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07-04-2011, 06:37 AM   #16
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Good Luck with your learning.

I am going through similar, learning and trying to teach my mother. (at my dad's request)

Only thing is she's one of those people that needs written instructions with diagrams to use any form of electronics in its most basic form she has a memory like a sieve. Well at least when it comes to 'gadgets'.

I then will have to put together a camera system for them to take when they spend 3 months touring the USA on a motorcycle at some point next year.

07-04-2011, 07:54 AM   #17
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I, for one, am a huge supporter doing a little touring on a bike. Good luck with your endeavor!

Last edited by speedfoos; 07-04-2011 at 11:31 AM. Reason: Halt! Grammar zeit.
07-04-2011, 10:10 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
My advice is to buy your wife a copy of Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

Amazon.com: Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition) (9780817463007): Bryan Peterson: Books

It explains the exposure triangle in non technical terms and is a great learning tool if you do the exercises after each chapter (which are all fun, not work).
This, absolutely. A must have book for anyone learning photography.
07-04-2011, 10:39 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by speedfoos Quote
Unfortunately, Momma is going to visit her parents in Branson on Wednesday and she's taking her camera with her so I don't get to play with it until she gets back near the end of July!
This would be a perfect time to practice up on the Photoshop. I sent my DS in for warranty service many moons ago and used the 10 weeks without a camera to play around.

Here are some great Photoshop tutorials.
Ron Bigelow Photography Articles
The Luminous Landscape Tutorials contents

You could even take some time an learn how to correct white balance in post processing.



Tim

07-04-2011, 11:19 AM   #20
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Now I'm compelled to duplicate those results!
07-04-2011, 11:28 AM   #21
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OK. A quickee in PS and I'm about to run one through Lightroom as well just to see which is easier.





And an additionally quick one in LR...both resized in PS to make it even.

07-04-2011, 11:31 AM   #22
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Hmmm.....and the verdict is.....

I need more practice!!!
07-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by speedfoos Quote
Hmmm.....and the verdict is.....

I need more practice!!!
You did very well. After fixing the white balance. I used a Histogram Adjustment (Spread out he dynamic range) and a curves layer in Paint Shop Pro X. I think in Photoshop, the equivalent tools would be Image > Adjustments > Equalize and then a curve layer/adjustment for contrast.

Tim

07-04-2011, 01:07 PM - 1 Like   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by speedfoos Quote
I'm going to learn everything I can about photography and the Pentax K7 in particular so that I can teach my wife how to use it.
In the past I introduced photography basics to a novice friend as “the practices of recording light.” I began by asking him to keep in mind that we never see actual “things,” but rather see emitted light and light reflecting from objects, and so therefore forget about taking pictures of things, and start thinking of photography as working to capture light scenes.

A camera is used for that because it is a device that is both sensitive to light, and one that can produce a record of light present in a field of view. It would be nice if exactly how a camera accomplishes this were simple, but just as the light-eye-mind experience necessarily involves complex bio-structure and bio-machinery, so must a camera make use of several physical potentials to record light.

Recording light requires three main functions: 1) sensitivity to light, 2) the transmission of light to that sensitivity, and 3) something that decides how long the sensitivity is exposed to transmitted light (obviously there must be a memory function, but it's not adjustable and so irrelevant here). In digital photography those functions are achieved by the sensor, the lens, and the shutter respectively. These three things are the key elements in what has been called the “exposure triangle” (I am using the terminology of the online Digital Photography School so I can link you to their concise explanations).

Now, the really big deal is that cameras allow each light recording function to be adjusted. Adjustments to sensitivity to light (i.e., more or less sensitive) is the ISO function; adjustments of light transmission to the sensor is the lens aperture function; and light exposure time relies on shutter adjustment. The Digital Photography School uses a little diagram to describe this exposure triangle:



What I like about that figure is it shows there are consequences to adjusting in each realm. If you increase sensitivity to light, you can capture scenes in lower light, but it causes grain to be more apparent (“noise") in the photo; you can capture more light by opening the aperture, but it reduces how deeply things are in focus in the scene (depth of field); you can slow down the shutter to capture more light, but it increases the chances of blur from moving the camera or objects in the scene moving (like on a breezy day).

On digital cameras, there are a couple of other neat light-recording adjustment options. One is the EV adjustment (exposure value – it is the black and white -/+ button near on top right of the camera), which in simple terms instantly lowers or raises exposure time in small increments. The other really cool adjustment is done through the AE-L button (exposure lock), and is especially useful when combined with spot metering. I'll get to these adjustments in a minute, but those last options lead to another question, which is if there might be a best camera mode to learn the adjusting functions in. If you study the pictures of photographers here, you will notice a great many are shooting in aperture priority (Av) mode because that offers a lot of creative options yet with some automatic control. Other modes, such as shutter priority (Tv) or sensitivity priority (Sv) also are useful to understand, but I’d suggest sticking with one mode while you learn the primary adjustment functions, and then move on from there.

