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    • For a long while I have been following along on ride reports on ADV rider. One of the things about those ride reports that always intrigued me were the stunning photos from people like rtwpaul. I have looked at so many of his pictures and been lurking on his ride report so long I got an itch... My itch that must be scratched is to begin taking my own photos. I live in western Colorado and the scenery that is minutes from my front door is too beautiful not to share! Which brings me to my question, I’m looking at cameras for sale on Craigslist and am leaning towards something like a Nikon d3300. There are even some decent priced full frame cameras on there (d800e). I’m not wanting to purchase anything I need to upgrade from. I also don’t want to buy a camera that’s so complicated I flip it the bird 2 months from now. What say the collective? Help an ignorant newbie out!!

    • I will be following with interest this conversation... Like you, I started first by posting some ride reports a while back, then really became interested in how to learn to get better at taking photos. But often time I get mired in the myriad of settings the camera has and put it back on Auto. Everyone says "get the basics" first however it appears even just basics require allot of time spent, because one thing changes another... And I almost gave up pursuing blogs or free web know how articles - still trying to find a simple and concise step by step guide book. @rtwPaul

    • what i would do is do a search on google,- DSLR basics and look at the video tab, there are literally hundreds of people on you tube doing these things. The problem is that one i might suggest may not explain the best for YOU. So YOU need to find the person you like and how they describe the process.

      The main things you need to make common prcatice right from the start are shooting in RAW, this will use a lot more card space but give you detail in the photograph...I won't go into details just now.

      Then don't use AUTO mode, personally I prefer to shoot in program mode (P) and then make manual adjustments to F stops for depth of field, ISO and EV setting (light entering the camera) to reduce blow outs for bright areas or darkness in areas where you want to see detail.

      Master those few things and you will be well on your way.

      Also try using manual focus as well to train your eye to pinpoint areas you are trying to get specific focus.

      To process your photos LightRoom is a great way to go and very overwhelming initially but again youtube is your friend.

      Search for a guy called Anthony Morganti, he does very good lessons on LR, start from lesson one, take a screen shot of the image he is processing and follow along step by step. Obviously your screen shot will not be as good as his original image but it will teach you the program. Some of his lesson he incudes a RAW file.

      As you learn try to do the 365 challenge, take at least one photo per day and make point of processing that one shot...maybe start a thread on here with those photos and allow the vast knowledge of some on the members here who are excellent photographers to openly critic your work

      Ok, go...

    • One topic I would mention is room.

      Motorcycle travel does not lend itself well to carrying large DSLRs and a suitcase full of lenses. I like and use large DSLRs and a suitcase of lenses myself, and that is one reason that I don't ride near as much as I did years ago. When I was riding I found that for me, one smaller DSLR - like a Canon 70D or 80D, and one travel zoom lens that zooms from a fairly wide to pretty long ( 18mm to 300mm on a crop body ) was ideal as it allowed me to shoot landscapes and wildlife with reasonable success.

      Are Full Frame cameras "better" - absolutely and I own several, but they're not better for every task. Within the confines of motorcycle travel - size, fragillity, cost - large DSLRs were not the ideal tool for me. I carried my smaller 70D in a tank bag on top of a 2 in thick foam pad to better shield the camera and lens from the dust and vibration inherent in motorcycle travel, especially when one leaves the paved roads for the more interesting back country roads and paths and trails.

      Today I would also look at micro4/3s systems as they are small, light and able. Another camera that many travelers seem to love is the Sony RX10 Mk IV which is a non interchangeable lens camera with a zoom from 24-600mm ( 35mm equivalent ). Non-interchangeable lens cameras MAY handle dust better, may....

      The limitations of motorcycle travel - size, vibration,security, dust etc require one to consider what tool is best for their needs.

      I always ask folks which is better a sledge hammer or a tack hammer? The answer, obviously, depends on the task you want to perform.

      Modern m4/3 and crop bodies will make very credible images for web sites that are indistiguishable from full frame bodies. If you desire 30 v 40 inch prints, then look into full frame system, or full frame mirrorless systems. I do think DSLRs will be slightly better in the dusty enviroments than large mirrorless systems, but not everyone may agree with me.

