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  #1  
Old 11 Feb 2011
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Overland Photography - Hints & Tips

Hi Folks

Nick here from Langebaan Sunset (currently in Namibia). I have just uploaded an article on some hints and tips for Overland Photography as I have had a few people email so I thought is best to share my answers with the wider community

You can find the article here;

Langebaan Sunset: Overland Photography

I have included some camera and non-camera specific things to think about and also included my gear list and link to my photo album

Hope you like the article and the pics ;-)

Cheers

Nick
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Old 11 Feb 2011
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Great tips

Some excellent tips and now I'm keen to get out there and take lots of photos.

I especially like your approach with villagers and asking permission. This unfortunately takes a lot of time and can be off putting for us amateurs but it is by far the best way to get people at their most natural.

What tips would you have for people that are put off by your photographing them (ie haveing a lens stuck in their face)? I personally find that a DSL lens is quite intimidating, especially when it's within a metre of my face, so I fully understand when other people (subjects) are scared by it.

How much space does all this gear take up, any tips for packing it on a motorbike?
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Old 12 Feb 2011
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People shots, lens choice & packing for a bike trip

Hi Turbocharger

Thanks for the feedback.

On the topic of taking pics of people - if you can use a lens that gives you approx 100mm you can put a bit of distance between you and the subject. Any closer than a few meters and you will need a wide angle lens. We found it only takes about 30 minutes with kids to gain confidence and turn the whole process of taking pics into a "game". With adults its better if you can spend at least half a day with them - so if you plan to stop in a village and want to take pics - turn up at lunchtime and get familiar with people etc..... better still stop over night and take pics in the morning. Showing people the pics on a DSLR after you take them is also good - harder to do if there is a crowd!

In terms of packing for a bike trip (we are in 4x4 and a lot of storage) I would adopt the following:

If you want to take a DSLR take one lens that will do everything (its going to be a compromise):

For the 5D MKII they make a 24-105mm (its sold as the kit lens) its the one I use the most - good for people but limited for wildlife

Other good options are:

Canon 70-300 mm Canon 70-300mm IS

Tamron 28-300 Tamron SP AF28-300/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Review

You can get some great ranges from wide to zoom so I would shop around and do some searching.

This article opens up the debate well: Best all around lens for a long trip? [Sitemap] - Digital Grin Photography Forum

Its aimed at backpackers wanting to take a DSLR and a good lens with minimal packing space.

In terms of packing for a bike - go to a pro shop and look at some of the bags you can get. You will see a much bigger range than say going into your average high street camera shop. They will be able to demo a wide range of bags and allow you the time to pack your kit into a bag that is absolutely right for your bike and available space. It might take a bit of time but we tarvelled with some bikers and one of them had a good set up which he kept on the top of his bike rack - never had a problem.

Look at Kata and Tamrac. Lowe has perhaps the best choice Vs best price. Try and get a dust cover / waterproof cover - many of the better bags have this as standard. Try also to get dust proof zips as DUST gets EVERYWHERE - in Africa we found the ultra fine bull dust makes its way through the zip!

HTH

Nick
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Old 12 Feb 2011
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Cracking tips Nick .. thanks for the post.

Question: Have you – or anyone else here – got any opinions regarding the new generation of 'hybrid' cameras?

See, probably like a lot of people on this forum, I'm no photo expert, nor do I necessarily want to become one; so full-on DSLR kit is really not for me. I just want something that's ultra handy that I can carry in my tank bag, pocket, or maybe sling onto my belt .. BUT takes richer photos than a typical point-and-shoot is capable of. Plus I love those shots where the subject is in perfect focus but the background is blurred (yunno the ones I mean), which is a difficult effect to achieve with your average P&S.

I'm currently looking at these:
  • Olympus XZ-1 (a high-end fixed lens P&S)
  • Sony NEX-5 (interchangeable lens)
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 (interchangeable lens)
However, forking out £350-£600 is holding me back, big time. I'm thinking that I should hang-on for another 6-12 months or so until this sector of the 'enthusiasts' market is a little more developed.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks

KEITH

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Old 12 Feb 2011
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+1 great tips, good information.

