A few practice photos taken today w/ Canon 20d

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Jul 3rd, 2005, 07:19 PM
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A few practice photos taken today w/ Canon 20d

I am too chicken to post these on Fred Miranda, but I will share them here:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/BrowsePh...1&sort_order=0

Most of the photos are from taking my dogs to play in the river this morning but there are also a couple Macro shots.
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 11:52 PM
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Rocco,
Good to see you're working seriously on familiarising yourself with the equipment.
A couple of pointers:
*Make sure you are focusing on the relevant object - so with the grasshopper, focus needs to be on the grasshopper rather than the leaves around it.
*Think about composition - where in the frame would the main subject work best? Some of the shots are showing improvement in that area, in others you're so focused on what the dogs are doing it strikes me that you're overlooking composition.
*On a similar note, think about the background. Are there objects/ trees/ distracting elements "growing out of" the main subjects' heads etc.
*Where is the light coming from? Know where your light source is (whether it's sun or natural) and think about how that impacts on what elements in the scene are best lit - main subject or background?

Keep up the practice Rocco, it's going to be worth it!
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 11:53 PM
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That should read "whether it's sun or articial"!
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Jul 4th, 2005, 04:50 AM
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Kavey, on your excellent comment about ensuring that focus is on the subject rather than nearby objects, I too sometimes have difficulty explaining that concept to my camera (Lumix FZ5, 12X zoom). Do you have any tips to ensure that the right object is the focal point, especially when your subject is right next to a slightly closer or more distant object?
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Jul 4th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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Thanks for the pointers.

The shots from the San Diego Wild Animal Park were handicapped by not having my lens hood with me on what was a very sunny day.

Most of the dog/river photos were taken while standing on slippery rocks, trying to to fall into the river. We were trying to cross the river, but I thought there was a good chance I would slip on a rock and then bye bye camera.

Excuses, excuses!
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Jul 4th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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trying to to fall = trying NOT to fall
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Jul 4th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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Hi Rizzuto,
I don't know the Lumix, but on the 10 &20/D you can choose the autofocus area that the camera will use. The default settings cover 5 different areas across the mid-section of the frame. So the camera may actually focus on something other than your intended subject. You can re-set this function for only one small area of focus, and it can be either in the center or one of the other points. This is very valuable for photographing an animal in tall grass or in a tree.

Now you'll be stuck with that focus point until you change it.

So get familiar with changing this function quickly...and with the procedures for focusing and recomposing. Usually involves holding the shutter partway down...but check your manual.
I cannot emphasize how important it is to REALLY really read and digest the manual to a digital camera. If you don't read the manual, you have probably wasted 80% of what you have spent on your camera!!!
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Jul 4th, 2005, 07:46 AM
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Rizzuto

Two things have helped me:

Firstly, work out where your exposure lock button is - on some models it's a separate button, on others it's activated by HALF pressing the shutter button - and then compose the picture initially so that the object that requires the focus is dead in the centre of the frame - lock the focus and then recompose without letting go and take the picture.

Alternatively, if the object that you want to focus on is small enough that other elements also fall into that centre focus spot, switch to manual focus. Sometimes it's not only the quickest way - it's the only way!

Rocco I don't want your excuses... I want to see you WORK that new equipment and get the very best photos you can from your next safari!
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Jul 4th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Hi All,
I agree with everything Kavey says. Also, notice, if you will, that many animal photos, and nature photos in general, are with "back lighting". When ever you see back lighting think "photo opportunity". And then there's the old saying "lighting isn't the only thing, it's everything".
regards - tom
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Jul 4th, 2005, 06:46 PM
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Now, I don't know if I need contact lenses or what, but on many of those photos it seemed like the subjects were in focus, but I can see what you are talking about with the composition.

I mean take the grasshopper shot...I was literally two feet away from the grasshopper and I had plenty of time to compose the photo, but I still missed the mark. I am not too concerned with my dog photos being slightly off composition because I really did not have the opportunity to better plan out those shots as I was literally in the river on rocks just sticking out of the water or even on rocks slightly under water, many with slippery moss...I am lucky I did not fall in the river or slip and break my camera. Plus, I made a mistake yesterday morning by putting on my 1.4x teleconvertor...for what Scooter, Shy and I ended up doing yesterday, the 80-400mm OS would have been better, but it was totally spontaneous to go in the river and by then we were already about 15 minutes from home.

