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Thread: Shooting Technique

  1. #1
    Lascassas, TN
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    Shooting Technique

    The results from my fourth attempt to shoot a barn landscape were disappointing. It was a windy, overcast day. I set up the shot, focused, and then added a dark red filter to bring out the clouds. The resulting exposure was 1 second. The wind was moving the trees and grass.

    The resulting negatives were very soft focus. Was this the result of adding the red filter after focusing, the wind, or what?

    What countermeasures should I used to prevent this on the next attempt?

    Thanks in advanced.

    I would preferr to be in Rockford...............

    Bill

  2. #2

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    Re: Shooting Technique

    When you say "soft focus" do you mean blurry from wind motion or out of focus?

    If the sky is very overcast then there will be no blue present for the red filter to darken and all it will do is increase your exposure time. For windy days the only remedies are a wider aperture to result in a shorter shutter speed or a faster film. You can try T-max 400 or HP5.

  3. #3
    Lascassas, TN
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    Re: Shooting Technique

    It is out of focus. The edge of the barn boards are soft. I had expected the barn wood to snap out of the grass and trees motion. It didn't work.

    I shot HP4.

    Do you focus before or after you add filters to the lens?

    In 1983 I sold my medium format gear and now just trying to relearn photography in large format. It is fun...............
    Last edited by Bill Kumpf; 8-Jun-2006 at 11:39.

  4. #4

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    Re: Shooting Technique

    You said you were shooting a barn landscape. What exactly is soft in your image, the trees, the barn or both?

    The wind obviously can't move the barn, so if the trees came out soft and the barn sharp, it's obviously the wind. If, on the other hand, the barn came out soft, then either the wind moved your camera or you may have a problem somewhere between your lens, filter and technique.

    Whatever it is, try changing one thing at a time until you see improvement.

  5. #5

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    Re: Shooting Technique

    Where do you put your filter - and what is it made of? A filter in front of the lens probably would not change focus. A gel filter behind the lens would probably not change focus. A glass filter behind the lens (at least with my camera) definitely changes the focus. I don't know about the composite filters.

    I always check the focus with the filter attached.

    I'd initially suspect the wind causes the softness rather than the filter, although you say the barn is soft, so it's probably not the wind.

    A trick that sometimes helps with wind is dividing your total exposure into much shorter units. For instance, if your meter shows 1 second exposure, you might try 30 exposures at 1/30th of a second.

    Could the problem be your tripod? Is the wind blowing it or the camera and causing the problem?
    juan
    Last edited by j.e.simmons; 8-Jun-2006 at 12:29.

  6. #6
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Technique

    I've started bringing a small umbrella on all my shooting outings to block the wind. It allows me to keep the camera still even at longer extensions in a light to moderate wind. Now I can shoot in many conditions which I would have just given up on in the past. It's also good for blocking rain, although it almost never rains in the locations where I photograph.
    Brian Vuillemenot

  7. #7
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by j.e.simmons
    I'd initially suspect the wind causes the softness rather than the filter, although you say the barn is soft, so it's probably not the wind.
    Based on the description of the conditions, it probably *is* the wind -- moving the camera during exposure. Shooting long exposures in wind with a big bellows is one of the biggest challenges in large format photography. If your camera isn't perfectly rigid when locked down, or your tripod flexes a little, or heaven forbid if the wind is high enough to lift the upwind leg a little, you'll get all kinds of motion of lens and film plane relative to the subject -- which will give a result with a lot in common to trying to shoot with a Brownie from the Tilt-o-Whirl.

    Start with something heavy hung under the tripod's center point, between the legs (ideally on a long enough cord that the grass will keep it from becoming a pendulum in the wind and bashing stuff). Make certain your camera is locked down hard (and that it does in fact lock down hard). Use the least bellows extension you can (choose a shorter lens) and even change to a shorter bellows if you can, or use a flatbed camera instead of a monorail -- all will add rigidity to the camera itself.

    And then consider opening the lens a bit, giving up DOF to short exposure, or look at whether you really need the red filter when there's no blue in the sky to darken (when it's heavily overcast, you really just need to bite the bullet and give N+1 or N+2 development rather than depend on the filter to add contrast; there's not enough color in the shadows to gain much with even a deep red). Get the exposure down to 1/4 second or so, and you can wait for a lull in the breeze to trip the shutter when the camera is least disturbed (and probably still pick up a good bit of motion blur in vegetation, if that's desirable, because the lulls travel like gusts, and it won't be calm at the subject plane when it's calm at the camera).
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  8. #8
    Lascassas, TN
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    Re: Shooting Technique

    Thank you for some good tips. The clouds I want in the photo usually comes with wind. I will try the weighted tripod, umbrella, and no filter. The multi exposure will help to keep short shutter times.

    Thanks again

    Bill

  9. #9
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Technique

    If the camera is moving in the wind, multiple exposures won't help -- instead of a blur, you'll get a lot of overlapping sharp images (which, if there are enough, will all add up to a blur, elsewise it'll look like multiple exposures -- this is virtually certain to the be the case with moving vegetation even if the camera isn't moving, and it's an unpleasant effect, IMO). Worse, with many cameras it's hard to cock the shutter without inducing some movement, even if the camera is pretty steady on its own.

    It's worth trying, certainly, but steadying the camera will have more positive effects, IMO, than attempting a bunch of short exposures to replace one long one.
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  10. #10

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    Re: Shooting Technique

    Did you use a loup to focus? Did you use any movements?

    I always do a better job of focusing when I use a loupe. YMMV.

    Sometimes with movements, when you have that plane of focus thing going on you can easily get out of focus areas.
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

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