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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 - Monday, October 11, 2004
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* SPOTLIGHT: Still Time to Sign Up for Fall Online Classes!
* BETTERPHOTO: Debut of BetterPhoto's Pro Deluxe BetterPholios™
* BETTERPHOTO: Terrific Offer on Jim Miotke's Exciting New DVD
* BETTERPHOTO: Lewis Kemper's Photo Adventure: Winter Wildlife, Horse Round-up
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on Repetition ... Focus on Repetition ... Focus on ...
* FEATURED PLACE: Putting the Photographic Spotlight on Japan
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Tale of Two Men / Where the Heart Is II
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Getting a Hold on Flowers and Plants ... By Bob Cammarata
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Using a 80-200mm for Portraits
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: B&W Film Vs. Computer Conversion
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Taking Photos from TV
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: How to Re-Size a Picture for Web Use?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: How to Get Good Night Pictures
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Tips for Shooting Eyes
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Night Stadium Marching Band
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: What Medium Format Camera to Buy
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: What Kind of Digital Camera to Buy?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Flash Photos in A Large Room
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Converting a Picture to a Transparent Photo
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: Self-Portraits: How to Shoot Them!
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 13: Getting My Start in Photography
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 14: Circular Polarizer - What's Going On?
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Shooting Sunsets


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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Still Time to Sign Up for Fall Online Classes!
Kicking yourself for waiting too long? Don't fret, because you can still join one of BetterPhoto's online photography courses. Although the first lessons have already been sent out, the assignments for our 8-week courses are not even due until October 17! If you sign up today, we can send you the first lesson pronto, and you will have plenty of time to do the first assignment. Choose from the available photo courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 181st issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Once again, lots of fantastic news at BetterPhoto! Our fall session of online courses has just begun, but there's still space available. Check out our awesome lineup of classes at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

I am thrilled to announce BetterPhoto's new Pro BetterPholio™s. With this Deluxe Pro package, you get all of the features of our standard Deluxe BetterPholios™, plus many other powerful new features. See the item below for more details!

Also in this issue of SnapShot, be sure to check out the special offer on my new DVD, "Digital Photography Unleashed: Capturing Wildly Great Photos." Instructor Lewis Kemper announces an exciting photo adventure: Winter Wildlife and Horse Roundup in Montana. Lastly, there's a terrific photo tip from BetterPhoto member Bob Cammarata, plus our usual outstanding collection of questions and answers.

That's it for now. Enjoy this SnapShot ... and happy shooting!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
Debut of BetterPhoto's Pro Deluxe BetterPholios™
For professional photographers, aspiring pros, and any other serious shooters, BetterPhoto now offers the Pro BetterPholio™s. With the Deluxe Pro package, you get control over the look and feel of your site, ALL of the features of our Deluxe BetterPholios™, PLUS these powerful features: image sales option included; visitor statistics; triple the images (now space for 3,000 photos!); mailing list pages; more email aliases; password-protected private galleries (ideal for posting non-public images for clients, friends, and family); additional wildcard pages (for equipment lists, ordering policies, testimonials, or anything else you wish to add); and enhanced large slide shows (for your galleries AND for your front/home page!). For more information, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxeProWebsites.asp


*****
Terrific Offer on Jim Miotke's Exciting New DVD
Learn digital photography in Jim Miotke's entertaining and instructional new DVD, "Digital Photography Unleashed: Capturing Wildly Great Photos." In a Special Limited Edition Offer, pre-order Jim's DVD before it officially hits the streets (October 30th), and receive an autographed, numbered copy (1 of 500) - while supplies last. You will also get the DVD at a special discounted price of $19.95 ($5 less than retail). But there's more! If you order today, you will also get a bonus signed 5 x 7 print of one of Jim's images. These DVDs are selling quick! Pre-order your copy today at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1256


*****
Lewis Kemper's Photo Adventure: Winter Wildlife, Horse Round-up
Instructor Lewis Kemper announces a unique opportunity to capture incredible photographs of North America wildlife - February 10-16, 2005, in Montana! Featured attractions include wolves, bobcats, lynx, mountain lion, coyote and more, but there will also be such winter animals as the Arctic fox, Arctic wolf and the Siberian tiger! And, says Lewis: "To top it all off, we have the unique opportunity to photograph a herd of 10-12 colorful horses being run through the snow (weather conditions permitting) managed by several wranglers, dressed in Western clothing!" For all the details, go to:
http://www.lewiskemper.com/generic4.html

