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Author Topic: Planning for a Shoot  (Read 24950 times)
Fred A
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« on: August 10, 2009, 12:04:18 PM »

I was wondering about some good ideas that you folks use when planning to go and shoot some pictures.
Realizing that a retiree who can go out on any day weather permitting, has a different plan from a family that has gone on vacation to a far off place; what do we take along?
Lenses, memory cards, transfer gadgets to store images?
Do we plan the time of day when the light is best for where we are going?
Do we like a clear blue sky, or a puffy cloud or hazy sky?
Do we use flash outdoors?
Do we bother with a tripod now that Image Stabilized lenses are so available?

Just open ideas and discussion.
Maybe I can learn something!

Fred
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ed_k
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2009, 12:56:08 PM »

Fellow retiree -

1. What do I take along? - everything that I own in the back of my 4-wheeled camera bag otherwise called a mini-van. When I leave the van, I will take the pieces that fit the occasion (which on occasion is still everything). Three bodies, five lenses, the usual filters, etc. all fit in my Lowepro backpack and a vest (minus tripod which always has a body attached). Backpack, vest, and tripod over my shoulder (my full pack) weighs about 30 pounds and at age 72 I find myself learning to be selective more & more often although this spring I did take it all on a 1500' elevation change 6 mile hike to some waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park where I am a volunteer photographer. At a minimum I always wear the vest (with 8-10 pounds of "stuff" in the pockets) and my Gitzo 2220 tripod with a body attached regardless of where I am. Occasionally I'll also take my IR body on a Kirk strap that attaches to the body's L-bracket. If returning to the scene of the crime for do-overs isn't a good option, I try to have my laptop in the back of the van to be sure of what I got before leaving - now a 4-wheel camera bag and a mobile darkroom.

2. As a primarily nature photographer and morning person, I prefer morning shoots. However, I really like IR work and had one of my bodies converted and use that extensively during later hours.

Early morning -

Infrared -

3. I plan my weekly 50 mile trips to Shenandoah around the weather and prefer days with at least 80% cloud cover. If it's totally socked in and miserable, all the better. My favorite work tends toward "moody" and hopefully that explains my choice of weather.

Misty Island -

4. I virtually never use a flash outdoors. If I want a bit more light on a close up subject some simple reflective surface is my choice. I carry a 4-in-one diffusion disk to help with natural light and/or a backdrop.

5. Since starting seriously about 5 years ago, I doubt that 0.1% of my images have been made without a tripod. For me, the issue is not camera shake. My reason for a tripod is to force me to slow down and get pin point framing - most importantly composition as perfect as I can make it. Without a tripod, my shots tend more toward snapshots and that's not what I want. Many shooters can get the job done hand held but not me. You'll notice that my three example "landscapes" are all in the portrait mode - each of my camera bodies has a body unique L-bracket permanently attached (and usually has a remote release attached as well). I own one VR lens (came with the body) and have turned it on maybe 5 times in almost two years. Similarly my 105mm macro lens' auto/manual focus ring NEVER has been used in the auto position unless I using it in a non-closeup situation.

6. Just my way. Doubt that it fits too many others' needs, but it works here.
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Ya Me
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2009, 02:12:14 PM »

Fellow retiree -

ed_k

You take some great photos.
You can tell a person will be able to learn a lot from you!

I for one,
Hope to see you post more examples and experiences so we all can learn from you!

Thanks For Sharing

Ya Me
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If I Don't Ask .. Who Will?
Fred A
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2009, 02:32:11 PM »

I agree with Ya Me.
Beautiful and interesting composition.
I love it.
Thank you.
Fred
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Terry-M
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2009, 04:55:41 PM »

Quote
What do I take along? - everything that I own in the back of my 4-wheeled camera bag otherwise called a mini-van
I'm the opposite, I usually try to be minimalist.
For example, last Saturday we (me+wife) went out for the day after waiting all week for a dry one. I decided that my 10-20 Sigma wide angle zoom was under utilised, so I took that and a long lens. I often like to restrict myself to enable me to concentrate on a particular view of things, especially, when it's a place I've been to before.
So Saturday was mainly a wide angle day but in response to some of Fred's other questions:
Quote
Do we plan the time of day when the light is best for where we are going?
Do we like a clear blue sky, or a puffy cloud or hazy sky?
If it's a day trip, the time of day is not always the best. When we arrived at our destination on Saturday, it was noon and clear blue sky, not nice for most photography. Later in the afternoon things improved, hazy clouds appeared and the light was softer, much nicer.
Some results, not as dramatic as ed_k's, more pastoral.

