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photography talk

 
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Once I took a course on architectural photography and got an entry-level set of SLR, including a 35mm SLR body, some lenses, some filters, and a very heavy tripod ( I love heavy tripods ). Later I was busy preparing going study here, so my SLR equipments have been sleeping at home till now - I don't study architecture here and bringing them with me was simply too much trouble. Last month I got a Nikon Coolpix 5700 from Hongkong, it's an SLR-like digital camera with 8x optical zoom( 35mm - 280mm ). It's far from perfect but incredibly small and light, that means finally I got something easy enough to carry to shoot the beautiful narrow lanes, spectacular doms, stone colomns, colourful flowers and crispy water, and so on here in Europe. It was still my winter vacation and soon I was addicted to shooting pictures.
Welcome to my folders on http://www.photo.net/photodb/user?user_id=665790
Just click the links below *Folders* on the page. Currently there are only 10 photos, later I'll upload more. I dont like manipulating images after exposure, the only usage of photoshop to me is to compress big files to smallers ones. The technical data was shown below every image. The photography course was not finished when I had to leave for Europe, I'm still a learner and would love to hear critiques. Any comments and critiques, especially on composition and lighting, will be appreciated.
As to the Coolpix 5700, it's good enough as a prosumer level DC but very sadly, the smallest aperture is only f/8, while I was used to turn the aperture ring to f/11, f/16 or f/22 and loved big depth of field very much.
An interesting thing, I saw a Thomas Paul who mostly shoots portraits of babies and kids on www.photo.net. Here's the link: http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=133895
I wonder whether that Thomas Paul is this Thomas Paul here. If so, it's really fantastic

Regards,
Ellen
 
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Ellen,
Your photographs where very good (Thomas's are better ). I am/was always interested in photography, but now I want to figure out whether I have "THE SPECIAL" talent. I now own a SLR analog camera, learning with that is bit difficult and not cost effective. On the other hand Digital Camera are bit expensive and quality wise they are way behind analog ones. My budget is $600, I want to SLR-like digital camera ... but it I felt it is hard to find.
So I am still waiting for the digital technology to evolve ???.
 
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This one is best by TP
And this one of yours
 
Ellen Zhao
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To Ram,
Thanks very much for your nice words. Of course Thomas Paul's works are a lot better and sophisticated, in whatever aspects of skill, experience and equipment. I shot all the pictures in daylight, but you can see very delicate artificial light in Thomas's photos. That's why I said it's really fantastic if that Thomas is this Thomas, so that there's much to learn from him from here( the server of www.photo.net is a bit slow, i guess because of too huge an amount of large image files) Na gut, let's see what the saint says.
If you only want to take photography as a hobby, be sure you don't need any "special" talent. Just keep learning and practicing, you can get great enjoyment when someday nice images recorded by your hands. You now have an SLR-like, good, why not start from here. In fact the only elements you have to well control are aperture, focus and speed shutter. If your camera gives you the freedom to control them yourself, it's just the right camera you need. As to other fancy features, you may need them later but not for now. Be sure to get a GOOD book and watch classic photography works from time to time. And there's also very good online toturial on www.photo.net. When I say GOOD book I mean it. There are just too many people boasting about photography ( especially the wedding photographers in China, I bet you cannot find the brides' noses in most of their pictures. ), if you see a book starts with showing-off of fancy equipments, just leave it. Find a book which covers composition and lighting in depth. And watch any classic art and photography when you get a chance. Old paintings do helps. My idol is Ansel Adams, I visit his official website from time to time. I got the 5700 solely for convenience, so that I don't have to carry a variety of lens and don't need to worry about film ( too lazy ). If you have a budget of $600 and you do want an SLR-like DC, there are two solutions. 1. Wait for some time, I believe won't be too long, say, about half a year to one year. At least, the price of Sony 717 may well fall into your budget. In some aspects it's better than Nikon 5700: The focus ring and the big Zeiss lens. 2. Don't forget second hand market and grey market. You may get good luck there. Actually with $600 you can get a decent real 35mm SLR body, a decent 50mm standard lens, and a solid tripod( IMHO, tripod is more necessary and important than flash ). They are the BEST for a serious learner.
Hope that Helps.

To Ravish,
I failed to pick out a best from TP's album, he shots angles.
I wish I could take a nice picture like that but sadly the second link you added here is not my picture. It appeared on my page because I added a short comment to the picture.
Thank you anyway.

Regards,
Ellen
[ April 17, 2003: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
 
mister krabs
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That is a different Thomas Paul.
 
