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02-10-2012, 10:07 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
There are other sources that I would look at first, many have been suggested. $350 is a LOT in this day and age, particularly with the YouTube and other online resources already mentioned.

I tend to think that Scott Peterson's work is first rate in practical teaching of good technique and also find Scott Kelby's work to be a good starting point. Kelby has a LOT of online support both for shooting photographs AND for editing them. Many of his books are available for very little used. Peterson's Field Guide is excellent and I believe that his books also come with free access to many of his online lessons too.
I'm looking into Kelby's books right now, he has tons. what would suggest to get first?

02-10-2012, 10:31 AM   #17
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I just got another email from Adorama on one of their podcasts, which are generally very good IMHO.

Position of Light?AdoramaTV from Adorama Learning Center

While its dated his first one is still a good starting point:
Amazon.com: The Digital Photography Book (9780321474049): Scott Kelby: Books
02-10-2012, 11:26 AM - 1 Like   #18
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You said you use The Gimp and Photoscape for editing. The book "Gimp 2.6 for photographers" is a good start if you're new to digital photo editing and it's tailored to the the specific software you're using. I got my copy off Amazon for $24.
02-10-2012, 03:10 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by kaiserz Quote

What mode do you shoot? Because I have an assignment for you. try experimenting with your DA 35 on Av mode, set your ISO to 1600 and your aperture to F2.4 and just go around the house, but I also want you to check your shutter speed.

Regards
-kaiserz
I am trying to AVOID auto right now, and trying to learn. The last couple of days I have been trying M.
thank you I will try that. Looking forward to the challenge

I just ordered the book and one other one by Michael Freeman.

I do have an OLD flash that attaches to the camera, I think it is called an external flash? (you can point it in different directions) it is very slow to charge.

I will practice my shots and read some more, thank you all very much for your pointers, hints, and ideas and most of all taking the time to reply to my post and help me.

02-10-2012, 04:53 PM   #20
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If you want online courses, try lynda.com.
02-10-2012, 04:54 PM   #21
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If you give us the brand and model of the flash unit, there are many of us that might be able to help you with using it and/or supply you with the link to the manual for it.
02-10-2012, 05:43 PM   #22
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The itunes store has some free options in their university and podcasts.
02-10-2012, 06:36 PM   #23
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There are lots of good sources of photo information online. You've probably consumed some of the same material I have. Some of it excellent. And, you did ALL the suggested exercises and discussed them with others. Me neither.

Courses give structure. Random YouTube videos or Lynda tutorials don't. The simple truth is that a structured learning program, with tests or other methods of insuring that we actually study and practice will move us along faster. Add in regular interaction with a mentor/guide/teacher who will give honest feedback and we will further speed the learning curve. Whether the NYIP course does this well enough, I don't know. I do know that I've wasted hours, days, months, possibly years searching out "free" or inexpensive material when I would have gotten further along with my photography by shooting more in a structured and scheduled way.

There's also the fact that courses that require homework insure that we actually do what we've studied. Otherwise, there's the read or view the material, feel excited about what we've "learned", not practicing and find the stuff just slipping from our minds.

Study. Practice. Critique the results. Figure out how we could have done better. Practice the revised idea and repeat the cycle until learning has truly been achieved. If you can honestly do that on your own (few of us can), then you don't need a course to learn at the best speed.


Last edited by mysticcowboy; 02-10-2012 at 06:45 PM.
02-10-2012, 07:53 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by average-guy Quote
If you give us the brand and model of the flash unit, there are many of us that might be able to help you with using it and/or supply you with the link to the manual for it.
my flash is a Pentax AF400FTZ - thanks
02-10-2012, 07:56 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
There are lots of good sources of photo information online. You've probably consumed some of the same material I have. Some of it excellent. And, you did ALL the suggested exercises and discussed them with others. Me neither.

