Photo Tips

Started by Buzz Killington, November 07, 2008, 08:35:18 PM

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Buzz Killington

It's great to see new members posting photos lately, and thanks to those that have been doing so. We like to think we are a better place than ATDB when it comes to "newbies" posting their photographs, as the guys over there can be quite critical.

Basically, I think this would be a good thread to help those just starting out with transport photography, and for those who may not have the best equipment. (Although even the cheap cameras are getting pretty good).

I'm not an expert so some of the other more experienced photographers may like to add their two cents in also.

But here's a bit on Photo Editing
For those who have Windows, you may also find a program called "Windows Photo Gallery" which is generally the program that shows your photos when you double click on them in your folders.

There are two very basic but very helpful functions in this program - Crop and AutoCorrect. When I was going through our collection for photos to be uploaded to the Gallery, i used both of these functions on basically every photos.

The benefits of Crop are:

- You can centre the bus in frame
- You will reduce the file size (often by more than half)
- If your camera has enough pixels, it will also "zoom" the photo in and the bus will fill more of the frame.

AutoCorrect will basically correct exposure and colour to what it thinks is correct. It is not always correct though, so see how you go. it tried to make a lot of shots a bit more dull than they were before.

Anyways, try those out for starters and see how you go!

Sir Pompously

With practice, perfect shots can be obtained. As most new members posting photos are from a younger set, and do not yet have the means and ways of actually purchasing fantastic cameras and also superb photo editing software. However, for the those that may be looking for something a little more advanced here is a little session in basic photoshop photo editing. This is using Photoshop Elements 7.0, a very basic version of the photoshop software not really used for graphic design and more focused on photo editing. I used to have a full version, however it was getting on in years so upgraded but was not paying hundreds of $$. Photoshop Elements 7.0 is about $189

You start by selecting the blue pse Icon and when in the Welcome Window, select Edit

After selecting a photo from the File>Open, you resize the photo by selecting Image>Resize>Image Size which will bring up the resize box

The Resize box allows you to resize a photo by Pixels, cm, mm, inches, % etc. I normally use 800 (Which automatically sets the height to 533 for SLR Cameras) pixels in my length (Or in my height if it is a Portrait), however 820x546pixels is acceptable on most websites. Resample Images check box at the bottom of the Image Size box must be checked to resize images by pixels

To sharpen, I use Auto Shapren as it provides good results. If you wish to sharpen your images manually, you can move down to Adjust Sharpness which gives you greater control

To apply a name or copyright on your image, you use the T logo found on the left hand pane. This will allow you to create a box to type into

Last but not least select File>Save As. which will allow you to save in many different photo types, it will automatically default to .PSD/.PDD or Photoshop File

Buzz Killington


Knowing your Camera
Before setting out to take some snaps, get to know your camera. Take the time to sit down and read the guide book, and have a play around with the settings. That way, when you are out and about you can select the best setting for the situation and you'll never miss a great shot because you were standing there fiddling around trying to work out why your flash keeps going off in the middle of the day. Oh, and make sure you have a full battery, and have a backup.

Phone Cameras: NO
Phone cameras as a general rule are a bad idea. Digital Cameras are very affordable these days and there's really no excuse for using a phone camera, except perhaps for capturing something quite irregular when no regular camera is available.

Make sure your subject is in frame!
You're not always going to have the time to make sure the shot is nicely centred, but at least have the bus in frame. You can always tidy your photos up later on your computer, but do your best to have the whole vehicle. Don't chop bits out.

Light Sources
Different conditions have different affects. Sometimes a nice dark day will make for some fantastic photos, whereas a bright sunny day can wreak havoc with your photos. Check where the sun is and work it to your advantage. If you're in the wrong place, your photos will be washed out and that is hard to edit out.

Keep it on the level
Try to hold your camera straight and still, or better yet, use a bench, a wall or a tripod. Most cameras now have anti-shake technology however your photos will look much crisper and nicer if you have something to rest your camera on.

