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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 - Tuesday, February 24, 2004
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* SPOTLIGHT: Capture Great Photos of Wildlife in Natural Settings
* BETTERPHOTO: Save on Combo Wildlife Workshop - Sign Up By March 3rd
* BETTERPHOTO: Jim Zuckerman On Making Money with Your Photography
* BETTERPHOTO: Digital Photography Courses Filling Up Fast
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Impressive Paintings / The Source
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Colored Filters for Your Flash - A Tip by Brenda Tharp
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: How Do I Select a Lens?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Close-Up Lenses or Macro Lenses
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Looking For a Beginner's Digital with Everything
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Replacing a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L lens
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Kodak vs Fuji
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Coverting 35mm Slides to Digital
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: My First Digital Camera
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Lookin for First SLR Camera
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: How to Convert a Digital Image to B&W
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Book Recommendations
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Opening My Eyes
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: How To Fade a Photo
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 13: Winter Photography
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Digital Filters


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Capture Great Photos of Wildlife in Natural Settings
Join Triple "D" game farm in central California for its 2004 wildlife photography road show!

This unique opportunity offers photographers the chance to photograph wildlife models in an array of natural settings, providing you with beautiful, convincing, and visually interesting backgrounds for your animal pictures.

In addition, Triple "D" is offering a rare and exciting "Day On The Ranch" photo opportunity, where you can photograph colorful horses, roping activities, cowboys, as well as a cattle drive.

I know I'll be there! In fact, I will be leading an exciting online / on-location mini-course. Learn more below or at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/wildlife-photography/JCM-CA.asp

Learn more about Triple D and the California road show at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/wildlife-photography/tripleD-california.asp


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 148th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

First off, I want let you all know about the most recent addition to Team BetterPhoto. Many of you already know Kerry Drager. For the past year and a half, Kerry has been winning the hearts of students around the world with his excellent online courses. Now, he will be additionally helping us by improving the free articles, photo galleries, discussions, and newsletters (like this one). Welcome aboard, Kerry!

I also wanted to let you know this week about a special "early bird" discount for those who sign up for our California wildlife Combo Workshop. See below for details...

Have fun reading the excellent Q&A from this past week at BetterPhoto - and then treat yourself to a fun photo excursion.

Enjoy making some more great photos this week!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
Save on Combo Wildlife Workshop - Sign Up By March 3rd
Jim Miotke's unique on-location and online workshop on wildlife photography just got better! If you sign up before March 3rd, you will get $100 off.

Limited to only 12 photographers, this Combo Workshop is an incredible opportunity you just can't pass up. Imagine capturing award-winning images of grizzly cubs, mountain lion kittens, wolves, bobcat, black bear, and even a Siberian tiger - all in natural settings. Learn how to beyond mere identifying shots, to capture the inner character of these beautiful animals.

You will also enjoy a unique "Day at the Ranch" - especially geared for photographers. You'll have ample opportunities to get awesome images of running horses, cowboys, and ranch activities.

Like a mini-course on wildlife photography, this workshop will include pre-trip learning materials, a pre-trip assignment, as well as online critiques of your work, after the on-location shooting is completed.

What's more, you could win a free Deluxe BetterPholio™ or a Tamrac camera bag!

Remember, sign up today to get $100 off. Email me if you would like to see a detailed description of our itinerary. Learn more or sign up at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/wildlife-photography/JCM-CA.asp


*****
Jim Zuckerman On Making Money with Your Photography
Have you dreamed of quitting your day job to become a full-time professional photographer? Jim Zuckerman has been marketing his work for 30 years, and he has been successful in numerous photographic markets. Join Jim in his "Making Money with Your Photography" this spring. Starting April 7th, this online photography course will take the mystery out of earning a full or part time income with your photographs:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JZK04.asp

We also highly recommend Jim's book on the subject, "Shooting and Selling Your Photos". Visit the following link to buy a signed copy of this great book:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1191


*****
Digital Photography Courses Filling Up Fast
We are currently experiencing a rush on digital photography, exposure, and Photoshop classes. If you have been considering a course on these areas, sign up quick - they won't be available for long.

