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Old 16-02-2009, 11:50   #1 (permalink)
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London to Brighton run

I took this during the London To Brighton Rally.
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Old 16-02-2009, 11:57   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Too much gear?

The EXIF data appears to be missing. Maybe stripped by Flickr

Camera: SIGMA SD14
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 118 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0/10 EV

Bits per Sample: 16, 16, 16
Compression: Uncompressed
Photometric Interpretation: 2
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Samples per Pixel: 3
X-Resolution: 240 dpi
Y-Resolution: 240 dpi
Planar Configuration: 1
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time: 2008:11:03 19:45:41
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
Date and Time (Original): 2008:11:02 10:49:44
Date and Time (Digitized): 2008:11:03 00:25:37
Maximum Lens Aperture: 30/10
Metering Mode: Pattern
Color Space: sRGB
Sensing Method: One-chip colour area sensor
Custom Rendered: 1
Exposure Mode: Auto bracket
Focal Length In 35mm Film: 200
Unique Image ID: 3031303039323330C8850D490CCAAE05
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Old 16-02-2009, 12:09   #3 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

This is a nicely exposed and sharp picture and the car is well positioned in the frame.

The spoiler is the background. The road sign and the other street furniture takes the eye from the subject.

I don't know what the situation was regarding where you can view the route, but if you could have positioned yourself where the road has only trees or shrubery in the background there would have been no disrtaction from the car.
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Old 16-02-2009, 17:34   #4 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

Thanks Dabhand, but what about the aperture. Should I have had it wider to blur the background? That may have resulted in some of the occupants being out of focus.
Later on I moved up on to the centre reservation (behind the road sign) but most of the cars had passed by then.
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Old 16-02-2009, 18:32   #5 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

f4 is pretty wide anyway. Blurring the BG by way of wide apatures with this sort of shot becomes more difficult, and depth of field extends further 'behind' the point of focus than in front, so unless you have a decent distance between your subject and the BG with nothing in between, it will always be an issue.

P-E and BluesManGraham show excellent sports shots of basketball and field sports using f2.8 (or wider ), but often with 300mm lenses and get just this effect, but they usually only aim to get one person in focus, not a car and passengers, and the BG is often further away than the signs in your shot. A longer lens is better at achieving this sort of result.

A better way of blurring the BG when shooting cars is by panning with them and using a slow shutter speed. Of course, you can only do this if you are able to shoot them as they are passing you, not if they are coming from straight in front of you.

Check out some of the great pictures of racing cars and motorbikes in the sports photography forum. (I know they are moving faster than the cars in the London-Brighton run ) Some are all in focus, but others have the motion blur from panning.
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Old 17-02-2009, 10:17   #6 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

I guess that this is the effect that you were trying for - more than one way to skin a rabbit.....

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Old 17-02-2009, 16:01   #7 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

That works better now the background has been blurred making the car stand out.
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Old 17-02-2009, 19:17   #8 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

Nice shot but agree the sign spoils it a little, although it's relevant at least. The real spoiler is the inexcusable bad grammar on the sign...
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Old 17-02-2009, 20:00   #9 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

Yes, that's the effect, Dabhand, but I want to know enough to get that without post processing.
@ JMitchell - you'd think a public-owned body could get it right, huh?
Anyway, back to getting the DOF right. Here's an example of what I did myself last year. I *should* have *known* to shoot it wide open. Owls are such flat-fronted creatures, after all.



And this is what I produced after *hours* of Photo Shop. I bet you only took a few minutes, huh, Dabhand?



I fiddled with the brightness and contrast too. Should've left it ...
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Old 17-02-2009, 20:15   #10 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

The car photo certainly does look better Dave. Thanks Dabhand.
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Old 17-02-2009, 20:26   #11 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

Quote:
Originally Posted by sigma user View Post
And this is what I produced after *hours* of Photo Shop. I bet you only took a few minutes, huh, Dabhand?
About 5 mins, but a better result could have been got with more time.

