View Full Version : Attn: JRMDC - (and anyone else)

01-11-2007, 03:55 AM
This post was originally in another thread, but JRMDC asked for it to be moved onto its own. It was for discussion and help on one of my pics. Everyone is welcome to comment/and or help.

----From yesterday----

Thanks for replying. Maybe I'm overly critical, but I'll use the following photo as an example of one of my shots that was good enough to get into the database, but personally I think it could be better.


I've been trying to get into broad landscape views on the last few times out and have shunned my better telephoto lens for the kit wide angle. In this shot, I was really trying to show the contrast of the amber color of the grass and the darker blues of the sky, but ultimately the train didn't come out as sharp as I would have liked. I thought the f-stop (6.3) would have been OK, but the rear end is what I wish was sharper. Closing it down to F-8 or 9 would have probably made me shoot ISO 800, which I really didn't want to do. The shutter speed is 1/400 which is about as slow as I think I could have gone here given the train was moving between 40 and 50 mph.

I can never tell if I need better wide angle "glass", better technique at shooting, or better post processing skills. It's hard to tell.

Thanks for the help,

01-11-2007, 04:03 PM
In no particular order of importance, relevance, or coherence:

1) no, the image doesn't seem to be especially sharp anywhere, not just at the back.

2) What effect are you looking for? You say you are trying to contrast the amber and the blue. Unfortunately, the sky is pretty hazy so the blue is greatly dulled. The amber looks better. Maybe you are intending to have more of a dreary mood, but in this case it's not dreary enough. I suspect you have caught light that is in between two interesting levels, well-lit and dreary. Or maybe you caught the field well but you don't have it as bright as I might want (remember, all of this is one person's opinion!) So in my view it is just plain dull. No offense. :)

3) Composition: you have two relatively solid areas, lacking in detail, with a narrow band across the middle dividing them. That is OK, doesn't do much for me, too abstract, but I can see someone else being more attracted to it. The wide expanses of Ohio make it difficult to get attractive surroundings when you are trying to capture an entire train, which is what I like. But you are not really looking for detailed surroundings, as you want to emphasize the colors (and textures), so I think this helps you.

3b) The narrow band in the middle, I am thinking that I would prefer it be sharp, especially as it contains detail, but ultimately I would have to see the alternative and then form an opinion. Right now, it is an interesting but dulled mass, dulled this time by lack of sharpness. (That dullness may be why I keep thinking "dreary" as I muse about this one.) Maybe f/8 would help. But it appears that you may also be focused too close to the camera, that the focus point is 20 yards out and not the front of the train (with sufficient depth of field to get the field in focus also). Maybe all it needs is better sharpening.

BTW, I have shot a digital rebel at ISO800 many times, don't fear it. I shoot my 20D at 800 routinely now. I usually handhold and I'd rather have the faster shutter and deal with any noise (not usually a problem anyway) in post processing.

Joe the Photog
01-12-2007, 12:51 PM
Dependng on what version Digital Rebel one has. I very rarely ever crank my 300D up to more than 400 ISO. I know there are noise reduction tools out there, but I prefer to do the least amount of post processing I can. It's a hold over from my film and slide days. Shoot it as close to the way you want it to look when it comes out of the camera. (Obvious sharpening, saturation, brightness/contrast, etc. notwithstanding.)


Joe the Photog
01-12-2007, 12:55 PM
As to the shot in question, I'm nowhere near as critical of it as JRMDC is. I like the composition. It's much better than standing ten feet beside the track and shooting the thing coming at you head on. I call those "wide and to the side" shots. But they are hard to perfect using that kit lens. The kit lens is the weakest link in my camera bag, but I wanted a good super wide and telephoto lens before I replaced it.

My best advice would be to go with your gut and keep practising. Shoot wide and to the side as much as you can. You're doing well so far.