The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, March 12, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Copyright for the...
Q&A 2: Help ... Blurry I...
Q&A 3: Portraits for a 1...
Q&A 4: Most Important As...
Q&A 5: Perspective in Ph...
Q&A 6: Switching Lenses ...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"This was a terrific class. Doug's critiques are well- thought-out, detailed and honest so that you learn from them. He taught me to look at my pictures in a whole new way... Thanks again, Doug, for a wonderful experience." -student in Doug Johnson's Achieving Visual Depth in Your Photography class





ATTEND THE PHOTO EVENT OF THE YEAR!
A grand location, a plethora of instructors, and a ton of information and inspiration ... that's what you can expect at the 3rd Annual BetterPhoto Photography Conference (September 29th and 30th, 2007, in Chicago)! Check out the details...


COURSEFINDER: FIND THE RIGHT CLASS
At BetterPhoto, we have so many awesome online classes in photography and Photoshop. Need help deciding? Then try our quick-and-easy CourseFinder.


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THIS WEEK'S TIP
Predict the Weather Yourself... by Matt Bamberg
Did you know that many meteorologists don't bother to look out the window to predict the weather? They rely on computer models. To know for sure what the weather will be later in the day in an area that you are planning to photograph, look directly at the weather map yourself. If you see a sweeping cold front just to the northwest (in the northern hemisphere) a short distance from the city or park, bring some rain gear and a jacket. If you see a high pressure, within good distances around the city or park that you're in, then you've got it made - sun and fun. Vice versa: If you see a low pressure to the west of your location, expect rain.
Editor's Note: Yes, Matt does have a degree in Meteorology :) but he's also a fine photographer who teaches Digital Art Photography. and Photo Restoration.


   
Featured Gallery
The Music Box
© - Karlene  Aune

Welcome to the 307th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

These are exciting times at BetterPhoto! Our March 4-week courses are off to a rousing start, and we are looking ahead to our full Spring school schedule - with new rounds of 8-week and 4-week online classes beginning April 4th. Review our courses by category... This issue of SnapShot features another fine collection of fine questions and answers, plus the Weekly Photo Tip from Matt Bamberg, master photographer, author, instructor and Meteorology graduate :) ... Speaking of newsletters, are you subscribing to BP's daily dose of visual inspiration? Our Photo of the Day makes a great start to the day.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Sign up in our Spring session (starting April 4th) of 8-week courses and receive a Black Embroidered BetterPhoto Ball Cap for free! To ensure shipment, add "Free Cap" in the promo field upon check-out. (Caps available while supplies last.) See school schedule... Start showcasing your photography on the Web! At BetterPhoto, we have options to fit every need and every budget. Learn more... If you haven't already, be sure to check out our BetterBlogs: Instructor Insights and The BetterPhoto Digital Photography Show.

