Simple advice for a Point and Click man please

Dickyboy
12th June 2010, 20:01
Hi!
I have three cameras, Two are simple point and click types. A Kodak Easy Share C703, a Nikon Coolpix with up to 12.0 megapix and a Fuji FinePix S7000 which I also use in Auto (Point and Click) mode.
The main problem that I have when shooting ships seems to be that the photo's, on all the cameras, come out with a sort of washed out look about them. The ships I shoot are usually about 1-2 miles away in the solent. I frequently shoot in the early morning, sometimes before sunrise, and on maximum zoom. The sea and sky are often shades of blue or grey, with or without the tints of dawn. I use the ''Chrome'' setting on the FinePix.
I do trim and enhance the pictures after I download them to the computer, but this often seems to leave me with obviously false images.
Normal photo's taken of more usual subjects seem to be fine.
Anyone any tips on how to improve the initial image quality without getting too technical about it.
All I want is decent pictures, easily obtained.

Duncan112
12th June 2010, 20:14
Two things that might be worth a try, reduce the exposure value setting by 1 or 1.5 and see if you can get a lens hood to fit the camera, also when you say maximum zoom, do you meen maximum optical zoom or are you going further and using the digital zoom. If you are using the digital zoom better to reduce to maximum optical and then increase magnification on the pc.

Dickyboy
12th June 2010, 20:53
No, I just use the Optical Zoom, I don't go into the digital as I think that zooming in too close might cause blurring due to hand shake or effects on my body due to the wind.
I have tried using my tripod, but that seems to make little difference as far as shaking goes.
I don't think that lens hoods are available for the S7000, but I will try reducing the exposure settings, if I can work it out that is :o
I'll post an un altered standard pic' of mine. It might give a better idea of how I can improve such pictures.

Dickyboy
12th June 2010, 21:08
Re above post...
This is a typical result of my camera work.
I have to reduce the file size to get pic's to be accepted onto this site, and this also affects the picture quality. Often the ships names can't be read on these 800x600 pictures where they can be on the picture if the original size. So some sharpness is lost there as well.

treeve
12th June 2010, 22:43
This is typical of many distant scenes over water ... you may get improved pictures if you use an ultra violet filter; it depends if you have a mount position on the camera for one. Many pictures are improved by reducing Gamma levels on Image handling software (PSP and others), then increasing contrast levels by around 12%, and reducing brightness by around 7%. When re-sizing the image, do not forget to add compensating sharpness, to ease the circle of overlap caused by compressing the image pixels.

ChasD
12th June 2010, 22:53
I'd reiterate the wise words of treeve. The problem is basically atmospheric haze, in the old days a UV filter was the usual answer, modern digitals dont usually accept things like this but you often have a variety of options on the performance control. Try taking the same shot using each of the options in turn, see what comes out on the computer screen and see what you can get with the fiddles. The real answer to long dstance stuff can only be in the lens and the bits you hang on to it, though under conditions these days it can be a battle.

Regards Chas

Dickyboy
12th June 2010, 23:33
Good Ideas chaps, I like the idea of increasing the sharpness, I can do that with my Roxio 9 Photo Suite. I can't mount filters on any of the cameras, so I guess it's a matter of trying out your suggestions, and seeing which or if all of them work. Even minor improvements in the initial picture might make large improvements on the finished product.
Many thanks :o

Dickyboy
12th June 2010, 23:58
Just Tinkering to see what difference a bit of sharpening and enhancement makes....

treeve
13th June 2010, 00:38
Incidentally, you mention camera shake. Not everyone has the convenience of a tripod (usually through cost or yet another piece of equipment to forget).. just stuff a small bean bag in your pocket, and use that to plonk the camera on, whilst taking the shot (resting on a suitable wall or box or post). If hand held entirely, lean on a wall, or wrap your arm around a lamp post or any other available street furniture. I have taken pictures in a 100mph wind by sticking my feet under a metal strap, and wrapping my arms around an iron pole. But always make sure the camera cord is securely wrapped around your wrist.

Dickyboy
13th June 2010, 00:49
Bean bag! Brilliant Idea, why ever didn't I think of that? :o
I'll go off now and fill a bag with baked beans and I can use it in the morning.




Just Kidding! :o

Ian J. Huckin
13th June 2010, 16:31
Incidentally, you mention camera shake. Not everyone has the convenience of a tripod (usually through cost or yet another piece of equipment to forget).. just stuff a small bean bag in your pocket, and use that to plonk the camera on, whilst taking the shot (resting on a suitable wall or box or post). If hand held entirely, lean on a wall, or wrap your arm around a lamp post or any other available street furniture. I have taken pictures in a 100mph wind by sticking my feet under a metal strap, and wrapping my arms around an iron pole. But always make sure the camera cord is securely wrapped around your wrist.

