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Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-05-2007, 07:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Gentlemen,

I would like to ask a hypothetical question. Were you heading to an exotic locale with a beautiful woman, and could only take a bear minimum of equipment...say three or four small pieces...other than the camera itself, what would you consider simply the most essential?

I am a novice photographer with only rudimentary skills as a sports "tog" so-to-speak. Anyway, my lovely wife and I are heading to a fabulous resort in Cabo San Lucas in early June.

While there I am sure hoping to try my hand at taking a few "glamour" style shots in our room (which is appointed beautifully and has an ocean view)


Any thoughts about what pieces of equipment you could not do without?

Many thanks to any sincere responders.
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-05-2007, 08:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Three or 4 small pieces for me would be.
1) Large Off Camera flash with diffuser (aka Gary Fong lightsphere)
2) Reflector disk (they fold down to the size of an old record) tri color silver, gold and white
3) Tripod/walking stick/monopod with legs (aka bogen 682b)
4) Second camera body
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-05-2007, 09:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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kevgre's choices are excellent! My vacation kit would be the camera plus this:

1. An off camera flash (mine is Canon Speedlight 580EX) with a remote triggering device
2. Some sort of light modifier for that flash; I use a Lumiquest Softbox, but you can shop around for something you like
3. A small reflector disk, as kevgre recommends. 32", 3 to 5 colors (check B&H or Adorama) with a stand to hold it up. If you have no stand, you'll have to find some way on site to support it and place it in a useable position
4. A tripod. Last time I knew I was going to be taking shots in my hotel room I used a small but sturdy tabletop tripod and moved some furniture around in the room to set it on to get it high enough to be useful.

OK, that's actually more than 3 or 4 pieces, but you get the idea.

Have a nice vacation! Hopefully your model will allow you to show us the final results.
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-05-2007, 08:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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OK
4 items

Item one:
Camera, light meter, White balance device.24mm-200 mm lens system, on Camera flash. Extra batteries and lens tissue and blower brush. lens hood.

Item 2
Light kit, with silks two strobes, battery powered with charges, Ie 200B, photocells, umbrellas and stands with one silk, and one folding reflector. Spare sync cords.

Item 3
Tripod and Super clamp for low angles.

Item4
Lap top and software to view, edit and save images to cd's, thumb drives, etc. Mailers to send images back home so they don't go through airport security and act as back up.

I can get all of this in two carry on bags.
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-05-2007, 09:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatsamattaU View Post
Gentlemen,

I would like to ask a hypothetical question. Were you heading to an exotic locale with a beautiful woman, and could only take a bear minimum of equipment...say three or four small pieces...other than the camera itself, what would you consider simply the most essential?

I am a novice photographer with only rudimentary skills as a sports "tog" so-to-speak. Anyway, my lovely wife and I are heading to a fabulous resort in Cabo San Lucas in early June.

While there I am sure hoping to try my hand at taking a few "glamour" style shots in our room (which is appointed beautifully and has an ocean view)


Any thoughts about what pieces of equipment you could not do without?

Many thanks to any sincere responders.
Just a few notes. First, the tripod that others suggest is an absolute. I don't normally recommend using an on camera type flash unit for Hotel room shoots. Even if taken off the camera in some way, and even with a small light modifier, you're not really going to get the control you need to balance the lighting. Just use the tripod and a reflector and the natural light that will be streaming into the room. Opt for a simple lighting ratio and have your subject pose in easy poses where she can remain static for the split second when you say "ready". Try to shoot at the lowest ISO and at the highest resolution of the camera (or RAW if you have it). If using a tripod, you can easily get away with 1/4 second exposures. Just look at the work of some of the old time glamour gurus like Hurrell who were often shooting down in that shutterspeed range. Try to take a lens that is around f1.8-f2.8 so you can limit the DOF on many of the glamour shots. With a large window, you can get a wonderful dreamy softlight and at wide open fstops will get a nicely blurred background. Be sure to have a wide angle lens or small wide angle zoom. And, if you haven't done much glamour, take some examples along as sort of a posing guide.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-05-2007, 09:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith View Post
Try to take a lens that is around f1.8-f2.8 so you can limit the DOF on many of the glamour shots.
RFS,

I think you've touched on the question I am about to ask before. When using É/1.8 to É/2.8 on a camera such as a Canon 20D, with 9 focus points, how do you make sure that her eye is sharply focused and, at the same time, in the upper right hand corner of the thirds' rule? I believe you've commented before that focus and recompose using the center focus point leads to a poor focus.

