shooting scenarios

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millside
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shooting scenarios

Post by millside » March 6th, 2013, 7:08 am

all you photographers give great advice.
so I would like to put up some scenarios. I am not up to an slr yet, but have a nikon p510. and am working on using my manual settings.

scenario one.
night time hike in jungle
yellow eyelash viper on branch.

this is a real scenario. and all my pics showed up blown out.

what settings would you use. with a basic set up. not an elaborate system( :oops:
thanks

scenario 2
same situation but with a light green tree frog.

bgorum
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by bgorum » March 6th, 2013, 9:17 am

OK, so without seeing the pictures I'm just guessing here, but I would be willing to bet your subjects occupy only part of the frame with a distant background occupying the rest and you used flash. If that is the case then the camera is going to keep the flash on longer as it tries to correctly expose the distant background, but that is going to overexpose the closer subject. (Light from a flash falls off as a square of the distance from the camera). The easiest solution would be to dial in some minus exposure compensation, reshoot, and check the picture/histogram.

Close to correct?

Erik Williams
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by Erik Williams » March 6th, 2013, 12:23 pm

center weighted metering or spot metering will work too - just meter for the subject not the overall scene. The background is going to be black anyway, unless you have the midnight sun or a tripod with you

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Stohlgren
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by Stohlgren » March 6th, 2013, 2:51 pm

Erik makes a good point about the metering. When shooting at night with flash (with my DSLR), I usually shoot in aperture priority, dial in my preferred aperture, and have never had a big problem. After looking at the results on the rear LCD, maybe a slight adjustment of exposure compensation is necessary.

If shooting in manual, I usually dial 1/125 sec shutter speed, a low ISO value (no higher than 400), and my preferred aperture. I then vary the output level of my external flash (or flashes) until I get the proper exposure (checking the histogram to ensure that I haven't blown any highlights). Doing this in manual on a point and shoot is likely much more difficult.

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chrish
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by chrish » March 6th, 2013, 9:17 pm

millside wrote:what settings would you use. with a basic set up. not an elaborate system
It really depends on what you mean by "basic" as opposed to elaborate.

Before I went out into the forest at night, I would have anticipated the type of shooting I would be doing. Shooting animals with flash at night against dark backgrounds would clearly present a chance of flash overexposure.

So what I would do is set my camera to aperture priority (using manual is just a waste of time in my opinion). I would make sure my flash is set to the smartest TTL option your camera offers. I would set my ISO to 200, not Auto, unless I anticipated some longer shots (mammals, owls, etc) when I might set it to 400 or higher.
I would make sure I new exactly how to input exposure compensation in the dark without looking at the camera back and dials. That way my second shot can be perfect and I won't miss out on the photo op screwing around with my camera.

Finally, as a backup, I would set my camera to shoot in RAW. That decision will allow me to salvage shots that might have gotten overexposed.
Under those settings, I could feel pretty confident of getting 100% of my shots to come out even if it takes a little work in Lightroom after shooting.

And I would go out in the dark before the real event and shoot pictures of shoes, sticks, whatever in the dark under "field conditions" to learn how to anticipate problems and quickly problem solve.

millside
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by millside » March 7th, 2013, 5:01 am

thank you very much.
you all hit on some of the problems I had,

by basic I meant flash the comes with the camera, although that camera has settings for different flashes.

I am going to try all the different ideas to see which one I liked the most. I will get back on my findings.

thanks again.

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chrish
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by chrish » March 7th, 2013, 6:04 am

millside wrote:by basic I meant flash the comes with the camera
If you are having the trouble with the on-camera flash, it can help to learn to use flash compensation. Some people find they prefer the results if they use a flash compensation of around -0.7 when shooting close up with the on camera flash.

A diffuser can also help.

millside
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by millside » March 7th, 2013, 5:05 pm

Ok, I could not use real field conditions being it snowing out so I used the closet for now.
I used aperture priority, iso 200.
Set it on macro.
Set me flash at -.3 .
Took a bunch of pics of white things, bright yellow and stuff like that, and shiny.

My only glitch was focusing. My subject had to be lit with my flashlight to focus, then I would remove light to take the shot.
I was happy with my results.

I tried some of the different f stops. My camera only went from f3 to f 8.3
I used f3 only because it took the shot quicker. On a stationary subject I might have gone up.

I also tried some of the different flash settings like slow sinc and rear curtain. But playing with the exposures worked the best.
Thanks

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Kevin Price
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by Kevin Price » March 8th, 2013, 6:40 pm

Pretty much what everyone said is right on the money. At night I've ONLY shot manual mode, otherwise the camera wanted to do things its way and I always wound up with a much too slow of a shutter speed. For my camera, shooting at night in aperture priority was never going to work, the shutter speeds were way too slow without a tripod. I didn't know anything about your camera so I googled it. You have a pop up flash and automatic flash metering. That's fine. Spot metering the EXPOSURE for the shot should help the flash's metering a lot better. Reducing the flash compensation will work even more. Unfortunately your camera does not offer RAW shooting capability, which would help out even more in recovering any blown highlights.

You've hit the nail on the head with having to light the subject with a different light source. This has been a thorn in my side for several years; lighting the subject enough to achieve focus but not so much as to be seen in the image, using a light the same, or close to, the color of the light of the flash (white balance issues with different color lights, they may look the same to our eyes but they aren't), and because I like to shoot off camera flash, sometimes with multiple flashes, having a third hand to deal with everything. I have been using a flash bracket just to be able to hold the camera steadily with either hand and a perch to mount an inexpensive LED light source that is not seen in the image but allows very quick and positive focus of my subject. The small flashlight is mounted using a large rubber band and I'm able to manipulate the light with my left thumb to shine primarily at the eye of my subject (the primary point of focus) no matter where I have it in the frame.

So, I shoot in manual mode between 1/125 and 1/250 second, fstop depending on my composition, and the lowest ISO my camera allows. My flash is in ETTL (Canon) mode and I'll adjust flash compensation as needed, though it's often not.

Your camera is fine for what you want to shoot, you just have to tell it what you want it do do. Shooting in manual mode is half the battle, good for you. Stay in manual mode, and if shooting hand held, set your shutter to 1/160 or higher. If your all the way zoomed out then set your shutter at its fastest sync speed ( I could not find out what that was for your camera so I'll assume it's around 1/200 second or so). That way your'e images will be sharper due to any hand movement. Don't get to close with the camera to your subject. By that I mean you can't move the flash since it's attached, and I think that your camera will allow you to shoot very close to the subject, which will cause the flash to overexpose no matter if its in auto mode or not. Just zoom in more.

Practice using inanimate objects similar to what you want to shoot. Get a yellow plastic snake and put in in tree. Shoot it at night with the light you've been using in the different ways others here have stated. Try various ways and techniques. The snake is not moving (or venomous!) so you can try whatever you want and see what works and what doesn't. I do this all the time so I'll have a pretty good idea of how I want to shoot something in the field that is trying to either escape, bite me, or both. That is not the time to try new things. My wife thinks I look like an idiot doing that in the backyard in the middle of the night, but then she's not a field herper!

millside
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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by millside » March 9th, 2013, 4:06 pm

More good stuff to try. Thanks Kevin.
I am going to try all this advice and see what this camera can do .

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Re: shooting scenarios

Post by fvachss » March 9th, 2013, 4:22 pm

Can you get close to the correct exposure just using the super-old-fashioned flash technique: Guide number/distance = f-stop? Even if there's all sorts of intervening detail between you and the subject that could screw up auto-exposure I would think this would get you pretty close (hopefully within the range of exposure recovery post-processing)

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