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11-28-2012, 04:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 17
My first efforts
Lens: Tamron 17-50 f2.8 Di Camera: K-5 Photo Location: Essex UK 

Hi there.

I'm completely new to photography anything further than point and shoot. I'd really appreciate some feedback on my first few shots that have made it into my "keeper" folder on my PC

If you'd like to know anymore about why I've joined PF I made an intro post

I appreciate that the HDR in the landscapes won't be to everyone's taste and is probably total overkill but learning what software can do and then learning to hold it back somewhat is part of the challenge I guess.

For the moment I'm concentrating on trying to understand the basics of manual mode. All the shots are AWB and natural colour profile.

Thanks for your time and any comments +/- appreciated.

Must just point out that the first two were taken on a Canon600D with kit lens That I was mis-sold ( the guy had ruined the focus screen with a cotton bud and I was quoted > 100 to replace it) and went back to the seller the next day to enable me to make the better choice of the Pentax that I'd wanted in the first place before being talked out of it by friends.

Bella the Bengal. Only post processing was changing the white balance as I hadn't set the camera to change to flash (on flash)
2. Maud the Norwegian Forest Cat. First attempt at the common trick of leaving a feature of the pic in colour using Photoshop.
Edward the Bengal, yes I know they are named after Twilight but in our defense Bengals do sparkle in natural daylight!
Local Park, attempt at silhouette. Detail Extractor plugin used for effect
5. Hadleigh Castle Park at Sunset. I used quite heavy NR and then an HDR plugin. Really for seeing how stuff works but I kinda like the result
Hadleigh Castle just after sunset. Playing with HDR plugin. I like the "aura" it gives around the building
One of my Wife's creations in my quick home made lightbox thingy. ISO800 f4 1/40th no PP
In this Pic at a Birthday Party I've cloned out the reflection of myself in the Bar Mirror, would you notice too easily ?

Kind regards. Pete A

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11-28-2012, 07:00 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome
The K5 is an excellent camera and a good choice. The lens is a good choice too as well as the flash. Regarding the images they are OK. Photography is a life long learning experience. My early efforts which I was rather pleased with back when I took them 40 some years ago were 99.5% rubbish in retrospect. I like to think I've improved. There is always something new to learn or new technique to try. There are lots of sites to learn about any aspect of photography you can think of. Youtube is great too, just type photography in the search and there are lots of videos to watch.( I just did and it came up with 1.35 million results.) I'll comment on the last two. I don't know what you were using for a light source but daylight balance compact fluorescent bulbs put out a lot of light with little heat. There is a strong color cast probably from the wrong white balance or inaccurate balance if it was on auto wb. I would suggest a subject like this would be better as a vertical since it's taller than it is wide. Also once you have a tripod and brighter lights you can use a smaller aperture to get more depth of field so all the subject is in focus. You will find as you get in closer to your subject your dof shrinks dramatically, sometimes to fractions of an inch or mm. I did a quick edit here to show what I mean, 2012-11-28_204721 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! corrected the wb and suggested crop. If you get into table top photography you with find lots of ideas for do it yourself stuff at | Hacking Photography For The Love of It . The last photo you wouldn't know you had cloned yourself out. The issue with it is the multiple color casts I'm guessing from colored lights ion the bar. The girl has a magenta cast on the left side and a green cast on the right, and there are green and red on the lady in the middle. Correcting multiple colors is rather tedious. I'd suggest making it a b&w. That eliminates the problem quickly and concentrates your attention on the people. I did a quick edit to show what I mean and posted it here 2012-11-28_203351 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! .
11-29-2012, 09:48 AM   #3
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I love Bengal Cats too. The pics are nice, I really like #4. The one of the stone tower and the toy mouse could use cropping or better composition. With Bengals, it's always nice to show more than just their face since they have such lovely spots and colors. Something I found after the fact with my Bengal, wipe the eye boogers from their face before you take the pictures. Afterwards, when you see the picture it's obvious why. Nice photos for a beginner. Congrats on the K5. That was my camera of choice coming from a Nikon S640 pocket camera to a real DSLR.
12-01-2012, 03:40 PM   #4
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Original Poster
Thanks for the feedback.

