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SNAPSHOT - PHOTO NEWS FROM BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to SnapShot, the weekly newsletter on
the art of photography from
BetterPhoto.com


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IN THIS ISSUE - Wednesday, August 13, 2003
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* SPOTLIGHT: Promote Your Great Photos with a Deluxe BetterPholio™
* BETTERPHOTO: All New Article on Underwater Photography
* BETTERPHOTO: New and Improved - Digital Camera Buyer's Guide
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Dead Poet Society Goes to Italy / Ethics of Photography
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Easy Way to Present Prints With Executive Style
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Purpose of Exposure Compensation on Digital Cams?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: What is Reciprocity Failure?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Lens Filters
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Thinking of Buying a Fuji S2 Pro
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Why are My Pictures Blue?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Eos 10D Cropping
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Beginner 35mm SLR
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: How to Avoid Sun Glare
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: How to Shoot Silhouettes of Bride and Groom
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Digital Prints
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: How to Fix an Exposure Problem in Photoshop?
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 2: Trouble Working With High Resolution Scans


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 125th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

This week, we have a new eight-page article for those of you interested in underwater photography. This was fun to put together - and challenging. I am already looking forward to trying my next attempt at digital underwater photography sometime in the near future.

Also, if you are not a Digital Picture subscriber, you may have missed that we have a new and improved Digital Camera Buyer's Guide. The old one was desperately in need of a little TLC. So we gave it an overhaul. Now it too resides on eight pages and will guide you through the most important terms using in digital camera specifications.

Other than that, the Q&A is again fantastic - enjoy reading, learning, and posting your own responses.

P.S. If you are eagerly anticipating the contest results, the judges are working on it right now... we will do everything we can to get the winners posted within the next few days. We know just how much you look forward to seeing who makes it to the finalist and winning photos... stay tuned!

Enjoy and have fun photographing this week!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
All New Article on Underwater Photography
Although slated for digital photographers, this new article will help you whether you shoot digital or film - all that matters is that you have an interest in making better pictures under the sea. To research this piece, I flew down to Monterey and did some scuba diving. The results were, let us say, "educational". Visit the link below to read about my experiences shooting digitally deep in the Monterey Bay:
http://www.betterphoto.com/digital/digital-underwater-photography.asp


*****
New and Improved - Digital Camera Buyer's Guide
Are you looking for the perfect digital camera? Or are you trying to decide if the time has come for you to "go digital"? If you are looking for help with learning which digital camera would be the best for you, this Digital Camera Buyer's Guide is just the ticket. By explaining the most important features to look for, it will help you find your way through the labyrinth of buying a new digital camera. To read this guide, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/digital/buying-best-digital-cameras/01-intro.asp

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Which movie character brings along numerous portraits of famous dead poets on a vacation to Italy?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Peter Brickeyis:
I think it is James Stewart.

[No. This is not correct but as you were the only who answered, you win ;-) The correct answer was Mrs. Fisher in the great movie and play, Enchanted April. This was a really hard one...]

To see all answers to this question, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp?stat=PRV

And Now... This Week's Photo Trivia Question - Ethics of Photography - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

Who is Edward Curtis primarily known for photographing and why is his work disregarded by many historians and cultural anthropologists?

Submit your own answer to this question by visiting:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp

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THIS WEEK'S PHOTO TIP
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Easy Way to Present Prints With Executive Style
Here is an quick and easy way to make your enlargements look great, without spending a fortune on custom framing. First, go to a craft store or search online to buy several 32" x 40" sheets of black foamcore and a can of spray glue (the kind especially made for photos). After printing your favorite images on an inkjet printer (or having a photo lab print the enlargements for you), spray the glue on both the back of your print and the foamcore. Do not try to cut the foamcore first - we will do that later. First, carefully lay the print on the foamcore, make sure it is sticking together smoothly, cover it with a piece of craft paper, and stack a bunch of books on it until the glue dries. When done, use an X-acto knife and a straightedge to cut the foam core along the edges of your photo. Voila! You now have a beautifully mounted work of art.

