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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, April 04, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto's Spring Online School Launches Wednesday!
* BETTERPHOTO: Featured Article: How to Freeze the Action ... by Susan and Neil Silverman
* BETTERPHOTO: New Courses, New Instructors for Spring!
* BETTERPHOTO: New Adobe Photoshop on the Way - CS2
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focusing on Bicycle Pictures and Bicycling Photographs
* FEATURED PLACE: Focusing on Canada Pictures - Banff National Park Photography
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Facts about Ansel Adams - His First Camera / First Digital Camera Invented
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Compensating Stock Photo Models ... by Charlie Borland
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Wedding Photography: How to Get Started
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Distance or Depth-of-Field Scale?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Animal Pictures: How to Photograph in Low Light
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Photographing Wildlife: Lens Question
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Digital Pictures Vs. Scanned Images
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Noise Reduction Programs
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Wedding Photographers: What Do They Charge?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Image Sharpness: Equipment or User Problem?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Photographing a 2nd Wedding
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Action Sports Photography in Low Light
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Exposure Settings: 'P' Mode Vs. 'A' Mode
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: What Type of Filter Do I Need?


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto's Spring Online School Launches Wednesday!
Make this season a great photographic adventure by joining one of BetterPhoto's online courses! Each class is focused on teaching you how to improve your understanding of photography through exciting weekly assignments and helpful critiques. You must act fast, though, since classes start Wednesday (April 6th), and many are already full, while others are nearing capacity! Learn more about our courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 206th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

What an exciting week at BetterPhoto.com! The big news, of course, is that the spring round of online photo classes gets started this Wednesday. With so many fantastic classes - including a number of new ones - this is our best schedule yet! There's still time to join the fun. For details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the excellent how-to article on freezing motion by Susan and Neil Silverman, who teach Street Photography, Digital Workout #1, and Digital Photography at BetterPhoto.

Also, Charlie Borland shares yet more valuable advice in This Week's Photo Tip. Charlie, by the way, is the instructor for three terrific BetterPhoto courses: Stock Photography, Lighting for Commercial Photography, and Lighting for Commercial Photography-Advanced.

In addition, be sure to check out our regular features, including yet another awesome Questions and Answers section with some excellent replies from BetterPhoto instructor Peter K. Burian. Also, a new Photoshop - CS2 - is on the way; see the update item below.

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


*****
Featured Article: How to Freeze the Action ... by Susan and Neil Silverman
Stopping motion is as important as allowing it to blur, say BetterPhoto's popular instructor team, Susan and Neil Silverman. There are certain formulas for stopping the action, and the Silvermans - whose online courses include Digital Workout #1: Beginning Digital Photography, Digital Photography, and the new Street Photography - offer some freezing-action guidelines in their new article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=42


*****
New Courses, New Instructors for Spring!
Bare Bones Digital Photography by Robin Nichols, publisher of an Australian digital photo publication and the author of several photo books. For details on this course on the basics of digital photography:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/ROB01.asp

Portfolio Development by William Neill, columnist for Outdoor Photographer magazine and the hotographer of many photo-essay books. This course focuses on the art of editing your images and the development of thematic portfolios. Learn more at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BIL01.asp


*****
New Adobe Photoshop on the Way - CS2
Camera RAW workflow enhancements, new Vanishing Point feature, customizable menus, and Smart Objects headline an upgrade of Photoshop, according to Adobe Systems. Here's more from Adobe's announcement on Monday (April 4th):

Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Mac OS X (version 10.2.8 through 10.3.8), Microsoft Windows 2000 (with Service Pack 4), and Windows XP (with Service Pack 1 or 2) will begin shipping in May to the U.S. and Canada, and will be available through Adobe resellers and www.adobe.com/store. International versions are expected to begin shipping in late May and early June. Photoshop CS2 will sell for an estimated street price of US$599, and licensed users of any previous version of Photoshop can upgrade for US$149. Photoshop CS2 will also be available as part of Adobe Creative Suite 2. For all the details, go to:
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focusing on Bicycle Pictures and Bicycling Photographs
BetterPhoto members and instructors have captured bicyclists and their bikes in all sorts of creative and colorful ways: panning to show a nice feeling of motion, silhouette shots, bicycle still lifes, and so on. See BP's gallery of bicycle pictures and bicycling photographs at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=140

