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Gesualdo
04-28-2009, 09:05 PM
I have noticed when I'm taking photographs, particularly when I'm visiting zoos or wildlife preserves, that anytime I try to take photos through fencing of any sort and I need to use the zoom function, my camera seems to think the fence is the subject of the photo, rather than the animal. Does anyone have a suggestion how to "trick" the camera into looking at the correct subject? I don't have this problem without the zoom function, but unfortunately, I then also have a very small subject, often tucked into a dark corner.

Ned
04-28-2009, 09:32 PM
What kind of camera G?

If you have a Point & Shoot, it's more difficult. Most modern digital P&S cameras have a Face Detect, Multi-Point, and Central Point focus modes. Most people use Face Detect. In the situation you mention, that would be the worst focus mode to use. Multi-Point won't work well either. You should be using Central Point focus. That is the most likely to work. Moreover, you should try to get as close as possible to the fence to give your camera a better chance to focus beyond it. I'm talking a " from the fence.

If you have an SLR, the answer is easy. Go to manual focus.

With either type of camera, open the lens aperture up to reduce the depth of field. That will take whatever is left of the fence in the photo out of focus. You can do that with a P&S in "manual mode."

I have noticed when I'm taking photographs, particularly when I'm visiting zoos or wildlife preserves, that anytime I try to take photos through fencing of any sort and I need to use the zoom function, my camera seems to think the fence is the subject of the photo, rather than the animal. Does anyone have a suggestion how to "trick" the camera into looking at the correct subject? I don't have this problem without the zoom function, but unfortunately, I then also have a very small subject, often tucked into a dark corner.

NW CTC
04-29-2009, 12:10 AM
[quote=Ned;168083]

...If you have a Point & Shoot, it's more difficult. Most modern digital P&S cameras have a Face Detect, Multi-Point, and Central Point focus modes. Most people use Face Detect. In the situation you mention, that would be the worst focus mode to use. Multi-Point won't work well either. You should be using Central Point focus. That is the most likely to work. Moreover, you should try to get as close as possible to the fence to give your camera a better chance to focus beyond it. I'm talking a " from the fence. ..."

I've had very good results with this latter technique, using my Canon Powershot - not necessarily using CP focus, but getting quite close, holding it very steady and shooting slowly.

If that fails, there's always PhotoShop;)

Ned
04-29-2009, 06:34 AM
...If that fails, there's always PhotoShop;)

Unfortunately, if the photo has the subject is out of focus to start with, Photoshop will have only a very limited effect, if any, to get the subject in focus.

As we both pointed out, getting as close to the fence as possible, is the best way to go with either a P&S or SLR/DSLR.

mercwyn
04-29-2009, 01:49 PM
My trick is to just climb over the fence and into the enclosure with the animal. I get some great shots as the lion, tiger or bear comes to investigate. The later shots tend to be blurred and out of focus and the lion, tiger or attacks me, causing the camera to giggle, but the first few shots are unbelievable! :D

Seriously, I find that being just over 6 feet tall allows me to get some better shots with the point and shoot, I just stand up really tall and I can generally get a shot that doesn't shoot through the fence. Or I can sometimes get close enough that I'm shooting between the bars.

Ned
04-29-2009, 04:42 PM
I would add that if you want great animal shots, of the "wild beast" variety, and not worry about a fence, go to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, if you're in the area, and take a "photo safari."

If you haven't read it, take a look at my Blog article, Destination: For a wild time in San Diego, don't forget your camera (http://nslphotography.blogspot.com/2009/04/destination-for-wild-time-in-san-diego.html) about the "photo safaris" at the SDWAP. The article can also be found on Tripso.

When I go to places with fences, or where I know I'm going to have to take photos over crowds, I often take my photographer's foot ladder. It's a 4' step ladder with extra wide steps and wheels to drag it along. I've used it at zoos, but I always seek permission to bring it along, long before my visit. If I'm going to be on private property taking photos I always ask for permission before taking the photos, and using some of my more bulky equipment, especially if there is any question about that. In some places, such as NYC, for example, to use a tripod in their parks, or on their streets, you need to give the City advance notice, and apply for a permit. I've never been turned down there, but it's always possible.

As a professional, knowing that a location, for example, could get some free publicity, I'm generally given permission.

