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Old 03-17-2007, 09:23 PM
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Photography 101

TIP:

If you want to show a flower or plant off to its best advantage without distracting backgrounds, photograph it at night in you backyard, this way there also won't be unwanted shadows or highlights from the sun.

If there isn't sufficient light to get a sharp focus, point a low powered torch at the subject to help the camera focus, as a high powered torch will ruin the effect that you are trying to achieve.

Here is an example using my Dockrillia linguiforme which I hung in a tree in my backyard last night.

So endeth the first lesson.
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:14 AM
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Amazing and helpful tip Anton. Tell me a little about field or depth of focus (I'm not sure which is the correct term). The trouble I have been havign is that on close-ups, the centre of the flower or a bit of stem just behind the flower is crystal clear but the edges of the flower are not in focus.

Suggestions?

-Kevin
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Old 03-18-2007, 06:09 AM
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Depth of Focus is a term used with the old style bellows cameras. The distance that you could move the back (which moves independantly of the front part of the camera) and keep the image in focus is the Depth of Focus.

Depth of field is the distance that an image will be in focus. Wide angle lenses will give an image which is sharp almost from just in front of the camera to infinity. Telephoto lenses fore shorten how much of the image will be in focus, also works the same for closeup images.

If you want to get depth of field, especially with close up images with an SLR use a higher f No. eg f16 or f22, but you'll need a flash, which will bring in harsh shadows unless you use a diffused ring flash....expensive.

There are 2 techniques which can eliminate harsh lighting called fill-in flash and bounce flash, but more on them in a later post.

With digital point n shoots like mine, stand back a bit, use the telephoto, and you'll find that you will get a bit more of the flower in focus. That is how I photographed ALL my orchids, haven't used my SLR on ANY of them.
This also helps eliminate a bit of the hash flash.

If you use a digital camera you can experiment until you find what works for you without wasting film. After a few images, you'll get an idea of how far back, or how close to get to achieve the desired effect.

Sometimes I purposely want minimal depth of field, other times I want to show as much of the plant as possible, so depending on what effect I want depends on how I shoot.

Hope this helps.

Good Luck.
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Last edited by Anton; 03-18-2007 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 03-18-2007, 06:12 AM
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Thanks for the tip.

Being an amateur photographer myself, I'd thrive on such tips

This tip ,however,has to wait until spring for me to try out. (Not that I doubt the efficacy)
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:09 PM
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Anton: The drockrillia is really looking good. Now that you have it healthy again, you're really not going to give it back to your brother, are you?

How about a few tips for those of us with inexpensive digital cameras? I have a Canon Powershot A540. Supposedly, there's a way to measure for foot candles of light but I don't know how to do it. There is a way to set the camera to manual & the OSI speeds are 80/100/200/400/800.

The user guide is VERY unfriendly in explaining how to program the camera or use it manually. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-31-2007, 05:40 AM
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Sharyn, he has a snowball's chance in Hell of getting it back, "it's my Precious"!

I have downloaded the manuals, so give me a couple of days to peruse them and I'll see what I can come up with for you.

A quick tip: with closeup work, try to use a high fstop if possible to give depth of field and a lower ISO, probably either 100 or 200 otherwise you indroduce too much "noise", digital version of grain.

Try to use a solid color background so that the camera doesn't get confused on what it is supposed to be focussing on and have the flowers standing forward of this background rather than close to it, otherwise you introduce unwanted shadows.

To photograph a whole plant, do the opposite to the closeup and use a smaller number fstop eg f4, f5.6 and set the camera to ISO 200, stand back and zoom in with the tele to "frame" the image you want. also use a solid color background here as well.

A cheap background can be made by buying a very cheap white sheet, and dye it with a royal blue dye as this will contrast nicely with the green leaves of the plant. Maybe even make a grey or black one as well.

Hope this gives you some ideas to start with.
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Old 03-31-2007, 05:48 AM
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I forgot to add, another cheap and simple background is the sky. look on my Website at my Cymbidium images, and you'll see some which I have photographed against the sky to show them at their best.

