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Food Shutter Bug Club (Part 1)


Behemoth
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If you enroll in your local Junior College and take at least one course and get a student ID card you can buy software at the educational discount. When I bought Photoshop it was $125 as opposed to $500.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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You guys are the greatest. Terrific links. I am actually learning something.

Behemoth . . . I am always glad to hear from someone that has actually used a product. Many thanks.

I am getting a little less nervous about spending this much money even if it is OPiuM (Other Peoples' Money). :biggrin:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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The D70 also got a great review on megapixel.net.

I wish I could afford a camera like that! It looks awesome.

fifi, as for regular Photoshop, I'd bypass it for now. It'd be overkill for you anyways. It does have a scan & crop feature that's cool, but you won't need it if you go straight from the camera to the hard drive and don't need to scan photos. There's also a "stitch" feature where you can take three photos from left to right and then Photoshop will "stitch" the three photos into one panorama photo. But how often do you need to do that?

There is a cool feature called "Shadow/Highlight" that will brighten foreground subjects in front of a bright background. It can rescue some photos. But it's not worth buying the entire program just to get that.

I am looking forward to seeing your pictures!

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Thanks for the review of Photoshop, Toliver. I think I will just stay happy with what I have for now. I just wish I could find a course to learn more about it "the easy way."

I did find out that Nikon has digital photography courses from time to time. Digital 101 looks like just what the doctor ordered. I checked the schedule and I won't be able to make the next one. I will have to see when the next one is. It is a pretty good deal. The course is from 9 - 5 on a Saturday, usually at a nice hotel, and it is $119. That doesn't sound too bad, and who knows, when I buy the camera I may get a break on that.

Don't look for pictures anytime soon. It is going to take a couple of months at least to get all of this paperwork done. I am just about to decide on the Nikon basis what I have learned today. But, I will sleep on it and keep my eyes and ears open before I finally lay down the bucks.

You guys have been a terrific help.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Not so fast there, little lady.

CNET reviews digital cameras, and there is an 8MP Canon with a very high rating indeed....

Top digital cameras

Also, Toliver mentioned panoramic stitching in Photoshop. Most all the Canons have a Panoramic Stitch mode, and the software does it for you.

Here are a couple of samples.

Siena Hills

Life Lab Gardens at UCSC (268K photo)

Canon has pretty damn good software. That's why I have bought three. (All are PowerShots.)

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That is why it is a good thing to have the bean counters hold me up. I will be spending some quality time at the camera shop and reading all of the reviews I can get my hands on. After all, I sure won't be working all that hard. :biggrin:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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The reviews in some of the above posts have been great. There is another, in Petersen's Photographic magazine, Feb. '05, on the Eos 20D. The writer has been using a 10D, but the 20D pulls up a notch or two higher. It is also a little more expensive than the D70.

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My current camera is driving me...directly to the camera store! Does anyone have anything to say about the Canon EOS Rebel?

Nikon d70 might be overkill for me....but the Powershot might be enuf. Then again if it passes th tanabutler test...who am I to argue?? :biggrin:

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One of the cameras I use is the EOS Rebel, and for the money it is a great camera - I just recommended it to my sister. I think I wrote about it a while back on one of the other camera threads....One step up, the d20 is also super, but a lot of people don't need/use the extra features - larger files, etc.

The vast majority of shots on my site were shot with Canon SLRs (film or digital).

I've heard great things about the comparable Nikons as well.

There is a pro/prosumer comparision chart of all the different digital SLRs in this months PDN Magazine the issue with Jude Law on the cover.

They compare 14 different cameras (the high-end canons, nikons, kodaks, olympus, mamiya, etc).... The pricing of the cameras in the chart ranges from $1000 on up.

If you make a jump from the point and shoots to the digital SLRs, you then have to start thinking about what lenses are right for what you want to shoot and all that.

Hathor, if you any specific questions about the Canon Rebel or 20d, put them out there, I think a lot of people are curious and in a similar position with the prices on these big camera coming way down. There is quite a big difference between shooting with a powershot vs. a digital SLR - with advantages and disadvantages to both.

-h

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Heidi Swanson

101 Cookbooks

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One of the cameras I use is the EOS Rebel, and for the money it is a great camera - I just recommended it to my sister. I think I wrote about it a while back on one of the other camera threads....One step up, the d20 is also super, but a lot of people don't need/use the extra features - larger files, etc.

There is quite a big difference between shooting with a powershot vs. a digital SLR - with advantages and disadvantages to both.

