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My New Camera - Day 3

Metering, Exposure& Adventures with the 180/2.8 - Really good and bad photos

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Gray Rush with Cliff People - photo copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Gray Rush With Cliff People - 1/1,000 @ F/5.6 - ISO 250 -
spot metering, HH, contrast increased slightly in post production

HH = hand-held; spot, pattern and center-weighted are metering modes, which so far, have been randomly selected.

Lessons: Love the telephoto compression! This would make a good print.

Saturday February 25: I finally got out into the light today, and shot 91 images. The world was gray till I got to Sunset Bay. My first visit was the spillway, which was full of rushing roaring water from recent rain (We're still in drought, but it's a wetter one lately). There's an immense sense of power there that draws crowds. Cute little kids splashing through puddles, everybody drawn to the flow sluicing down from the damn, around the bend and out under the bridges.

Losing His Head - photo copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Losing His Head Looking - 1/400 @ f/4.5 - ISO 250 HH spot

LESSONS: two other shots showing heads sticking of the bridge from the other side, shot at 1/125 and 1/90 were very blurry. This is guy is sharp; the same kid below, was blurred and overexposed. Apparently I had set the aperture and was letting the shutter speeds run riot. This is much cuter, especially his bare feet. How did I manage to switch from spot to aperture priority? Oh, I see now. I thought A was Auto, but it is actually Aperture priority. Ooof! Guess I'll have to read the manual.

Barefoot Boy Staring Out

1/90 @ f/4.5 - ISO 250 HH aperture priority

I needed to walk and did some of that, thinking, at first, that I needed to carry both cameras so I could do comparison shots. Then, after walking around with my ancient camera case — haven't needed such a thing during my digital carreer, because those cameras were small and the acoutrements all fit in slim space attached to the camera and strap.

Until the D200, it wasn't even possible for me to have other lenses on my digicams. After handling the Nikon these last few days, the Sony felt like a toy, dinky and insubstantial. I still miss its standout features (may miss them for awhile), but after carting the case and the toy around awhile, I felt burdened by all that clutter.

Both Sony and Nikon let me see the shot I've just made just after I shot them. The F707 showed it to me in the EVF viewfinder where my eye is and my vision is diopter adjusted. The D200's viewfinder is diopter adjusted, too, but that not where it shows the last shot. It shows the last shot in the nice, big LCD monitor, just out of sight from looking through the camera.

That monitor is not and could not be diopter adjusted, so close-up glasses wearing me can't focus on that image without holding the cam uncomfortably out in front of me. Hardly condusive to being ready to shoot the next shot. I could wear my glasses to shoot and to view just-shot pix. That's uncomfortable and best for my vision to wear my reading glasses less, but there's the rub.

Happily, the D200 beeps when it's in focus, although I have not yet figured out how to set the various focus modes. I'm still struggling with exposure modes. But, as usual, because I have compelling reasons to learn these new cam basics, I wil.


Half Wing - photo copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/200 @ f/3.5 ISO 250 HH Pattern Metering

LESSONS: Remarkably good exposure. The whites in bright light are maybe a hair too bright, but the feathers in the shadows are rendered perfectly. The colors are wonderful. F/3.5 doesn't lend much depth of field, and the poses (?) are less than wonderful (I like that the right two are bowing in unison), but pretty amazing. Love the background blurred out brown, although that white blot over wingo's shoulder probably should be cloned over. It's a really boring photo; we need faces and eyes to identify with these guys.

When I got to Sunset Bay, home roost of my pelicans, I carried only the 200 with the 180/2.8 still firmly stuck to the front of it. I am gaining a vast appreciation for that old lens.

Shooting my new camera was a gas. I especially remember a sequence panning along with a flying pelican. With the Sony I could only get off one shot every couple seconds and it didn't show a continuous view. Today, following my pelk friend, I was able to follow through, click whenever I wanted (to a total of six shots during his quick flight). The results were less than steller in exposure and camera movment, but it was still a rush. And a lesson to learn how to set the Nikon better.

Pelk Fly - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Pelk Fly - 1/800 @ f/3.5 ISO 250 HH Pattern

LESSONS: Lousy metering, no focus. Original exposure like the swimming pelks below. I brightened him but by then I couldn't do anything about the focus. I think there's a Backlit button somewhere. I'll have to figure out that one, too. Both these shots suffer from that malady.

The first five or six times I paged through my shot pix on the camera, I was disappointed, forgetting that I often am, at first. Only later remembering, that most of the photographs I make are essentially worthless, except in an educational capacity.

It wasn't until I loaded them on my Cube early Sunday morning that I discovered that there were some gems in there. This page shows some of those, and more lessons.


Floaters - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Floaters - 1/640 @ f/3.5  ISO 250 aperture priority

LESSONS: Too dark, yeah, I got that. Not yet sure how I should have adjusted exposure modes or metering, but I shoot there often, so I will figure it out and soon. The shot below has the same issues. It is a central crop of a large image, but I love that the jump duck is in pretty much in focus, though silhouetted. It's okay below, a problem above.

Duck Wing - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Duck Wing


Slosh - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Slosh 1/1250 @ f/4.5 ISO Spot


Cormorant Silhouette - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Silhouette


Watching - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Watching 1/320 @f/4.5  ISO 250 HH Spot

LESSONS: Startlingly amazingly perfect colors and exposure. This is a slight crop, but the composition was improved by it, so it's okay. I'm blown away by the color, exposure and resolution. The couple's upper torsos are at the exact center (spot metered portion) of the full image. For a change, I like the overexposed watery tumult in the background.


Too White Bird - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Too-White Bird 1/125 @ f/3.5  ISO 250  HH  Spot

LESSONS: Terrible metering technique, Chromatic Aberation very apparent (purple line between over-white and background.

This shot happened suddenly. I had not and was not prepared for a big white egret to fly into my view. This shot is a large enlargement of a small section of the overall image. Not sure why I'd switched to spot metering (I don't yet know for sure which symbol means which type of metering. Something I should soon learn. CA probably would not show so obviously in a correctly exposed image. It happens along the edges of high contrast light on dark edges, as above.


Pepper Before - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.Pepper After - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Orange Pepper Before and After post-processing 1.1 seconds @ f/11  ISO 100
Camera resting on same cabinet the pepper is, Center-Weighted Average metering

LESSONS: Looking at the magnified just-shot image on the monitor, the image never looked in-focus, so I kept shooting. This is as close as I got. The sharpened, contrasted, lightened background version on the right is better, but neither is really compelling. It's a nice shot of an exposed orange bell pepper, but so what? There's no context.

Anna Up-Close - photograph copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Anna - 1/15 @ f/2.8  ISO 3,200  FF HH   Pattern  Aperture Priority

Shot from as close as the 180 will focus, about 5 1/2 feet, hand held at 1/15 (I can't always hold it that still but this time I managed) in the living room. Not exactly a portrait lens (at 270mm in 35mm equivalency, it's about 170mm too long for that), but it works.

[All shots taken with the Nikon 180mm 2.8 AF lens.]