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    • 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)

    • 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

    • Both amateurs and pros can take better photos today than they could five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago. The equipment has gotten better and gives you more options than ever before. You can obsess about the details if you want, but for the most part that won’t usefully improve your photography. - Thom Hogan Are DSLRs Still the Best Choice via https://go.shr.lc/2zDrWkX

    • The equipment is, to a very large degree, a secondary consideration.

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

      Yep. It's better to start with whatever you've got - even if it's a simple phone camera - and figure out where it's lacking for you personally. Determine what your photographic needs actually are before buying specific gear because you think you'll need it.