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FEATURED PLACE
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Focusing on Canada Pictures - Banff National Park Photography
Beautiful Banff National Park in Canada has sparked a wonderful variety of grand landscape images - most involving lake scenes. These images include Lake Louise at dawn, canoeing beneath tall peaks, and mountain reflections. See the Canada Pictures - Banff National Park photography gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=429

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
In 1916, Ansel Adams received a gift from his parents that helped launch his legendary career. What kind of camera was it?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member michelle lea guinn is:
Kodak Box Brownie

Editor's Note: Ansel Adams received the Brownie Camera during his family's visit to Yosemite, according to Kodak. "After a few minutes of simple instructions," he once said, "my camera and I went off to explore."

See michelle lea's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=92033

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 - First Digital Camera Invented - entered by BetterPhoto member Kerry Drager

The first electronic still camera to record digital images on memory cards debuted in what year? (Note regarding this question on the first digital camera invented: Although the first person to provide the correct year "wins" this quiz, feel free to also guess the manufacturer of this camera.)

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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Compensating Stock Photo Models ... by Charlie Borland
I haven’t always been able to hire models for my shoots and in the early days relied on many friends and acquaintances to be my models. I go into every shoot with an idea of how I will compensate the models or others for their services. This may be a trade or if they want money and I cannot pay them, I put in writing that I will give them a percentage of sales I make. At the very most, this percentage rarely tops 25%. A few times people complained that they wanted half, like “you take pictures and I be the model” thinking that is equal. I respond by letting them know that I am investing more than just my time photographing them. My investment includes film and processing, time to archive and file images, possibly scanning and retouching, and marketing, one of the biggest expenses of stock photography. I tell them I’ll give them 50% of any sales if they share the production costs with me. To date, I have had no takers. Models should always be compensated, even if it is $1.00 as this will validate your model release.

Check out Charlie Borland's online courses:



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ADVERTISEMENT
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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:
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P.O. Box 2781
Redmond, WA 98073-2781 USA

To order online, visit:
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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Wedding Photography: How to Get Started
I am a beginner and have only recently started taking some photo classes to gain more knowledge. Since I started showing pictures around at work, I've had numerous offers to do senior and small wedding photo jobs. I'd hate to say no, since I could use the money, but with little experience is it worth taking the risk? I guess I feel confident enough to take the jobs, but I have no idea what to charge or what lab I should have develop the pictures. I have done some research and know what the pros charge - however, I'm not a pro yet.... Any advice is welcome!!!!!!
- Michael Kurtz

ANSWER 1:
Hello, Michael. I've said this many times before and I'm sure there are some here and elsewhere who would disagree with me but I offer you the following:
It's a long reach between doing portraits and senior photos to doing wedding work, regardless of whether it's large or small. Consider the fact that if you screw up, you can reshoot a portrait. Imagine trying to reshoot a wedding? Re-creating it is nearly impossible. The emotional havoc it'd wreak on the bride, groom, and their families is almost insurmountable. Aside from the impact on them, consider your reputation. Because of your acknowledged inexperience, do you want to be known locally as the guy who either misrepresented his abilities, or screwed up the wedding photos for so and so? I don't think you would. I hear it's a tough reputation to get rid of, and if you really want to get into this business as a pro, you don't want to have that obstacle to overcome while trying to build a client base.
My advice to you is that if you want to shoot weddings, serve an apprenticeship or an "assistantship" with someone who knows the business well and whose work you admire. Over time, and don't be in too big a hurry, assuming they're willing, while they pay you for your time, they'll help guide you in what you need to learn to do well once you're on your own, including how to shoot it, how to handle people, how to handle yourself in a usually high pressured situation, what equipment to use and have for back-up, what film to use for what kind of situation and what labs, how to direct the labs and not last but least, how to price it.
I also encourage you to join a local chapter of some association where local pros who specialize in this kind of work meet and discuss various aspects of the business. Meanwhile, create a portfolio and learn to just say "no" to weddings until you really know your craft and get a handle on its business aspects. Confidence is just one part of that particular sub-specialty in photography.
Take it light.
Mark
- Mark Feldstein

