Astronomy, Photography and Weather

General Category => Photography => Topic started by: martinastro on January 11, 2009, 06:26:15 pm



Title: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: martinastro on January 11, 2009, 06:26:15 pm
I was at Portrush this evening to check out the big waves along the coast due to the current stormy conditions. Some of the wave crests were huge with spectacular white spray blowing back at high speed due to the wind. It looked like a surfer's paradise. Unfortunately I only got there near dusk and lost all useful light levels. The overcast dark sky only added to the problem. I couldn't freeze the waves even at ISO800 (most images ISO 400-800) so I had to use a longer shutter which blurred things. I also couldn't get focused even on a tripod due to the wind gusting and threatening to pull the camera from my hand. So the images I got are absolutely rubbish!!!. Thought I would post them anyway. Seen wide spread mammatus clouds but they were not spectacular.

(http://i41.tinypic.com/zur02f.jpg)

(http://i42.tinypic.com/nvrf8.jpg)

(http://i42.tinypic.com/1hcqqo.jpg)

(http://i40.tinypic.com/2zgdngh.jpg)

(http://i43.tinypic.com/2pt8f80.jpg)

(http://i41.tinypic.com/ixfv29.jpg)


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: Paul on January 11, 2009, 06:52:51 pm
You've certainly managed to capture the atmosphere there Martin!


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: brianb on January 11, 2009, 07:11:05 pm
Quote
You've certainly managed to capture the atmosphere there Martin!
... and the ocean - not much difference really :D


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: rjgjr on January 11, 2009, 07:53:17 pm
Great shots Martin, lots of action. The freighter really catches my eye. Looks similar to a stormy winter day on the Oregon coast.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: Roman White on January 11, 2009, 08:17:52 pm
Dusk is not a big problem. Nice images, my favourite is the last one - the 'stormiest'  :D


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: JohnC on January 11, 2009, 09:39:54 pm
Valiant effort. They turned out  well considering the circumstances you outlined.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: martinastro on January 11, 2009, 10:51:37 pm
Thanks for the feedback guys! They were taken under very difficult conditions but even so I feel ashamed posting them up because they are absolute tosh quality. They could have been better given the conditions but I just couldn't get in form at all. I think I have lost touch with photography because I calmed down a little over Christmas and now I can't find get the feel for it again. Time to start getting more practise in. I liked the wide shot but the rest are rubbish I admit. I'm annoyed at myself now lol. With the exception of number 1 all the rest are taken at 300mm in dark conditions. Freezing the motion of the waves is one thing, but not getting a good focus is inexcusable. I can't seem to get a good focus these days, although I admit this only seems to happen with dusk subjects. I think I will put these in the bin!

Thanks for the encouragement though  :)...I will stick at it.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: JohnC on January 12, 2009, 11:36:00 am
Martin,  this post struck a chord with me and it's how I felt about my early day  shots at dusk. I've realised that you can't do the impossible with particular lenses. If you had an f2.8 then you would have improved on these photos but I think your lens is f4-5.6 and at the 300mm end, which you were using ,f5.6 isn't up to the job at the speed you need even wanging up the ISO which just gives you unacceptable levels of noise. The first photo was wide, you say (I took it into photoshop but there's no exif data available)) and no doubt you were able to take the shot at the f4 end,combined with a high ISO and a slowish speed you got a decent shot  but as for the 300mm end you can't change the laws of light physics Lol. 

Those ships with their lights on gave me a good idea about the level of light you were working with and also the one with the houses in  and to make matters even more difficult you were fighting with gale force winds if not storm force. It was your determination that took you to that location even though you knew in your heart that it was going to be an uphill struggle. As you said   you needed  a fast shutter speed to 1.. get the scene reasonably sharp and  2.  to freeze the 'action' and you ain't gonna  be  able to do it so why beat yourself up trying to do the impossible ?  I've gone past that stage  now and recognise the impossible when I see it. Do you know that you can get spikes for your tripod ? They are invaluable when you can  press them into to soft ground.  I was battling against a gale with my sunrise photos but the spikes in  the ground gave me a great deal more stability. http://www.morrisphoto.co.uk/ProductDetails~productID~5521~categoryid~149.html

Hope this helps to put this batch behind you - you'll soon have a daytime storm - remember those photos when I said you'd taken a risk getting   onto the rocks down at the wave level especially as you were on  your own -  they were excellent ,so chin up old chap.  :)




Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: martinastro on January 12, 2009, 05:45:20 pm
John, thank you very much for that very helpful post!. I found your words to be extremely encouraging so thanks for the online kick in the rear...my chin is now up  :). You have always been more than helpful with your advice on cameras, gear, and on the art of photography itself. Cheers!

