Tips on Digital photography

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Soft-hackle
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Tips on Digital photography

Post by Soft-hackle » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:58 am

Well, A post in the thread on "Is It Dying Out?" made me think that, perhaps, we could lend some tips on the subject of digital photography. There are many here who take some great photos, and I'll start out by adding some suggestions. I encourage others to add info as they see fit.

My first suggestion is to have good photo-editing software. You can do a lot to a photo to improve and edit your photos with good software. The premiere photo editing software is Adobe Photoshop, however it is really professional stuff and quite costly. Adobe makes a software called Photoshop Elements, which offers great latitude in photo editing. It can also be found at a more reasonable price. Many cameras come with software for editing photos, however they usually don't do as much as Photoshop Elements does.

The obvious is to purchase a camera with good pixel range. Remember, photos posted online should have a pixel/inch rating of 72 dpi for proper viewing. You will need software to edit your photos to the correct size and dpi setting to post online. For the most part a low megapixel camera will allow this, however, if you want hard copies you want a camera that will allow this. A camera with 3-5 mega-pixels will suffice for standard prints, usually up to 8" X 10". The higher the mega-pixel rating, the finer the detail and the bigger range of print size options you will have. Many higher mega-pixel cameras also offer better macro features. Macro means taking close up pictures of small objects-like flies. If you wish to take photos of flies, you want a camera with a good macro feature. Check the specs on the camera you are considering. This should list the focal range of the macro feature. The closer you can get to a small object and be able to focus in on it, the better.

Ray Tucker showed me a camera he purchased that is not only waterproof, but had a great macro feature as well. I believe it was a Pentax Optio of their W series. Their pixel range and price range is pretty good.

I'm sure others will add more to this as we go along. I encourage it.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty.” Edward R. Hewitt

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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by letumgo » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:06 pm

Excellent general topic Mark. I think this could be very helpful. I will try to find time this weekend to contribute to this post.
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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by DOUGSDEN » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:26 pm

Mark,
This is exactly the good advice I needed right now. I am in the early consideration stages of buying a camera and such (this all depends on my wife letting me do so!! Yep, I'm hen pecked)
and your post fit right in. This was a very smart thing to do and the timing is perfect.
Thanks and I'll keep looking for others to post.
Dougsden
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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by hankaye » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:42 pm

Maybe run a sub or baby forum just for photo tips, hints and how tos...?

just askin....
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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by letumgo » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:43 pm

PHOTO EDITING SOFTWARE
I use a program called Google Picasa for most of my editing.
HERE IS THE LINK FOR PICASA SOFTWARE: (http://picasa.google.com/intl/en/)

It is free software, with a wide range of tools for most of the basis photo editing needs (straightening, cropping, autocolor balance, autocontrast balance, sharpening, etc.). The tools are very easy intuitive, making it easy to learn, while still being powerful enough to handle most photo tasks. One of my favorite features is the ability to export a photo to a smaller size (pixel width) image. My Pentax (Optio W30) camera shoot images which are 7.1 megapixel (3072 pixels wide by 2304 pixels high). While the images themselves are nice and sharp, they tend to be too big for this forum. I tend to export the images to a smaller width, making the files much smaller and faster to upload/download. I have found that 640 pixels wide is a nice size for this forum. But I use larger size (1024 pixels wide) for other forums.

The reason I mention this, is because these smaller image sizes are actually closer to a one (1) megapixel resolution. In otherwords, you don't necessarily need the highest megapixel camera on the market to simply post flies on a forum. The advantage of the higher resolution photos is that they allow you to crop more of the image, to get just the "perfect" section of the photo, while keeping lots of the finer detail. As Mark pointed out, the higher resolution also allows you to print larger pictures with nice results.

Most cameras on the market these days are 5.9 megapixels or higher. They will all take decent photos, under the proper conditions.

The latest version of the Pentax Optio camera (Optio W90) has a 12.1 MP resolution and is currently selling for $222.00 on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Pentax-W90-Waterp ... 499&sr=1-1). I don't want this post to sound like an advertisement for Pentax. I am just trying to share the information I know. As I said earlier, there are lots of cameras on the market which will give you good results.

The Pentax camera has a macro setting for taking close up images. The minimum focal length is only 5 millimeters (0.2 inches). That means I can have the camera almost touching the fly when I take the picture, helping to capture the little details (and flaws).