Ellen Zhao
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terrific shots. The cost of the pictures can be scary.
 
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Ellen -
The cowgirl has a 5700 also! She loves it - we also discovered the small 'f' range - at first I thought we hadn't read the manual correctly, but you're right.
Anyway - it is an incredible camera!
 
Thomas Paul
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I think "traditional Chinese sculpture" would have been better if the sculpture was a little better lit and the background blurred. A low power flash might have helped or a longer exposure.
On "Chinese Building on Water" you followed the rule of thirds on the vertical but not on the horzontal. The symmetry isn't that interesting because the sky is washed out and the water is too dark. Following the rule of thirds you should have shown more water and less of the washed out sky. Putting the horizon in the center of a picture usually doesn't work.
Just my humble opinion.
 
Ellen Zhao
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Hi Thomas,
Thank you very much for the thoughtful comments. It was an overcast day when I was travelling in the small towns called Hengdian and XingChang in east China. A pity that the sky was very uninteresting. And, I just got the camera right before my travelling, hadn't explored what it can do to improve the image in an overcast day. There are failures in the two photos you mentioned. I cropped the sculpture one, now the composition is slightly stronger.

Yes, just as you thought a longer exposure will get better result, but due to the overcast skylight it would still look rather flat. I should had been there in an early sunny moring or just before the sun set. For the focusing, either a bigger aperture, AF-S spot-metering focusing right on the foreground( the sculpture ) or a smaller aperture, multi-pattern-metering focusing on the center. The first approach results a blur background and emphasis on the subject, the latter depicts the context ( environment ) of the subject. Depends on what a mood I want to express. But the original exposure had been poor enough. I just keep it as a document.
For the building and water one:

Well spotted, I should had excluded the uninteresting overcast sky. A treatment feasible by Coolpix 5700: A smallest aperture, focusing right on the darkest part of the building, spot-metering. That may well cause a long exposure, probably 1/4 second or longer, so that a tripod is absolutely needed. I found the building itself quite beautiful, hopefully I can go there again with a tripod next time I go back home.
Thanks again for the suggestion.

Best Regards,
Ellen
PS: The original size of the pics is 2560*1920.
[ April 19, 2003: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
 
Ellen Zhao
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This is my current wallpaper for my desktop. When I take a better one, I'll change it. Original Dimension: 2560*1920


Regards,
Ellen
[ April 19, 2003: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Ellen Zhao:

To Ravish,
I wish I could take a nice picture like that but sadly the second link you added here is not my picture.


Then I like this one
 
Ram
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Ellen
http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1431472&size=lg
I have one question about the above phtograph, the location you a have choosen is perfect, but the pitcure look less bright and is not sharp, is it because your focus in on the plant nearby (and not on the object further away) or you had the shutter is open is longer time period. I have face this problem lot of time. I havn't tried experimented any solution, so far.
[ April 19, 2003: Message edited by: Ram ]
 
Ellen Zhao
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Ram,
No I didn't focus at the foreground but at infinite. As far as I know, the unsharp result was mainly caused by:
1. No tripod was mounted at that time. The camera was not steady. Thus the soft image.
2. The aperture was not small enough. I heared from my professor, Ansel Adams made aperture himself, some were as small as f/32 or even f/44. So that a great depth of fields was achieved.
To improve the quality of such shot more:
1. Choose the contrast level carefully( For a real SLR, that's the issue of different films I choose). For this scene, if I want a colour image, I may choose mid-level contrast. If I want a B&W image, I'd also choose mid-level. To get a wide range of tones, in the meanwhile keep the shape of the mountain, running water, trees...sharp enough.
2. Mount a polarizor in front of my lens.
3. Pay more attention to the lighting. Go to there in early morning or shortly before the sun set. High noon light in a sunny day is just too hard for such a scene( while very good for some simple-shaped modern architectures.) The light should be a bit softer here.

Just some thoughts, maybe not right. Am planning to visit some villiages in Pfalz, St. Goar, Trier, Saarbruechen, Heidelberg in the following several months, hopefully I can find some landscape/Architecture which are very interesting.
Regards,
Ellen
 
Ellen Zhao
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Selected photos during my trip in China in 2003 and something else.
go to the page and click the link under Photos & Presentations. 6.25 MB, PPT format. You can download this file and use MS Powerpoint to read the presentation of the 37 photos. For users of OpenOffice, presentation available via request. All the full size ( 2560*1920 pixels ) original photos available via request.

Regards,
Ellen
[ May 18, 2003: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
 
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