You have to put the plant on a stand that enables you to get lower than the plant and photograph it upwards, again preferably using the tele lens to frame the plant to what you want to see.
http://www.users.on.net/~op_ink/AD/C...m_Orchids.html

And this one http://www.users.on.net/~op_ink/AD/Oncidium_Orchid.html
to see what I described above using a single color background with the plant forward of it and using the tele to eliminated shadows.

ALL these images were shot on an Olympus 6 Megapixel point n shoot camera!
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Old 03-31-2007, 08:49 AM
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Thank You Anton.

The photos in against the sky in your URL are really nice.

Some of us rarely see that BLUE sky, , let alone keep/bring the plants outdoors!

I will try a few shots this summer
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:57 AM
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If you have a digital camera that is so cheap as not to have the half click for freezing your focus and/or exposure, you can ignor what I am about to say, and maybe should get a better camera. When I had a Canon A40, I had a devil of a time getting the camera to focus on the flower, as it always wanted to focus on the green back ground (other plants). The reason for this is that the algorithm for focus was based on best contrast, and since the typical point and shoot camera has 2 green pixels for every red or blue pixel, the green back ground always got the attention of the focus system.

My work around was to bring a white card with black writing, like a preprinted label up to the face of the flower, half click for focus, drop the label/recompose, and complete the shot. For criticle focus it sometimes took several shots to get it right, with review at high res to see the focus result. The other thing to do if you are close enough that the background subject does not have any influence on the focus algorithm, set the camera to use center focus if your camera gives you a choice, then pick the part of the flower you want to have in best focus, half click with this in the center of the screen, then recompose and finish the click. I do this regularly with my DSLR to pick several items of different depth into the flower to decide afterwards which gave me the best focus over all. Half clicks are very handy.
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:38 AM
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Cynthia is correct, I do it without thinking, it's all part of composition.

If I had thought about it, I would have passed that tip along myself. Trouble with being a professional photographer for many years, you tend to do a lot of things instinctively after a while and forget the little steps you do without thinking to get the end result.

I actually used the technique Cynthia mentioned of pushing the shutter button down half way to compose the image in freeze frame to get the new leaf on my Epi in the thread "New Growth Everywhere".

Some cameras like my Olympus need horizontal or verticle lines to focus on, so I pick the edge of a leaf, push the button half way, move the camera to compose the image and then gently push the button all the way to take the picture.

All this in a second or two.

I would suggest people look around for a cheap, light tripod to put your digital cameras on so that under low light you don't get camera shake, and also it helps when you are setting up your plants to get a good shot, as you have the camera in the same position all the time. Then it is easy to zoom in or out, or move the plant one way or another to show it at its best.
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:06 AM
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Anton & Cynthia: Thanks for the great digital tips. My little Canon Powershot has the half click down for the shutter and also a focus square which can be adjusted from center to other views. I've been practicing this. My son loaned me a tabletop tripod. This helps immensely to reduce camera shake and out of focus pics. I'm going to try the tip using a white card with the black writing. Once I master these techniques, I'll be looking for Anton to share that beautiful Australian blue sky background. Thanks again for the excellent tips.
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Old 04-04-2007, 12:14 PM
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i have a canon sd630, a10 (old school!) and a rebel. make use of the macro function of your camera, canon has a really good digital macro setting that'll give you the depth of field you want, and you get so close to the subject, it'll be easier to focus. this effectively eliminates having to know about fstops and iso settings for people who'd just rather not have all those numbers bouncing around in their heads, or that are lazy (like me! :P) plus canon cameras actually give you a higher dpi (dot per inch) image when you use macro and it makes for potentially larger prints, if you have photo editing sofware, or at least higher res prints which look more crisp.

i also use the focusing trick, usually with my hand, because i'm too lazy and impulsive to make up a card.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:26 AM
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hi,

I also use canon. A Canon A95(5.1MP) and a Canon Rebel xti(SLR 10.1MP).