      Like rtw said, learn to shoot and process RAW files for the best quality from your camera - having said that most cameras will shoot simultaneous RAW and jpg, ( memory chips are cheap these days ) and see how the jpgs compare to your best efforts with an image editor you are comfortable with. Like rtwPaul, I use LightRoom and occaisionally a trip to Photoshop for some images, but I do have friends who are very happy with modern camera renderings of jpgs. If you choose not to process your RAW files, be aware you are delegating that editing to the processor and algorithms within your camra body. Some are better than others....

      I agree with the recommendation to shoot in Manual or Av, that was standard advice for serious photographers for years - but what I frequently do today with first rate modern DSLRs is shoot in Manual Mode with the camera body set to Auto ISO, which means I get to choose the aperture and shutter speed of MY preference, and the camera sets the ISO ( within limits I set ) to get the proper exposure. If I find settings and and ISO that gives me good results, AND THE LIGHTING DOESN'T CHANGE, I can then shoot in total manual mode until the lighting changes.

      Learning all the ins and outs of a modern camera and all the capapbilities of modern image editing software is a big undertaking, that can take many years. I am still learning after more than 50 years of shooting - the software seems to change more than annually

      Oh - keep the rubber side of your motorcycle down, it is better for your camera when you do that....😎

      One can have the finest tools - chisels, scalpels, camera systems, race cars, whatever - it is the artisan who has mastered them with long use and practice - that really determines the quality of their product.

    • FWIW....the two most important things about photography is the quality of your lens and your ability to work with Photoshop/Lightroom. Everything is negotiable but at some point those two components will either inhibit your output or improve. You could buy a half ass DSLR (ANY BRAND) and throw on a 2.8 or faster lens and get WAY BETTER shots than spending all your money on the camera and just using a kit lens. (4.5 or slower)

    • Respectfully, Robert, I disagree.

      One can have the finest of tools - first rate Zeiss glass, or Nikon or Canon or Olympus, or Leica designed Panasonic - and still create boring, uninteresting, out of focus, or mis composed, and incorrectly exposed images - DAMHIK - I do it more often than not.

      When one has great gear, one quickly realizes they now have to own the images they create, since everyone assumes that if you have "great gear" you must create "great images". And one can, but frequently does not. Even great photographers shoot a lot of less than stellar images.

      One part of editing is simply deleting the lesser 50- 60% of ones images before they are seen.

      On the other hand, even poor qualty optics in the hands of great artisans have created great images. I know folks who love to use pinholes for their optic. Many of the greatest artists in history may have used poor quality optical aids cameras to start their painting - Two books that suggest the truth of optical aids are Phillip Steadman's "Vermeer's Camera" and David Hockney's "Secret Knowledge - Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters" - two fascinating books

      I stand by my statement; it is the artisan, not the tool, who creates the magic!

      To capture great images, one needs an "eye" that can see and recognize great image possibilities, and see "great lighting". Neither of which can be purchased in a camera body.

      This is not to say that I don't like good gear, I do, I own some of it. Still, many of my most favorite images were captured with a "less than great" camera or a "less than great" lens. The knowledge of what your gear is capable of is aquired slowly over time.

      Michael Reichman once invited a number of professional image editors to distinguish among several identical images of the same subject captured with point & shoot cameras, DSLRs, and medium format cameras - and with 8x10 inch prints from each, their ability to discern whether the image came from a small format or a large format was hardly better than chance. Draw you own conclusions.

      I think if you - vegasphotog - create great images, you deserve the credit, not your lens or your camera body. Lenses are important, but as you said, good glass is better than kit glass - yes, but ONLY if it is used to demonstrate that superiority. By the artisan behind the lens. You.

    • G’day @benjamin1031 sounds like your about to start an adventure into photography. Exciting times. So many choices out there these days. Don’t rule out mirrorless cameras as well as DSLRs I suspect in the coming years DSLRs will becoming a thing of the past, having said that all my cameras are DSLRs.

      Few questions to think about. What do you intend to do with the images, share them on line and view them electronically or print them and hang them on the walls. Even printing depends on what size prints you would like and how far you will view them from. These questions will help decide the resolution the camera needs (megapixels)

      Another question is what do you want to shoot, sounds like landscapes, but if your into sports and fast moving wild life again that will help decide what camera you want.

