Learning Photographing… Thoughts/Questions – Part 5

Learning Photographing… Thoughts/Questions – Part 5

Bay-Water Sunset

Bay-Water Sunset

I took a lot of pictures when I was in D.C.

1. Some photos (ok… a lot of them) when I zoomed in more than 25%, they look grainy. My first thought was that it was a typical hand shake problem. But since that was a problem I have been paying attention to, it is hard for me to believe that there are so many of them having this problem. I questioned.

• This is a problem with focusing, right? Most of them were taken with zoom lens, by the way.

• Hand-shaking, definitely, is something I have to continue working on. But… is it possible that I was so anxious to catch the moment, so I ended up clicking before the camera had time to focus? (Dalo had said something about being patient. Is this part of it? 😉

• The pictures look fine if I don’t zoom in. Does this mean I won’t have any problem if I print them in small size? maybe 1 by 1 😉

• What about lens stabilizer? Amy brought this up and that makes me thinking (Thanks, Amy.) If the camera has a built-in stabilizer, how important is lens stabilizer? Is it better to have both?

• My husband said it had something to do with the quality of the lens. “The lens you have is convenient to use (zoom lens), but you end up sacrificing some quality,” he said. I think he was trying to be nice.

• Well, one big lesson I have learned is that I have to take time (small amount of time) when I shoot. It’s better to miss some moments and have good quality photos, than to have many not-so-great ones even though I did catch the moment.

2. My husband takes family photos whenever we have a family gathering, which I am grateful. One day he set up the light, the background… etc. and suddenly he turned to me and said “It’s all yours.” I wasn’t thrilled. I find out (1) I enjoy catching a moment of someone’s daily life more than taking portraits (less pressure, maybe). (2) When taking portraits in this setting, I need time to mentally prepare for it. Without a proper mental preparation, I am lost. (3) The real conclusion is that I don’t know enough about taking portrait to enjoy it – I have to know something about what I am doing in order to enjoy it.

3. One day, my sister and I visited a small town nearby (an hour away). I thought it would be a good opportunity to do some street photographing. I find out that just because you are walking on the street, it doesn’t mean you would find something interesting to shoot. 😉 I probably only got one on that day.

4. It was on that day, I met a photographer, who has a shop in that town selling his photos. I am happy for him.

5. My favorite photos of the trip are the ones that my nephew and my great niece playing with water gun (pipe?), which I have posted. You know what? Because I had taken those photos, I am quite satisfied and happy. How easy to be satisfied if you are a beginner 😉

6. Almost forgot… I love sunset photos. But I seem to agree with someone that they all look somewhat similar: the color, the reflection in water, clouds (different but similar)… How do you make your sunset photo outstanding?

That’s all I have for now. I am sure as soon as I hit “publish” button, I will have several more – story of my life… Good thing I have wonderful friends like you!

Advertisements

About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Photo Question. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Learning Photographing… Thoughts/Questions – Part 5

  1. Marie says:

    I have the same problem with my hand shaking a bit and am working on it. And I also tend to rush to get a certain shot. I think I move the camera when I press the shutter release button. Glad to know I am not the only one. If grain is the problem though, and the images are not out of focus but just grainy, it could be the ISO you are using (too high), the combination of ISO/f-stop/shutter speed, or the lens. Your husband could be right about the quality of the lens. It does make a big difference with some lenses. The better the lens, the better the clarity.

    Like

    • Helen C says:

      Marie, thanks for your comment. It took me a while to find a better way to hold my camera Everyone is difference, and I have tried several ways. But it ended up Cee’s way fits me the best (at her tip section).
      I am happy to say that you are the winner of this contest. Oops, this is not a contest. But if it is, you won. I have never suspected ISO was my problem because I don’t like high ISO even in the film days. I thought I had set the ISO number low like 200 or 400. But I didn’t realize when 200 or 400 doesn’t work, ISO AUTO kicks in and it would set whatever. After I read your comment, I thought I better check ISO to be sure and I was shock it was way high like 5600. That explains a lot! THANK YOU!!! Now I have to think hard what kind of setting is better so I won’t confuse myself.
      Dalo’s comment is important to me too. Like you, I do think I move the camera when I press the shutter. So that is something else I have to keep working.
      Thank you!

