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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, November 15, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto's School: Enjoy a Season of Inspiration and Education
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto.com Partners With Award-Winning Lensbabies
* BETTERPHOTO: Book of Month: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Digital Photography
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterWorkshops: On-Location Excitement and Online Critiques
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on Egrets, Herons, Pelicans, and More
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: A Vertical Way of Thinking / Undercover Shot
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: What Is Cross Lighting? by Charlie Borland
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: 85c Tiffen Filter Question
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Black and White: In-Camera Vs. Processing Later
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Printing Difficulties at Home
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Sports Photography - High School Basketball
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Taking Close-ups of Inside of Orchid - Help!
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Viewing Old Negatives
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Shutter Speed, Flash, Indoors, Etc.
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Fisheye Lens Options
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Idea of Basic lighting
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Extension Tubes for Close-Up Work
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Donating Time Vs. Donating Pictures


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto's School: Enjoy a Season of Inspiration and Education
Would you like to learn more about photography? Are you struggling to gain a better understanding of the principles of digital photography, photographic field techniques, composition, exposure, lighting, Photoshop, marketing, or specialty subjects? Join us for an inspiring online photo course at BetterPhoto.com. Our Winter session of photography courses promises to fill those excellent weeks with creativity and inspiration. For more information, go to:
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 238th issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

Lot's of exciting news at BetterPhoto! First off, we're thrilled to partner with the manufacturer of a very cool and very creative product - Lensbabies. See our announcement below.

At BetterPhoto, we are so proud of our online classes. They are taught by professional photographers with strong publishing credentials and teaching experience. And these courses work just like a traditional classroom - but with all the convenience of the Web! Take an illustrated tour at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/tour-courses-01.asp

Are you trying to figure out what to give that very special photographer who seems to have just about everything? Check out our "Holiday Gift Ideas" article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=105

In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the latest Photo Tip by instructor-photographer Charlie Borland, plus another excellent collection of questions and answers.

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


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BetterPhoto.com Partners With Award-Winning Lensbabies
We are very pleased to announce that the award-winning Lensbaby (along with the new Lensbabies macro kit) will be a First Place prize option in BetterPhoto's November and December photo contests. Lensbabies are unique selective-focus SLR camera lenses that bring one area of an image into sharp focus, with the sweet spot of focus surrounded by graduated blur. Photographers can move the sharp area anywhere within the photo by bending the lens. "We're excited to partner with BetterPhoto because we have very similar goals," said Sam Pardue, CEO of Lensbabies. "They want photography to be easy, fun, and creative. That's what we're all about." For more details on contest prizes:
http://www.betterphoto.com/contest/prizes.asp


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Book of Month: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Digital Photography
Our online store showcases the fantastic books and DVDs from our staff of BetterPhoto instructors. For November, we put the spotlight on Bryan Peterson's awesome book, Understanding Digital Photography. If you buy this fine book before the end of November, you will receive free U.S. shipping. Best yet, it's autographed by Bryan! For all of the book details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetailLg.asp?productID=1351

Bryan Peterson also teaches two excellent BetterPhoto.com courses: Understanding Exposure and Learning to See Creatively. For course information:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp


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BetterWorkshops: On-Location Excitement and Online Critiques
Treat yourself to an exciting photographic adventure in 2006! Check out the new "BetterWorkshops" page, which outlines our lineup of workshops that combine the best of two worlds - online and on-location. And each workshop is led by one of BetterPhoto's expert instructor-photographers. For all of the what-when-and-where details, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/on-location-photography-workshops.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on Egrets, Herons, Pelicans, and More
Wildlife is a popular subject among BetterPhoto contest photographers. A check of our gallery shows some amazing images of crane birds - from herons and storks to egrets, pelicans, and cormorants. They have been captured in flight, at rest, in groups, as portraits, and in many humorous poses. View these wonderful images at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=538

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
What photographer is well-known for saying the following? "When is the best time to shoot a vertical? Right after you finish shooting the horizontal!"

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Donna Cuic is:
I heard it from BP's very own Bryan Peterson.

Editor's Note: Right you are, Donna. In fact, Bryan has used this quote (excellent shooting advice, of course) in his books and BP classes ... plus, during his terrific presentation at the BetterPhoto Summit!

