The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, March 13, 2006
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Logo Design...
Q&A 2: Calibrating a Mon...
Q&A 3: How to Drag Your ...
Q&A 4: Graduated Neutral...
Q&A 5: Indoor Photograph...

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How Low Can You Go?
An ISO tip from Jim Miotke's The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography: If I want the crispest possible image, my subject is stationary, and I have my tripod within reach, I select the lowest possible ISO and use the tripod. If I want a lot of noise (which is rare), I set the ISO number as high as it will go, whether I'm using a tripod or not. If my tripod is in the car and I'm just being lazy, I force myself to go and get it (unless this interruption might cause me to miss the shot!). If I've left my tripod at home but don't mind a little noise, I bump up the ISO as much as it takes to get a fast enough shutter speed - the idea here being to avoid getting a blurry photo due to camera shake (moving the camera when taking the picture). If my subject is on the move and I want to keep it sharp, I use my tripod and again set the ISO high enough to get a fast action-freezing shutter speed.

Join BetterPhoto founder Jim Miotke in Washington state and California this spring! Learn how to make the most of your digital picture-taking in his talk, "Top Tips for Digital Photography: Storytelling With Your Digital Camera".
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Featured Gallery
© - Stan Contrades

Welcome to the 255th issue of SnapShot!
Hi {FirstName},

So much exciting news at BetterPhoto.comô! With the addition of a new online class on the Canon EOS 20D, we now have excellent coverage of many Canon SLR cameras. For details, go to our 4-Week Short Courses page. By the way, still more camera-specific classes are in the works, so stay tuned. In addition, the celebration of's 10th anniversary continues with 10% off every book and DVD in the bookstore during March. And, finally, in this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the usual features, along with a fine batch of questions and answers. Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

We have an amazing range of specialty courses. Among them: Fashion and Beauty; Digital Wedding Album Design; Polaroid Image and Emulsion Transfer; Making Masterpieces with Corel Painter; People Photography Up-Close and Personal; Fine Art Flower Photography; Digital Black & White Printing; and How to Photograph Animals & Wildlife. The BetterPhoto School of Photography has a terrific collection of online photo courses geared to marketing and business. All are taught by working professionals who are also experienced teachers and are widely published. Our talented online instructors are top pros who are writers too. If you haven't recently, plan to spend some quality time at BetterPhoto's Articles on Photography page.

Photo Q&A

1: Logo Design
I am looking for some help on coming up with a logo. Does anyone know a good logo designer or somewhere to get help? I want to make some business cards also but need a logo first. I am just drawing a blank on this.
- Mike Carpenter
Good logo design is a process. I have seen many people claim to be logo designers, but they just slap something pretty together and call it a day. Good logo design is very conscious of the variety of ways a logo will be used (print, web, stitching, etc), and will work with specific limitations to cut the number of colors, provide vector design, and maintain a sensibility about how much things will cost to use. A 6 color logo might be cool, but I wouldn't want to have to pay for that all the time.
I know some people starting out who have used this service ( Because many there are starting out, you might get a good price, but be aware of what you want to get in return. All logos are not alike - and some are just beautiful... but poorly executed. Hope that helps!

Editor's Note: Don't miss Richard Lynch's exciting new online course for spring: Photoshop Elements Workflow .

- Richard Lynch

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Photoshop Elements Workflow
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2: Calibrating a Monitor: Spyder Help
I am trying to calibrate my monitor with a Colorvision Spyder. I was able to get the RGB colors and luminosity within the specified ranges. I have the monitor set to 6500 degrees. Even though everything is correct, my white still doesn't look truly white. Any ideas as to what the problem might be? Thanks for your help.
- Brandon Currey
Set your monitor to 5000 degrees, and use a gamut of 2.2. Windows and sRGB are designed/optimized for those settings.
- John Clifford
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3: How to Drag Your Shutter with Flash
I am shooting a wedding this weekend and a fellow photographer friend suggested that I shoot at f/9 and drag the shutter does that mean slow the shutter down a stop or two?

