HINTS
from Members of
The Mindful Eye Community

Page 1

IMAGE CAPTURE
Filters Tripods & Heads Flash Techniques Reflector Substitutes White Balance Exposure Determination
Matting Framing Shooting Fireworks Lensbaby Shooting Canon Timed Release Lighting Tips Make Your Own Backgrounds
Using Tripods in Sand & Snow
POST PROCESSING
Keyboard Shortcuts Straight Horizons Healing Brush Dave Hill Look Making Orbs Dodge & Burn
Sparkling Light Trails HDR, Panos, Orton, etc Adjusting Local Colors Gray Scale CS3's Info Tab Definition for Soft Images
Correcting WB in Jpegs Converting "cool" woods to "hot" woods Converting to B&W Using Channels
CAMERAS, OTHER GEAR, CLOTHING
Cold Weather Clothing Found Accessories Manufactured Accessories Camera & Lens Care
SUGGESTIONS FOR SPECIFIC TME WORKSHOPS & LOCATIONS
Savannah, GA Jeckyll Island Death Valley
SUGGESTIONS FOR "GIVING BACK" PROJECTS
Giving Back to Our Communities




FILTERS

Julian - easy filter: This is shot with a "Filter" I made out of a Photo Negative. I added drops of water for the "selective focus" effect, lol



Al Hannigan (ASH063) - UV Filter as Lens Protection: Back in my 35mm days all my nikkor lenses were protected by a UV filter. It had little or no effect on my images, but did keep my lenses safe from scratches, dirt and so on.

I almost never had to clean my lens surface ... just the UV filter itself. And if the filter got worn or scratched, it was much cheaper to replace than having a lens re-polished. It also allowed me to abandon lens caps so I was always ready to aim and shoot.



Kim (kpimages) - Cut Your Own Heart (or Other) Shapes: - Kim read about this do-it-yourself way to make out-of-focus highlights form into different shapes on this website:

http://pointsoflight.blogspot.com/2007/12/turn-on-your-heart-lights.html



Beth (caifedubh) - Inexpensive Filters: - I purchase all of my filters through hvstar.net http://www.hvstar.net They go by a few other names too). They're located in Hong Kong, so shipping takes about 10 days. they carry B+W, Hoya and Kenko brands, their inventory is always changing. if they don't have the specific filter/size you need keep checking them. The prices are about half of what you'd pay at B&H. i've gotten a 77mm r72 and a 77mm moose warming circ. pol. from them. that was my second 77mm Moose warming circ. pol., the first came from B&H, the two are indistinguishable in image quality and physical appearance.



Steve Weeks (Steve Weeks) - Another Source: - Here is a link to a California based company dealing primarily in filters I have used for a couple of years.

http://www.photofilter.com/index.html

Their prices are about 1/2-2/3 the price of most photo supply houses (you need to add it to your cart to see the discounted price, but it is easy to delete). They offer same or next day USPS shipment and free postage on most orders placed on weekdays (weekend orders are shipped Monday). The filters and accessories are top of the line in factory sealed cases.

The real worth of any company is how they stand behind their products when you have a problem, so I would like to share one experience I had. I received a Hoya Pro1 UV filter that had a retaining ring that wasn't fully set (factory sealed). I sent them an email mentioning it and stated that I could probably get it reset. The next morning I received an email saying they had sent a replacement filter and a self-stamped envelope to return the defective filter, no questions asked. They arrived the next day and this from a company that hadn't charged postage in the first place. To say they have found a loyal customer, is an understatement. Check them out.




TRIPODS & HEADS

Tony - L-Plates: Ok, probably nothing too helpful, but an awesome recommendation...L-Plates! Mounting a camera with an L-Plate on a tripod for portrait orientation is sooooooo much better than tilting a ballhead over! L-Plate keeps the weigh centered and you don't have to readjust! They are awesome. Best single accessory ever.




FLASH TECHNIQUES

Flo Deems (tonebytone) - Flash Hints: To make a flash snoot for light painting or to illuminate just one small area of a small scene - use a metal kitchen funnel. Shoot the flash gun thru it so the light comes out in a concentrated small area. If you get too much back-light, then wrap a dark cloth around where the funnel and flash gun body meet.

Adorama used to sell a small slave flash that runs on 2 AAA batteries. So if you need more light, but don't want to spend the money on another flash gun, try hunting for one of these small guys. You can hold it high or low, off to the side or place it behind something, or even inside something. Just the bounced light from an on-camera flash will set it off, even if the bounced light hits the ceiling and isn't in the direct line to trigger the unit.

