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 Do you take photos? 
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Dragon Tamer
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Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:34 am
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Location: Arizona, USA
As I'd mentioned in the "Introduce Yourself" thread, I do enjoy photography. And, as a few of you made the mistake of encouraging me ;-), I thought I'd start a thread where we can post a few of our favorite photographs. I mostly enjoy nature photography, especially flowers and insects and birds. Next to that are pictures of my dogs. :-) I do occasionally I do other sorts of photographs -- rarely people, sometimes architecture-type things and so forth. Here are a couple of my favorites that I've taken over the past couple of years. The Common Buckeye (butterfly) and the grasshopper nymph were both taken at my home. The Metaphid spider was taken in Oak Creek Canyon, north of Sedona, AZ.

So ... show us some of your best pictures! :-) (Remember - crop them and resize them to keep them from using up too much bandwidth.)


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Last edited by BarnOwl on Thu May 27, 2010 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu May 27, 2010 1:20 pm
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Dragon Tamer
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Hmmm . . . all I did was bugs in my first post. Here's a couple of birds (the Nashville Warbler was in my back yard, the Yellow-headed Blackbird is at Marshall lake, southeast of Flagstaff, AZ).


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Yes ... I'm 55 years old and only began playing Pokémon in '09. I may have to grow old, but I do NOT have to grow up!

3DS FC (Y and X): 0834-1199-3647

See my photos and paintings on deviantArt at: http://barn0wl.deviantart.com/

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/grumpydispatcher

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/FlagBarnOwl

"FlagBarn0wl" Blog: http://flagbarnowl.blogspot.com/


Thu May 27, 2010 1:54 pm
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Psypoke Maniac
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I like the Yellow-headed Blackbird & Metaphid Spider pics, they are amazing looking creatures mainly cause of their color scheme & pattern...

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Last edited by Lawence Codye on Sat May 29, 2010 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu May 27, 2010 3:03 pm
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Dragon Tamer
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yes I do take photos:

Here's a link to my photography;

http://jacobphilpott.deviantart.com/gal ... hotography

Here's a few of the highlights

Image

Image

Image

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Thu May 27, 2010 6:19 pm
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Psychic Trainer
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Dang. I wish I could take pictures as good as yours, BarnOwl and Ajit...

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Thu May 27, 2010 7:13 pm
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Dragon Tamer
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Thanks Lawence! LOL, I thought that link thing didn't look right when I first posted it! (It's fixed now.)

Great photos Ajit! I especially like the Hummingbird moth since we don't have them in Arizona. Is the liquid in the 2nd photo resin seeping out of the wood?

Thanks Sapphire. The main "tricks" to taking better photos are lighting, focus, lighting, composition, lighting, keeping your background simple . . . and . . . lighting. :-) Harsh mid-day lighting is, generally, lousy for photography. You can sometimes compensate for it, but you're usually better off in the morning and late afternoon to early evening. I'm just glad that, with a digital camera, I'm no longer wasting lots of money on film when most of the pictures I take get tossed. ;-)

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Yes ... I'm 55 years old and only began playing Pokémon in '09. I may have to grow old, but I do NOT have to grow up!

3DS FC (Y and X): 0834-1199-3647

See my photos and paintings on deviantArt at: http://barn0wl.deviantart.com/

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/grumpydispatcher

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/FlagBarnOwl

"FlagBarn0wl" Blog: http://flagbarnowl.blogspot.com/


Last edited by BarnOwl on Sun May 30, 2010 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu May 27, 2010 7:24 pm
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Dragon Tamer
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yeah it was some sap i saw seeping out of some wood on a hot summer day, thanks!

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Thu May 27, 2010 7:43 pm
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Psychic Trainer
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BarnOwl wrote:
Thanks Lawence! LOL, I thought that link thing didn't look right when I first posted it! (It's fixed now.)

Great photos Ajit! I especially like the Hummingbird moth since we don't have them in Arizona. Is the liquid in the 2nd photo resin seeping out of the wood?

Thanks Sapphire. The main "tricks" to taking better photos are lighting, focus, lighting, composition, lighting, keeping your background simple . . . and . . . lighting. :-) Harsh mid-day lighting is, generally, lousy for photography. You can sometimes compensate for it, but your usually better off in the morning and late afternoon to early evening. I'm just glad that, with a digital camera, I'm no longer wasting lots of money on film when most of the pictures I take get tossed. ;-)


Thanks for the tips, BarnOwl! They might help me improve my amateur skills.

