Photographing a Sandcastle Building Contest

Created by Anominal on Oct. 25, 2013, 8:30 p.m.
  • @Anominal: You just screw the quick release plate onto the bottom of the battery grip, there is still a standard tripod hole on the bottom of it. I bought Mine off of amazon at the time it was a lowered price. I've been going for the canon gear in part that Since I have Pro Contract for maintenance, I need to maintain a set amount of points in hardware For the higher levels of support.

    I tend to turn the camera counter clockwise when I shoot portraits. Only Time I don't is if I am using a flash for illumination and would be block or have an unwanted lighting angle.

    I used Live view Shooting with remote view from my tablet a few times. I used it some last week when shooting pictures birds @ 150 yards through Teleconvertor. i would than live view and increase the magnification additionally while adjusting the focus. Was nice to be able to see the details in the shadows. If I was getting motion blur or two much ISO noise. It was also extremely Nice the othernight when I was shooting pictures of stars. Only wish that Canon would release an official app for the Ipad rather than having to use the iphone version which is much lower res.

    I have heard from several people that the 18-135 is a good kit lens. I was tempted to pickup one of the 24-120mm L lenses but everything I have read said that past 70mm the image quality degrades a bunch, so your better off just buying a 24-70mm L.

  • @YoThatLimp Oh absolutely. I love learning things and sharing what I've learned. And this is a great place to do it.

    (I have more than one blog, some better than others. My blog about the Magic: The Gathering novels,, needs a good redesign, but I do want to get back to that once my time is freed up in a couple months.)

    A lot of the photography dedicated sites are kind of intimidating, and reddit is great for random feedback, but not a place for a stronger feedback loop.

    This place reminds me of forums from way back, where every other post wasn't about showing off with puns, being first to say an inside joke, or being the biggest douchebag possible.

    But about learning... what I really need to learn about is how to use a flash. While I did put it away, it's the last piece of essential gear that I think I need. Camera, strap, pancake lens, zoom lens, tripod, and bag. A flash is all that's left before I can feel like I have a complete set. I need to do some scouting for the SF Gotham City event, which I'll be doing Monday and/or Thurday to check out the light at each location at the schedule times. Knowing how to use a flash properly might be important.

  • @TsunamiJuan I think I could have worded my post better. What I meant was that if I do want the battery grip on all the time: 1) Do I want to carry that extra weight all the time and make the camera look even more "intimidating" while I'm at a point where I'm still kind of self-conscious about taking my camera out in public? 2) Do I then want to get a new bag and hardly use the one I already bought?

    And quick question. When you turn the camera counterclockwise, do you still use the same eye through the viewfinder? I use my right eye and usually wear glasses, and it feels weird to still use my right eye when I turn the camera that way.

  • @Anominal: I shoot with my left eye, so it feels quite natural to rotate it counter clockwise. I don't wear glasses with my camera, Though I need to actually start wearing my glasses more since I am having problems with distances. if your mostly gonna be looking through a lens for a long period of time, I would almost say get a diopter lens that matches your glasses prescription . The 70D by default will adjust from -3 to +3 on the diopter dial. Canon sells down to -7 I think, and up to +5,

    I don't bother with taking the grip off, Its helped cure the grip problems I Disliked when switching over to the 70D, It makes a huge difference with stability for me as well, when shooting at high speed. I Only recently put a strap on my camera, and that was mostly cause I was shooting in a club, for a Halloween show, and if my camera for some reason got knocked from my hands I didn't want it to hit the ground. I actually find that the camera gets knocked around more if I let it sit around my neck at times rather than If I just do my normal Deathgrip on it and keep aware of what I am doing and shooting around. Having 2.5' of lens sticking out forces you to pay attention to that though.

  • The diopter issue... I didn't realize they do make one that might work for me. I believe I'm between -5 and -6, but it's hard to imagine going around and only being able to see clearly when I'm looking through my camera. I think when my vision is this bad, either I live with glasses, or get daily contacts. (I'm terrible at cleaning monthlies, to the point that I scarred up my cornea in some places.)

    As for the battery grip. I know you mentioned it earlier in the thread, but the stability issue is a good one, but the right eye issue might be my biggest barrier. It just feels strange to have the camera pretty much free floating off of my face when I turn it that way. I suppose, at worst, if I did get one that I don't have to turn the camera counterclockwise unless I really need to. I took a quick look at BorrowLenses and it's too bad that the grip costs more to rent than the 55-250mm I just borrowed. I would have thought that since it's a lot less fragile than a lens that it would be cheap. Otherwise I probably would have rented one this week to try it out.

    I've forced myself to be able to move my ears, eyebrows one at a time, and be able to bend each of my fingers just at the first joint on each hand... I'm sure I could train myself to be ambiocular if it really helps me.

  • Well, did a quick pass through of the images and found some that didn't need too much work that I can be happy with. Here. Still gotta work on the rest, but it's a start. If I can I'm going to go back next year and see if I can do better.

    I am definitely not a master of Lightroom or Photoshop. I click the arrows by the sliders to adjust the exposure, shadows, highlights, clarity, etc and then crop. Cloning, curves, masking, HSL and everything else I still need work on.