ANSWER 2:
Thank you for the advice. In all honesty, I've been a little nervous about the idea of shooting a wedding. Everything you mentioned above has been going through my mind. It helps to actually hear it from someone else. I've actually been looking for a mentor locally, but it's tough. I'm still spreading the word and making new contacts; hopefully soon I'll find a photographer who I admire who will show me the ropes.
Again, thank you very much for the advice.
- Michael Kurtz

ANSWER 3:
As Mark said, there will be some who disagree with him. However, as a wedding photographer, I am not one of them. His advice is excellent. A wedding is a tough job even for someone who is experienced, but they are fun and rewarding when you are ready to handle them. Follow Mark's advice, and you will be ready when the time comes to go it on your own.
- Kerry L. Walker

ANSWER 4:
You're quite welcome, Michael. I'm glad you considered what I mentioned (and a tip of my hat to Kerry as well). I know it's sometimes difficult to find a good mentor (or any mentor, for that matter), but as I said earlier, joining local association chapters, Wedding Photographers of America, (WPA) Professional Photographers of America, PPofA, possibly American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP.org) might help make those contacts. Even a local photo club or calling some instructors at a college for referrals might help. Anything to get the word out. Meanwhile, if we can help out further, just holler. Be well.
Mark
- Mark Feldstein

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*****


NEW QUESTION 2: Distance or Depth-of-Field Scale?
I have a Nikon D70 with the kit that includes the Nikkor 18-70mm lens. I notice that there is a distance scale on the lens. Is there any real use for this, other than feedback about how far you have focused? There does not seem to be any documentation with the lens about depth-of-field information for various distances for the lens, and I didn't know if I was just confused, or what. Could someone help me sort out what the distance scale is for, and what I can use it for with regard to depth-of-field? Thanks in advance.
- Robin Briggs

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ANSWER 1:
The focus distance scale can be used for prefocusing to a distance, or to give the distance to use in the guide-number formula if you are doing flash exposure manually. But, like most autofocus zoom lenses, it is not practical to include a depth-of-field scale on the Nikon 18-70.
DOFMaster is a handy freeware program for creating depth-of-field scales customized for your lenses.
- Jon Close

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*****


NEW QUESTION 3: Animal Pictures: How to Photograph in Low Light
How can I get sharp images of lions at dusk without flash reflection from eyes? I changed ISO to 400, too grainy. I shot with a Canon Eos 10D, 100 - 400mm zoom, image stabilized, and monopod.
- Ann E. Tate

ANSWER 1:
Ann: This is one of those situations where there is no solution, other than a high ISO setting. Or using flash, and then correcting the eyes in Photoshop. That's easy for red-eye in Elements 3.0 and Photoshop CS, but green eye is more common in animals. Perhaps someone can offer a Photoshop tip for easily solving that problem.
Peter Burian
www.peterkburian.com


- Peter K. Burian

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ANSWER 2:
Peter,
Thanks for your response. It's difficult to know how animals will respond to flash in the wild, depending on circumstances. Most all of my lion sightings were at dusk - wonderful to experience, difficult to capture. I did correct one image in Photoshop 7.0, but eyes look dead now. Most of my images with eyes you can see reflections in the cornea - way cool.
- Ann E. Tate