Photo Q&A

1: Copyright for the Disinterested
Over the past several months, I've noticed an increasing number of people expressing concerns about copyright registration in the U.S., what registration entails, and whether they need to do anything else to protect their right. So, for the copyright disinterested or interested, here's a short version of what you need to know.
Copyrights and patents are federally protected rights set forth in Article I Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution. They protect the rights of inventors and artists AND provide a benefit to the public viewing those types of works.
Since it's a federally created and protected right, federal jurisdiction over copyright infringement stems from the Copyright Act itself, 17 U.S.C. Section 101, and related sections.
Yes, the work is protected when it's created or "fixed in any tangible, reproducible means of expression". BUT if you ever intend to seek damages for infringement, then the work must be REGISTERED for a number of reasons.
To file an infringement action in the U.S. District Court, the copyright MUST be registered 28 U.S.C., Sec. 1338 because the copyright law 17 U.S.C. Sec. 411(b)(2) and Sec. 412 requires a valid registration to allow enforcement in court. Federal trial courts (e.g. the U.S. District Court) are the only courts with subject matter jurisdiction to hear copyright claims. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1338.
At the time of filing an infringement action, you must file a copy of the registration or the court will not have subject matter jurisdiction and the case may be dismissed for that reason alone. There are a few exceptions to that rule, such as registration is pending, but not many exceptions. Best be safe than sorry.
Registration also creates a rebuttable presumption in favor of the validity of the registered copyright, 17 U.S.C. Section 410. That in turn leaves it up to defendants in infringement actions to rebut if they choose to do so, although in many instances, such rebuttals are often perceived by courts as frivolous. And, timely registration must be sought from the copyright office within 3 months of creating the image, 17 U.S.C. Sec. 411(b)(2) and Sec. 412(2).
Registration can be in batches, (see form VA at copyright.gov, and registration may be pending (received by the copyright office but not processed yet) for a case to be allowed to proceed in district court, but at some point (which is up to the district judge assigned the case) if you don't show the registration you get booted out.
And, BTW, if a registration is somehow defective, that doesn't necessarily undermine your rights to protect your images or cause you to be legally prejudiced. See Universal City Studios Productions, LLLP v. Hogan, Case No 06 CV-545 W (WMC) Slip Op at Page 3-4, (Southern District of California 2006) and Urantia Found v. Maaherra, 114 F.3d 955, 963 (9th Cir. 1997) as cited in Hogan, above.
Okie dokie?
Take it light.
Mark
- Mark Feldstein
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2: Help ... Blurry Indoor Pics!
My neice has been singing karaoke at a local bowling alley on Friday nights and I need help getting my pictures to come out right. I'm using a Canon digital Rebel XT. The lens that I'm using is the 28-80mm lens that came with the camera. The oly light that they leave on is one square ceiling light, and it's almost to the side of where people sing. She's real active during her performance, she jumps around and moves a lot. I can't seem to get any good pics ... all of them are way blurry. Can someone help? What should I set the camera on (ISO, shutter speed, etc.)?
Mandy
- Amanda R. Milam
ANSWER 1:
Slow shutter speeds will give you blurry shots. To help you better I need to know the f/stop you used and what the lens can open up to.
- Mike Rubin
ANSWER 2:
I had the f-stop at 3.5 ... that's the lowest that it'll go, and that's if I don't zoom at all. I'm thinking about buying a faster lens, but right now I don't have the money. What lens would you recommend?
- Amanda R. Milam
ANSWER 3:
Blurry can be 2 things: camera shake and/or subject movement. Relative to shutter speed. OK, so the 28-80mm is good. Set highest ISO, aperture priority with lowest f/number, use a tripod, and shoot RAW. Then, afterward, look closely at the EXIF tags, and the shutter speeds, and see the relationship with the blurry photos. You may need morre light. From an external flashgun. Have fun!
- W. Smith
ANSWER 4:
Canon makes a 50mm f/1.8 lens, which goes for under $70. It is a bargain and does a great job. I have one and it has saved the day more than once. A lens worth saving for is the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, the 2.8 is constant through the zoom range, the image quality is equal to that of the Canon equivalent but it does not have IS. However, it is under $450! Be aware that you will get noise at the highest ISO, although editing software will help reduce it. Since you say that your neice moves around a lot, a tripod may not help you follow her as easily as hand-holding the camera. A shoe-mounted flash will help.
- Mike Rubin
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3: Portraits for a 10x10 Album
I've never created the digital flush albums before, but I will be offering them this year. I know the typical size of the portraits in these albums are 10x10. For those of you who offer these albums for your bride and grooms, do you find that you have to "alter" taking the pics of the wedding day than you normally would? For example, you can't really do a good closeup because if they wanted to use it, then it would be cropped too much to fit to a 10x10, correct? How do you judge each portrait when you take it? Or do you just zoom out and then crop it in a photo editing program afterwards, if necessary? Please let me know! Thanks!!
- TERESA J. SWEET
ANSWER 1:
Whatever workflow works best for you, Teresa. Sometimes you "see" the square composition in your viewfinder, and then you expose for it, sometimes you create it later in PP. There's no "best way". And it will vary from situation to situation. So you adapt. Grab the possibilities as they present themselves to you. Not necessarily in a set sequence. Go with your gut feeling. Have fun!
- W. Smith
ANSWER 2:
There's no way I shoot for anything except what I see in the frame at the time. You never know what you might do later, so it's a waste of time to worry. Just shoot what you see, and you'll figure it out later!
- Jerry Frazier
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4: Most Important Aspect of Photography?
I recently heard a guy say that the most important aspect of photography is pushing the envelope - i.e., have the courage to put yourself out there in the public. Just curious as to what some other people might think?
- Sean Page
ANSWER 1:
With any artistic, or creative, endeavor, people should strive to stay out of ruts, not produce the same thing over and over - to be influenced by other people's work, but not fall into duplicating or copying too closely. So when you try to come up with your on idea, hook, or direction, you're pushing the envelope. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. It's been done in photography, music, painting, engineering, automotive and motorcycle design, etc.
- Gregory La Grange
ANSWER 2:
I would say he's probably right. All the technical and artistic ability in the world isn't going to help someone who isn't willing to go out on a limb for that one-in-a-million shot. Or pounce on the one-in-a-million business oportunity. Depends on how you want to look at the statement.
- Stephanie M. Stevens
ANSWER 3:
The point is to capture your vision of a subject - which may be different than how somone else sees the same scene.
- Mike Rubin
ANSWER 4:
It's much like a chef adds a dash of this and a pinch of that to an established recipe to make it their own, photographers are always looking for newer more creative ways to display common visions. For example, how many differing views of Yosemite's Half-Dome have we seen?
Pushing that envelope - or going out on "that limb" -really does pay off when you've created something truly unique.
- Bob Cammarata
ANSWER 5:
Any profession, to really excel and be the best, requires that you push yourself, and use methods that may not have been used before.
- Jerry Frazier
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5: Perspective in Photography
How do you enhance the perspective of a subject?
- Lori Gee
ANSWER 1:
Perspective is an optical property - whether it's in your head as what your eyes see or whether you see it as a function of the lens you're using. That's right, perspective appears different, whether you use a wide-angle or a telephoto lens.

