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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Photog Assistance Needed

    Back at <post:=742,468>post 742,468</post:> in November I reported buying a new camera ( Canon PowerShot A1000 IS Digital Camera ).

    I haven't yet taken that many pictures with it and I have a question for anyone who might have an idea or suggestion for improvement in my shooting technique. This morning I visited my family for the Christmas of our two grandsons and took some pictures which you can see at http://www.alhoffman.org/christmas_2008/.

    Many of those pictures have DARK spots at the left or upper part of the shot and I can't figure out what the problem was, since some of the pictures were nice and clear. Take a look at #27 compared to #47 and I think you'll see what I mean.

    Do you think it was caused by my on-screen selection of what the camera is to "focus" on? I don't have this problem at all when I take shots without the flash!

  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Al

    I hadn't read the last paragraph of your message until after I had a look at your gallery. The first thing that came to my mind was the use of the flash, I have a feeling you have been using the telephoto whilst using the flash. It seems scary but I remember we had this discussion when you bought your first digicam all thoughs years ago. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    The darkened areas are where the flash is "not reaching". Photo #27 appears to me to be taken with a longer focal length as the depth of field is foreshortened and #47 with a "normal" focal length of about 24-28 mm and coverage is good, possibly assisted by the natural light from the window. HTH
    Jerry

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Oh no Jerry, no telephoto or zoom of any kind in this case - all pix were taken 1:1 zoom. I did learn from my previous episodes that you mentioned that the flash will only "reach" a short distance.

    On this camera, when you press the shutter button partially, you get anywhere from one to three green rectangles on the screen with the camera's selected focus items. Not wanting to miss any of the action this morning, I unfortunately didn't slow down long enough to deal with that or figure it out. I think I may have to do another, more relaxed, test to see if moving the camera so it selects something else will help. This photography is perplexing indeed.

  4. #4
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Gosh, I am aghast, how dare I cast aspersions on you telephotic ability <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    I do feel as though my technical knowledge learnt from good old 126, 110 and 35 mm photograpy and developing are just lost these days. I even had a qualification in photodev from all those years ago. Technology is certainly taking the "common sense" skills away from us. I now realise the technolgy you are talking about as I was pretty amazed when I saw it.

    I did read this:
    <hr>...and the camera automatically pinpoints the faces in the scene and chooses the ideal focus point. The camera controls exposure settings and flash to keep every face looking bright and natural. The camera also selects and sets the optimal exposure and ISO settings...<hr>

    from the site you linked us too and have a feeling that the differing shots , the last sentence of my paraphrase leads me to conclude that with backlight in the form of a window and enclosed areas may effect the way the camera interprets the image before saving it to memory,

    My conclusion then is.....get practising Al, get to see those Grand kids over on their visits and get some action shots. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    Jerry

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    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Hello Al

    Looking at where the darker part is in some of the pictures (on the left) and comparing it with the website picture of the camera at the link you gave, I note that the flash on the camera is positioned at the extreme top left of the camera (as seen from the photographer's point of view). It just occurred to me that you would have to be careful when taking flash pictures with this model to ensure that you didn't obscure any part of the flash with part of a finger when holding the camera.

    It may not be the answer, but it is worth checking that you hold the camera with a suitable grip.

    Ian

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Now THAT is a priceless thought, Ian! After reading what you wrote, I just now picked up the camera and pretended I'm ready to take a picture. As I instinctively took the camera in my hands, knowing that I'm now subconsciously aware, it IS quite possible that some SMALL part of my left index finger could have been interfering with the flash.

    On my next "picture mission" I'll try to insert more discipline in my handling of the camera. Thanks very much for the thought.

  7. #7
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    I am smiling at myself about the content of the pictures and how what goes round, comes round. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    It looks like it was a Star Wars Christmas this year at the Hoffman household <IMG SRC=http://www.magicforest.co.uk/fun/vader.gif>
    Jerry

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Got it - Thanks Ian. I appreciate your efforts.

