Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I started learning about photography earlier in the week by reading some online tutorials and lessons. I've also installed the CHDK alternative firmware to my camera.

I took this picture earlier today using my Canon Powershot SD1000. I played with the raw file on GIMP, mostly with the balances and curves, etc. I must admit I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to playing with the raw file, except I just went for what looked good to me.


Please provide information on how I could've improved my picture.

Second, there are a few settings on the chdk menu that I don't quite understand. What do these mean?:

  • Shutter speed override (varies from 1/100 to 2048) and factor (varies from off to 10+) depending on shutterspeed enumtype (which are EV step or factor)
  • ND Filter state (off, in or out)
  • Override subj dist value factor and value factor in mm
  • Override iso value and its respective factor
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up vote 14 down vote accepted

I think step number one is to find something more interesting than crumbs on your keyboard to shoot. And I don't mean that in a flippant way. Get away from the computer and stop taking test shots — start taking real photographs which you find interesting.

Take those photographs back and do exactly what you've been doing: play around and make them look as good to you. Soon, rather than feeling lost, you'll have more specific questions about what you want to improve with your camera technique and with post-processing.

The CHDK settings aren't meant to make much sense if you don't need them. They let you do specific things, and once you find you're stretching the camera's built-in capability to its limits, they'll come naturally. You can certainly play with them now, but my suggestion is to not worry about it too much until you're comfortable with the basics. And the way to get comfortable with the basics is to take a lot of pictures and review the results.

There's only so much better a picture of a crummy keyboard is going to get, after all.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the words of encouragement :) – dassouki Aug 7 '11 at 18:29
@dassouki — I'm serious about making-taking-pictures-your-priority as the best way to get up to speed quickly. But since you're playing in Gimp and I see from your profile that you're an open source developer, you may pretty quickly want to look at some of the other Linux tools for RAW processing — see… – mattdm Aug 7 '11 at 18:32
@mattdm shouldn't that be "crumby keyboard"? ;) – gerikson Aug 7 '11 at 18:33
@mattdm - Following your advice I took some pictures, I chose the best oen and played with it: Original and edited P.s. I'm mostly on Mac and windows now – dassouki Aug 8 '11 at 0:25

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