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Fri May 28, 2010 5:02 pm
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Pokemon Ranger
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Nice shots guys! I'd like to take up photography one day. I have to do it sooner though because a big part of my career path includes photomontaging and making site visits and conducting surrounding analyses. From what I've researched though it seems pretty expensive to get an SLR as well as the lenses and flashes that go with it. I've fiddled around with my friend's too but I can't seem to get anything to work (especially because his camera didnt have a review button...). But I will get one before the end of the year (going around S-E Asia for a month, woo! Well that is the plan anyway).

...but I do have to say I find photographers a bit irritating. By that I mean the ones who 1) think they are really good when all they do is take pictures of street signs or 2) the ones who have to take their camera everywhere they go (see that sign? it says no cameras, PUT IT AWAY BEFORE I PUT IT AWAY FOR YOU) and 3) the ones who use it as an excuse to be socially awkward

But i do love them close up pics :)

Do you guys have any camera suggestions...?

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Sun May 30, 2010 6:08 am
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Thanks DragonPhoenix! You know, you don't really need an SLR camera to get started taking good photographs. I'm using a Kodak DX 7590 (here's a review) 5 MP that is slightly better than most simple "point & shoots". It's got a 10X optical zoom with a close-up setting which works really well for the majority of the photos I take. It also has the options of being able to use it entirely set on automatic, or you can control the exposure (lighter or darker) . . . or you can control the shutter speed setting along with aperature and even it's "film speed" settings. One other thing that helps is it has an optional adapter which allows you to attach filters along with some add-on lenses (as long as the lense attaches like a filter). I have also picked up a set of close-up lenses (used for the grasshopper and metaphid spider). I also have a "telephoto" lens I purchased from Kodak (same brand of German optics) which screws onto the adapter (used for the two birds).

There are, of course, numerous books on the subject of photography, some good, some confusing and some not so good. But, I would suggest going through the "7 Photography Questions" web site and listening to their podcasts or reading the transcripts. They aren't making new ones right now, but the ones they have are excellent. If you go to the archives, the real info starts with the podcast on flower photography. They're well worth the listen.

With all of that said -- here is one of my favorite pictures for my computer desktop (Wild Iris - south of Flagstaff, AZ). Originally, this picture was a little darker than I wanted - this is what's great with digital photos - they're easy to tweak. ;-)


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Yes ... I'm 55 years old and only began playing Pokémon in '09. I may have to grow old, but I do NOT have to grow up!

3DS FC (Y and X): 0834-1199-3647

See my photos and paintings on deviantArt at: http://barn0wl.deviantart.com/

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/grumpydispatcher

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/FlagBarnOwl

"FlagBarn0wl" Blog: http://flagbarnowl.blogspot.com/


Sun May 30, 2010 9:36 am
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Pokemon Ranger
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oooo that's pretty neat. Only downside is that they don't make them anymore and I cant find a listing on ebay.. But anyhow just wondering maybe its just me who can't use a camera properly? ive been using my sister's 12.1MP digital (Canon pc1248.. pretty much no record of it on the internet at all) but I find it terrible with focusing on closeups... Maybe there's a setting I need to fiddle with or something but when I turn flash off my pictures are always a bit fuzzy? I don't really know :s

Just wondering though these photos are put through photoshop right? or another image manipulating software? is that usually a requirement for nice photos?

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Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:09 am
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Dragon Tamer
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DragonPhoenix wrote:
oooo that's pretty neat. Only downside is that they don't make them anymore and I cant find a listing on ebay.. But anyhow just wondering maybe its just me who can't use a camera properly? ive been using my sister's 12.1MP digital (Canon pc1248.. pretty much no record of it on the internet at all) but I find it terrible with focusing on closeups... Maybe there's a setting I need to fiddle with or something but when I turn flash off my pictures are always a bit fuzzy? I don't really know :s

Just wondering though these photos are put through photoshop right? or another image manipulating software? is that usually a requirement for nice photos?


