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jcgter777 wrote:
I'm also looking for a new camera. ... Some "requirements":

-Has that satisfying CLICK. (I think most do)
-Isn't too bulky (using shorter lenses and stuff)

allynfolksjr wrote:
A mirrorless camera may likely be what you're looking for.

I second this. The only downside is that you won't get that click you're after nor will the lenses from DSRLs work on them; the caveat here is that there are adapters. On the upside, mirrorless cameras are considerably smaller.

By nature, all DSLRs will be bulky just because of the mechanism that makes the click. You can go with a DSLR and then look into Pancake lenses, those are short lenses and make a DSLR a pretty compact unit, but it'll still be larger than a mirrorless camera.

In your case, an upside to a DSLR - and if you bought Nikon - would be using your brothers lenses. But, I sincerely think a mirrorless camera is what you want.

Fun fact: I've always called these Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens cameras, or EVIL cameras for short.

jcgter777 wrote:
I have more photos, but they take SOO LONG to upload to imgur.

It's because you're uploading the full 16MP images to imgur. I recommend you resize them before uploading; 2-3MP is pretty decent for casual viewing on the web. If you want to upload as large as you are able (i.e. 16MP), imgur also offers some URL tricks:

Here is your image URL:

Here is your image URL telling Imgur to make it a square thumbnail:

Here is your image URL telling Imgur to make it a thumbnail:

Here is your image URL telling Imgur to make it a somewhat small image:

Here is your image URL telling Imgur to make decently sized image:

The last image is sized to 640 on the longest side by Imgur, which is small but it's an acceptable viewing size on the web. Cemetech resizes images to 800 pixels wide, however it still loads the full size image. So, you can upload a 2-3MP image to Imgur, embed the version with the lowercase "L" before the extension then link to the much larger size. Which, is what I usually do if I don't share them from Flickr.
Rented some lenses over the weekend so I could try before I buy:

IMG_9187.jpg by Alex Glanville, on Flickr

BBQ Diptych by Alex Glanville, on Flickr

Navigate by Alex Glanville, on Flickr
Dang, Alex, your night sky photographs are just so awesome. I never managed to get the exposure just right to reveal this blue tint, visible stars and no noise from large ISO values. This last picture, especially, is really interesting, because there is no motion blur on the lighthouse's ray.
And how do you prevent over-exposure of the foreground? Do you combine multiple different exposures in one frame (which is the next thing I want to try)?
Nik wrote:
I never managed to get the exposure just right to reveal this blue tint,

The blue sky is a result from the white balance being set to the lighthouse. Naturally, the night sky isn't blue. If I wanted to make it real I could desaturate the blue tones to a dark gray but I personally tend to like the blue. In the end I'd love all of my star photos to have the same tones and colors. Which is a continual challenge as I try different things.

For example, the flashlight on my phone may be a very warm white, while the white light from the trunk of my car may be a slightly cooler. So in order to create what we perceive as white light, I need to white balance the image to those whites in each image. Creating the blue color in the night sky.

It's pretty neat, if you ever fall into portraiture, you can use a similar trick with your flashes and strobes. If you do outdoor portraits, put a purple or a blue gel on your flash. This will obviously make your subject/model blue but when you adjust the temperature in post (or even in camera before you take the shot !!), the subject will look natural and the sky will turn yellow or orange. Really useful if you want to strengthen the colors of a sunset. With the same technique, you can use different gels to turn the sky different colors such as green and purple.

Familiarizing yourself with color theory is helpful since you'll learn complimentary colors and the color wheel. Using that color wheel to turn the sky orange, we'd need to shoot with a teal light. Likewise, to turn the sky blue, shoot with a yellowish light.

visible stars and no noise from large ISO values.

To put it bluntly, this is where the right lenses really come in handy. I shot this photo at 25s with ISO 125, not 1600, 6400 or higher. That's because my aperture was f/1.4. If you're familiar with f-stops, that's two stops faster than f/2.8 and three stops faster than f/4. Which, is a considerable amount of additional light. That's why there's low noise in the night sky compared to the foreground. Had there been noise from a high ISO, it's possible I could have lost stars due to de-noising algorithm, but a lot of them would persist.

This last picture, especially, is really interesting, because there is no motion blur on the lighthouse's ray.

That's actually because it's now a pulsing light. It shines 360 at once instead of rotates. It's 11 seconds between flashes, and each flash is around 2 seconds now. I think they changed it recently because I don't recall this being the situation last year. Sad

And how do you prevent over-exposure of the foreground? Do you combine multiple different exposures in one frame (which is the next thing I want to try)?

Planning, really. I don't like combining multiple photos into one shot. There are notable exceptions, such as the diptych above and my solar eclipse photo/selfie. Also, this photo. I never uploaded it to Flickr so I likely never shared it here. This is two photos but maybe not like you expect.

I was just shooting photos for the sake of practice when I really liked the image. So, I asked my friend to hold still for the next photo. Sadly, a car drove by and lit up the top of the bushes. But I didn't ask him to sit still again due to an old injury and the pain he started to experience from holding this pose so I just composited it all in post.

