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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, January 24, 2006
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* SPOTLIGHT: Upcoming Photo Shoot in Montana - ON SALE!
* BETTERPHOTO: Our 4-Week Photography School: Mini-Courses, Maximum Benefits!
* BETTERPHOTO: The BetterPhoto Digital Photography Show ... Now on the Air!
* BETTERPHOTO: Book of Month: Jon Canfield's Photo Finish
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on Tony Sweet's Nature Photography
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: F/Stop Guide / Charting the f/numbers
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Size of Light Vs. Size of Subject ... By Charlie Borland
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: How to Understand Lens Specs
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: How to Use a Wide-Angle Lens
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Composition: Filling the Frame
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Extension Tubes Vs. Macro Lenses
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Portraits in Room with Fluorescent Light
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: External Flash for Photographing Party?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: First Lens: Prime vs. Zoom
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Glare on Eyeglasses


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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Upcoming Photo Shoot in Montana - ON SALE!
Great news: Jim Miotke still has a few spots left in his February "Horses in Snow" photo workshop in Montana! We've reduced the price from $2195 to $1995... but wait there's more... If you're interested, sign up by this Friday and we'll give you an additional $100 off. That's right, only $1895 if you sign up before January 28th. If you've ever wanted to get images like this:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=1630349
... Then join Jim at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/_cws/JM06a.asp

Also, Jim will be leading a workshop in California - at the same location that was featured in the filming of his DVD - "Digital Photography Unleashed". We begin March 30 and include two days in Yosemite National Park this time, along with three days photographing wildlife, and a fun Day at the Ranch! If you are interested in getting great photos of running horses, baby animals, and Yosemite, learn more about this and other Better Workshops at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/on-location-photography-workshops.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 248th issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

Lots of exciting things going on at BetterPhoto.com™! For instance, we are so thrilled about the 500th issue of the Photo of the Day newsletter ... which is published today (Tuesday, January 24th). If you haven't yet subscribed to this free-and-inspirational newsletter, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/subscribe.asp

Horses, ranchers, and a tiger in the snow ... is there a more photogenic combination than that? Check out my upcoming Better Workshop, which combines online learning with on-location excitement - all for a great low price. For details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/_cws/JM06a.asp

Also, in this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the awesome photo gallery of author-instructor Tony Sweet, and another great photo tip on lighting from award-winning commercial photographer Charlie Borland.

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


*****
Our 4-Week Photography School: Mini-Courses, Maximum Benefits!
Non-Digital Special Effects, Beginners Guide to Strobe Lighting, The Four Essential Filters, Understanding Natural Light, Magic Wide-Angle, Camera Raw, Color Management, and Details & Close-ups are among BetterPhoto.com's outstanding online 4-Week Short Courses. The next round of classes get under way on February 1st! See the schedule at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-short-courses.asp


*****
The BetterPhoto Digital Photography Show ... Now on the Air!
In his weekly podcast on digital photography, Jim Miotke shares tips so you can learn how to make your own eye-catching imagery. Jim tells the stories behind his favorite photos and shares simple techniques for improving your own photography. Listen to BetterPhoto Digital Photography Show at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/podcasts.asp


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Book of Month: Jon Canfield's Photo Finish
Our online store showcases the fantastic books and DVDs from our staff of BetterPhoto instructors. For January, we put the spotlight on Jon Canfield's awesome book, Photo Finish: The Digital Photographer's Guide to Printing, Showing, and Selling Images (co-authored by Tim Grey). If you buy this fine book before the end of January, you will receive free U.S. shipping. Best yet, it's autographed by Jon! For all the book details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetailLg.asp?productID=1352

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on Tony Sweet's Nature Photography
Eye-popping subjects, wonderful colors, and outstanding creativity describe the work of master photographer, author and instructor Tony Sweet. Tony, of course, teaches a number of excellent online classes right here at BetterPhoto, including his upcoming 4-Week Short Course (The Four Essential Filters, beginning February 1st), as well as his "Fine Art Flower Photography" and "Image Design - Revealing Your Personal Vision" 8-week courses (beginning April 5th). View Tony's gallery:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?memberID=22359

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
What does the "f" stand for in, say, f/22?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Humberto Lizarraga is:
It represents the Focal Length of the lens. It is indeed a fraction, but the slash sign is commonly omitted. Then f22 really means the size of the aperture is equivalent to the Focal length divided by 22 (f/22).
This is the first time I have submitted an answer. I hope to get it right, and anticipate you will get lots of answers! Keep up with the good job!

