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05-23-2013, 10:15 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
Based on your moniker as a Pentaxian, it is my understanding that is reserved for the elite, that designates you as a Professional Photographer who makes a living through his work, correct?


Pentaxian status just means that we have no lives...

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05-23-2013, 10:38 AM   #32
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misunderstanding on my part then, probably based on seeing this section:

Pentaxian Profiles - PentaxForums.com Homepage Blog

I thought the term was reserved for the Kerrick James's etc of the community

With that being said, when does noise "ruin" a shot for marketability?
If you can't sell the shot because you know it will be inherently too noisy, then there is no point in taking the shot.

so if iso 3200 renders an image unsable, who cares if you can still take a picture, that's not the point.
maybe I've become jaded, but I don't take pictures just to take pictures. every image I take and every image I look at in Bridge when I'm done, I look at with an eye toward sales.

I think that's the driving force behind this thread and most I've started; how do I maximize performance of my kit, and toe the line between wiggle room for photographer error and still have a saleable image?

I CAN say, until I started this thread, I had never considered Tv or TAv Mode. I'm still leery of iso above 400 but i'll do some shooting at 800 to see if I can live with the results. And maybe I need to learn how to shoot with the AF button and/or the ring finger of my right hand on the grip trigger...lol
05-23-2013, 10:44 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
Lowell,

Refer to my post to Digitalis as well, but I want to add, for me it's not about knowing what film was. I started shooting 35mm slide and negatives in 1979, so I grew up on a K1000 which is what ultimately led me to choose Pentax as my DSLR system. It was when I started to market my work in 2005 when I went digital, that all this input flooded my mind with thoughts of "no noise is good noise" etc etc. Perhaps it's totally faulty programming as a result of faulty critiques, but when a person (me) has wide-eyed ambitions of turning a hobby he loves into a possible career, one tries to absorb everything and learn everything in hopes that he figures out the magic formula and he can call himself a professional photographer.

Maybe I have it all wrong, but what I do know is I haven't sold as many photos as I would have liked, so I'm not "there" yet. On the other hand, I have sold enough and received enough positive feedback to know I'm on the right track.

So where does reality really kick in in terms of image critique for one's own pictures? How does one separate the faulty well intentioned advice from the ill-spirited advice from the seasoned pro mentorship that most of us desperately crave?

It's not like I live next door to David Muench or Jack Dykinga and I can just follow them everywhere holding their tripod and mind melding as they do their thing. This forum and some other websites are about as close to an "apprenticeship" as most of us will ever get.
Please do not take the following analogy the wrong way, and I know this will bring a lot of criticism from all sorts of ways, but perhaps photography is like golf.

You can start, read a lot about technique, and practice very very hard, believing that as you make progress you are heading in the right direction, with ambitions of turning pro, only after some considerable time, you just do not get as far a long the path as you would like. (sound familiar, I am sure that there are a lot of other analogies which would work just as well, but i thought of golf first so I will stick with it)

There is a certain amount or raw talent whether this is an artistic eye, or a physical ability. There is a certain amount of pure technical application which most people can understand and master. There is a certain amount of what some call luck but what others might call taking strategic or tactical risks.

To really succeed you need all of these (what you call the magic formula). There are very few photographers who make a full time living from what started as a hobby, the same as very few golfers ever rise to the championship level.

I am not saying here you wont succeed, i am just saying it is not easy to succeed.

As for the forum, being some form of apprenticeship, perhaps in a way it is, but remember, it is rare indeed for the apprentice or "student" to exceed his masters skill.
05-23-2013, 11:51 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
maybe I've become jaded, but I don't take pictures just to take pictures. every image I take and every image I look at in Bridge when I'm done, I look at with an eye toward sales.
We all probably have a different view to this. I think it is important when you are taking a shot to be thinking of what end result you are looking for. Every time I raise the camera to my eye, I am thinking of what end result I am looking for, and that drives the composition and settings. Since we are talking about wildlife here, this thinking has to be done quickly most of the time as I know the wildlife around me is truly wild and they don't give you much time to get that shot.

That being said, if I have to raise my ISO to get the shutter speed I need, so be it. I do the best with what I have as far as the conditions, and hope to be able to work some of it out in post processing.

You say that your end game when you raise your camera to your eye is an image that will sell. That tells me that you are working toward the results that someone else will like - not yourself. That is a big difference.

05-23-2013, 12:06 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
snip.......