As fzzdk suggests the macro is a great feature.. I have taken a few closeups with that feature alone and have come out fairly well. ( I will let Anton be the judge on my claim!! )

Some of my photos are posted at :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/95002833@N00/

Most were captured with the A95.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:51 AM
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I would recomend evryone have a look at your link as you have some very nice photos.
thank you for the link.
I can pick up my jaw now lol
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Old 04-06-2007, 05:53 PM
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Anton-I tried to measure footcandle by using my digital camera but it wouldn't go over 5.6 (400 ft.candle ) is this normal ? I pointed it directly to the sun just to make sure that's the highest it will go and yup, that was it ! I have my old canon T70 camera , but I think it's broken and wouldn't even load the film so I couldn't use that ..any suggestion ?
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:12 PM
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I saw PIKEVI's photos a few weeks ago, and they display the flowers beautifully, as he said, the close ups are excellent.

PRISANA: The only other thing I could suggest is see if you camera has a +/- manualy setting, and put it into the "+" mode, this may manually override the light meter to give you a higher reading.

The reason it doesn't go high, is that some maufacturers of consumer level digital cameras have a saftey cut off limit for the chip so that it doesn't burn out. There is only so much light that they can absort before "burning" out the image from overexposure, so to avoid this, they put a saftey cut off point.

Personally I don't come at these half baked measures of combining f stops and camera speed and then using a calculator to then convert to fc /lux, and I am a professional photographer of 35 years experience.

it is great to play around with these formulae, I did it when doing my qualifications in Commercial Photography a lifetime ago, but in the REAL world productivity dictates these methods take a back seat for more realistic measuring.

THIS METHOD IS NOT ACCURATE, believe me!

My suggestion to all those people who really want to be serious about measuring footcandle/lux is to buy a dedicated meter to do this.

After I run a few Saturday morning errrands (she who must be obeyed is in bed with a cold) I will photograph my meter and post it here for you all to see.

It has a range of 0.000 to 4000 fc and 0.00 to 40000 lux which I think will cover MOST people's needs.

If anyone is interested, I will post where you can buy them, and for how much, as it came from the States. Maybe we can arrange for a bulk purchase and get a discount.
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Old 04-06-2007, 09:34 PM
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Thank you fred, Anton
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:24 PM
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Thanks for clearifying that ,Anton . Apicture of a light meter is a good idea as I've no idea what they look like or where to find it..
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:50 PM
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FC / LUX Meter

Ok I am back from helping the Easter Bunny with his shopping list, he told me he has been very busy this year and needed a little hand.

Here is what a fc / lux meter looks like. I have left the cap on, but if the round cap at the top is taken off there is a white dome under it and this diffuses the light onto the photo sensitive cell which measures the light.

Unlike a standard light meter, this is a precise instrument designed whole and solely for measuring in fc/lux and nothing more. It is used for a range of purposes and not specifically for photography.

So as mentioned in a previous post, if you want to get serious about measuring your light levels, this is THE ONLY WAY TO GO to get accurate readings.

I don't think they are cheap to buy, but it will last a lifetime if you take care of it, and, I'M SURE YOU'LL FIND OTHER USES TO JUSTIFY THE PURCHASE OF ONE.

You can even use them for testing light intensity of various types of lighting before you buy, that way you don't have to take a salesperson's word on what the output of a certain setup is.
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Old 04-06-2007, 11:26 PM
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fc/lux Meter Reading

I thought it may be interesting for everyone to see an actual reading, so I decided to place it behind my Phal which sits at our lounge room window which faces north, but gets shaded by our front porch.

I used fill-in flash with the phal shot to compensate for the strong backlighting coming through the window to show the details in the plant, rather than have it just sillouhetted against the bright background, another little tip.
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Old 04-06-2007, 11:51 PM
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very useful Anton
thank you for posting the info
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Old 05-06-2007, 07:16 PM
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Anton: The sky as a background really works well. Thanks for the tip.

We got a real blue sky today, after a long time ( though spring was officially here for the past 6 weeks). I took these pix of my cherry.

