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  1. #1
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    Boulder Urban Ride Pics 1/8/05 - (56k users be ready to wait)

    With wet trails, a couple of us hit the urban scene today on the CU campus. I took shots, the other three guys (ETR, The Hookler and Rally Blue) showed off some skills.

    Eric The Red....













    Last edited by Jdub; 01-08-2005 at 05:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    More Shots - The Hookler....

    Some of The Hookler....













  3. #3
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    Rally Blue.....













  4. #4
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    Jdub, very nice pics. Seldom am I as impressed as I was by your shots(not that my opinion counts for anything). But seriously nice work. Do I recall you getting some new "camera equipment" in? What did you shoot with?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrontRanger
    Jdub, very nice pics. Seldom am I as impressed as I was by your shots(not that my opinion counts for anything). But seriously nice work. Do I recall you getting some new "camera equipment" in? What did you shoot with?
    Thanks for the kind words, it was a good option today as the trails were probably all pretty sloppy.

    Yeah I did just get some new camera gear, but it was only a flash. I've had all the rest of the stuff for quite a while. Today I was shooting with a Canon 300D Digital SLR body and Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX lens mostly. I was/am a freelance photohound before I moved out here to CO, hence all the gear.

    Normally I don't ride with the full on SLR setup and lenses, just a point and shoot type camera I can throw into my Camelbak. I get real nervous about taking a header with all that photo gear in my backpack...

  6. #6
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    Very nice pics. Looks like lots of fun.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdub

    Normally I don't ride with the full on SLR setup and lenses, just a point and shoot type camera I can throw into my Camelbak. I get real nervous about taking a header with all that photo gear in my backpack...
    I hear that. I use a canon digi slr as well and have only carried it on a ride once. If only they made something like the G6 that was setup like an slr as far as easy to use manual controls and what not. Still shooting freelance?

  8. #8
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    Superb quality! You made those guys look like they knew what they were doing. Sorry I missed it.

  9. #9
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    Thanks JDub for shooting such quality pics. They turned out great. That drop by the dorms was a bit sketchy yesterday with the crazy winds. Oh well you got some good shoots off. That one shooting from behind turned out really well.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrontRanger
    Still shooting freelance?
    Hoping to....

    In Oklahoma I had lots of connections, so I shot tons of mountain bike races, 5k runs, adventure races and stuff like that. I'm hoping to get in touch with some of the local race series to see about allowing me to do some shoots at their races.

    I don't do any weddings, portraits or stuff like that. I just do the stuff that I enjoy. Of course, CO is a bit more scenic than Oklahoma, so I've got a lot more opportunities out here. Plus DH racing sure looks more exciting in pictures than XC (which is basically all we had in Oklahoma).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdub
    Hoping to....

    In Oklahoma I had lots of connections, so I shot tons of mountain bike races, 5k runs, adventure races and stuff like that. I'm hoping to get in touch with some of the local race series to see about allowing me to do some shoots at their races.

    I don't do any weddings, portraits or stuff like that. I just do the stuff that I enjoy. Of course, CO is a bit more scenic than Oklahoma, so I've got a lot more opportunities out here. Plus DH racing sure looks more exciting in pictures than XC (which is basically all we had in Oklahoma).
    Well your work is definitely good and you have an endless canvas here in CO. I know a company that shoots alot of the races around here Mountian States Cup and what not and they are usually looking for extra shooters. Let me know if you are interested in something like that and I will shoot you their contact info. Post up some of your other stuff as well if you get a chance.

  12. #12
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    For sure

    Those are amazing pics... must be nice to have a great camera and actually know how to use it! Wait till this summer and Todd's (Snowskills) place opens up again, there are gonna be a ton of photo opps up there! Thanks for getting them up so fast too. Hey, do you have a pic of me where my rear suspension is almost bottomed out? Wondering what it looks like when fully compressed. Thanks

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrontRanger
    Well your work is definitely good and you have an endless canvas here in CO. I know a company that shoots alot of the races around here Mountian States Cup and what not and they are usually looking for extra shooters. Let me know if you are interested in something like that and I will shoot you their contact info. Post up some of your other stuff as well if you get a chance.
    Yeah, absolutely send me the contact info if you don't mind, I'd sure like to get hooked up out here.

