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Tips and Tricks - Share Yours
Old 01-24-2011   #1
dave lackey
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Tips and Tricks - Share Yours

Pardon if this has been done before, but it seems that there are so many things I keep coming across that would have been nice had I known them before. They may be insignificant to you but invaluable to someone else.

Here is my first one that I learned just last week:

Need a loupe to view your slides? Use your 50mm lens backwards.

It would be nice to have a running thread on this, so post yours.
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Old 01-24-2011   #2
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1. Leave the lens cap at home.
2. See 1.
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Old 01-24-2011   #3
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Add "Image Stabilization" to your camera

.

Buy a nylon leash for a small pet at the grocery or discount store for $3.

Cut off the snap.

Slip your left hand through the loop in the leash.

Now grasp your camera at the lens in the usual rf position.

Put your foot - or your knee, if you're shooting macro - on the loose end of the strap.

Pull up 'til you feel tension and focus.

Shoot even very slow speeds as steadily as when you used a monopod.

Stuff it back in your pocket and you are on your way.

ENJOY!

(PS - They come in a wide assortment of colors.)
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Old 01-24-2011   #4
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While you're in the pet department, consider this:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/phot...=9999&way=desc
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My five -star rated children's book,

"The Little Crow Who Could Not CAW"

is now available for Kindle and other readers.

This semi-animated version of the hardbound edition
may be just perfect for your favorite 4-to-8 year old,

Available from Amazon.com, of course.
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Old 01-24-2011   #5
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newspaperguy View Post
Add "Image Stabilization" to your camera
Dear Rick,

NEVER worked for me! In fact, it actually makes things worse. But it must work for an awful lot of people, because I've seen references to the same trick in magazines well before WW2. I mention this only to illustrate that neither you (for whom it works, and who have far more experience than I) nor I (for whom it is worse than useless) has a monopoly on what works.

For Dave: Great idea! Follow the link for something I started on my site but have not updated much. Here are 32 tips so far. With your permission, and the permission of others who post tips here, I may add some of the ideas from this thread to my site (or of course I may not, because I'm increasingly lackadaisical).
http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...n/hinttip.html

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-24-2011   #6
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My tip is to read Roger's tips. The dry film diagonally one is the best.

Also, to avoid scratching focusing screens, clean them with a damp sable brush (available from most any art store). Get real sable though, not fake stuff.
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Old 01-24-2011   #7
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Learn all the rules and then break them one by one.
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Old 01-24-2011   #8
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Always carry lens cleaning tissue. Roll one up, tear it in half and fluff the torn end. That is your brush to clean dust off before you wipe your lens clean. Be sure no dust/debris is left on the lens before using the tissue to further clean.

Of course small blower brushes are better, but a flat container of tissues is easier to carry in-pocket or in-bag.
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Old 01-24-2011   #9
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I put a piece of white paper tape or masking tape on the bottom of my camera to take brief notes with a sharpie. I jot down the film type and speed used, the date, camera settings and/or any important info about the subject(s) or light, etc. When I change the roll, the tape gets wrapped around the film to be saved for processing and archiving, and a new piece of tape goes on the camera for the next roll. This tip is especially useful when I don't finish a given roll in a single session but put the camera away for a day or two.
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Old 01-24-2011   #10
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I always have my camera set to infinity before I snap. I then have to move the focus ring one way only until in focus instead of going back and forth.
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Old 01-24-2011   #11
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Polarizer. Permanently super glued to lenses used with SLR camera bodies. I am even tempted to shell out big bucks for a rangefinder polarizer.
Use these to protect rangefinder sized lenses. Light meters too.



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Old 01-24-2011   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSNfan View Post
Learn all the rules and then break them one by one.
I'd completely agree, for most of them. But 'put the dev in before the fixer' is one I've found it better not to break...

There are 'rules' that really are rules (such as how to get shadow detail in a neg) and 'rules' that are merely rules of thumb ('rule of thirds', etc.).

I disagree (slightly) with you for one reason only. Some might decide to break 'rules' without thinking about why. But it's always a good reason to think why you do anything (and not just in photography).

