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Bedtime Stare-down
Lens: DA L 18-55mm Camera: K-50 Photo Location: Georgia ISO: 3200 Shutter Speed: 1/20s Aperture: F4.5 
Posted By: annap24, 10-02-2015, 08:53 PM

Just got my K-50 yesterday, which is not only my first DSLR, but also my first real camera! Before I got it, I only used my phone camera. Here's a shot I took this evening of my black Lab Didi. She was ready for bed, but was very content on my side of the bed.


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10-02-2015, 10:04 PM   #2
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Got that impatient look.
10-03-2015, 01:06 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
Bedtime Stare-down
Great shot... who won?
10-03-2015, 07:40 AM   #4
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Yep come'on it's bedtime take the pic already !

10-03-2015, 09:20 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kerrowdown Quote
Great shot... who won?
Her of course! She knows I'm a pushover.
10-03-2015, 09:27 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by annap24 Quote
Her of course! She knows I'm a pushover
Mine kinda does that too.
10-03-2015, 10:09 AM   #7
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Nice job.

I find it hard to take a good picture of a black dog or a crow. They're just so monochrome and smooth that it's hard to catch shadow and depth and contour. She'll be a good subject for you to get used to your new camera with!
10-03-2015, 10:29 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
Nice job.

I find it hard to take a good picture of a black dog or a crow. They're just so monochrome and smooth that it's hard to catch shadow and depth and contour. She'll be a good subject for you to get used to your new camera with!
Thanks! I've never enjoyed taking pictures of her before because like you said, it's so hard to catch any sort of depth/contour. I've probably taken about 100 pictures of her since I got my K-50 on Thursday. I'm really enjoying actually being able to see her face! Here's one I took last night.

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10-03-2015, 10:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
but was very content on my side of the bed.
So, where did you sleep?
10-03-2015, 12:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by annap24 Quote
Thanks! I've never enjoyed taking pictures of her before because like you said, it's so hard to catch any sort of depth/contour. I've probably taken about 100 pictures of her since I got my K-50 on Thursday. I'm really enjoying actually being able to see her face! Here's one I took last night.
I think it's great, lots of color and contrast and she has an expressive face. You nailed focus on the eyes. Depth of field is narrow enough that her nose and ears are out of focus, which is good if that's what you were going for.
10-03-2015, 12:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
I think it's great, lots of color and contrast and she has an expressive face. You nailed focus on the eyes. Depth of field is narrow enough that her nose and ears are out of focus, which is good if that's what you were going for.
Thanks! She's an easy model because the sound of the lens focusing fascinates her and makes her stare. I'm still figuring out the DOF. I have the aperture wide open, but still can't get it to focus on her entire face (nose, ears, and eyes). So for now I'm just focusing on her eyes until I can figure out how to get a wider DOF.
10-03-2015, 04:33 PM   #12
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Well, the eyes being in focus is what's key. Artistically, you can decide how much of her face and head you do and don't want in sharp focus. If the front and back is blurred like that, it pulls the attention to her eyes, which is a nice effect.

But, it sounds like you would have liked to have her head in focus, which happens with some combination of

A) a smaller aperture. You said you were wide open, stop down a few stops and more you'll have deeper depth of field. Since she likes posing for you like that, find some good light, put in it aperture priority and go through as many stops as you can, changing only aperture. and
B) the distance between your lens and the subject. This one is harder for me to estimate, but in general, at the same aperture, the closer you are, the shallower the depth of field around your focus point is going to be. Someone with more experience than me can probably explain that better or correct me if I'm wrong.

The huge advantage with digital, though if you can take a bunch of photos and compare the results immediately and repeat. You'll get more and more comfortable with what you and your camera and lenses can do, which is way more valuable (I think) that memorizing EV tables or doing a bunch of math in your head.

Looking at your EXIF, you were at f4 and 1/8 of a second shutter speed. At f8 or maybe 5.6 I think her head would have been completely in focus. It also says your were at "macro distance", which I think is part of what makes this an engaging picture, but a step or two back might have brought the rest in focus too. I like that the desk and computer behind her our blurred, though, so you wouldn't want much more in focus, just a bit.

