off-topic...more practice photos

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Aug 7th, 2005, 08:24 PM
  #1
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off-topic...more practice photos

There was a fire today in the mountains surrounding the subdivision in which I live. The entire community (about 300 families) were evacuated, but a few people, including myself, refused to leave.

So, after packing up my 6 dogs in two separate vehicles, I tried to get some action photos, contending with a 3PM blinding sun. I didn't bother trying to change lenses, so all the shots are with my Canon 20d with Sigma 80-400mm optical stabilizing lens, some with a Manfrotto 680 monopod and Manfrotto 322RC2 grip ballhead.

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

The sun was just too much to overcome for some of the shots, but let me know what you think of the photos of the firemen.

I just picked up a copy of Photoshop Elements 3 today, but it will be weeks or months before I am able to put it to use.

Thanks.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 10:25 PM
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Hey Rocco, I definitely see improvement! Number 8 (closeup of the front of the line of firefighters) is very nice. These are significantly better than the very first set of tests you posted after just getting the new camera & lens.

I think you need to clean your lens or filter. There is a spot that shows up on the left of #3 in the sky area, which shows up again in the bottom of the next shot (since it's vertical), and again on the left of the following shot as well.

The haze in some of the helicopter shots is presumably due to smoke in the atmosphere.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 05:02 AM
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Hi Rocco,
Just a thought on the spot you are getting when your aperture is wide open. I don't think it's a dirty lens. It is more likely you have a spot of dust on your camera sensor. I had the same issue with my Canon and it was driving me up a wall until I figured it out (I even returned my first camera due to this). There should be a setting that locks the camera open to you can do a good cleaning. I have just used a rocket air blaster so far and it has worked for me.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Be very careful using compressed air to clean a sensor - they have a tendency to condense into liquid and leave much worse much on the sensor than one's trying to clean away and the extreme cold applied directly to just the sensor area can cause damage too.

IF you're going to clean the sensor yourself I'd recommend using a hand-pumped air puffer thing.

Alternatively look into a specialist CCD cleaning kit - only necessary if it's particularly dirty.

Proceed with EXTREME caution...
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Aug 8th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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--> much worse MUCK
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Aug 8th, 2005, 06:19 AM
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Rocco,

If the camera is new, I'd bring it to a certified service place and let THEM open it up -- otherwise you may risk voiding the warranty. I'd also suggest investing in a MACK worldwide camera warranty for peace of mind.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 8th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Hi all, That is why I suggested the Rocket Air Blaster. It is a manual air bulb. Nothing compressed about it and it's very safe. It has worked well for me anyway.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Comt, my apologies - I confused it with a compressed air blaster I saw being discussed recently - I have read a few horror stories of people using compressed air and ooooh boy I wouldn't want to be in their shoes!
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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Hi Kavey- that's a good warning though. I would never suggest to someone to use compressed air even though someone I trusted at the camera shop suggested it you are taking a big chance.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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Would the Rocket Air Blaster be safe to pack in my luggage?

Also, it was a false alarm...there was just a smudge on my filter.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Yes, Rocco, it would.

Effectively these things are kind of like turkey basters or dropper tools with a bulb on the top for air. You squeeze and that bulb of natural air is directed through a tiny hole at the tip.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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Hi Rocco,

I took one of these bulb blasters to Botswana and South Africa with me this July -- it was a life-saver in the Linyanti where it got pretty dusty. Everyone in camp wanted to borrow it.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Rocco,
Look for the "Giotto Rocket Blaster". The blast of air from this unit is much higher in velocity than a regular bulb type cleaner. It's safe for use on any area of your camera including the CMOS. But if you clean the CMOS follow the directions in the owners manual exactly.
We also have the 20D and I wouldn't use anything else for cleaning. And I absolutely wouldn't use any bulb with a brush.
44 days unit we leave for Zambia!!!
Mike
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Aug 8th, 2005, 08:00 AM
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Comments

4 is a good one - here it is with a bit of adjustment applied:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoVie...d=560344257203

I haven't spent much time on it so there are slight halos around the 'copter - if I'd spent more time finessing the selection area it they would not be there. But this gives you an idea of how you can apply just minor adjustments to an image rather than extreme manipulation.

5 is interesting - I think it would suit portrait orientation better. It's got a real sense of movement to it.

6 - good use of perspective and leading lines of the road and vehicles - seems you're thinking about composition more here.

7 - interesting again. I would recommend playing around with exposure compensation (or setting exposure off something that's roughly the same tone as 18% grey, such as grass and then using the exposure lock to keep those settings and recompose the shot) and that will help you learn how to expose for what you want to expose. Sometimes you DO want to expose to get a nice silhouette effect like this - other times you want to expose for the detail in the object itself.

8 - nice - a real sense of direction, an interesting subject matter and composition. Only ideas here would be to think more about background - if you took it when they were a step further back would it have excluded those ugly steps? Or how about from a slightly different angle? You're definitely getting the foreground right here - now attention to detail in the background. That said, when you can't get both foreground and background perfect best to do as you've done and still take the shot!

9 - I like this even better but would want to crop the car in the foreground.

12 I really like the idea to get the column of men from behind but the cars within the frame don't add to the shot at all for me. Would moving your angle have allowed you to reduce their impact/ proximity in frame to the men or not?

Just ideas...
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Aug 8th, 2005, 08:06 AM
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This is 9 with a crop...

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoVie...d=987805257203

As before, yours then mine.
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Aug 14th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Kavey,

Thanks...that was an improvement.

Here are some new practice photos from today.

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

The indoor photos were shot exclusively with my Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and the outdoor photos were shot exclusively with the same lens w/ 1.4x teleconvertor (making it an f/4.0).

I really favor this lens, even with the teleconvertor, over the Sigma 80-400mm lens. Still, I think I will bring both of them along to Africa. I do have lens cases and I will just carry, or beg my wife to carry, one of the bigger lenses, separately.

I did do a little cropping on these photos (on Ofoto) but I have not experimented yet with Photoshop Elements 3.0.
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Aug 14th, 2005, 04:37 PM
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Hhm, who is Ray Morales Jr? :-?
 
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Aug 14th, 2005, 05:02 PM
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Bwana Mitch,

RMJ is AKA Rocco Morelli.

You didn't think I was the Elvis impersonator, did you?

All I need to do is drop about 10 pounds and then I will be back in marathon shape in time for Tanzania. In my case, marathon shape is just being obese instead of morbidly obese.

Oh how I hate training.
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Aug 14th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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And my other marathon result, this one for March 2002:

http://www.marathonguide.com/results...0866&Max=18549

I did three marathons in 2002, with the final one in Vina Del Mar, Chile, in a time of 5:17:30. Unfortunately that was a small marathon of only about 125 runners and I wasn't able to get any photos of that one.

Here is my Los Angeles Marathon photo following the race:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoVie...id=48463763405

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Aug 14th, 2005, 05:11 PM
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Just to show that I was my normal hardbody self for the Chile marathon, here is a photo a couple days later in the Atacama Desert. Crispy brown look is from running 26.21 miles without sunblock lotion a couple days earlier rather than from the Atacama Desert.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoVie...id=94289563405
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