The highlighted section applies equally well when drinking....

treeve
13th June 2010, 16:59
In that case the alternative is to carry around a full size bean bag ... :)

stein
13th June 2010, 17:43
Would peas do as well?
I saw this American tourist once, in our open-air old-farm-buildings-museum, he had about ten cameras, among which was a Hasselblad mounted on a chest tripod (three alu legs fastened to belts around his chest), he directed his wife to stand beside the entrance to each house, took one picture, and moved on.
A silly caricature of an American wasting money, but the chest tripod have stayed in my memory - never seen it since then.

treeve
13th June 2010, 18:04
I see any number of tripod designs, including the chest pod ... no better than grinding the elbows into the rib cage ... daren't breathe. Then there is another with the 'fast release' top. It rarely is steady, and the top is so fast release, it is easily lost. With faster shutters now it is less of a problem. I see some with mono-pods which tend to in use to be more of a problem than not. The point about a bean bag is that the contents settle by distribution of loading from one bean to its neighbour, and stays where it is put.
The best tripods that I have found are the small chrome ones that retail for a pound or so, uses the ball and claw, tilt, turn and lock. It can be placed on any convenient wall, and being cheap as chips, nothing lost if it is lost (provided un attached to camera).

doncontrols
13th June 2010, 19:58
Might one throw one's two'pennorth into the fray? I would suggest altering the white balance (or colour balance on some software) to make it a bit warmer - this will reduce the blue cast and bring some warmer colours into the sky. Similarly, increasing the saturation a little after that will reduce the washed out effect .....

Cheers, Don.

treeve
13th June 2010, 21:22
Yes ideed, those options can be used, but not for the feint hearted....
Repeat though - always, always keep a separate untouched virgin copy of a file (better in a separate folder) BEFORE making adjustments, it is too easy to forget the difference between 'save' and 'save as', and that is usually after the save has been selected. It is always worth remembering that certain cameras have problems in focusing on colours in the red end of the hues. Focus on a nearby object of a different hue, then sweep back and take the shot.

Pat McCardle
13th June 2010, 21:38
I take quite a few pics 'at distance' & instead of using a lens cover, aka UV filter, I use a Polarizing filter to break up the colours of sea & sky. If hazing is still a problem then I simply use Picasa3 to add auto colour & contrast, basically making a jpeg a RAW image.

Dickyboy
14th June 2010, 13:38
The highlighted section applies equally well when drinking....
I thought exactly the same as you Ian, but for a different reason.
I'm a Recovering alcoholic, and the stance described is very farmilar to me :o

Dickyboy
14th June 2010, 13:43
I take quite a few pics 'at distance' & instead of using a lens cover, aka UV filter, I use a Polarizing filter to break up the colours of sea & sky. If hazing is still a problem then I simply use Picasa3 to add auto colour & contrast, basically making a jpeg a RAW image.

Can Picasa3 do any more than my own ''Roxio Easy Media Creator 9'' can do? I'm quite happy to store all my pictures on DVDs as opposed to storing them on line.
Some very useful tips coming up here by the way.

surfaceblow
14th June 2010, 16:24
I use Picasa 3 and Adobe Photo Elements 7. I do not use the on line photo setup but kept the photos on the hard drive and on DVD's. A few things that I like about Picasa 3 is: 1 its free. 2 the straighten feature does not require a additional step of cropping the picture. 3 the facial recognition. 4 batch rename files. 5 mapping of the pictures.

The facial recognition will group the pictures together my face type. After you name a bunch of the faces it will suggest a name for you.

Dickyboy
14th June 2010, 16:50
Surfaceblow
I use Windows Photo Gallery for cropping and enhansing, but use Roxio 9 for straightning. The Roxio 9 leaves an edge around the picture which isn't always square.
I find it best to streighten all my pic's with Roxio9 without trimming afterwards. Then closing Roxio9 having saved the pictures first of course, and finishing of the trimming & enhancing with the Windows Windows P Gall. It's a lot quicker to do that I find, as with Windows P Gall the pictures can be quickly clicked through in sequence, instead of having to do everything individually for each picture, like finding each picture in the file and selecting it first, as with Roxio 9, if you see what I mean?
No one program seems to give everything I want. No streightning on Windows P Gall, and poor trimming on Roxio 9 for example.
I'll give Picasa 3 a go.

doncontrols
14th June 2010, 22:08
I think you are right to try different ones - and as you say, you often use each for different functions. Personally, I tend to use Adobe Lightroom and PSP X2. It's also what you get used to - it can be difficult picking up something new when you are used to the way a certain program operates.
Cheers, Don.

eldersuk
15th June 2010, 00:49
I can recommend Serif PhotoPlus X3 as being very flexible and easy to use. I have had very satisfactory results with it.