See Donna's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=56588

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 - Undercover Shot - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

In a recent episode of a television show, the opening and closing scenes discussed how people can use photos for a variety of purposes. A photo (stored under a mattress) played a role in that particular episode. What TV show is it?

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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What Is Cross Lighting? by Charlie Borland

A common mistake often made by beginning photographers using a strobe light is called "cross lighting". Successful portrait lighting involves one main or "key light" off to the side that shapes your subjects. Once this key light is in place, you need a fill light to lighten the shadows. If you place a second light in the same position on the opposite side of the camera and at the same power, you now have two key lights. These two lights compete with each other by creating opposing highlights and shadows, and this is not a visually pleasing approach. Move one light in next to the camera and set it at a weaker power to act as a fill light while leaving the key light as the source for lighting your subject effectively.

View Charlie Borland's online photography 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: 85c Tiffen Filter Question
Will a Tiffen 85c filter do anything foe black and white photography? If so, is the filter factor the same? Thanks!
- Jon Benson

ANSWER 1:
85C is a yellow/orange "warming" filter intended to match daylight/flash light (~5500K) to Tungsten film (~3200K). With black and white, it will have an effect similar to using Yellow #8, though much, much more subtle. The filter factor is the same, regardless of whether it is used with color daylight, tungsten, or black and white film.
- Jon Close

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http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=20557

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=20557

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NEW QUESTION 2: Black and White: In-Camera Vs. Processing Later
I recently purchased a Nikon D70S, and while I'm generally happy and still learning all the features of the camera, I found that it doesn't shoot black and white, which is something I enjoyed tremendously with my point-and-shoot Fuji. So my question: Is there much difference with shooting a picture in black and white or processing it later with software into a black and white picture? Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated.
- Amy L. Carroll

ANSWER 1:
There have been several threads here on this topic, and the general consensus is that if you always shoot in color, you have the option of using the image in color or B&W. If you shoot in B&W, you are limiting your possibilities. The only argument that can be made for shooting B&W in-camera is if you typically print direct from the camera, with no image processing on the computer. In my opinion, anyone who prints direct from the camera is better off with a high-end compact digital like a Panasonic Lumix or a Canon S2IS.
- Chris A. Vedros

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NEW QUESTION 3: Printing Difficulties at Home
When I print digital images on regular paper, the color is fine. When I print the same images on photo paper, the images are green. I make selections for paper type, etc., and I bought new photo paper. Nothing seems to make a difference. Regardless of settings, color is fine on regular paper, green on photo paper. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
- Kay M. Daniel

ANSWER 1:
Does it get better after each print? Inks don't flow well right away if the printer hasn't been used for a period.
Or one of your tanks could be clogged, like magenta. Photo paper settings will spray more ink than regular paper, so the lack of ink coming from a tank will make the color funny. That's all I can think of right now.
- Gregory La Grange

Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

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NEW QUESTION 4: Sports Photography - High School Basketball
If I was going to take pictures at basketball games at my high school, what type of equipment do I need besides my camera?
- Lindsey M. Westwood

ANSWER 1:
A medium telephoto will probably do the trick, right around 135 or so. And since lighting in gyms is so horrible for photography, you'll need a fast lens, around f/2.8 or so. Also, jack up your ISO to around 800-1600. I would think a monopod as a tripod would be too cumbersome and a pain to carry around and set up.
What kind of camera will you be taking? Do you have any money to invest in more lenses?
- Justin D. Goeden

ANSWER 2:
I would be taking my only camera ... the Kodak Digital EasyShare CX7530. I do have money to invest, but I'm not sure if my camera can even have more lenses. It is a beginner camera, but it takes quick pictures, so I'm confident that it will be OK to use.
- Lindsey M. Westwood

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http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=20544