Editor's Note: Thanks for the note, Humberto! Yes, indeed, you got the answer right, and we did indeed receive lots of answers!

See Humberto's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=34599

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 - Charting the f/numbers - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

What is the true aperture scale (i.e., the standard f/stop chart in one-stop increments)?

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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Size of Light Vs. Size of Subject ... By Charlie Borland

If the group you are photographing is large, you need large light sources to light them evenly. Think of it this way: you shoot a portrait of a single person using an umbrella and the results are great. In the same set-up, you now bring in the other nine members of the family for the group shot. The Inverse Square Law relates to the law of physics where the intensity of illumination is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between your subject and the light source. As the distance between light and subject doubles, the amount of light reaching the subject is only 25 percent or 1/4 of the original light. Now try to light the group of 10 with the same umbrella from the same position and it will not light the group evenly. If you are lighting from the side, the person closest to the light will have substantially more light hitting them than the person farthest from the light. To combat this, use a much larger light source to spread the light more evenly. This could be a much larger umbrella, extra large light box, or a shoot-through panel.

Note: Check out the second session of Charlie Borland's 4-Week Short Course: Beginners Guide to Strobe Lighting, which gets under way on February 1st. Here's a rundown of Charlie's regular 8-week classes:



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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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 Understand Lens Specs
Please share with me what lens specs mean. For example: 105MM 1.2.8D and 18-70 1:3.5-4.5G
Thank you.
- Barbara & Tom Latino

ANSWER 1:
#1

105MM is the focal length. This is how far the glass is from the focal plane where the film or chip sits. 1:2.8 is the maximum aperture. F/2.8 is the maximum aperture you can go to on this lens. Not sure what "D" is, usually the letters are different from one manufacturer to the next.
#2
18-70MM, same thing but a zoom. The focal length can be anywhere from 18-70mm meaning the glass at the short end is 18mm from the focal plane and 70mm on the long end of the focal plane. 1:3.5-4.5 meaning the maximum aperture at 18mm is f/3.5 and the maximum aperture at 70mm is f/4.5.
Hope this helps.
- Justin D. Goeden

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21980

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21980

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NEW QUESTION 2: How to Use a Wide-Angle Lens
I was given a wide-angle lens for Christmas. I need to know what type of shots would I use a lens like this? Is it just for landscape shots, or what?? Can someone give me some ideas of how I can get the most use out of this lens? Thanks.
- Teresa K. Canady

See Teresa's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
You didn't say how wide - 14-mm, 21-mm, 28-mm. No matter for the general question, however. Wide-angle lenses are traditionally thought of for landscape pictures. The major thing you need to concern yourself with, however, is to make certain there is something in your picture that the viewer can relate to. For example, a tree or a person with the huge expanse of the landscape behind it/him.
Wide-angle lenses offer the advantage of greater depth of field possibilities, so you can shoot and include sharper detail beginning close to the camera and extending to "infinity."
Wide angles can be used for humorous close-ups of people, but they will render greatly distorted features. Accordingly, they're not normally considered appropriate for portraits. And, they are used for architecture pictures - they allow you to stand closer to buildings than you might if using a normal lens, but you must be certain that you don't induce the "falling over of the buildings" as a result of moving in too close. There's a need for care and consideration/use of perspective control lenses in this type of situation.
Remember, like all your lenses, they are another tool in your arsenal. Some folks use a 35-mm wide angle in place of a normal lens. Some folks will not advocate such a practice.
You'll need to take a number of pictures and learn what you can do with this type of lens and, of course, any other.
- John Sandstedt

