Playing with the f stop on the SLOW (Dial up warning!)

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rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Thanks David. What I was trying to do was get as much depth of field as possible, not focus on a particular subject. I was able to do that all too well. LOL Every time I would take a shot of the row of stores, only one was in focus and I wanted all of them in focus. So I figured it might be a good time just to do some experimenting with the f/stop and exposure settings. BTW, Here is one I took of my Father-in-Law at his 94th Birthday get together on Labor Day. Done in automatic mode (He would never sit still and let me play around with stuff on the camera.....;), just saw an opportunity and snapped it.

CloseUpw.png


I have some idea of what I am doing (a little at least) and have the benefit of a well known local Professional Photographer who is a friend and has done some tutoring of me. I grant that on this end (models) I have much to learn! What macro lens would you suggest (the Pros around Geneva have suggested I get a fixed 100mm as it wouldn't make my mortgage payments more).
 

Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
Bob, what are you using for lighting in that photo? The ones I posted at WPF this week I replaced the CFLs (2700°K) with tungston 40w and 100w bulbs in the overhead lighting nearest to the site I was photographing and the results IMHO came out much better. Also, what lens are you using for Macro work? And Yes, the thing I am working on is Depth of Field.

I probably used two 600W quartz halogen photo lights for the shot. Used the kit lens, 18-55mm.
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Bob, I think the biggest problem that I am having is the lighting. What would you suggest that I get for Model Photography in terms of lighting. It is the one variable that I think will make a big difference for me.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
Ray, all I use are the 10 overhead track lights, the GU10 halogen mini spots, five per 8' track. They seem plenty strong for my Canon Sure Shot. I think some directed light helps a lot.

-Crandell
 

Maxitrains

Member
Ray, I think Crandell is right, for more realistic photos its better to have an adequate layout lighting then a flash for your camera. The lighting of the layout will be diffused on the whole scene, but if you use the flash it will be directed to a spot, and normallyl ending up in having a reflection on the subject ( being mostly plastic and painted things).

If the overhead lighting should ne be sufficient, then I would use the flash with reduced power, on my Canon I have a function to reduce the flash power, so I won't have that reflection on the subject, but in the same time will help get a little more light to the picture.
 
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Trussrod

Well-Known Member
Ray,
Now it seems we're getting down to talking specifics which is good. So if I understand you correctly the scene your trying to capture a shot of is something like, or is, your Hopewell Stores scene below, I interjected it for clarification. This shot seems to fits what your say prefectly as the dark Green store and the Brown one with blue trim are the only ones in focus. Is this the scene your refering to?

Thanks David. What I was trying to do was get as much depth of field as possible, not focus on a particular subject. I was able to do that all too well. LOL Every time I would take a shot of the row of stores, only one was in focus and I wanted all of them in focus. So I figured it might be a good time just to do some experimenting with the f/stop and exposure settings.

HopewellStores06w.png


I have some idea of what I am doing (a little at least) and have the benefit of a well known local Professional Photographer who is a friend and has done some tutoring of me. I grant that on this end (models) I have much to learn! What macro lens would you suggest (the Pros around Geneva have suggested I get a fixed 100mm as it wouldn't make my mortgage payments more).
What's creating your problem here is not the lens your using, assuming it was the the 18 t0 55mm - which I heard from a close pro photo buddy is a very sharp lens - my Fuji S2 uses Nikon lenses, but how your setting the f-stop and where your focusing is the problem! ;) You'll possibly need to use your lens at it's wide angle position, or close to it, to gain as much DOF as possible. Set your camera for Aperatue Priority, and set your f stop to f29, move back a little farther about a foot or more and take a shot or two and see what the DOF looks likes on the LCD? Unfortunately the Rebel XT doesn't seem to offer a depth of field preview button, as I thought it did, and that isn't a big help to you but it just means you have to check the LCD after taking the shot. What this also means is that the shot will need to be crop it to remove unwanted area.