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NEW QUESTION 5: Taking Close-ups of Inside of Orchid - Help!
An acquaintance has asked me if I could take close-ups of the insides of her orchids for her. I said I would try, but that I had never done it before and didn't think I had the right equipment (thus, lowering expectations :)). This is what I've got --
- sunny weather outside and probably a slight breeze
- a moderate quality regular size tripod
- a tiny tabletop tripod
- a 28-300mm lens with a "macro" setting (which, I think I understand, is like a "fake macro"??)
- an 18-55mm lens
- a Canon Digital Rebel (the 6.3 megapixel one, but it doesn't say 300D on it anywhere)
- a Canon 220ex Speedlite (that I don't really know how to use properly)
- a remote trigger

Any tips for me?? PLEASE?
- Jennifer Wytmans

ANSWER 1:
Jennifer, you might be able to accomplish this with the equipment you have, but there are caveats. First, the zoom lens with macro mode is not as sharp as a lens designed specifically for macro work, but perhaps it will do. The key question is whether you can get close enough to the flower to fill the frame with the "inside" of the orchid. I've done this with fixed-focal length macro lenses, but haven't tried with a zoom such as yours.

The tripod will be absolutely necessary - depth of field in macro mode is notoriously thin - even at small apertures. And I mean thin - as in measured in tenths of an inch or less. What this means is that you will want to set up the tripod, use the smallest aperture possible, and also make use of the flash because you're going to need the light. For the flash, I suggest that rather than mounting it on the top of the camera, you get an extension cord that allows you to hold the flash off the camera and aim it more directly at the flower. I'm sure Canon makes a cord like this - it's what you'd use if you mounted the flash on a flash bracket. Also, use a piece of foamcore or something as a reflector on the other side of the flower from the flash, to avoid shadows thrown by the stamen or petals.

Given the very thin DOF, you'll probably need to take a bunch of shots (and do use the remote trigger). Hopefully, the speed of the flash exposure will eliminate any blurriness from the mirror slap, and with luck, you'll get the right parts of the flower in focus.
- Bob

ANSWER 2:
Adding to what Bob just said regarding the "mirror slap," I don't know about your camera, but mine has a mirror lock-up feature (engaged when I use the 2-10 second timer on the camera) that will help eliminate that vibration.
- Joyce S. Bowley

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NEW QUESTION 6: Viewing Old Negatives
I would like to go through old negatives to determine which ones I want to print. I do have a scanner and tried scanning a sleeve of negatives on my computer but not sure what the next step is. I guess if I could make a CD to view the negatives I would be able to determine which ones I would like to print. The negatives are from 20-30 years ago, and I can't determine what is on them by holding them up to the light. I would appreciate any help you could give me. Thank you.
- Joanne S. Landers

ANSWER 1:
Joanne,
I use a 10x negative/stamp viewer (loupe) and place the negatives on a small battery-powered light table or a sliding glass door. The loupe costs $7.00 and the light table cost $25 at a flea market. Hope this helps.
- D.J. Kick

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ANSWER 2:
If you have a (dedicated film) scanner, you should be able to see on your monitor what the print would look like. The "next step" would be to use a software program like Photoshop to clean up the image - to overcome any deficiencies incurred during the scanning process and to correct the fading, imbedded dust, scratches, and/or other factors most commonly associated with older negatives.
- Bob Cammarata

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NEW QUESTION 7: Shutter Speed, Flash, Indoors, Etc.
I know that at 200mm focal length, the rule of thumb is I should use a 1/200 shutter speed. The question is: When I do this, do I always need flash to be on? I tried using high shutter speeds - 1/300-1/800 - and without flash, all of my photos were extremely dark or just black. I did this in a fairly well-lit room. Is this true? Do I need a flash all the time at such high shutter speeds?
- F C

ANSWER 1:
No, it's not necessarily true. But even when a room looks fairly well-lit to you, unless you have a lens with a large aperture, you will probably need to use a flash when shooting indoors. You need to read the section in your manual about how your camera's light meter works. Then you need to use it. If you increase your shutter speed without increasing your aperture, your picture will be too dark (underexposed).
- Chris A. Vedros