Derek

billyboy
15th June 2010, 02:59
Try XN-view. Free off the net. It does all i want it to do and more. so simple to use too. all my pictures are adjusted on it.

Dickyboy
15th June 2010, 07:16
I downloaded Picasa 3 a while ago, seems to do everything I want, and all on one page!
Straightening, Trimming, I really like the ''Feeling Lucky?'' facility, that seems to do just what I need as far as enhancing, colour adjustment and so on.
Straighten with the ''Straighten'' Trim with the ''Trim'' and adjust with ''Feeling Lucky'' or the other adjustments, Text is available as well! All on the one page! and it all has a very smooth feel to it. And most important, It's simple, and the washed out look of my pictures is removed. They don't look enhanced either.
A great bit of kit for a Muppet like me. :o

Dickyboy
15th June 2010, 08:18
The same pictures having just used the Trim, Lucky, and Straighten on Picasa 3. Easy peasy! :o

PS
I don't know if there is an easier way, but what I do to reduce the file size, so that the pictures can be displayed on this site, is to e-mail them to myself.
If I use my ordenary Windows Mail e-mail, I can select a reduced size to send it at. These two pictures were sent using Picasa 3 which reduces the pictures size automatically. No choice in sizes sent, but very quick and easy.
I can't think of a quicker-easier way to reduce the size prior to posting to this site than using the e-mail route. I save the e-mailed picture in ''My Pictures'', slightly altering the file names, by adding an ''x'' or something to one of them. This has the advantage of not altering the original picture stowed away in my computer in any way.

jimthehat
15th June 2010, 12:30
The same pictures having just used the Trim, Lucky, and Straighten on Picasa 3. Easy peasy! :o

PS
I don't know if there is an easier way, but what I do to reduce the file size, so that the pictures can be displayed on this site, is to e-mail them to myself.
If I use my ordenary Windows Mail e-mail, I can select a reduced size to send it at. These two pictures were sent using Picasa 3 which reduces the pictures size automatically. No choice in sizes sent, but very quick and easy.
I can't think of a quicker-easier way to reduce the size prior to posting to this site than using the e-mail route. I save the e-mailed picture in ''My Pictures'', slightly altering the file names, by adding an ''x'' or something to one of them. This has the advantage of not altering the original picture stowed away in my computer in any way.

i find that using Irfanview is an easy way of reducing file size,if one has irfanview installed(free) then just right click on photo and use the "open with ".

jim

stevie-w
15th June 2010, 12:48
When you are in the main Picasa 3 screen and select a photo, the file size is displayed below the image. In order to post you need to resize and I find that the easiest way to do this is EXPORT to another folder especially set up for your gallery. When using the EXPORT function you can readily re-size the photo to your preferred choice. This also keeps the original photo in its original folder should you need it for other purposes.
As a further tip it is always worth copying every image that you take to another folder or hard drive. This ensures that you always have the original image untampered in any way. Note that every time that you alter or manipulate an image may actually degarde its quality. Photographers who use RAW always keep an original image in this format; once you convert to JPEG you are already compromising image quality.

surfaceblow
15th June 2010, 14:21
You do not have to save the original picture because Picasa 3 automatically saves the original unaltered picture in a folder called .picasaorginals. The new folder will be a sub folder in the same folder were your pictures are kept.

Joe

Dickyboy
16th June 2010, 18:26
I've spent a lot of the day fixing my photo's, mostly just Straightening them and auto contrasting some of them. Most of them are of an Australian holiday I took a couple of years ago. I found that just using the auto contrast, and not messing with any colour settings on Picasa3 I get some pretty good results, some are obviously enhanced, but that's okay, to a degree because of the extra detail shown in the picture.
I still tend to think that the camera, any camera, sees the same shades and detail as the human eye does. It doesn't of course, even in the best light conditions. So I figure it's okay to help the camera along a bit with enhancing and so on, even if the colours do look slightly false in some cases.
I do have all my holiday pictures backed up on DVD of course :o)
Picasa3 seems to do all I want it to do.
So many thanks for the advice. I've learned a great deal :o