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*****


NEW QUESTION 4: Photographing Wildlife: Lens Question
I am going to shoot wildlife at Triple D and in South Africa . I need to get a 300 or 400 lens for my Nikon D70. I have the 70-200mm VR. which is fabulous but just doesn't get me close enough. I heard the 400 isn't very sharp when pushed all the way out. Anyone have either lens that can advise me on the best one to get?
- Elizabeth A. Wisse

ANSWER 1:
Elizabeth: The Nikon 80-400mm VR zoom is great, but not inexpensive or lightweight. Like any zoom, its optical quality is not the highest at the longest focal lengths but a lot of pros use it. See the review at:
http://www.bythom.com/80400VRlens.htm

"The bad news is twofold: at above 300mm, the lens can be a touch soft (though not as soft as some suggest - with proper technique, it's a very serviceable 400mm lens, just not exceptionally sharp)."

For a review of the Sigma 80-400mm lens, also with image stabilizer, see:
http://www.popphoto.com/article.asp?section_id=2&article_id=1006
Cheers! Peter Burian
www.peterkburian.com


- Peter K. Burian

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: Digital Pictures Vs. Scanned Images
What are the similarities and differences between scanning and digital photography?
- Lizette Botha

ANSWER 1:
The similarity between the two is that a digital image is the result.
The difference between the two is that a digital camera creates a digital image ... made up in megapixels that can be down-loaded directly from the camera to any computer. This digital-to-digital transfer is more accurate that scanning, with little or no loss in image quality.
The main drawback (if your goal is great-looking photos on your computer screen or to e-mail to your friends) is a hefty initial investment in a high-quality digital SLR and software package, and taking the time to learn the technology of both intimately.
In scanning, an analog (film) image is converted to digital. During the transfer, any deficiencies in the original print, slide, or negative will be duplicated or amplified. (Kind of like burning a music CD from a cassette tape.)
Scanning at the highest DPI available is recommended to attempt to capture as much image quality of the original as possible ... though some loss is inevitable during the transfer to digital.
The benefits of scanning are that great film cameras can be be found for a fraction of the cost of digital SLRs of the same quality, and that film image archiving is less tedious,...(technologically speaking).
The drawbacks are in the cost of film and processing ... and a good scanner ... and also, learning to live with "less than perfect" images on your computer.
With a great scanner and accompanying software, it's possible to get real close to the image quality of a perfectly focused and exposed slide or negative, but as mentioned earlier, some loss is inevitable.
- Bob Cammarata

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Noise Reduction Programs
I have been experimenting with the demo programs of "Neat Image" and "Noise Ninja" as a tool to reduce noise in some of my digital photos. Does anyone have any pros or cons of these programs that would help me pick which one to go with?
- Ed Wenger

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ANSWER 1:
Ed: You can find lots of reviews of both programs via a google search. I have tested both and find Noise Ninja 2.0 easier to use and just as effective. You could not go wrong with this one. See my published review at: http://shutterbug.com/test_reports/0205noise/
Cheers! Peter Burian
www.peterkburian.com


- Peter K. Burian

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ANSWER 2:
Peter: I read your review and found it most helpful. My own experimentation with these two programs has me leaning towards the Noise Ninja, and your review has pushed me even farther.
- Ed Wenger

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Wedding Photographers: What Do They Charge?
I've heard they charge anywhere from $1000 to $3000 (in their pocket) for a day's shoot. I saw a wedding package the other day for $20,000 (included 50th anniversary shoot).
- Savy

ANSWER 1:
The amount a wedding photographer charges does not all go in his/her pocket. There is the cost of the film, developing, printing, proof books, albums, etc. - not to mention the cost of the equipment, gas, etc. The charge varies according to the area of the country and the experience and skill of the photographer.
- Kerry L. Walker

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Image Sharpness: Equipment or User Problem?
While taking group pictures, I am always having a problem with the picture being out of focus only on the lower left hand side. Any suggestions?
- Bobbi Lephart