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ANSWER 2:
Chirs is correct. If you increase your shutter speed, you will need to use a larger aperture. Unless the place you are shooting is lit up like it's sunlight, the chances are you won't be able to use such a fast shutter speed without flash. Now to add a couple of things:
1. If you use flash and shoot faster than your maximum shutter speed, part of the picture won't be lit since the shutter curtain will not be open throughout the exposure.
2. If you are shooting with flash, the rule of thumb goes out the window since the speed of your flash becomes your shutter speed (in effect). For most flashes, the slowest speed is 1/1000 sec. going up to 1/50,000 sec. (depending on the flash), which is determined by the amount of light you need (how far you are from the subject) so you can shoot at slower shutter speeds. In fact, you will probably want to do so to get some ambient light in the picture (or not, if you want everything but the subject to be in shadows).
- Kerry L. Walker

ANSWER 3:
F, allow me to elaborate on the previous answers. First, the rule of thumb to which you refer relates to 35mm film shooting - and basically states that the slowest shutter speed you should use - hand-held, without external flash - is 1 over the focal length of the lens. So, in available light shooting with a 200mm lens and a film (or "full frame" digital) body, the slowest speed you should use is 1/200th of a second. With most DSLRs, though, the imaging chip is smaller than the 24x36mm rectangle of 35mm film, so they talk about the "cropping factor" - eg., 1.5 times the focal length. So that 200mm lens suddenly behaves like a 300mm lens - and you should raise the shutter speed accordingly. That said, unless you're in a well-lit room and have a very fast 200mm lens (like a f2.8 or f2), it's quite possible there won't be enough light to expose the shot properly. So flash comes into the picture (excuse the pun).

When you use flash, the rules may change a bit. This is because if the bulk of the light illuminating the subject is coming form an electronic flash, the shutter speed you use is less critical (on the slow end) because the duration of the flash burst itself is from 1/1000th second down to 1/50,000th of a second. So, any concerns about motion-related blur are probably unnecessary - the flash light itself will freeze the action.

On the other hand, using a flash with a camera that has a focal-plane type shutter brings up another issue. Focal-plane shutters work by the use of two 'curtains' - the first one exposes the film or chip when you press the shutter button, and the second one follows the first after the designated shutter speed time. So, if you set the shutter speed to 1/2 second (to be ridiculous) and click the shutter, what happens inside the body is curtain 1 zips open, and after 1/2 second, curtain 2 zips behind it to close and stop exposing. And if you have a flash attached, it will fire at the time that the shutter is fully open and the film or chip is completely exposed.

However, the mechanics and physics involved impose an upper limit on how fast the shutter speed can be before curtain #2 starts traveling closed even while curtain #1 is mid-way through its opening move. The effect of this is that, counter to intuition, at high shutter speeds the entire chip or film is not being exposed exactly at once, but instead is being exposed by a moving slit (between the curtains).

And the reason that means anything at all is because if you use too high a shutter speed with electronic flash, when the flash pops off it will properly expose the slit being exposed in that instant, but the surrounding areas will remain black or dark. This could be top/bottom or left/right, depending on the mechanical nature of the focal plane shutter mechanism.

So, the moral of the story is, if you're using electronic flash, do not go above the highest flash synchronization speed (it's one of the specs in the camera manual).
- Bob

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NEW QUESTION 8: Fisheye Lens Options
I am the head photographer at my high school and my principal approached me about taking a picture of the school during a pep rally with a fisheye lens. What would be the best lens to buy for a Canon Rebel and the Canon Rebel Digital? Also, if you have any tips, let me know. Thanks for the help.
- Will E. Burr

ANSWER 1:
Well, I'd go with a full-frame fisheye or "extreme wide angle lens". Something as small as you can get ... problem is, it seems the smaller the lens (wider) the more $$$ it costs! I bought the Zenitar 16mm full frame (it's not the round kind), it produces a square shot but it's "fisheyed". You can get the ones that produce a round image that are fisheyed too. Problem is, with the sensor crop factor, the image appears not as fisheyed as you'd like, unless you have really strong vertical lines! The Zenitar is also fully manual, no AF or auto aperture at all. But for around $125.00, it's kinda worth it!
Craig-
P.S.: It would work better on the 35mm Rebel than the digital.
- Craig m. Zacarelli

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ANSWER 2:
Why use a fish-eye at all? Do you want round, distorted images? Or, are you looking to get more of a panoramic shot? If the latter, rent a Widelux!
- John Sandstedt

