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08-29-2009, 07:15 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steffi_YUL Quote
The last 2 days have been spent reading books and taking an e-course about photography but alas I still can't seem to get the shots I want ... If I play with shutter speed my pictures are all black even when I increase the iso .. then when I play with the aperture and shutter speed I get motion blur or dark pics .. I will have to keep at it I guess.
That's why Av and Tv mode and the other "semi-automatic" modes were invented - so you can play with one or two of the paramters, and the camera automatically adjusts the others(s). It can do so within reason, though - if it's dark and you specific a shutter speed of 1/500" and an ISO of 400, there is absolutely no way the camera can possibly increase the aperture enough to properly expose the picture. You've got to monitor what the camera is doing, and not go beyond its limits.

08-29-2009, 07:26 PM   #17
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08-29-2009, 09:04 PM   #18
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Take more pics and show us how you make out. Some say a tripod is the next purchase before a second lens...and I do believe that, but with pics of your kids, I think a lens like marc pointed out would be my first choice.

For my kid shots..I set focus to AFC S (it focuses once only), and set the focus area to "Centre". I place my chlds face in the centre of the frame...press the shutter half way down and let it lock onto focus....the while still holding the shutter half way down I move the camera to where I want the shot to be. That way his face is always in focus. It's easier than it sounds.

good luck!

ps...if you find it getting easier.....have some fun with very old Pentax/Takumar lenses. I typically use lenses that are 40 or 50 years old and they make me look better than I am. More if a learning curve but my point is you have alot of fun ahead with your k20d.

Steve
08-29-2009, 10:14 PM   #19
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Had the same problem myself a few years back. Had my camera sent back to the factory to be worked on & eventually replaced, spent a fortune on "better lenses", took extensive, expensive photo workshops..... nothing helped. Then, almost by accident, the solution to my problem was solved when the fiance of a friend, who happened to be a doctor, was visiting my family, The doctor came out with a remark my "friends" were embarrassed to ever bring up..... My kids were blurry. Seems it's a rare hereditary syndrome that shows up once in every three generations of infected families. Fortunately, it was easily cured with a minor surgical procedure involving some sort of sharpening masks. Contact a qualified physician (be forewarned, not all of them are familiar with this disease..... in fact, it may not be covered by your insurance, as it's considered "cosmetic surgery") & your problem will be solved.

08-29-2009, 11:13 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by raymeedc Quote
Had the same problem myself a few years back. Had my camera sent back to the factory to be worked on & eventually replaced, spent a fortune on "better lenses", took extensive, expensive photo workshops..... nothing helped. Then, almost by accident, the solution to my problem was solved when the fiance of a friend, who happened to be a doctor, was visiting my family, The doctor came out with a remark my "friends" were embarrassed to ever bring up..... My kids were blurry. Seems it's a rare hereditary syndrome that shows up once in every three generations of infected families. Fortunately, it was easily cured with a minor surgical procedure involving some sort of sharpening masks. Contact a qualified physician (be forewarned, not all of them are familiar with this disease..... in fact, it may not be covered by your insurance, as it's considered "cosmetic surgery") & your problem will be solved.
A feature on this phenomenon appeared in newspapers all over America in 1987.
08-30-2009, 04:03 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
That's why Av and Tv mode and the other "semi-automatic" modes were invented - so you can play with one or two of the paramters, and the camera automatically adjusts the others(s). It can do so within reason, though - if it's dark and you specific a shutter speed of 1/500" and an ISO of 400, there is absolutely no way the camera can possibly increase the aperture enough to properly expose the picture. You've got to monitor what the camera is doing, and not go beyond its limits.
And that is also why you are lucky to have chosen Pentax. It also has a TAv mode. You can set your shutter speed for freezing action, aperture to set the DOF you need and sensitivity will automatically be set for your chosen combination of shutter speed/aperture (within limits).
08-30-2009, 04:14 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenhreed Quote
I've been on this forum all summer but still haven't had the guts to post a picture I've taken, you're way ahead of me. Good luck!
Please don't be embarrassed. Post your pics. It is the only way we can help and see where you go wrong. Nothing to be ashamed off. We all had to learn one time or another.
08-30-2009, 08:01 AM   #23
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Steffi: one thing no one has pointed out yet is that other than the technical issues, your photos are beautiful. I'd rather look at a well composed photo with interesting lighting and some technical flaws than a boring, technically perfect one (I have lots of those on my hard drive). Technique is is much easier to teach and learn than composition and good lighting. Keep with it, it will come. By the way, the third photo of your children (at 1/6) looks like intentional blur for artistic effect. Don't dismiss all blur as being bad or undesirable.

Most of the advice you've received here is excellent. Here's how I photograph kids:

- Auto ISO 100-400 outdoors, 100-800 indoors.
- Center focus point only so I can control what's in focus (ensure it's the eyes, not the hands)
- Focus on the eyes, then recompose and take the picture.
- Custom Function 14 allows you to move the focussing to the AF button rather than the shutter button. This is my preferred way to operate as I can activate AF at any time with just a tap of the AF button but don't have to hold the shutter button down.

