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A (Good) Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

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jimfordbroadcom
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Cheap and cheerful
jimfordbroadcom   6/24/2016 5:01:29 PM
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Max, you had me at "cheap and cheerful" - as soon as I saw that, I knew it must be you writing!  LOL!

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Cheap and cheerful
Max The Magnificent   6/24/2016 5:03:56 PM
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@JimFord: Max, you had me at "cheap and cheerful"...

My hands never left the ends of my arms LOL

jimfordbroadcom
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Re: Cheap and cheerful
jimfordbroadcom   6/24/2016 5:21:38 PM
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@Max: Good thing!  Anyway, in the time between then and now, I've actually read the entire 1000 words or so that you wrote and felt the need to comment further.  Interesting that your wife bought you the camera; it always seems I'm the one springing for a new camera for mine (Dawn the uh, howsabout we don't go there with an epithet?!).

In our household, my wife Dawn is the one most often chosen to do the photography; my pictures tend to have heads chopped off or some other artistic malfeasance!  I think it has something to do with my lack of patience and her dedication to the task at hand. OTOH, if the task involves soldering a flaky Malibu light or a frozen up refrigerator water dispenser, the roles are of course reversed!

Say, how did we get here?

Clive
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Re: Cheap and cheerful
Clive"Max"Maxfield   6/24/2016 5:25:46 PM
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@JimFord: Say, how did we get here?

I don't know. Would you care for a beer?

jimfordbroadcom
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Re: Cheap and cheerful
jimfordbroadcom   6/24/2016 5:32:38 PM
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@Max: sounds good to me!  Although I'll forgo the bitters.  Some of my colleagues at Powerwave (RIP as of 2013) swore by that stuff when we went to jolly old England on business at the end of 2001, but I opted for the cider instead.  My tastes these days run toward Kona Brewing Co. big wave golden ale or longboard lager, but I've been known to drink an IPA or a stout from time to time.

perl_geek
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Photography course
perl_geek   6/24/2016 5:15:06 PM
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Check out "The Fundamentals of Photography" at www.thegreatcourses.com 

Ignore the list prices; I don't think anyone pays those. Look for combinations or special deals, which happen regularly.

The courses are ususally excellent, but I don't know why they think people smart enough to enjoy the subjects can't see through the marketing tactics.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Photography course
Max The Magnificent   6/24/2016 5:24:09 PM
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@perl_geek: Check out "The Fundamentals of Photography" at www.thegreatcourses.com...

I will do so -- I'd forgotten about them, but I really like their courses -- thanks for sharing

bwalker970
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Re: A (Good) Picture is Worth 1,000 Words
bwalker970   6/24/2016 8:39:20 PM
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I have 25 lovely pictures from a road trip I took many years ago.  I had chosen to buy a single disposable camera on an impulse.  So, with camera in hand, I gleefully went from place to place and took a series of day hikes.  The pictures are grainy because the film was fast, cheap and not very sharp but the subjects were interesting.  That single roll of film enforced a discipline of carefully considering when and where to take my pictures.  So I would stalk my subject, line up my shot and click the shutter when I had just what I wanted. That experience prompted me to buy my first SLR.

Taking a good picture requires some thought and willingness to take the time to get a good picture.  Having worked with film, I developed an appreciation for exposure and composition.  I preferred slide film which is less forgiving than print film but has much better resolution and color.  Viewing slide film is very immersive, the colors are rich and the images are sharper than print.  I would set out to shoot a roll or three and those 37 shots per roll were enough to get me to find new subjects but not so much so that I was just taking pictures of anything that moved.

I originally bought an SLR in a kit with a lens.  That "kit" lens was merely adequate and I never use it any more. I soon spent the extra money to get a real lens which I used for most of my pictures.  The quality of the lens makes a huge difference in the quality of the pictures and the difference in clarity was like night and day.  Kit lenses are, in a word, cheap.  They are merely intended to whet one's appetite.  In the days of film, serious photographers could spend more money on good "glass" than on camera bodies.  Coincidentally, good lens are heavier because they have more glass.

Susan Rambo
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more
Susan Rambo   6/24/2016 8:49:04 PM
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Good stuff. When is your next lesson?