In PS, duplicate the layer, add gausian blur to the dupe and then add a layer mask. Select the brush tool and paint black into the mask where you want it sharp. If you foul up, go to white (press the X key) and paint the blur back in. I did the car and the foreground back to about the third white chevron. For the last bit - 'furthest' area of sharpness in the road, I reduced the brush opacity from 100% to around 40%.

I think your owl looks too close to the BG to get decent differential focus without a long f2.8 (or better) lens.
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Old 17-02-2009, 20:27   #12 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

BTW - I like the owl shot
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Old 17-02-2009, 20:58   #13 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

Thanks for that, Dabhand.
Hmmmm. Yes, I kinda get that the amount of blur in the background is somehow proportional to the distance from the subject, but I had a 50-150 lens and I had to get up close to the fence so it would be OOF. If I had zoomed in to 150mm it wouldn't have been so nice cos I would have had to step back a bit and the fence would be seen.
Do you think I shouldn't have taken that shot at all? That would be a shame but maybe a 'pro' would know you couldn't make a good shot out of it and left it. It's a job to know what to do, huh?
Thanks for the PS pointers, I can't remember how I did it but now I have the reference.
Glad you like him. He posed for quite a while.
BTW - What's the protocol if I know your name? Do I use that or your nick in posts?
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Old 17-02-2009, 21:42   #14 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

NP with using name. People have been doing that for, well, almost 62 years now

Without knowing your exact circumstances with this shot, I'd say 150mm is too short to get the blurred BG, more like 300. With a long lens and fast aperture, you don't need to be that close to a fence to not be able to see it unless it was very close to the bird.

As you say, it is all about the proportions of the elements in the scene and their relationship to each other.

I'd never say don't go for the shot. Even without your PP it is still good, and using a bit of PP has given you the result you wanted anyway.
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Old 19-02-2009, 20:55   #15 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

Nice Photoshop work, both of you Good pictures too (minus the out of place road sign).
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Old 20-02-2009, 08:31   #16 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

I reckon what would've made a better shot in #1 would be to have taken the shot before that one, so you can see the road sign/island properly. Contrast of old against the new

Personally, I'd leave the owl shot as is - very difficult to get a technically good seperation in BG blurring
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Old 26-02-2009, 17:43   #17 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

Thanks Markulous, I get what you mean. I think I was concentrating too much on the car and not enough on the background and overall composition. And next time I shall choose my position very carefully.

The original owl shot *is* a nice one, and I'm not certain that an aperture of F2.8 would have blurred the BG sufficiently. That's another problem associated with 'too much gear' - some of it doesn't get used often enough to know all items' characteristics.

Also, (and I'd like your opinion Markulous) it seems to me that the Foveon sensor in the Sigma camera needs a lot of light at low ISO numbers since it relies on the penetration of light into the three layers of the sensor material. I have had some success using multiple flash guns and flash extenders to get really sharp pics. That may become a speciality of mine.

Actually, I enjoy the hobby so much that I don't really mind how long it takes to become proficient as I seem to get one or two little triumphs on most shoots and that sustains my interest.
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Old 26-02-2009, 18:36   #18 (permalink)
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Re: London to Brighton run

Quote:
Originally Posted by sigma user View Post
Also, (and I'd like your opinion Markulous) it seems to me that the Foveon sensor in the Sigma camera needs a lot of light at low ISO numbers since it relies on the penetration of light into the three layers of the sensor material. I have had some success using multiple flash guns and flash extenders to get really sharp pics. That may become a speciality of mine.

Actually, I enjoy the hobby so much that I don't really mind how long it takes to become proficient as I seem to get one or two little triumphs on most shoots and that sustains my interest.
I don't know that it needs the light but it definitely benefits from the light (just as any camera will do so). Given pretty ideal shooting conditions there's nothing I've used since that touches the quality or dynamic range I manage to achieve in my landscape/sunrise/sunset shots
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