Thanks for the link. I could cetainly do with those as well as a more sturdy tripod. The one I was using that day behaved more like a kite. I had to grab hold of it do stop both the tripod and camera blowing onto the tarmac.

The last shot was at 300mm F/5 at 1/40th sec exposure at ISO800...so the lens is too slow at that focal length. I'm going to have to get myself a DSLR and a series of lenses.

Thanks for the help!


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: JohnC on January 12, 2009, 10:44:30 pm
lol..A lift up, not a kick in the rear..You may have to spend upwards of £130 for a sturdy tripod, they don't come cheap but they are invaluable.       




Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: jgs001 on January 13, 2009, 08:53:00 am
I agree with John, Martin. You were up against it in a big way, and considering the conditions and amount of movement in the scene (waves move fast under high winds) they've come out well. As for tripods, whilst it's no up to the carbon fibre tripods, it's worth checking out the Redsnapper (http://www.aldine.co.uk/redsnapper/) tripods with ballhead (about £100). They are rated for 10Kg and have spiked feet. There is a bag hanger on the bottom of the centre column and  they feel well made. I have the 3 way head (http://www1.clikpic.com/Redsnapper/photo_3193393.html), it's rated for 6 Kg and have used it for shooting some of the images of the moon I posted at 1200mm with the C80ED and a 2xTC mounted on it. At that focal length, it took about 3 seconds for vibrations to subside. I have no relationship with them apart from having one of the tripods.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: martinastro on January 13, 2009, 04:22:52 pm
Thanks for the tips guys. I'm going to have to make the tripod move. Those ball heads sound great but how do they handle a camera taking long exposures?. Would they stay secure without movement ok?.

John C, looks like you are correct about another storm, sure looks like it for the weekend. Maybe I will get back up to the Sea again.  :)


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: jgs001 on January 13, 2009, 04:37:52 pm
Martin, I've not used a ballhead, but I understand there's a tightener that locks off movement.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: brianb on January 13, 2009, 04:48:55 pm
Quote
Those ball heads sound great but how do they handle a camera taking long exposures?. Would they stay secure without movement ok?.
They lock off nicely, getting them adjusted "just right" is more of a problem. The conventional 3 way (rotate tip & tilt) heads are IMO more convenient for a camera; the fluid "video" heads are great for scopes & bins but have limited tilt adjustment. You can even get 3 way heads with geared action, very nice but rather expensive.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: JohnC on January 14, 2009, 12:48:35 am
Martin- whilst most other gear for cameras is  expensive this ball head isn't - here's the one I've got and it's first rate. As John and Brian tell you it has a lock handle for swiveling and another for up and down and swiveling, you can point your lens skywards or to the ground. ..£65 and a Manfrotto too. I've got it. You can adjust the two handles so they are just tight enough to allow you to move them if you want to. They are great for tracking a bird in flight too and obviously you cut out camera shake when doing that. When I first started reading up on camera kit one Pro. said "get a ball head to save your sanity". My old plate did my head in.

Here it is... http://www.morrisphoto.co.uk/ProductDetails~man~Manfrotto~productID~4226~categoryid~158.html

..and a reduced tripod.

They,Morris Photography, have an offer on. This tripod is normally £136  they are selling it for £105 and my neighbour has it. and that ball head too. Check it out. It's solid, heavy which is what you want but not  so heavy your arms ache carrying it lol. This is a great package and they charge £9.99 to ship to you. They are based in Chipping Norton and I was there today.  To get a tripod, a Manfrotto, like this and a Manfrotto ball head for £168 plus a tenner postage is really good value. if you do go for it make sure they stick the ball head in in and not send it separately at a separate charge. They are very nice people to deal with.                   

Here's the tripod  http://www.morrisphoto.co.uk/ProductDetails~productID~7276~categoryid~149.html


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: martinastro on January 14, 2009, 04:08:12 pm
Excellent information. I have saved those links John and read through the details. That looks like exactly the kind of thing I need!. The tripod looks good to and very strong. If it hurts my arms to lift it then I will be getting a good workout because I would walk for miles with tripod in hand.

One question, is it possible to get a sturdy tripod that allows you to look through the camera's viewfinder at head height?. I'm honestly sick bending over to look through things or kneeling down  :)


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: brianb on January 14, 2009, 04:57:04 pm
Quote
is it possible to get a sturdy tripod that allows you to look through the camera's viewfinder at head height?
Not the lightest, or the cheapest, but last May I had my Manfrotto 028B at full height with the centre column racked right up to get a view of the conjunction of the Moon & Mercury .... with a very heavy 400mm f/2.8 lens on top. Still steady enough. I needed a stelpadder to get my eye to the viewfinder, which was over 8 feet above the ground!
(http://www.bbhvig.uklinux.net/Mercury+Moon.jpg)
2134 UT 6th May 2008, Canon 5D, 400mm, 1sec f/4, ISO 400


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: jgs001 on January 14, 2009, 05:02:50 pm
I've just checked my redsnapper Martin, it's not as tall as Brian's, but with the legs fully extended and the centre column at full height, the viewfinder is about 6' off the floor.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: martinastro on January 14, 2009, 05:15:05 pm
My goodness that's tall Brian!...but it must be a greater joy to use compared with the smaller ones. Very nice image by the way!