      Like

  2. Dalo 2013 says:

    I love this shot…serene, the shadows and of course the color. It is funny you mention camera shake, very important. Canon has great IS lens, that help with shake quite a bit ~ I think very important. Patience too, as it relaxes you (gets you in the right frame of mind as you mention). For me, as it is often the issue when it comes to the crisp shots with low/difficult lighting that comes with dusk, with the adrenalin running at times like these it is very difficult and the biggest change I ever made was to pack a tripod whenever possible. That, along with IS lens, low ISO and that makes for a better possibility of sharp photos.

    Your husband also has a great point about the lens issue: large zooms (18-200+) will be less sharp, and there is something to say about the quality of glass. But a steady-hand, IS lens, tripod and that slow squeeze of the shutter will bring you happiness 🙂 I really love this shot, just beautiful and crisp!

    Like

    • Helen C says:

      Hello, Dalo. THANK YOU! You are not only helped me, but also helped other readers. I really appreciate your comments.
      You are sooooo good. I’m using Tamron 18-200 mm lens. It is very convenient. Maybe I have to think about this again. I am using Nikon D7000; I don’t think Canon lens would work. Do you have any recommendation for Nikon camera? Again, since my camera has IS, do I still need it for my lens?
      Slow squeeze of the shutter, and steady hand — I will work on that. I have a question about tripod though. My 3 year old great niece is running/moving all the time. Tripod would not work when I try to take her photo, am I right? By the time I put the tripod on the right spot, she has probably moved to some other place.
      Thank you, teacher!

      Like

      • Dalo 2013 says:

        Best advice I could give: move to Canon (哈哈,kidding as Nikon is incredible!) An IS lens is important, that is where you will get the best results ~ the 24-70mm (Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens) is a phenomenal lens, similar to my 24-70mm Canon which is my favorite.

        Tripod shooting is necessary for landscape, and really nice with sunset shots. As for moving targets like your nieces and for street-shooting that you do so much of ~ you can forego the tripod until you really need it for landscapes and instead get the 70-24mm lens and you will be thrilled. I guarantee it 🙂

        Like

  3. Amy says:

    This is such a beautiful sunset capture, Helen! I’d be absolutely happy if I could take a sunset photo like this one. So glad to read Dalo valuable advice.

    Like

  4. pambrittain says:

    This shot is ten times better than I could do. Granted, I use the simple, do it for me type of shooting, and I’ll never be able to not shake, so I usually take the same picture as fast as I can at least twice. One of them usually (okay sometimes) comes out acceptable.

    Like

  5. sonyavdg says:

    I love this shot. I think one thing it shows is that a good foreground is one of the things that makes a sunset photo inique

    Like

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful photo, the water is like a mirror. I’m learning a lot with your questions by reading the comments.

    Like

    • Helen C says:

      Hello, Elizabeth. I am glad you have learned something from this post. That’s why I want to post my questions here so everyone (whoever wants to) can learn. And I am grateful for all the photographers who took time to comment here!
      Have a great day!

      Like

  7. Love the sunset photo. It’s wonderfully captured. Now to your questions about the grainy look. Is it really grainy or is it unsharpness or blurriness? If it’s really graininess you see, it’s not due to shaking hands or bad lens quality. I guess it’s due to too a high ISO setting. And maybe the connection with using longer zoom lens is due to it’s decreased aperture at longer focal lens and the camera having set to automatic ISO – in which the combination will increase the ISO and thus create more grain or noise.

    Like

    • Helen C says:

      Hello Otto. It is grainy. You were right for everything you said: (1) I was using longer zoom (2) the camera was set to auto ISO. I didn’t suspect ISO at first until I read Marie’s comment. I thought “Auto ISO” means I don’t have to worry about ISO. I thought all the grainy, or noise would be taken care of 😉 Ever since I posted this, I learned a couple of things about ISO (and more questions ;-( I am going to do some experiments and then I will post what I find out.
      I am so glad it has nothing to do with shaking hand, which is probably one thing I dislike the most.
      Thank you so much!

      Like

  8. benrowef64 says:

    Since you are using a DSLR it could be that the exposure was longer than the focal length eg 50mm 1/40 sec, a rule of thumb to stop blur would be to have the exposure quicker than the focal length.
    If you are shooting in auto then the camera will change the ISO (sensitivity of the sensor) to what it feels is best. If the camera has chosen a higher ISO then this could also create more noise and along with digital zoom quite a lot.
    Image Stabilisation is a group of techniques linked to stopping blur and would include some kind of stabilisation for the lens. Lenses come with IS but sometimes having that on can cause problems as well.
    I think taking time and not rushing to get good shots instead of lots of good shots is a great idea. It is better to have a few amazing pictures than loads of mediocre ones.