A folly!

Still life in the shade


Terry
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Seth
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2009, 09:16:34 PM »

I am with Terry on the minimalize where I can.  On a long trip I take it all.

Quote
Lenses, memory cards, transfer gadgets to store images?

The Nikon 18-200 is a lifesaver, but I keep the 17-35, 28-70 and 80-200 nearby on a long trip.
The 12-24 is on the other body and the 300/f4 is in the butt bag (well....it's a front bag)
I take all the CF cards  6 @ 2GB and 2 @ 4GB
I carry an Xdrive with a 120GB in it and DL the cards in case of card error or over shooting.  At night I DL to the laptop AND burn a DVD which I mail home.

Quote
Do we plan the time of day when the light is best for where we are going?

When I can.  If I am at a motel and have seen something that trips me as a sunset shot, starts raining, or something, I'll go back.

Quote
Do we like a clear blue sky, or a puffy cloud or hazy sky?

Depends on the place and the effect.  I'll go for fog in a minute!!  Clear skies, both in Montana and New Mexico are a knockout.  Polarizer in Montana; impossible to do in New Mexico because it is dark blue already.   Little puffs and wisps don't really thrill me.  Large, billowy Cumulus are great.

Quote
Do we use flash outdoors?
Atleast one is always with me.  Of course, on day-to-day work (job) we always use it.  Dragging the shutter at night with a flash opens a whole new world.

Quote
Do we bother with a tripod now that Image Stabilized lenses are so available?

One doesn't substitute for the other, to me.  IS is a CYA, but I'd rather have at least a monopod.  For panoramas (and not having to hike there) a tripod is the nuts.
Absent that, I practice the sweep a few times, shoot a little wider, then set the camera:  high speed motor 6-8 FPS, RAW, auto bracket, then start the sweep.  I usually do it twice since I am handheld.  All shot vertically, 60-70% overlap.

Seth
« Last Edit: August 11, 2009, 12:45:59 AM by Seth » Logged

Seth
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Fred A
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2009, 09:53:15 PM »

Ok,,, Certainly no professional here, but logic does step in.
If it's a day trip, and destination is planned, then I have an idea where I will be and what I will need regarding lenses, I take 2. I always take my tripod. It's a Carbon Fiber job that doesn't weigh too much.
I believe in tripods... using my 400mm lens requires a tripod and a cable release to stay razor sharp.

I have a back pack type of camera case for day trips, and a larger one that can hold all the lenses if the trip is longer (airplane ride or similar).
I always aim for morning light. The earlier the better. It is soft and enhances whatever it falls upon. Evening light is good too, but being so old, I get tired by the time the evening light is usable.  Sad

I find flash useful in a lot of situations where you wouldn't think of using it. (Not that I remember to use it either)
For example, taking photos of large water birds, a flash can peg a nice little eye highlight.  At the botanical, a flash can give a 3D to an otherwise flat, dull flower blossom.
Even some of the rodeo shots of performers in action, show a depth with a flash that otherwise is absent.

No matter what I do, when I come across a great scene/shot, I alays seem to have the wrong lens in place.

Fred
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Seth
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2009, 12:52:11 AM »

Hi Fred-

Is that a 400/f2.8 or 400/f4?  A good monopod should do for either in daylight. 

If you want to shake the cable release, punching 3-4 frames at a high frame rate settles the camera down.   That's how we grab a low light shot hand held at 1/30.  It seems the second or third shot is the sharp one. 

Out in the wild if I am absent a monopod, tc., I use a rock, tree or a shoulder.

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Seth
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Fred A
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2009, 09:54:03 AM »

Quote
Is that a 400/f2.8 or 400/f4?

Ahem!   Seth, my 400mm Canon "L" prime lens is F4.
That was scary enough on that price tag.  Cry
The F 2.8 would have got me a divorce!

The write ups on the F4 were beautiful, and the upside is that at F4, the lens is tack sharp.
Many lenses will not have a sweet spot wide open. This does.
You must have a far steadier hand than I.
400mm even on a tripod is not solid enough for me... need to shoot: " Look Ma No hands"!   Cable release.
Quote
Out in the wild if I am absent a monopod, tc., I use a rock, tree or a shoulder.

Seth, If I am out in the wild, I try to use large leaves.  Wink Smiley Grin Grin

Fred
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Terry-M
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 10:02:34 AM »

Quote
If I am out in the wild, I try to use large leaves.
I'm pleased to hear you are environmentally  friendly  Roll Eyes
Terry.
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