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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, July 05, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto's Summer Online School Launches Wednesday
* BETTERPHOTO: Featured Article: Find Your Focus! ... by William Neill
* BETTERPHOTO: Featured Article: How to Clean Your Digital-SLR Sensor ... by Peter Burian
* BETTERPHOTO: Book of Month: Jeff Wignall's The Joy of Photography
* FEATURED PLACE: Alaska Pictures: Grand Landscapes ... And More
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: River Runs Over It / A Busy Legend
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Isolate and Illustrate When Shooting Stock Photos ... by Charlie Borland
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: How to Photograph a Rodeo
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Wedding Photography: Pictures Vs. Battery
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Getting Sharp Images from Digital Camera
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Close-up Help!
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Shooting Headshots
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Getting Sharp Images for Large Prints
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Shooting Fireworks
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Images Fine in Viewfinder, Too Dark on Computer
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Field Trip to the Zoo!!
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Wedding Photography: Tripod Vs. Monopod


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto's Summer 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 (July 6th), and many are already full, while others are nearing capacity! Learn more about our 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 219th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

What an exciting week at BetterPhoto.com! The big news, of course, is that the Summer 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! And there's still time to join the fun. For details, go to:http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

We have a terrific issue of SnapShot. Don't miss instructor William Neill's article, "Find Your Focus!", and instructor Peter Burian's how-to article on cleaning the sensor in your D-SLR camera. Also, check out BetterPhoto's excellent Book of the Month: "The Joy of Photography" by instructor Jeff Wignall.

That's it for now. Have a great week of photography!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
Featured Article: Find Your Focus! ... by William Neill
What kind of photographs do you make? So asks instructor/author William Neill, who adds: "The most common answer I hear to that question is: 'Oh, I try a little of this, and a little of that'." When William has taught workshops over the years, the seductive power of the camera is evident in student work. Since the visual explorer is naturally pulled towards many subjects, the class portfolios most often indicated diverse interest and little focus. William teaches a terrific course - Portfolio Development - right here at BetterPhoto. Read his new article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=92


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Featured Article: How to Clean Your Digital-SLR Sensor ... by Peter Burian
Cleaning a camera's sensor is of interest to any digital SLR owners, and Instructor/author Peter K. Burian offers lots of tips, tricks, and techniques in his new article. Peter, who teaches the Digital Photography course right here at BetterPhoto, discusses the use of oversized blower bulb and sensor cleaning kits. He also shares dust-prevention measures. Read this excellent article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?ID=91


*****
Book of Month: Jeff Wignall's The Joy of Photography
Our online store showcases the fantastic books and DVDs from our staff of BetterPhoto instructors. For June, we put the spotlight on Jeff Wignall's awesome book, "The Joy of Photography." If you buy this fine book before the end of July, you will receive free U.S. shipping. Best yet, it's autographed by Jeff! For details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetailLg.asp?productID=1295

Also, Jeff teaches an excellent online course by the same name (The Joy of Digital Photography) right here at BetterPhoto:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JEF01.asp

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FEATURED PLACE
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Alaska Pictures: Grand Landscapes ... And More
Big, bold, and beautiful pretty much says it all about this awesome North American showplace! Best yet, many BetterPhoto members and instructors have captured the color and character of Alaska with so many incredible images. Subjects include mountain landscapes, snowscapes, reflections, intimate scenes, details - and, of course, wildlife. View the Alaska Pictures gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=172

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Why does George toss Lucy's photographs into the river in A Room with a View?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Eti Swinford is:
Because they were covered with blood.

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 - A Busy Legend - entered by BetterPhoto member Kerry Drager

In recent years, this noted photographer has published books that range from a retrospective of his 50-year career to a collection of his famed '60s photos of the Beatles. Who is he?

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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Isolate and Illustrate When Shooting Stock Photos ... by Charlie Borland
Your photos need to tell your visual story by either isolating your subject from the background or you illustrate your visual story by including the background. An example; you are shooting a woman riding a bike down the street. You use a long telephoto lens with a wide-open lens aperture for shallow depth of field so the background is just a blur. You have just ‘isolated’ her from the background. She could be anywhere in the world riding that bike. If you put a wide angle lens on the camera and include the Eiffel Tower on the horizon, you have "illustrated" your visual story: she is bike riding in Paris. Now take those concepts and think about salability. The ‘isolated’ image can sell anywhere because the background doesn’t place it’s location while the ‘illustrated’ photo will only sell if the buyer needs bike riding in Paris. Think about this as you shoot and try to isolate and/or illustrate every photo set up you do.