      Another point to consider as mentioned above is how portable you need it to be, if your doing a lot of air travel and want something small and light them micro 4/3s maybe the way to go, check out Scott Bourne’s work with Olympus and recently Don Komarechka both here and both using micro 4/3s bodies they both print as well, these are light bodies and lenses are generally much smaller. So a few things to consider.

      Lastly try and hold a camera of the one your looking at, the one that feels good in your hands will be one you use more than one that’s uncomfortable to hold, having said that you will get use to it, the question is will you get use to it before it annoys you to much.

      It’s a fun pastime so have fun with it, feel free to ask any questions. Happy to help if I can. For what it’s worth all my mushroom shots are taken. With an old Canon 60d so about an eight year old camera and nothing wrong with those shots, you’ll find them here on Cake.

      Good luck.

    • When doing general ride reports my olympus tough camera was the options of choice to take pics while moving. I had a more capable point and shoot for more set up shots. Even took the DSLR when I knew I was going to spend time on and off the bike focused on photography.

      Starting new to a lense and camera body away from even an advance point and shoot is quite a learning curve.

      If possible I would borrow and rent a few different bodies to check if they will work for your riding and for the type of photo's you want to take.

      Simon from 2 ride the world did many of the first years on a point and shoot fuji camera, resolution for screen was not an issue and he had some little after shot tweaks etc.

      Guess the hardest lesson is it is not always the gear :-) although it is a blast to have and use and that in its self can be a fun endeavor. Yet it is the eye and the skill both before the shutter button and after that can make all the difference regardless the level of equipment.

      I vote mirrorless to keep the weight down and Fuji as that is what I have and of course it is the best 😂

    • I vote mirrorless to keep the weight down and Fuji as that is what I have and of course it is the best 😂

      I love my X-T20. I'd love something weather-sealed, but I have no complaints with regard to the image quality. I'm a big fan of mirrorless. With my last upgrade I almost moved up the Canon lineup and went full frame, but decided there was no real compelling reason for me to do so and switched to Fujifilm instead.

      I understand the appeal of buying a body that you "don't need to upgrade" later on, but don't get too hung up on that idea. As far as image quality goes, @vegasphotog is right that the lenses you use are more important. Even higher end bodies will become "obsolete" before most lenses will. Having said that, I used a 20D for about 7 years before getting something else.

      Look at what you want to do and what the circumstances will be. I'd also vote for keeping it small and light. Don't discount Micro 4/3 or even a camera with a fixed lens to start out with.

    • I'm responding to myself because I'm not sure how to respond to all of you (noob cake user). I guess I should explain a few things since there are some assumptions being thrown around. I am a motorcyclist however the current season of my life is not a very prosperous one. With that said I had to sell my ADV bike earlier this year. So, traveling size of a camera is a non issue. The only reason I was looking at cameras on Craigslist was because sometimes people will trade their junk for my junk so no telling when the stars will line up for that.

      I really do appreciate all of your input! Thus far what I'm gathering is this: Shoot RAW, be proficient with the operation of whatever equipment you have and learn some type of editing software.

      I'm a Linux guy so I looked into open source software and found Darktable. Anyone familiar? In the mean time I think I'm going to dust off and old P/S camera(Fuji s5200) that will shoot RAW and see what I can come up with.

    • I definitely believe that knowledge beats equipment any day, of course up to a certain point. And that certain point can be very very different for each person. My father always used to say "it's not the tool, it's the craftsman that matters", he also used to say "one doesn't get taught a skill, you must steal it" - implied as in shadowing and being extremely observant at someone that has the skill, to see how they do it, as no one will teach you as in spoon fed...

    • A lot of people have that reaction, if you chose a subject and concentrate on that subject over time you can make anything look great, in my case some creative off camera lighting and focus stacking in photoshop to get the depth of field with a little post processing goes a long way. For the lighting you don’t have to go all out with expensive speedlites, this shot below was done with nine lights only one was an actual speedlite the rest were torches, iPhone lights etc. but seemed to work ok. So with some lights you can pretty much create your own world.