ANSWER 1:
There could be any number of things happening here. To start with, you should determine if the problem is technical or user error, or both.
Tape a newspaper page to a wall outside, put your camera on a tripod, line it up as parallel to the paper as you can. Shoot it at as many different f-stops as you can. If the corner in reference is blurry, you have a technical problem, possibly a lens element that has slipped. You should still notice a decrease in blurriness as you stop down your lens. If the images are all OK, then look to user error, and figure out what you're doing wrong.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: Photographing a 2nd Wedding
I have been asked to take pictures at the wedding of a friend whose wife passed away in 2003. This is a second wedding for both the bride and groom. I would like some advice on second weddings and photos. Do you take different photos that at a 1st wedding. They are both in their 50s ... does this make a difference?
- Becky Austin

ANSWER 1:
I can't think of any reason to either charge or photograph people remarrying any differently than first-timers ... regardless of their age. As in any assignment, I'd just find out what they want, figure out how much of your time is involved to provide the requested services, charge my hourly fee and any incidental costs, and write the contract accordingly.
As to taking different photos, unless you photographed both their weddings first time around, I'd assume you're going to take different shots than their first wedding photographers, and besides, I'd assume the players are somewhat different this time around.
True, I think repeaters might not want the same elaborate kind of coverage they may have had at their first wedding - the outfits may be simpler, fewer guests, simpler reception, etc., etc. But all that shouldn't impact on your talent to shoot it only perhaps in terms of time to do the work. Like I said: Just ask the couple what they want and then provide it at a reasonable cost. Whaddya think?
Mark
- Mark Feldstein

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NEW QUESTION 10: Action Sports Photography in Low Light
I am trying to shoot mountain biking in its extreme format. Most of the action takes place under the canopy of large trees, with bright light in the background. I am using a 540 speedlight with my EOS 50, and shooting on 100 ISO film stock(for clarity, less grain). I am a little unsure about the use of this speedlight, or my camera settings for that fact as it seems to read the entire image, thus setting the light for the bright background and not for the underlit subject that is moving at 60km/h. Basically, all the choice shots came out underexposed. The flash unit won't allow my camera to go over 120th/sec. Can anyone fill me in? I want to capture images like those seen in the top mountain bike magazines. Many thanks.
- Pierre Marqua

ANSWER 1:
Pierre: I think you will need to use a more light-sensitive film such as ISO 400. In low light, the effective range of flash is not great when using ISO 100.
Move as close as possible to the subject as well. Also, try setting a +1 FLASH exposure compensation factor if your flash unit (or camera) includes this feature.
In AV mode, the camera will set long shutter speeds with flash, such as 1/15 sec. That increases the effective range of flash, but a moving subject will be blurred at such long shutter speeds.
In P mode, the camera will probably set 1/60 sec. and that's probably the best bet overall. If your subjects are still blurred, the 1/120 sec. option that you mentioned is the best bet.
Fuji Superia 400 film is excellent. I just hope you won't need to use ISO 800 film.
Cheers! Peter Burian
www.peterkburian.com


- Peter K. Burian

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*****


NEW QUESTION 11: Exposure Settings: 'P' Mode Vs. 'A' Mode
Hi all, newbie here again. I am having trouble understanding the exposure modes on my Nikon D70 ... If I am in P mode, the camera takes a reading then sets the aperture and shutter speed. I can then turn the dials to change the aperture (or speed) and the camera will compensate with the other setting, so that the exposure is the same overall. If I am in A mode, the camera sets the shutter speed based on whatever aperture I choose.
Could someone explain to me how using P mode and turning the dial to whatever aperture I want is ANY different from being in A mode? I have played with my camera a bit with this, and I can find no difference with my testing. Is there something I'm missing?
Thanks.
- Robin
- Robin Briggs