But that's really the extent of my "photoshopping." I prefer to keep it as natural as possible.

As for the exposure. Right back to planning. I try and use the moon to illuminate the foreground. This photo of my friend was taken on June 16th, 2017 per the info on 500px. Looking at a calendar of the moon for that day, tells me the moon rose around 9pm. The metadata of the photo in Lightroom tells me the photo was captured at 11:31pm. So, enough time for the moon to rise and light the landscape but not high enough to get in the way of the stars and Milky Way.

In the light house photo in my prior post, it was a New Moon, so there was no moon light. You can see the noise from the shadows as I added exposure to the foreground which revealed some noticeable noise. Since I was just trying the lenses, I wanted a New Moon so I could test them at their limits. In actuality I tend to shoot "Nightscapes" the weekend before (and after) a New Moon and let the moon expose the foreground.

There's still a lot more I can do better in the lighthouse photo. Shoot during a Waning Gibbous instead of a New moon, not shoot wide open at f/1.4, and don't shoot at 25s. I'll writing a blog post on my findings and take aways from these lenses and which one I'll purchase later. I will certainly share portions of that post here.

Here's a photo I'm planning with the same light house. Shot this with my 14mm, then composited an AR screenshot off my phone. Then got the FoV difference between my lenses and simulated what I expect to see with each lens. I'm likely going to shoot this with my 50mm and take it as a panorama to get the lighthouse in the shot.

This is all really astonishing. I hope to take pictures of the stars someday - like you did, Alex - although I don't exactly know how. I've messed with cameras before, but never actually had one to my name.

What camera would you all recommend for maybe some casual photography now and then? Preferably no more than a few hundred dollars or less than $1k. I really like Canon and Nikon by the way, and am open to suggestions.
Camera technology has come to the point to where there's no "bad" DSLR camera; they all take phenomenal photos. So, go with what's in your budget. If your parents or family has any film SLR's, go with that brand since you can use those lenses on your camera -- If they have a Nikon 35mm SLR, get a Nikon DSLR so you can use those lenses.

Biased Suggestion:
I'm a Canon shooter so the only bit of advice I have is that the Canon Rebel line, (The T6i, T6, T7i, etc) are all entry level DSLRs. You can probably get a kit (Camera + 18-55mm lens) for around $800-$900. You can go a bit older get a T4i or something for around $400. You can probably go second hand (such as Craigslist or FB Marketplace) and maybe find that combo for $300 or under.

Once you get a camera, focus on taking a lot of photos. In this case it's not about quality it's about quantity. Look at your photos, and distinguish between the ones you like and hate. Ask your self why you hate this photo. And why you like that photo. If they are similar, what differences set them apart? Once you start getting the idea of what makes a good photo, start focusing on technique and the quality over the quantity. The more you get right in camera, the easier it'll be to edit in post.

I look forward to any photos you'll share Wink
Here's a photo I took on a bridge over the Ohio River (which is owned by West Virginia)

I lightly modified it to accentuate the rays:

That's pretty cool! What did you did you do to enhance the sun rays?
Alex wrote:
That's pretty cool! What did you did you do to enhance the sun rays?

I used the iOS app "Facetune", which comes with a feature called "details" (basically a sharpen effect), selected the area I wanted to sharpen, and bam!

I also slightly defocused the area around the rays, which exaggerates the effect a bit more.
Clever! I've heard that using polarized sun glasses in front of your phone or camera can also help but I've never actually tried it. Your method is incredibly natural looking so kudos! Smile
It's Milky Way season again! And at the "last minute" I decided I wanted to use a completely different lens to photograph it. Sure, two months should be enough time to get ready but it's still a learning curve. I tried to understand how much of the frame it'd take up using the simulated field of view but it's never a good substitute for the real thing.

We got there sort of early so I shot some photos of my friend and her hula hoop for a bit. You can see the galactic core in the glow of some headlights from an oncoming car.

IMG_9794.jpg by Alex Glanville, on Flickr

I then switched to my 50mm and photographed away! I am not happy with the results because I think the lens adds some extreme comatic aberration, which makes some stars appear to have wings.

IMG_9812.jpg by Alex Glanville, on Flickr

But, I found it completely goes away if I do focus on something closer to the camera, so that's what I did! It made the stars blurry which I think is awesome.

Focus by Alex Glanville, on Flickr
Oh man, those pictures are definitely wallpaper worthy! It may be my phone, but why is that second and third one taken vertically? Does it have to do with this post?
Amazing images as always Alex! Very Happy
Your photographs are indeed amazing, I especially like the first and last one. However, I think I see reddish noise on the bottom half of the third image? Is that a result of the post processing, or comparatively high ISO settings (you probably couldn't expose for too long with a person in the frame)? Or is that something else I am missing?
Also, I'd like to see a variation of this one which is focused on the galaxy and blurs the foreground. As you mentioned, it would probably suffer from the chromatic aberration if you used this lens, however, I remember your made very high quality photographs of the milky way earlier, presumably with a different lens. Have you considered combining two exposures from different lenses?
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