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  1. #1
    FM
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    New question here. Quick photography question- modes

    While I was laid up, I took a lot of landscapes and other static shots where I could shoot fully manual on my Canon A720, and work the ISO, aperture and shutter speed against each other. I have a good basic grasp on their interaction.

    Now that I'm riding again and taking action shots, I find it takes me 2-3 riders passing by to figure out the correct shutter speed using fully manual mode. So I'm trying to figure out what mode gives me the best balance of control and quick set-up. Keep in mind it's typically DARK here!

    Playing around in the house, Av seems like best option, since I can open up the Aperture (i.e. f2.8)to force quickest possible exposure in low light, but it still gives me control over ISO, and indirect control over exposure.
    P seems like the next best option, basically I only get control over ISO & flash. So I risk longer exposures since the camera wants greater depth of field.
    TV doesn't seem like much less work than shooting fully manual.

    Any thoughts from the Turner Photography Enthusiasts?
    Thanks for all the excellent photography tips so far, by the way!

    Token photo from a recent ride:
    (this was manual, f2.8, ISO400, 1/25)
    Last edited by FM; 01-16-2009 at 10:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    not a homer..

    (or is it meanie now?..can't tell w/ you guys )
    but...

    my suggestion , if your main priority is stopping action, is to use Tv (time-value) mode. I would suggest a S/S of 1/500-sec. to start (should freeze most action) and let your camera adjust the aperture. If, you're in some dark or shady areas, you may need to bump up the ISO as you increase speeds or use a flash-fill.
    Give it a *shot!
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  3. #3
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    I'm trying to figure out what mode gives me the best balance of control and quick set-up. Keep in mind it's typically DARK here!
    Man sitting on floor, in the corner, giggling manically, and mumbling: "Yes! Yes! Join me brother... the strait jackets are one size fits all!"
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  4. #4
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla
    Man sitting on floor, in the corner, giggling manically, and mumbling: "Yes! Yes! Join me brother... the strait jackets are one size fits all!"
    Must be friday night, LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    I would suggest a S/S of 1/500-sec. to start (should freeze most action) and let your camera adjust the aperture.
    Cool, thanks I will try that.
    Looks like most of the semi-decent pictures I've taken manually, out in these woods recently were around 1/40 or 1/50 at ISO400, f2.8 and no flash. I've been trying to avoid flash/higher ISO but they are probably appropriate for the conditions!

  5. #5
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM
    Keep in mind it's typically DARK here!
    Fill flash is the only thing that will save you.

    Let the camera meter to expose the background, and add enough fill flash to illuminate (and freeze) the rider. You will end up with a LOT of crappy shots, but when you get lucky and one pulls all the elements together, the effects are worth the bother.

    Even with a "fast" lense (wide aperture) and choosing a high ISO speed, you will still be facing long shutter speeds in the forest in winter. Panning smoothly with the rider's movement and adding fill flash will get you some compelling images.

    Edit: some specific suggestions- I always use aperture priority. Go as wide (low value) as possible to gather light and set flash to match or underexpose 1/3 stop relative to the metering of the background. If you are after a motion blur effect while panning with the rider, try to achieve about a 1/30 sec exposure. With a good pan that will blur the background but also give a short enough exposure to increase the likelihood that you will get parts of the rider sharp. Even if most of the rider is blurry and so is the bike, if the head is sharp, you have your shot.

    Flash, no panning:



    Panning, no flash:



    Panning with flash:

    Last edited by tscheezy; 01-17-2009 at 12:34 AM.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  6. #6
    FM
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    good tip, thanks tscheezy.

  7. #7
    No, that's not phonetic
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    I edited my post and added some details...

    Experiment. That is the main thing. You will get a pile of really crappy shots, but that will teach you what doesn't work. I still toss 9 out of 10 shots. Luckily Barny is very patient with my shutterbugging.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  8. #8
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    Meh, howz a pan-n-flash gonna show how big I goes if the gapper's all blurryz?
    Good tips, I'll play with them some.