One great option for digital photographers is George Schaub's exciting new course on digital camera technique - "An Introduction to Digital Photography: Using Your Digital Camera". George is the editor of Shutterbug magazine and author of several bestselling how-to books on photography. In his class, you'll learn how to get the best pictures you can from your digital camera:
://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/GEO02.asp

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Which famous Impressionist painter had a darkroom connected to his studio and would take pictures of the various scenes in his gardens?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Judy Sayers is:
Claude Monet, who lived from 1840 to 1926, had a darkroom in his studio at Giverny and often took photos of his garden.

See Judy's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=34487

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 - The Source - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

Which National Geographic photographer is accredited with discovering and photographing the source of the Amazon River? What book featured him for this achievement?

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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Colored Filters for Your Flash - A Tip by Brenda Tharp
Here's a spin-off on Bob Cammarata's helpful tip about adding yellow cellophane over your flash head: you can obtain a sample packet of theatrical gels and diffusion effects from Rosco gel or Lee Filters (both in southern California). These sample packs contain pieces of gel that are just big enough to fit most accessory flash heads. I choose what I want from the set and tape it on to the flash. The packs have everything from standard color correction gels to theatrical effects, plus spun glass, vellum, etc. for diffusing your flash. They are great! Contact Rosco at http://www.rosco.com. Go to 'products', then choose 'color filters', then 'cinegel', then scroll to the bottom of that page, and you'll be asked 'would you like to receive a sample swatchbook?' Have fun with them when they arrive!

Take Brenda Tharp's Creating Visual Impact or Beyond the Postcard Online PhotoCourses™.

Learn more about our Online PhotoCourses™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

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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ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos
My new book guides you away from the point-and-pray method of taking pictures to shooting with confidence. In this simple and clear how-to book, you will learn:

  • How to compose your picture with a more artful eye
  • The top qualities that winning photos exhibit
  • Tips and secrets for consistently getting better results... and much more.
You can order this book online, call our toll-free order processing number 1-888-927-9992, or simply send a check or money order for USD $16.90 (or USD$18.90 if shipping to Canada or USD$24.90 to other international addresses) to:

BetterPhoto.com
P.O. Box 2781
Redmond, WA 98073-2781 USA

To order online, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1096


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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: How Do I Select a Lens?
I purchased a Canon EOS 10D and want to know how do I read the lenses and know which lenses fit my camera.
- Juan

ANSWER 1:
Here's the link to Canon's site with all the lens lineup:

http://www.usa.canon.com/eflenses/lineup/index.html

Basically all the EF lens will fit on your camera except the EF-S lens that comes with the Digital Rebel kit. Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8372

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8372

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*****


NEW QUESTION 2: Close-Up Lenses or Macro Lenses
I have a Canon Powershot A60 and I recently purchased a set of +1, +2, +4 close-up filters. I am pleased with the results, though their not quite what I'd expected. What is the difference between these close up filters and the macro lens that Canon offers for my camera?
- Daniel A. Fortier

See Daniel's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Hi Daniel,

Honestly? Nothing except perhaps a higher price tag and some extra coatings on the glass.

What most people call a "Macro Lens" that screws on like a filter is really a "close up lens". For all intents and purposes, they are the same.

A true macro lens, like those with SLR mounts, have focusing elements and are able to expose the image onto the sensor/film at greater than 1:1 magnification. True macro lenses also cost alot more, but you will also get a much nicer image out of it. None of the soft and distorted corners and edges of the image and often times, better control over depth of field.
- Wing Wong

See Wing's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Thanks Wing. Nice explanation, clear, consice and exactly what I was looking for. Looks like all the more reason for me to upgrade to a SLR camera.
- Daniel A. Fortier

See Daniel's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8366

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8366

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*****


NEW QUESTION 3: Looking For a Beginner's Digital with Everything
I like the features of both the Olympus Camedia C-750 and Kodak Easyshare DX6490, but wonder if I'm getting in over my head as a first time digital buyer. I'm interested in taking pictures of the birds in my backyard as well as vacation, and family photos. Are either of these good choices? Will I need a tripod for zoom photos? I don't believe the C750 has that capacity.
- Cindy Gawlik

ANSWER 1:
Hi Cindy,
The C750 is a great camera with it's long optical zoom. The only problem is that it is not a optically or electronically stabilised lens, so yes, you will need a tripod with the camera.