As far as a Macro lens, I believe your 18-55 may have a macro setting on it? Also I'm unsure if you'd gain that much more DOF as macro, to the best of my understanding is more for close up work and I don't believe it would give you much more DOF?? I'll have to try my 28-105 in Macro setting to see if it makes any fifference or not?

See what happens?
 

Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
Unfortunately the Rebel XT doesn't seem to offer a depth of field preview button, as I thought it did

As far as a Macro lens, I believe your 18-55 may have a macro setting on it? Also I'm unsure if you'd gain that much more DOF as macro, to the best of my understanding is more for close up work and I don't believe it would give you much more DOF?? I'll have to try my 28-105 in Macro setting to see if it makes any fifference or not?
The Rebel XT DOES have a depth of field preview button, on the lens mount, low down on the left side (with the camera at your eye).

The 18-55mm kit lens does not have a macro setting, it will focus down to about 8" without it.

As mentioned, I've never seen the need for a separate macro lens, they are intended for exteme close-up work that is normally beyond what we model railroaders to - how often do you need a shot of the front of an HO scale engine's number board? I have no doubt that they can do great photos, especially with their capability to stop down to f/32, but the costs of one far outweigh this for me anyway. I've managed to have over 800 of my model photos published in the magazines without owning one.

Another thing about getting the maximum depth of field is to focus about one third into a scene rather than right in front or in back, this maximises the depth of field - look up "hyperfocal distance" on Google for examples.

For lighting, I've used 3 plain old 500 watt photoflood bulbs for many years. Only in the past several years have I been using two 600 watt quartz halogen lights. I got them from an estate of a late friend, and like them better than the photofloods because of their smaller size and sharper shadows.

I assume in taking layout photos that most make use of a remote control for the camera? Either that or the self timer? Cuts down on the shaking of the camera when the shutter is tripped.
 

Maxitrains

Member
Interesting site BOB, thanks for sharing. Sometimes even if you know the shortcuts, you always can find a shorter one :)
 

Orgnoi1

Railroad Photographer
Ray, I think Crandell is right, for more realistic photos its better to have an adequate layout lighting then a flash for your camera. The lighting of the layout will be diffused on the whole scene, but if you use the flash it will be directed to a spot, and normallyl ending up in having a reflection on the subject ( being mostly plastic and painted things).

If the overhead lighting should ne be sufficient, then I would use the flash with reduced power, on my Canon I have a function to reduce the flash power, so I won't have that reflection on the subject, but in the same time will help get a little more light to the picture.

This isnt necessarily a true statement... camera flashes that mount on the hotshoe can be rotated and bounced or diffused. You can actually diffuse a point and shoot flash by using tissue paper or the like. Also it really makes NO difference as to lighting type and color if you are using a camera that you can input manually a white balance. Using a manual white balance can aid significantly in getting your shot to look more realistic.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
This isnt necessarily a true statement... camera flashes that mount on the hotshoe can be rotated and bounced or diffused. You can actually diffuse a point and shoot flash by using tissue paper or the like. Also it really makes NO difference as to lighting type and color if you are using a camera that you can input manually a white balance. Using a manual white balance can aid significantly in getting your shot to look more realistic.
You are right of course, but that does not take away for what Maxtrains said, as most of us have cameras with built in flashes. By the way, it's nice to see another Fuji user. I thought I was alone out there.
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Whoa! Looks like I started something here! Thank You all. Unless I am just taking a quick snapshot of something on the layout, I do not use the flash on the camera for the reasons stated here and in many other photo threads. I think that the originals improved when I used brighter Tungsten lighting as opposed to the 2700°K CFLs that I use on the Layout. They are color rated at 82 and look fine if you are looking at the layout. They are also very low wattage (3 to 11w). The closest built in color setting in the camera is "Tungsten" which is 3000° or 3200° (don't have the manual handy). I haven't attempted to adjust the White Balance manually yet. I found better results putting the brighter bulbs up into the layout lighting rather than putting one in a worklight reflector as the light reflects off the white valence and is more diffused.