Check out Charlie Borland's online courses:



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
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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:
  • How to compose your picture with a more artful eye
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  • 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 to Photograph a Rodeo
I hope someone out there will take pity on me and give me some advice on where to start ... My equipment is as follows: Canon 300D, and Sigma F2.8 70-200mm
I need a suggestion on mode, film speed, shutter speed, etc., to shoot an indoor rodeo tommorrow night. I have tried film in the past with a slow 4-5.6 lens and got ZILCH! My photos always came out blurry. I also have the old Vivitar 285 HV workhorse flash ...
Thanks, Sharon
- Sharon Barberee

ANSWER 1:
Hey Sharon,
that's a much faster lens than your old one. Can you go there today and check out the lighting and see how your camera performs on different settings? That would be your best bet without knowing what the lighting is going to be like. With that fast a lens, I don't think you'll have a problem ... just take your flash anyway.
hth sam
P.S.: I wish I had that lens!
- samuel smith

ANSWER 2:
Without flash, meter off the dirt. Use 800 - you can use 1600, but I don't like that film. Shoot on manual at whatever you get for the exposure. If it's brighter in the middle than the edges, you'll have pick your spots when you shoot. If they wear hats, faces will be dark.
With flash, use the distance scale on the flash. See what half power at 400 gives you for distance when you use f/2.8-f/4. If you can fill the frame at a distance, that's right below what the distance scale says the flash reaches, then shoot there. If 1/4 power says it'll reach that distance at f/2.8-f/4, then you can use that and get faster recycle.
- 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=17461

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=17461

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*****


NEW QUESTION 2: Wedding Photography: Pictures Vs. Battery
I will be shooting my first wedding and wondering how long or how many pictures I can take before the battery goes dead on the Canon Digital Rebel? It says about 400 with 50 percent flash. I will be checking the LCD screen quite a bit since this is my first wedding. I must make sure the shots are perfectly focused. I have two Canon batteries. is this going to be enough to get me through the wedding?
- Kristi Eckberg

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ANSWER 1:
Hi Kristi,
I just shot my first wedding last week. I used the Digital Rebel also. Bring both batteries and your charger. When you change your batteries, keep it on your charger while you use the next battery. I didn't have to use the flash much because it was an outdoor event but I did have to change the battery after a while (about 300 pics) As far as focusing, trust the autofocus, just be sure its focused on what your shooting. Take several shots of the same so as to avoid blinking, etc. Take extra flash cards making sure you have lots of memory. And above all relax and have fun. If you're at ease, it will help those posing for you. Good luck.
- Rob Zuidema

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17439

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=17439

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*****


NEW QUESTION 3: Getting Sharp Images from Digital Camera
I have recently purchased a Canon 20D as I wanted to try digital photography. I have used a Canon Elan SLR for years and wanted another Canon in order to use my existing lenses. I am frustrated with my new camera as I cannot get crisp, sharp images even though I am using the same lenses I have loved. What am I missing? Is there a defect with my camera. I would appreciate any input as to what the problem might be.
- Debra

ANSWER 1:
Debra,
There is no reason you shouldn't be able to get sharp images with the 20D. I have the Rebel xt/350 D, and when I first used it I was shooting JPEGs and the images were a little soft for me even after playing with parameter settings. I now only shoot RAW with my Canon, and the images are much sharper. I'm not sure if this is what you're experiencing, but you have a great camera there so don't give up. I suggest you upload one of your problem images. There are some very knowledgeable Canon users here who I'm sure will help.
- Antony Burch

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ANSWER 2:
I think it is a dilemma for many photographers who just switch from film camera to digital. There is a similar discussion in this thread:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=17406
Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 3:
Digital Cameras have tendencies to be a little soft. you must do some post-processing to obtain the best sharpness. PhotoShop's Unsharp Mask is a wonderful tool. Good luck!!
- Daniel Diaz

ANSWER 4:
Plus don't forget you have to be prepared to compensate for the inherent shutter lag with digital. This takes some practice.
- John C. Schwentner

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17431

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*****


NEW QUESTION 4: Close-up Help!
I'd like to take extreme close-up shots (flowers, insects, etc.). I just bought a Tamron Macro 100-300mm lens for $80, but either it is the wrong lens for what I want to do since objects appear way out of focus or I'm doing something wrong. PLEASE help!! I tried the Internet and seem to get all advanced sites and no real answers.
Thank you so much!!
- Mike Stephens