Don't be afraid!
When you first start taking photos, it is a little unnerving. John Q Citizen is probably going to give you a strange look as he walks past. But so what? There's absolutely nothing wrong with what you are doing and you're hardly breaking any rules. If you are approached, there is no shame in saying you are simply pursuing a hobby, which is transport photography. Some people will even make up small business cards including their website address, or carry a portfolio of their work.

Be Prepared!
If you plan to spend the day out, take spare batteries. Don't forget a lint-free cloth or glasses-cleaning cloth to keep your lens clean. There's nothing worse than spending a day out taking photos only to return home, upload your images and discover there's a greasy ol' fingerprint on each and every one of the photos you took after that double beef and bacon burger.

No Flash!
If you are taking photos of a moving bus, or from inside a moving bus, make sure your flash doesn't go off! You can blind the driver, you twat!


If I may add a few things - as Todd said, Photoshop Elements is good enough for editing, but I don't recommend Auto Sharpen as it applies a particular amount and more often than not, it over sharpens. If you are using auto sharpen, then use it as a first step before you do any other editing.

Now, when it comes to sharpening, always sharpen when you are zoomed in 100% on your photo (go to view and zoom in 100%) else the sharpening will not work properly.

I use Unsharp Mask, where you can control the amount (%), width of each sharpening pixel (0.2) and threshold (0). It's good to use unsharp mask at the original size, then the re-sized size.

I might also add a step-by step mini lesson on how I do it with screenshots.

Bus 400

I thought it would be a good idea for us to compile a list of photo locations for buses.

My best location is sitting outside Tuggeranong Depot at around 07:00 & 14:00, as a whole lot of buses leave at these times.

Irisbus Rider

The lighting is shithouse, therefore they're crap locations.
The afternoon might be alright for buses heading northbound up Scollap St.

City Interchange westbound is always a favourite around 2pm to 5pm.

Buzz Killington

A bit of a unique photo opportunity is coming up - ACTION is running shuttles to Stromlo for the UCI Mountain Bike Trials and World Championships in the first week of September.

Tuesday 1 to Thursday 3 September (City only)

City Interchange via Crown Plaza : Back of Platform 1

* Buses depart the City every hour from 9:15am to 1:15pm
* Return buses from Stromlo depart hourly from 9:45am to 1:45pm

Friday 4 September

Woden Interchange to Stromlo:Platform 10
City Interchange via Crown Plaza to Stromlo: Back of Platform 1
Belconnen to Stromlo: Lathlain Street Bus Station, Platform 3

* Buses depart every hour from 9:15am to 5:15pm then every half hour from 6:00pm until Midnight (between 2:15pm and 5:15pm Deans Buslines will operate this service)
* Return buses from Stromlo depart every hour from 9:45am to 5:45pm then every half hour from 6:30pm to 12:30am

Saturday 5 September

Woden Interchange to Stromlo: Platform 10
City Interchange via Crown Plaza to Stromlo: Back of Platform 1
Belconnen to Stromlo: Lathlain Street Bus Station, Platform 3

* Buses depart every half hour from 9:30am to 2:00pm then every hour from 2:00pm until Midnight
* Return buses from Stromlo depart every half hour from 10:00am to 2:30pm then every hour from 2:30pm to 12:30am
* A Stromlo Mountain Shuttle will depart every 15 minutes (approx) from the bottom carpark to the top between 9:30am and 3:00pm

Sunday 6 September

Woden Interchange to Stromlo: Platform 10
City Interchange via Crown Plaza to Stromlo: Back of Platform 1
Belconnen to Stromlo: Lathlain Street Bus Station, Platform 3

* Buses depart every half hour from 9:30am to 2:00pm then every hour from 2:00pm until 11:00pm
* Return buses from Stromlo depart every half hour from 10:00am to 2:30pm then every hour from 2:30pm to 11:30pm
* A Stromlo Mountain Shuttle will depart every 15 minutes (approx) from the bottom carpark to the top between 10:00am and 4:00pm

Bus 400

From 12:45 to 13:45 around 6+ buses are pass through Spence Terminus, all but 2 are Tuggeranong Gassie's.