For nice soft light, shoot the flash gun thru one of those translucent white plastic milk jugs - half gallon or gallon size. Just cut the jug down to a manageable size.

For sparkly lighting effects, shoot the flash gun thru a cut glass or pressed glass decorative cup, bowl, plate.

Use colored tissue paper in front of the flash gun, as one would a gell - but first make sure your flash doesn't emit excessive heat that might charr or burn the tissue. Do a double exposure, with the flash and one color to the left of the object; then move the flash to the right and shoot with another color.

If you have a laptop with a built-in camera, you can use the laptop's flash screen light as a fill flash! The countdown is slow enough that you can fire the camera just exactly when the computer fires its screen light. You need only one or 2 practice shots to get the timing right.

If you see a white, beige or gold (silver, too) Totes brand or other small telescoping-handle umbrella, buy it! They make excellent lighting accessories out in the field, for diffusing or reflecting flash - and also they have the added bonus of folding small enough to fit in your camera/kit bag - and they come in handy should you run afoul of a sudden downpour. They also can be used to shade subject, camera and lens - and person - from bright sunlight.




REFLECTOR SUBSTITUTES

AprilS - Reflector Substitute: - I keep a large piece of foil in my pack to unfold as a "reflector" in the field.



Flo Deems (tonebytone) - More Reflector Substitutes: - In addition to April's suggestion above, you can use a piece of white foam board. Cover one side with aluminum foil and leave the other side white. Or if you find gold-colored foil, cover one side of the board with it and the other side with the aluminum foil and carry another piece of foam board for a white reflector. Arts and crafts stores also carry foils in different colors. So if you prefer using a colored reflector rather than covering the flash with colored gels or tissue papers, create a colored reflector the same way as above. A colored reflector will cast a subtle hint of color on an object, rather than the bold color resulting from a colored flash.



John Cornicello (jcornice) - Be careful with Foam Boards: - Be careful about using white paper, foam-core, etc. for white balance. A lot of "white" papers have ultra-violet brighteners in them that can throw off the white balance. Our eyes see them as white, but the camera wont. I've also noticed that some paper-wrapped foam sheets tends to yellow a bit over time.



John Waterman (nzo) - DYI Flash Accessories: - Here's a blog that has 10 hints with directions:

http://digital-photography-school.com/blog/diy-flash-and-lighting-hacks-for-digital-photographers/



Jamie Fullerton (jfullerton) and Beth (caifedubh) - Strobist: - Both Jamie and Beth also recommend:

http://strobist.blogspot.com/




WHITE BALANCE

Beth (caifedubh) - Setting White Balance (alternatives to Expodisc):

A good alternative to using an expodisc (priced at $80-160) for setting your white balance in camera is a white Pringles lid or a coffee filter.

You set the coffee filter or pringles lid in front of the lens like you would a filter and take a photo of your light source. the resulting image is used to set your white balance. just don't forget to take the coffee filter or lid off before taking more pics. i prefer the coffee filter because it folds up nicely in the camera bag and fits larger lenses. a rubber band is handy to hold it on the lens, but not required.




EXPOSURE DETERMINATION

Al (ASH063) - Meter Off Your Palm:

While carrying a grey card can be helpful, I rarely did this when I was out shooting. Instead, at home I compared the difference in a grey card exposure and the palm of my hand ... in my case it was a 1 stop difference.

When out shooting I usually had both hands with me, so I could quickly position my hand in the light striking my subject, take a reading and know it was 1 stop lighter than a grey card.

It was especially helpful for tricky lighting situations, like a backlit person, or shooting into a shady area. I'd just hold my palm so it was lit about the same as my main subject and the reading minus 1 stop would get me in the ballpark very consistently.

Note: I always used my palm since other areas of my skin might change with suntan, etc. but my palm remained pretty constant.




MATTING & FRAMING

Beth (caifedubh) - Acrylic for Glass: Best thing I've ever gotten was non-glare acrylic. if you get the good stuff then its very nice quality without the possibility of breakage or the added weight. It's a bit cheaper than glass too.