ANSWER 1:
With a 100-300 lens, you cannot get too close - a minimum focal distance may be from 3-8 feet away. This is good if you are trying to capture some flighty insects, but if you want to be physically close to your subject with a lens like this, you need an extension tube. Then you are looking at just a few inches.
- Mikki Cowles

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ANSWER 2:
Thanks, Mikki. OK ... so what's an extension tube? And do I need a specific one to fit the camera and lens I have?(Tamron Tele-Macro 100-300mm lens on a Maxxum-5 SLR.
Thank you again =)
Mike
- Mike Stephens

ANSWER 3:
Please take a look here for information about extension tubes:
http://www.thkphoto.com/products/kenko/slrc-04.html
You need to get the one that is for Minolta lens mount. Anyway, the word "macro" on the Tamron lens is somehow misleading. Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 4:
Hi Mike -
Okay, here is what I know about macro and specifically about Minolta lenses for macro work. First, if what you want to do is real macro (close-ups of flowers, insects, anything really close), you will most likely be happier with a fixed length (prime) lens. I can recommend either the Tamron 90mm or the Minolta 100mm Macro. I own the Tamron 90mm, and it is a good lens. However, if I do it again I will go for the Minolta lens. There is, of-course, a price difference. If you only do occasional close-ups, you might consider the Minolta 50mm lens. This is a fairly versatile lens – some people call lenses such as this one an “all-purpose” lens because you can do some macro with it and also use it for many other purposes. What I think you should look for when purchasing a lens to do macro work with: a lens capable of being opened up to f/2.8 (large apertures are essential for clarity and sharpness with macro work); a lens that will produce true 1.1 ratio; and, of course, good optics – which is probably why the Minolta lenses are better than the Tamron ones.
Extension tubes: I have a set of Kenko extension tubes that I purchased from B&H photo for $129.00. http://www.bhphotovideo.com
BTW: the lens you purchased on eBay is an okay lens, especially for the price. Unfortunately, it will not help you very much if you want to make macro images. But, if you are trying to capture something at a distance, it will serve fairly well. Good luck and keep coming back!
- Irene C. Troy

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ANSWER 5:
Mike,
If your subject is "way out of focus", with the lens you have ... you need to move in closer. Even though the Tamron 100-300 isn't a true macro lens you should still be able to focus close. Turn the lens to its closest focusing distance ... (the lens barrel should be fully extended.)
Then move the camera and lens toward the subject while looking through the viewfinder. You will see the subject pop into focus when you've gotten close enough.
(Note: A newspaper or other printed page is good to use for this simple test. When you can read the print clearly through the viewfinder, you've reached the minimum focusing distance of that particular lens.)
As far as true macro capabilities, Irene and Mikki are correct in that a prime "macro lens" - and/or extension tubes - will help to achieve true life-size reproduction.
What Andy referred to as "misleading" is that many lens manufacturers will slap the word "macro" or "macro-capabilities" on their close-focusing lenses. The thing to watch for is the life-size reproduction they claim to achieve. True macro lenses can achieve 1:1 (life size) ... or at least 1:2 (1/2 life size).
Your lens probably gets to 1:4 (1/4 lifesize) or 1:5, but I couldn't find any specs on your lens to verify this.

Even so, you still should be able to focus at whatever minimun distance your lens will allow.
- Bob Cammarata

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ANSWER 6:
Andy, Irene, and Bob: Again, THANKS for the help and suggestions. For now, I did get a tripod and a ND-filter (and a UV & star filter). I have a lot of research to do b/c all these terms of "Macro", "Extension Tubes", ratios, etc. is a bit confusing for me. I used the new lens today and will post the pics when I get them developed in the next day or two.
But allow me to clear my question up--The BEST and most economical way for me to take SUPER close-ups would be with extension tubes. But using WHICH of the two lenses I have...the Minolta 28-100 or the Tamron 100-300?
mike
- Mike Stephens

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: Shooting Headshots
A friend of mine who is pursuing a musical theatre career asked me to take her head shots. I am a college student, and photography is a hobby and a passion of mine; but time and money are limited. I have a Nikon N65 with a 28-80 Sigma lens and a 70-300 Sigma lens. I also have a small tripod and two metal lamps that I got at the hardware store with Reveal light bulbs.
My question is: Is there any inexpensive lighting, poses, backgrounds, or advice that I would need before I begin this project? I would really like to broaden my techniques, and I haven't done anything like this before.
Thanks
- Will Wohler

