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wide angle shots with Tokina 10-17


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#1 DiverPam

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 02:26 PM

Seeking some feedback - I would like to get some help with my wide angle shots. I am using a Tokina 10-17 on a Nikon D90. Strobes - DS 161 and DS 125. I have had this new setup on 2 dive trips. Prior to that I was using a wide angle wet lens (on a point and shoot) - so SLR is still very new to me.

I seem to be having trouble with several things. One being backscatter on the sides of the pics - especially if using only one strobe. Now have a second strobe for my rig. I have been playing with the positioning of the strobes and getting a bit better with that - but still feel that the angle of my strobes is a problem.

Another - correct lighting. I used to think that everything needed a strobe to light it up. I am learning otherwise from all of the articles I read and pics I look over. I seem to be washing out parts of the pic - like in the second pic below. How do I get close and light them well but not wash them out?

I have included three shots for feedback.

Thanks - DiverPam



_DSC0708Bonaire_2010.jpg

_DSC0220_copy.jpg

_DSC0713Bonaire_2010.jpg

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  • _DSC0214_wreck.jpg

Nikon D90 in Aquatica Housing, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm macro, 105mm macro, Sigma 17-70mm, + Ikelite DS 161 and DS-125 strobe combo  www.flickr.com/photos/pammurph/

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#2 Steve Williams

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 05:31 PM

Hi Pam,

Generally it may be that you're over exposing a tad. Your blues look kind of washed out to my eye. I played with the second shot and I simulated bringing down the exposure about 1 1/2 stops in Lightroom. I get something like this. You can do much better since you have the raw file.

zzpam_2.jpg

I have my best luck when I take some time and meter or even shoot exposures of the midwater then I can dial the strobes to the light I want for the subject. Martin Edge has a good chapter in his book on balancing the light. Lots of good info there on strobe position too. You're not too far out, the light on the sponge shot looks nicely balanced, if a little over exposed.

"How do I get close and light them well but not wash them out?" Sometimes it's as simple as just turning your strobes down. You might try just kissing them with 1/4 power or less. I like to use the diffusers too.

Cheers,
Steve

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#3 Pfuller

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 01:04 AM

Hi Pam,

Nice shots! Are you shooting manual or auto on both SLR and strobes?

If auto, you may need to change your metering mode depending on your subject size and position in the composition.

I'd suggest going full manual though... then the learning really begins and you dont have to rely on ETTL working with different metering modes.

Try setting your camera up with base settings and move from there. For wide angle, i personally start at 100/1 at F10 at 200iso. From there alter your shutter speed depending on the ambient light. For example, change to a faster shutter speed if your aiming towards the surface/sun and the background is washing out. (125/1 -200/1 - 250/1). Or if the background is dark, change to a slower shutter speed(80/1 or 60/1. (change ISO if your working in more challenging lighting conditions). Getting the background right is the first step in shooting wide angle, then you worry about correctly exposing the foreground with your strobes.

A good starting point is to set your strobes to say 1/2 power. If the subject/foreground is overexposed, you have three choices.; The first is to drop your strobe output to 1/4 power. The second is to increase the F stop to say F11/F13. The third is to move your strobes further back from the subject/foreground. Generally though, get your strobes into the best position for the situation your in, then alter the strobe power and tweak via F-stop.

This is a very basic rundown, but there are many ways to change the amount of light on your subject and reaching your CCD, so its best to experiment on manual settings and learn how to adjust them all to fulfill your creative vision.

Here's some suiggestions based on your images:

Pic 1: Increase the shutter speed 1 or 2 stops.

Pic 2: Tough situation, but if you had of just skimmed the fish with the cone of your left strobe (instead of directly at the fish), it wouldn't have blown him out so much, and still reached the fish further back.

Pic 3: Increase the shutter speed 1 or 2 stops.

happy snapping!

Pete

#4 DiverPam

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 02:58 PM

Thanks for the feeback and suggestion. TO answer your questions...Shooting in manual. Usually try and keep the ISO to 200. Strobes - I do not ever take the diffuser off. And I keep it at the lowest or next to lowest setting most of the time - manual on the strobes. I do not have TTL - choose not to do this when setting it up.