If you are looking for a stabilized system with a good zoom, you might try the Minolta A1. 7x optical with CCD stabilizer. If you can wait a few months, the A2 is coming out with all the same features as the A1 but with 8MP instead of 5MP.

A good camera I used to use was the C2100 which had optically stabilized 10x lens. But it was only 2MP and had ISO100-400 only.

In bright daylight, you should be able to handhold the 750 to take pictures of birds. The 750 has a very fast lens. But at longer telephoto ranges, you will need to brace against a wall or use a tripod. Sorry. ^_^;

But if you want relatively long focal length and stabilization, try the Minolta A1($600-$800) or the A2 when it comes out.
Good luck!
- Wing Wong

See Wing's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8365

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8365

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*****


NEW QUESTION 4: Replacing a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L lens
Hi, I recently had an accident in which my D30 and my Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L lens was damaged beyond repair. My problem is, for the forseable future I won't have the money to replace the lens. I've replaced the D30 with a 10D. Can anyone suggest a fast quiet good quality replacement for the 70-200?
Thanks in advance.
- Terry Lennox

ANSWER 1:
I have the 70-200 f/2.8L and would recommend it again. If you have the wherewithall, then the IS model might be worthwhile. The Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX HSM is very impressive, but I didn't feel it had quite the build quality of the Canon L, but is certainly a good and recommended alternative given the lower price. The Tokina 80-200 f/2.8, isn't as fast or quiet focusing and by some tests, not quite as sharp either. The EF 70-200 f/4L USM is as sharp or sharper than it's f/2.8 stablemates, is just as well built and can be had for under $600.

An interesting alternative would be the newly announced EF 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM. It promises to be nearly equal to the L lenses in performance, if you don't think you need the bigger aperture, weight, and cost of an f/2.8 zoom (though probably close to $800).
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8364

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8364

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: Kodak vs Fuji
I have heard people talk about the differences between Fujifilm and Kodaks film. In anyones opinion, is one better than the other (especially in regards to 100 speed slide film)? I know it varies, but are there any clear , overreaching pros and cons between Ektachrome and Velvia?
- Aaron Vogel

ANSWER 1:
Kodak is generally a warmer film than fuji. So for sunsets, fall leaves, and other simular situations where you want to enhance the warm tones, I would suggest kodak. However for everything else, Fuji is the best all around film. I especially like the new velvia 100f for slides and the reala for prints. Both are exelent 100 ISO films.
- Steven Stovall

ANSWER 2:
Fuji Provia 100F is my slide film of choice. Its true-to-life colors, fine grain, and overall sharpeness are tough to beat. Velvia is good for fall foliage, or any time you want richer, exaggerated colors.

I used to shoot Kodachrome 64, but it is getting harder to find as time goes by. (Plus, the special processing requirements for KR films have always been a hassle.)
I've never cared much for Ektachrome, except for 160T which I've used for indoor, studio work and copying. I haven't tried Fuji's tungsten-balanced films yet, but I plan to.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Kodak's ISO 100 Ektachomes are just as fine grained as those from Fuji. Color balance is a very subjective thing and what is best for one person is not for another.

Kodak is not generally "warmer" than Fuji. Some films are (like print film Gold 100 v. Superia 100) but others aren't. Ektachrome comes in many "flavors": E100G (neutral color balance), E100GX (warmer balance), and E100VS (vivid saturation). Similarly, Fujifilm comes in Provia, Astia, and Velvia flavors.

Try each and determine which you like best for a given situation.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8358

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8358

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Coverting 35mm Slides to Digital
Is there a way to copy my 35mm slides to my computer other then making pictures of my slides then scanning them?
- Tommy E.

ANSWER 1:
Hi Tommy,
Can't they be scanned in? My flatbed scanner has a negative and a slide holder. HP do a couple of scanners that can scan slides, HP scanjet 3970 and the HP Scanjet 5530. Check them out on http://www.walmart.com
I hope this helps.
Regards,
- Derek Holyhead

ANSWER 2:
There are flatbed scanners capable of scanning slides but the quality won't be that great. You might want to think about investing in a film scanner.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Others have already posted it: get a film/slide scanner. something that can put out about 2400-4000dpi of scanning resolution. A good dedicated film scanner will cost you about $300-$2000, depending on quality and brand.

