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11-11-2008, 08:01 AM   #1
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Am I missing a step

OK, I am not coordinated and never will be but I think taking a photo of a landscape should not be this hard or cumbersome.

After composing a shot I.......
1. Set up my tripod
2. Pick a spot to meter off of and take a reading then lock it in using AEL button.
3. Put the camera on the tripod and find my focus point and focus on it while holding the shutter release button half way down.
4. Now I'm left with keeping that button half way down while I tighten the camera into place on the tripod and compose my shot again.
Sometimes I will do step 3 while the camera is attached to the tripod and just pick everything up and try to set the camera and tripod back down and recompose the shot with my finger on the shutter release button.

Is all this really necessary or am I missing something?
I hope I made this clear and thanks for any help or advice you can give me,
Susan

11-11-2008, 09:18 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by slowpez Quote
OK, I am not coordinated and never will be but I think taking a photo of a landscape should not be this hard or cumbersome.

After composing a shot I.......
1. Set up my tripod
2. Pick a spot to meter off of and take a reading then lock it in using AEL button.
3. Put the camera on the tripod and find my focus point and focus on it while holding the shutter release button half way down.
4. Now I'm left with keeping that button half way down while I tighten the camera into place on the tripod and compose my shot again.
Sometimes I will do step 3 while the camera is attached to the tripod and just pick everything up and try to set the camera and tripod back down and recompose the shot with my finger on the shutter release button.

Is all this really necessary or am I missing something?
I hope I made this clear and thanks for any help or advice you can give me,
Susan
1) Set up tripod, and mount camera to it.
2) Compose picture, using AF as needed to keep things in focus.
3) Take meter reading. I use center weighted, as spot readings are not really needed for general landscape work.
I use manual exposure, so my readings don't dance on me.
4) Push the button.

That's it. I think you are complicating your life more than you need to, but I applaud your use of a tripod. So many people don't, and they are compromising the quality of their pictures by doing so.
11-11-2008, 09:23 AM   #3
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Why do you have to hold the shutter button down ?
If you don't want the camera to refocus when you press the shutter button down to take the picture, you can switch to manual focus after initial focusing and be careful not to bump the focus ring.
On K10D there are at least 2 better options, I don't know if they work for K100D Super but here they are:
1. It is possible to set the AF button to cancel autofocus while held down, so holding it down while pressing the shutter button doesn't trigger autofocus.
2. It is possible to altogether disable the autofocus on shutter halfpress.

Oh and doesn't K100D Super have multiple focussing points, so you could just choose the one closest to what you want to focus on while already composed and on tripod ?
11-11-2008, 09:24 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by slowpez Quote
OK, I am not coordinated and never will be but I think taking a photo of a landscape should not be this hard or cumbersome.

After composing a shot I.......
1. Set up my tripod
2. Pick a spot to meter off of and take a reading then lock it in using AEL button.
3. Put the camera on the tripod and find my focus point and focus on it while holding the shutter release button half way down.
4. Now I'm left with keeping that button half way down while I tighten the camera into place on the tripod and compose my shot again.
Sometimes I will do step 3 while the camera is attached to the tripod and just pick everything up and try to set the camera and tripod back down and recompose the shot with my finger on the shutter release button.

Is all this really necessary or am I missing something?
I hope I made this clear and thanks for any help or advice you can give me,
Susan

Put the camera in manual mode, so that once you have the exposure set, you can forget about it and get on with the rest. no need to hold buttons down etc.

11-11-2008, 09:34 AM   #5
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I think the OP does not hold the button down for exposure. She is using the AEL for that anyway. Her problem more likely is that she needs to keep the focus set.
11-11-2008, 09:45 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by procyon Quote
I think the OP does not hold the button down for exposure. She is using the AEL for that anyway. Her problem more likely is that she needs to keep the focus set.
you're right, missed that, but maunal works just as well for focus, or as someone else noted select the focus point after composure on the tripod.

or, learn a little about hyperfocal distance and set everything manually
11-11-2008, 09:48 AM   #7
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Ae lock only holds for a short time and trying to hold the shutter button down halfway to lock focus is quite cumbersome. To me, both AE lock and autofocus are better for handheld landscape shots. I shoot 99.9% from a tripod and lots of landscapes so this input may help...

First, you have the right idea, compose first then set the tripod. That's great technique as practiced by virtually all the masters. Tripod shooting is THE way to get great landscape work. I'm not aware of any landscape "masters" who shoot or shot handheld.

Most landscape shooters use manual metering or what I do--matrix metering with exposure compensation when needed (dark fir forest -.7, most other tree scenes -.3; bright reflective water or snow scenes somewhere between +.7 and +1.3; most other landscape subjects hit pretty close to the meter reading). Either manual or matrix with exp. comp. will do away with the limited time AE lock problem. This will allow you to compose without hurrying which should make for better compositions.