    I was looking at the Cannon G10 today, and read the writeup on DPReview... Honestly other than full manual modes and a higher MP, I'm not seeing how it's going to get me better shots than my SD700IS... (same max 2.8 aper) Maybe I'll look at those bigger faux SLR cameras as they seem to have faster lenses. Besides for the G10 money I could start considering a Nikon D40. I'm resisting an SLR though. I just don't want to start down that road.(money bulk likelyhood I'll actually bring it)
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  9. #9
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Most cameras today, even P&S cameras, are pretty "smart". If you turn the fill flash on with most modern cameras, they will automatically balance the fill flash to the overall background exposure.

    There is no silver bullet here when it comes to forest riding pics. Nothing is going to freeze all the action AND expose for the background shadows beautifully. There is not enough ambient light and the flash is certainly not going to do the job. Since you are probably going to end up with motion blur anyway, you may as well use it as a purposeful strategy.

    BTW- I have never been motivated to drag a dSLR around. I have always shot with cheapie Canon point and shoots. If they weren't up to the task, I figured I didn't need the pic that much anyway.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  10. #10
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    FM, , , adjusting your aperture wide open, taking the ISO up, and adding fill light are all gonna help.

    I like to shoot in Av mode (rather than fully Manual) and let the camera calculate shudder speed. If it looks like shutter speed is gonna be too slow then I'll stop down the exposure compensation to increase shudder speed (- 1 stop EC = +1 stop shudder speed). Even if that makes the frame seem too dark initially, there's a good chance it can be recovered in post processing. I use Photoshop and am constantly amazed at the detail that can be brought out of what seemingly are way too underexposed frames.

    FWIW - in the newer SLR wars there's an arms race currently going on in the realm of ISOs that seems to be on par with megapixels. The new Canon 5d can go up to ISO 25600 and looks very usable at 3200 and 6400, , , its only a matter of time before that filters into P&S models. NOT suggesting an SLR for mountain biking, , ,

  11. #11
    FM
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    Awesome guys, thanks for the tips.
    Definitely some stuff to try for tomorrow's ride.

    I happen to be reading my camera manual for about the 10th time right now! Playin' with Custom White Balance and AF Lock.

    Took a bunch of photos hiking today, here's the best one I got:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    Excellent shot FM!
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM
    Awesome guys, thanks for the tips.
    Definitely some stuff to try for tomorrow's ride.

    I happen to be reading my camera manual for about the 10th time right now! Playin' with Custom White Balance and AF Lock.

    Took a bunch of photos hiking today, here's the best one I got:
    Dude!
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  14. #14
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    No need to reply except to say Tscheezy gave you perfect instruction on what to do/try. Damn fine tutolidge and images Tcheezy. A lot of people don't have any idea about forcing the flash on, or what panning is and they both can add so much to your images - as yours show. Panning with a slow shutter speed and fill flash can give you a really nicely lit image with a blury background - if you camera does rear curtain sync- like the one of Barney.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  15. #15
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Actually my Canon uses first curtain sync for the flash, unfortunately. If you pan then it is hard to tell which curtain the flash is synced to, but here is a pic where there is no question:



    Just remember to aim for the 1/30 sec exposure when doing motion blurs on riders, and practice the pan once or twice before the rider goes by. Any longer (e.g., 1/15 sec) and it gets really hard to get any part of the rider to not blur. You need the head/face sharp or all is lost. If you use a much shorter exposure (e.g., 1/60 sec) then the blur effect gets reduced to the point where the background just looks blurry but adds no sense of motion. All this of course depends on the focal length of the lens. I'm talking medium wide angle (around 30-35mm) which is what most P&S cameras use on the wide end. You could use a faster shutter speed when panning with a longer lens, or you would need a longer shutter speed with a wider angle.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  16. #16
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    That's pretty impressive that Barney can ride backwards and at night too!
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  17. #17
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    Damn that's impresive Tcheezy, didn't know Barney could ride back wards Yup absolute front curtain sync give a way. That Canon's flash sure has some kick to it for a P&S.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Just remember to aim for the 1/30 sec exposure when doing motion blurs on riders, and practice the pan once or twice before the rider goes by. Any longer (e.g., 1/15 sec) and it gets really hard to get any part of the rider to not blur. You need the head/face sharp or all is lost. If you use a much shorter exposure (e.g., 1/60 sec) then the blur effect gets reduced to the point where the background just looks blurry but adds no sense of motion. All this of course depends on the focal length of the lens and the speed of the rider. If the rider is moving at a good clip the background will blur at 1/60, or even higher.
    Important addition.