- Elizabeth  Pellette
Yes, it means to shoot at a slower speed than your normal sync. speed.
- Kerry L. Walker
Exactly what will that accomplish? Filling in the background with more detail?
- Elizabeth  Pellette
You will be allowing more ambient light in. This will help to keep the background from going too dark. I normally shoot at around 1/30 sec.
- Kerry L. Walker
Dragging your shutter makes everything streaky with a motion effect. The flash lights the subject just enough to define it. Open any National Geographic article taken in the dark and you'll see this. Shoot on Aperture, or just set the manual on something like like 1/10 or less.
- Richard Wong
Kerry, What lens do you use for weddings? Wouldn't we have to worry about camera shake using 1/30 sec.?
- Sherri McGee
I use 2 different lenses, a 75mm and a 150mm (medium format, normal and short tele). Whether you induce camera shake really depends on your ability to hold the camera steady. In a really dark venue, camera shake shouldn't be a problem as the true shutter speed you are using is actually the speed of the flash itself, which will normally range from 1/1000 sec. (at full burst) to around 1/50,000 sec. at minimum burst - depending on your flash. In a fairly well-lit venue where the exposure you are setting is pretty close to what is needed for a proper exposure w/o flash, you might want to bump your shutter speed up a little.
If, of course, you are wanting the effect that Richard mentioned (which I assume you don't at a wedding), you can induce it by shooting at a really slow speed and allowing some camera shake.
- Kerry L. Walker
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4: Graduated Neutral Density Filters
I'm currently using a Canon 20D with the EFS 17-85mm lens (67mm filter size). I'm trying to determine which Graduated ND filter style is the best way to go. With my other filters, I usually use Hoya 67mm size. My concern with doing that for a grad filter is it seems the line would always be in the center of the image. For this reason, I'm also considering something like the Cokin "P" series, where I would have the ability to slide the filter up or down as needed for composition. Any advice you can share is much appreciated. Thanks.
- Spencer Doyle
If you're relatively serious about your photography, then you really want an adjustable "variegated" ND filter. The Cokin series is OK, if you can get it to stretch over that 67mm lens. I think Cokin makes P rings available in that size. If not, there are other manufacturers like Lee, Sailwind, B+W, Hitech, and others. Graduated or variegated ND filters allow you to put the density where you want/need it without having to change your camera position or angle to the horizon. This is unlike fixed horizon, circular ND filters, even graduated ones.
The nice thing about using resin filters from one manufacturer or another is that you don't need to keep buying more various sized filters every time you change format or add a different-sized lens to your arsenal. And, in the overall scheme of things, resin filters aren't altogether that expensive. In addition, they're available in standard sizes, so you can buy filters from different manufacturers to work in someone else's filter holder. Oh, and these types of systems allow you to stack filters in the holder to get different effects, say a sunset filter with an ND, and a warming filter like an 81B.
My own preference is for the Hitech, which I've used for years and think is really the hot set-up especially when you own different formats and different-sized lenses. Kinda a one-size filter fits all.
Take it light.
- Mark Feldstein
Hey Spencer, I just got mine from Singh Ray. It's the Galen Rowell 3-stop soft-edge grad ND filter and it's for the Cokin P holder (got that off Amazon). nd I use it on my 72mm lens with no problems! Go with the Pp size; don't use the screw in - they aren't nearly as nice... in my opinion.
- Craig m. Zacarelli
Just to add to Craig's post: Cokin P series adapter rings are available in just about any size. Singh Rays are the ultimate in ND filters as well as polarizers.
- David Earls
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5: Indoor Photography at a Hockey Rink
My grandson wants me to take some hockey pictures of he and his friends. I think I will have an issue with the lighting. I have a digital, but I have not played a lot with it. I usually shoot automatic. I have a film SLR but I am unsure what to set it at. Would a regular flash fix the yellow tinge? I would appreciate any help... Thank you.
Greetings Rosemary: Assuming these are not just grip-and-grin portraits, but are action shots, then first, when you shoot sports using a strobe or flash you ought to get permission from someone like the coach or team manager. A flash going off too close to someone can, of course, cause them to be momentarily blinded which in turn can lead to mishaps.
Hopefully, you can go look at the rink where these guys will be playing and get a feel for the lighting. Take both cameras and get a few meter readings. If it's as bright as you think it is, then shooting at a medium (200-400) speed ISO should solve a lot of your potential problems.
If you find you can shoot with a flash, unless it's really got some horsepower behind it, then shooting an ice rink with the thing is going to be like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. In other words, it'll be ineffective anyway and the sensor is going to be looking for some object nearby or within focusing distance to bounce off of and tell it to shut off (in the automatic mode).
Boosting your digital camera's ISO upwards to 600 or 800 will probably help you a lot, or alternatively shoot with higher speed film. For color, I suggest something like FujiPress or even Ektapress. Black and white, I'd shoot Ilford HP5 at 800 ISO and tell the lab that when its processed.
Okie dokie?
- Mark Feldstein
Thank you so much, Mark... One more question: What would you do if they want a group picture? My daughter did hint at this if they do well.
Have the team show up early for a photo shoot, shoot it outdoors, maybe in front of the venue, with the sun behind you if at all possible. (Usually you shoot with the sun behind the subject to prevent them from squinting, but sounds like you need the fill light the sun provides at a lower angle not high noon). I don't know how many guys are in this crew but your flash probably isn't strong enough to provide fill flash for large numbers of people. If you shoot it before the game, you'll be prepared one way or the other win or lose. AND whatever you do, don't stop with the first shot. Take a bunch while you have the opportunity. Bracket your exposures 1 stop either direction too for a few shots.
Nice thing about the Fujipress film I recommended is that you can shoot various ISO's on the same roll and they print up just fine. So, outdoors you could shoot at, say, ISO 200 and indoors 800 on the same roll. You're quite welcome. Any time, Rosemary.
- Mark Feldstein
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