Well, I'm not really familiar with that model of Canon PC1248, but from pics I see on the 'net, it looks like a small "point & shoot". Is that correct? Anyway, a lot of digital cameras have 3 settings that affect the way the camera focuses ... "normal", "landscape" and "close-up". The close-up setting is usually designated by an icon of a flower. On mine, it has a button that cycles through these settings and the icons show up in the viewfinder/lcd screen. The close-up setting still won't let you get SUPER close (ie, "macro" photography), but it will allow you to get closer. Fore example, my pictures of the Iris and the butterfly, were taken just using the close-up setting on my camera. The grasshopper nymph and the spider were taken with the camera on the close-up setting and using a +10 close-up lens (which screws on to that filter adapter I had mentioned before).

And in answer to using photo-editing software, I will say unequivocally ... yes - and no. All of the ones I've posted on Psypokes (including those above) were at the very least resized so they weren't as huge. Most of them were cropped a little (to improve framing, or to show off/isolate the subject a little more). The Iris was only resized for posting. Occasionally, if I have a photo which I really like (subject, focus & composition are the way I like them) but the exposure is slightly off, I will make adjustments using some software or other. In general if a photo needs large adjustments to fix brightnes, contrast, gamma correction, and so on, I just delete it. If the focus is off (unless it's intentional for some reason) there is generally no fixing it - just delete it. For the most part I have found that when a photo needs large adjustments (such as trying to "fix" one that's badly overexposed), they still don't look good afterwards.

So, the short answer is yes, I do tweak my photos occasionally. For the most part I use software only to make small adjustments and if the photo needs large adjustments, I generally delete it. I prefer to rely on getting the photo as close to what I really want when I take it. The software is a nice thing to have, but is definitely not a requirement for good photography.

There are two software packages I use. One is the Kodak "Easy Share" photo managing software that came with my camera - I use it for making quick, very minor adjustments. When I'm planning to do more, such as resizing, tweaking several aspects (like brightness, contrast, color saturation, etc.) and basically am doing more work on a given photo, I use PaintShop Pro 8.

Whatever you do, don't get discouraged. The great thing about digital cameras is that it doesn't really cost you anything other than time to take a LOT of photos. Do take a lot of photos of a given subject, change your exposure settings, change your composition, get closer, try further away ... in short, expirement. When you look at the photos on the computer, be critical ... and by that I don't mean just saying "this picture sucks" ... ask yourself why does it suck? Is the focus off? (Learn how your camera focuses - does it focus on a single subject in the center, does it have focus averaging across several spots, etc.) Is the photo over- or under-exposed? (Again, learn how the camera determines exposure and learn if and how you can adjust it.) Is the composition wrong? (It is usually more desirable to have your subject slightly off of center - the Yellow-headed Blackbird is a good example, and note how he has room in the direction he is looking.) Is your background too busy? (My Nashville Warbler has a background that approaches being too busy - really is too busy for my likes. On the other hand, Ajit's sap beads and his Cicada are excellent examples of keeping your backgrounds simple.)

The flip-side of this is, when you're looking at your own (or anyone else's) photos that you really like . . . ask your self why you like it. Look at those same things, composition, background, focus, exposure, and so on.

And one other suggestion (if you don't mind it), start with easy to photograph subjects; flowers, plants, sleeping dogs . . . essentially, things that don't move around a lot. On the other hand, if you see a good opportunity for something, jump on it. Take lots of photographs whenever you get a chance.

[Edit to add:] Here's a real good example of what I mean by "tweaking" - The following photos show the original picture I took, you'll note that, in an attempt to adjust for harsh sunlight, I under-exposed the picture. I still liked the picture, so I adjusted it by brightening, adjusting contrast and giving the color a bit of red-yellow to simulate a later-daytime sun (ie, towards sunset). This photo has about as much adjusting as I'm usually willing to do. BTW, the "original" photo is as is (except for being resized for uploading) it was not cropped or otherwise adjusted. Just in case you were wondering. ;)

Hope this helps . . .


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Yes ... I'm 55 years old and only began playing Pokémon in '09. I may have to grow old, but I do NOT have to grow up!

3DS FC (Y and X): 0834-1199-3647

See my photos and paintings on deviantArt at: http://barn0wl.deviantart.com/

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/grumpydispatcher

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/FlagBarnOwl

"FlagBarn0wl" Blog: http://flagbarnowl.blogspot.com/


Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:26 pm
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