-h

I can't see many disadvantages to the single lens reflex digital cameras, except price and bulkiness. And those are diminishing yearly. The weight problem was solved with film SLR's in the 90's, with the use of titanium and other exotics. The Rebel is definitely buit to a lower price point, with more plastic and carbon fibre used, and a non ultrasonic lens. I don't know if the D70 matches some of these price savers, but the D20 (and even the heavily discounted D10) are higher up on the quality scale.

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There is quite a big difference between shooting with a powershot vs. a digital SLR - with advantages and disadvantages to both.

-h

I can't see many disadvantages to the single lens reflex digital cameras, except price and bulkiness.

Bulkiness is a huge factor for many people. If you aren't willing to lug around an SLR regularly, a pocket camera might be a much better option. It is important to be realistic about what kind of camera you will actually use. A small everyday camera that is always onhand (or in pocket) will teach you more about photography and light than a digital SLR collecting dust.

I'm just saying that an SLR system isn't for everyone...for ex: one of the huge advantages, of course, is interchangeable lenses. The downside -- you get to carry them around. I would just encourage people to be realistic about what kind of camera will work best integrated into their lifestyle.

Some people love to carry around a big camera and a bag full of gear, lenses, flash units, and extra batteries. I know when I go to purchase equipment, I'm not one of these people. So I always look for the most compact system that I can find that will get the job done, and get me the look I am after - for example, on a trip, I will often pack up two little fixed lenses vs. the bigger, heavier zooms.

Smaller systems are also less intrusive and obvious -- when shooting people you will get a much different reaction with a smaller camera than if you show up with the Canon 1Ds Mark II.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Heidi Swanson

101 Cookbooks

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

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Thanks Heidihi!

Bulk is an issue, I do need to figure out what I'm willing to carry around. I know..or at least I think I know that I want to step up from point and shoot, but I'm not sure how much convience I'm willing to sacrifice. Decisions! Decisions!

I think the Canon d10 or d20 is overkill for me...not to mention pricey.

I'm still researching..so, I'll check back in with questions, if that's ok!

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  • 3 weeks later...

ISO some help, please. My problem with taking photos is not so much the composition, though it's not perfect. My BIG problem is most of my shots are blurry :hmmm: . I hate putting blurred shots on my site, but beggars can't be choosers.

I use a Sony Cybershot DSC-V1. Would my shots improve if I used a tripod? Thanks for any input.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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...My BIG problem is most of my shots are blurry :hmmm: . I hate putting blurred shots on my site, but beggars can't be choosers.

I use a Sony Cybershot DSC-V1. Would my shots improve if I used a tripod? Thanks for any input.

Yes, a tripod will help stabilize your camera and may help reduce blurring.

Can you describe or post some of the blurred pictures?

If you're shooting under reduced light conditions the shutter will need to stay open longer which increases the chances of having a blurred image due to camera movement. A tripod could solve this problem.

But a blurred picture taken under normal light conditions (which means the shutter isn't open very long) can be caused by incorrect focusing.

On www.megapixel.net, I did a search for a review on your camera. Here is their description of the focus abilities of the DSC-V1:

The DSC-V1 is equipped with an advanced autofocus system that includes Sony's Hologram AF for low light conditions. When required, the system projects a laser pattern that drapes over the subject, and allows precise focusing in pitch black, while being harmless to the eyes.

Focusing for the V1 provides a number of avenues. First the V1 provides a wide area AF that automatically selects the focus point from any of 5 points in the frame. Second, Spot AF, which allows any of these AF points to be user-selected with the Jog Dial. Third, Manual focus, which is activated with the Focus button.

Similarly, the Autofocus can be set to any one of 3 modes. Single focuses when the shutter release button is half-pressed. Monitoring lets the camera pre-focus prior to the shutter release being pressed halfway, and locks when it is pressed. Last, Continuous lets the camera constantly adjust the focus.

So now my question to you is, what Focus setting are you using on your camera?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I do almost all available light shootign for both food and other subjects with my little Canon Powershot A70 digital. What has worked really well for me in the absence of a tripod is to use the 2 second setting on the self timer to activate the shutter. My biggest problem seems to be moving the camera when I depress the shutter release because the camera is so small and relatively light.

I also try to brace the camera - either by placing my elbos on something solid or against my body and also to get the camera pushed against my forehead while my eye is looking through the small optical viewfinder.

I did quite a bit of this on a recent trip but did find that in some cases flash was absolutely essential due to low light levels. I'll edit this post later to illustrate the challenge and what I found to be a moderately successful ad hoc solution.

