6 yr old system-Importance of maintenance

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by High Performance Lighting, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326

    I changed 21 lamps on this 6 year old system tonight that has around 120 fixtures on it. It was dark when I was done so I took some shots. Here is one of them. As you can see spring has arrived here (notice the flowers on the plum trees). It's going to be in the 90's this weekend.

    pool-1.JPG
     
  2. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Posts: 187

    sent you a pm
     
  3. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326


    Bumper the camera is a 12.8 megapixel Full frame Canon EOS 5D with a Canon 24-70 Professional "L" glass lens. I have two other Canon SLR digital Cameras the D60 and the 20D all great cameras for shooting landscape lighting. I don't have any special tricks. 90% of my shots are junk and not usable so I am no pro photographer. I can offer some tips though after 12 years of shooting my work. Generally speaking You have a 15 minute window to shoot in- so called Twilight, Magic hr. (15 minutes). You will need a tripod and a cable release. Hand holding will make for blurry images. Bracket your exposures which means take two or three shots of the same composition with different exposure times. This will come with experience trial and error. After 12 yrs. I have a good feel for exposure time but there are so many factors, ambient light, amount of light on the subject, etc. The higher the aperature setting the smaller the shutter opening so you'll need longer exposure time with higher aperature settings. The higher the aperature settings the more detail and depth of field you will get in your photos. Be careful though too high of an aperature setting and you'll be standing there holding the shutter open for a very long time which will limit how many shots you can get per session. remember you only have around 15 minutes. When the sky is a rich deep royal blue you are at optimum shooting condition. you'll only know what you get when you load it on your computer. Don't lose time by checking your lcd screen after each shot. Disgard the bad ones. I don't use photshop or other manipulative software I find it degrades the photo. Pros who know how to use this program I'm sure get better results. Either you have a good shot or you don't. Don't rely on auto focus it's too difficult in low light conditions always manually focus. Practice on your own yard until you get a feel for what you are doing. Mastering the art of photography is a close second to mastering the art of landscape lighting design. If you do so you will spend much less time out demo ing for prospects to help sell your work.

    Here is another shot from the same session the other evening.

    trees.jpg
     
  4. seolatlanta

    seolatlanta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    Mike

    Do you think a camera with that many megapixels is really necessary, or is that just what you use?

    Just wondering!

    Dave
     
  5. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326

    is a 600 HP engine in a Ferrari really necessary?

    is a cast brass fixture really necessary over a sheet brass one?

    These are questions to which there are subjective answers

    To answer your question I would say it all depends upon what you are using the photos for. My philosophy is that I buy the best that I can afford. the other two cameras that I have are 6.3 and 8.2 megapixels respectively and they yield excellent photos too. I'm constantly in search of the holy grail in every part of my business and personal life. I will someday publish a book so to me the highest quality photos are very important.
     
  6. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Posts: 187

    I figured I would have to upgrade my set up to capture the images I want. Appreciate the info.not sure if I have the patience to test out my own stuff or bring in a pro with all the goodies, more cost, one less thing I have to think about.
     
  7. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Posts: 326


    Bumper don't throw in the towel on doing your own photography. I believe being succesful in outdoor lighting has alot of paralells with having the ability to capture your work at its best in a photo. Digital has made that alot more easy.
     
  8. niteliters

    niteliters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    Bumper...ditto. As HPL sad technology has improved. So too will your abilities. If you have a passion for this industry that will drive you towards seeing and taking the best pictures. Why are you taking photos at all?? I assume to show to prospective clients. I used to believe that a photo didn't look as good as the real thing. If that's the case, then how are you going to "wow" a prospective client if you have to say, "this looks better in person". Technology plays a role but just as improtant are shot selections. I have a picture of a path light a friend sent me. It's taken in that fifteen minute window except at dawn. It has a flowering hydrangia almost covering it with dew drops on the leaves. he used an exceptional camera to make that dew so clear you could knock it off the leaf. I found myself getting lost in the picture, not just thinking "wow, what a nice fixture." It was truly art. those are the kind of pictures you need to make happen. He managed to the picture look better than real life...That's the challenge. It's a challenge I work at every time I go out to take photos. Most of the time I am unseccessful but occassionally I get the shot. I have been taking these pictures for many years. I learn something new every day. a "pro" as you put it will lack your artistic eye. We have given many pros an opportunity and all have failed. It's your creation, your passion..In my opinion it should be you that puts that passion on paper.
     

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