Failing that, if you happen to have a digital SLR or camera with the proper thread mount, you can mount a "slide duplicator" onto your camera and shoot a digital shot of it. But this will tend to be lower resolution than a film scan. Basically whatever MP rating your camera is at.

If you'd just rather have someone else do it and give you a CD with scanned images on it, you can take it to a local camera shop and have them digitally scan your film and burn it onto a disc for you for a fee.
- Wing Wong

See Wing's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8355

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8355

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: My First Digital Camera
I am a seasoned photographer but a newcomer to the digtal photography world. Most of my experience has been in medium format and 35mm. What camera should I get? I love film, but I won a job that requires digital use. I need help. Any suggestions are welcome.
- Dan

ANSWER 1:
Hi Dan,

Question: What is the requirement of the digital images from your job? What MP or filesizes will they need?

Quick rundown:

<$2000, you have the 6MP digital cameras from Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Nikon, Pentax, etc.

$2000-$8000, you have the "pro" level digital cameras which will give you 8MP-14MP. Think Canon 1Ds, Kodack 14N.

$8000+, you have the digital backs for medium format cameras which will give you 10-40MP digital image files. Think Kodak, Leaf, PhaseOne, etc.

If you MF gear is modern enough, you can probably add a digital MF back to it for your shots. That way, you can make use of existing MF gear by adding a back to it. Or you could go with the Hasselblad H1 or Mamiya 645 MF SLR bodies and get a digital back for them. The price for the back+body+access will easily top $20,000 though.

If the requirements are not staggering and you have a healthy budget, I would go with the Canon 300D or 10D, the Fuji S2pro, the Nikon D2H, the Olympus E1, or the Pentax *ist-D.
- Wing Wong

See Wing's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8353

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8353

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Lookin for First SLR Camera
Ok, here is the thing... I am looking to buy my first SLR Camera. I will be using it to practice taking portraits and some day I want to have my own studio. To start out.. what cameras would you suggest for this field?
- Amy B. Sudduth

ANSWER 1:
You'll hear from the resident geezer first, I guess. I'd start with a manual focus, maybe even manual exposure SLR. Good ones are very cheap used, and you can buy a few new still. Lenses are far less expensive. Try a 50mm lens first, as they are both cheap and very good at resolving fine detail. For portraits, try an 85 or 100mm. All makers have these. Read more about this approach on my web page. The regulars here have heard it all before.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
There are two cameras I would strongly recommend to a beginner -- (1) whatever the current entry-level Canon EOS camera is, and (2) the Pentax K1000.

There is something that every beginner really needs to understand -- the camera body is the LEAST important component in the whole photography process. It is only there to hold the lens and the film in the proper relation to one another, and if it can do that well, then you have a winner. All the features and gadgets on the high-end cameras are only there for the photographer's convenience (which may be important if you take photos for a living, but should mean very little to the rest of us). An expensive body will not give you better photos. There are 4 things that matter a lot more -- light quality, film type, lens quality and composition skill.

The most affordable Canon EOS camera at the moment is the Rebel GII. It is only about $150! It is packed with features, too. Ten years ago, it would have been the most advanced thing on the market. It takes all the EF lenses (start with the 50mm f/1.8 III). You can't go wrong.

Second, think about a Pentax K1000. It is a warhorse. It is all manual, very reliable, perfectly designed. As an alternative, there is the new Pentax ZX-M.

With the money you save by choosing a less expensive body, invest in top of the line lenses, a top quality filter set, lighting equipment (if you shoot indoors), and a library of good photo books. These things will improve your photos far more than a high-end body ever will.
- George Gaskell

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8348

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8348

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: How to Convert a Digital Image to B&W
What is the best method for converting a digital image to b&w and what process do you use? I have desaturated and then added contrast but I seem to be losing a lot of the gray values. I have seen conversions that look very rich and some even seem warm. Is this due to the lighting in the original shot or is this done in conversion? Thanks
- Tammy L. Bevins

ANSWER 1:
Hi Tammy,

Did you use "desaturate" on the image or did you convert to greyscale? I know you said desaturate, but I just have to ask. :)

If your copy of photoshop supports 16bit or lab color, try converting to that first, then perform the desaturation. This will help in preventing some loss of range.

