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Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: psmith] #20589
02/23/09 02:49 PM
02/23/09 02:49 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Kansas
psmith Offline
Pooh-Bah
psmith  Offline
Pooh-Bah

Joined: Nov 2008
Kansas
Regarding your shooting area, I see a box balanced on a box. Here is a good investment that would come in handy in many situations:
http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?dest=5&item=326451&pCatg=3574

Also, the value of the pheasant feather can not be over emphasized. Pheasant, not turkey, not goose. I get mine fresh from the bird (my neighbor is a hunter), be careful of anything you get at a hobby store as they might be dyed. A 50 cent wooden dowel from Home Depot will help you extend its reach.

Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: AdoptAPet] #20590
02/23/09 05:35 PM
02/23/09 05:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Alaska
D
DavidRamey Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
Alaska
Don't worry about having "too much light". That is easily fixed by moving the light farther away or putting in a smaller wattage of bulb.

Main Light = just what the name implies, it is your main source of light and helps establish your exposure.

Fill Light = usually placed on the opposite side of the main light. The fill light is used to fill in the shadows created by the main light.

A typical light set up using just the main and fill light is as follows. Set up the main light at a 45 degree angle from the subject. point the light away from the subject shooting into an umbrella. set up your camera on a tripod. set up the fill light beside the tripod on the opposite side from the main light. point the fill light away from the subject shooting into an umbrella. To vary the exposure using this setup, you can either change bulbs or set the lights farther away from the subject. check how the shadows are falling onto your subject. Adjust your lights to vary the shadows. A good starting point would be set your camera up on a tripod the distance you need to be for the composition you want the photo to be. Set up your main light about 42" from your subject on the right side of your camera about 12" higher than your subject pointing down on your subject. Place the fill light beside your camera on the left side even with your lens. With both lights on, take a meter reading to see what the exposure is. Lets say that the exposure meter says f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/30. The f/8 will give you a great depth of field to keep the cat in focus but the 1/30 shutter speed will give you blurring if the cat moves. How do we fix this? Move the main light and the fill light closer to the cat. If the exposure says f/8 and shutter speed of 1/500 then you would want to move the lights farther away. If the cats wants to move alot, then I would want a shutter speed of 1/200 or 1/250. If the cats don't move too much then a shutter speed of 1/60 or 1/125 might work.

Now for your homework assignment: Acquire 2 stuffed cats. one black and one white. These will be your subjects while you learn to read light. Set up your background and pose both stuffed cats. Set up your camera on a tripodat the distance that you like the composition you see in your viewfinder. If you do not have a tripod, then set the camera on a stool for now. Set up your main light as I explained earlier. watch the cats. move the light closer to the cats, see the shadows change and the brightness of the scene change? move the light farther away. watch how the shadows and the brightness change. put the light back at 42". leave it on. set up your fill light as I explained earlier. see how the shadows gets filled in? move the fill light closer to the cats. see how the fill light fills in the shadows and brightens the shadowed part of your cats? move the fill light farther away from the cats. see how the shadows gets darker? You just learned about how to control light. Now tell me the results you saw with the light placement of the main and fill lights.

If you do not understand something I said here, then give me a call at 907-262-5642 and ask for David. Sometimes it is easier to talk and explain than it is to write and try to explain. Plus the feedback is immediate.

I will teach you about light and how to controll it to suit your needs.

Please keep in mind there is a 4 hour time difference between NY and AK. Please do not call at 8am your time as that will be 4 am MY time.

Last edited by DavidRamey; 02/23/09 05:51 PM.

David Ramey Photography
Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: DavidRamey] #20591
02/23/09 05:45 PM
02/23/09 05:45 PM
Joined: May 2008
Virginia, USA
Jim Poor Offline
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Jim Poor  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
Virginia, USA
David is right on with the black & white stuffed cats. I'd say add a middle color gray or brown too. Looking at the photos you posted, it looks like you are most of the way there as far as stuffed kitties go.

This is also known as the "Teddy Bear Test" which was largely popularized by Moose Peterson. If you really want good test subjects, get the ones with marble eyes rather than plastic. It will give you a better idea of how to work with catch lights and such later on.

Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: Jim Poor] #20592
02/23/09 06:00 PM
02/23/09 06:00 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
NY
AdoptAPet Offline OP
Tracker
AdoptAPet  Offline OP
Tracker

Joined: Feb 2009
NY
Hi Jim,

You are correct in that I want to show the cats in their best light (but if I can get to the point where they are good enough to be hung that would be fantastic :-)

When you mention ?shop light? is it something like one of the ones listed here:

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=pr...;Ntt=shop+light

If so, which and then how do you hang the light? If I get a 3rd David mentioned in a previous post that all lights should be the same (so do I want to get three new ones)? Do you think I need the umbrellas?