Autofocus generally isn't appropriate for landscapes--as you've found. Setting a focus point and recomposing while holding down the shutter halfway just isn't the best choice. You can continue doing it like you are and just shut off the autofocus once you've got the autofocus point you want or you can manually focus to your heart's content on the tripod--which is what I do.

Regarding depth of field--which is critical in most landscape shots--read up on hyperfocal distance. If your lenses don't have the necessary scales (most modern digi lenses don't) then you might want to make yourself a cheat sheet with hyperfocal chart info that you'd possibly use. Note that digital sensors are smaller than the dimensions of 35mm film so depth of field is actually greater than it was with 35mm. I shoot lots of 67 format stuff which has less depth of field than 35mm. To keep from missing the depth of field I need, sometimes I bracket focus point--take one shot focused closer than you think you need, take one shot focused where you expect and one more shot back focused behind the area you expect to be the right place. This way at least one should turn out. The old school rule of thumb is at f11 to f16, expect that 1/3 of the in-focus zone will be in front of the spot you focus on and 2/3 will be behind the spot you focus on. I religeously check depth of field with the dof preview button.

For landscape work, you'll likely want to experiment with the white balance too. After a couple bad misses when digi first came out, I've never used auto white balance, though it appears that most folks on this forum trust it. In tricky white balance situations (particularly macro) I've had tremendous success using the 5000K setting (nothing custom, just 5000K). One really neat way to learn to choose white balance yourself is to take a shot and then open the white balance menu. As you choose different possible settings, they are applied to the shot you've already taken so you can see what will happen to the wb in subsequent shots.

You are on the path to great landscape work and the tripod alone will make your work better than the average tourist snapshot. A couple little tinkers with your workflow choices and everything should come out great!

Have fun!
11-11-2008, 10:00 AM   #8
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Compose, set up tripod, attach camera, recompose, focus manually (or autofocus then switch to mf so it won't move), use matrix metering or evaluative or whatever it's called, use 2 sec timer or cable/remote release & make initial exposure, check histogram, adjust EV if needed, hold breath & make final exposure.

works amazingly well for me.

11-11-2008, 10:20 AM   #9
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Landscape photography made simple....manual all the way;

Use manual focus and manual exposure (or Av). And, as everyone has already pointed out, use a tripod. That's it!
11-11-2008, 10:45 AM   #10
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It occurs to me that experience gives us shortcuts to composition. Compose then set up tripod is generally correct, but over time, you won't need the camera for composing the picture, it really just becomes a tool designed to let you take the picture home with after a while.
I find myself walking into a scene, finding what I want to take pictures of (rough composition, getting angles and the like worked out. At that point, I set up tripod and do final composition. I rarely if ever use a camera in the rough composition step. By the time I'm taking the camera out, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, and generally I'm within a few inches of where I decided to be.
I learned this when shooting 4x5, where you don't really want to carry equipment any farther than needed.

Manual all the way definitely is best for static landscapes, or if you really want to use auto exposure, then Aperture Preferred Auto would be best, I think. Depth of field is generally the more important consideration in this genre of photography, so use the tool that controls it directly.
Aperture Preferred AE coupled with exposure comp on the shutter speed would work, though by this point you need to know more than you do for manual exposure. Good for handheld though.
I have my camera set so that green button manual adjusts the shutter speed rather than the aperture. This brings me close enough to make a test exposure, which I adjust from.
I do find Pentax tends to bias exposure somewhat to the underexposed side. I've found that I get better conversions if the exposure is slightly to the right of where Pentax puts it.
It's not much, and it varies somewhat, but I like about 2/3 stop more exposure than what my K20 wants to give me more often than not.
11-11-2008, 10:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by navcom Quote
Landscape photography made simple....manual all the way;

Use manual focus and manual exposure (or Av). And, as everyone has already pointed out, use a tripod. That's it!
Depending on how chintzy your tripod is, it can be helpful to use the 2 second delay for shooting.
11-11-2008, 12:24 PM   #12
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Original Poster
Thanks for all the replies. I can't tell you how much help you all are. Nice to know I am doing some things right, i.e. tripod, center weighted metering, two second delay (although this is mostly because I don't have to remember to take shake reduction off). I have to admit I never considered taking the camera off AF - what a simple suggestion. Also, I usually use Av mode instead of manual mode so I will try that suggestion also. A couple of changes that will be easy to implement.
Ron, your comments on metering and exposure compensation, DoF and white balance are things I have been working on but your explanations were very helpful. Seems that the more times someone explains things to me the easier it becomes for me to understand. Each time I seem to grasp a point that didn't occur to me before. I suspect I am a little dense. Your exposure compensation changes for forests, snow, etc. were better than those suggested by Peterson.
Again, thanks everyone. Time to get out the old tripod.
Susan
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