Once in 16bit mode and having performed the desaturate, try performing an auto-levels to have the range of the image spread out a bit. This will bring out some details and even out the light balance in the picture somewhat.

Before running a contrast filter, try adjusting the curves to bring out detail and contrast. This is a manual kind of auto-levels and is a great way of tweaking the shadow and highlight detail of an image. This kind of adjustment is less lossy than using the contrast filter.

When you're done, you can re-convert back to 8bit(24bit) mode from 16bit(48bit) mode.

As for some shots looking rich, the richness of a BW pic tends, I think, to be determined by the blackness of the blacks and the whiteness of the whites.The quality of the contrast and sharpness of the picture will also contribute to richness.

The impression of warmth can also be affected by the amount of "red" which has gotten into the black color.

If you are willing, could you post a crop of the before and after pics?

- Wing Wong

See Wing's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Thanks for the help Wing. Yes I was desaturating first. I'm attaching an example of a photo I converted this way.
- Tammy L. Bevins

See Sample Photo - Allison and Dad desaturated and added contras:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=303539

See Sample Photo - Allison and Dad original image:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=303538

ANSWER 3:
Hi Tammy,

Ah.. I see what you mean. The BW version loses details in the hair highlights, the face, and the sweater.

My first impression is that the red channel is getting understated in the final BW image, hence reducing the amount of "detail" in the face and hair where the slight red here and there is visible in the color picture, but not in the bw picture.

This can be compensated for with a curves tool to bring out some details instead of using contrast enhancement. I hope you didn't mind my trying a bit. ^_^ I took a crop of the color version and converted to BW with the following method:

- Open in color
- Go to color/saturation where it will list various brightness/color hue/saturation sliders.
- select the master and drop the saturation down.
- OK.

Then used the color curves tool to adjust the shadow/highlights a bit.

The image is basically the same as the one you have posted, but some of the details around the eyes/hair/shirt come out a bit more.

Don't know if it is actually better or worse, but I noticed that when I ran a stright desaturation tool against the image, the image lost details because the program was combining color channels according to a different mixing method. The same was true when I tried to auto-levels the image, details got washed out.
- Wing Wong

See Wing's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
Hi Tammy,

Ah.. I see what you mean. The BW version loses details in the hair highlights, the face, and the sweater.

My first impression is that the red channel is getting understated in the final BW image, hence reducing the amount of "detail" in the face and hair where the slight red here and there is visible in the color picture, but not in the bw picture.

This can be compensated for with a curves tool to bring out some details instead of using contrast enhancement. I hope you didn't mind my trying a bit. ^_^ I took a crop of the color version and converted to BW with the following method:

- Open in color
- Go to color/saturation where it will list various brightness/color hue/saturation sliders.
- select the master and drop the saturation down.
- OK.

Then used the color curves tool to adjust the shadow/highlights a bit.

The image is basically the same as the one you have posted, but some of the details around the eyes/hair/shirt come out a bit more.

Don't know if it is actually better or worse, but I noticed that when I ran a stright desaturation tool against the image, the image lost details because the program was combining color channels according to a different mixing method. The same was true when I tried to auto-levels the image, details got washed out.
- Wing Wong

See Wing's Premium BetterPholio™

See Sample Photo - bw alternate method:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=304056

ANSWER 5:
Thanks for the help Wing. I tried your method with another image and I was very pleased with the results. I'm uploading it for you to see. Thanks again.
- Tammy L. Bevins

See Sample Photo - Allison at the Park:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=305140

ANSWER 6:
Hi Tammy,

Wow, really nice photo! I can really see more of the details and less loss into shadows. I especially like that there is a hint of pink in her lips.

^_- You have a very photogenic model.

Glad to be of help.
- Wing Wong

See Wing's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=8338

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=8338

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*****


NEW QUESTION 10: Book Recommendations
I am completely new to photography. I have only taken a few very basic classes that cover the general guidelines. I have learned some of the terms and am ready to begin experimenting with my new Canon Rebel Ti SLR.

