View Full Version : Trying to drive the camera crazy

06-01-2010, 12:44 AM
Warning: there's a number of pictures ahead.

So I've acquired a circular polarizing filter. Normally I'd take my time futzing with it, but there's an airshow coming up Saturday. It's got airplanes. And Mike will want pictures of them. So yesterday I took a bunch of shots that I was fairly certain would make the camera wonky if I wasn't using the filter. My observations thus far: it definitely makes a difference. Sometimes there's a color cast. It works in the shade (good to know, since the weather forecast for Saturday is cloudy, possible rain). I have the rest of this week to practice. So here's some of the results - tell me what might help to get better ones, rain or shine.

The setting: one of the shooting ranges at Parma Rod and Gun Club. From prior experience I knew the bright dirt and bright sun made it hard to avoid glare.
Then there's the metal roofs of the firing line shelters.
The range flag, across a field of nice, bright weeds.
The brass on shells and casings. Always good for a spot of glare.
And a classic, subject in mostly shade, background partly shade, partly sun on the nice, bright dirt.

06-01-2010, 12:51 AM
Here's the rest. Bright yellow flowers, which gives me grief no matter where they are.
Shiny black rocks. Shiny rocks, period, but black seems to be particularly bad.
Fly on the car's bumper. Full sun, and it was grabbing an opportunity, rather than planned.
Light and shadow again, with shiny metal and white paper inside a black bag. On that one, I'm not sure you can do much because of the paper.
And in full shade, a cartridge that got left behind who knows how long ago. (I'd take a photo of something like this regardless, but it was still a useful exercise to use the filter with it. I also took the filter off, to see if it made a difference in color, and there didn't seem to be much)

Comments? Suggestions? Or is Mike going to cry into his pillow Saturday night?:eek:

06-06-2010, 10:02 PM
I've noticed there aren't any comments on your shots. I think it may be because there are just too many of them and we don't know what to focus on!

Mad Aussie
06-07-2010, 02:12 AM
Looks like we missed this one and the airshow has been now right?

How did your new CP go then?

To be honest ... looking at those shots above ... I'm not seeing any that really are obvious a CP was used at all.

06-07-2010, 10:05 AM
I would agree with MA here - the 'classic' polarizer shot is that deep blue sky with white fluffy clouds.

06-07-2010, 09:08 PM
Hi, everyone. MA, yes, the airshow was Saturday (starting off a week's vacation for Mike and me). Sorry if the original message wasn't clear - I was in a tearing hurry, had just gotten the filters and had a week to figure out what they could do for me, and what drawbacks they'd have. I'm glad to hear that the use of the filter wasn't obvious. The Parma range has that bright, light tan, fine dirt that just skews a camera's metering horribly. Based on the reading I'd done, I knew it couldn't cut out glare off metal, but it did seem to limit how much there was (the bullets, brass, and the roofs of the shelters. They're corrugated metal). The car bumper is the glittery plastic, another bad spot for glare, and it's a light tan.

You've seen a few pictures from other airshows. They were taken with less capable cameras, true, but you can see that the sunlight was terribly bright, with all the problems that can cause on shiny paint jobs and metal buildings. For a bad case, go back and look at the picture of the pilot laying on the Avenger's wing. You should have seen what I threw out from that show.

So I knew I'd need the CP. I also knew that I wanted to set the camera up and not be changing what was on the lens if I could help it. In the middle of a crowd just isn't the place to change anything, and I knew from one of the organizers that they expected around 10,000 people to attend. And if I went back to one of the hangars to change anything (I had access to the hangar the Warhawk Air Museum has at Caldwell airport), I would miss whoever was rolling out until I could get back to the flight line.

So I practiced all week, mostly with strong contrasts, shiny water, and bright flowers, trying different positions on the CP, and to some extent experimented with the metering modes. For the show itself the first thing I did was sit down at one of the tables outside the airport coffee shop and point the camera at the biggest mass of shiny airplanes, bright sun and white clouds I could spot. Based on that, I ended up adding an ND 2 as well. I expected that the light would change enough during the day that I'd be changing the ISO to keep the shutter speed and DOF up. It was cloudy off and on all day. But the times when the sun was fully out, there just wasn't any way the camera could handle it without both filters.

I never expected that I would get nothing. I just wanted to maximize both the quality and quantity of what I could get. I shot around 1,500 photos (deleted some at the show when there were breaks between flights - inconspicuous dots on the camera's LCD display weren't likely to be much larger on a monitor). I did the first review that night - anything obviously blurry, tiny, or otherwise not workable went. Working on the P-40s right now. Sue's batteries died, and she asked if she could have some of my shots (JC was flying one of the P-40s; Sue is his mother). I'll post a couple of shots once I have things a little farther along.

Mad Aussie
06-08-2010, 01:28 AM
Will look forward to what sounds like a thread that will grow as you get through the shots :)