Always ensure the shutter speed is fast enough. Kids don't sit still for long and so I aim for 1/125 at a minimum and 1/500 if they're running around. Keep in mind that this then means higher ISO and/or wide apertures. Higher ISO means more noise, smearing, loss of dynamic range, etc. Larger aperture means shallower depth of focus so accurate focussing is crucial and also if there is more than one individual, it is harder to have multiple subjects in focus. Larger aperture is also hard to achieve with a slow zoom such as yours. For example I estimate your zoom might have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at 50 mm. Compared to a 50/1.4 prime lens, that's 4 stops slower. For each stop less aperture, you must double the length of exposure. With the 50/1.4 you can have a shutter speed that's 16 times faster than a slow zoom that has a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at the equivalent focal length. What does that mean in practical terms? Well if I'm shooting at IS0 400, 1/125 at f/1.4, the best you can do is IS0 400 1/8 at f/5.6. Not a very fast shutter speed. When photographing children, I like to have a fast lens, at least f/2.8. An affordable 35mm or 50mm prime might be a great addition to your kit for chasing kids around.

08-30-2009, 08:06 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steffi_YUL Quote

...Also I have not been using the flash (to answer your question captmacq) because I really dislike how clammy it makes the subjects look but I will be looking at an external flash like Rondec suggested...
When you use a flash you want to make sure that you diffuse the light and/or bounce it off of something else. Pointing your external flash directly at a person will still give you that clammy "flash" look. Try bouncing the flash off of the ceiling (if you are in doors) or put a decent flash diffuser on your hotshoe mounted flash. You can buy them, or make them. I will make a huge difference in your flash photography. Also if the flash you have has wireless capabilities experiment by taking your flash OFF of the camera and use the K20's wireless commander mode to trigger it. You can get some really creative stuff going on with that.
08-31-2009, 07:48 AM   #25
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Steffi:

Someone earlier mentioned "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It is an excellent book, and he has a companion book titled "Understanding Shutter Speed". I have both books and I have gone back through both of them on more than one occassion.
08-31-2009, 06:44 PM   #26
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Thank you all so very much for your kind words and advice!!!

I picked up a tripod .. should be getting my books tomorrow and I am hunting for a great deal on lenses as per all of your suggestions.

Will take some practice shots this weeks and see if I have learned anything

I am so glad I chose Pentax over Nikon .. I don't think the Nikon camp is as nice!!
08-31-2009, 08:43 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steffi_YUL Quote
I truly have the desire to learn but perhaps I just don;t have the "gift" all of you have .. you can only learn so much the rest is almost embedded in your DNA.
Steffe_YUL: Nonsense. We all are in the process of learning to get better. I think the 'gift' we all share is the desire to learn more and more. So, feel free to ask away. I love this sub forum because often the 'newb' questions field such terrific suggestions from the many great posters here. I continue to learn here too.

Oh, and Welcome to the forum!
09-01-2009, 04:41 AM   #28
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You will be suprised how your photos improve over time! I found, when I was beginning photography, that it is helpful to take one thing and work on it till I understood how my camera would respond in different situations and to different light. The thing that I have found most helpful is to look at my photos as I process them and ask myself how they could have been better -- not just technically, but also with regard to framing, etc. Wait three months and compare your photos then to now -- you will be amazed (I sound like I'm selling something now, don't I?).
09-01-2009, 07:01 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steffi_YUL Quote
Thank you all so very much for your kind words and advice!!!

I picked up a tripod .. should be getting my books tomorrow and I am hunting for a great deal on lenses as per all of your suggestions.

Will take some practice shots this weeks and see if I have learned anything

I am so glad I chose Pentax over Nikon .. I don't think the Nikon camp is as nice!!
All the best in your journey taking photos.
Just don't be disheartened - one develops the eye to see creatively with time and practice. Once you know the fundamentals of photography (and the exposure triangle is really all you need to know) then the rest comes with each time you press the shutter and critique your own work.

You should have seen the ordinary shots I was taking not so long ago (on second thoughts, better not!)...
And I'm sure there will be many others who can confess the same...
09-01-2009, 12:05 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steffi_YUL Quote
psuloth,

We newbies should be posting pics so that the pro's can guide us in the right direction

It is not at all courageous to have posted some pics .. I just want better myself and learn.

I thrive on constructive criticism

Cloggie .. thanks for the clarification! I was just about ready to keep SR on off and see how that would have worked for me.
I'm just curious... can you take a picture at infinity using a high shutter speed that is sharp ? If so, then it's not the camera or lens that is the issue, but how you handle your camera most likely. How are you holding it ? Proper holding technique can go a long way in improving your image quality. When you press the shutter, are you introducing shake ? Use a tripod when you can,... Pro's do all the time for good reasons.
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