Finally Have a Camera

Discuss cameras, settings, composition, or anything related to photography - cactus or other subjects.
don
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:59 pm
Location: Carefree, Arizona zone 9b

Finally Have a Camera

Post by don »

After using my wife's IPhone forever, I decided to treat myself to a camera. It is a Nikon L840. I've been very happy with it so far.
It has one lens but settings that will go from a 855mm telephoto to macro. The price is very reasonable (approx. $250) and I'm sure that
I'll be even more satisfied after I learn more about it's features. One thing to note is that it operates on AA batteries.
Now that it is the season for blooms, I wanted to share a few of mine.
If anyone has any pointers on how I can improve my shots, please share.
Attachments
neoportria senillis
neoportria senillis
DSCN1184.jpg (47.7 KiB) Viewed 5975 times
thelocactus macdowellii
thelocactus macdowellii
DSCN1251.jpg (37.49 KiB) Viewed 5975 times
mammillaria spinosissima
mammillaria spinosissima
DSCN1299.jpg (62.6 KiB) Viewed 5975 times
stenocactus obvolatus
stenocactus obvolatus
DSCN1397.jpg (53.32 KiB) Viewed 5975 times
thelocactus bicolor
thelocactus bicolor
DSCN1408.jpg (54.46 KiB) Viewed 5975 times
Ron43
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by Ron43 »

Nice flowers and good shots.
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adetheproducer
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by adetheproducer »

That new camera has picked up the pinks in those flowers wonderfully good work.
And as the walls come down and as I look in your eyes
My fear begins to fade recalling all of the times
I have died and will die.
It's all right.
I dont mind
I dont mind.
I DONT MIND
DaveW
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by DaveW »

It's often a matter of personal opinion, but you can often remove out of focus background clutter, as in your first picture, by photographing them against a neutral background, say a piece of cardboard (available in many colours, though subdued ones are best, or grey or black so as not to compete with the flowers) or a piece of material. I often use a piece of black velvet. Some may consider this artificial, but then a plant in a pot is artificial, therefore in that case you are really taking a plant portrait
violaciflora.jpg
violaciflora.jpg (91.4 KiB) Viewed 5946 times
Unlike a plant in situ in habitat where I would never use an artificial background.
weisseri.jpg
weisseri.jpg (101.38 KiB) Viewed 5946 times
A review of your camera here:-

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_COOLPIX_L840/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As the review mentions Nickel Metal Hydride batteries (NiMH) presumably your AA batteries can be replaced by rechargeable ones saving money long term?

https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/article ... ttery.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I don't know what your lighting was but the pictures have a slight bluish tinge on my screen (note in the white parts of the petals) that could be removed in post processing.

I have always been satisfied with Nikon cameras and lenses (but most makes are very good these days) and the larger sensor than in a smartphone should give you better pictures.
Last edited by DaveW on Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
DaveW
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by DaveW »

I should have added if you want to do photography and then post process it using your computer screen you need to calibrate your monitor. Computers screens "out of the box" are seldom calibrated correctly for photography, but adjusted to make text more easily readable.

See:-

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-online-t ... e-monitor/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Unless monitors are calibrated to a common standard for photography we all see slightly different colours on our screens, including colour casts, plus the highlights and shadows may be lost.

I actually use an Eye One monitor calibrator to calibrate my screen rather than rely on my eyes, but that is a bit expensive unless you are a dedicated photographer.

http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2014/ ... and-rated/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
don
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:59 pm
Location: Carefree, Arizona zone 9b

Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by don »

Thank you so much. The black background is stunning and it is something that i can do right away. You are right, my shots have a bluish tinge...I took the pots into the shade and there was no flash. I am just starting but this is all very helpful.
don
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:59 pm
Location: Carefree, Arizona zone 9b

Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by don »

thank you to the others for your encouraging comments
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kristian_Fossmo
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by kristian_Fossmo »

About the blue tint, check the white balance, maybe theres some options like "sun", "shade" and so on, then choose accordingly. If it is on "sun" and you take pictures in the shade, there will be a blue tint to the pictures because the camera try to compensate for the more warmer white balance in the sun. Nice pics by the way :)
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don
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Location: Carefree, Arizona zone 9b

Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by don »

Thank you. I'm still trying to figure out how to use this thing and I'll bet that what you say is right. ..back to the manual again!
DaveW
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by DaveW »

That's it then because a building or other object which obscures the sunlight means anything in it's shade outside is filled in with the reflection of a blue sky above if it is a clear day, giving anything in shade a blue cast. as in the tree shadow in this link:-

http://www.fotoblur.com/images/141425" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If you photograph in this shade normally the cameras auto white balance can cope, but in more extreme conditions unless you adjust the white balance as Kristian says, either in camera if you can or in post processing you get a blue cast. We tend not to notice it when taking the photo because the human eye adapts quickly to different lighting conditions and our brain compensates for them. In the old film days it was even worse as cameras then had no auto white balance, or white balance adjustments and you had to use tinted filters on the lens to compensate for different lighting.

http://www.wikihow.com/Adjust-Your-Digi ... te-Balance" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
don
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Location: Carefree, Arizona zone 9b

Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by don »

you're right...when i take the shots, the sky overhead is always a brilliant blue here in the desert...thank you again
DaveW
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by DaveW »

Hi Don, I normally photograph my plants in full sun but use a diffuser above them to soften the harsh sunlight and to avoid deep black shadows and burnt out highlights (not the same as a flash diffuser). These are just a wire spring frame that folds up with usually white rip-stop nylon stretched over it to diffuse the light (you have to get used to the knack of twisting it into a figure of eight or more to put it back into the bag though!). Note only the first of my pictures of the plant in the pot used a diffuser, not the habitat one.

You can use it both as a diffuser above the plant, or to reflect light back at them. If I have my camera on a tripod and using a cable release I can usually manage to hand hold the diffuser myself, otherwise you may need somebody or a stand to hold it for you:-

http://www.photo-tipster.com/photo_reflector.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I got one similar to this off UK EBAY cheaper than from the usual photo shops. I think mine is a 30 inch one, but there are various sizes. All plant and macro photography is really portrait photography in miniature, so the same solutions apply:-

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=rou ... &_from=R40" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vZ4FuolSG8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVV4mcfygQo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
don
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Location: Carefree, Arizona zone 9b

Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by don »

DaveW...I see why your shots are so excellent. I simply bend over and shoot my subjects in a "hand held" manner...no flash. I will definitely check the diffuser out on EBAY....thank you
DaveW
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by DaveW »

The links on reflectors above discuss using silver reflectors to provide a cooler light on the shadow side and gold ones to provide a more yellow warmer light. Therefore just think of blue sky above your plants if photographed in shade as having a blue reflector above them. If the sky was unnaturally red or green instead of blue you would get a red or green cast on pictures in shade.

The ideal outdoor photographic lighting is supposed to be a sunny day with the sun veiled in light white cloud, something a white diffuser imitates. I am not sure whether we are "luckier" in the sunless UK since we don't get as many blue skies as our skies are often cloudy with either white or grey clouds, neither of which impart a colour cast in the shade. The problem with our plants of course is they only usually open their flowers fully in sunlight and that produces harsh shadows, so our flowers will often close when the sun goes in. Therefore a "quick portable white cloud" in the form of a diffuser before they can close often helps since obviously the flowers will not hang around until the natural lighting is perfect.

Of course you first have to decide what type of photography you require? Natural history photography, as we normally use to record our plants, attempts to record the plants as we see them, "warts and all". Creative or "photo club" photography is largely taken for photographic effect, where it is the final effect that matters, often at the expense of a true representation of the subject. Probably we all do both types of photography at times.

http://www.canadiannaturephotographer.c ... owers.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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WayneByerly
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Re: Finally Have a Camera

Post by WayneByerly »

Don ...
yah ... i can see a bit of a bluish cast ... but i had to go BACK and look at them a second time to notice it. The pictures are SO spectacular that I didn't notice the blue cast at first. UNBELIEVABLE photos ... just beautiful ...
Make the moral choice & always do what's right. Be a good example. Be part of the solution & make a contribution to society, or be part of the problem & end your life with nothing but regrets. Live a life you can be proud of! Zone 7a
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