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On how not to use a camera - Off in the distance — LiveJournal
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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2006-01-23 07:21
Subject: On how not to use a camera
Security: Public
We went round Duxford on Saturday. Or rather, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, which is an impressive aviation collection.

I've not been there in many years. Perhaps it would be better to say that though we pass it frequently, I have actually been in only once, the best part of 15 years ago, and it's added somewhat since then. I wanted to go to really try out my camera. It was a glorious day for it - cold, but clear and bright, with no wind, and if I couldn't get good pictures in those conditions, then it wouldn't be the camera's fault, nor the conditions, nor the subjects.

And actually, I'm pretty happy with the results. The 18-70mm lens is great for allowing me to frame an entire aircraft when barely beyond its nose, and the pictures were all nicely exposed on the auto setting.

Unfortunately, I forgot one thing, which is why some of the pictures, the outdoor ones, manage to be 1/800th of a second at f/14. Yep, it was set to ISO1600, which is fine for trying to photograph bats without a flash, but bloody awful for bright sunlight. And the actual pictures have a dullness that they wouldn't normally have, due to the CCD having to work so hard from a bare flicker of an exposure.

So, I'll be going back, some sunny day, and this time I'll have it set somewhere more sane.

(But it's got a U2. And an SR71. And ... and ... and ...)

Oh, yes, the picture in the previous post was on the way home.
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User: knell
Date: 2006-01-23 09:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I got caught out by the ISO thing a few times as well - if I'd been paying attention to the Auto ISO mode I'd have probably used that with the threshold set to 1/125 or thereabouts. The D200 has ISO displayed in the finder and on the top LCD which should mostly take care of this, but having D70 habits I still find myself holding down the ISO button to check.

Of course, this is not as dim as taking a bunch of photos with my point-and-shoot on Aldgate East station this morning and then realising it was set for 1024x768 basic JPEGs (aka the "putting stuff on eBay" setting).

Oh - the replacement eyecup for the D70 is finally on the way. The guys in HKG agreed it was lost in the post and sent a new one, although I have a sneaking suspicion that they never sent it in the first place.

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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2006-01-23 09:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Auto ISO mode ... now that sounds like something I need to check.

And no, you didn't leave it at 1600 - I'd put it there while experimenting, and not put it back.

Whee ... the eyecup is coming? My goodness!
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User: furrfu
Date: 2006-01-23 10:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For most types of outdoor photography (except some landscapes) overcast is probably better than sunny - esp. if you want to take pictures of glinting aircraft. When there are clouds, the world's your softbox, and you don't get harsh shadows and highlights (which even the eye can have trouble with, and CCDs don't nearly have the dynamic range of the human eye).

I've been caught out by bad ISO settings a couple of times in the past-it's how you learn to "zero" your camera after taking pictures (a good habit for any type of complicated equipment-audio engineers zero mixing desks, too). That way you always come back to a known configuration, and in a hurry you can just count the clicks to set up the settings you want.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2006-01-23 11:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmm, OK. I think I'll have to try that. And I'll admit that some of the indoor shots, where light was shining onto the aircraft from outside, did have quite a dynamic range.

And the 'zero the camera' diea sounds sensible. (I already set it back to 'Auto' afterwards on the principle that if I want to take a picture without warning, that's probably the fastest setting.)
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User: furrfu
Date: 2006-01-23 11:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The contrast between bright sunlight and shade is quite high, and certainly at airshows I hope for clouds - otherwise airplanes flying over are just silhouettes against a bright sky. Anyway, lots and lots has been written about light, and sometimes you do want sunlight (if you want that "magic mountain holiday" landscape photo, f'rex), but if you don't want extreme contrasts (ie. most of the time) clouds is what you want. A lot of studio lighting equipment is made to perform the same task-create a diffuse light with softboxes, reflectors, etc. so (with lots of juggling) you can get the lighting just right.

As for zeroing-when you take thousands of photos each year, it's something you can't avoid. Learning about it was... painful. (-:

Hmm. Haven't been to Duxford since the 2001 airshow (which was mighty impressive). Really should try to get back sometime.
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User: knell
Date: 2006-01-23 12:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The two-button reset on the D70 will do this in one swell foop - hold down the two buttons with green dots next to them for a couple of seconds and it resets a bunch of oft-changed shooting parameters to sane defaults. It's not a "factory settings" reset - it only resets shooting parameters rather than the entire configuration.

http://www.nikondigitutor.com/eng/d70/select.php?menu=1&sub=b14&num=1#

The only setting there I don't agree with is JPEG Normal - I always shoot in fine, not that it makes all that much of a difference.
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Gid
User: caerleon
Date: 2006-01-23 11:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
(But it's got a U2. And an SR71. And ... and ... and ...)

We went there a couple of years ago, and Suzi said to me "I thought they had a B52 here?" or words to that effect.. I pointed out that we had, in fact, been walking around the thing for the past hour or so, and were, indeed, now stood under the port wing.. it was so big she'd missed it..
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2006-01-23 11:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, yes. I can quite understand that - a real case of the forest and the trees.

When you look at the floor plan of the building, it is basically designed round that B52:

Floor plan of Air Museum building
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