David_Ashton_EC
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Cameras....
David_Ashton_EC   6/24/2016 8:54:06 PM
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Max...I;ve had the same urges recently.  I still have my Olympus OM film cameras and enough accessories to take full frames of anything from a minute water-bug 2x3 mm with a macrolens to an entire  stone circle in England with a fisheye.  But who uses film these days?  Often you can't even get it.... (I know because my wife has a cheap point-and-shoot Canon that she insists on using...).  I have a work Kodak 4MP camera with  10x zoom and a personal 10MP Canon with 8x zoom but I often reach the limits of those, especially for close up work.

I recently looked at a Nikon P900...an all-in-one with 82x Zoom.  Now I am the first to appreciate that a lens that does that is bound to have compromises, but pretty much all reports are very good and it is A$ 700...that's about US$ 525.  Much less than an SLR and some lenses.  The thought of not changing lenses is very attractive, even though that introduces some minor limitations again.

Do any readers have one of these, and could you tell me what you think?

GroovyGeek
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The techie fallacy
GroovyGeek   6/25/2016 12:06:09 AM
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This article suffers from the same fallacy which makes most techies poor photographers - the notion that a better camera is required to take better pictures. The logical extension of this argument is that it takes a top notch pen (or laptop or tablet) to be a good writer. That $80 point and shoot of yours could easily have been a top of the line pro camera in the early 2000s. The camera is just a tool, in the hands of a skilled tradesman it does wonders, in the hands of a hack it is a wrecking ball. My advice? Throw away the books on the technical aspects of photography. Anyone with a technical background can master that within a few weeks. Instead buy books like "Pictorial composition in art", and "Landscape within". They will teach you things to allow you to be a better photographer.

David_Ashton_EC
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Re: The techie fallacy
David_Ashton_EC   6/25/2016 3:15:07 AM
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@GroovyGeek....points taken.  I know people who have much more of a good "eye" for a pic thank I do.  But then I do need something that will focus down to a few cm for some of the things I want to take, my $80 one does not.  This would be akin to using a crappy pen or laptop that makes your writing illegible or corrupted.  I'd agree that a camera is just a tool, but there is also a theory that you should't scrimp on cheap tools. If you're working on RF or fast digital, then a 10MHZ scope's not going to be much good.  I wanted something that will do what I need without costing me an arm and a leg, this seems to fit the bill.  Half the poeple I speak to say "Naah, get an SLR" which I'm tempted to (especially if I could adapt my old Macro stuff to it) but really I doubt I really need that flexibility any more.

GroovyGeek
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Re: The techie fallacy
GroovyGeek   6/25/2016 3:35:03 AM
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Yes, a right tool for the job is essential.  But even macro photography may not be a limiting factor for your $80 camera.  Most tiny sensors are actually excellent for macro, due to their extremely large DOF.  For at least 90% of the people taking images a cell phone camera is not the limiting factor.  Below are links to a couple of images.  Care to guess which ones are taken with a $3000 SLR with a $2000 lens in front of it, and which ones are from a $100 point and shoot? EXIF peeking will not help, the metadata has been stripped :-)

#1

http://www.lghtbx.com/u/biboyanov/0BxMbtrAZYEMofmFYOFN4ZXB5dnROMThUX2d6ei1FdkFsa0R5bndKUjMwdlZQcGhSdEFGZjQ/0BxMbtrAZYEMoR0cycWc3MVlzTms

#2

http://www.lghtbx.com/u/biboyanov/0BxMbtrAZYEMofmFYOFN4ZXB5dnROMThUX2d6ei1FdkFsa0R5bndKUjMwdlZQcGhSdEFGZjQ/0BxMbtrAZYEMoSTBHMS0wVnRxaXc

#3

http://www.lghtbx.com/u/biboyanov/0BxMbtrAZYEMofmlFUjVfNm9EZFRKSk1TOFkzTVVWRkpvNkRIMExCdFZVR1JZQm43SC1Cak0/0BxMbtrAZYEMod3JNYWJxTHVtNGc

#4

http://www.lghtbx.com/u/biboyanov/0BxMbtrAZYEMod1JWQklGS04zUjg/0BxMbtrAZYEMoSWhKRkxzS2VKQVE

#5

http://www.lghtbx.com/u/biboyanov/0BxMbtrAZYEMoaVhtUnFzOTdjeGs/0BxMbtrAZYEMoR0QyZFRqQXc5R2c

#6

http://www.lghtbx.com/u/biboyanov/0BxMbtrAZYEMoaVhtUnFzOTdjeGs/0BxMbtrAZYEMod3kzbWpNck9yaTQ

David_Ashton_EC
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Re: The techie fallacy
David_Ashton_EC   6/25/2016 5:47:21 AM
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@Groovygeek... "Care to guess which ones are taken with a $3000 SLR with a $2000 lens in front of it, and which ones are from a $100 point and shoot?"