ANSWER 2:
The lens is 10-22mm.
- Teresa K. Canady

See Teresa's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
You can use a wide-angle lens for almost any subject, as long as high magnification of a distant object isn't a requirement, you have no need to compress background detail, and a degree of distortion is acceptable. These lenses tend to distort the image at the far edges; also when the camera is tilted up or down off the horizontal plane. The famous inward-tilting building photo (keystoning) is stereotypical. Portraits of human faces typically are exaggerated by this focal length - the 'big nose' effect. But this can also be employed intentionally in other situations as an unusual effect.
Wide-angles are not at their best when used in a pedestrian manner, simply to cram more of the scene into a photo. Better to include a close foreground object of interest, which can be almost anything, even the ground, when the camera is lowered to ground level. The great depth of field of most wide-angle focal lengths means that you can have both fore and background detail in focus. Conversely, it is sometimes difficult to intentionally blur background detail with a wide-angle lens.
Some wide-angle lenses are corrected for close-up distances (CRC) and consequently can be used as fairly good macro lenses when shooting pictures of flowers, etc.
For more ideas, I recommend studying a few of the many illustrated books by well-known photographers. Not to copy their work, but instead to stimulate your creativity and spark your own ideas.
- George Anderson

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21973

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21973

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NEW QUESTION 3: Composition: Filling the Frame
What is meant by the term "fill the frame"?
- Janette

ANSWER 1:
It's probably a reference to the fact that many pictures can be improved by getting closer to your subject - fill the frame with your subject.
- Chris A. Vedros

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21962

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21962

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NEW QUESTION 4: Extension Tubes Vs. Macro Lenses
I'd like to have the capability of shooting close-ups and would like to know if extension tubes are as good as using a macro lens. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
- MarcL Rosenblum

ANSWER 1:
Marc, it depends a bit on the particular lenses used, but extension tubes certainly can produce outstanding images with the right lens. Typically, prime lenses (non-zoom) or "pro-level" lenses (the expensive ones) are sharp enough to produce great close-ups with an extension tube. Other than the bother of detaching the lens and attaching the tube(s) and reattaching the lens, if the camera has TTL metering, you don't have to worry about light loss as it will be compensated for in the exposure reading.
However, when you put a lens on a tube, you won't be able to focus to infinity any longer, which may or may not matter, depending on what you're doing.
True macro lenses (all but Nikon's 70-150 macro, which I think is now discontinued anyway) are prime lenses - they do not zoom. But they can focus to infinity without removing them as tubes require.
Either of the above approaches will garner sharper close-up shots than the general zoom-macro lenses that are made for "one-size-fits-all" type purposes.
- Bob

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http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21957

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NEW QUESTION 5: Portraits in Room with Fluorescent Light
Hi all,
I will be taking portraits at an Olympic celebration locally. The problem is it is in a room with fluorescent lights. The lights can't be turned off, so has anyone got suggestions on what to do? We have studio lights, and I also have an off-camera flash unit - a 500 super D (or something like that). My camera is a Nikon D70. Thanks!
- Kathy C. Tugwell

See Kathy's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Hi Kathy;
Unless you can get close enough for your flash to overpower the ambient light, you'll have a problem. Part flash and part fluorescent lighting will look bad. One or the other is the rule here. The D-70 has a fluorescent white balance setting. It works pretty good actually. If you're using any zoom more than 100mm, you may have to crank up the ISO.
Last option: Shoot in Raw and adjust the color balance in PS.
- Pete Herman

ANSWER 2:
Pete,
So no on the studio lights and the flash. I was afraid of that, I kinda knew but wanted someone else's opinion. I will be using a 50mm and, yes, I shoot in Raw and I know how to tweak it in PS, so I guess I will just have to go with it. I have used the fluorescent setting before, so I will do it again. Thanks.
- Kathy C. Tugwell

See Kathy's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
The studio lights are OK if they can "overpower" the fluorescent. I was assuming these were candid type shots. If you are posing people, then your studio lights might be OK.
How many umbrellas and what is the W/s output?
Again, the flash on your hot shoe is OK, but again, only if you are close enough to overpower the fluorescent.
This is a perfect example when a incident light meter and a flash meter would answer your question. Mixed lighting can be a pain. If all else fails, get there early and do some tests.
If you switch from Fluorescent white balance and then back to flash or Auto white balance, make sure you are NOT shooting flash with the camera set to Fluorescent. I know that sounds stupid, but I've seen pros make that mistake.
- Pete Herman