I do think shooting from a parked vehicle, with engine off, will be much easier than hand holding my shots while walking around.

So, anyway, anything I can do on my end to improve my eyesight on what is completely in focus and what is not? I am finding myself manually focusing at times, not satisfied with the Auto Focus.

Thanks.
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Jul 4th, 2005, 09:04 PM
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As a newbie to actually splurging and purchasing a good camera, I always enjoy these type threads because they really are helpful, as are all threads around here!

Rocco - I see you finally got the Wild Animal Park to do a test run. And, off topic, but did you do the Photo Caravan Tour or just wander around the park? Also, I haven't been to the new lion exhibit yet but it looks interesting.
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Jul 4th, 2005, 09:42 PM
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safari274,

I did do the photo caravan tour. It was okay, I guess. Definitely no substitute for the real thing despite the guide's stating that she had past guests whom had been to Africa on safari but said that their game drives with her had been the best. Had to laugh at that one.

You do get to feed the giraffes and even the rhinos, but that was a separate tour for the rhinos, but I did get to experience a giraffe slobbering all over my hand.

The San Diego Wild Animal Park is definitely a much better experience than the Los Angeles Zoo. The amount of space that the lions have at the L.A. Zoo borders on inhumane...honestly it is not more than about 2,000 sq. ft (or 1/20th of an acre).

Lion Camp, on the other hand is great. I literally stood face to face with full grown lions, separated only by glass. I mean it is possible to be within a foot of the lions.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast, you really need to be tolerant of the other guests who cannot properly identify a rhino vs. a hippo or amazingly sometimes not even a tiger vs. a lion. At times I wish that I were wearing headphones...just reminds me of why I go on safari, really...to eascape the crowds and to be around other wildlife enthusiasts while seeing animals in their natural habitats.
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Jul 4th, 2005, 10:07 PM
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I had to laugh at your comment about having to have patience when around people that can't identify a hippo vs a rhino and so forth. Been there, done that, and many times wished for those headphones!

I haven't yet had the opportunity to experience Africa {but soon I will! } so I do love the Wild Animal Park, though I know definitely no comparison to the real thing. Too bad you didn't get to do the rhino feedings, it's quite an experience. When I was there a baby rhino was out and the mother was nice enough to let us feed and pet the baby as well.
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Jul 4th, 2005, 11:01 PM
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safari274,

So, when do you think you will take the plunge and finally visit Africa? Where do you think you will visit?

Although I am leaving in 8 weeks, I am already busy planning my next safari. If done right, there is nothing out there to match a safari...it is just so amazing an experience.
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Jul 4th, 2005, 11:55 PM
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It looks like next year might be the fulfillment of the lifelong dream.

I'm still in the planning stages but I've pretty much got the list of camps narrowed down. Right now I can't decide if I want to do Kenya/Tanzania or Botswana/South Africa first. And, yes, Zambia is somewhere on the list as well , as is Namibia and Uganda/Rwanda for a gorilla trek (eventually). I'm such an Africa-holic and I haven't even been there yet! Should be interesting once I have.
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Jul 5th, 2005, 08:00 AM
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safari274,

That is great news about your intended trip for next year. I wish I knew a bit more about Africa before my first visit, but I was admittedly only initially drawn to Africa due to Singita winning #1 status in the world.

I really knew NOTHING about Africa prior to my first visit, other than making sure that I was booked into the very best possible places. I do think I would have appreciated my first trip more had I done some research. I really was quite ignorant for my first couple trips, but by my third trip (June 2004) I had a burning desire for Africa that has only grown since.

Good luck with your continued research!
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Jul 5th, 2005, 09:18 AM
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Hey, I didn't say they were ALL out of focus!!! I said it was something to pay more attention to - you want ALL your pictures to show sharp focus on the main subject, no? not just some of them!

Keep up the good work (practicing).

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Jul 5th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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Roccco - I'm sorry I don't have any cogent advice. When a photo I take turns out well - it's more to do with serendipity than skill, but thanks for posting your photos. That lion exhibit looks great. I wonder how often they have to wipe the glass to keep it smudge free?
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