Top Ten Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/tips.asp

All Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/allTips.asp

Add Your Own Tip:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/login.asp?category=tip&inputType=tip

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To order online, visit:
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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Purpose of Exposure Compensation on Digital Cams?
What is the use of exposure compensation in my digital camera? How do I use it?
- Gayle N. Torres

ANSWER 1:
Exposure compensation would be used when your cameras auto exposure system could be fooled which would cause the photo to come out too light or too dark. A good example of this is when you have a backlit subject like the sun behind a person, the person would come out too dark because the average exposure that your camera is seeing it too bright. you could then use exposure compensation to add 1.5-2 stops and your cameras exposures would be correct.

Same thing (but the opposite) if shooting a stage show where bright spots are on the performer but the background is black. You can force the camera to close down more to allow for this and not over expose the performer.

To understand a bit on how the camera exposure system works in really simplistic terms, the camera tries to adjust what it sees as if it was an 18% grey shade which is good exposure for skin and grass which are usual elements of a photograph. That is why if you try to shoot snow, it comes out grey instead of white. You need to change the exposure to compensate for this when you are not shooting an average scene.

If your camera has different metering types, you can use spot metering or center and try to meter off something that might be 'normal' like skin or grass and not off the brightest object in the picture. This is not something you would just adjust and leave for all pictures unless they were all shot under the exact same circumstances. This was designed to be used on a shot by shot basis. Also some cameras have exposure bracketing which will allow a 'normal' shot (or what the camera thinks is normal) and then 1 picture each a preset bracket like 1 stop. You would then have 3 pictures; 1 under exposed, 1 over exposed and one with normal exposure.
- Michael Kaplan

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6426

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6426

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NEW QUESTION 2: What is Reciprocity Failure?
Hi All

I keep hearing about Reciprocity Failure and how it had to be taken into consideration when taking certain photos. Please would someone explain to me exactly what it is and how to correct it. I saw a photo recently and asked how it was taken and was told it required a calculator to work it all out taking in to consideration reciprocity failure. Please help.
- Faye Bishop

ANSWER 1:
Within a specified range of exposure times (usually 10 seconds to 1/10,000) changes in f/stop and shutter speed are equivalent. Eg. 1/125 @ f/8 gives the same exposure as 1/500 @ f/4 ==> -2 stops in shutter speed is offset by +2 stops in aperture. At extremely short or long exposure times, however, the change is not one for one as the film's light sensitivity is not linear. So for example if your meter suggests 1/2 sec. @ f/2 and you want to shoot at f/16 (a -6 stop change in aperture), you would normally just increase the exposure time +6 stops to 30-32 seconds, but that puts you beyond the film's reciprocity limit of 10 seconds. The reciprocity failure of the film may require that you add another stop or two (to 1-2 minutes) for the film to get the proper exposure. Additionally, at extremely long or short exposures the film may also require filters to keep the color in balance.

The film makers publish technical papers that suggest a starting point for the amount of additional exposure time and filtration required, or the photographer will make his/her own tests or bracket exposures (take the same shoot at say f/16 and 30 sec, f/16 @ 1 min., f/16 @ 2 min.). For example, Kodak Tech. Pub. E-4024 for E100G slide film ( http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e4024/e4024.jhtml?id=0.3.8.8.10.3.14&lc=en ) has a section titled, Adjustments for Long and Short Exposures, that states:

"No filter correction or exposure compensation is required for exposure times from 1/10,000 to 10 seconds. At exposure times of 120 seconds, add CC10R filtration.

"Note: This information applies only when the films are exposed to daylight. The data are based on average emulsions rounded to the nearest 1/3 stop and assume normal, recommended processing. Use the data only as a guide. For critical applications, make tests under your conditions."
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6400

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6400

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NEW QUESTION 3: Lens Filters
Purchased a Polarizing (circular) filter for my 28-105 F/3.5-4 USM Canon lens mounted on a elan 7e body (58 mm lens diag). Noticed that the view is quite dark with the filter on (tried rotating the polarizer with no setting being as bright as without the filter). Question is... the Polarizer does call for some f-stop adjustment, but the point is, it robs so much light that even with all the f-stop/shutter-speed massaging. The image is still darn dark when viewed through the camera. I have not yet taken a picture since it will be dark as well. Also turning the polarizer around did not seem to show any major changes at what I was looking (which was at several objects... ranging for sky, to leaves, lawn, flowers etc, at around 45 mins before sun-set.) Besides the fact they were all generally darker with the filter. Some advise needed please. Thanks.
- Sreekanth

ANSWER 1:
The polarizer cuts light transmission by about 2 stops, meaning that only 1/4 of the total light comes through. That is normal. The exposure adjustment is needed only when you use a separate hand-held meter. Using the camera's built-in through-the-lens light meter with the filter in place you do not need to make any exposure compensation for the filter.