    • Scenes like this are tricky, if you use light room you can open up the shadows a bit and drop the highlights, it may allow you to up the exposure a fraction and you’ll get a little more detail in the shadows. The other thing to do thou added expense but in shots like this use what’s called a graduated neutral density filter where it’s dark at the top and clear at the bottom that way you can increase the exposure to even it out a little. If you wanted to go all out, on this one I’d add some lighting a torch or even an phone light in the helicopter (I think it is) would add in some light in the cabin and give more impact, maybe even some light painting, where use use a long exposure and paint light with a torch over the foreground in places. All things to practice but you can get some amazing shots doing that. The shot below the cliff face was light painted with torches. To give you an idea while still capturing the Milky Way above. (Central Australia)

    • Sorry @Dracula just noticed it was a bike, maybe some backlighting through the bike geled a dark blue would be something special on this one. Again a bright torch or head lamp with blue plastic over it would do it. 😉

    • Some research on dynamic range will help you learn a bit more about what's happening in that image. Basically, the human eye has an amazing ability to perceive detail in both dimly lit areas and well lit areas at the same time. The sensor in the camera isn't able to capture the darkest shadows and brightest highlights in a single image to the extent that our eyes can. So in situations like this the foreground will be dark if you expose for the sky, or the sky will be blown out if you expose for the motorcycle.

      So you need to figure out a way to get around the limited dynamic range. like @Glenn_Smith said, you can add some light or use a graduated neutral density filter (GND) to solve the problem in-camera. Or bring up the shadows in post processing, which works much better if you have a RAW file. Another option is to take multiple shots (individually exposed for the sky and then for the motorcycle) and blend them together in post.

    • Another vote for m4/3. I have those cameras, APS-C, and full frame, and if you want a camera that you can have on you the most while still offering great results m4/3 is the way to go. I'd get an Olympus EM10 mkIII since the menus have been simplified from the mkII. Another advantage is the lenses are tiny so you can have a few with you and still not take up much space. Also they are cheap on black Friday sales or used, my 40-150 I think was 80 dollars and I have about 5 other ones that were all 150 or less (various primes and a the pancake zoom).

      I've even used it in settings like dark rock clubs and gotten pretty good results, if you want to check out more shots here's a gallery from my EM10 mkII's: https://www.jonathanbeckley.com/Music/E-M10-mkII-Concerts/n-KgbHDm/

    • I hope this comes off sounding as respectful as I intend it to.

      It seems like every time that someone of even moderate means gets the urge to start shooting, the first thing they think about is equipment.

      I believe this is exactly wrong.

      The first thing to think about is the basic skill of photography. Some people are born with a great eye -- the bastards. Everyone else has to develop an understanding of what goes into effective images and video.

      It takes effort and application, and lots and lots and lots and lots of repetition.

      The equipment is, to a very large degree, a secondary consideration. The major manufacturers all make first class equipment that can probably pull off more than most of us will every be capable of creating.

      Buy a second-hand camera from a reliable seller in Fred Miranda. Buy a used lens or two if you decide to go go the DSLR route. Have the minimum computer software and hardware needed to process basic images.

      Then go out and work on your skills. That's the good stuff, not the gear.

    • Replying to JBeck -- https://www.jonathanbeckley.com/Music/E-M10-mkII-Concerts/n-KgbHDm/

      Wow - great B&W images of bands; folks should check them out to see what m4/3s can do!

      I have to ask - shot as jpgs in camera, or as RAW and then converted to B&W? I love the deep deep blacks and shadow tones. Really great work. You must have a very nice camera 🙄

      I have several Panasonics GF1, GH2 converted to IR, and a GX7 and GX8. Like you said, lenses are smaller and take up a lot less room..One can also find f 0.9 and f1.2 versions for m4/3s too.

    • your words have not fallen on deaf ears. Like most people I like “gear” for anything I do (who doesn’t?!). It’s easy to get caught up into that rut. I think for the moment I’ll just start with the “skills” and geek out over gear later.

    • +1. In fact I get asked all the time "which camera should I buy", and those people are always disappointed when I recommend a point-and-shoot camera like the Oly TG5 and learn how to use literally the 50+ different settings with that camera before jumping into the DSLR waters.

    • Ever since Tiger Woods revolutionized golf, I enjoy watching golf on Sundays. I recently attended my 1st pro golf tourney; the Shriners Open here in Las Vegas. It looks very enticing. BUT, what scares me the most is my ability rationalize and justify - thus, even though I would be a beginner, I would justify a $500 putter. A guy could easily spend $$$$ on golf gear and never leave the house. hahahahah

    You've been invited!