Incidentally, Lewis also teaches three excellent online courses right here at BetterPhoto.com: Photographer's Toolbox for Photoshop - Toolbox #1, #2, and #3. Check out those and other courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on Repetition ... Focus on Repetition ... Focus on ...
One of the strongest graphic-design techniques is the repetition - specifically, echoing or repeating a shape, form, line, reflection, etc., throughout your photo. As BetterPhoto shooters have creatively proved, this technique is an effective way to grab the attention of your viewers and to draw them into the image. For ideas and inspiration, visit BetterPhoto's gallery:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=1011

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FEATURED PLACE
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Putting the Photographic Spotlight on Japan
Color and culture, of course, are major themes of BetterPhoto photographers' work in this beautiful country. Check out the beautiful images in BetterPhoto's Japan gallery and you'll some of the fantastic shooting possibilities. For ideas and inspiration, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=188

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Who are the two men photographed on the cover of American Photography: A Century of Images?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Jon Close is:
With all that flash equipment, I'm thinking one of them is O. Winston Link, famous for documenting the last operating steam engine locomotives - often at night. Don't know who the other gentleman is, a collaborator/assistant?

Editor's note: Yes, Jon, you are right! Link (1914-2001) appears on the left, next to one of his assistants, George Thom.

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 - Where the Heart Is II - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

What is the subject of the main character Novalee's prize-winning photo in Where the Heart Is?

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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Getting a Hold on Flowers and Plants ... By Bob Cammarata
For positioning delicate flowers and plants at any angle you want, try using plastic drinking straws and a small chunk of Styrofoam. Thin, round “sip sticks” or coffee stirrers work best on flowers with thin stems, and standard-sized straws can be used to position larger flowers and plants. It’s a good idea to carry some of both types in your camera bag … along with a pair of scissors to cut them to size.

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: Using a 80-200mm for Portraits
I have a Nikon N80, a 28-80 f/3.5-5.6D, and a Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 ED. Typically, I use the 80-200 lens for casual action shots and landscapes. Reading different articles, I understand that it is a good choice for portraits. When setting up for a portrait using the 80-200, in aperture mode, I felt like I was a mile away from the subject. When using the 28-80, I feel like I can get closer to the subject. Is this normal for the 80-200 lens?
- Debby Fleischman

ANSWER 1:
Zoomed to 80mm, you'll be the same distance from your subject with either lens. At longer focal lengths, then you'll need to back up to get the same subject size.
The 80-200 is good for head/shoulder to tight facial portraits. If you want full length, seated waist-up shots, couples/groups, etc., then use the shorter focal lengths.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=12015

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=12015

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NEW QUESTION 2: B&W Film Vs. Computer Conversion
Another beginner question: Is there a difference in quality between taking black and white film photos vs. taking color film photos and converting them via the computer to black and white?
- Pam Maddox

ANSWER 1:
If done right, they can look just as good.
- Gregory La Grange

Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11997

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11997

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NEW QUESTION 3: Taking Photos from TV
What is the best slide film to use to photograph still shots from my own DVDs? Is tungsten best?
- Nelda J. Pieper

ANSWER 1:
I think daylight film is better.
- Gregory La Grange

Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Hi Nelda,
I don't think you'll get acceptable results due to the TV's refresh rate. You would be better off playing the DVD on your computer and use your graphics card or DVD software to capture the still. I know Cyberlink Power DVD offers capability of screen captures of what is playing.
- Kip Berger

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11995

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11995

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NEW QUESTION 4: How to Re-Size a Picture for Web Use?
I am having a terrible time taking a good picture and resizing it to a 2by2 or 2by3 picture for a Web page. Every time it gets to the Web size the picture is distorted and looks awful. What am I doing wrong? Often I crop the picture first. Would that make a difference? Thank you.
- Elizabeth Scully

ANSWER 1:
It's probably due to not cropping to a proportion that is the same as the space for the Web site.
- Gregory La Grange

Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
In addition to Gregory's suggestion, you might also be re-sizing without constraining proportions. Plus, you should use bicubic interpolation when re-sizing.
- Kip Berger

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11993

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11993

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NEW QUESTION 5: How to Get Good Night Pictures
i own a Fujifilm Finepix s5000 and when taking night pictures they come out all blurry. Will a tripod solve this and/or am I zooming in too close?
- Paul O mahony