Rotating the filter changes the polarizing effect (cut glare/reflections, saturate colors), but will not change the amount of light transmission.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
Dear Sreekanth:
Appearances can be deceiving. While the polarizer can make the viewfinder image appear darker, if you meter a scene correctly, the image will appear at a "normal" brightness level on your print or slide.
Polarizers are designed to reduce reflections from nonmetallic/nonspecular light sources. (Specular light sources include the sun, candles, many types of light bulbs and other "pinpoint" light sources.)
If you'd like to see how dramatic the polarizer effect can be, pick a sunny midmorning or midafternoon location, point the camera ninety degrees away from the sun, and rotate the polarizer. The sky should darken noticeably during a portion of the rotation. The sky is, of course, a nonmetallic/nonspecular light source. The effect is reduced as the angle between the camera and sun drops below ninety degrees, but shows varying levels from ninety to two hundred seventy degrees, and drops off again between two hundred seventy degrees and three hundred sixty degrees.
You wouldn't necessarily notice a great change in images of flowers, leaves and a lawn unless you moved in close to photograph shiny portions of each on a sunny day.
Polarizers are frequently used to reduce reflections from glass and from the surfaces of lakes, rivers and ponds: all four can be nonmetallic/nonspecular light sources (the water will be if it is placid, i.e., not roughed up by wind). If the sun is reflected in the water, it is not be eliminated, since it is a specular light souce.
Similarly, if you were outside and pointed your camera at a window, and noticed the sun and clouds reflected in the window, rotating the polarizer could eliminate the reflections of the clouds but not the sun. The clouds and sky are a nonspecular light source, but the sun, reflected from the window surface, is specular, so it would not be eliminated.
A google search under "circular polarizer" will yield scads of information, including more technical explanations of how polarizers work.
- Maynard McKillen

ANSWER 3:
Jon & Maynard... thanks for your feedback & suggestions.

when you say "metered properly"... I guess one way to do this is to remove the polarizer, figure out the right setting and then put polarizer back on... preserving the settings.... OR .... is this even required. Will the camera figure this one out and compensate accordingly... or I take what the camera tells me and move out 2 Exposure levels (comp'ing for the presence of polarizer)?

Please advise.
- Sreekanth

ANSWER 4:
The exposure adjustment is needed only when you use a separate hand-held meter. Using the camera's built-in through-the-lens light meter with the filter in place you do not need to make any exposure compensation for the filter.

You can do what you suggest, meter with the filter off, set the exposure manually adding +2 exposure comensation, then attach the filter and shoot, but that's really unnecessary.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6395

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6395

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NEW QUESTION 4: Thinking of Buying a Fuji S2 Pro
I am a film user who would like to switch to digital. I have heard alot about the Fuji S2pro and was wondering if you folks had any pros or cons. I am thinking of using it for some portrait stuff and photojournalistic stuff. I may be doing some traveling to other countries and need something that will be dependable. If I switch to a faster iso (100-800)is that going to bring more noise to my picture like it would on a film camera. Also are there any tips for someone making the switch to digital? Thanks

Ps does anyone know if the autofocus is fast?
- Lee

ANSWER 1:
I had the same decision to make and although the Fuji is a great camera (I had the Fuji S602 before this) I ended up with the Canon 10D. It is faster, has less noise (usable ISO to 3200), had the Canon line of lenses behind it (also the 3rd party ones like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina) It is really an amazing camera all for $1499 or less (no lens).
You can see some reviews on it here:
http://www.betterphoto.com/reviews/reviewItemDetail.asp?reviewItemID=1500
or here:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos10d/
You can also read the review there (under REVIEWS section) of the Fuji to compare and if you do a search on the net you will find many more reviews and comparisons.

DPReview has pics to show noise but here is a link to my site where you can see some samples (albeit boring ones) at various speed just to see the noise levels.
http://www.pbase.com/mkaplan/picture_adj_test
You can also look around my gallery and see some of the pics from the 10D.