As for the backgrounds what I have done in the past was go to the fabric section of Walmart and have purchased a square yard of various solids and even some interesting prints (especially for holidays). That worked fine when I was just draping over my little cardboard box, but what I would really like to do is have something along the lines of Helmi?s background/table.

I guess we can get to the background issues after we can figure out the set-up.

I will have to check if my camera will shoot in "RAW."

Where in VA are you? Do you photograph cats as well as dogs? I pull a lot of Death Row kitties from the high kill shelter in Staunton.

Thanks so much!
Barbra

Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: AdoptAPet] #20593
02/23/09 06:07 PM
02/23/09 06:07 PM
Joined: May 2008
Virginia, USA
Jim Poor Offline
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Jim Poor  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
Virginia, USA
If your end game is to get "wall hangers" then you'll definitely want to get lights other than the shop lights.

That said, the ones I used (and still carry around as a "just in case") are this model: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=pr...&lpage=none

Matching lights is a great concept and definitely should be applied to bulbs, but I personally don't worry about matching the fixtures in terms of age, etc.

Walmart fabric works just as well, I've done that too.

What program are you using to process the photos?

I live in Fairfax, but travel pretty much all over the state.

I shoot for 15 different rescues right now for their adoption pages (yes, cats too, but not as often).

I'd actually like to do some cat-specific fundraising events this year. Someone brought a kitty to the last dog fundraiser I did. Brave cat.

Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: AdoptAPet] #20594
02/23/09 06:09 PM
02/23/09 06:09 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
NY
AdoptAPet Offline OP
Tracker
AdoptAPet  Offline OP
Tracker

Joined: Feb 2009
NY
Preston, David and Jim,

I am going to bottle feed the infants and then break this down one step at a time. :-)

I will first go through Preston's post and do everything that needs to be done to the camera.

I will then take my 3 stuffed kitties, my box, background cloth and lights into a room where the windows are covered and start working on David's lighting.

I have a feeling I'll be back with camera questions, but if not I will be sending my tests shots to you later today!

THANK YOU ALL!
Barbra

Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: AdoptAPet] #20595
02/23/09 06:12 PM
02/23/09 06:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Alaska
D
DavidRamey Offline
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DavidRamey  Offline
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D

Joined: Jan 2006
Alaska
You need 2 umbrellas, one for main and one for fill lights. You do not need to buy 3 new lights. just make sure that if you do buy a new light to get one from the same manufacturer that you have now so the metals will be the same. The difference between the light you have and the "clamp on shop lights" are the material used in the bulb base. The clamp on shop lights use plastic for the bulb base and are limited as to how much wattage of a bulb that you can use typically 100 - 150 watts. The lights you bought have a porcelain base that can handle much greater wattage of bulbs. They are better (more versatile)


David Ramey Photography
Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: DavidRamey] #20596
02/23/09 09:16 PM
02/23/09 09:16 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
NY
AdoptAPet Offline OP
Tracker
AdoptAPet  Offline OP
Tracker

Joined: Feb 2009
NY
OFF TOPIC - for a moment

- I got sidetracked by the shelter sending me a list of cats on the euthanasia list <sigh>

I must ask the question:

What causes milky eyes in photos? I know she is using a very good camera, but with a picture like this I will never be able to save this guy.



Thanks,
Barbra

PS I will be doing my homework this evening as even in the other room with shades on the small windows too much light is coming in.

Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: AdoptAPet] #20597
02/23/09 09:26 PM
02/23/09 09:26 PM
Joined: May 2008
Virginia, USA
Jim Poor Offline
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Jim Poor  Offline
Addict

Joined: May 2008
Virginia, USA
That's "demon eye" or "green eye" same thing as red-eye for us humans. Basically, the flash is reflecting off the back of the retina.

It's easy enough to fix in Photoshop or another image program, and even easier to avoid with off camera lighting that changes the angle of reflection.

Re: SAVE A LIFE! ? Need to know basics [Re: AdoptAPet] #20598
02/23/09 09:40 PM
02/23/09 09:40 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Alaska
D
DavidRamey Offline
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DavidRamey  Offline
Veteran
D

Joined: Jan 2006
Alaska
Look at where the catch light is in the eye. See how the catch light is almost centered in the eye? If you raise that flash to where the catch light will be between 1 and 2 oclock and towards the outside of the eye, you will eliminate that milky look.


David Ramey Photography
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