Courses give structure. Random YouTube videos or Lynda tutorials don't. The simple truth is that a structured learning program, with tests or other methods of insuring that we actually study and practice will move us along faster. Add in regular interaction with a mentor/guide/teacher who will give honest feedback and we will further speed the learning curve. Whether the NYIP course does this well enough, I don't know. I do know that I've wasted hours, days, months, possibly years searching out "free" or inexpensive material when I would have gotten further along with my photography by shooting more in a structured and scheduled way.

There's also the fact that courses that require homework insure that we actually do what we've studied. Otherwise, there's the read or view the material, feel excited about what we've "learned", not practicing and find the stuff just slipping from our minds.

Study. Practice. Critique the results. Figure out how we could have done better. Practice the revised idea and repeat the cycle until learning has truly been achieved. If you can honestly do that on your own (few of us can), then you don't need a course to learn at the best speed.
I think you are probably correct. I feel like a jack of all trades and a master of none. I can honestly say I am all over the map with my photos and editing.
02-11-2012, 12:07 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by tweet25 Quote
my flash is a Pentax AF400FTZ - thanks
The AF400FTZ is a good flash unit I own both the AF400FTZ and the AF500FTZ and I use them on my pentax film bodies. Unfortunately the AF400FTZ is TTL only and your K-r takes P-TTL flashes (the next generation beyond TTL) and it's not backwards compatible as far as the flash being able to communicate with the camera for automatic flash exposure. You cans still use it in manual mode (both camera and flash in manual). The manual covers manual operation on pages 14 and 15, the download link to the manual is below.

Downloads & Literature - PENTAX Imaging USA

Here is a quick summary on how to use it with your K-r in manual, remember, this is a workaround to get you experimenting with an "old school" flash that's not "auto" compatible with you're camera. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will get you some flash pic's until you can get a P-TTL flash for your camera.

-Make sure your camera is in manual
-Set the Zoom head on the flash to match the focal length of the lens. If you're using a zoom lens it will be the number on the zoom ring that lines up with the index mark on the lens. The zoom head setting on the flash will light up on the control panel.
-Slide the zoom switch until the arrow lines up with the zoom head setting.
-The middle switch on the bottom of the control panel should be labeled, TTL AUTO/ H L, the H&L are the manual modes. you will use on of these settings.
-Set the ISO slider at the top of the control panel to match the ISO setting of the camera (manually set the ISO on the camera).
-The H & L markings on the control panel are color coded to match the color coded distance scales on the upper part of the control panel. At very close range you can use the low setting and at longer range us the high setting.
-Once the zoom head and ISO is set, set your camera to it's flash sync shutter speed 1/180th of a second.
-Estimate the distance between you and the subject, look it up on the distance scale. The Yellow scale on top is for the low power setting and the white letters on bottom are for the high setting. The row of numbers in the middle on the "F" line is the aperture (F-stop) that you would set the lens to based on the estimated distance between you and your subject.
-Once you do this take a test shot.

This is how flash photography was done decades ago before any kind of automation, this will get you experimenting until you get a compatible flash unit for you're camera. The above instructions only apply if you have the flash head pointed at the subject, if you want to try bouncing the flash, you'll want to set the flash to high power and open up you're lens my several F-stops and then go higher or lower based on your test shot.
02-11-2012, 12:20 PM   #27
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Pentax P-TTL flashes are very expensive (if you're on a budget). I use a Promaster 7500EDF Digital, it works very well with my Pentax digital camera, it's P-TTL, it supports advanced features like leading/trailing curtain syinc, has an auto zoom head, and has a second small flash for "straight on" fill flash when using the main flash head to bounce the flash. I got mine used for about $50 on ebay. As a backup I picked up a Vivitar 730FPK on ebay for $10 including shipping, it has very few features compared to my Promaster 7500EDF but it was "dirt cheap" and it works well.

Last edited by average-guy; 02-11-2012 at 12:27 PM.
02-11-2012, 05:17 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by average-guy Quote
The AF400FTZ is a good flash unit I own both the AF400FTZ and the AF500FTZ and I use them on my pentax film bodies. Unfortunately the AF400FTZ is TTL only and your K-r takes P-TTL flashes (the next generation beyond TTL) and it's not backwards compatible as far as the flash being able to communicate with the camera for automatic flash exposure. You cans still use it in manual mode (both camera and flash in manual). The manual covers manual operation on pages 14 and 15, the download link to the manual is below.