Here is another site review on the 10D from a Nikon group none-the-less:
http://www.nikondigital.org/reviews/10D/canon_10d_review.htm

I will take a quote from the last summary page;
"I have no concerns in stating that as things stand (at the time of writing this review) the EOS-10D is the absolute best in class, with the best image quality, lowest high sensitivity noise, superb build quality and excellent price (not to mention the huge choice of lenses)."

You will probably be happy with any camera you choose and no camera is perfect but this one is starting to get awfully close.
Michael Kaplan
Canon EOS-10D
http://www.pbase.com/mkaplan
- Michael Kaplan

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6394

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6394

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: Why are My Pictures Blue?
I don't have any model information about my Sony digital camera, but wanted to ask if anyone might be able to provide some insight. When I attempt to take pictures outdoors (in sunlight, snow, etc.) my pictures develop with a blue overcast. When I use the same camera for indoor shots, they turn out fine. What would possibly cause this? Is this an indication that something mechanical might be wrong with the camera or with the user - me?
- Vikki Grant

ANSWER 1:
Look in your maual under white balance. This should give you the answer you need. White balance is basicly the way your camera responds to the color temperature of the light conditions your shooting under.
- Judith A. Clark

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6388

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6388

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Eos 10D Cropping
Can anyone please explain the cropping on this camera. Also, when the camera crops the photo does it decrease the megapixels down to 3 megapixels?
- Eric Hamlin

ANSWER 1:
The 10D uses lenses designed for 35mm film. These lenses are designed to fill the 24mm x 36mm frame of film. On the 10D, however, the digital image sensor is smaller than 24mm x 36mm. Hence the image provided is cropped in comparison to 35mm film. It does not affect the megapixel count.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6354

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6354

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Beginner 35mm SLR
I'd like to get a new 35mm slr. I'm a beginner, and being such I know that you'll probably suggest a Pentax k-1000. I'd like to get something new. I've had too many bad experiences with used equipment. I don't necessarily want to spend a fortune, but I'd like to get something that I can continue to use as I get more experienced. Any suggestions?
- Mike

ANSWER 1:
Canon Rebel Ti, Rebel 2000, or Rebel G-II; Nikon N65 or N75, Minolta Maxxum 5, Pentax ZX-7 or ZX-L/6. In each case the camera maker's 50mm f/1.8 is sharper than their standard kit zooms (28-80 f/3.5-5.6) sold with these. Each maker has a "better" 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 zoom that would be preferred to the kit zoom.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
Another option is the Nikon FM3A, a manual camera that can use Nikons AIS lenses, and also Nikon's autofocus lenses (in the manual mode). Nikon may sell the FM10 new, a manual camera that has a decent reputation, but is less robust than the FM3A. See http://www.cameraquest.com/nikonslr.htm to learn more about Nikon manual cameras.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
i like the nikon fm3a but it's a little more ($$$) than what I had in mind. I like manual, though. anything a little less?
- Mike

ANSWER 4:
See if the FM10 is still being sold new.
It's made by Cosina, so the build quality is not Nikon, but you can expect Nikon to stand by the product. The FM 10 is extremely light weight, so you'd be willing to carry it around more.
Look at used cameras on keh.com. The FM2a and FM2 have a great reputation for durability. When KEH says "Bargain", they mean it has a few scratches or paint rubs, but is fully functioning. They may even have a slightly used FM3a.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6352

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6352

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: How to Avoid Sun Glare
How can I reduce sun glare on a portrait (face)?
How can I best avoid glow of sunlight in a person's hair, if I must take a photo with the sun slightly behind the person?
- Nicole S. McGrade

See Nicole's Premium BetterPholio™

See Sample Photo - Lazy Sunday:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=155484

ANSWER 1:
With the sun behind your subject you're apt to get overexposure of the highlights to get a good exposure of your subject (as in your picture here), or a nicely exposed background with the subject too dark or in silhouette. To even things out you have to either use reflectors to light your subject or use fill-flash.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
Thank you Jon, looks like a fill-flash will be my next investment. Do you know how I can "sharpen" the photo more, a finer grain? This was taken with a 100 35mm Kodak film.
- Nicole S. McGrade

See Nicole's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Dear Nicole:
If you still want some of that "rimlighting", which can add charm or zip to a photo, you could reduce it. Have an assistant stand off camera, between the subject and the sun, and hold up translucent white fabric, perhaps three feet square, mounted in a frame of wood or PVC. Thus some of the sunlight will still rimlight the subject, but it will be reduced to a hopefully less objectionable level.
- Maynard McKillen