I know what aperature and shutter speed are and how they affect my photos. The main thing that I would love to grasp is a well informed concept of exposure. I have used Tv and Av modes on my camera but have never had it in full manual, which is something I really want to do.

Can anyone recommend a really easy to understand book that explains exposure? I want to know how to expose for different lighting situations.
- April A. Abbott

ANSWER 1:
April,

The best advice I can give you is simply to go out and play. However, if you want to read some books I'd recommend anything by Freeman Patterson. If you are doing black and white then you ought to at least look at something about the Zone system (Ansel Adams) keep in mind that the Zone system doesn't really work for 35 mm but it's better then just guessing. Get some Patterson books, buy a bunch of color SLIDE film and go have fun.
- Robert Bridges

Visit RBridgesphotography.com - Robert's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Thanks, Rob. I'll check out some of those books.
- April A. Abbott

ANSWER 3:
My favorite is "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. Easy to read and really helps get you going in regards to exposure. He also has a class of the same name on this site. Both are worth checking out. Have fun.
- Raquel Stanton

ANSWER 4:
Thanks for the recommendation, Raquel. I have read several good reviews on this book and I am going to buy it, as well.
- April A. Abbott

ANSWER 5:
Here's a few:

1. Jim's Book: The Absolute Beginners Guide to Taking Great Photos
2. Brian Peterson: Learning to See Creatively (which has just been revised to include some discussion on digital)
3. Tom Mackie: Photos with Impact
4. Kerry Drager: Scenic Photography 101

And Understanding Exposure, which has already been mentioned.

There are several others, but they are more on the computer end rather than the camera end of things...
- Damian Gadal

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NEW QUESTION 11: Opening My Eyes
I am a beginning photographer. I visit this site several times a day to look at the beautiful pictures. I find myself revisiting the pictures of simple, every day objects like the keypad of a cell phone with a shallow DOF, someone's hand on a computer mouse, and a macro shot of the rim of a vase. These pictures are absolutely marvelous but so simple. I don't see potential photos in objects like that. Do you have any suggestions to help me open my eyes?
- Keana Clay

ANSWER 1:
I think your eyes have been opened. We learn from other people, but we can't see through their eyes. It's not the subject, but how light falls on the subject. Photograph what pleases you. I keep telling folks to look at art books, if they are not close to good museums. The early painters had an amazing sense of how light falls on things.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 2:
Thanks Doug. That makes sense. Light amazes me, it's so beautiful. I will continue studying the work of other and I will take your advice and check out some art books.
- Keana Clay

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NEW QUESTION 12: How To Fade a Photo
I have scanned a photo and want to print it out but I want to use it as a watermark - that's what Microsoft Publisher calls it. I mostly use Photoshop 7. I want to be able to print a letter over the top and have the photo just visable underneath, Thanks for your help.
- Trevor Taylor

ANSWER 1:
Hi, Trevor. There may be another way to do this, but this is the way I would:
Using the rectangular marquee tool (top left in the tools window), select all of your image. Copy it (edit menu or Ctrl+V on a PC), open a new document (File>New>Ok) and paste it (ctrl+V). In the layers window (Window>layers) adjust the opacity to maybe 30 or 40 percent. You'll have to experiment with how it looks when it comes out of your printer, but that's how you can fade the image with Photoshop 7. Good luck!
- Merriam Massey

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NEW QUESTION 13: Winter Photography
Just out of curiosity, what is everyone shooting in the winter? I live in Maryland and at the moment there are a few patches of month old dirty snow. The trees are dead and frozen and the only color is the blue in the sky and the occasional sunset. So, I'm having trouble finding inspiration. Any ideas?
- Jordan

ANSWER 1:
Jordan,

I too, live in Maryland (central), and share your winter blues.

There are places you can go by driving a little:

Blackwater Wildlife Refuge:
I was there a few days ago, and some of the ice is gone. The place is full of herons, waterfowl and raptors...including eagles. If you have lenses up to 300 mm, you can get acceptable shots, though longer lenses are better.