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21920

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21920

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NEW QUESTION 6: External Flash for Photographing Party?
Heeellpp. I have just been asked to shoot an engagement party tomorrow evening. It will mostly be light, late afternoon through to evening. I do not have an external flash as yet. Do I need one or can I get away with using in-camera flash? I have the Canon Rebel XT. Also, if I can't get an external flash on such short notice, how do I get the best pictures in low light? I'll be grateful for any response.
- Justine Stevens

ANSWER 1:
Normally, I would suggest that you get an external flash. However, on such short notice, I suggest you use what you have and are used to using. On-camera flash will work OK as long as you are close to the subject. Since you are shooting digital, fixing any red-eye caused by the on-board flash should not be too difficult - just time-consuming. In the meantime, I suggest you do get an external flash for future use. It will really come in handy.
- Kerry L. Walker

ANSWER 2:
I'm with Kerry - you could really use one in this situation, but on short notice without practicing first, you could get not-so-great results. Always stick with what you know when time is short. Have you shot indoors wit your on-camera flash before? Do you know what kind of results you'll get?
- Denyse M. LaMay

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Visit dmariephoto.com - Denyse's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Make sure your battery is fully charged. If you have an extra battery, charge it up and bring it along. Using the onboard flash repeatedly will drain your battery much sooner than just normal shooting without it.
- Chris A. Vedros

See Chris's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21906

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: First Lens: Prime vs. Zoom
I am (finally) about to purchase my first DSLR (Nikon D70s). I thought I was settled on purchasing the Nikon 35-70 2.8. I like that it has a macro option (though not one of Nikon's "Macro" lenses), but then one critic mentioned that it was "lazy" when you could just move closer or farther away and get the 50 1.4 or 35 2.0, so it got me thinking. Is the "faster" glass and prime lens worth the "chore" of positioning? Or are "you" happier with the ability to zoom?
My second lens, if I purchased the 35 or 50, would probably be the 60 or 105 macro a few months later. I know I'm going to want the ability to shoot Macro. Look forward to your opinions!
- Jay A. Grantham

ANSWER 1:
You would almost certainly be happier with the zoom, especially if you will only have the one lens. You can't always get closer, or move far enough away, and going from wide to telephoto with a zoom changes perspective as well as field of view. For example, if your composition has objects at different distances from you, or an object has visible depth, you can't take the same picture with two different focal lengths by changing your position. Use the more versatile zoom lens to find out what kind of photography you like to do, then if appropriate get a fast prime suitable for your style.
- Peter M. Wilcox

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Visit wilcoxphotos.com - Peter's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
You might want to look at the Nikon 18-70mm. It's not as expensive as an f2.8 lens, is pretty sharp, and has a much wider angle than something like the 35-70mm f2.8, which is only about 50mm at the wide end. Then again, the Nikon 35-70mm is supposed to be a great lens. Guess it depends on what you want to do and your pocketbook.
- Scott H.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21905

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NEW QUESTION 8: Glare on Eyeglasses
Hello, Everyone! I took some great pictures of a teen today for her senior pictures, but there is one problem: Her glasses have a glare on them. Do any of you know how to get the glare off of glasses?? I should have taken the lenses out before the pictures, but of course, I wasn't thinking. Please let me know if you know how to do this!!
- Fonda Bartels

ANSWER 1:
Polarizer, polarizer, polarizer. Any time I shoot a subject with glasses, I use a polarizing filter. It's a cheap way to remove glare without tearing their glasses apart.
- Mark R. Hiatt

ANSWER 2:
Okay, awesome. Is there anything I can do digitally on PS to get rid of the glare for now??
- Fonda Bartels

ANSWER 3:
Fonda,
The glass flare can be lifted if the glare is not on the eyes themselves. OK, some other things you can do to get rid of glass glare at the time of shoot is to have the subject ...
- Push their glasses all the way back on their nose.
- Lean toward you.
- If using a flash, just have the subject lower than the flash, or flash angled up a bit.
- If using studio lights, just raise the lights or again lower the subject.
I do hope this helps.
- Debby Tabb

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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