    I'll be throwing up more pics as the temps warm up and the days get longer. Here are a couple I took for a local racing club back in Tulsa...





  14. #14
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    Nice pics

    Jdub, nice pics. I'm wondering, did you run into the Tickle's while racing/shooting in OK?
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debaser
    Jdub, nice pics. I'm wondering, did you run into the Tickle's while racing/shooting in OK?
    Yeah I would run into them every now and then. They are in Oklahoma City and I lived in Tulsa, but I certainly know who they are. They were the officials at the 24 hour race I shot right before I moved out here. I met them once or twice but didn't know them real well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdub
    Yeah I would run into them every now and then. They are in Oklahoma City and I lived in Tulsa, but I certainly know who they are. They were the officials at the 24 hour race I shot right before I moved out here. I met them once or twice but didn't know them real well.
    Nice! I thought it was a bit of a long shot. I've known them since I was, oh, let's say 4 years old. Good friends with my parents. They keep inviting me down that way, but i can't ever seem to make time to travel that direction.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  17. #17
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    Hey Jdub...very nice shots. Not sure how to describe it, but the clarity/focus on them is spectacular. Mind on passing on a little knowledge to a point and shoot chump like myself. No doubt you've seen some of my shots in the past, but for reference:
    http://kirkmetz.com/Sedona2004.html

    Those are some of my better shots (from my perspective), but they pale in comparison to yours. Do you have any suggestions on what I could work on to improve my camera work? Do you feel I would have to have an SLR to get the quality of shots you take? FWIW, I use a Sony DSC-P72.
    Thx,
    Kirk

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibmkidIII
    Hey Jdub...very nice shots. Not sure how to describe it, but the clarity/focus on them is spectacular. Mind on passing on a little knowledge to a point and shoot chump like myself. No doubt you've seen some of my shots in the past, but for reference:
    http://kirkmetz.com/Sedona2004.html

    Those are some of my better shots (from my perspective), but they pale in comparison to yours. Do you have any suggestions on what I could work on to improve my camera work? Do you feel I would have to have an SLR to get the quality of shots you take? FWIW, I use a Sony DSC-P72.
    Thx,
    Kirk
    Warning to all - Long winded response ahead....

    Thanks man. I think what you are talking about with the "clarity/focus" is a result of a very narrow depth of focus. For instance, the pic of ETR balancing on his front wheel, he is in good focus, but the objects behind him are blurry. It kind of gives photos a certain "pop" when you can get shots like that.

    Now to get shots like that you typically shoot "wide open" which means a large aperature. Now the confusing thing is that "wide open" and large aperature both mean smaller f numbers on the camera, like f2.8 or f4 as opposed to f8 or f11. The hard part is that with a very narrow depth of focus (DOF) your margin for error is pretty slim (and you get some unusable shots if you miss).

    Shots like this are tough to get with a P&S camera, but not impossible. I have a Canon S40, which is somewhat similar to your Sony. I have a pretty tough time getting this type of shot out of that camera, but its not really a fair fight either. What you can do to try and get these type of shots is put your camera into AV mode if it has it and select the largest aperature (but smallest number in the viewfinder). This will force your camera to use that aperature (which in turn will make a faster shutter speed to freeze the action).

    I checked your shots, and I think they are pretty good myself. A lot of times its perspective. I see other mountain bike photogs and I always think their stuff looks twice as good as mine.

    I really like these...





    Most point and shoot cameras are really handicapped for this type of shot by three things.
    1. Shutter lag
    2. Focusing Speed
    3. Focal Length and Aperature Range

    With my Canon S40 I had to learn to anticipate action to overcome the shutter lag or I'd be getting the rear wheels and nothing else. Also, with my S40 I can't get it to focus fast enough to effectively take action shots. What I have to do is pick a spot on the ground, prefocus and then wait till the subject gets right to that spot and snap the picture. I had pretty good luck, but it takes practice for sure.