I'll be doing a photo shoot in the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, FL on Friday, weather permitting, as all my shots are planned for the Gardens. I contacted them weeks ago about what I wanted to do. Of course, I don't expect to be at all disruptive, while I will have an assistant, it will just be the two of us.

My trick is to just climb over the fence and into the enclosure with the animal. I get some great shots as the lion, tiger or bear comes to investigate. The later shots tend to be blurred and out of focus and the lion, tiger or attacks me, causing the camera to giggle, but the first few shots are unbelievable! :D

Seriously, I find that being just over 6 feet tall allows me to get some better shots with the point and shoot, I just stand up really tall and I can generally get a shot that doesn't shoot through the fence. Or I can sometimes get close enough that I'm shooting between the bars.

jfrenaye
04-29-2009, 05:58 PM
Seriously you need a permit to use a tripod in New York?

Ned
04-29-2009, 06:23 PM
I was just about to apply for a permit for NYC and found that except for specific areas of Central Park, if you're using a still camera on a tripod, and not otherwise asserting exclusive use of City property (in other words, people can get past you easily, and you don't hang in a particular spot for so long that people would be denied use of that spot) you no longer have to get the "free" permit. Apparently this changed a few months ago. While I've been in NYC many times in the last few months, I've not brought a tripod with me. Otherwise, if you want to use a spot exclusively for some time, or you are shooting out of a vehicle or photographic trolley, you still need a permit.

So John, if you and I go to NYC and want to use a tripod for some casual photography, now that the law has changed, we don't need a permit, except in 8 specific areas of Central Park.

Seriously you need a permit to use a tripod in New York?

roteague
04-29-2009, 06:58 PM
I'll be doing a photo shoot in the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, FL on Friday, weather permitting, as all my shots are planned for the Gardens. I contacted them weeks ago about what I wanted to do. Of course, I don't expect to be at all disruptive, while I will have an assistant, it will just be the two of us.

Have a great trip .... takes lot of photographs. :D

I wish I was going ... but I'm going to Australia in October (to shoot Large Format in Victoria :D)

Ned
04-29-2009, 07:09 PM
Thanks. That sounds great. I've never been to Oceania, but hope to go there in the next 5 years.

I'll be shooting strictly 35mm DSLR in Florida. I'm also going to document the Amtrak AutoTrain trip from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA. I'll probably be doing an article about it on Tripso in the future.

I occasionally shoot medium format film, but that's very rare now. I've never done any large format photography.

Have a great trip .... takes lot of photographs. :D

I wish I was going ... but I'm going to Australia in October (to shoot Large Format in Victoria :D)

roteague
04-30-2009, 05:43 PM
Thanks. That sounds great. I've never been to Oceania, but hope to go there in the next 5 years.

I'll be shooting strictly 35mm DSLR in Florida. I'm also going to document the Amtrak AutoTrain trip from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA. I'll probably be doing an article about it on Tripso in the future.

I occasionally shoot medium format film, but that's very rare now. I've never done any large format photography.

I love trains, so I'll be looking forward to your photos and your article.



Large Format is a different mindset ... it isn't for everyone. For me, a good day is 3 or 4 photographs. Not to mention, the costs: 20 sheets of film (20 photos) is around $70, processing about $4 per sheet, and $70 each for a drum scan.

Gesualdo
04-30-2009, 09:59 PM
My trick is to just climb over the fence and into the enclosure with the animal. I get some great shots as the lion, tiger or bear comes to investigate. The later shots tend to be blurred and out of focus and the lion, tiger or attacks me, causing the camera to giggle, but the first few shots are unbelievable! :D

Seriously, I find that being just over 6 feet tall allows me to get some better shots with the point and shoot, I just stand up really tall and I can generally get a shot that doesn't shoot through the fence. Or I can sometimes get close enough that I'm shooting between the bars.

Your camera giggles? I want one of those! On second thought, I don't think I do. It's probably red and hairy and has the name Elmo. Ugh!

I'm usually okay with taking photos over the fence, but sometimes, the fence goes all the way to the top, and there's NO shooting between the chicken-wire.

I did get a great movie of some creeps teasing the coyotes. I thought I could use it for evidence in case one of them got their face ripped off by an angry animal and tried to sue the zoo. Lucky for them, they escaped with all their parts.



...If you have a Point & Shoot, it's more difficult. Most modern digital P&S cameras have a Face Detect, Multi-Point, and Central Point focus modes. Most people use Face Detect. In the situation you mention, that would be the worst focus mode to use. Multi-Point won't work well either. You should be using Central Point focus. That is the most likely to work. Moreover, you should try to get as close as possible to the fence to give your camera a better chance to focus beyond it. I'm talking a " from the fence. ..."