ANSWER 4:
Thanks Maynard. Yes, I do like a little "rimlighting" but not quite this much. Will give your tip a try. Thank you.
- Nicole S. McGrade

See Nicole's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6351

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6351

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: How to Shoot Silhouettes of Bride and Groom
How do I shoot a silhouette picture of a bride and groom in the church doorway?
- Leigh L. Brown

ANSWER 1:
Base your exposure on the light behind them. Also, shoot one based on the shadow they're in, because they may prefer that one. Also shoot one with an exposure halfway between the two.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6349

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6349

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*****


NEW QUESTION 10: Digital Prints
Hi. I am sorry already, I know this will be a stupid question. I am very new to digital photography. I want to know how to develop my digital images as prints. I enjoy bringing in my 35mm film to get developed into 4x6's, but don't know how to get my digitals developed other then sending them over the internet. Can I put the images on a floppy disk or a CD? Once again I know this is a basic questions, but I am REALLY new at this. Thanks!
- Sara L.

ANSWER 1:
This is not a stupid question. When my office was ordered to go digital, five middle aged men struggled with this issue for months. Or maybe we're all stupid.
A digital image can come from shooting digital pictures with a digital camera, or from scanning your 4 x 6 (or any size) prints with a flatbed scanner. It's also possible to scan film with a specialized type of scanner.

You can transfer your digital images from your camera directly into your computer, into a file you make for this purpose. The software that came with your camera should be able to walk you through this.

You can also scan your prints on an office flatbed scanner into an imaging program like Elements or Paint Shop Pro (or into the software that came with your digital camera) and put them into a file on your hard drive.

Either way, you can put these files onto a CD or a floppy. Just set aside a file for your pictures and follow the instructions in a thread given earlier in this Q and A on "burning" CD's. Don't worry if your computer tells you that a floppy does not have anough space to hold even one of your digital images. A CD will hold quite a few.
Here's the kicker: Digital images that look OK on screen are sometimes not high enough resolution to print. A provider of services who takes your digital images (or your 35-mm film), and gives you back a CD may or may not give you print resolution.
Whether he can depends on a few factors. Was your digital camera set at its best possible resolution, or highest quality? If you scanned, did you scan at 200-300 pixels per inch for a print the same size as your original?

If you covered the bases at your end, is this processor compressing your images into JPEGs and into small image dimensions? A Wal-Mart provider gave my daughter back image 400 pixels wide. They even look terrible on screen.
If you are not satisfied with what these providers are giving you, consider doing your own printing.
Shoot at your best image quality for shots you know you'll want to print. Transfer them to your computer and go into the imaging software and crop them, take out the tree limb growing out of your boyfriend's head, fix the brightness or contrast, and make the image the size you wan to print. For that last step, be sure you don't throw out any pixels when you do that. After you click OK, the file size (total number of pixels in the image expressed as megabytes) should remain the same. If it has changed, Undo it, and try it again. If there's a block to UNcheck Resample, uncheck it.

If you are connected to one of the dandy little $80-150 printers Epson or HP makes, you're on your way to doing your own prints better than the shop gives you. Get back with us if you run into problems.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6344

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6344

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONTINUING QUESTION 1: How to Fix an Exposure Problem in Photoshop?
I recently purchased a Canon 10D (love it!), but I accidentally shot a whole bunch of photos underexposed by a half stop (I was learning the controls & set it up that way by mistake).

Is there an easy way to fix this exposure problem in Photoshop 7?

Thanks very much!
- Adam J. Greenspan

ANSWER 1:
A half stop is about at the limit you'd want to try this. Go to Image/Adjust/Levels and move the left and right sliders to where they just touch the left and right limits of the histogram. Then move the center slider until it look right to you.
DON'T be tempted to use Brightness/Contrast, as it's more of a meataxe effect.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Dear Adam:
Photoshop is versatile enough that you might find several ways to improve the look of underexposed images. Doug is right, too, about using Brightness/Contrast controls sparingly, if at all.
Another approach that might work is to create a duplicate layer of the image in the Layers window, then select the "Screen" option, also in the Layers window. A slider allows you to vary the opacity of the duplicate layer to suit. You'll probably notice the image grow "brighter."
By the way, the exact location of these features may differ in Photoshop 7. I tested the screen feature in PhotoshopLE.
- Maynard McKillen