With that being said, when does noise "ruin" a shot for marketability?
If you can't sell the shot because you know it will be inherently too noisy, then there is no point in taking the shot.

so if iso 3200 renders an image unsable, who cares if you can still take a picture, that's not the point.
maybe I've become jaded, but I don't take pictures just to take pictures. every image I take and every image I look at in Bridge when I'm done, I look at with an eye toward sales.

I think that's the driving force behind this thread and most I've started; how do I maximize performance of my kit, and toe the line between wiggle room for photographer error and still have a saleable image?

I CAN say, until I started this thread, I had never considered Tv or TAv Mode. I'm still leery of iso above 400 but i'll do some shooting at 800 to see if I can live with the results. And maybe I need to learn how to shoot with the AF button and/or the ring finger of my right hand on the grip trigger...lol
but you generally don't know the value of an image until after you take it.

consider for example the big fuss a few years back about someone seeing an ivory billed woodpecker (thought extinct since the 1940's if i recall correctly) take your pick, a shot with noise, but enough detail to prove you saw it, or no shot because it was noisy. I can absolutely guarantee you can sell that shot even with noise, if there is enough detail for proof you saw it. I can also guarantee if you didnt take the shot you will sell NOTHING. I call these reference shots. Seeing something rare and being able to prove it is VALUABLE, seeing a perfect example of something ordinary is....well.. ordinary

you regularly see less than perfect shots from a technical perspective published, sold, etc... and while some types of photography demand low noise, other types permit it.

one last point to consider, and while i did this experiment with my *istD but I believe the same still holds true today although the values of ISO would be different. I compared long and hard ISO settings and ended up shooting at 400 most of the time because the difference was so little between 200 and 400 that there was no point. In fact, in marginal light, the 400 iso shots were cleaner and sharper because i had the shutter speed to freeze the image. As light went down, although ISO 800 definitely showed some noise, images could remain tack sharp because there was enough shutter speed to eliminate shake. lower ISO shots were blurred due to shake, so I decided then and there, better a noisy shot than a blurry one. Assuming the shot is necessary and you have the choice between no shot, a blury shot and a noisy shot, the same holds true as my comment above. Blury shots will sell less than noisy shots, but both will sell more than no shot.
05-24-2013, 08:45 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
Digatalis, I have a specific question for you then- Based on your moniker as a Pentaxian, it is my understanding that is reserved for the elite, that designates you as a Professional Photographer who makes a living through his work, correct? With that being the case, would you market that image of the blue bird used as an example of iso 3200?
I do work professionally - and I also teach a considerable number of students in advanced photographic techniques and to be honest. A majority of wildlife photographers I have trained over the years are habitual pixel-peepers. This is a habit you are going to have to practice in moderation. I have dealt with photographers that were so caught up in producing noise-free images with ultra high sharpness that the images they produced were lifeless and lacked artistic vision.

Hers is an example of one of my most profitable images of australian native birds:


This image was produced on a Pentax K10D @ ISO 400 with a M42 Pentax SMC 135mm f/2.5 stopped down to f/5.6 - with an 11mm extension tube.

Optically the M42 Pentax SMC 135mm f/2.5 is nothing to write home about, but what would you expect from lens made in 1967. In fact, I consider it to be perhaps the worst 135mm lens I have ever worked with in my life. ISO 400 on the Pentax K10D is roughly equivalent to ISO 3200 on the K5IIs - the K10D had a CCD sensor that had remarkable colour precision, and saturation: the drawback was it basically had the same dynamic range as transparency film and on the K10D the shadows were noisy as hell. FYI: the K5IIs can beat the K10D when it comes to noise handling and dynamic range any day. But the image sells well, because it is unique, it is also part of a series of four images - which motivates buyers to own the complete set. I have printed this image up to 16"X20" without issue or complaint from clients.

Would I consider that ISO3200 image of the superb blue wren saleable? no, but the image still demonstrates that even under less than optimal conditions, the K5IIs is capable of delivering excellent image quality.

QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
Here's why I ask, I am not a professional photographer, but I have and do market my images through a couple on-line sites. I have sold around 20 or so photos in the 7 years I've been doing this, so I consider myself semi-pro or advanced amateur, or whatever term someone wants to apply. Therefore, every image I post for sale goes through my, "Would I buy this and hang it on my wall?" test.
I admit there are many images that sell well in my portfolios and those of my grandparents that I simply cannot fathom why people like them. There are photographers that are out there selling work I wouldn't use to line the bottom of a kitty litter tray. Never second guess your audience - but when one is trying to sell work through on-line, these sites often impose standards that are in many ways artificial and do nothing to promote genuine artistic expression. And in any case Photography and teaching aren't the only source of income I have - I am a 4th generation photographer in my family and I do make a decent income from selling expensive and rare platinum prints prints from my great-grandfathers and grandfathers extensive landscape portfolios. Also for the past 10 months I have been working as a toxicologist for cancer researchers, I also get jobs as a professional musical with local orchestras and bands. I only know a handful of photographers who make a living exclusively off their art - and to be blunt, perhaps to the point of cruelty: they do not live well. In the uncertain economic times photographers will, as always be at the very bottom of the wealth creation chain, because there are basically Zero entry requirements,No equity building,Zero scalability/Leverage - and No health benefits.


QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Pentaxian status just means that we have no lives...
*Ahem* I do have a life you know.

Last edited by Digitalis; 05-24-2013 at 08:55 AM.
05-24-2013, 09:56 AM   #37
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Digitalis, thank you very much for you candid reply.

Much of it makes sense, and quite frankly many of your conclusions are the same ones I have arrived at.
I have joked in the past, how do you tell a pro photographer from an amateur? the pro is the one driving the 20 year pickup truck, the amateur is driving the 1 year old SUV.

In terms of pixel peeping, I am probably overly zealous in that regard, and I think one of the results of this thread is that I should spend less time on being so precise and technical, and more time on letting my artistic nature come through. If that means shooting at 1200 iso, then maybe that's what I need to do. For the first 5 years of my digital days I was primarily landscape photographer because the kit requirements are much cheaper, ie long faster glass is damn expensive.

but as promotions at work and pay raises upped my budget, I could afford a bigma and now the 100-300. the challenge of capturing a hummingbird in flight, or an elk in rut probably touches the primal hunter instinct in me, but without the bloody mess and moral complications of using an arrow or a rifle. so it has been about a year of learning wildlife shooting, and much trial and error that prompted this thread.

thank you again, and to everyone for your insight
05-24-2013, 11:50 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I do work professionally - and I also teach a considerable number of students in advanced photographic techniques and to be honest. A majority of wildlife photographers I have trained over the years are habitual pixel-peepers. This is a habit you are going to have to practice in moderation. I have dealt with photographers that were so caught up in producing noise-free images with ultra high sharpness that the images they produced were lifeless and lacked artistic vision.
maybe the way to do this is somewhat hidden, but I have an idea, based upon personal experience. I wear glasses, specifically for distance, and I am not overly fussy about keeping the lenses clean, people always ask how I can see through my glasses, and I simply tell them, it is because i do not look AT my glasses, i look THROUGH them

the same holds true when looking through a screened or dirty window, or through rain or snow on a car's windshield. the whole idea is to look past the glass not at it.

With images, I look at the whole image first, and regard it as a whole, I do not start by zooming into the point where i can see pixels, because in all honesty that is just a bunch of dots on a page.

Learn to take a step back

05-24-2013, 01:16 PM   #39
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Lowell,

I understand your analogy very well, and it's a very valid point. Perhaps where the advanced pixel peeping comes into play for me is:

once I've narrowed down my shots from an outing to the trash/maybe/potential keepers, I have viewed noise on the same order of magnitude as blow outs and unrecoverable shadows. the composition may be awesome and the vision there, but if I have too many blown highlights or black blobs lurking in just the wrong places, the photo becomes a keepsake rather than a marketable piece of art. perhaps its just understanding how much noise is too much noise and how little detail is too little detail, after all pointillism still sells right?.....lol

and that's what i'm adjusting through this thread, i'm finding that gray areas of noise tolerance exist in wildlife photography that do not exist in the landscape realm. i'm convinced now I won't be afraid to shoot a little higher iso and wont be so quick to trash an otherwise interesting image just because of a little graininess
05-24-2013, 07:50 PM   #40
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Also bear in mind how big the images will be printed, for a majority of my digital work 8X12 prints are quite popular, being the smallest size I print at - But I have produced commissioned works spanning 10m x 20m - but of course I was using stitched images from a 80Mp phase one MFDB to produce those images.
05-24-2013, 08:02 PM   #41
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I was going to point out what Digitalis just did -

I'm just getting into doing my own printing and have not have had many prints made at all after going digital from film. There is a huge difference of looking at an image on a big 24" backlit monitor compared to a print that will be viewed at much more of a distance. I am an admitted pixel peeper, but now that I am printing more I have found that the print is much more forgiving as far as noise. An image that I would have trashed before I now keep because of this.
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