John, thanks for checking that out, that sounds perfect. I'm going to have to take an image of my tripod so you guys can see what poor gear I'm using.

Here's a link to the bridge camera I'm using. Any comments are welcome...

http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/digital/cameras/s6500/

Review...

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0607/06071302fujifilms6500fd.asp


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: JohnC on January 14, 2009, 07:31:45 pm
Absolutely. I forgot to mention it.. I also wanted an eye level tripod, that was an important issue for me  too  and yes, you can get eye level tripods and this is an eye level tripod. I'm 5'.10" and have no problem,infact I don't often use it at eye level to get better perspectives. I was just about to click 'post' but I'll measure that tripod- it's here . I had  the carbon fibre Mannfrotto and twice the extension leg came out. I left it with Morris Phot. yesterday  so they could get it fixed (still under guarantee). They don't make that model anymore  but it's unusual to have this happen with a Manfrotto.   I  and got a phone call today from one of the staff and they said they'd had a chat about it and were annoyed with Manfrotto and have spoken to the rep. about it and  would I like a Gitzo !! Would I like a Gitzo  ? -  you bet. It's the BMW, the Rolls Royce and  they bought Manfrotto out so it's the same company now.  They are mailing it to me and I'll have it in the morning. I had to ring them back to remind them that the spikes were on the Manfrotto and they said they'd sort that out and the assistant I spoke to said the Gitzo was a very good model, same weight etc. and a better tripod so they've done me proud. They were too expensive for me to justify buying one..so, the reason  I'm telling you this is that you now know  why I said they were good people to do business with,this  hadn't happened when I posted  that yesterday.

Ok .. this tripod,the one we're talking about in the link (£105) . I've borrowed it from my neighbour whilst mine was away.  I've extended it fully and legs splayed and the viewfinder for my camera which is 3.5 inches in height, is eye level but I have it  on a ball head and that's another 7 inches (19cm) so I have to reduce the 2nd .(there are two extensions) leg making it more stable. They are thick legs too  and it weighs 5.3 lbs. (2.4 kgs. add  add 3lbs for the ball head too) Something for you to think about., every bit helps.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: brianb on January 14, 2009, 07:35:02 pm
It's not a joy to carry .... most of the time it wears a 393 "monopod" gimbal head & gets used as an altaz stand for my 80mm refractor & bins. I use a Manfrotto 190 (the magnesium one) as a normal portable photo tripod, steady enough for most work, about half the weight and considerably less bulky than the 028, but not solid enough for a 400mm f/2.8 lens.

Incidentally the Manfrotto site lists the max height of the various models they make (the head of course adds a few inches extra).


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: JohnC on January 16, 2009, 11:05:57 am
Just got back here and read the above posts. I'm sure they weren't there when I posted mine or I would have commented .Never mind,the vagaries of technology.

 Poor Martin lol. advice from everywhere  . Good though.  Here's a bit more. Don't get a tripod with 4 extension legs, I did by mistake and changed it for IMO the more stable 3 leg extension model. If you are interested in the one I've mentioned,Martin, I see it's  down to around £105-£108 in other retailers  too so maybe you have one where you live and you can check it out.  I wonder if they are going to phase it out ?  but that doesn't matter .  I'm impressed with your tripod, Brian when I read that you extended the centre column fully ,that usually   causes some destabilisation. The good thing about eye level ,apart from the ease on the back bending down, is that with a ball head  you can drop the height, the less of the thinner last leg on the ground the better.   Which 190 Brian ?  I've looked and there are quite a few 190 series .

We're all waiting to see what you get now,Martin. lol-         


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: JohnC on January 16, 2009, 11:45:15 am
Forgot to respond re. the camera question.  I've looked  at the review and it's a good camera for it's purpose and this is it's purpose. It's regarded as a 'fun tool ' and one step on  from the compact. The reviewer states:

'Fujifilm expects the FinePix S6500fd to be a popular camera for hobbyist photographers. It will be a powerful, fun tool for people looking to move on from their compact digital camera, but who donít want the restrictions or level of manual input that can be required by a Digital SLR.