    By focal length and aperature range I mean the amount of choices you have for focal length (i.e. zoom) and the range of aperatures you get at each. Most P&S cameras will have a maximum aperature of about 3.5 at telephoto and 4.5 or so at zoom. That severely limits your ability to get a narrow DOF shot. If you are shooting at full wide to get the wide aperature, then you will likely get run over by the rider. And if you go to full zoom, then your max aperature isn't really wide enough to get the "pop".

    So to circle back around to your questions....
    Do you need a SLR to get these types of shots? - It sure helps. You can get some amazing shots with a P&S but your success rate is going to be much lower. However, remember that you not only have to get a SLR but you've got to get good glass (lenses) too. I can assure you fast lenses aren't cheap. The megapixel advantage helps too as you can crop down to get full framed shots and still have great detail.

    What can you do to improve? - Learn your camera's functions to where they are inherent to you. You kind of have to get a feel for what mode, settings, etc you should be in based on the elements, and it just takes time. Also you can try panning. With panning you purposely use a slower shutter and then move the camera along with the subject as it passes. It gives a cool effect and conveys motion really well. Panning certainly takes practice. Also if your camera allows different White Balances you can try to use them in the varying circumstances (sunny, cloudy, flourescent lights, etc).

    Also, Photoshop (or PS Elements) sure helps correct mistakes too. If you don't hit the exposure or white balance just right Photoshop can sure help make it look better.

    I'm sure that is more babble than you ever wanted to know, but its kind of hard to explain it without going into some detail. And BTW, I hardly ever ride with my full DSLR setup, just too heavy and makes me too nervous....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibmkidIII
    .......... Mind on passing on a little knowledge to a point and shoot chump like myself. No doubt you've seen some of my shots in the past, but for reference:
    http://kirkmetz.com/Sedona2004.html............. Do you feel I would have to have an SLR to get the quality of shots you take? FWIW, I use a Sony DSC-P72.
    Thx,
    Kirk
    Jdub definitely hit the nail on the head. Another big advantage of his slr vs P&S is sensor size. Imagine the sensor in a P&S as the size of a postage stamp. In comparison a digi slr has a sensor the size of an envelope. This along with several other factors all but eliminates the ability to achieve the very narrow depth of field you are asking about. Good deals to be had on digital slrs but good glass is just as important if not more so.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdub
    Yeah, absolutely send me the contact info if you don't mind, I'd sure like to get hooked up out here.

    I'll be throwing up more pics as the temps warm up and the days get longer. Here are a couple I took for a local racing club back in Tulsa...
    check your PMs

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    Sensor? As in the bits that measure the focal point or are you talking about the CCD, or something else?

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    Thks for the write up. Much for me to ponder. For the majority of my shots I have zero time to compose them and adjust the camera as needed, so I have to leave it in the auto setting, and let it figure out what the best exposure, etc are. I would like to play with it more and get better at it. I think my main issue is my focal point...it seems many of my shots that nothing is in focus, let alone the subject being in focus. I'll play with the different settings it has to choose focal length.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibmkidIII
    Sensor? As in the bits that measure the focal point or are you talking about the CCD, or something else?
    CCD or CMOS. Different cameras use different sensors. Essentially the part of the camera that replaces a film frame. Crop factors is a good way to look at this. For example Jdubs Canon 300D has a crop factor of 1.6 because the sensor is smaller than a 35mm frame. 22.7 mm x 15.1 mm specifically.



    Essentially what this means is that a canon 20mm lens would appear to be a 32mm lens on his 300D due to the 1.6 magnification factor.

    The sensor on a digital P&S is much smaller and therefore the magnification factor is higher. The canon S410 for example has a sensor that has a magnification factor of almost 5. Specs for the lens on this camera are focal length of 7.4 - 22.2 (acutual)mm (35mm film equivalent: 36 - 108mm). So zoomed out wide on the S410 at 7.4mm is actually the equivalent of a 36mm lens on a regular slr film camera.

    I am probably butchering the description but hopefully it makes sense.

    better yet here is a great article on the subject.
    http://www.photo.net/equipment/digital/sensorsize/

  24. #24
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    Taking better photos with P&S cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by ibmkidIII
    I think my main issue is my focal point...it seems many of my shots that nothing is in focus, let alone the subject being in focus. I'll play with the different settings it has to choose focal length.
    ibmkidIII, I'm just an amateur myself, but I think you're confused about the word "focal".