    I am going to be doing some crude Photoshop compositing for some of the pics, and trying out how to use photoshop to create panoramas.

  • Your probably gonna want to set a standardized white balance across your photos as well, The default auto white balance tends to be a bit sterile.

  • Good tip. White balance is certainly something I've hardly thought about, and now that you mention it, I'm sure that's going to specifically help with the actual sandcastle pics quite a bit. Those were certainly harder to take, while at the same time being some of the most important. I have hundreds of pics of people to pick and choose from where I could try to get things with decent light, the actual finished sculptures were shown off at a horrible time of day.

    Gonna finally go and watch the Lightroom workshop that I bought from start to finish as I process. (Today was an intro the Canon 70D on creativeLIVE. While I knew I didn't want to actually buy that one, having it on as he went through every single menu item in the camera did teach me some stuff that I probably would never have learned. I keep pushing off finishing going through the manual.)

  • I find lately that I am doing much less photo editing in lightroom and more in photoshop. If its just quick changes on stuff lightroom is fine, but when I am working with Higher ISO images, I find that I need to break my images down into pieces and work with select pieces so I don't destroy the overall Image quality. I like to shoot on the darkside also. Something that the 70D really doesn't handle very well. So i am moving to a Pro body here in a month or two, Since they have much sensitivty to low light, without adding excessive noise into the equation.

    Also I Picked up Topaz DeNoise 5, the other day, It a quite capable plugin for photoshop and older version of light room, for removing high ISO noise, It certainly speeds up the process.

  • So I tried using white balance and that definitely helps a lot. I can see that I was using Vibrance as a poor man's white balance, but now with the two together I can get the images more how I want.

    In other news, I've been simulating switching eyes as I move from landscape to rotating counterclockwise for portraits, and it seems to be okay. I can see myself sticking to rotating clockwise if I need to get a quick shot because I find that to be much faster since my right hand never has to leave the camera, but for more prolonged uses of portrait mode perhaps a battery grip would be useful. And the help with reducing hand held shake will always be useful.

    As for new cameras, besides wanting to look at micro 4/3rds cameras like I mentioned in my other thread, I can see myself moving up to the 7D Mark II when it comes out next year, depending on what it offers over the 70D. I love having an articulated touch screen and wifi, so I can't really see myself moving to any full frame camera without it, so until the the 5D Mark IV comes out, I think I'm safely stuck with a cropped sensor. (Unless I pick up the Sony full-frame mirrorless camera.) Good thing is that the next lenses I plan on getting are the 100mm macro L and the 50mm 1.4, so when the time comes that I do want to move to a full frame camera I don't have to worry about any but my kit lens not being compatible.

    (The only EF-S lens I'd possibly be interested in picking up at this point is the 10-22mm, but that's not going to be anytime soon.)

  • @Anominal: Yeah I will most Likely be Picking Up a 5d mk3 here fairly soon. The my on going dialogue with Canon about support needs has really pushed me in that direction. Despite the fact I would loose some shooting speed for high speed. The slight differance in sensor size will make up for differance most of the time.

    Btw do you ever make it up the highway 101 to humboldt at all? If you do you should give me a yell, and we can go out and swap tips and stuffz while shooting some wildlife or something.

  • @TsunamiJuan I had to google Humbolt to see where you were talking about... so that's a no for my normal everyday life. I'm actually in the East Bay right now, but I went to SFState for too long and worked in SF for a year an half before some major layoffs, and am hoping to move back into SF again in the future. But also after googling that, I now know where Mt. Tamalpias, Muir Woods, and Stinson beach are, I've heard those names so many times over the years but never had a mental map of where they were in my head. Looks like there are a ton of great places to scope out, and I wouldn't mind checking some places out.

  • @Anominal: BTW i was looking through the 70D book the otherday looking for how to setup some of the focus lock functions. I ran into a approximate number of exposures when shooting in live view, its 210-240 exposures on the battery. Which I found kind of shocking since on the standard battery I get around 1100-1200 shots under normal shooting with a Image Stabelized lens. So that is a remarkably big difference between the two shooting modes. On the High cap batterys you can pretty much double the baseline numbers. (I am not sure if canon sells a high cap battery, I know there are plenty of after market ones, which I use some of).

    Ooh and I broke down and ordered a 5d MK3 today,

  • I knew the number would be smaller, but that is tiny. That explains why my battery died on me Thursday when I was shooting a capoeria class, and today I'm down to one bar after the whole San Francisco Make-a-Wish Batkid event. Gives me more reason to probably pick up a battery grip. Or I could pick up Rhino's battery holster. (Rhino, one of the Kickstarter success stories, that now make multiple products.)

    What brand of High Capacity battery are you using?

  • @Anominal: I am using ones by a company Called STK, U gave also heard good things about Wasabi Powers's aftermarket batteries. I figured I would give STK a shot again, since I had bought a set of two batterys for my other camera from them for 20$ and they performed great.

    Like I said I picked up four of them, The 70D had no problem recognizing their serial numbers either. So that It can keep track of shots per battery. Which seems to be the main thing needed for canon cameras to properly recognize and cooperate with a battery pack.