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Is there such a thing as an inexpensive tripod? (One that won't drop my baby, I mean.) In a pich I sometimes steady my camera on a pillow (or something soft) on the back of a chair. But a tripod would be nice...

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Is there such a thing as an inexpensive tripod? (One that won't drop my baby, I mean.) In a pich I sometimes steady my camera on a pillow (or something soft) on the back of a chair. But a tripod would be nice...

Take a look at the tripods at Amazon. Most have customer ratings so you can see what the pluses and minuses are. After that, go to a camera shop and handle the tripods/monopods/unipods yourself. The higher-end models will be light-weight, transport easily and should have a "floating head" on it which will allow you to level the camera without having to adjust the legs.

Prices range from the affordable to the professional ($$$$). You get what you pay for.

Here's a unipod/monopod.

And here's a tabletop tripod. It can't hold very heavy cameras, according to one of the reviews which makes sense looking at the legs on it. If you're only shooting food, a tabletop tripod (perhaps another model) might be the answer.

Also note that you may want to stay away from tripods that are advertised for video cameras. They will often have friction controls for camera movement which you won't need for still camera work. Unless, of course, you also own a video camera then one tripod can be used for both. Otherwise, it may be superfluous.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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So now my question to you is, what Focus setting are you using on your camera?

Appreciate all the input. I'm embarassed to say that I can't answer your question, Tolliver. I'm a gadget doofus. I only know how to do one thing - zoom in/out and shoot. Oh, lately I discovered by accident that I could make the background blur by using the macro (press on the flower thingy), go a bit further back, but zoom in. OK, OK, I know how painful it must be for photo experts to read this, but this is the extent of my camera know-how. <<<small sorry voice>>>

You asked for examples. See here? I did the macro, then zoom thing and got this. I like it but somehow it's still not a GOOD shot. The subject is still slightly out of focus, right?

gallery_12248_80_112997.jpg

And this one...I wish the cat would come out 'sharper'.

gallery_12248_80_2432.jpg

Since I'm at the point of tearing my hair in desperation, I'll be a good girl and go over this whole thread and a-b-s-o-r-b. Thanks, guys.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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So now my question to you is, what Focus setting are you using on your camera?

Appreciate all the input. I'm embarassed to say that I can't answer your question, Tolliver. I'm a gadget doofus. I only know how to do one thing - zoom in/out and shoot. Oh, lately I discovered by accident that I could make the background blur by using the macro (press on the flower thingy), go a bit further back, but zoom in. OK, OK, I know how painful it must be for photo experts to read this, but this is the extent of my camera know-how. <<<small sorry voice>>>

Hi,

the more experienced folks will probably have a little to add to this, but what might be happening is your camera is set to focus on the closest thing -- something I learned about my camera after a few less-than-great shots and a review of the manual. (See the comments on the very first egg photo above -- the focus was on the mat, not the egg, because the mat was closer.) With my camera, I can adjust that so it focuses on a certain part of the frame. Check to see if you can adjust that on your machine.

I just noticed in your photo the nearest cupcake was in better focus, and with the cat cake (cool cake, BTW) the front of the sheet was sharper than the center of the picture.

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You asked for examples. See here? I did the macro, then zoom thing and got this. I like it but somehow it's still not a GOOD shot. The subject is still slightly out of focus, right?

Well, that's called depth of field. Part of the image is in focus, part of it isn't. There's nothing wrong with that as long as the subject of the picture is the part that's in focus.

The macro setting is really intended for taking physically close-up pictures of objects, like an extreme close-up of the inside of a sunflower, for example. Macro is discussed in earlier posts in this topic.

And this one...I wish the cat would come out 'sharper'.

gallery_12248_80_2432.jpg

Since I'm at the point of tearing my hair in desperation, I'll be a good girl and go over this whole thread and a-b-s-o-r-b. Thanks, guys.

The problem with your second picture is also the same problem with the very first picture in this discussion (the egg picture). The focus of the picture really wasn't on the egg itself but it looks like it's on the mat instead. For your cat cake picture, the focus looks like it's on the writing, not on the cake.

Get out your manual. I would suggest setting your camera to the Auto-focus Single mode setting. This will set the focus when the shutter release button is pressed down half-way. I am assuming you have some sort of "target" in your viewfinder. This is probably where the Single focus is set (your manual will tell you where it is).