ANSWER 1:
If you are talking about shooting night scenes in available light, the blurriness could be the result of one of two things: Camera movement due to a slow shutter speed, or the lighting is too dim for your AF to work.
Try switching to manual focus to see if that helps. And, YES, use a tripod for night scenes ... always!
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Hello Paul,
I also use a Fuji S5000 and have no problems shooting in "Night Mode". Therefore, I'm assuming that the use of a tripod will solve your problem. The autofocus in night mode on this model camera is rated very good.
- Gary M. Berger

See Gary's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Hi Paul (and Bob and Gary!)
I also have the S5000. Haven't tried too many night shots, but I would definitely agree with Gary that by setting to night mode and using a tripod (and even the timer) might help. Let us know how it goes!
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

See Diane's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11991

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11991

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NEW QUESTION 6: Tips for Shooting Eyes
I have a friend with really pretty blue eyes. I want to shoot close-ups of her face/eyes. Can anyone give me tips on how to best bring out the color in her eyes (i.e. lighting, etc.)? I'll be using a Canon 10D. I have Photoshop Elements 2.0 ... but haven't used it at all yet. Anything you can tell me about tweaking the shots with the program? Thanks.
- Jim Hayes

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
The lighting should be soft and uniform - diffused in some way. If more than one light source is used, try to avoid recording multiple "catch-lights" in her eyes. These can distracting ... especially with close-ups. You can usually see the effect you will get in the viewfinder, and adjust the angle of the lights to prevent this.
Once you've taken your shots, you can tweak the saturation a little to accentuate the color.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Thanks, Bob. I appreciate the tips.
- Jim Hayes

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11983

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11983

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NEW QUESTION 7: Night Stadium Marching Band
Hi A friend has ask me to take photos of his son the drum major. He is on a riser and is wearing black with a silver sequin stripe that reflects light a lot! The sky (black, of course) and the stadium lights as background. I have used both ISO 800 and 1600. I got pretty grainy shots, but the hands had "artistic" blur, but I would love to stop the action if possible. I can use a tripod if I need too. Can you help me with setting for the lights? I have a tried manually, but they were really awful shots when I do this.
- Gracie Fairfield

See Sample Photo - drummajor:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=562308

ANSWER 1:
The picture attached is a bit overexposed, with the subject's head and white (gloved?) hands blown out. The suit is also being rendered gray instead of black. The meter is being fooled into giving too much exposure (and too slow a shutter speed) by the large expanse of black sky and black suit. A better exposure and faster shutter speed can be had by one of the following:
(a) Dial in -1 to -2 exposure compensation in such situations, or (b) Partial meter on the subject's face, or (c) Take a reading from the grass field - which approximates an 18-percent gray card - and set that exposure manually.
Otherwise, the only way to get faster action-stopping shutter speeds is to use a lens with larger maximum aperture, like 50 f/1.8, or 200 f/2.8.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
P.S. Assuming the yellow head is not intentional, you need to override the white balance and set it for Tungsten, or manually adjust it for the stadium lights.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11979

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11979

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NEW QUESTION 8: What Medium Format Camera to Buy
I want a medium format camera. I don't need any special bells and whistles, but I would like a nice lens with a wide range of f-stops. I have 1,300 bucks (US) to spend. Buy used body and new nice lens? Any recommendations? What do I need?
- Brittany

ANSWER 1:
Hello Brittany,

When I first entered the "realm" of MF, I went to that (in)famous Internet auction site and got a Mamiya 1000S. It's an old (to say the least) camera, but it's built like a tank. I asked the seller many questions before I bid on it. I wanted to make sure all the seals were intact ... which they were.
I also purchased/bid on a couple of lenses ... 80mm (the "normal" lens for MF), 210mm telephoto, and 110mm. They were all pretty inexpensive but good in quality. The only thing I need now is a wide-angle lens, such as a 45mm or 55mm to complete my ensemble.
All of the lenses are "fast" lenses (f/2.8) and use the same thread size for filters (58mm) ... which means I only have to buy one filter size for the lenses. Also, I purchased prism finders for the two bodies I now own.
However, the only nit to these cameras is the film inserts. For some unknown reason, the cost is higher (respectively) than the bodies and/or lenses. I've got three now ... two 120 and one 220.
All in all, if I can recall accurately, I think I paid less than $550.00 for everything. Remember, they're older bodies/lenses/finders - but they work like a champ.

