I want to thank Bobskoot for his excellent comment in my last post. Your comment is quite informative and very useful at the stage where I find myself. For years and years I have shared my riding skills and knowledge with any riders who would listen. I'm very grateful that the folks here are so generous with doing the same for me photographically speaking. Like iron sharpens iron, so the face of one human sharpens the other. So says the proverb.
Bobskoot, first off, this is for you.
You are a fountain of knowledge. I'm at that point where I am trying to master exposure the first time. I would hate, for example, to have returned from Phoenix only to find my photos did not turn out well. That has happened to me in my previous photographic life. Some things happen so seldom, or only once, that it has to be good right off the bat. In this case, I'm pleased to say that almost every single photo turned out good. At least to my standards. Which are getting higher, by the way.
I think I've already found that f /8 is proving to be a great setting. Looking back on my pictures from Arizona, I find I shot with that setting a lot on the G11. With the Nikon I use the AV priority, do what you suggested and get a reading, and sometimes go into manual mode with a few tweaks. It's knowing what to tweak and how much that is the hard part. Which is one reason why I value your comment so much. Especially with using the flash for fill.
Thus I wanted to share a few photos and ask for feedback on improvement or tips. I would really appreciate honesty, you all. Blowing smoke for the sake of "feeling good" isn't my style. All of these are exactly how they came out of the G11. There has been no touchup of any sort.
For the photo of the fountain, it was on the way back to my room after Lucky dropped me off. Probably 8:30 PM. These were all shot in aperature priority. What I tweaked was the ISO in order to get the desired shutter speeds. I know that sounds like I actually know what I'm doing. Believe me, it is still hit and miss.
Aperature was f / 8, but I had to crank the ISO to 1600. Luckily, the noise seems to be okay at that ISO level. The goal was to get a shutter speed slow enough to smooth out the water but allow me to hold the camera in my arms. I seem to have this thing about proving I can do these water shots, lately. I think it was Bobskoot who shared how to make myself into a human tripod. It worked this time. With the higher ISO, and locked into place, I was able to shoot the fountain at 1/6 second handheld.
This was the view from my balcony. Late afternoon magical sunshine. I've read that one should put the horizon at the lower third or upper third depending on how interesting the sky is. Here the sky was interesting, plus, going any lower with the camera would have included the balcony railing. There's a bit of dark along the top of the photo. That is the lower edge of the curtain, it seems. Normally I would crop that out, but I am trying to be credible by saying there has been no touchup performed. Consider the dark strip documentation which otherwise would have been cropped out.
This was tougher. The water was such a pretty blue that I wanted to preserve the color. So I spot metered on the water close to me which left the sky overexposed. With spot metering the camera told me to use a wider aperature. I probably should have tightened the aperature just a bit. I could use feedback on this one.
This is a couple of the guys from our company sitting around a firepit. In this case I cranked open the aperature to let in more light and to keep the depth of field more shallow. As it was, I had to dial the ISO up in order to get a shutter speed where I could hold the camera still while getting a decent exposure. It might not be a great photo, per se, but this is something I would not even had a clue how to do a year ago. Again, I would normally have done some judicious cropping but I left it as it came out of the camera for credibility.
Interestingly, this is one where I wanted a smaller aperature but couldn't get it out of the G11. It wouldn't let me dial in anything smaller than f/8. I wanted to focus farther down the row between the moving sidewalks and "tell more of a story" so to speak. It would have been nice to be able to see more of the depth of field. This is where the Nikon with the other lenses would have done nicely. Although, it was sure nice to simply tuck the Canon into a pants pocket.
I was able to get by with just a backpack for the two days. For its size and portability, the G11 is one awesome little camera. Thanks for reminding me of the built-in ND filter, by the way, Bobskoot. I'd forgotten about it. I have a screw on filter for the Nikon.
Yes, the ultimate answer is to shoot in raw. Which means I have to learn more about Photoshop to process the pictures properly. It never ends, does it?
Miles and smiles,