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The Lion\'s Pit : Julia Framed
Old 01-10-2006, 01:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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At least this is how i feel, posting a picture here for the first time. And I am not feeling like the lion...

Well, OK, let's introduce myself :

My name is Peter born '69 in Belgium, and I live near the city of Kassel, right in the middle of Germany. In the past I allways had an interest in photography and so I started my hobby with the 2 eyed Mamiya C330. I tried developing the B/W pictures a couple of times before giving up because of multiple reasons - mostly because of the lack of time and space (and money to buy the necessary equipment).

Now 15 years later, the time and money was right to buy a Canon 350XT... And after i got some recommendations for the Alien Bees, some studio equipement to go with it. Soon the canon 70-200/2.8 and Sigma 28-70EX/2.8 followed. Now i have no more excuses to make miserable pictures [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] And the pressure is rising.

GG has been a great source of information for me, and I have been lurking here for quit some time. I never had had the courage to post here, having no pictures to show, and that is starting to change now.

To get some pratice before shooting models on my own, i joined a one day workshop and this is what came out. I know this is a "dangerous" picture (portrait, profile, strange crop) for a first post, but hey , no risk no fun. And I did not want a nude picture as a first post , lol.

The one thing i was a bit disappointed about, was the 70-200. Somehow i was expecting more sharpness. On this particular picture i only sharpened the lips and one eyebrow, because i kinda like the softness here.

BTW. I really hope to get some productive criticism here. There's enough places on the net where you can get padding on the back (like the german fotocommunity - which IS neat for the first couple of posts though)

I hope you like my starter pic.

TIA for the comments
Peter

Here's my first one:

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Re: The Lion\'s Pit : Julia Framed
Old 01-10-2006, 01:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Peter,

That's a very nice shot. Beautiful girl, nice light, sensuous feel to it.

By the way, your English is better than half the guys on this forum.

MG
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Re: The Lion\'s Pit : Julia Framed
Old 01-10-2006, 02:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Peter,

Welcome to GG. The shot looks good. There is something about the cropping. Don't crop a tight. Maybe include more of the hands above her head.

Terry

Michelle
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Re: The Lion\'s Pit : Julia Framed
Old 01-10-2006, 03:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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For a shot that was taken with a flash, I don't see any of the normal harshness that a flash would cause. Crop is up to you, go with what you like. I did expect to see more sharpness in the earings (and I think the shot suffers because of that). Looking forward to more images from you..
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Re: The Lion\'s Pit : Julia Framed
Old 01-10-2006, 06:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to the lion's pit... which is really more of a meercat colony with a few hyaenas stalking around... the elder meercats are pretty cool and you can ignore the hyaenas because they're toothless.

I like your crop, the pose and the exposure, it's a pretty shot. If I had shot this, I would look at it with 20/20 hindsight and think, "damn, I should've lit the bracelets and maybe a little bit of her hair"... of course that would probably make me crop a little differently too.

Sharpness is an elusive thing with digital images. It may be the 70-200 has a sweet spot where it's sharpest. After shooting digital a while I had to go back, mount my camera on a tripod and shoot some different subjects with several combinations of lens, settings and lighting to find out why my images weren't sharp enough. I didn't come up with a formula so much as a discipline for keeping my fundementals under control... shutter speed, camera shake, focus and DoF.

Keep'em coming, you've got an eye.



Chip
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Re: The Lion\'s Pit : Julia Framed
Old 01-10-2006, 09:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Not bad for a first stab at posting.

I recently got an XT also, and have also noticed the same thing with focusing.

What I did is to take a tape measure and lay it down pointing it at me, I placed a small object, in my case a small perfume bottle, next to a certain point on the tape. I shot this at different f-stops and metered every shot. I was really surprised at just how small a DOF f4 actually produced in my small studio setup. To get a decent DOF for a portrait/headshot I would need to shoot around f8-11.

I also noticed a big difference in my focusing after switching the focus lock to the rear of the camera.

Something I did find out was that with my Tokina 28-70 f2.8 actually focused a whole inch or more closer when wide open. Guess that answers the name brand lens question. My Canon 70-200 f4 was right on the money, or inch in this case.

Look forward to seeing more of your work here as I also hope to start posting more.



Joe
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Re: The Lion\'s Pit : Julia Framed
Old 01-10-2006, 11:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It's not totally unusual for different lenses to focus at different distances on a particular body. The big problem is, does the camera's AF system KNOW about it. It's a rare problem that's gotton lots of press recently... backfocus. I'm not really up to explaining it in detail but you can Google on it and get more info than you'll want to read... just keep in mind, the long term consensus is, it's pretty rare and most focus and softness issues can be traced to other problems.

But it's worth checking cuz that's easy to do. You use the same priciple you devised with the perfume bottle but instead, you mount the camera on a tripod or something and angle it down 45° to shoot a flat page of newsprint. Pay attention to the line of print in the AF sensor reticle, autofocus and shoot. Check the image. Is the line of print in question the sharpest part of the image? It should be; if it's not, you may have a back-focus problem related to either the camera/lens mounts or the mirror.

I thought I had a backfocus problem and this test ruled it out... I was either shaking the camera in available light, missing on my DoF (like you mention) or not focusing properly (I'm 46, I can't focus in dim light like I used to).

Your post and test just reminded me of that and it was actually a relief to rule out back-focus as my problem. It mean't I could actually do something about it instead of sending my camera away.

Chip
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Re: The Lion\'s Pit : Julia Framed
Old 01-11-2006, 12:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I looks like you have been lurking long enough to know you have a great image.

I would be adjusting the contrast but then again I like higher contrast images and I understand it is personal choice. I do agree however with your decidision to leave it soft.


PS. That was an intersting little bio. Re Lenses - I do not use any zoom lenses in my portraits. To me they are too expensive, need too much more light, and the resulting image is just not what it could be. Great for outdoor work but in a studio I see no use for one.




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Focus chart and DOF
Old 01-12-2006, 02:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you all for the nice comments!

I will have to do some testing on the lens though. To get the same results I will have to photograph from a distance of 3-4 meters (like 10-12 feet), in an angle of 45 degrees... I'll keep you updated [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

For anyone interested in reading about the famous back/frontfocus problem (I already did because of a problem with my cheap 50mm f1.8) see Focus Test Instructions and Chart

I also looked at the DOF. Checking on the exif data I see that the picture was taken with f8, and the DOF Calculator says I had a dof of about >2 inches to the front and the same to the back (150 mm, f8, at 10 feet), so dof should not be the problem.

CU
Peter
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