Sorting photos

Boris Liberman boris71 at
Wed Jul 7 11:32:54 EDT 2010

Reply interspersed...

On 7/6/2010 11:06 AM, Larry Colen wrote:
> There is some truth to this.  If I'm shooting static scenes, in good
> light, I don't tend to take quite so many frames. If I'm shooting a
> static scene in challenging light, I'll bracket the hell out of it in
> 3 dimensions (ISO, shutter speed, AND aperture), partly to make sure
> that I get the shot, and partly in the hopes that I'll learn what
> works with that camera in that situation.

Hmmm, I should say that this does seem not entirely logical to me. I 
kind of have in mind an idea how I'd like it to look and set my mind and 
camera accordingly. I rarely do many takes in the cases you described 

What I do "bracket" is composition - vertical, horizontal, different 
angles of view, etc...

> I also tend to shoot a lot of action shots in light that is too low
> for the autofocus to work properly. In theory, I could use AF to
> prefocus, except that people are moving and my fast primes don't have
> quick shift focus, so I just leave it in manual focus. And I'm afraid
> that if it is dark enough that I can't see the split prism in the
> middle of my katzeye screen, I'm pretty crappy at manual focus.  I
> just did the first pass on my photos from tonight, and even in good
> light (ISO 6400 f/2  1/30 second) I'm afraid that my manual focus
> isn't as good as it should be.  It seems that the only thing worse
> than my manual focusing, is the camera's auto focus. If it actually
> manages to focus on something in time to get the shot, chances are
> that it's the wood grain in the floor rather than the dancers.

Yes, when light is low (talking from first hand experience yesterday) 
K-7 AF becomes unbearably slow for action shooting. Well, perhaps you 
could see if you have proper gear for using it in manual focus mode 
properly. I don't have many problems (up until certain degree of 
darkness of course) with A 50/1.2 and KE screen on my K-7. But then when 
it becomes darker than my own threshold it irks heck out of me.

> There is also the case that I'm not good enough to just click the
> shutter at exactly the right moment when people are dancing. I know
> when I'd do something cool if I was leading, but I don't always know
> what the person I'm photographing is going to improvise, so I shoot a
> lot of photos, because "this might be when something cool is
> happening".

Well, anticipation is a tough thing to master. I for one know I haven't 
gotten as good at it as I'd like to be. But what I've found helpful is 
shooting with the second eye open. Then my vision is somewhat distorted 
but still pretty close to normal and so if something interesting is 
walking into the frame, I am more ready than with the other eye closed. 
Although for me it works with normal lenses (50 and 43), less so with 
other focal lengths.

> When I'm photographing people (portrait sessions and such) I just
> plain shoot a lot,  because I just can't tell when someone's smile
> will work well on camera.  I'd rather blow an extra $.25 worth of
> hard drive, than miss a shot.

Well, for portrait sessions you usually control the light ;-).

> That's not the problem. I'm just crappy at focusing quickly on moving
> objects in low light. I'd be happy to have software that would flag
> the photos where nothing is in focus.

Although it does sound heretic, but perhaps going Nikon will be a good 
idea as their AF is said to be superior to that of Pentax.

> I don't know how it can look so sharp in the viewfinder and be so far
> out of focus on the sensor.

That is very simple. Looking in VF you see something similar to the very 
small print. And the smaller the print the more difficult it is to tell 
apart in focus and out of focus objects...

> It probably is.  I try to make up for my lack of technical skill by
> taking lots of shots.

It is never too late to improve one's skills... Especially given how 
motivated you are.


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