The following photos will illustrate the difference in image sizes (pixel width):

480 PIXELS WIDE
2010_0915_181817AA-1.JPG
2010_0915_181817AA-1.JPG (35.82 KiB) Viewed 5296 times
640 PIXELS WIDE - click on the image and expand the window to see full size
2010_0915_181817AA-2.JPG
2010_0915_181817AA-2.JPG (59.17 KiB) Viewed 5308 times
1024 PIXELS WIDE - click on the image and expand the window to see full size
The original image was three times larger than this.
2010_0915_181817AA-3.JPG
2010_0915_181817AA-3.JPG (114.74 KiB) Viewed 5304 times
Last edited by letumgo on Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by letumgo » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:31 pm

UPLOADING IMAGES TO FLYMPH FORUM
Uploading Images (Steps 1 - 2 - 3).jpg
Step 1 - Click on the tab labled "Upload attachment"
Step 2 - Click on the button labled "Choose File" then navigate to the file you want to upload from your computer
Step 3 - Click on the button labled "Add the file"
Uploading Images (Step 4).jpg
Step 4 - Click on the button labled "Place inline"

You can repeat this process to add additional photos to your post. I think the maximum number of photos per post is three photos.
Last edited by letumgo on Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by letumgo » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:58 pm

TAKING GOOD MACRO PHOTOS:

Read your camera manual (at least the section about the macro settings - the one with the little image of a flower)

1) Ensure that you have adequate light for the photo. More light = faster shutter speed = less chance of blurring the image. Lighting is one of the trickiest parts of taking a good photo. Too little light and the photo will be dark and drab. Too much light and the photo will be overexposed (washed out). I prefer natural sunlight, but it limits my options. Some cameras work better with artificial light sources.

2) Make sure that the camera will be stable during the photo. I like to rest my camera on a solid object to make sure it will not move while the image is exposed. Keep in mind that the exposure time is a function of the amount of light, film speed and aperture settings. When I am unsure of the lighting, I simply take a picture without the flash, with partial flash and full flash. I them pick the one that gives me the best results. Keep in mind that software does a decent job of fixing an underexposed image (too little light), but has a hard time fixing an over exposed image (too much light). It is extremely difficult (impossible) to fix a blurred image, or one that is out of focus.

Buy a good book on photography. I can recommend a book called "Understanding Exposure", by Bryan Peterson (http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exp ... 757&sr=1-1)

3) Practice - Remember, digital images are cheap. You can take a number of photos and then delete the ones you don't like. I love to experiment with the different camera settings and take multiple photos. If you upload the photos to your computer right away, you get instant feedback on what works and what doesn't work.

Most importantly, have fun.
Last edited by letumgo on Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by DOUGSDEN » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:50 pm

Ray and Mark,
You Guys are tremendous! You have really got this down to an enjoyable science. This is really cool! I'll take some time now to let it soak in!
Thanks,
Dougsden
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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by Soft-hackle » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:59 pm

Hi Again,
I can add a few more suggestions to Ray's good tutorial. If your camera does not have a half flash (some do, some don't) put a piece of wax or tracing paper over the flash. This diffuses the light and cuts back the amount of light on the subject. Need more light on the subject for macro photos outdoors, but don't want to shoot in full sun? A small mirror can be used to direct ambient light (that's light about the object) onto your subject area.

Most cameras have places to screw on a tripod at the bottom. When shooting in Macro mode it is definitely important to keep the camera as still as possible. Tripods can be purchased inexpensively at department stores like K-Mart and Wal-Mart. To be even steadier, use the self timer on the camera, that way you don't have to push the shutter release and perhaps wiggle the camera. Any movement of the camera when shooting Macro is amplified because you are shooting so close to the subject. Years ago, we used a cable release on the 35mm cameras to prevent movement when shooting. Most smaller digital cameras do not have this option but do have a self timer built in.

The most important thing to do is learn your camera! While many cameras have the same or similar features, cameras do vary. Learn your camera inside out and what it is capable of doing. You'll get better photos that way.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty.” Edward R. Hewitt

http://www.libstudio.com/FS&S
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Re: Tips on Digital photography

Post by William Anderson » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:03 am

this is a great post. I have not posted a pic on this new forum yet....shame on me. I have a ton of old stuff to show folks that have never seen one of my flies, and I would encourage me to tye some new stuff to get feedback on. Thanks for posting this. I'll do better. I promise.

w
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