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ANSWER 1:
Go to the library and check out the Kodak Series book on portraits - it's printed on 9X13 (wide) stock and should be found easily. In it, there is a great discussion of the different types of portrait lighting and the use of one, two and four lights. John Hedgecoe also has a good book on portraits.
There's nothing wrong with using "hot lights." I started with and still use them. Make sure that both of your reflectors are fitted with bulbs of the same wattage. Sit your model on a comfortable stool (to start). Set your camera on your tripod, the lens axis should be at about the shoulder height of your model (again, to start). Use a focal length between 90-135 mm.
Then set the first light (Main Light)slightly to the left or right of the camera; adjust the height of the light a little above the model's eyes (again, to start). Set the second light on the side opposite your Main Light at a 45-degree angle to the axis of the lens.
Measure (roughly) the distance of the light to the subject (it will depend on the wattage of the bulbs). The second light should be set at twice the distance of the Main Light. That will give you a 2:1 lighting ratio.
Move the lights closer or further from the model, checking the viewfinder to see the effects of these adjustments. Keep the 2:1 lighting ratio; snap away. Then, go to a 3:1 ratio by moving the second light away from the subject. Snap away.
From that point (the above is the basic stuff), you can move the model, lights and camera wherever to get variations. But, for theatrical head shots, the standard 2:1 or 3:1 is usually what you've seen in barn theatres, etc.
Make sure you use the tripod. It may be that, even with two lights, your meter will call for a relatively long exposure (shutter speeds of, say, 1/25th sec. are not uncommon if you're using 250 watt photoflash bulbs). Also, you should use a cable release so that you're "away from the camera." The CR will also allow to you to snap the picture when you subject assumes a natural smile or terrific body position.
Plan to take a lot of pictures in hopes of getting one or two. For my first sitting, I shot 2 36-exposure rolls over the course of 1 1/2 hours. Take your time, but remember a sitting is tiring for your model. Let him/her move/relax whenever s/he needs to.
Finally, if you're shooting color film, you'll need an 80A filter (blue) for color correction. If you're shooting digital, I can't provide advice since I don't own a digicam.
Have fun. Portraiture is very satisfying.
- John Sandstedt

ANSWER 2:
Use reflected sunlight. You don't need much else for headshots, and many are done that way.
- Gregory La Grange

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ANSWER 3:
WOW! Thanks for the tips, John and Greg. I will try what you said and see how they come out.
- Will Wohler

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ANSWER 4:
I agree with Greg. For headshots, use "God's" light. It's reliable ... and it's free.
- Bob Cammarata

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17424

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Getting Sharp Images for Large Prints
I have a Digital Rebel and am having problems getting really clear images when producing anything larger than an 11x14. I recently did a 16x20, and it wasn't clear at all. I have a lab that is great, so it's not a problem on that end. I really need help because people are wanting large photographs and I'm not confident selling them?!
- Angela Hainline

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ANSWER 1:
Angela, which model do you have? I have the 300d and I am able to make large prints with it. What is your resolution set at? if you want big pictures, it needs to be on RAW or large with the small 1/4 round (smooth )icon. If you do any retouching, you need to do it in raw or tiff mode - if not, the file size will shrink every time you make a change to the photo in JPEG mode ... and the photo will look strange ... I am still fairly new at this so I don't know all of the ins and outs. Please try all methods available to you so you can get the best advice ... hope this helps.
- D.J. Kick

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ANSWER 2:
What lens are you using with it? It does make quite a difference on the close end.
- John C. Schwentner

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ANSWER 3:
What lens should you use? Because I'm having the same problem. I use the Rebel XT.
- Susan Bohanon

ANSWER 4:
Angela, you didn't indicate whether or not you shoot with a sturdy tripod. If not, this could be the reason for soft or blurred photos that show up when enlarged.
VR
John
- John R. Rhodes