New lenses cost quite a bit for MF cameras. Take a look at the prices at B&H.
Hope this helps.
- Terry L. Long

ANSWER 2:
Oh ... I forgot to add ... they're completely manual cameras with "spot" metering. If you end up getting a comparable camera, remember: You can use a "linear" polarizer filter, which means it'll cost less than a "circular" polarizer.
Good luck.
- Terry L. Long

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11970

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11970

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NEW QUESTION 9: What Kind of Digital Camera to Buy?
I am just starting my own photography studio, and I want to purchase a digital camera. Any help on what kind of camera, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
- Veronica V. Perez

ANSWER 1:
The one you can best afford. If you can afford the Canon 1Ds and two to three lens, or you can go with a Nikon, or Kodak. I use a Fuji S2. I like the Nikon system of lens. I have been shooting Nikons for many years.
Hope this info helps.
- Doug Elliott

ANSWER 2:
How much money do you have to spend? Do you have basic photography knowledge? If you do, you should have an idea as to what features you are looking for in the camera. There are many online camera comparison and review sites that will help you decide which camera to pick.

Editor's note: In fact, there are digital camera reviews right here at Betterphoto: http://www.betterphoto.com/reviewsTOCDynoSub.asp?catID=5

You can contact fellow BP'ers and ask them directly what they like and don't like about their cameras. When your list is narrowed down to a few, go into a camera store and try them out! Does it feel right? Don't let the salesperson push you one way or the other - they often don't know what they are talking about...
Good luck - it is a tough decision - but I know that I'm very happy with mine!
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

See Diane's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11960

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11960

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NEW QUESTION 10: Flash Photos in A Large Room
I will be taking photos this evening at a church event with my Canon 300D and will very likely be using my Canon flash. Is there a particular way I can orient the flash to get photos that don't look like they were taken with a disposable? The ceiling is approx. 10 feet and made of high white ceiling tile. I will be taking photos of people, singers and speakers ... most of them will be on the stage. I will have an 18x70 mm lens and a 70x200 mm lens at my disposal. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
- Mike Brookshire

ANSWER 1:
Michael,
I don't think I am in time to help you with your shoot. How did it come out?
If I am ahead of the curve, I would like to suggest that you use your flash with tilted up at a 45-degree angle with a white card. A rubber band and a 5 x 7 white card works well. Use your 70 to 200. Most of your shots will be in the 120 to 150 range. If you have the time, get a friend to stand in the area where the performers will be entertaining. Shoot a few test exposures. You are striving to define an area where you will be shooting between 90 to 125 of a second at f8 to f11.
Hope this info will help.
Good Shooting
Doug
- Doug Elliott

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11959

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11959

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NEW QUESTION 11: Converting a Picture to a Transparent Photo
I use Adobe 7.0. I am wanting to convert a photo to a transparent to merge onto another photo. I have looked in everything that I can to see how to do this but haven't found what I need. Can someone please tell me how to do this.
Thank you.
- Barbara Hoblitzell

ANSWER 1:
Hi Barbara. Try this:
Open up the photo you want as your base or "bottom" photo. Then copy and paste the other photo, the one that you want to be transparent, onto it. Then go to layers and adjust the opacity bar. This should allow you to choose how transparent you want the top photo to be.
Hope that helps,
Nancy
- Nancy Grace Chen

See Nancy's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11955

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11955

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*****


NEW QUESTION 12: Self-Portraits: How to Shoot Them!
I am having trouble taking self-portraits. My face is either not in the picture or out of focus. Someone started telling me about a string method. I was hoping you can tell me how to use this method or another method that might help take a good self portrait.
- Terri Stanley

ANSWER 1:
Both of these scenarios are common when attempting self-portraiture.