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Interesting that you noticed that, Jerry. Yeah, it's funny but as the boys were opening their stuff, I was sitting next to my "co-grandpa" taking my pictures as was he. At one point I said to him that it's amazing to me how long the popularity of that Star Wars concept has lasted! All parties concerned who get royalties from all of this are relaxing in their wealth, I'm sure.

    Later in the evening, my son stopped by my house with the two boys and the 4 year old had one of the ships with him. When I casually asked him who the toy guy was he had in his hand, he quickly corrected me with "it's a girl, Grandpa." (I'm woefully out of touch!)

  10. #10
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Meanwhile, I've had a go at improving your number 36. I think the issue with that one is just that the carpet in the foreground of the shot is much closer than the boy and gets a lot more of the flashlight (inverse square law and all that). I've had a go at bringing up the exposure further back without altering the foreground. The picture is too large to post as an attachment here, but you can pick it up at http://www.igw.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/page13.html . (I'll take it off my site again when I know you've got it.)

    Ian

    PS - that looks like a great toy!

    (Edited by Ian Wilson to remove the hyperlink as I have now taken Al's photo off my website again.)

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    It's also of note to me but not worth modifying my original "purchase" thread that my first two AA batteries lasted for approximately 50 pictures! I bought this camera with one of my objectives being to buy something that uses "standard" batteries (alkaline) rather than the custom designed of the past that cost so much money. Knowing that most of my first 47 pix were with flash AND I spent a fair amount of new buyer time with the camera powered on while I tutored, it's still surprising that I didn't get more shots on those first two batteries. I'm also pretty careful, during a photo op event, to power off the camera if I have a lull in shooting. I don't know if power on causes more drain on the batteries than leaving it on, but I would think not.

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    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Hi Al, et all, hope you all had a Merry Christmas.
    Just had to jump in on this thread since you mentioned batteries.
    Just a couple of pointers - my experience - you mileage may vary.
    1. Any battery you buy off the shelf 'as in pre-charged' will give you the mileage you experienced.
    2. A good set of re-chargeable batteries (look for the 'mah' value - greater than 2000 is really good) will last me over 300 snapshots - enough for a full day of shooting whatever (and that includes indoors w/flash).
    I found a set of 4 rechargeable batteries (Sony) with a rating of 2500 mah, hold their charge, and really gives me my bang for my buck.
    Duracell or Everready are lucky to give me 50 shots (as you described Al), and even then the recharge for the flash is slow, slow, slow.
    My experience, hopes it helps someone, somewhere.

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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    On my cameras the standard AA batteries would NOT last very long. But the rechargeable lasted MOST of the day. I always carry at least on extra set for my camera.
    My current Nikon uses a small cube which is rechargeable and I have one extra. As I was in the middle of the gift opening on Christmas day and needed another battery. The spare sure came in handy. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> I get about 15 hours with this battery.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  14. #14
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    I'm very GLAD you jumped in, Bob, as the subject of batteries is a kind of hot button with me - cordless phones, cell phones, cameras, etc. I've never been satisfied with what I usually refer to as "alleged" rechargeable batteries. The last camera I had was a Sony and of course, I paid extra for a stand-alone battery charger and a spare battery. But the <img src=/w3timages/censored.gif alt=censored border=0> things never seemed to hold a charge for very long, especially if the camera sat idle for a week or two. And the price of those batteries was a back breaker! The longer I used them, the less able they seemed to be to fully charge or to hold that charge for very long.

    That's why this time I decided to buy something that uses AA alkaline throw-away batteries which might be cheaper in the long haul, but it doesn't look that way if I can only get 50 shots and have to replace the batteries.

    But, on the basis of your experience of about 300 shots with 2500 mAh batteries, I should re-think my plan. I already see where I can get four 2500 mAh Energizer batteries from Buy.Com or Amazon.Com for slightly more than $10-12 bucks and a charger isn't too bad either. Here I go...

    And thanks for the comments.

  15. #15
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: Photog Assistance Needed

    Have you tried "hybrid" rechargeable batteris? They seem to work well. I don't know what brands you can get in Kentucky though.

    Ian

    PS - I've been working some more on that photo of yours. I got to wondering how far I could push the technique I used to brighten the shadows, and I'll email you the latest result.

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