I've had very good results with this latter technique, using my Canon Powershot - not necessarily using CP focus, but getting quite close, holding it very steady and shooting slowly.

If that fails, there's always PhotoShop;)

I didn't think I was much of a photographer, so I have strictly a point-and-shoot model. One of the Nikon Coolpix models. Sounds like I need to read the manual. I hadn't realized there was a face detect, central point focus, etc. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll figure it out. Maybe it will help me with my display cases at work too.

I'm not that great with Photoshop, but even if I could possibly edit out a whole chain-link fence, I knew there was no saving these photos because the animals were still badly out of focus. Too bad. Maybe it's an excuse for another trip to the zoo - something I NEVER thought I'd hear myself say.

In the meantime, it does sound like I need to save my pennies for a DSLR. I remember having my mom's manual focus 35-mm camera and having fun playing with the different lenses and making it come into focus. My computer hobby is expensive enough. I'm afraid to get into this one.

Annette
04-30-2009, 10:05 PM
Okay I am way too tired and have a headache, but someone please tell me I'm not the only one that misread "photography" as something else.

I'm trying to hone my photography "skills". I had to put it in quotes because I don't think that what I have one would necessarily call a skill. More like... comical happenstance. I joined a photoblog project so I've been trying to make at least some of my photos on that be be at least "okay" if not "good". But it's a picture a day and I find that often I'm more concerned with just getting a picture for that day rather than focusing on the aesthetic aspects of it. But still, one of the reasons I joined was to try and make myself look at things in different ways.

Ned
04-30-2009, 10:40 PM
I have no idea if you're the only one that misread it, but I sure hope you feel better quickly after a good night's sleep tonight.

Okay I am way too tired and have a headache, but someone please tell me I'm not the only one that misread "photography" as something else.

I'm trying to hone my photography "skills". I had to put it in quotes because I don't think that what I have one would necessarily call a skill. More like... comical happenstance. I joined a photoblog project so I've been trying to make at least some of my photos on that be be at least "okay" if not "good". But it's a picture a day and I find that often I'm more concerned with just getting a picture for that day rather than focusing on the aesthetic aspects of it. But still, one of the reasons I joined was to try and make myself look at things in different ways.

Gesualdo
04-30-2009, 10:55 PM
I would hope you know me better than that, Annette! :eek:

But then, you never know what you might need to carry with you when you travel...;)

Your photoblog project sounds interesting. One of these days, I'd like to get back into storm chasing and get some good photos of storms. Not that that's not completely overdone these days...

Speaking of storms, I hear one moving in. I'd better log off.

tdew
05-01-2009, 07:35 AM
I'm also going to document the Amtrak AutoTrain trip from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA. I'll probably be doing an article about it on Tripso in the future.

I haven't done the auto train in a couple of years, but if they still permit smoking, you will want to be far away from that area. Even when I still smoked it was bad...

I've probably traveled on it about 6 times - with all the different options of seats and rooms and companions. It's a good way to cut off a lot of miles, but you spend a lot of time just waiting to move.

Have fun. Sounds like you're heading back soon too. We're leaving on Sat. after my grand dtr takes the SATs in Winter Park...

Ned
05-01-2009, 07:43 AM
We're heading north on Sunday Terry. Have a safe trip up yourself.

I haven't done the auto train in a couple of years, but if they still permit smoking, you will want to be far away from that area. Even when I still smoked it was bad...

I've probably traveled on it about 6 times - with all the different options of seats and rooms and companions. It's a good way to cut off a lot of miles, but you spend a lot of time just waiting to move.

Have fun. Sounds like you're heading back soon too. We're leaving on Sat. after my grand dtr takes the SATs in Winter Park...

jfrenaye
05-01-2009, 07:49 AM
I remember doing it with my mom way back when and she was a heavy smoker. I am pretty sure they had smoking cars, but we were in a cabin and there was no smoking in them.

I remember he almost missing the train in SC when they stopped for a doggie stop in the middle of the night and she had to finish the cigarette. The train started to go and I saw her and the dog outside the window.

The conductor was able to grab them a few cars back. (this was probably when I was like 12)

tdew
05-01-2009, 08:03 AM
That could have been a fun adventure for you for the rest of the ride.