  19. #19
    FM
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    Thanks again for the tips!

    One thing thats cool about this A720 is that it does do 2nd curtain flash. Haven't messed with it much yet though.

    I took a few shots today, but it was pretty much a bust. Nothing worth posting unfortunately.
    I have been playing with custom white balance and a small grey card. Often it seems to make for a huge improvement in my colors, but today everything came out green.

    Another thing I noticed today, in Av mode, my camera does not seem to display what shutter speed it's using. Must be a way around this in the display settings.

    well thanks again for the tips, I understand the concepts and now I just need practice, practice, practice!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM
    ...
    I have been playing with custom white balance and a small grey card. Often it seems to make for a huge improvement in my colors, but today everything came out green.
    ...!
    For now, I would leave the WB (white balance) alone. The 'auto' mode is just fine for casual outdoor use. You got green-cast shots because you told the camera to expect a reddish light (incandescent or tungsten I believe).

    Another tip is to shoot in RAW mode if you have the capability. RAW mode bypasses 'all' of your camera's adjustments it does in it's computer and leaves all the original available data (I don't know if/why canon has not added this as of '09 for P&S) and does not compress the data. A well known hack, CHDK, ( http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ ) can be done to your camera I believe. It's totally non-destructive, and I have done it to my family members' cameras that it was applicable to with great results.
    RAW images are the best because you decide how a picture should be 'developed' (to a point) in an image processor like PhotoShop. You can adjust W/B, colorcast, contrast, etc.
    RAW Images, because they're not 'edited' and compressed (jpg) take up more memory, so that might be a draw-back for you.
    That said, It will not turn sh!t to gold...

    *EDIT - just so you know I'm not a complete hack, here's some shots (no bike content) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/highdel...7603964785585/ - an OK variety..
    Last edited by highdelll; 01-18-2009 at 09:56 PM.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    RAW Images, because they're not 'edited' and compressed (jpg) take up more memory, so that might be a draw-back for you.
    Wait, is this the same guy who posted this bit of humor?

    "lenses- a wide angle lens distorts the scene and can sometimes warp your shot 'unfavorably'. while they definitely have their place, a 'normal' to longer lens will work towards your advantage."

    p.s. RAW images are often/easily compressed in-camera and the current camera settings are always applied to the file.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious george
    Wait, is this the same guy who posted this bit of humor?

    "lenses- a wide angle lens distorts the scene and can sometimes warp your shot 'unfavorably'. while they definitely have their place, a 'normal' to longer lens will work towards your advantage."

    p.s. RAW images are often/easily compressed in-camera and the current camera settings are always applied to the file.
    what's wrong with my statement? (unfavorably was in quotes - meaning that it distorts the scene - that's all)
    RAW images may be compressed, (i don't know what from...some other file format??...explain)
    settings, yes your settings; speed, aperature, ISO... are all the same but the camera's intenral processing are not.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  23. #23
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    For now, I would leave the WB (white balance) alone. The 'auto' mode is just fine for casual outdoor use. You got green-cast shots because you told the camera to expect a reddish light (incandescent or tungsten I believe).
    many of our local trails are in mossy second growth with low light, green fir & cedar trees, and moss on everything. Pretty much %85 green everywhere. So I'm pretty sure the custom white balance can help- it certainly made for improvement on the non-action shots I took over the weekend. The CWB shots had vivid greens and golds, where the AWB shots had a bluish/purple tint going on. But maybe CWB may be too much hassle for action shots- I've often got only a minute to set these up before the riders appear.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Music
    I use Photoshop and am constantly amazed at the detail that can be brought out of what seemingly are way too underexposed frames.
    ^^ definitely! dodge and burn.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    what's wrong with my statement? (unfavorably was in quotes - meaning that it distorts the scene - that's all)
    Wide angle lenses do not have to distort the scene. Furthermore, suggesting that "regular" lenses or long lenses are better suited to capture the steepness of the terrain does not jive with my experience at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    RAW images may be compressed, (i don't know what from...some other file format??...explain)
    RAW files can by compressed, in camera, yielding "lossless" raw files and saving space on the capture media. Google "compressed nef" for more info.

    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    settings, yes your settings; speed, aperature, ISO... are all the same but the camera's intenral processing are not.
    That's a given in a RAW vs. jpg discussion.

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