ANSWER 3:
Adam - what mode did you shoot in? If you shot in RAW format, you can adjust the exposure in the RAW imaging software that came with your camera. BTW, the RAW imaging software that comes with the Canon cameras is not, in my opinion, very good - it is cumbersome to work with and doesn't allow as much control over the final image as I would like. I use the Adobe Photoshop RAW imaging plug-in and love it! I love being able to pull my RAW images directly into PS and the plug-in allows very precise corrections in exposure, white balance, etc before you have to start working with levels and curves.

But, I agree with the previous suggestions if you didn't shoot in RAW. I typically use levels to adjust my images if they are too dark - don't forget to go into each individual color too to check those histograms. And, the screen option is a great tool too.
- Sharon E. Lowe

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ANSWER 4:
Maynard, thanks for the tip. There are a lot of Blending options for incorporating a layer into the whole image. Have you run across a good description of the options and what they do? Explaining things simply for the untutored seems to be quite rare.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 5:
Thanks for all the tips! I appreciate the help! I've tried a few different techniques, depending on the photo, and I've gotten some amazing results!

Also, I found a great book on the subject which I would definitely recommend: "The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers" by Scott Kelby.

And, I found a great utility for working with RAW files, too (since Adobe hasn't committed to keeping their RAW utility around). Check out the new DSLR version of PhaseOne's CaptureOne software. http://www.phaseone.com

Thanks!
- Adam J. Greenspan

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*****


CONTINUING QUESTION 2: Trouble Working With High Resolution Scans
I am using an Epson 2450 scanner to scan my color negatives. I just started scanning at 1200 dpi because I want to print the images as 8x10 and I want the image to be excellent. Adobe PS Elements 1.0.1 came with the scanner and I have been using it to crop and clean up the images. When scanning at 300 dpi I don't have any problems, however with the 1200 dpi images, every time I try to save an image after I have resized it and cropped it to 8x10, the whole machine freezes up and PS stops responding.

I have a brand new Dell 4600 with Pentium 4 2.66 GHZ and 512 MB DRAM so the machine should be able to handle this. I tried the same scenario using Jasc Paint Shop Pro which came as a trial on the machine and the system does not freeze. I called Dell and we went through making several system changes including stopping all background processes from running and nothing helped. Now they want me to reinstall Windows XP which would be a real pain.

Is anybody else scanning and saving large images (around 4MB jpegs)? Could it be the PS Elements version that is bad? I really don't want to have to buy the Jasc Paint Shop Pro upgrade for $75 and it seems that most people here use PS. I have gotten to know the PS Elements fairly well and don't really want to switch any way.

Any suggestions or ideas are welcome!

Thanks in advance!
- Kelly Andrews

ANSWER 1:
Adobe treats its Elements owners better than it does its Photoshop customers. Ask them about 1.0.1 and Windows XP conflicts. You may solve this by buying Elements 2.0. Paintshop Pro is a decent product for its purpose, but there are fewer books on it. It doesn't sound to me as if your problem is insufficient RAM or hard drive space.
When you get this problem solved, I suggest you scan at the full 2400 ppi. This gives you more to work with in the beginning.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 2:
Hi Kelly,
I had a similar problem with Photoshop 6 and 7. Seems it has trouble with some motherboards. There is a fix (although it slows performance a bit, it has worked flawlessly for me since I did this). It says for Pentium 3 computers, but it may have been inherited by your P4 as well. Might be worth trying, since it does not make PS unusable.

From Adobe website:
Photoshop 5.5 or Later Crashes or Freezes on Pentium 3 Computers