  • To overcome the first problem: When you compose your shot, remember a particular element within the scene that is your approximate height and is visible in the viewfinder where you will later be standing. With your camera mounted on a tripod, tilt the camera angle to where your face will appear at the same spot as the object you used as reference.
  • The second problem ... relating to focus is easy if you can focus manually, but more difficult if you only have an AF camera. You will need to "pre-focus" the lens to the point where you will later be standing. You can use the self-timer (standard on most cameras) to do this by pointing the center of the viewfinder at a solid object at the same distance to the camera that you will later be standing. Set the timer and press the shutter. The camera lens will focus on that spot, but won't take the picture until the timer finishes its cycle.
    Then, quickly re-compose and get into position before the timer runs out.
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11945

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11945

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    NEW QUESTION 13: Getting My Start in Photography
    I am just about to start in photography, I been reading about it, and I got a course. But I was wondering, when I go to buy the camera, what other things are good to get? I want to just have enough so that I can start ... I don’t want to buy everything at once. So if someone can tell me what stuff is good to buy on the first time that would be great. Also I plan on getting one or two lenses to start with ... which ones would be good ones to get?
    - Lisa Viscuso

    ANSWER 1:
    What accessories you acquire will depend upon the camera system you have chosen and what you intend to shoot most often.
    Since you mentioned getting several lenses, I'm assuming that you are looking into a 35 mm SLR camera system (film, or digital equivalent).
    As far as lenses go, again, that would depend on the intended subject matter.
    I would think that a good zoom lens in the 80-200 mm range, and a standard 50mm prime lens would be a good place to start. If you plan to shoot a lot of scenics and landscapes, maybe a medium-wide angle lens would be more appropriate than the prime 50.

    Your accessory list should include a tripod as PRIORITY ONE ... followed by several filters: a polarizer to minimize reflected glare, and something for lens protection, such as a UV/haze or skylight filter.

    As for the rest (flash units, macro equipment, additional filters, etc.), you can build up progressively as your needs and abilities progress.
    Good luck.
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11940

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11940

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    NEW QUESTION 14: Circular Polarizer - What's Going On?
    I tried using the CPL and didn't quite get the results as expected. On the other hand, I found that most of my pictures taken with this filter are not sharp. What could be the problem?
    Sachin, China
    - Sachin

    ANSWER 1:
    Try this on a sunny day: Put the polarizer on your lens, look through the viewfinder, and slowly turn 360 degrees. You will notice at some degree the sky is bluer, usually at 90 degrees between the light source and where your camera is pointing to. Now find the spot with the bluest sky, slowly turn the outer ring of the polarizer. You will notice the amount of polarization is different as you turn. So next time you know how to find the most effective angle and amount of polarization when you take picture next time. Of course, it won't turn a grey sky to blue. It also helps eliminate glare and reflection off NON-METAL subjects. Again, the angle and amount of polarization varies.
    Since putting the polarizer on the lens causes the view in the viewfinder to look darker, it may be hard to focus (if your camera is not automatic focus). One way is to focus on the subject, then put on the polarizer. If this is not the problem, it may be the quality of the polarizer or foreign substances on the polarizer that cause the unsharpness.
    Hope this helps.
    - Andy Szeto

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=11929

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=11929

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    PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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    CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Shooting Sunsets
    I have a Nikon N-80 with sb-80 flash. Can I take pictures of the sunset using auto, or will the pictures not turn out? And how do I take sunset pictures?
    - Robin M. Misner

    ANSWER 1:
    Robin,
    Full auto should give you great sunset pictures, Don't focus directly on the sun. Manual focus is for tweaking.
    - sambo

    ANSWER 2:
    If the "auto" you are referring to is auto-EXPOSURE ... try to lock the exposure setting onto a blue portion of the sky to the right or left of the sun (without the sun in the viewfinder).
    Then, using that setting, re-compose to include the sun in the frame if you want. (This is best accomplished in full-manual mode, though.)
    - Bob Cammarata

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    ANSWER 3:
    Hi! While I have never been a professional photographer, I have been taking sunsets for more years than I can count, with a Canon AE-1 manual focus camera. Using Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority works also. Bracketing is one way to actually see end results, and snap until the sun goes down. Also if it's colorful, make sure you check out the eastern sky as well - if there are some clouds, it's equally beautiful with color! Mary L.
    - mary l. lemley

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    ANSWER 4:
    Hi Robin, I too love shooting sunsets. I use aperture priority and Fuji Velvia for sunsets, and I wait until after the sun dips below the horizon to start shooting. I shoot for 30 to 60 minutes until it's so dark I can't see the camera settings. The most delicious surprise when I get my film developed is that very often, the last picture of the evening is the best. This works best if the sky is either clear or only has wispy clouds. Have fun!
    - Jeanne Hansen

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