Buzz Killington

I've noticed a Mk1 Belco laying over on State Circle between Rhodes Pl and Flynn Dr most afternoons around 1630


In this age of modern cameras, how you process your digital images can be everything, for me, I use a Canon EOS60D and shoot in RAW format. Shooting in RAW whilst it is a much larger file, allows for many more adjustments to be made to an image in order to come away with that perfect image. Let this be known, Im not suggesting everyone needs to edit their photos like this, however its also an opportunity for members to look at earlier posts in this thread to sample some advice for a much more basic process.

The software I use to edit my images is from the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, I use both Lightroom and Photoshop to edit my photos from their RAW format, into a refined JPEG finished product.

Before any Editing (sans watermark) by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
As I don't currently have a sufficient quality bus image to use, for the benefit of this demonstration I have chosen to use one of my recently taken aircraft images, this image is totally unedited as it appears off the camera, the only adjustments I have made to this image are image size to make it a more manageable size to upload and the application of a watermark.

Lightroom by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
When I first begin editing the photo the very first thing I do is a lens profile correction, this will remove some of the distortion of the lens as well as a mild correction of colour in some cases. To do this I simply select the check box, as a general rule the software is able to read the Exif data off the file and automatically pick the correct lens.

Lightroom by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
The next step I will take in my process is to do some sharpening and noise reduction, for all images I will use the values in the drop down menu seen in this screenshot. As a general rule these values will work for all Canon models and I assume Nikon.

Lightroom by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
The next step I will take will be a straighten and crop. To straighten the image I will generally look for a building in the background or a light pole, however in this image I have had to go by the eye, something I am not great with. Whilst I do generally like to keep my main object centred in frame, for this image I have chosen to keep the main object slightly lower in frame due to the second aircraft approaching the crossing runway.

Lightroom by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
I will now move to the basic tab in lightroom, here I will adjust the temperature to my usual daylight setting of 5900, I have very slightly reduced the exposure and the highlights and shadows have been adjusted to negative 50 and positive 50 respectively. The white and black values are decided by pressing the command (control for windows) key whilst sliding the slider until they just start to show (the image goes black totally and the white pops in the brighter spots, the opposite for black), the only other values here are at the bottom of the tab for clarity, vibrance and saturation, I always use the same values for these and actually set these before cropping.

Lightroom by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
Next step I will take is to adjust the saturation of the image, this allows me to select which colours I wish to stand out the most, this will vary from image to image, however the value will never exceed 30 for each colour, above 30 it starts to look rather odd.

Lightroom by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
The next step I will take is to export the photo, this is where it will be converted to JPEG format, this is also the step at which the watermark is applied. It also allows me to change the name of the file and select what I want to do after exporting, this is where I select "Open in Photoshop".

Photoshop by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
Over to photoshop we go, here I generally will just pressed the play button on my preserved process and it is over in a matter of second, however for the benefit of this I have done it in a step by step process. The first thing I will need to do is right click on the layer tab and duplicate my layer.

Photoshop by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
Next I will press "command+shift+U" which will desaturate the image I am working on. I will then go into my filter tab and apply a high pass filter.

Photoshop by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
The value for the radius on the high pass will always be "0.8", the high pass filter sharpens the image. I will now go down to the layers tab, and change the "Normal" to "overlay" this will make the image colour again.

Photoshop by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
The next step will be to apply a noise reduction filter, using the values shown as standard. After doing this I will right click on the layer "Background" and select "Flatten Image" which will merge the layers I have.

Photoshop by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
The final step I do before saving is a quick resize, I always make my images 2400 pixels wide. I can now save and upload my finished product.

Complete Photo by Zac Mathes, on Flickr
And there you have it, that is exactly the same file as the first image shown at the top of this post, just much more refined.

In summary, when you intend to post digital images online ensure they are edited, even if you don't want to go this advance make sure you at least crop the image and straighten where needed, for any advice on any photo editing, please post here or send me a personal message, I am more than happy to help!