    Focal length is the length of your lens. We're talking wide angle versus telephoto. A wide-angle lens would be something in the 24mm range, and a telephoto could be 75mm or much longer. When you use the "zoom" feature to zoom in on a subject that's far away, you are changing the focal length of your lens.

    You said your main issue was photos that are out of focus. On a point & shoot camera, this is a big problem for several reasons. Slow shutter speed combined with camera and/or subject motion are often the culprit, but failing to correctly use the camera's autofocus feature happens a lot, too.

    First, let's focus on using the AF feature. On most cameras, you aim at your subject and press the shutter release button halfway down to focus. You should get some sort of confirmation that it worked, like a green light, a friendly beep, or little squares in the viewfinder or lcd screen indicating where the focus area is. This last feature is helpful because you can try focusing again if it focuses on the "wrong" area the first time (just release the shutter button, adjust your aim, and press it halfway again).

    Jdub's advice for action shots is excellent. He said you should focus on the ground where your subject (a bike rider, for example) is going to be and wait for him or her to enter the frame. It's important to keep the shutter button pressed halfway from the time you focus until the instant you take the picture. Otherwise your camera will attempt to re-focus again as you snap the photo, which may or may not screw up your carefully planned focus point.

    The other problem with taking sharp, in-focus photos is slow shutter speed. In order to understand why this problem occurs, you need to know some basics about how cameras work.

    "Exposure" is a term that means the amount of light that enters your camera in the split-second when your shutter is open. Exposure is affected by several factors.
    1. Ambient light, the light that exists in the world around you at the time (obviously this is going to be less on a cloudy day and more on a bright sunny day)
    2. Shutter speed, or how fast your shutter opens and closes. This could be as fast as 1/5000 of a second for an action shot in bright sunlight or several seconds (or even hours) for a tripod shot of stars at night. Fast shutter speeds allow less light to enter your camera, and slow shutter speeds allow more light.
    3. Aperture. Your lens has a hole that lets in light. The camera can adjust the size of this hole from bigger to smaller. Aperture is a term that describes how big the hole is. A large aperture could be something around f1.6, while a small aperture could be f22. Large apertures (small f-numbers) let in lots of light, and small apertures (big f-numbers) let in less light.


    So we have these factors that change how much light enters your camera. But all you really want is a "good exposure", which means your picture is not too dark and not too light. The key to understanding this is that shutter speed and aperture work together to give you the correct exposure. For any given aperture, there will be an ideal shutter speed (in a given shooting situation). If you use a smaller aperture, you will need to use a slower shutter speed to compensate, because smaller apertures let less light into your camera and slower shutter speeds let in more light. Similarly, if you have the luxury of using a larger aperture, you can use faster shutter speeds. Faster shutter speeds help keep things in focus even if your subject is moving quickly or if you aren't keeping the camera very still when you shoot.

    One big reason it's more difficult to take crisp, in-focus shots with point & shoot cameras is that they typically have "slow" lenses. Slow lenses aren't capable of using large apertures. This means you have to use slower shutter speeds, which we know can result in blurry shots.

    Finally, I'm reaching the conclusion of this long and drawn-out treatise. But what can you possibly do about the problem, you ask? Here are a few tips (some are a review of what we've already discussed)...

    • Focus before you take the shot (and keep it focused until you take the shot!)
    • Focus where your subject is going to be when you snap the photo
    • When possible, shoot in brighter light conditions
    • Hold your camera very very still when you shoot
    • Use flash if (and only if) your subject is within flash range (usually only 9 feet or so).
    • Take lots and lots of photos...some of them might be good


    Well, I hope this helps. All you real photographers out there (like jdub), feel free to correct my admittedly non-expert advice. Happy shooting, and happy riding!

    bock

    p.s. I think several of your Arizona photos were really good, particularly that storm-over-the-mountains shot.

  25. #25
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    Thks Bock for the write up...makes sense, and I didn't understand some of those concepts. I would like to move myself from a point and click, to someone who has a "cheap" camera, but knows how it works and can use it appropriately.

    Oh yeah, I'm a big proponent of taken a crap load of shots...one of the main reasons I went digital. No more wasting film.

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