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need tips for GH2 shot
  • I need to tilt down from the blue sky to the sea surface. I know that the sky and sea can create havoc for codecs. Any tips for settings? ISO 160, I do have some ND filters, what other settings might mitigate some of the artifacts and anomalies that might come up?
  • 11 Replies sorted by
  • How about a graduated neutral density filter?
  • Sing Ray can be overkill.
    You can look at ebay for very cheap Vari-ND filters (get 77 or 88mm ones :-) )
    Some of them make some color shift (as I know SR also do this).
  • If he's going to be tilting down from blue sky to sea surface, a fixed graduated filter screwed onto the lens won't be able to be moved. Even for still photography, you're locked into the graduation for composition. Hence, a rectangular filter which can be adjusted for individual shots is, I think, a better choice. The Singh-Rays are the most expensive and yes, may be overkill. They are the best example, but you should be able to find less expensive alternatives. I would definitely NOT get a screw-in filter though, but would get something similar to Cokin filter holder.
  • Yes, get the Cokin P system. I have it and use it all the time.

    Also, because of the sun reflecting off of the water, you'll get a lot of overblown areas on the water surface even when exposed properly. Use a good polarizer which you can turn to get rid of the highlights and still be able to expose at the same levels.

    Lastly, decided what kind of DOF you want to use. Remember that the more that is in focus, the less detail you will have in the whole frame as the codec maxes out. If you have something in the foreground you can focus on and leave the water slightly out of focus, that will look better than having a bunch of water with codec blocking.
  • Is codec blocking the proper name for the anomalies that often occur shooting blue skys? Will opening up the aperture also reduce the blocking you get in the sky?
  • Get a good polarizer. If you can afford it, get one from B+W
  • (macro)blocking is what you'll see in detailed areas when the codec has run out of usable bitrate, I.E., maxed out. Gradient banding is what you'll see in the sky or areas of single colors and this is due to bit depth limitations, I.E., 8 bit vs. 10/12/14 bit, however higher bitrates will help this too.
  • Shoot at a time of day that maximizes allows everything to staying in a useable dynamic range (eg early morning with sun at your back).

    If you have a good fluid head, pan a slowly as you can without jerky motion and then ramp it in post.

    And yes, a good polariser is a must -- if you're in to nature shooting of any sort, this is the most important investment after camera, lenses and tripods you can make so don't cheap out.
  • Here's how I would get that shot: Set up your camera with the lens focussed to infinity and a shallow enough DOF so that objects in the extreme f.g. will be extremely soft focus. (You may need ND filters to achieve this open aperture in the sun.) Be sure to expose for the overall scene, not the sun.

    Now, set a net (probably a double) or a piece of ND gel filter (either in a three-sided gel frame or just stretched between two stands) so that it just blocks the sun at the horizon. It should be close to the lens and fixed in position so it does not move. Make sure that there is no hard edge in the frame (hence the three-sided frame). Using a net will give you diffusion plus darkening. ND filter gel will give just the darkening.

    This essentially gives you a graduated filter that stays in one position instead of tilting with the camera. The transition line will be fairly soft due to the soft f.g. focus. If you set it at the horizon line you'll never see it. (It's not really graduated of course. If you would like it to be more graduated then use ND filter that this 1/2 or 1/3rd the total strength you need and double or triple it up with a staggered edge to create a graduated effect. Though frankly, simple is best.)
  • I'm not familiar with nets. Do you have a link?

    That's one example, but you can also just use a black nylon stocking (maybe doubled up) stretched out. The ND gel is also good, but since it's reflective, set a flag or black cloth behind the camera to prevent reflections.