1/8 of a second is pretty slow, especially for a moving subject like a young dog. You have a steady hand and she must have been pretty still for you, because I don't see any blur.

Your ISO was at 2000, you might try 3200, speed up your shutter a bit, maybe 1/30th at that focal length and take a step back and see. f5.6 or maybe 8 would help, but in that light, you're going to have to push your ISO even higher to get there probably.

I still think it's a great photo, by the way, just the way it is, but it's fun to play with these things until you can get the picture YOU want, on purpose. :-)

Last edited by troika; 10-03-2015 at 04:40 PM.
10-03-2015, 04:57 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
Well, the eyes being in focus is what's key. Artistically, you can decide how much of her face and head you do and don't want in sharp focus. If the front and back is blurred like that, it pulls the attention to her eyes, which is a nice effect.

But, it sounds like you would have liked to have her head in focus, which happens with some combination of

A) a smaller aperture. You said you were wide open, stop down a few stops and more you'll have deeper depth of field. Since she likes posing for you like that, find some good light, put in it aperture priority and go through as many stops as you can, changing only aperture. and
B) the distance between your lens and the subject. This one is harder for me to estimate, but in general, at the same aperture, the closer you are, the shallower the depth of field around your focus point is going to be. Someone with more experience than me can probably explain that better or correct me if I'm wrong.

The huge advantage with digital, though if you can take a bunch of photos and compare the results immediately and repeat. You'll get more and more comfortable with what you and your camera and lenses can do, which is way more valuable (I think) that memorizing EV tables or doing a bunch of math in your head.

Looking at your EXIF, you were at f4 and 1/8 of a second shutter speed. At f8 or maybe 5.6 I think her head would have been completely in focus. It also says your were at "macro distance", which I think is part of what makes this an engaging picture, but a step or two back might have brought the rest in focus too. I like that the desk and computer behind her our blurred, though, so you wouldn't want much more in focus, just a bit.

1/8 of a second is pretty slow, especially for a moving subject like a young dog. You have a steady hand and she must have been pretty still for you, because I don't see any blur.

Your ISO was at 2000, you might try 3200, speed up your shutter a bit, maybe 1/30th at that focal length and take a step back and see. f5.6 or maybe 8 would help, but in that light, you're going to have to push your ISO even higher to get there probably.

I still think it's a great photo, by the way, just the way it is, but it's fun to play with these things until you can get the picture YOU want, on purpose. :-)
Thank you SO much for taking the time to explain all that. I'm brand new so I appreciate any advice/feedback. I think I was confused on aperture. I thought the smaller the number, the larger the area of focus was (So with a smaller number it would focus on more of her face). Now that I know that I need to bring the aperture down some, I'll play around some more and see if I can get more of her head in focus. I love the focus on her eyes, but I want some shots to focus on her whole face. So basically turn down the aperture, speed up the shutter, and step back a little? I'm going to give that a try!

This picture was in TAv mode, so the camera was controlling the ISO. In almost every other picture I've taken in this room with this lighting, the ISO was 3200, so I'm not sure why it changed with this one. I may switch to manual so that I can control the ISO too.

I really appreciate your feedback. And as far as the moving subject, she's very still when she wants to be. I actually got a few pictures with the shutter speed at 1/5 without any blur when I was playing around. I'm lucky to have a willing, cooperative subject.
10-03-2015, 07:03 PM   #14
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Yeah, it's confusing, bigger number, smaller the hole (aperature).

I love TaV mode. It's my personal favorite for most things. The key with it, though to be useful is to have strong opinions about where you want the aperture and shutter speed to be. If you don't, then I think it loses some of it's value.

I recommend some dorky, inartistic experiments:

1) set up a static subject like a vase or a beer can or a little statue or whatever isn't going to move. Light it sufficiently with a lamp or do it outside in moderate sun or something. Stand 6 ft back or so and set the ISO to something unremarkable like 800. Without moving or even looking at the pictures, take the same picture at every aperture stop in order. Now do it again at whatever your lens's closest focus distance is. Get right in the "macroish" range and go through the whole aperature stops in order. Try it again later with different things in the background at different distances behind your subject.

