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03-09-2008, 12:26 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edvard_Grieg Quote
I went to REI yesterday and played with the GorillaPod SLR and the UltraPod II, I'm still looking at full-size tripods, but wanted something small and sturdy for now.

I found the GorillaPod to be pretty 'unhappy' under the weight of my K10D and 18-250, with a lighter lens it might have been better, but I just found more give/wobble than I was comfortable with. I ended up getting the UltraPod II and so far like it quite a bit. While it is nowhere near as flexible as the GorillaPod, it is a lot more stable, and it also has a ball head.

I did sneak in some sunset type shots last night, but given I was mounting off the top of my car, configuring settings didn't go real smoothly. I'll post them later today.


Edit: I just realized Joby has an 'SLR ZOOM' model, I only played with the normal 'SLR' model....I guess I'll need to try and track down that 'ZOOM' iteration as it's supposed to support 6.75lbs!
I personally prefer the ultapod II over the joby gorillapod. The joby Gorillapod is great for p&s camera but I think even the larger one will not be good enough for the SLR. With an SLR, I find the need for sturdy support and I much prefer the the Ultrapod II.


And one thing that I learn about Ultrapod II tripod on mounting is NOT to spread out the legs before hooking the screw into the tirpod mount on your camera. With the three tripod legs in collapsed position, the mounting is much easier as you can use the tripod legs as a handle to assist the mounting. Also some people prefer to have some velco cushion lay on top of the screw mount to avoid scratching with the camera body.

Hope you like it more.
Hin

03-09-2008, 12:38 AM   #32
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Here is a picture taken with a p&s + Joby Gorillapod. The Gorillapod is a great gadget for p&s but I can't recommend SLR version


The above picture is done with a Fuji F30 + joby gorillapod which is excellent for night time photography. The above is a picture that was taken with a long shutter and cropped in Picasa and post processed as b&w in Picasa


This one is done in hand held in 1/4 second shutter with Fuji F30
Again, post processed with Filtered B&W conversion in Picasa

Hand Holding with Fuji F30 - Hin's Tech Corner

Picasa Tutorials - Hin's Tech Corner
03-09-2008, 09:01 PM   #33
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Ok, I think I'm finally getting the hang of this....amazing when it all starts coming together (with tripod, 30sec exposure, and self-timer)

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03-10-2008, 06:31 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edvard_Grieg Quote
Ok, I think I'm finally getting the hang of this....amazing when it all starts coming together (with tripod, 30sec exposure, and self-timer)
Now make it a b/w or even duotone. I say this because the colour information that is there detracts from the quality of the overall shot, IMO. I think you may be amazed at what this looks like as a monochrome image, and what this does to your overall perception of a night scene.

We see in monochrome in the dark anyway. (More or less.)

03-10-2008, 06:46 PM   #35
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example

Just because I felt like it... would have been easier with more pixels; what follows is no masterpiece. If nothing else take it as enthusiasm for your pursuit.
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03-10-2008, 09:10 PM   #36
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How does this look?

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03-11-2008, 04:25 AM   #37
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I like the panoramic aspect ratio and do prefer it in b/w. I think there are two challenges now. One is a technical issue: trying to capture the tonalities of the scene with greater detail. I'm thinking the best way to do this is by bracketing three shots, so that you can retain some of the detail in the dark areas (foreground tree) and not blow the highlights (street lamps). You'll need to assemble these in your image editor to use the best of each exposure.

The second challenge is an artistic one. Which is to say: What are you trying to convey with the picture? What story is it telling? What emotion is it evoking? Is there a political component? Depending on your aims you may wish to adjust your techniques, how you frame the shot, and so on.

To be specific, I find there are two areas of interest in this photo. One is the contrast between the houses on the street and those in the distance, which set up a nice geometric relationship. The other is the cul-de-sac to the right, which speaks of a certain "dead end" to culture that the suburbs might represent. I would wish to see one or the other (or both) of these emphasised, and so would have framed the shot differently.

To me the foreground tree and sign are not interesting and just get in the way. Of course it is you taking the photograph so you may have different aims. But maybe this will help!

Back to the lens question that started this thread. The 50mm you spoke of is several times faster than the zoom you are using. Even though you are not going to want the thin DOF that comes with f/1.8 or thereabouts, it will definitely help you compose the scene and get focus to have that extra light in the viewfinder. However, I think something much wider is going to be your friend for cityscapes like this. Without spending much ($50) you can get one of the many 28mm f/2.8 lenses that come up for sale. Of course this is not as wide as the wide end of your zoom, so maybe it's a poor substitute. Only you can say, by trying things out. One thing for sure: you will think differently if you are carrying a prime.

Eventually you might want something extreme, like the Sigma 10-20mm that people love so much. Me, I bought the 16-45mm for flexibility, and am typing this as I wait for UPS to deliver it... sometime in the next hour! Several of these have been offered lately in the marketplace. This will not be much faster than your current zoom, but I am thinking it will be sharper. Most lenses are significantly sharper in the centre of the frame, and this characteristic suits many types of photography (birding, portrait). But the 16-45 is clear all the way out to the edges even wide open, and so is great for cityscape stuff.