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ANSWER 1:
You're not missing a thing. You are absolutely correct in your assessment of P (Program) and A (Aperture Priority) modes. And you're also correct that there is no difference in the settings. For example, an exposure value of 1/125 sec at f8 is the same in any mode - P, A, S, M.
Choosing an exposure mode depends on your shooting circumstances, and also whichever you feel more comfortable using.
'P' is the most automatic, and is usually best served in point and shoot situations, or where you need to react quickly.
'A' mode is best used in circumstances where you need a specific amount of depth of field - either a lot or very little. This would be a mode you would most likely choose for landscape images.
'S' mode (Shutter priority) is best used in situations where there is action taking place, and you want to insure a fast enough shutter speed to stop it, OR a slow shutter speed to intentionally blur something. As you have learned, you can get to the same exposure value in several ways, and it doesn't really matter how you get there. Bottom line is that whatever mode you choose, the same exposure value is the same in any mode. Whether you work in P or A makes no difference as long as YOU know how to change the exposure value, which you obviously do.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 2:
Let me go one step further in this explanation:
As an example, you could use P, then turn the dial until you get, say, 1/15 sec @ f16.
You'd be doing the same thing if you were in 'A' mode, and set the aperture to f16, allowing the camera to choose 1/15 sec as the shutter speed.
And, you'd be doing the same thing again if you went to 'S' mode, and set the shutter speed to 1/15 sec, and allowed the camera to set the aperture to f16.
Finally - you could also go to 'M' (Manual mode), and simply set the aperture and shutter speed yourself to 1/15 @ f16!!
They're ALL THE SAME, and how you get there is strictly up to you.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 3:
Cliff Notes says: "A mode, pick a certain aperture, stay at that aperture. P mode, camera picks everything. But you can get a certain aperture if don't mind adjusting all time."
- Gregory La Grange

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: What Type of Filter Do I Need?
I have a Canon 300D digital camera. I was instructed in one of my Betterphoto.com courses that I needed a graduated natural density (GND) filter, so I could avoid the sky looking light or blown out. When I went to the photography store, I asked for the GND filter, but was told I probably wanted a Circular Polarizing Filter instead. Can you tell me what the difference is and what would be most beneficial? Any help on this subject would be appreciated.
- Kelly S. Dickinson

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ANSWER 1:
Your friendly local photography store is full of hooey. The two filters are not the same. They have NOTHING in common.
A graduated neutral density filter is usually rectangle in shape, and made to fit some of the filter holders available today. The top is dark, gradually becoming clear towards the bottom, thus allowing more light to strike the bottom part of your image, and less light to strike the top part. This sort of levels the playing field in many instances where the sky is much brighter than the ground area. They are only of use in circumstances where the sky is much brighter than the land. Metering with one on your camera requires special techniques, so if you buy one, you will need to learn how to use it effectively, and how to meter with it. Check out some reputable online photo stores like B&H (www.bhphoto.com), search filters, then Graduated Neutral Density filters.
A circular polarizer is a specialized polarizing filter made specifically for auto focus cameras, as opposed to a linear polarizer which may be used on manual focus cameras. Either reduces glare on many surfaces. It is probably the most popular of all filters, and would be of value in any photographer's camera bag. More so than the GND, BUT...in those instances where a GND is absolutely needed, there is no substitute.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 2:
Thanks Michael for your response to my question. I appreciate the explanations and better understand what the difference is. Thank you again.
- Kelly S. Dickinson

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ANSWER 3:
Avoid linear polarizing filters, circular are much better. In addition to reducing glare, for example on water, car or shop windows etc., one of its main uses is to darken a blue sky and accentuate clouds, giving them almost a 3D look. The filter has its greatest effect when shooting at right angles to the sun. Take care not to overdo it to the extent of getting an almost black, unnatural sky. With an SLR camera you can see the effect as you turn the filter. Good luck.

Hans Abplanalp
- Hans Abplanalp

ANSWER 4:
The most common ND Grad is the Cokin, but it's not really a true neutral density. Of course, you can fix a slight color cast in Photoshop - if you have the skills to do so. Pros use the Singh Ray brand, although it's very expensive: http://www.singh-ray.com/grndgrads.html

Cheers! Peter Burian
www.peterkburian.com

- Peter K. Burian

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