Then go look at all of the photos in order. The EXIF info will show you what stop you were at. The shutter speed will change on it's own. If you're overexposed wide open, lower the ISO a little. If your underexposed stopped down, lower the ISO a stop. You'll be able to see what happens to the depth of field really easily this way. (Also pay attention to where in that range your lens performs the best.)

-----
Quick primer on exposure triangle.
ISO full stops are 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 and 6400 (note everyone is 2x the previous stop)
Aperture stops are 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 (the math on aperture is difficult, but as you open up each stop allows in 2x as much light)
Shutter speed (middle range) are 1/15th, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 of a second. (note each is 2x as fast and therefore stays open 1/2 as long/let's in 1/2 as much light)

So 1 stop of ISO = 1 stop of aperture = 1 stop of shutter speed. If proper exposure for your shot was ISO 100, f8, 1/60 then ISO 200, f8, 1/125 would be the same exposure as would ISO 100, f11, 1/30 or any other combination that moves those things up and down the same number of stops.

------

With shutter speed, that static object doesn't care. It will look the same properly exposed at say f8 1/60 as it would at f8 1/500 (but you'd need a lot more light and ISO for the later)

So, experiment #2 is put your camera in shutter priority mode and set your ISO back to 400 or 800 or whatever depending on your light and set up some repeating subject that's moving - grandfather clock pendulum, quickly dripping faucet, get someone to drop the same hot wheels car down the same track over and over... and go all the way through your shutter speed stops. At slower shutter speeds, the motion will be blurred and at faster speeds it will be frozen. Find different moving subjects (that will move at the same pace on their own) and repeat and you'll start to develop an idea of where it needs to be. Again, for a non-moving subject, it doesn't matter.

The old rule on shutter speed is the denominator shouldn't be smaller than the focal length. At 50mm not slower than 1/60th of a second. This is because we (generally) can't hold the camera still enough to keep the movement of our hand from blurring a static shot. Tripods change this and resting on a wall or putting your elbows can cheat it a stop or so as well. Our modern Pentax dSLRs help us cheat this several stops. Looking at your EXIF of your dog 1/8 of a second is pretty slow for you to handhold. I'm impressed with both your steady hand and the camera's shake resistance. I'm also impressed because your dog must have held REALLY still for her not be blurred. 1/30 or 1/60th for a posing dog is more predictable and if she were fetching or playing with the other one, 1/125 or faster. Sometimes blur is good because it shows the motion and the energy, it depends on what you want. For a portrait, you want it to be crisp like yours was.

ISO is just sensitivity, its doesn't control any creative aspect of the shot. We're lucky with our modern cameras that we can go as high as we do. Generally the lower the ISO the better the quality of the image. You were dealing with some dim lighting with your dog photo, you're going to have to let the ISO run up.

So, after you've developed opinions about aperture and shutter speed, Tav is your friend. For a photo like the one above, set your shutter as slow as you trust that you can hand hold and freeze any movement the dog is making. You did it fine at 1/8, but I might try 1/30 and adjust from there. Set your aperture at f8 and see what happens, if the camera runs the ISO up to 12,800 and starts blinking because you're under exposed, you've got to either slow the shutter down or open the aperture up or both with the understanding the risks that you're taking with the clear image you want until you see the ISO come down to somewhere you think will produce a good picture. I have ISO capped at 6400 in my auto settings and prefer to keep it lower. 100 and 200 look great on my K5ii, 400 and 800 are almost as good, 1600 is fine, but I can tell. 3200 and 6400 work when I need them and I can usually clean up the grain in Lightroom, but I'd prefer to keep it there.

The choices and tradeoffs between those 3 things are what make the process. Those modes are our friends, especially when we don't have a lot of time to set up the shot or a bunch of chances to get it. Experiment and have fun. I don't know why I'm so typey today. I had a good take taking pictures on my own, so I'm feeling it I guess.
Full stops (our cameras and lenses have partial stops, which is helpful, but makes the mential gymnastics harder.)
10-03-2015, 09:29 PM   #15
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I have often wondered if my pooch is reacting to the sound of the mechanics of the lens or the ultrasonics of the focusing mechanism...???

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