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NEW QUESTION 9: Idea of Basic lighting
I have been shooting semi-portrait pictures by bouncing light off my flash onto two white cardboards. I have considered purchasing a small floodlight to begin experimenting with lighting techniques. Is this an effective choice to begin basic portrait lighting?
- A D. Ross

ANSWER 1:
I would actually suggest a strobe and then a slave for your flash. Put your flash on a stand with the slave attached ... use the strobe as your main light. And you have a 2 light kit.
If your camera has a built-in flash, this will trigger both to pop. Then as you add another light, your flash can work as your backlight -until you have a 3-light system. I do hope this helps,
Debby
- Debby Tabb

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NEW QUESTION 10: Extension Tubes for Close-Up Work
Has anyone used extension tubes for autofocus lenses? And, if so, what are the pros and cons of them? I am interested in purchasing a set but needed some advice. Thanks.
- Emmett S. Speelman

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ANSWER 1:
By extending the distance from the lens to the image plane you do a number of things:
1) You lose the ability to focus to infinity, but gain the ability to focus on objects very close to the lens. Exactly how close depends on both the focal length of the lens and the physical length of the tube (or bellows).

2) Depth of field becomes paper thin - if your subject is a flower, then you might see the stamen in focus and the petals in front of and behind the stamen blurry (or whatever). DOF is measured in fractions of millimeters when you do macro work - though smaller apertures still help by extending the depth.

3) Due to the inverse square rule, less light hits the imager than it will with the lens directly on the body. With through-the-lens metering, however, this should not be an issue - it just means that between wanting to use slower apertures (for greater DOF) and the additional light loss you will be forced to use pretty slow shutter speeds.

That said, you will want to use a support (tripod or table tripod) - for sharpness' sake as well as the fact that you simply won't be able to hand-hold the setup and keep what you want in focus. You'll also want to use manual focusing - auto-focus is notoriously useless in the macro world.
Tubes and bellows do the same thing - the difference is merely flexibility and portability. You should probably get a tube set - usually 3 tubes of different lengths that can be mixed and matched together, and play around. Also, know that the longer the focal length of the lens you use, the further away you can stay from the subject. There's a huge difference between using a 50mm lens and a 200mm lens as far as working length goes (when capturing the exact same size image of the subject).
Hope that helps!
- Bob

ANSWER 2:
Extension tubes serve only one purpose - to physically move your lens farther from the film plane or digital sensor. What this does, in turn, is enable your lens to focus closer. The farther away your lens is from the film plane/digital sensor, the closer it can focus. To my knowledge, there are not any 'autofocus' extension tubes - you will need to manually focus your AF lenses when tubes are attached. I would try to buy extension tubes that have all the necessary contacts on the back end, so that they couple to your camera's electronics (read - metering). You can buy extension tubes one at a time, or in sets of threes, and mount as many of them in any configuration you desire on your camera. Note, after a point, your rig may become a little wobbly. Also, the longer the lens, the less effect the tubes have on close focusing, so you will need a lot more tubes on a 200mm lens than you will on a 50mm lens (4 times the amount to be exact) in order to get the same focusing capability. Even more for a 300 or 400mm lens.
FYI - in order to achieve 1:1 focusing, the length of your extension tube(s) must match the focal length of your lens.
Tubes WILL cause light loss, since the farther away your lens is, the less light actually hits the film/digital sensor. This is no problem as long as the tubes will couple to your in-camera metering system. At 1:2 you will lose 1 stop of light, and at 1:1 you will lose 2 stops.
I have/own all three types of close focusing capability - prime macro lenses, extension tubes, and high-end close-up diopters. I use them all, and, in my opinion, you can't go wrong with any.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net

- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 3:
Another thing worth mentioning when using 'tubes or bellows in macro work:
It's better to move your camera and its support back and forth to manually lock in on critical focus than to turn the focusing ring. (A bellows set-up is actually designed to do this.)
I use extension tubes quite often with macro lenses and telephotos and will usually set my lens to a little less than the minimum focusing distance. Then while looking through the viewfinder, I'll get into position and move the camera and tripod forward until the subject pops into focus.
Then, I'll fine-tune critical focus on a key element with a minor adjustment of the camera and tripod by moving either forward or backward (just a hair).
- Bob Cammarata