Just thought of posting them.
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Old 05-06-2007, 07:37 PM
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Very good, NOW try it using fill in flash, with and without a tissue over the flash and see what difference that makes.

The sky is natures backdrop.

The mistake a lot of people are making with their photos is to have cluttered backgrounds, and quite often this distracts the eye from the suject at hand, namely flowers.

THe sky is a cheap alternative, or moving the palnt so that it is in front of a plain colored background such as a wall, but not near a corner as the line in the corner again becomes a distraction.

So endeth this lesson.
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Old 05-06-2007, 09:40 PM
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Foot Candle Meters Revisited

For those serious enough to want to measure their plant light levels here is a site with quite reasonably priced fc / lux meters, and there is a model to suit most bugets.
I have been in touch with this company to see if they'll ship one here to Australia, so I think if you are enquiring about them, mention that you saw the link here on the Forum, and you just don't know, maybe they may do us a good deal for multiple purchases form the one source.
http://www.dasdistribution.com/produ...cal_models.htm

These meters will save you the hassle of having to perform calculations to determine what light levels your plants are receiving.
They will also enable you to take readings in other areas to ascertain which plants would grow in various areas of your house.

I have one here at work, but after seeing these, may get one for myself as I won't be able to use my work one once I retire.
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Old 05-06-2007, 09:58 PM
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Thank you , Anton.

Will do so,soon.

N.B:The URL that was given in your second post is not available
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Old 05-06-2007, 10:16 PM
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Should be Pikevi, I just tried it again and it works for me.

If you can't access that link do a search for D.A.S Distribution and when you find their site, click on the "Economical Lightmeter" link and you're there.

Love those cherry blossoms.
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Old 05-07-2007, 07:17 AM
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Anton, thank you for the tips here. I have done all the no no's in the pictures I submitted for the May contest. Thank heavens there is June, July, etc... to get better. The background was getting me. The sky is a great idea and the half click is very interesting. I didn't know you could reposition after that. Will try it.
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Old 05-07-2007, 07:57 PM
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Yes, it does , Anton.

May be it was down when I tried it that night.

I am looking for a good price for one. Thanks.
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Old 05-07-2007, 08:39 PM
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I received a reply for D.A.S. and they ship their meters overseas as well, so I will be getting a combination fc/lux meter myself.

The only thing is, do I get one with the meter built in, or seperate ? Decisions, decisions........
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:09 AM
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Well Anton, I'm still being background challenged. I am going to have to figure out how to hang a sheet. I was going to use the sky today as you have encouraged, but, alas, the sky is gray. Are any of these becoming "interesting"? Yes, I am requesting your critique, if you would.
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:12 AM
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Sorry, the second one wasn't one I wanted on there.
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:24 AM
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The flowers are blending into the background.

Try manually setting the flash to come on irrespective of the ambient light intensity, put a piece of tissue over the flash without covering the small hole that is the light meter and take some shots.

This should light up the flowers making them stand out from the background, and by using the tissue over the flash, that will soften any shadows that form.

Don't have the plant too close to the background as that will help keep the flash related shadow to a minimum.

If you are interested I have an Acrobat file on how to make a cheap, simple background that you can take anywhere. It is easy to make, assemble and disassemble to store away. Just send me your email to my address:
Edited use pm for info....... and I'll forward it on.

Hope this helps a bit.

Oh, and by the way they are slightly out of focus, falsh will help eliminate camera shake.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:49 AM
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fred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond reputefred has a reputation beyond repute
just a reminder for the members that if you need help with taking pictures of your orchids and you would like some help to improve your picture quality you can ask out resident expert Anton for some tips as I have done see Attachments Anton will walk through every step with you.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:03 AM
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Thanks fred .

That was a good illustration!

I am starting now to use the tripod because of him.

As I have said before he is a great teacher.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:31 AM
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Thank you for the tip. I have tried this a few times but never got the perfect lighting on the flower. When I try to capture by pointing some light at it, shadows start appearing on the flower. I'll try with your tips mentioned here once again.
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