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Landscape/Portrait/Action Any rule of thumb?

Discussion in 'Creative Corner' started by flyby, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. flyby

    flyby Mu-43 Regular

    123
    Jan 14, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    When taking a landscape picture, a portrait, an action shot, a close-up, etc. are there any rules of thumb as to what aperture, F stop or ISO that should be used for a particular kind of shot?

    I looked at David Clapp's work today and below one of his landscapes taken with the GF1 he states:Taken at f16, 18mm (36mm in 35mm terms) 1/3secs, ISO100 and hyperfocally focused, (yes thats right, f16, not f8 where all other point and shoots stop), its as easy to be artistic with such a small camera, thanks to its uncomplicated DSLR handling.

    This pic shows the entire depth of field but blurs or stops the water in the foreground..and what does he mean by hyperfocally focused?

    Rather than focus your answer on David Clapp's work..I'd rather have an answer to the rule of thumb if possible.. is there such a thing? And what are some of them?

    Thank you in advance!
     
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  2. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi flyby,

    this is an excellent subject for discussion, I hope we'll get some tips being shared by the many experienced photographers we have here.

    My tips for portrait photography - use face detection and have the camera down in front of you slightly, allowing you to frame up with the LCD but not being a distraction for the subject. Get eye contact with your subject and make a connection... get them chatting so that the camera is not a concern.

    This image, of my youngest daughter with my mum was taken this way (with a Panasonic FX01 point and shoot camera) - my mum is incredibly self conscious around cameras... but holding the camera down and talking over the top allowed her to relax.

    It's one of my favourite captures.

    Panasonic FX01
    1/80s f/4.5 at 12.0mm iso80
    View attachment 141104

    I always try to use natural light for my portraits, and as I said, face detection can help with the focusing, while allowing you to get the framing and timing right.

    If you can't use face detection, an articulating screen is very useful too! this image was taken with my favourite portrait lens for 4/3rds... the Hexanon 57mm f1.2 on the Panasonic G1.

    View attachment 151755

    Finally, I love to use AUTO ISO in Manual Exposure mode, to set my aperture to a low number (for low depth of field) e.g. f2 in this instance (from memory)... and shutter speed at a good value for the subject, to freeze movement in this instance (about 1/80 sec) - and let the camera take care of achieving auto exposure, increasing ISO to the minimum necessary to get good exposure.

    View attachment 141105

    Hope that helps, at least to kick things off... looking forward to more responses.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
    • Like Like x 6
  3. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    as usual Brian, first class
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. flyby

    flyby Mu-43 Regular

    123
    Jan 14, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Brian
    Thank you! The pics are beautiful! I'm taking your advice and trying a few of these today when my granddaughter gets home from school. I'll try MF while letting the camera adjust the ISO and face detection. I only have the 14-45mm lens right now so I'll see how that goes. Thanks for your help and hope that others will join in here too..this is a great idea to have this place for helping others learn from the more experienced members here.
    Karen
     
  5. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
     
    • Like Like x 6
  6. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Very good topic choice flyby. I really appreciate the responses!
     
  7. spark

    spark Mu-43 Regular

    28
    Feb 8, 2010
    Toronto
    I was wondering what that meant as well... so I found a description here:
    http://www.dofmaster.com/hyperfocal.html

    Here is a good simplification quoted from that link...

    "hyperfocal distance setting ... is simply a fancy term that means the distance setting at any aperture that produces the greatest depth of field."
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. flyby

    flyby Mu-43 Regular

    123
    Jan 14, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Iansky

    This is exactly what I am looking for..thanks for providing this info. It gives me a base point from which to start off with. I have to get my head around just how to set-up the shot for the type of picture I am trying to take. Working from aperture priority makes sense since this is where you manage depth of field.

    And thanks for making sense, at least to me, of the stop action. This is a problem I've been having shooting in either manual or Aperture priority when I want to take a shot of someone or something moving..switching to shutter priority makes sense but what shutter speed? You gave me a nice range to start with on each type of motion..very very helpful!

    I've taken notes and am out the door to try some of these steps out..thanks a bazillion!
    Karen

    You guys are the Best..thanks so much!
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Glad to have been of help Karen.

    If you post some of your results members can all look at them and I am sure you will recive constructive feedback that will help you for future images.

    The joy of a like minded forum.
     
  10. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Just an aside, here to say "Welcome!" spark.:wink::smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Karen,
    On the subject of Hyperfocal Distance....

    What's important to remember is that, Infinity is always the farthest distance in focus.
    As you change your f stop, the distance in front of the subject changes.