 In relation to DSLR's he uses the words, 'restrictions or level of manual input that can be required with a DSLR'  he's not using the important word 'versatility' which DSLR gives you in other words 'total control'  The camera is all about the  'Face Detection Technology ' feature (the police could do with that lol)  and says that research shows that as most people photos are taken in low light then the 100-3200ISO feature will take care of that but he fails to mention noise. My 40D has the same range,'high' is ISO 3200 and I would do my best to avoid anything over 800 despite what the reviewers are saying. One reviewer took a photo at 3200 and his verdict was that considering it was 3200 it was good. 'Considering' ? well as I say, the lower the ISO the better. I think Brian mentioned up to 400 is fine and that's about as high as I would want to go but to get a photo I wanted if going higher was the only way then that takes priority over quality but even then the lowest I could get away with to give me a decent shot.
He states that because the lens is fixed it avoids the problem of dust collection because you aren't changing lenses BUT the other side of the coin is that you are stuck with it and you really need a range of lenses. I go from 100-400 (3 lenses) You can't hope that a fixed lens will cope with the varying conditions and subjects that you want to photograph.
I see it's 6.3 mp.  These days mobile phones are at that level hence the surprising quality of photos. I appreciate that mp relate to printing but it also affects quality and I think that you need at least 8mp preferably 10/12.

My verdict, Martin. ? Time to move on. You've looked at the Canon 400D I think. and the 450D. Good DSLR's.
 


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: jgs001 on January 16, 2009, 12:01:29 pm
Might be worth a look at the 1000d as well Martin, it appears to be a halfway house between the 400d and the 450d. As a very happy 450d user, I have to say it's a superb camera. The other one that appears to be producing some truly wonderful results is the Panasonc FZ28, although cost wise I don't think it's much cheaper than an SLR.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: brianb on January 16, 2009, 01:32:07 pm
Quote
I think Brian mentioned up to 400 is fine and that's about as high as I would want to go but to get a photo I wanted if going higher was the only way then that takes priority over quality but even then the lowest I could get away with to give me a decent shot.
Exactly.

Quote
He states that because the lens is fixed it avoids the problem of dust collection because you aren't changing lenses BUT the other side of the coin is that you are stuck with it and you really need a range of lenses. I go from 100-400 (3 lenses) You can't hope that a fixed lens will cope with the varying conditions and subjects that you want to photograph.
And "superzooms" are always a compromise .... BTW dust with a fixed lens is not unknown, especially with zooms which can have a tendency to suck fine particles in - and very fine particles are enough to cause problems with a bridge/compact camera as the sensor is so small.

Quote
I see it's 6.3 mp.  These days mobile phones are at that level hence the surprising quality of photos. I appreciate that mp relate to printing but it also affects quality and I think that you need at least 8mp preferably 10/12.
Depends how big you want to print. Up to postcard size, it's impossible to tell the difference between a good 2MP image and a 20MP image! The quality of the pixels is more important - a lower pixel count means bigger pixels, hence more photons & lower noise.

For web publishing, even 1MP is far more than is necessary!


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: brianb on January 16, 2009, 01:38:33 pm
Quote
Which 190 Brian ?  I've looked and there are quite a few 190 series .
The one I have is the 190CXPRO3

BTW the Canon 1000D sits below the 450D in the model lineup - less pixels (but still enough for A3 prints from the whole frame), no spot meter function but otherwise fairly similar. A very capable camera, and good value if bought at the right price - like most Canon cameras, the RRP is ridiculous.


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: JohnC on January 16, 2009, 04:23:46 pm
..and yet more for you, Martin.

 I see I put my lens  range at 100-400 (3 lenses)  That should have read 10mm - 400mm. Canon are always top penny. Out of interest I'll see what the equivalents are with Nikon it's main rival.

re. dust etc.  ,I read that the worst is from cigarette smoke  because the particles are very fine - I don't smoke.

Ah well,Brian, I defer to your  greater knowledge on these pixels. I've had discussions about them before and one suggestion was that to up the pixel count  is more  a marketing ploy, the new Canon 5D 11 is 21.1 mp. I think the quality argument is best kept to sensor size really and the full frame cameras win there ( I believe lol-  what say you, Brian ?)
I think if Martin ends up with the 400, 100 or 450 he'll be happy. I think he's leaning towards the 450D


Title: Re: Stormy Portrush (Terrible Images!)
Post by: martinastro on January 16, 2009, 11:51:29 pm
Great information guys. These kinds of discussions are more than helpful. I've been reading over it all and trying to digest everything. Certainly sounds like it's time to move on and time to smash open the piggy bank lol.

John, I do have my eye on the Canon 450d simply because of the live view screen which is something I have grown used to with my current camera. I still have your emails saved because they are valuable sources of info. Thanks very much.

Don't know if I will end up at the coast this weekend or not unless a friend wants to go. Top winds are during night time but the coastal areas on Sunday would be great for convection. The W and NW might have t-storms so the Donegal area would be a great location. Don't think I will be there though lol...we will see. I would hate to miss out on a waterspout!


Thanks again.