Steve...how would you bring down the Fstops in Photoshop? Is then when I open the RAW file or after I go into photoshop itself? I have not had to money to get Lightroom since I am still recovering from the upgrade to SLR. It is on my wishlist.

Marton's books are highlighted and dog eared. I am still not sure I completely understand how to meter the blue water. Any suggestions on how to practice this on land?

Thanks guys - DiverPam

Nikon D90 in Aquatica Housing, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm macro, 105mm macro, Sigma 17-70mm, + Ikelite DS 161 and DS-125 strobe combo  www.flickr.com/photos/pammurph/

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#5 Pfuller

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 05:12 PM

If your continually overexposing with those settings, you should change your ISO to 100. If your still overexposing, close up the aperature (e.g increase F-stop).

Its better to get exposure right on-site rather than during post processing. Especially when it comes to overexposure since your loosing details, in fact underexposure is more preferable to overexposure.

#6 Steve Williams

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 07:40 PM

Steve...how would you bring down the Fstops in Photoshop?


Sorry to confuse you. :D I wasn't suggesting you process differently or use a different program. I just wanted you to see how they would look if you used less exposure when you shoot. You can use the exposure slider in Adobe Camera Raw when you bring the files into Photoshop to see what I mean. It's always better to try and get it right in the camera though.

Meter the blue? Next time your diving put the camera in spot metering mode, look through the viewfinder at the mid point above you in the water column that has a nice blue color you like. Depress the shutter half way to turn on your exposure meter in the camera. Say you start with f/8, 1/125th at ISO 200. Your meter will tell you if you are over or under exposing for that area of blue. Change the aperture or shutter speed and watch how the meter reacts. When you get it dialed in go ahead and take a shot, it's free, (God I love digital) Shoot a few more bracketing the exposure your meter told you was correct. If you are like a lot of us you will like the blues when you under expose a 1/2 stop from the meter. So if the meter says f/8 at 1/125th is correct shoot a couple at f/9.6 or even f/11. You'll very soon find a setting that you like for those conditions and when you see them again you'll have great idea where to start.

One of the things that make wide angle so tough is that you can have the whole range of exposures in the frame. You can easily have an f/22 reading next to the bright sun and f/4 or even less in the bottom of the frame. One path to success is to have your subject in the area of the frame that you know will give you a nice blue background.

You can practise on land metering the sky, it's just that the difference in exposure will be a lot less. It's a great idea to practise on land shooting in manual so when you hit the ocean you'll be ready when the mermen swim by.

Give it a try and let us see how you do.

Cheers,
Steve

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Canon7D & 40D, 60mm, 100mm, 17-40L, Tokina 10-17, Nauticam 7D, Sea & Sea MDX-40D YS-250's ULCS arms, Lightroom


#7 petern

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 09:02 PM

Hi
I am shooting the same system D90 , 10-17mm and these are a couple from my first dive, my suggestion would be try manual settings say around F11 at 125 to 60th and start taking shots with different stobe positions and settings. This way you will start to get a feel for what is going on and not confuse yourself with varoius setting on the camera, remember if it doesnt look right you can always delete and try another combination. And yes back scatter can be an issue with such a wide lens.

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#8 DiverPam

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 07:23 AM

[quote name='Steve Williams' date='Apr 20 2010, 10:40 PM' post='248722']
Sorry to confuse you. :D I wasn't suggesting you process differently or use a different program. I just wanted you to see how they would look if you used less exposure when you shoot. You can use the exposure slider in Adobe Camera Raw when you bring the files into Photoshop to see what I mean. It's always better to try and get it right in the camera though.


Steve - Thanks. I prefer to try and get it right in camera. But I was curious as to how you did that in post.

I will try finding a blue water setting that I like - I will work on this. Your explanation makes sense. I thought I did a decent job at wide angle when I was doing P&S but this is no where near the same thing. Sometimes I think feel that I am relearning everything now that I moved up to SLR. I am going to take my camera out with me today to play with the sky.