Frederick County:
Rolling farmlands, and mountain scenics are the primary targets here. The snow does limit the possibilities, but a lot has recently melted. Cacoctin Mountain streams are swift and vibrant, providing many opportunities. I made several trips there in January to shoot the ice formations in the creeks.

As the weather warms, this region becomes a good place to photograph wildflowers, insects, wild mushrooms, and a host of other subjects. You need macro capabilities to enjoy the full potential.

Garrett County:
This is a bit farther (for me), and often necessitates an over-nighter.

Swallow Falls State Park is stunning in winter. The 52'falls at Muddy Creek was transformed this winter, into a huge monolith of snow and ice. I was there last week, and most of the river-ice was gone,....blasted out by heavy rains. The shoreline ice formations still remain.

The winter is nearly over. I saw the first spring growths of this year pushing through the soil. (YIPPEE!)

If you want to get any more ideas or suggestions, check out my web site. Most of the photos were shot locally.
- Bob Cammarata

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ANSWER 2:
Jordan- I too suffer from the winter blues. So I've tried my hand at shooting more indoor photography. More creative, technical shots to get some practice on my lighting and creativity skills. If flowers are your thing or want some practice on your floral shots, check out a local floral shop or grocery store and see if they will let you have some of their flowers that are still good but not salealbe for one reason or another. They usually charge me a buck and and I can shoot all day with what they give me!
- Julie L. Curiel

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ANSWER 3:
Winter shouldn't stop you. Why do you have to shoot for bright color. Try shooting for form. Try shooting a leaf that has a nice shaped or curve to it. Practice using lighting on still lifes. Try some black and white, especially if you have digital. Not because digital is better at black and white, but because you can do the contrast yourself because regular labs don't print black and white with contrast filters or adjustments. They just print it straight so it comes out plain looking.
- Gregory La Grange

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Digital Filters
I have just ordered a Canon EOS D10 with a Canon 28-135 lens (72mm). Is there a difference between a "digital" lens filter and a 35mm lens filter? The reason I ask is because while researching which filters I want, I see "digital" and "film" listed.
- Darlene Christensen

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ANSWER 1:
Short answer: No. :)

The only real difference between "digital" and "film" filters is what normally is the size and the coatings. The size being 20-42mm for the typical "digicam" and "digital camcorder" filter sizes. Usually 37mm or so.

With film and prosumer digital cameras, the filter sizes are in the 42mm+ range. 49mm-72mm is typical.

The other difference would be the type and number of coatings to reduce things like Chromatic aberration which is a much bigger issue in digital photography than film photography due to the difference between film based capture and sensor based capture of light.

Basically, for your 10D, it is a moot point since you will be using some pricey EF glass which is already coated for high end optics. Filters you would use for "film" and "digital" would essentially be the same.
- Wing Wong

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ANSWER 2:
With digital, no filters!!! Filter in Photoshop. Starbursts would be the only one along with perhaps a UV filter. Digital does not like film modifying filters on the lens.
- Gregg Vieregge

ANSWER 3:
Answer Part I:

I've used filters without incident on an Olympus C2100UZ and on my current Minolta Dimage A1.

I'm curious to know what kind of issues you encountered while using filters with a digital camera. Which camera model and filter combo
produced a problem?

Below, I've listed my experience with filters on digital cameras, whether there was an issue and a workaround, and whether photoshop can be
used to replicate the effect.

- Polarizing filters:
Use a circular polarizing filter. Standard "straight" polarizing filters will mess up the auto-focus system on a digital camera. The
circular polarizer will cut down the light, but not affect the autofocus system as much.

Glare that polarizers filter out cannot be corrected for in photoshop easily(or at all in some cases). The intensifying characteristic of
polarizers for the sky can be mimicked, but at a potential loss of image information when changing saturation of the picture unless you
are working with RAW/16bit mode.

- Color balancing filters:
Redundant in the digital system. Auto White balancing or custom white balancing will resolve the light coloration issues. What the camera
doesn't catch, you can fix(to a degree) in photoshop later. Unless you are shooting in RAW and correcting in RAW, you will lose image data
when you perform a color correction if it pushes the color information past what the bit allocation for that color channel can handle.