Cheers,

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Old 01-24-2011   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitecat View Post
I always have my camera set to infinity before I snap. I then have to move the focus ring one way only until in focus instead of going back and forth.
Intriguing, and prompts the following thought:

Lenses with finger grips/spars/'bumps' (ZI style) allow you to focus by touch as you're bringing the camera to your eye. Probaby best when combined with your idea, though if you're familiar enough with a lens, it can be set at any distance.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-24-2011   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitecat View Post
I always have my camera set to infinity before I snap. I then have to move the focus ring one way only until in focus instead of going back and forth.
I do the same. Makes focusing much quicker.
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Old 01-24-2011   #15
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If photographing someone at home on their sofa and the cushions have seen better days, place a telephone directory (or these days a large thick book) under the cushion they sit on. Makes for a much better picture.

You can make lens hoods from various plastic pots and bottles. You need to experiment a bit, but here's an example:

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/200...ns_hood_f.html

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Old 01-24-2011   #16
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I keep a small piece of photographic grey card in the pocket of my camera bag.
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Old 01-24-2011   #17
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Learn sunny-16.

It will make you appreciate light, and sometime even light-meters more.
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Old 01-24-2011   #18
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A film canister makes for a convenient distraction for your cat while you're utilizing your changing bag.
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Old 01-24-2011   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkhorse View Post
A film canister makes for a convenient distraction for your cat while you're utilizing your changing bag.
Film canisters are also very handy for keeping those small screws and whatzits when you take apart a camera.

Better yet, put a doubled-back strip of duct tape at the top of your work area. Then stick the screws and small oddball parts on the tape, working from left to right, as you take things apart. When you get to the point of putting them back together, you can easily work back from right to left and know which goes in what order.
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Old 01-24-2011   #20
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Fantastic so far! Think I may experiment with the lens hood... Anybody got an idea for 41mm lens caps?

Update: Just made a lens hood for the Industar 26, 50mm lens....painted it black and it snaps on and off easily! Took the bottom part of the alcohol bottle and made a diffuser cap for my shoe mount Nikon SB24 flash...Cool.

Just fit the plastic lens hood to the Summarit and it fits even better! Wow.

That only took about an hour and a half including painting. Will re-do and take my time to get all the cuts smooth, but this is fun. Thanks!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Lens Hood Fab.jpg (40.6 KB, 21 views)
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Old 01-24-2011   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
Fantastic so far! Think I may experiment with the lens hood... Anybody got an idea for 41mm lens caps?
Don't forget if you make one from a pot or tub with a lid you can always cut a design into the lid for an 'effects filter'.

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Old 01-24-2011   #22
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I picked up an 3 yard length of black fabric from the fabric store, it's amazing how many things you can do with that and a couple of 99cent clamps from home depot. I've used it for blocking unwanted light, a background, and in serves as a "wall" in my darkroom.
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Old 01-24-2011   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lawrence View Post
If photographing someone at home on their sofa and the cushions have seen better days, place a telephone directory (or these days a large thick book) under the cushion they sit on. Makes for a much better picture.
Great idea. Too bad telephone books are going the way of the dodo.
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Old 01-24-2011   #24
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probably mentioned before, but 12526 (for Cron 35 ASPH) hood fits Summilux 35/1.4 pre-asph snuggly. sticking bothside of the hood's inner ring with electric tape make it even tighter, no rotation.
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Old 01-24-2011   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkhorse View Post
A film canister makes for a convenient distraction for your cat while you're utilizing your changing bag.
They're also very useful for catching spiders, bugs etc. and disposing of outside.

Years ago we also used them in Africa for providing faeces samples for the Doctor - try that with digital!

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Old 01-24-2011   #26
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The best tip I know of is to be patient... the pictures will find you...
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Old 01-24-2011   #27
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Excellent tips that deserve mention to most of us. Many of these tips I've used for years and some I wasn't aware of so thanks to all. Keep them coming.
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Old 01-24-2011   #28
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Great idea for a thread. I'll try to think of something after I read what others have posted.



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Old 01-24-2011   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videogamemaker View Post
I keep a small piece of photographic grey card in the pocket of my camera bag.
Me too. I have a 3x5 size card.
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Old 01-24-2011   #30
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Here are a couple:

- when you shoot a 35mm, the distance to the subject is the same as the width of the frame. Makes "hip-shooting" easy
- the height of a 35mm frame is the same as the width of a 50. For example, if you are out with your 35 only, and need a 50, shoot vertical and crop by half
- to focus fast and/or long lenses wide open, pre-focus, and do final focusing by moving.
- when it's dark, for people shooting, forget about your meter, shoot as slow and wide open as you can. Worry about exposure later.


