Seemingly aimless discourse, with a request (Long, and boring)

Started Jan 10, 2005 | Discussions thread
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Harish Narayanan Junior Member • Posts: 27
Seemingly aimless discourse, with a request (Long, and boring)

I've been using my EOS 20D for a couple of months now. I am an amateur. I've been a student of physical sciences for as long as I can remember, so I find optics easier to understand than, say, actually having enough talent or "the eye" to take decent pictures. Nevertheless, I've been reading a lot, trying, and now quite enjoy meticulously setting everything by hand before coming up with what most you pros will probably classify as "sub-standard". But I learn, and it is always a lot of fun to try.

I use both the kit EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM.

I honestly believe it isn't the equipment, or the photographer but the degree of comfort a photographer has with his/her equipment that determines the quality of the work. I was comfortable - as in I could pick up, set things and shoot quite easily with an older camera, and almost always achieve exactly what I wanted. Needless to say, it took me a couple of years to get to that point, and I am no where near close to such comfort with the 20D.

But, I love the degree of control, and I've been carrying on with reading, trying, reading some more, trying a lot more. You probably know how it goes. Returning to my basic premise, me being an amateur and a student, I'd assumed spending $2700 or whatever it was on technology will make me a better photographer (basic rookie mistake). And my expectations were high, considering students, by definition, have meager financial resources. After a few hundred shots, and about 1% of them being close to "keepers", my faith in my level of compatibility with the hardware weaned a little.

I had my moment of moment of zen a few days ago, when I was doing something mundane, like my laundry late in the evening. A semi-serious snow shower had left over a foot of snow on a flight of steps outside. I rush to grab the camera, rush back to the scene, only to realize I still had my macro lens on, and couldn't really frame it the way I wanted. I rushed back, switched lenses (see, this is a big deal because I've only probably done it twice so far), got back. Framed it the way I wanted to, but realized it was dark (there was barely any lighting) and I couldn't keep it from shaking at the shutter speeds that were showing up (see, the big deal here is I am noticing the exposure settings and responding). I increase the aperture size and with some rough calculation, figure it should be about OK, considering no tripod, and an acceptable DOF. I was a little worried about the extreme ISO levels I was choosing to make this work, but then I did what any sane person would do. Shoot using all possible combinations and go home and pick out the acceptable ones.

Of course, all of that was just to say, it's all been fun. A lot more work than I'd anticipated, but good fun. And point being, I had learnt what I needed to take a picture (taking a good picture is a whole new ball game) under difficult circumstances. So, the moral of all of this being, before you scream at the "how bad the (insert camera here) is because how bad the(insert problem here) is", read. Try. It will go away or will be brought down to a negligible level, in time.

Now, with all that out of the way, I'd like to commend you for still continuing to read.

I am a little curious as to whether I am really achieving what the camera/lens combination is capable of. I mean, not too many people post unscaled crops of their images unprocessed. So, I'd like to see fully unscaled, un post processed (and your parameter settings in camera, if you've shifted them from their parameter 2 zeros) images (JPEG, or RAW-> JPEG, probably with the tool you used to do it) from the EOS 20D and the EF-S 17-85 mm IS USM. Your sharpest ever picture will do.

Because, I just want to make sure I am not being too hard on some of my full 100% crops, just because an impression of reality doesn't look as good as the real thing.

Thanks!

(For the curious, http://delineate.wahgnube.org/shoebox/snowed-in-so/ is how it came out (the picture described), and I've been stuck at home for longer than I would choose to, so preparing a small portion of it to one day eventually be a place to shoot portraits http://delineate.wahgnube.org/shoebox/preparing-the-studio/ ).

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