Okay, so let’s use the theme of "recording light" to analyze a light scene and show how the primary adjustment functions can help decide exposure:




The light in the above picture ranged from medium bright to dark, and I wanted all areas to come out in the photo. I also wanted good depth of field (i.e., all of it in focus, from front to back), so I first set the camera “mode dial” to Av, and the aperture to f8 (I also set the lens for hyperfocal focusing, but let’s skip that explanation for now). If I exposed to record the area under the clouds, the sky would be so bright I’d lose cloud detail; but if I exposed for the light of the sky then I’d lose the farm and other detail under the clouds.

I decided to expose for the bright green grass seen in the foreground. How? This is where the AE-L button and spot metering are your friends. First I set the K-7’s “metering mode switching lever” to spot or center-weighted (with “A” lenses like mine, the K-7 only meters in center-weighted). Next, I aimed the camera at the green grass and pressed the AE-L button. A beep sounds to let you know the camera has set exposure for what you were aimed at (if it doesn’t beep, first slightly press the shutter release button to get the camera reading-ready). Finally, I repositioned the camera back on the whole scene I wanted to capture, and took the shot at the exposure the AE-L button had locked in. It gave me an average that resulted the best file to work with in post processing.

The story isn’t quite done yet however because there are some options on how exposure is decided. Remember our “exposure triangle”? With the camera set on Av mode, that means the aperture function of the triangle remains constant at whatever setting we choose (f8 in this case), which leaves the other two functions open to adjustment. If the green grass exposure shows it would expose at 1/30 second, and I had no tripod, then to avert motion blur I could adjust my ISO setting higher until a reading shows of 1/60 or 1/125. Of course, I know that is going to cause grain to appear more prominently in the picture, so I decide to run back to my car for a tripod, and then set ISO to hold steady at 100 so that the smoothest, most grain-free and detailed picture would result; and I because I know locking in aperture and ISO means the only function left that can be adjusted is shutter speed, I don't worry because I have the threat of motion blur covered by using a tripod.

One last thing I haven’t elaborated on is using the EV adjustment. I have my camera set up (via options found in the Menu) so that the “rear e-dial” adjusts my aperture, and the “front e-dial” adjusts EV (I set it for 1/3 stop adjustments). Now, my lenses (all Voigtlanders) regularly over-expose by at least 1/3 stop; and I like to underexpose most of the time by at least 1/3 stop to make sure I capture shadow detail. In practice that means when I take a picture, I usually lower exposure by 1/3 or 2/3 stops using the “front e-dial” (really it is just a quick way to speed up or slow down shutter speed). Since I can make these adjustments with thumb and forefinger, and while looking in the viewfinder where readouts show the adjustments, after awhile you get pretty fast at making decisions using the main and auxiliary adjustments.

Well, I hope that helps a little in explaining the primary adjustments, and their consequences, that a camera uses to record light. If you practice in Av mode, and master using the listed controls, you will have a good foundation for studying all the advanced techniques you see some of the photographers pull off here who are a lot more experienced than I am.

Last edited by les3547; 07-08-2011 at 08:35 PM.
07-04-2011, 05:13 PM   #25
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Les, that was fantastic. Thanks for taking the time to type all that out, even if I'm not the first person to benefit from it because I hope you have that saved off somewhere or sitting in a sticky because it made a lot of sense. I'd hate to have you re-type it. Lord knows I get tired of explaining what the volumetric efficiency of a motor is, and how that plays into selecting a power adder like a turbocharger and what it means to actually plot a compressor map out to know if a particular sized compressor and turbine wheel and housing setup will make power on a motor. Cars and forced induction are my other hobby, but I really like to apply my determination (aka pig-headedness - according to my wife) to other fields.

Bad thing is that I'm also about to start brewing my own beer so I need to devote brainpower to both tasks. Focus, Clint, you've got focus (oh that's so punny). Thank goodness my job isn't difficult!

07-04-2011, 05:25 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by speedfoos Quote
Les, that was fantastic. Thanks for taking the time to type all that out . . .
You are welcome, I hope it helps.


QuoteOriginally posted by speedfoos Quote
I'm also about to start brewing my own beer . . . Focus, Clint.
I am not sure, but you might be working at cross purposes -- with yourself!
07-04-2011, 05:55 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by speedfoos Quote
Les, that was fantastic. Thanks for taking the time to type all that out, even if I'm not the first person to benefit from it because I hope you have that saved off somewhere or sitting in a sticky because it made a lot of sense.
That is definitely a good example including thought processes. Take note for sure!

QuoteOriginally posted by speedfoos Quote
Bad thing is that I'm also about to start brewing my own beer so I need to devote brainpower to both tasks. Focus, Clint, you've got focus (oh that's so punny). Thank goodness my job isn't difficult!
Thankfully for you brewing beer doesn't require too much brain power. Its all about the temperature. Keep it at a constant temp and you'll do fine.
Oh and make sure you sterilize everything properly. I've had some fun with brewing and made beer that was nice enough for one mate to pay me to brew a keg for him
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