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ANSWER 5:
Hi Angela! What resolution are the photos set to? And how are you sending them to the lab? The lab I use recommends to size for an 8x10 and the resolution is at 250 dpi. For larger images when cropping they recommend a larger crop like 12x16. The resolution you are using may be the culprit. I shot in JPEG and my camera records at approximately (21 x 41) and at 72 dpi. When you go into crop/resize, make sure you are changing the dpi to a high enough setting. 72 dpi will print 4x6 with not much notice in the quality and probably even an 8 x 10 might be fine ... but you really need that resolution at whatever your lab wants (mine asks for 250). Other issues could be things that were mentioned above ... tripod, lens, etc. I open my files in the JPEG mode but save in TIFF and, when possible, upload TIFF to print from. The really large files, though, I can't upload TIFF so I just go from the JPEG and the 11x14 I just printed were fine. But I don't print a lot in that size so as I get more work and more people start possibly wanting larger sizes I might face some similar issues.
- Michelle Ross

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ANSWER 6:
This digital resizing thing isn't totally clear to me, but I have found that when you set the camera on its finest setting, just leave it there and don't resize anything. You should be already at max mp's on fine setting. Do save in TIFF or RAW so as not to lose anything later if you edit and resave the shot though. I'm not sure about the lenses other than the fact that if you use a cheap set of optics, you won't get max clarity no matter what. And prime lenses are always a higher quality than a zoom, but many zooms are excellent, but it takes money for imoprovement. If you can afford a Canon L series lens you cant beat that. But the usm 70-300 is pretty darn nice, and a good all around shooter. I still think from the picture you posted, though, that your biggest problem looks like steadiness and/or movement during shutter lag. You really have to practice holding steady and do the two-step shutter if there's time.
- John C. Schwentner

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ANSWER 7:
I thought I'd add my $.02 about resolution and dpi since it came up. I had a good discussion with instructor/author Ben Willmore and resolution as well as a bunch of reading. (Which in no way makes me an expert, just so that's clear. :) )
Digital cameras record pixels not dpi. In the camera you set the image recording quality which is really telling the camera how many pixels to be saved. The more pixels, the more information, the larger the size. So long as the image remains digital the dpi is meaningless. Dpi only comes into play when you print a picture - that is to say when the file is exported outside the digital world.
Given a fixed number of pixels: document size (print size) increases as dpi decreases and visa versa. This is because, keeping the number of pixels constant, the image contains a fixed amount of information. If you want to increase fineness/print quality (increased dpi) then you have to decrease over all size. If you want to increase print size then you have to decrease fineness (quality).

Now, if you allow your photo editing software to resample, then you are telling it to either make up or get rid of information when you change the document size or dpi. The way it does this is to make up or get rid of pixels. Some software is better than others at doing this. PS CS2 has a neat feature to improve this process (bicubic sharp when reducing pixels, and bicubic smooth when creating pixels).
So Angela, if your images are clear when you print smaller pictures, it might mean that you need to modify how you create your larger images for printing. (Aside from the other recommendations of high-quality lenses, tripods, RAW not jpeg, work with Photoshop file for layered images and Tiffs for unlayered images...)
- Howie Nordström

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NEW QUESTION 7: Shooting Fireworks
OK, I am a newbie to this site. I have a silly question ... I was reading some of the articles on here about shooting fireworks. I guess I am just confused on what you mean on multiple exposures on one frame??!! Also about covering the lens before you advance. Sorry it's a silly question ... Thanks for any help. :)
- Heather Inich

ANSWER 1:
It's not a silly question, Heather. We weren't really talking about multiple exposures in the traditional sense. In this case, the camera is mounted on a tripod, and aimed at a spot in the sky. If you use a long shutter speed (several seconds) or just hold the shutter open on the Bulb setting, you will probably get several different bursts of fireworks over time in your frame. The rest of the sky is mostly dark, but if you cover the lens in between bursts, you will reduce the amount of light (other than the fireworks) that enters the camera.
- Chris A. Vedros

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NEW QUESTION 8: Images Fine in Viewfinder, Too Dark on Computer
Any idea why the shots I take with my Sony Mavica MVC-CD 1000 look so good when I review them in the camera, but so dark and muddy when I pull them up in Photoshop? Thanks for the help,
C
- Coral Dalton

ANSWER 1:
How about when you print them up?
- Sara Mitchell

ANSWER 2:
You might have the brightness of the camera LCD set high compared to your PC's monitor. This is a common problem with some digitals, including the Canon Digital Rebel - the default brightness setting for the LCD is very bright.
- Chris A. Vedros

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ANSWER 3:
Thanks for the response, Sara. I'm a sculptor - not a photographer - and I'm using the images on my Web site, so I don't need to print them, they just have to look good on my monitor.
Chris, Good idea. I'll tone down the camera LCD some and see if that helps. Thanks.
- Coral Dalton