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Donating Time Vs. Donating Pictures
Hi Everyone,
I am in the very first stages of starting a small photography business, and was recently asked to do candid shots at a local philanthropy event. I would be "donating my time", which I am happy to do for the organization. I am actually quite happy to give them the digital files for their use as well. (They are providing me a great marketing experience.) My question is this: The event is taking place at a local mall, and the coordinator from the organization mentioned that the mall might want some pictures for advertising purposes. Now, there is no contract (yet), and wouldn't that mean that I get into the whole realm of model releases? And would it be wrong for me to charge the mall for digital files when I'm giving them to the organization for free? I don't want to be rude, but I also don't want to be taken. Any suggestions? Thanks.
- Amy R. Jones

ANSWER 1:
Hi, Amy.
Don't ya hate it when this happens? lol. Well, I'd look at the advertising opportunity before I'd look at the cash reward. The mall - and the club, for that matter - may result in numerous people learning of your talents. At this point in your business, it should be easy to determine what is more important ... advertising and word of mouth promotion or $$$$.
Regards
Gary
- Gary Berger

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ANSWER 2:
I would certainly rethink your desire to go into business if you are thinking that giving away your work is an effective marketing tool. Another way of looking at this is that you put no value in your skills, equipment or time. How many times have you gone into any store at the same mall and had someone hand you an item for free in the hopes that you'll then come back and buy something? What word of mouth would that spread? Go to XYZ store and get a free shirt ... and then if people had to pay for it when you got it free ... and what about the other shirt shops who have to compete with a store giving items away - they too lose business.

The basic fact is that you are giving away your work and hurting yourself and other photographers by doing so since people will see you as a source for free work, not as someone who is worth paying for. Make good images and get paid for them - the quality of work will be the word of mouth.
- Mike Carlson

ANSWER 3:
While I tend to agree with Mike to a certain degree, I will tell you that giving back to the community is a wonderful way to get your name out there if you are a beginner. I have done a lot of work for the community and the NON-PROFIT organizations in the area. They in turn have rewarded me tenfold with wedding referrals, senior portraits, etc. I suggest you examine your conscience and see if this is beneficial to you ... have them give you credit in the program or at a later time set up a display of your work. It is not all bad to donate services ... you just have to be careful who and when you do it to. Don't be taken for granted.
Good luck!
- Debbie Del Tejo

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ANSWER 4:
I generally agree with Mike but would slightly rephrase it: do good work and receive something of acceptable value in return. Sometimes - but with astronomical rarety - an acceptable value comes from the exposure and advertising. But 99% of the time, if you give your work away you have just told the client and the world what you are really worth and absolutely nothing comes of the exposure except that.

Often to get you to work for free someone will hold out the "carrot" of other sales, such as to the mall. The odds against that happening are also astronomical and, worse, you may find that the event organizers gave some to the mall for free (after all, it didn't cost them anything) for a break on the deal and essentially stabbed you in the back. And, trust me, if it happens, they will be taken completely by surprise by your irritation at that.

And finally, although people coming to the event specifically may have, like people in a football stadium, signed or implicitly agreed to being photographed by purchasing and using the ticket, if the event is not self-enclosed, your shots may include people who have NOT agreed to any such thing and you certainly need releases for them in the off-chance the mall will publish one. Guess who will be included in the list of defendants if one of those photos includes a tender loving couple proudly displaying their affection but who are not SUPPOSED to be a couple?

But if you are determined to go ahead, at least get a contract where you retain ALL rights to the images and files and the event people only get a license to USE the images and, at that, for a very specified purpose for a specified period of time. If you do not do this, you may get an even ruder surprise to discover that you CANNOT sell to the mall because the event organizers actually own the rights to the images which you, unknowingly, gave away as "work for hire" precisely because you did NOT charge for it.

Bottom line: You are treading on thin ice from a business sense. Were this thread to continue long enough, hundreds of pros could tell you horror story after horror story of early-on trying to give away work to gain work and how it always, ALWAYS failed. Mike is right, you will be branded as a cheap photographer and it is a VERY hard brand to eradicate.

David
www.ndavidking.com
- David King

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