No I can't.  16 MP (or even less), with a half reasonable lens will look good on those shots.  I've had some good results from smartphone cameras as well.  That's why I don't want to spend $5K!  I'm actually thinking of getting a $14 set of lenses for my smartphone that does wide / fisheye / macro on that.  If they're lemons I haven't lost heaps.  

I'd point out that none of the pics you linked to are macro shots, and they make your point, that imaginative use of light (especially low morning and evening light), viewpoint and composition are far more important than the camera you use.  Are they yours?  My compliments if so.

But I want something that can also do closeups of SMD bits on a PCB occasionally....and my P&S just does not do that.

 

realjjj
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Re: The techie fallacy
realjjj   6/25/2016 7:43:56 AM
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You can harvest the lens from a 1$ laser pointer and go from there.

realjjj
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....
realjjj   6/25/2016 3:08:31 AM
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Now try to achieve similar results with your phone. If needed, there are some apps that might give you better control over manual settings.

It is a problem that phone makers and the press aren't helping users understand how to use the camera and what each setting means. People don't know even the most basic things.

Rcurl
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One camera is not enough
Rcurl   6/25/2016 6:40:53 AM
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Now that you've been bitten by the photography bug, you'll be needing more cameras.

The one Gina gave you is excellent- and hard to beat, but you might want to consider a second one that will be more flexible for those "quick shots" while still giving really good image quality. I don't know the reason for this, but you'll find that the digital cameras with non-interchangeable lenses often have a much wider zoom range. 

I use a Nikon Coolpix P600 which has an amazing 4.3-258mm (60X) zoom range.  It also has an articulating viewfinder for those "over-the-head" shots like at a parade where you're not on the front row.

.....and next you'll be needing an underwater camera and one you can take skydiving! 

 

David_Ashton_EC
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Re: One camera is not enough
David_Ashton_EC   6/25/2016 7:00:14 AM
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@Rcurl....Rick... "I use a Nikon Coolpix P600.."  Sounds like you are happy with it??  As above I am looking at buying its big brother the P900.  I don't know why they don't make such wide range zooms for SLRs either, but they don't so there is probably a good reason for it...  but having it all on one unit kinda appeals to me....

Rcurl
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Re: One camera is not enough
Rcurl   6/25/2016 8:26:58 AM
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@David: Sounds like you are happy with it??  

A qualified yes.  I have not had it very long.  We took a trip to the beach and I shot a whole bunch of pics. 90% of the pictures were excellent, but in the remaining 10% the bottom third to two thirds of the image is solid grey. After searching some forums I found that this is often an SD card problem.  I popped the card out of the camera and discovered that the Sandisk "pro grade" SD card I bought on eBay was actually a generic "class 1" card with a bogus Sandisk label stuck on it.

I put a genuine Sandisk card in the camera last week and took a few test shots that are all perfect. Hopefully the problem is solved.  Other than that I like the camera a lot. It is still teaching me how to use it, though.

betajet
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My Dad, the Art Historian
betajet   6/25/2016 11:36:51 AM
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My Dad is a retired art historian.  He spent a lot of time in museums taking photos of paintings, armed with a tripod and light meter.  (Thou shalt not use a flash in a museum.)  He would take his time composing each photo, sometimes the whole painting but often close-up details.  The paintings didn't mind -- they'd been hanging around on those walls for decades and weren't planning on going anywhere.

Unfortunately, he'd use the same careful, methodical practices when taking photos of my sister and me as children.  We have boxes of photos of us looking as bored out of our skulls as The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit by John Singer Sargent, who famously said: "I do not judge, I merely chronicle."

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