ANSWER 4:
Then you should probably bracket to get different ranges of lighting and 1 out of 7 should be what you want. If you have manual mode, make sure that your in-camera light meter is perfect and what what happens in different parts of the scene.
- Sara Mitchell

ANSWER 5:
Coral,
Here is an easy way to calibrate your camera LCD to your monitor. Take a typical picture with some dark areas and light areas in it. Transfer the picture to your computer, but leave it on your camera also. Hold the camera near the monitor, and view the same photo on both at the same time. Adjust brightness on the camera (or both) until they look the same.
- Chris A. Vedros

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NEW QUESTION 9: Field Trip to the Zoo!!
I'm going to the North Carolina Zoo next weekend. I have a 28-90mm and a 75-300mm lens. Should I lug around both or just take one of them? Also, what kind of films are good for this, vivid colors or natural colors? I want to get an assortment of slide and negative too. I'm probably going to take about 4 rolls of slide and 4 of print. I think I ask the MOST questions on this site, but I hope everyone knows I love 'em and appreciate everyone's support. I tell all of my photographer friends about this site so they can see all of you guys' work. Well, thanks again.
- Justin D. Goeden

ANSWER 1:
Justin, if you have to choose, take the 75-300 for its versatility, but I'd bring both in case you want environmental shots or bizarre pictures of animals with big noses. If your equipment's too heavy, you can rent a baby stroller and roll everything around. I find this useful near the end of the day when the %!?& tripod gets too heavy to handle.
In my film days, I used Velvia or Provia 400 almost exclusively because I love punchy colours. Nowadays with PS, you can use just about anything and correct the colour later. However, I wouldn't mix negative and slide film in the same session, because the exposure rules aren't the same, and I confuse easily. But then ... your mileage may vary.
- Kay Beausoleil

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Wedding Photography: Tripod Vs. Monopod
I will be using a Canon Elan 7N to take some wedding photos for a friend of mine. My lens is a 28-135mm zoom. I was wondering if anyone had input into using a tripod versus a monopod for taking the photos inside the church. A tripod would be quite cumbersome to keep moving around, but a monopod would be better. The film I will be using is Kodak Portra 400VC and Kodak T-max 400. Does anyone have any suggestions or experience with this? The shutter speeds will be quite slow and I'll be using 85-100mm most of the time shooting at f/4 or 5.6.
- Michele King

ANSWER 1:
Using a tripod is always a positive recommendation. Using a monopod is the way to go when a tripod can't be used.
Having said this, based on the weddings I've shot, you may not be able to use either. They're just too awkward. And, you won't generally have the time to properly "set up" due to the action of the event.
Because of distance involved, I've used a "big flash" - GN greater than 100 and haven't had a problem (if flash and/or photographs-during-the-ceremony are allowed). However, with ISO 400 film, I've fought reddish skin tone in candid shots.
I haven't used ISO 800 film to shoot a wedding, but I had great results shooting "hand-held" in Rome's basilicas and the indoor museum in the Greek Isles. This might be you other option. (I think you'll find ISO 1600 films too grainy.)
Remember, you're shooting the Special Day. Don't get trapped by equipment like tripods/monopods. Be flexible so you can move around the church and reception hall.
- John Sandstedt

ANSWER 2:
Michele, I have used a tripod for weddings, only for the shots in the church when flash is not allowed. You will have to set it up quickly and take it down just as quickly. I would like to make one suggestion, though. Don't use Portra VC film. The colors are great, but it is not really good for skin tones. I use Kodak Portra NC for weddings.
- Kerry L. Walker

ANSWER 3:
You didn't mention whether or not you'd be using flash. I suggest that, if flash is allowed, shoot with 2 cameras. Have 400 speed in one (and yes, NC is better than VC; VC is also noticeably grainier), and either 400 or 800 speed in the other. Have the 2nd camera on a tripod and do your available-light shots with that. If flash is not allowed, you must use a tripod, as f/4 or f/5.6 is not fast enough to hand-hold a camera inside a church, even perhaps if you were to use 3200 speed. A monopod will only give you an extra stop or so, so make it a tripod.
- Maria Melnyk

ANSWER 4:
I would use the tripod first, and only as a last resort pull out the monopod. I just don't feel you can keep your shutter speed up enough inside the building for the monopod.
- Scott Pedersen

ANSWER 5:
Thank you everyone so much for your responses. This is the first time I have used this format and it is very helpful!
- Michele King

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