    By using more Depth Of Field, like f11...your focus moves closer to you...
    and by going to say f4...your focus moves further away from you....

    Infinity is always in with Hyperfocal Distance...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. silverbullet

    silverbullet Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    Feb 10, 2010
    The DOF moves asymmetrical when changed. F.e. when there is a change from, let's say f4 to f11 the increasing sharp area moves more to the back away from the camera as it expands in the direction to the camera.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Yes true,
    But at Hyperfocal distance, infinity is the farthest point.....
     
  14. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Exposure questions

    Both Brian and Iansky/Ian have given good advice, but I am still having trouble getting my mind around how to expose for difficult lighting situations. I am often finding myself taking pictures where there is an area that is way too bright and thus it will not show up well... I am after learning to use the camera for the control as opposed to the post processing software.

    I really feel like I need to review Photo 101. I know that many of the same rules for film come into play with digital, if not all of them. I think I found film easier than digital, though it's been many years since I used 35mm film at all. As I said, I have great difficulty with contrasty scenes - whether it's due to backlighting or just having an object such as a window full of light in the background somewhere...that throws off the lighting. Rather than spend time fooling around with post processing, I'd prefer to get my exposures as close to right as I can.

    The more I think about this, the more I feel I might get better results using my old Luna Pro. And at the same time, I feel that I don't have a truly good handle on what the options and capabilities of my E-P2 are and wonder if that's part of the issue.

    Any and all remedial help will be greatly appreciated!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Hi BBW,

    Think back to your film days and expose digital as you would have slide film.

    If you are experiencing contrasty lighting you can work three ways:

    1. Switch to spot metering, decide on the prime area of the image you want to expose for and take a meter reading from that area.
    2. As above but take readings from highlight and shadow areas you want detail in and then average the reading.
    3. Use the histogram to make sure you are not clipping (losing) the highlight areas, you can correct the exposure using EV adjustment to get the correct exposure.

    For all three, on the GF1 in difficult lighting and time permitting I always use the "depth of field button", this allows me to check the areas of my image in sharp focus and also the image as it will appear with the current shutter speed aperture combination.

    I would probably recommend no.3 until you are comfortable with using the EV/histogram combination, you can then have more confidence to try the spot selections (I thought the EP allowed numerous spot readings to calculate the mean average, if so try that).

    For back lighting, you either need fill flash or to get in close and meter off the main part of the subject as in No.1 above.

    I hope these suggestions make sense and allow you to get the images you want.

    Good luck,
    Ian
     
    • Like Like x 4
  16. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi BB,

    Ian has some great suggestions there (as I would expect from such an experienced photographer :hail:)

    As I suggested in my PM earlier - if you've set your E-P2 using the tutorial videos, the lower rear thumb wheel will adjust EV compensation as you refer to the on-screen histogram.

    Good luck! practice makes perfect :biggrin:

    Cheers

    Brian
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Thanks Brian,

    There you go BBW, tips from an expert on the EP2 and we both concur on the EV/histogram route.

    Good look and don't get frustrated, you will get there.

    Ian
     
  18. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus


    Thanks so much Ian, I appreciate your suggestions. I have been after trying to use the metering options differently and will continue to investigate how to set up the camera appropriately so that I'm not always having to reconfigure. I think this is one of my main stumbling blocks, however I don't want to highjack this thread into my own issues that are more specific to using the E-P2. I'll address them in the appropriate tutorials or someplace else. I've always found that spot metering is often much more useful...

    As for backlighting...right, fill in flash or just try a different setting.:wink::biggrin: I do try to move in closer where possible.

    I think that learning to set up both the controls properly as well as, learning to use the histogram and exposure values controls will be huge - and I'm hoping that another E-P2 person will lend a hand. Brian, as usual, is offering to post something in regard to this in the Quick Start section, I believe...otherwise I may start a thread there myself that is camera control related.

    Thanks so much to both you and Brian for your posts and help - you're very patient!:thumbup:
     
  19. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    BBW, glad to be of help - we have all been there and had to go through that same learning curve!

    The good thing about this site is that everyone here is willing to help and make suggestions - I have picked up a lot of tips from members who have more digital experience than I do and as the old adage goes - you are never too old to learn and you should never stop learning!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. flyby

    flyby Mu-43 Regular

    123
    Jan 14, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    In the above you refer to the depth of field button..what is that? on the GF1? Also you say you'd recco #3 is this referirng to the metering mode in the GF1?

    BBW thanks for the great question and as always thank you for all that answered.

    Best
    Karen :confused: 
     
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