In your cat picture, with the Single Auto Focus mode, I'm guessing (since I am not familiar with your camera model) that you would frame the picture so the subject (the cat in this example) would be centered under the viewfinder "target". You'd depress the shutter release half-way to set the focus and then you would move the camera to re-frame the entire picture properly all while keeping this button half-pressed (if you don't keep it half-pressed, you will lose your auto-focus). Once everything is framed correctly, then press the button down all the way, taking the picture.

It sounds clumsy and complicated to have to do this, but after taking more pictures, this will become second nature to you and you'll do it without even thinking about it. Besides, if they don't turn out, you can always delete them and try again.

I hope this helps.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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It sounds clumsy and complicated to have to do this, but after taking more pictures, this will become second nature to you and you'll do it without even thinking about it. 

Er, so much so that you forget you do it and fail to mention it when you respond to the question. That's exactly what I do...thanks, Toliver :rolleyes:

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  I would suggest setting your camera to the Auto-focus Single mode setting.  This will set the focus when the shutter release button is pressed down half-way.  I am assuming you have some sort of "target" in your viewfinder.  This is probably where the Single focus is set (your manual will tell you where it is). 

In your cat picture, with the Single Auto Focus mode, I'm guessing (since I am not familiar with your camera model) that you would frame the picture so the subject (the cat in this example) would be centered under the viewfinder "target".  You'd depress the shutter release half-way to set the focus and then you would move the camera to re-frame the entire picture properly all while keeping this button half-pressed (if you don't keep it half-pressed, you will lose your auto-focus).  Once everything is framed correctly, then press the button down all the way, taking the picture.

It sounds clumsy and complicated to have to do this, but after taking more pictures, this will become second nature to you and you'll do it without even thinking about it.  Besides, if they don't turn out, you can always delete them and try again.

I hope this helps.

THANK YOU!!!!! I think that's the precise answer to my problem. It makes perfect sense to me. I think I knew how to do that in my previous life. <TP doing the happy dance>

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I have a strange interest in photographing the food I order at restaurants. I have taken quite a few shots in the past months and even took some shots at Gramercy. The shots look interesting enough to me, but I don’t see that they hold interest for other viewers. I am looking for ideas on making the shots look a bit more interesting. I can operate a camera well enough, but I really don’t know a whole lot about composition and my photos always have a distinctly amateur, snap-shot, look to them. Of course this is exactly what they are, but I would like to get something I can put on my wall.

On a similar note, what does everyone think of the practice of photographing food inside restaurants? Does this strike anyone as rude and inappropriate? It does to me, actually… although most restaurants are quite gracious about it (the great folks Gramercy Tavern were almost ridiculously nice about it. After the fourth wine-paired course I was getting a little sloppy and as the server watched me drunkenly approach the fifth course with a fork she kindly reminded me that I probably wanted to take my picture first).

I generally try to use ambient lighting with a fast lens (1.8), but sometimes I forget or it's too dark and the flash has to come out, as it did at the GT. Here are a couple of the shots (I use film):

gallery_15065_680_1106674787.jpg

gallery_15065_680_1106674766.jpg

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I have a strange interest in photographing the food I order at restaurants. I have taken quite a few shots in the past months and even took some shots at Gramercy. The shots look interesting enough to me, but I don’t see that they hold interest for other viewers. I am looking for ideas on making the shots look a bit more interesting. I can operate a camera well enough, but I really don’t know a whole lot about composition and my photos always have a distinctly amateur, snap-shot, look to them. Of course this is exactly what they are, but I would like to get something I can put on my wall.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Over time, you will develop your photographic eye.

I would also recommend you take a look at some of the photos being posted recently in the "Dinner!" discussion in the Cooking forum. For example, take a look at Jason's photos and you will see some of what you are missing in your photos.

Your photos are shot wide. You see the place setting, some of the table, wine glasses, etc. Which is fine if you're illustrating the entire table setting of a restaurant. Sometimes you will want to do this, to be able to say "Here is the ambience at our table".

But if your intention is to show off the great plating and great food, you need to zoom in a lot more. If the food is your subject in both of the photos you've posted, their significance is almost lost in the openess of the photos. The stark white of the dinnerware is overpowering your food.

Your lighting looks good so I would recommend concentrating on the food itself and framing it a lot tighter. Zoom in. Fill the lens with food and perhaps a little bit of plate to give as a point of reference.

On a similar note, what does everyone think of the practice of photographing food inside restaurants? Does this strike anyone as rude and inappropriate?

I think this was discussed earlier in this thread. I believe the consensus was to always ask permission first before taking the photos, which makes sense. It is rude and inappropriate, which is why you need to get permission first.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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