Also, does your answer change whether you're shooting in landscape or portrait mode? Given the layout of the focus points is different, I am not sure if that changes your approach.

Regards,
Kevin
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-06-2007, 07:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Stecyk View Post
RFS,
I believe you've commented before that focus and recompose using the center focus point leads to a poor focus.
I saw some scientific (not by a scientist) measurements done on that somewhere and the answer might have surprise you.
Soon as I find it, I'll post the link.
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-06-2007, 08:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ok, I'll give it a shot here and throw in my 2 cents worth.

1. 85mm f/1.8 prime lense
2. 28 - 100 mm zoom lense
3. hot shoe mounted flash
4. tripod
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-06-2007, 03:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stecyk View Post
RFS,

I think you've touched on the question I am about to ask before. When using É/1.8 to É/2.8 on a camera such as a Canon 20D, with 9 focus points, how do you make sure that her eye is sharply focused and, at the same time, in the upper right hand corner of the thirds' rule? I believe you've commented before that focus and recompose using the center focus point leads to a poor focus.

Also, does your answer change whether you're shooting in landscape or portrait mode? Given the layout of the focus points is different, I am not sure if that changes your approach.

Regards,
Kevin
With the 20D, you have a number of choices. You can always choose, no matter whether portrait or landscape, to move to any of the focus points. If you use this method, then there is no need for the focus, lock and recompose method. If you must use the focus, lock and recompose method, then you usually need to compensate by moving the camera slightly forward or back depending on where you locked the focus. The goal is to maintain the same distance from the sensor plane to where you locked focus.

You can get the feel for what works by "chimping" (using the LCD to confirm good exposure, focus, etc). Just shoot a shot where you think you have the focus on the eyes. Then look at the photo on the LCD and zoom in 10x (max on 20D). You can usually tell if the eyes are sharp at that point (be sure the brightness setting is at only 1 stop above the lowest setting (for best results). I have watched a number of the top pros work with digital and I see this method of "chimping" all the time (RG does it a lot - by the way).

Suppose when you do this sort of "chimp", you see the focus was off. Then try the compensation method I mentioned and shoot again. Within 20 or so shots you should have a "feel" for the proper distance to compensate.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Help Please. Essentials?
Old 05-06-2007, 04:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith View Post
With the 20D, you have a number of choices. You can always choose, no matter whether portrait or landscape, to move to any of the focus points. If you use this method, then there is no need for the focus, lock and recompose method. If you must use the focus, lock and recompose method, then you usually need to compensate by moving the camera slightly forward or back depending on where you locked the focus. The goal is to maintain the same distance from the sensor plane to where you locked focus.

You can get the feel for what works by "chimping" (using the LCD to confirm good exposure, focus, etc). Just shoot a shot where you think you have the focus on the eyes. Then look at the photo on the LCD and zoom in 10x (max on 20D). You can usually tell if the eyes are sharp at that point (be sure the brightness setting is at only 1 stop above the lowest setting (for best results). I have watched a number of the top pros work with digital and I see this method of "chimping" all the time (RG does it a lot - by the way).

Suppose when you do this sort of "chimp", you see the focus was off. Then try the compensation method I mentioned and shoot again. Within 20 or so shots you should have a "feel" for the proper distance to compensate.
RFS,

Thank you. So I gather from your response that you often use one of the other focus points (not center) to focus on her eye. I recall reading 20D's guide and it mentioned that the center focus point measured both vertical and horizontal lines, whereas the others only measured in one dimension.

Quote:
With lenses whose maximum aperture is f/2.8 or larger

With the center AF point, high precision, cross-type AF sensitive toboth vertical and horizontal lines is possible. With cross-type AF, vertical line detection is twice as sensitive as horizontal line detection. The other eight AF points are AF are horizontal or vertical line sensitive.
I get the impression from your answer that having any sensor on the eye is sufficient.

Thank you for the hints with regard to chimping and setting the brightness on the screen. If it only takes me 20 or so shots, I'll be pleased.

Best regards,
Kevin
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