Thanx
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Old 13 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith1954 View Post
Cracking tips Nick .. thanks for the post.

Question: Have you – or anyone else here – got any opinions regarding the new generation of 'hybrid' cameras?

See, probably like a lot of people on this forum, I'm no photo expert, nor do I necessarily want to become one; so full-on DSLR kit is really not for me. I just want something that's ultra handy that I can carry in my tank bag, pocket, or maybe sling onto my belt .. BUT takes richer photos than a typical point-and-shoot is capable of. Plus I love those shots where the subject is in perfect focus but the background is blurred (yunno the ones I mean), which is a difficult effect to achieve with your average P&S.

I'm currently looking at these:
  • Olympus XZ-1 (a high-end fixed lens P&S)
  • Sony NEX-5 (interchangeable lens)
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 (interchangeable lens)
However, forking out £350-£600 is holding me back, big time. I'm thinking that I should hang-on for another 6-12 months or so until this sector of the 'enthusiasts' market is a little more developed.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks

KEITH

.
Both the Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3 cameras are a travelers dream. I think the smaller size of the body and lenses are a big plus as it the sensor size which is bigger than the advanced compacts. Noting the price of the Leica lenses the Panasonic uses, I would opt for the Olympus E-P2 or the slightly lower spec E-PL2 as Zuiko Lenses have a reputation for outstanding optics with a lower price than Leica. The caneras have the same electronics as my Semi-Pro E-30 but offer 720p movies and a compact package.
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Old 13 Feb 2011
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Great suggestions, however I have other opinions regarding some of your settings, particularly RAW development. On a 20mp camera I can certainly see why you use JPEG, but this option doesn't provide the needed headroom to optimally adjust for human error, tweak the white balance, or other enhancements. A raw developer is the same as a darkroom. Dodging, burning, color adjustments were all part of the film world and they are still valuable tools in the digital world.

As for the megapixel thing, the finest grained 35mm film resolution was exceeded around 8mp. Unless you are buying pro lenses money is wasted exceeding the 12-16mp range (although this range is pretty standard these days). A professional body with consumer lenses is much worse than an entry SLR with pro lenses.

In summary:
Buy the best lenses you can afford.
Buy the body that has the control over the settings you will use/need.
Unless you are printing posters, megapixels are irrelevant in the SLR world these days.
Shoot RAW if you are willing to learn to develop your own photos and have the capacity to store them (otherwise JPG at the highest resolution).
Even a 3mp point and shoot can take a masterpiece.
Everyone has an opinion, this is just mine. Do what works for your situation.
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Old 22 May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switchback View Post

In summary:
Buy the best lenses you can afford.
Buy the body that has the control over the settings you will use/need.
Unless you are printing posters, megapixels are irrelevant in the SLR world these days.
Shoot RAW if you are willing to learn to develop your own photos and have the capacity to store them (otherwise JPG at the highest resolution).
Even a 3mp point and shoot can take a masterpiece.
Everyone has an opinion, this is just mine. Do what works for your situation.
Agreed

I have photos enlarged to A4 on my wall taken on a 2.1MP compact and another printed A2 from my 6MP DSLR.

These days the camera I use most is a sigma DP1. A compact camera with a fixed 28mm equivalent lens and a sensor the same size as a DSLR. This is not a camera for everyone but I find the limitations of a fixed lens make me think more about the photos I take and give better photos as a result. The quality of the lens and the sensor gives fantastic results, but a high quality image is no use if it is poorly composed in the first place.

Browse peoples photo albums online, identify pictures you like and study the composition. Perhaps get a book which can give tips on how to get the effect you want. Then take your camera out and practice, thinking about the photo you are taking and what you want the end result to look like. You will take better photos as a result which can be very satisfying.

Finally, you're not going to take good pictures if you don't have your camera with you. So perhaps the best camera is one that you are happy to carry with you. Another reason why I take more pictures on the dp1 than my DSLR.


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