Downloads & Literature - PENTAX Imaging USA

Here is a quick summary on how to use it with your K-r in manual, remember, this is a workaround to get you experimenting with an "old school" flash that's not "auto" compatible with you're camera. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will get you some flash pic's until you can get a P-TTL flash for your camera.

-Make sure your camera is in manual
-Set the Zoom head on the flash to match the focal length of the lens. If you're using a zoom lens it will be the number on the zoom ring that lines up with the index mark on the lens. The zoom head setting on the flash will light up on the control panel.
-Slide the zoom switch until the arrow lines up with the zoom head setting.
-The middle switch on the bottom of the control panel should be labeled, TTL AUTO/ H L, the H&L are the manual modes. you will use on of these settings.
-Set the ISO slider at the top of the control panel to match the ISO setting of the camera (manually set the ISO on the camera).
-The H & L markings on the control panel are color coded to match the color coded distance scales on the upper part of the control panel. At very close range you can use the low setting and at longer range us the high setting.
-Once the zoom head and ISO is set, set your camera to it's flash sync shutter speed 1/180th of a second.
-Estimate the distance between you and the subject, look it up on the distance scale. The Yellow scale on top is for the low power setting and the white letters on bottom are for the high setting. The row of numbers in the middle on the "F" line is the aperture (F-stop) that you would set the lens to based on the estimated distance between you and your subject.
-Once you do this take a test shot.

This is how flash photography was done decades ago before any kind of automation, this will get you experimenting until you get a compatible flash unit for you're camera. The above instructions only apply if you have the flash head pointed at the subject, if you want to try bouncing the flash, you'll want to set the flash to high power and open up you're lens my several F-stops and then go higher or lower based on your test shot.

Thank you very much! It worked!!! and it isn't a total white out. When i pointed the flash directly at the dog. (poor dog) it was all light. Just tilted up a tiny bit I think i got wonderful indoor shots. (if you ever want advice on something I am good at like knitting just let me know..lol)
02-11-2012, 08:11 PM   #29
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Thanks, I think my wife has the knitting and crocheting covered. Your post brings me to a good point, bouncing the flash. Light from a flash will bounce off of objects like walls or ceilings just like a billiard ball bouncing off the side of a pool table. If you have room with light/white walls you can point your flash head straight up if you're taking a picture of something close or not so close if the room is small. The light will hit the ceiling and scatter in all directions and create an image with even natural looking light. If the subject is a little further away you can angle the flash head up but not straight up and bounce the flash off the ceiling and down toward your subject. Think of having little rubber ball, imagine at what point on the ceiling you would need to hit with that ball for it to bounce off and hit your subject, that's about the same spot you'd want to aim your flash head at. All it takes is a little practice, the ability to visualize a little geometry in your head helps, but is not really necessary if you're good at learning from trial and error. The nice thing about digital cameras, is you have instant feedback and you can make adjustments as you go. One thing that is important to remember is, the lens aperture (F-stops) controls how bright your exposure is with the flash. If it's overexposed (too bright), stop down the lens (set the dial to a larger number), if it's underexposed ( too dark) open it up (smaller number). Also you can play with your shutter speed, your cameras flash sync speed it 1/180th of a second. You can take flash pictures with a slower shutter speed and this will allow more ambient and/or background light into the image. To sum it up, aperture controls flash exposure and shutter speed controls the amount of ambient light that's allowed to enter the image. Good luck and have fun

Last edited by average-guy; 02-11-2012 at 08:19 PM.
02-12-2012, 07:08 AM   #30
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You said that your area doesn't have a camera club or schools that teach a basic course. Here in Georgia a gentleman at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge offers photography workshops for each season. You may be able to find something similar in your area. Try local parks or scenic areas, they may offer photo workshops.
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