SHOOTING FIREWORKS

John Cornicello (jcornice;35893): Basically, I work at the lowest ISO I can (100 on my camera). Aperture of around 8 to 11 (though the latest fireworks I've photographed seemed much brighter and I've gone to F/16). Tripod mount and cable release. Shutter set to Bulb. Sometimes I use the cable release to open/close. Other times I open the shutter and hold my hand in front of the lens and then move my hand away/back while watching the sky.

I prefer to get some foreground and background scenery in the image, too, not just the bursts. But that usually depends on where I'm located. Sometimes I have a narrow view between city buildings with lots of power lines, so then I concentrate on the bursts (and am usually disappointed).




SHOOTING WITH A LENSBABY

Brian Bastinelli - How I Work with a Lensbaby: - I have a LB 2.0. I like to use the 4.0 aperture ring because I like the sweet spot it gives me. I shoot with the 4 almost exclusively. Not saying thats right but it is the style that I have come to like.

I really like this lens but I find it very hard to work with.

Mostly because I am working with a D2x (heavy) and a 2.0 so I have to hold it in place. That gets tough at times and I can show you hundreds of images that are not so good because of that.

I owe much of my inspiration and technique development to Marc Johnson and his book Botanical Dreaming. Not only is the book immensely inspiring, but also there are many great ideas on how to shoot images like these.

For example, all three images [not included here] were shot with a piece of light blue poster board as the background. Had I shot these images without reading Marks book the background may have very well been the bricks on my house which would have yielded a very different look.

My best advice for the Lensbaby is to use it frequently. The more comfortable you are with handling it I think the less attention you will pay to the mechanics of it allowing you to work more with the creative side of the lens.

Also let go of any hang ups you might have on what you think the image should look like. I guess what I mean is don't stick just to your preconceived notion of what the image will end looking like and then toss to the side images that don't fit.

Almost all of my flower images that are up close used the macro kit. I find it difficult to get the close up shots without it.

Also I think that soft and or diffuse light as well as a lot of light seem to work best for me.

I know when I first got my LB I shot everything and anything. Most of those images get deleted right in camera but it's good parctice to see what the limitations are etc.

Don't forget that you can help these images out a lot in photoshop if thats something you want to do. Almost all of my LB images get some major processing in photoshop to make them look the way I like them.

Here's the Lensbabies FAQ page: http://lensbaby.com/faq.php. Please check the website for the new and improved Lensbaby models and accessories.

Flo Deems (tonebytone) - How To Get a Better Focus with the Composer Model: - If you have a camera body that features "Live View" this will make focusing much easier. The live view in the LCD screen on the camera's back offers a much larger image than we can see through the viewfinder. There are viewfinder magnifiers, too, if your camera doesn't have Live View.




CANON - TIMED RELEASE USES

Steve Weeks (Steve Weeks): - For Canon users that are caught without a remote switch (cable release) a very fine work around is possible by enabling the Mirror Lock-Up custom function and setting the camera to timed release. When the shutter is pressed the mirror locks up and 2 seconds later the shutter trips. This saved my bacon when hiking in the rocks while the remote switch was safely locked in the trunk of my car. There may be a way of doing that with other brands of SLRs.

The timed release is also very handy when shooting a long exposure with a P&S and small pocketable tripod. The most versatile little tripod I have found is the amazing Joby Gorilla Pod. The small one even has a quick release.




IMAGE CAPTURE
Filters Tripods & Heads Flash Techniques Reflector Substitutes White Balance Exposure Determination
Matting Framing Shooting Fireworks Lensbaby Shooting Canon Timed Release Lighting Tips Make Your Own Backgrounds
Using Tripods in Sand & Snow
POST PROCESSING
Keyboard Shortcuts Straight Horizons Healing Brush Dave Hill Look Making Orbs Dodge & Burn
Sparkling Light Trails HDR, Panos, Orton, etc Adjusting Local Colors Gray Scale CS3's Info Tab Definition for Soft Images
Correcting WB in Jpegs Converting "cool" woods to "hot" woods Converting to B&W Using Channels
CAMERAS, OTHER GEAR, CLOTHING
Cold Weather Clothing Found Accessories Manufactured Accessories Camera & Lens Care
SUGGESTIONS FOR SPECIFIC TME WORKSHOPS & LOCATIONS
Savannah, GA Jeckyll Island Death Valley
SUGGESTIONS FOR "GIVING BACK" PROJECTS
Giving Back to Our Communities




Hints pg 1, shooting ~ pg 2, post processing
pg 3, gear ~ pg 4, on locations

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