Cheers,

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Old 01-24-2011   #31
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the odd piece of background fabric as mentioned earlier - can also be used as an improvised "gown" or "wrap" or "shawl" for your model if you are looking to change up the wardrobe - in a hurry. (no need to change or undress - just cover up/wrap around them.
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Old 01-24-2011   #32
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the 'softie' shutter lock trick has saved me untold blank frames since i read about it here on the forum. If you are using a soft release button, loop a cloth hair tie around your strap adjacent to it. If the shutter is wound and you are done shooting, hook the hair tie around the softie between the bottom of the softie and the camera body and it will prevent the shutter button from depressing accidentally in your bag, etc.
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Old 01-24-2011   #33
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Wax paper taped to a cardboard frame can be used a temporary piece of ground glass. Useful in checking accuracy of the focus of lenses (applies the most to front-cell focusing lenses).
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Old 01-24-2011   #34
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1) You can get large sized diffusion fabric at the garden center (used to protect garden plants from the cold) at much lower prices than Roscoe (or similar brand) diffusion rolls. Cover large windows with the fabric in order to soften the contrast. Is particularly useful when shooting digital with less dynamic range than neg film.

2) Wrinkled aluminum foil used as a reflector from the bottom works great for water-like reflections. Works with sunlight and hot lights, not so much with flash.
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Old 01-25-2011   #35
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Another couple:

If you want to avoid the 'coat hanger in mouth' syndrome when taking a portrait, get the sitter (or sitters) to blow a raspberry, then take the picture immediately afterwards. You get a much more natural smile (and hopefully not too much spittle on the lens).

To get thoughtful shots of children under 5 years of age, place some sticky tape on the palms of their hands.

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Old 01-25-2011   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Here are a couple:

- when you shoot a 35mm, the distance to the subject is the same as the width of the frame. Makes "hip-shooting" easy
- the height of a 35mm frame is the same as the width of a 50. For example, if you are out with your 35 only, and need a 50, shoot vertical and crop by half
- to focus fast and/or long lenses wide open, pre-focus, and do final focusing by moving.
- when it's dark, for people shooting, forget about your meter, shoot as slow and wide open as you can. Worry about exposure later.


Cheers,

Roland.
For a guy who doesn't shoot street, you sure have a lot of good street-shooting tips! I use the last two all the time.

Here are some more focusing tips:

- Get (and use) one of those DoF calculators for your smart phone or iPod. There are many, so if you shoot film be sure to get one that includes film formats. These are great if you do a lot of fixed/hyper focus-type shooting. Knowing focus ranges for your lenses can help you dial-in focus based on your favorite shooting distance.

- Most things on a city street are pretty consistent with regard to distance, the width of city sidewalks and streets, the distance between parking meters and street lights, even the lines on a sidewalk (this can vary block to block, but the sidewalk is usually the same width). By making a few basic checks with your camera, you can know the distances in advance and make various distance settings (multiples and divisions) on your lens in advance very quickly.

You can then use the distance information in conjunction with the DoF calculator to know focus ranges. This can help you pre-visualize certain shooting situations


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Old 01-25-2011   #37
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Quote:
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They're also very useful for catching spiders, bugs etc. and disposing of outside.

Years ago we also used them in Africa for providing faeces samples for the Doctor - try that with digital!

John
Thanks, the samples example made my day.

I have also used film canisters (at least the older style) for holding liquids. I have kept rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and other unexpected substances for surprisingly long times. No feces yet, maybe another day.
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Old 01-25-2011   #38
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Take a lens with you for a stroll along the shelves in the Supermarket or Drug Store, when you need a front lens, or front lens hood cap. You'll most likely find something whose cap, or shap cap will do vey nicely. And if whatever you finddoesn't fit snugly, shimming the inside edge with some strips of Dymo tape or even adhesive window draft-sealing foam will make it fit.
Velcro sewn on the epaulettes of your vest and on the camera strap will allow you to wear the camera hanging off your shoulder, and it will never, ever slip off as you walk around.
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Old 01-25-2011   #39
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Thanks, the samples example made my day.

I have also used film canisters (at least the older style) for holding liquids. I have kept rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and other unexpected substances for surprisingly long times. No feces yet, maybe another day.
It was a bit rough and ready in those days.

I once took my 35mm canister to the local doctor where he examined my sample under his microscope (in between sips of whiskey). As I sat there sweating profusely and feeling terrible, I asked him what his opinion was. He replied, "9.2 for technical merit, 7.8 for degree of difficulty and 5.9 for artistic impression"!

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