoiding this??

Any advice is well taken, I want my photos to be of the highest quality. I never settle for "poor or no good", need to be number one. :)


Colhad,

I think moving out of Manual and into Shutter Priority (Tv) or Aperture Priority (Av) would be a solid base to start with seeing as you've only had 2 weeks experience with your camera. Which one you go for depends on what effects you want your image to have. If you want a motion blurred train or to stop the train in motion, then aim for Tv. On the otherhand if you want a shot of just the front cab of the train and make that a focal point, then use Av and select a wide aperture to only get a small part of the frame in focus and reduce your field depth.

Regarding sharpening, yes, you over-sharpen. A little amount shouldn't hurt, but there's a little too much here and if you look closely, you will find faint halos around objects. It's not that you should avoid it, just be less frugal when you apply it.

For your scene here, I would be recommending a CPL (circular polarising filter) so you get clearer colours, a more dramatic foreground and sky. This will also solve the over-exposure a little as it reduces light entering the camera by 1-2 stops. But a simple way around is to reduce the Ev in the camera. Whether it be -1 or -2 etc. will be down to you and what looks good. Weather conditions keep changing, so there's not exactly a set rule. Perhaps you used f16 to follow the 'sunny 16 rule', but this is only a rough guide when your camera is unable to meter - this shouldn't have been a problem given your equipment.

So there's no real hard and fast rule for sunny or overcast, but there are tricks to help get better photos in such conditions. If it's sunny, don't shoot into the sun otherwise everything will be backlit if you don't meter correctly. Backlighting is a good effect, but I assume you want to keep details of your trains, so perhaps this is one not to employ. In the end it's a case of knowing your camera and having a vision of what you want to capture, and then controlling your camera so that it does this. I don't think I can be of more help without being there with you when you take photos to show you through how to make the best of the lighting. Adaptability is the key.

White balance isn't an issue for me as I shoot RAW and JPEG when outdoors so I leave it on Auto and would adjust it later on in the post-processing stage if the camera got it wrong; the only exception is indoors, as you'll see below.

If pure JPEG, I have a grey card with me at all times so I can manually calibrate my white balance. Manually calibrating white balance is only genuinely useful indoors where lighting stays fairly uniform and it will reduce my post-processing workflow if I get the WB right in-camera; with outdoor lighting conditions, it keeps changing and you will need to recalibrate frequently.

Finally I can tell you want your photos to be of the highest quality and it's good to aim high. But start modestly and learn how to get the most from your camera before pushing on for that goal; I think this is your major hurdle, and spending more time taking photos and thinking about settings will put you in good stead towards great photography.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:30 pm 
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Defiance is THE Train Stopper...

Colhad, check his work out...wonderful stuff, and just what you like to see, definition, movement, crisp, colorful...I wonder what he does to make it so special.
I am not normally a train person, but have found myself looking at the trains that go by and wonder what Defiance would do to capture the action...I have even tried to do it, and wound up with some blur....


patti

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:06 am 
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Location: "Atlantic View" Bracknell, SE Berkshire, UK. 51° 25'10.42"N 0°45'41.15"W
patti wrote:
Defiance is THE Train Stopper...

Colhad, check his work out...wonderful stuff, and just what you like to see, definition, movement, crisp, colorful...I wonder what he does to make it so special.
I am not normally a train person, but have found myself looking at the trains that go by and wonder what Defiance would do to capture the action...I have even tried to do it, and wound up with some blur....


patti


It really is quite simple patti, turn your mode dial to Tv, select 1/800 or even 1/1000 if it is moving really fast, turn off all but the centre AF assist points, line up where you want to capture the train and when the front of the train gets to just before where you want to capture it start shooting I usually use the 3 fps not 6.5fps white balance I leave on AWB and the camera does the rest. Voila

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:37 am 
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Defiance wrote:
patti wrote:
Defiance is THE Train Stopper...

Colhad, check his work out...wonderful stuff, and just what you like to see, definition, movement, crisp, colorful...I wonder what he does to make it so special.
I am not normally a train person, but have found myself looking at the trains that go by and wonder what Defiance would do to capture the action...I have even tried to do it, and wound up with some blur....


patti


It really is quite simple patti, turn your mode dial to Tv, select 1/800 or even 1/1000 if it is moving really fast, turn off all but the centre AF assist points, line up where you want to capture the train and when the front of the train gets to just before where you want to capture it start shooting I usually use the 3 fps not 6.5fps white balance I leave on AWB and the camera does the rest. Voila


Does this apply for all conditions, ie overcast and sunny. Also, do you continually shoot or just take a single shot when you think the time is right??

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:47 am 
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Location: "Atlantic View" Bracknell, SE Berkshire, UK. 51° 25'10.42"N 0°45'41.15"W
Colhad wrote:
Defiance wrote:
patti wrote:
Defiance is THE Train Stopper...

Colhad, check his work out...wonderful stuff, and just what you like to see, definition, movement, crisp, colorful...I wonder what he does to make it so special.
I am not normally a train person, but have found myself looking at the trains that go by and wonder what Defiance would do to capture the action...I have even tried to do it, and wound up with some blur....


patti


It really is quite simple patti, turn your mode dial to Tv, select 1/800 or even 1/1000 if it is moving really fast, turn off all but the centre AF assist points, line up where you want to capture the train and when the front of the train gets to just before where you want to capture it start shooting I usually use the 3 fps not 6.5fps white balance I leave on AWB and the camera does the rest. Voila


Does this apply for all conditions, ie overcast and sunny. Also, do you continually shoot or just take a single shot when you think the time is right??


On very dull days might have to bring the speed down to 1/650 but no lower as the train will be blurred, I shoot at 3.5fps because if you shoot at 6.5fps you end up having to look through about 20-25 shots of the same train just to have 1 or 2 keepers.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:32 am 
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I think part of my problem is, I'm still use to point and shoot compact cameras.

I went out this morning but damn battery died, as soon as it's charged I will go out anc try the Defiance settings. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:51 am 
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Photoj wrote:
Here's a checklist before taking your camera out for a trip - reformat all your cards so you know they're blank and reduce the likelihood of corruption. Check your battery level and bring spares or recharge before setting out. Finally make sure your ISO is set to the minimum. Check the file type that you're saving to - JPEG, RAW, fine, normal, etc. Finally make sure you've set the correct white balance if you're shooting JPEG.


I've posted this in another thread before; an experienced photographer should never run out of power in the field.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:48 am 
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Photoj wrote:
I've posted this in another thread before; an experienced photographer should never run out of power in the field.


Yes, I've learnt my lesson. :wink:

Ok, I have another photo. This one was taken in ISO 100, Shutter Speed 1/800, Oev -1. I then adjusted the brightness by about 0.33 percent. It was also taken in Tv mode which I believe is best for moving objects.

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:34 pm 
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Hi! Just wanted to share a bit of my railway photographs, hope you like em' :)

Note: None are shot with my D50, but my old superzoom.
I do have a lot more photographs if it would have any interest?

Image
Image
Image

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:34 am 
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Location: "Atlantic View" Bracknell, SE Berkshire, UK. 51° 25'10.42"N 0°45'41.15"W
Yeah, bring 'em on I can't get enough of them

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:39 am 
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I like em, too! Am going to try and get a photo of the big freight trains that go by, close enough for me to hear the whistle, but not the rumble..
Really nice work, love em..just love em...makes me wonder where they go...and it is hard to tell, the way you guys stop them just how fast they might have been going...I toldja, I blurr them when they are barely creepin by...which of course, is why I have to take notes tho, on the settings Roy says.

patti

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