- ND Filters:
Whether this is redundant will depend on your shooting style. You can apply a ND or a graduated ND filter to stop down an overly bright
scene or a grad-ND to tone down part of a scene. However, you can also take 2 pictures exposure balanced for the 2 extremes and blend
them back in photoshop. Either way works. The blending method may result in imperfect blends if the shots were hand-held.

You can correct for a certain amount of over or under exposure, but in many cases, doing so will also pull out alot of shadow noise.
There are only so many bits of data used to store information about each color channel. When you push it beyond that, you get data
clipping which results in unnatural color/noise/lighting.

- Macro/CloseUp Lens:
Works fine. The only issue to bear in mind is increased chromatic aberration(colors not focused, causing fringing). I've used up to +10
close-up lens and while CA crept in at the edges and corners, the majority of the image was still sharp and clear. This would be a problem
on a film setup as well.

This cannot be mimicked in photoshop without serious software cropping and resampling. At which point, your image will lose the actual
resolution and become less and less sharp.

(end of part I)
- Wing Wong

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ANSWER 4:
Answer part II

- Soft Focus Filters:
These can be emulated in photoshop, but having used this filter with my digital gear, it doesn't pose a problem. The overlaying of a
blurred version and a sharp version in photoshop does a good aproximation, but isn't a replacement for a soft focus lens. Light flares
and other natural artifacts of using a soft focus filter will not be present. This applies to selective soft focus filters as well.

- Intensifiers/Color shifter filters
Basically, you don't suffer a penalty in using these filters. The effect can be mimicked in photoshop, but with the above color channel
data loss to be kept in mind. You can augment the hue of the image to simulate the color shifting and up the saturation/luminosity to
mimick the intensifiers, but the effect won't be quite the same. (See below about auto-whitebalance issues.)

- Starburts/multi-image filters:

Basically, they perform the way you would expect them to. No workarounds were required. With photoshop, there are filters you can get
which will key in on luminosity values in the image and render a star burst or lens flare or multi-image composite.

- Wide Angle lens filters/fisheyes:

One a camera which uses IR autofocus, the wide angle can block the camera's ability to focus. This made the filer/lens unuable on my old
digital camera without resorting to manually focusing. On my current camera which uses contrast auto-focus, this is no longer a problem.
For my old camera, what I would do is shine an infra-red flashlight at the target to illuminate it for the focusing and turn off the
flashlight when I was ready to shoot.

Short of applying a spherical distortion filter to your image, you really can't get a "wide" shot effect from just photoshop alone.

- ND filters (for long long exposures)
The problem I encountered here had more to do with the CCD/CMOS sensor's noise level than the filter. Basically, taking a digital camera
(with the exception of the 1D,1Ds,D60,D30,10D,S2Pro,etc pro cameras), the noise renders the image unusable. This was also true when using
#87 type filters for IR photography. What you will get is ALOT of noise and grain in your final exposure in digital.

Neatimage and other noise removal programs can help, but you'll probably also be filtering out alot of the image as well. :

- AWB(Auto White Balance) interference.
Color filters are rendered mute if one does not turn off the auto-white balance of most digital cameras. You can set the WB of the camera
to AWB or fixed to some type(sun/cloudy/flourescent/tungsten/etc). When you can't you've basically negated the ability to effectively use a
color filter. This can be worked around by white balancing against a known object without the filter, then locking that setting in place
before putting on the filter.

- Teleconvertors (1.4x, 1.5x, 1.6x, 2x)
Not replicatable in photoshop. Negatives include loss of light and loss of sharpness. But this would have been the case regardless of
whether you were working with film or digital.

(End of part II & response)

Sorry for the 2 parted answer... the system was complaining that my post was too long. ^_-
- Wing Wong

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ANSWER 5:
Hi Darlene, as others pointed out you don't need any filters on digital camera except special effects filters and polarizer for special situations.
Any thing you put in front of your lens will reduce image quality. Best think you can get is lens hood. It will dramatically improve quality of your photos for lest amount of money.
- Artur

ANSWER 6:
Thanks to everyone who responded! This is a great place to go with questions! I'll definately be coming here often now that I'll be taking my photography towards a professional end! Man, I've got lots to learn besides having a "good eye"!
- Darlene Christensen

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