(Please take all this with a grain of salt as I am far from a professional photog. Just trying to help!)
03-11-2008, 12:43 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I like the panoramic aspect ratio and do prefer it in b/w. I think there are two challenges now. One is a technical issue: trying to capture the tonalities of the scene with greater detail. I'm thinking the best way to do this is by bracketing three shots, so that you can retain some of the detail in the dark areas (foreground tree) and not blow the highlights (street lamps). You'll need to assemble these in your image editor to use the best of each exposure.

The second challenge is an artistic one. Which is to say: What are you trying to convey with the picture? What story is it telling? What emotion is it evoking? Is there a political component? Depending on your aims you may wish to adjust your techniques, how you frame the shot, and so on.

To be specific, I find there are two areas of interest in this photo. One is the contrast between the houses on the street and those in the distance, which set up a nice geometric relationship. The other is the cul-de-sac to the right, which speaks of a certain "dead end" to culture that the suburbs might represent. I would wish to see one or the other (or both) of these emphasised, and so would have framed the shot differently.

To me the foreground tree and sign are not interesting and just get in the way. Of course it is you taking the photograph so you may have different aims. But maybe this will help!

Back to the lens question that started this thread. The 50mm you spoke of is several times faster than the zoom you are using. Even though you are not going to want the thin DOF that comes with f/1.8 or thereabouts, it will definitely help you compose the scene and get focus to have that extra light in the viewfinder. However, I think something much wider is going to be your friend for cityscapes like this. Without spending much ($50) you can get one of the many 28mm f/2.8 lenses that come up for sale. Of course this is not as wide as the wide end of your zoom, so maybe it's a poor substitute. Only you can say, by trying things out. One thing for sure: you will think differently if you are carrying a prime.

Eventually you might want something extreme, like the Sigma 10-20mm that people love so much. Me, I bought the 16-45mm for flexibility, and am typing this as I wait for UPS to deliver it... sometime in the next hour! Several of these have been offered lately in the marketplace. This will not be much faster than your current zoom, but I am thinking it will be sharper. Most lenses are significantly sharper in the centre of the frame, and this characteristic suits many types of photography (birding, portrait). But the 16-45 is clear all the way out to the edges even wide open, and so is great for cityscape stuff.

(Please take all this with a grain of salt as I am far from a professional photog. Just trying to help!)

Thank you very much for your comments- at this point I feel I'm much more just feeling the water and learning the movements for the side stroke, I'm not quite sure I'm ready to contemplate the political significance of tucking my elbow during a triple-summersault Plus given I'm taking these from my patio I'm not sure I want to pontificate on the 'dead-end' nature of my living arrangements

How would I do the metering? Would that be three separate shots that I then 'merge' afterwards to get the appropriate definition?

With regards to some of my other photos of the mountains, is there anyway for me to get better 'detail'/resolution, or is that a function of lighting and potentially a longer lens?

I'm anxious to try some of the metering etc, so please let me know what to do (or if there's a good guide online).

I think I do need to be spending more time with the lens I have so I can hopefully determine what focal length(s) I use the most and hopefully let that drive any 'prime' decisions.

Thanks!

03-11-2008, 03:05 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edvard_Grieg Quote
Plus given I'm taking these from my patio I'm not sure I want to pontificate on the 'dead-end' nature of my living arrangements


There are indeed extreme contradictions in contemporary living. Not long after my partner and I saw a great architectural display on future living concepts, which stressed the problematic of urban sprawl, we bought a house!

QuoteOriginally posted by Edvard_Grieg Quote
How would I do the metering? Would that be three separate shots that I then 'merge' afterwards to get the appropriate definition?
There is a bracket mode in the "drive" menu I think they call it. It's off the function menu... cursor up. Menu settings control exactly how this works: how many shots and how far spread the exposure compensation is. So basically the camera does it for you.

Tripod is a must so there is no shift between images. Remote shutter release would be good too. Be sure to turn off shake reduction when on a tripod.

(Hmmm... not sure this works in bulb mode. Never tried but it doesn't make much sense. Instead bracket by changing the exposure time. Get 3 or 5 shots.)

Process the RAW files with similar settings so you do not impose any further arbitrary shift. Or, try different exposures on the plus and minus sides to make things more extreme. (Keep colour temperature, sharpening etc. the same however.) Then layer the three in Photoshop or similar, tweak the curves for each and create masks as appropriate.

Here is a tutorial for "blended exposures". Take this to extremes and you have the fashionable HDR technique, for which there are any number of examples online, including this thorough landscape tutorial.

QuoteOriginally posted by Edvard_Grieg Quote
I think I do need to be spending more time with the lens I have so I can hopefully determine what focal length(s) I use the most and hopefully let that drive any 'prime' decisions.
Good idea. I did just that and tallied the results from my "keeper" shots. They were all over the range but mostly on the low end, which is why I got the 16-45mm -- no one prime was going to do it. Lens arrived today so I need to get out and do some shooting. (The 43mm arrived today too and I was a bit fixated on using it.)
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