The last time I did the Auto Train was at the end of Sept 2001. I wanted to be with family for birthdays after the horror of that month but didn't want to fly.
I took my grand son with me - he was almost 2 at the time.

We had a small compartment. When I woke up in the morning, he was sleeping soundly, so I quickly went to use the bathroom. I locked him in while I was gone. When I got back he had hands and face pressed up against the window with tears streaming down his face! I felt awful!

The rest of the trip was fine - until I saw the museum on I 4 that has the crashed plane on the side of the road. That did me in.

wrp96
05-01-2009, 08:26 AM
My trick is to just climb over the fence and into the enclosure with the animal. I get some great shots as the lion, tiger or bear comes to investigate. The later shots tend to be blurred and out of focus and the lion, tiger or attacks me, causing the camera to giggle, but the first few shots are unbelievable! :D


I am still laughing over this because unfortunately a few people HAVE done this in the past. Of course, these are usually the ones that end up on CNN with the headline "Tourist attacked by polar bear at zoo." I don't think Binky the polar bear ever got over her indigestion from her attack by the tourist paparazzi.

Ned
05-01-2009, 08:36 AM
According to what I've read about the history of the Auto Train, the smoking cars were eliminated in 1993, ten years after Amtrak acquired the train and stations from the Auto-Train Corporation.

Now smoking on the Auto Train is only in a designated, enclosed smoking room located on the lower level of the Lounge Car. Moreover sometimes that car is not on the train, due to an equipment substitution, and in that circumstance the entire train is non-smoking.

The doggie stop in South Carolina is not really a doggie stop. The train stops in Florence, South Carolina, to refuel the train's two engines, pump in fresh drinking water, as well as fresh water for the sleeper showers and sinks, pump out all waste water, and change the engineer, assistant engineer, and conductors.

I remember doing it with my mom way back when and she was a heavy smoker. I am pretty sure they had smoking cars, but we were in a cabin and there was no smoking in them.

I remember he almost missing the train in SC when they stopped for a doggie stop in the middle of the night and she had to finish the cigarette. The train started to go and I saw her and the dog outside the window.

The conductor was able to grab them a few cars back. (this was probably when I was like 12)

jfrenaye
05-01-2009, 09:11 AM
But it is a doggie stop (or at least was) and passengers are allowed to de-train while they do their thang.

In defense of the AutoTrain, they did sound the warning, my mom was just a little slow to react because she wanted to finish that one last cigarette

tdew
05-01-2009, 09:49 AM
Now smoking on the Auto Train is only in a designated, enclosed smoking room located on the lower level of the Lounge Car. Moreover sometimes that car is not on the train, due to an equipment substitution, and in that circumstance the entire train is non-smoking.

This is what I remember - not smoking cars on the train.
What I was advising was that you book yourself far away from that area - as it's not pleasant even for smokers.

roteague
05-01-2009, 10:43 AM
Living in Hawaii, I don't get much opportunities to ride the train. :p Oh well, I did get to ride The Ghan a few years ago, from Adelaide to Alice Springs (Australia). It was fantastic. I had a private room, and was able to watch the Outback go by from my bed as I woke the next morning (it was a 20 hour trip). I never forgot that experience.

Ned
05-01-2009, 03:55 PM
They do let people off the train, but most, at least in the sleepers, are asleep by then. It takes quite a while to fuel and pump and change personnel.

She must have had some addiction then!

But it is a doggie stop (or at least was) and passengers are allowed to de-train while they do their thang.

In defense of the AutoTrain, they did sound the warning, my mom was just a little slow to react because she wanted to finish that one last cigarette

Ned
05-01-2009, 03:57 PM
Except when we go to the dining car, we're in one of the sleepers, in a 2nd floor bedroom with private washbasin, toilet and shower.

This is what I remember - not smoking cars on the train.
What I was advising was that you book yourself far away from that area - as it's not pleasant even for smokers.

silver cloud
09-15-2009, 01:39 PM
Being the "short wonder" I aim my camera through the hole between the chain links. Works almost every time!

Ned
09-15-2009, 02:15 PM
I do that too, but I also make sure I set my aperture to limit the shot's depth of field, putting the lingering edges of the links in such bad focus that they all but disappear. What's left can generally be "Photoshopped out."

Being the "short wonder" I aim my camera through the hole between the chain links. Works almost every time!