I have a dive trip at the end of May and will be able to work on this then - will let you guys know how it came out.

Thanks for the suggestions. - DiverPam

Nikon D90 in Aquatica Housing, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm macro, 105mm macro, Sigma 17-70mm, + Ikelite DS 161 and DS-125 strobe combo  www.flickr.com/photos/pammurph/

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#9 DuncanS

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:13 AM

Its better to get exposure right on-site rather than during post processing. Especially when it comes to overexposure since your loosing details, in fact underexposure is more preferable to overexposure.

While this is true if you clip a lot of highlight info, underexposure will introduce a lot of shadow noise. Half of the recorded levels are in the final stop before the picture blows. So for max captured info, expose to the right and check 'blinkies' (higlight warning). Then bring up the black point in raw converter. Also remember that the histogram and highlight warning refer to the cameras jpeg version of the file. The raw file may not have clipped....
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#10 Otara

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:22 PM

Is RAW processing fairly new for you by any chance? Given you were doing OK in P&S, my guess part of the problem might be something new for DSLR processing thats tripping you up.

If you're processing in PS and RAW, when you first open it in the RAW part, theres the white balance section, then the other covering exposure etc. For exposure if its set to 'automatic', it can make things awfully bright sometimes - Im wondering if thats part of the issue? Sorry if sucking eggs, just Steve's example corrected so well I couldnt help wondering.


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#11 Balrog

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:04 AM

Just to reiterate, somewhere around f8/f11 is the sweet spot for this lens. Start there and adjust your shutter speed to get a pleasing background. Then set your strobe position and power to expose the foreground to taste.
If you run out of shutter speed or strobe power adjust ISO or f stop and start again. On an SLR using strobes you are limited with shutter synchronisation speed (I think 1/200 on the D90).
On wide angle watch for too much dynamic range; if you have a sun ball in shot, you will need a lot of strobe power in the shadows to compensate. Many don't like that magenta ring around the sun.

#12 DiverPam

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 05:17 PM

Is RAW processing fairly new for you by any chance? Given you were doing OK in P&S, my guess part of the problem might be something new for DSLR processing thats tripping you up.

If you're processing in PS and RAW, when you first open it in the RAW part, theres the white balance section, then the other covering exposure etc. For exposure if its set to 'automatic', it can make things awfully bright sometimes - Im wondering if thats part of the issue? Sorry if sucking eggs, just Steve's example corrected so well I couldnt help wondering.


Otara


Yes...I am new to RAW processing. And I know that JPEG and RAW files can be different. And I do notice a difference when previewing between shots or after the dive ( knowing they wil not be exactly the same).

I usually take RAW+Jpeg shots. I will need to open my RAW converter and check everything out to be able to ask better questions about this. I use Nikon Transfer and then have to convert to DNG for my Adobe photoshop. (I know I need Lightroom, not enough money for it yet - still recovering from the new system).

Thanks again for the feedback, very helpful. Hopefully this weekend I can get into my RAW files again and play with it and see what types of questions I have for you on that to help the post processing issues.

I still want to work on getting it as "right" as I can in camera.

Nikon D90 in Aquatica Housing, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm macro, 105mm macro, Sigma 17-70mm, + Ikelite DS 161 and DS-125 strobe combo  www.flickr.com/photos/pammurph/

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#13 tdpriest

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 03:58 AM

... underexposure will introduce a lot of shadow noise. Half of the recorded levels are in the final stop before the picture blows. So for max captured info, expose to the right and check 'blinkies' (higlight warning)...


Whilst this is true, black is important. If the sun is in the image, the histogram will have to be mid- or left-shifted, or even the RAW file will be blown. Light spilling onto adjacent sensors is also important, and only avoided by controlling the exposure in the camera. A fair amount of noise in the darker part of the image can be removed with software. eg Noise Ninja, but you can't over-expose the highlights by much...

Tim

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#14 tdpriest

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 04:00 AM

Many don't like that magenta ring around the sun.


Yup! That's light spilling onto adjacent sensors. It's horrible, and completely unrelated to what the eye sees.

Tim

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