Gregory I find that really interesting, as many others have said your comments are insightful and helpful. With the mouse, most of the pics I took were vertical but the dof was really really shallow on those shots (as I had the Aperture a 2.8) I had already tried adjusting the WB but found it looked kind of "cold" (if correct) for the subject. Do you think your edit is more sales friendly? I have no ambitions of selling images but would like to help my Wife with better pictures of her bears / mice for Etsy /Ebay. The light was a "Daylight bulb" from a craft store that my wife bought some years back and I found in a drawer diffused through some tissue paper. In your opinion are those 30 kits for tabletop work on Ebay worth bothering with or should I wait until I can afford some proper softboxes and a table etc?

Stevizzy. Thanks. The Bengals are gourgeous cats but they tend to settle in spots that are not so photo friendly, no amount of blur or bokeh could make parts of our house attractive lol. I have since "healing brushed" out the eye boogers, works a charm.

Thanks for your time

With the Picture of the family. It was disco lights. All the other shots I took that evening were of people dancing etc and I had made a conscious effort to keep as much of the coloured lighting in as I could to try and keep the party atmosphere in the pics. I think it works in those action shots but I completely see your point in the portrait

12-01-2012, 06:48 PM   #5
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Hello Methos
Glad I could help some. There is so much more you can do and learn now as opposed to decades ago when you shot a few rolls made mistakes, read a book and tried again over weeks or months. Now it's almost instantaneous. You shoot something look at it on the lcd to see if you got the focus and exposure right, load it on the computer and post it to ask for suggestions in a matter of hours, it's great. As to your questions the daylight bulbs give a fairly good spectrum of light, good enough for most purposes. I like tabletop photography and have a bank of of 4 double 4 ft lights with daylight balanced bulbs plus various other compact daylight bulbs and reflectors. The 4 ft shop fixtures ( which come with chains to hang them and a cord ) go on sale every few months and I picked them up for about $15 plus the bulbs you're looking at maybe $20 or so each. I have them fastened together on a pulley system hung from the basement joists so I can raise or lower it a couple of feet as needed. A lot of the stuff I use I've bought cheap or modified or made. Certainly nothing fancy but works for my purposes. I've posted a couple of photos here. lights 2a | Flickr - Photo Sharing! As for the color balance if you put a grey card or a white piece of paper and set your custom white balance off of that it will be accurate. I always strongly encourage people to shoot in RAW or if they aren't comfortable with that shoot RAW + jpeg. That way you the jpeg for quick work but have the RAW file which has all the sensor data. With RAW you can easily correct color balance etc. and it isn't hard. Also you may get a once in lifetime shot and you won't have to regret that you were only shooting jpeg. As for filling up the hard drive, memory is cheap and once you load them on the computer you go through and cull the obvious rejects anyway. I have a light tent that I picked up for $20 on sale. They aren't really necessary if you are shooting non reflective items. For highly reflective items, glass, silver and such then they can be helpful. Like I posted earlier you can make your own if you are halfway handy with ideas someone has already worked out or take it as a jumping off point and modify it to suit your needs. Getting back to photographing your wife's bears. If you are selling them online I would say accurate color is vital, as someone is buying it based on what you are putting up on line. If the color is warmer or cooler than it actually is they may not like what they get so it's best to be spot on. There is enough variations in color representation with uncalibrated monitors as it is, best to start off as accurately as possible. The lack of DOF is something that can be rectified when you get a tripod. It will allow you to shoot with longer shutters speeds and smaller apertures to get greater DOF. ( As another aside if you can't afford a good one pick up a used one cheap to start with, rather than buying a series of cheap ones. You end up spending more upgrading the cheap ones than you would have buying a good one to start with. If you have a local online sales place you can pick up one at good savings. Here where I live it's KIJIJI,it's free site to put things up for sale and people are always selling off camera equipment and such. Like I said you can make or make do with items you have or pick up cheap. The table in the photo is a piece of plywood with metal fold up legs I got for free. If you don't have multiple lights some reflectors will help bounce light back on your subject. Either store bought reflectors or crumpled tin foil on some cardboard. Enough of a ramble for now my wife says supper is ready.
12-02-2012, 05:30 AM   #6
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Welcome to Pentaxforums!
The second photo is a very tasteful and memorable demonstration of a technique which in some other people's photos sometimes looks too gimmicky.
Best wishes.

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