    To improve sunset photos change the White balance (WB) to the sun symbol and you can get some amazing colours not just the warm yellow tones.

    I think with point 5 you have hit the key to learning, take pictures you enjoy.

    Like

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Ben. I don’t know why it always takes me a while to “get it”. After reading your comment about focal length and exposure (shutter speed), it finally sinks in 😉 Thank you.

      I am having problem with my PC, so I am using my husband’s PC at this moment. I will definitely try changing WB when I get my PC back. Thanks for the tip.

      ISO totally surprised me. Can we trust the info we got from Windows Explorer? I mean the ISO, exposure time… etc. I think so because the photo we took during the day says 200. What surprised me is that we took some portrait photo with two lights (Not sure what is the right term) and ISO was 3200 or 5600 (if I remember right… it is more than 5000 for sure). With two bright lights, why ISO is so high? I am very surprised.

      Thank you so much for taking time to comment. Several others said they had learned something from the comments they read here. I think you not only for myself but also for my reader friends.

      Have a great day.

      Like

      • benrowef64 says:

        When setting up with lights (I am guessy flashes?) it would meter the light before the shot was taken therefore giving you a high ISO but I would also expect those images to be over exposed.

        Maybe shooting with scene modes might be helpful while you are learning- I wrote a post about them here http://aperture64.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/talking-to-myself-about-shooting-better-with-scene-modes/

        Like

        • Helen C says:

          Thanks, Ben. Great information. I am using P (program) mode most of the time. Once in a while, I do use A or S mode. I finally played with scene mode recently – night mode to take the firework pictures that I have posted.
          I am getting more confident with my D7000 now (P mode). However, your comment brings up a good point. I have some homework to do – use P mode and scene mode to shoot the same thing and compare. That will be a fun exercise. Thanks.

          Like

  9. This is one beautifully composed shot, Helen 🙂
    The water droplets on the hand rest of the chair looks beautiful in this light…

    Like

    • Helen C says:

      Sreejith, I have missed your comment. So sorry. I haven’t figure out a good way to get notified when someone left me a comment. Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate it! Helen

      Like

  10. I love your questions and have my own theories as to the correct answers but everyone seems to have their own so why bore you with mine? I am pretty sure that hand shaking will not produce grain, though. It will produce streaks that can be seen even in a small image size. The grain you see is definitely from using a less expensive less. The quality (or lack of) is magnified as you magnify the image! Also, one last thought. All sunsets are more or less the same. Do not make a sunset the focus of your image, the subject of your image. It should be only an additional light source. Maybe that way your sunset will be different? Your image above is a great example of this!

    Like

    • Helen C says:

      Hello, Emilio. Thanks you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. You are right about hand shaking will not produce grain. (I have learned that from other people’s comment 😉 I am still not sure what I can do in post processing to improve it. One thing I found out is that if I use jpeg photo, the grain situation is better than if I use Raw. I guess camera itself has corrected this problem somewhat.
      I like your comment about sunset. It makes a lot of sense to me. I FINALLY got it. THANK YOU!

      Like

  11. Ben says:

    I love your sunset shot from Bay-Water! I think it’s a great example of how you can make a sunset image stand out from the crowd. For me it’s all about the subject, and the chairs in the foreground of your shot are fantastic. The way they are angled towards each other almost look like they are holding hands, and so to me they personify two people holdings hands enjoying the sunset.

    Also I agree that capturing a moment is much more satisfying than a staged shot. And completely sympathise on your struggles with street photography, it really is much harder than it looks! In Thailand I took hundreds of shots, and probably have 4 or 5 that I really like. I think the key is to take more time exploring the environment with your eyes, identify a good subject and then wait for the right moment. At least that is what I am going to try and do more of in the future!

    Like

    • Helen C says:

      Hello, Ben. Thank you so much for your comment. “It’s all about the subject” — how true! I am glad that I asked. Now it became so clear to me!
      I visited your blog often and I love your photos (as you probably have noted by the comment I left once in a while). I really like your advice “take more time exploring the environment with your eyes, identify a good subject and then wait for the right moment”. I think you have described my problem very well. I really need to slow down and take time to observe before shooting! Thank you so much! Helen

      Like

I would love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s