Issue
Adobe Photoshop 5.5 or later crashes or freezes on a computer that has an Intel Pentium 3 processor.
Detail
If the computer manufacturer is Dell Computer Corporation, the system may return the error "Alert: Regulator Error."
Solution
Contact the motherboard or computer manufacturer for assistance resolving this issue, which occurs because of an electrical problem on some motherboards.
Note: As a temporary workaround on some computers, you can disable the extensions that optimize data movement in Photoshop. Performance, however, will slow noticeably. To disable the extensions, move the Extensions folder out of the Plug-Ins folder:
1. Exit from Photoshop.
2. In Windows Explorer, move the Extensions folder from the Program Files/Adobe/Photoshop [version]/Plug-Ins/Adobe Photoshop Only folder to a location outside of the Adobe folder (for example, move it to the desktop).
3. Restart Photoshop.
Additional Information
The electrical problem on the affected motherboards is triggered by computer operations that use the pathway (called a bus) between the processor and the RAM for an extended number of microseconds. This problem can be triggered by the operating system or other applications; however, it often appears when using Photoshop because few other applications move memory as rapidly as Photoshop does.
This problem occurs with Dell Optiplex GX1 computers and ASUS P2B-F and P3B-F motherboards and may also occur with other motherboards.

- Chris London

ANSWER 3:
Hi Doug and Chris,

Thank you both for your responses. For the past week I have just been using Paintshop Pro with no problems (usually). I am getting a copy of Adobe PS 5 from a friend to try and see if I have the same problems. Performance is already pretty slow when I am working with these big files so I don't know if I want to affect performance any further.

Doug - you said that I should scan at 2400 dpi, however a scan at 1600 is taking about 30 minutes - does that sound right to you? I can't believe it is that slow. I have a Bus 2 connection which I thought was supposed to be faster.
- Kelly Andrews

ANSWER 4:
Just a note about re-installing windows. It has been my experience over the last 5 years, that any time a technician can't figure out how to solve your problem, they tell you to re-install with your rescue disk. Easy for them, difficult for you.
- Thomas Lonergan

ANSWER 5:
I've never used a flatbed for scanning 35-mm negs or slides, but the optical recognition specs suggest that the scanner is supposed to be able to do it. I've found Epson to have pretty good support; have you called them? Ask them: Could USB 2 be that slow? Would Firewire be that much faster?
Also, read what Photoshop says about allocating some of your hard drive space to use a a "scratch disk". I think it may be 5 times the amount of RAM you have. With the huge hard drives computers have lately, it shouldn't tax your system that much. In the meantime, i'll search through my stuff and see how PS 5 tells you to do that.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 6:
Hi Thomas - I agree! I am actually a software support consultant for Manufacturing ERP software and I could tell the guy I had on the phone didn't really "know" anything - he was just reading from their Knowledgebase and searching for the next suggestion.

Doug - thanks for your suggestions too. I haven't called Epson yet, but I did just install Adobe 5.0 from a friend and I was able to work with and save the larger files with no problem - including some I scanned at 1600. I will do some time tests with the higher resolution scans to see exactly how much time it takes and then maybe I will contact Epson. If you find out how to allocate some of the hard drive space to use a scratch disk, I would be interested to know. Thanks!
- Kelly Andrews

ANSWER 7:
On some versions of PS, it's under File/Preferences. It will ask how much of your hard drive you want to assign to Scratch disk. Unless your hard drive is cluttered with games and stuff, maybe 20 or 25% is reasonable. As I understand it, this only functions when what you're doing exceeds the amount of RAM you have to cover it. This happens with large layered files.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 8:
Photo Elements 1.0 is not XP compatible, Photo Elements 2.0 is XP compatible. If you had downloaded the full program of Photo Elements 1.0 a warning from Xp stating this program is not XP compatible. I believe it is only compatible in Windows 98,98SE,2000. you are better of buying the full box program Of Elements 2.0 . It's well worth the money . I have XP and it is a much better operating system than Windows 98Se which use to freeze up for no reason. So when ever you purchase any new program make sure it is XP compatible. Elaine
- Elaine Carbone

ANSWER 9:
Speaking of Elements 2.0, I purchased it a month ago and love it. I'm about half way through the instruction manual, and can edit my photos well enough to do the job. I'm using Windows 98, but as already stated, it works with XP. I bought mine at Sam's Club with a $30 rebate, finally costing me $50. You might not have Sam's, but Staples has a rebate too.
- Thomas Lonergan

ANSWER 10:
Thanks so much for all of your helpful advice. I am still trying to decide if I want to buy the Jasc Paint Shop Pro upgrade as I have been using that pretty successfully, or buy the PS Elements 2.0. I like the easy framing options in Paint Shop. Can you tell me if you can add color frames easily in PS Elements? I am designing greeting cards and I like to use frames.
- Kelly Andrews

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