I am definitely learning from all of you! Bob, I have read your article at your site many times and it is great! Your article has given me a lot of good pointers on "finding the shot".
 

Maxitrains

Member
This isnt necessarily a true statement... camera flashes that mount on the hotshoe can be rotated and bounced or diffused. You can actually diffuse a point and shoot flash by using tissue paper or the like. Also it really makes NO difference as to lighting type and color if you are using a camera that you can input manually a white balance. Using a manual white balance can aid significantly in getting your shot to look more realistic.

I'm sorry for posting something not exactly explained, I was referring my post to inbuilt flashes. If you want to extend your photographic hobby you could buy good ( and expensive ) flash guns with light diffusers and that can rotate and tilt, so to bounce off the light away from teh subject. You could also buy additional flash fillers to have light from different directions and take out the shadows. Well I'm not expert in photography, but there are lots of things you can buy to get better pictures. But finally its always down the human eye to capture the moement and position.

Well I will step aside and leave this discussion to people more experienced then me, in this field. :)

Ray: I hope I did not mislead you in anyway
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Another thing about getting the maximum depth of field is to focus about one third into a scene rather than right in front or in back, this maximises the depth of field - look up "hyperfocal distance" on Google for examples.
Right on! Neil Sjoblom a local award winning photographer (he has won the Kodak Gallery Award a couple years ago - considered to be the Oscar of the industry) e-mailed me this advise a few months ago.

"Congratulations on your new Canon Rebel. If you need more depth of field, you'll need more light or a slower shutter speed. Also, a wider angle lens will give you more depth of field. Also, here is a little known physical phenomenon: the field behind your plane of focus is always two thirds greater than the field in front of your subject. Here's an example: When we photograph a group of people 3 rows deep, the focus should be on the front row of people whereas common sense would dictate the middle row. In that case the front row would be noticeably out of focus, the middle and back row and probably even the background would be sharper. That's a common fault of photographers and the reason that many backgrounds are sharp and foregrounds are fuzzy."

I assume in taking layout photos that most make use of a remote control for the camera? Either that or the self timer? Cuts down on the shaking of the camera when the shutter is tripped.
I use the timer on the camera. I will play around with many of the suggestions all of you folks have given me. Thank You for your insights on model photography! It is much appreciated and keep 'em coming.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Nice pics Ray!

Ya'll take a guess at what the lighting for this shot was... BTW, it was just a "fooling wit da camera" shot, handheld at .6 sec with the lens braced on the benchwork.

 

Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
Great photo! Shows that model photos do not always need extensive depth of field, especially when you want to feature a model itself and not just the scene. The out of focus background doesn't affect this scene, as the diesel is the main subject.

The only thing sticking out is the huge HO scale ground throw!
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Great photo! Shows that model photos do not always need extensive depth of field, especially when you want to feature a model itself and not just the scene. The out of focus background doesn't affect this scene, as the diesel is the main subject.

The only thing sticking out is the huge HO scale ground throw!
Bob, the interesting thing is that, in addition to ambient room lighting, it was illuminated by my 550EX external flash. I know that's a "photography nut" thing and not a "modeling nut" thing, but the external flash was designed to replicate the color temp of daylight. The flash was bounced off a ceiling reflector (aluminum foil) to prevent harsh shadows.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
That Loco looks Awesome !!!
Thanks Paul. It's a Stewart set we got used at a show. The A ended up having to be remotored and I put a Soundtraxx board in it. The Cal Scale detail kit from Nate and a little weathering finished it. I've still got to detail and weather the B unit. When complete, we'll have an ABA set when run with our P1K CB&Q F3. The P1K has a mars light, so this should make for a decent looking and sounding consist.
 
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