If you want to enhance perspective, try changing your lens and also the point from which you're shooting. If you shot a house, with the film plane parallel to the front of the house, you'll get a flat subject. Moving to one side of the house and stepping back a bit, you'll introduce perspective into the image, since roof lines, etc., will fall toward that imaginary focal point - similar to how railroad tracks close to that same point, the Vanishing Point.
As far as enhancement with an editing program, I don't think so, but Photoshop CS2 has that new vanishing point feature - so if your image allows, and you own CS2, you can try it.

- John Sandstedt
ANSWER 2:
Hi Lori,
As we look about, objects appear different depending on whereabouts they are – near or far. Near objects appear large; the same object seen from a distance appears small. The relative size of objects is determined by the position of the eye. A camera equipped with a “normal” lens duplicates the human experience. We call this “normal” prospective. The focal length required is nearly the same as the diagonal measure of the film or chip. For the 35mm film camera, that’s 50mm. For digital, we use a conversion factor because most digitals sport a chip that is 66% smaller than the 35mm frame. Thus: 50÷1.5 =33mm
Now the camera lens projects an image of the outside world onto our film or chip. Lenses of different focal lengths project different size images. A short lens renders objects as tiny producing a panorama like view we call this “wide angle” - 28mm or shorter for the 35mm film camera - 18mm or shorter for the digital. Now in artists circles, wide views are associated with strong prospective. The long lens or telephoto 135mm or longer for 35mm film camera - 83mm or longer for digital - is often labeled as a weaken perspective. These opinions are based in part on the fact that the camera-to-subject distance required to obtain desired composition is usually near for wide angle and far for telephoto. This belief is psychological in nature. The size of the finished work and the viewing distance are also major influences.
In most cases, it will be necessary to change both camera-to-subject distance and focal length to achieve the desired angle of view with the desired object/image size. As an example in portraiture, too short a lens renders the nose too big and the ears too small. This is “strong” prospective with distortion. The countermeasure is to use a longer than normal lens. A long lens forces the photographer to step back. This act causes the nose to ear separation to become insignificant thus facial distortion is rendered as nil “weak” prospective”. The focal length usually recommended is 85mm to 105mm for the 35mm film camera which works out to 55mm to 70mm for digital.
In closing, these are not laws. These are opinions formed by knowledgeable people. Art is not a science; you are free to follow your heart. It’s called “poetic license”.
Alan Marcus
- Alan N. Marcus
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6: Switching Lenses ...
I am new to the world of photograpy (film /SLR). Is it safe for me to switch lens while there is film in the camera? Thanks.
- Gabrielle R
ANSWER 1:
Hi Gabrielle,
You can safely interchange lenses under any and all conditions. Your camera features a shutter that blocks stray light. That being said, most would agree, you should never ask for trouble. Under bright direct daylight conditions, one might choose to seek shade when interchanging lens or film. If nothing else, turn you back to the sun, and work in the shadow cast by your body.
Alan Marcus
- Alan N. Marcus
ANSWER 2:
You also want to be careful about what may be blowing around that could get into your camera with the lens off. Sand in the desert, salt spray at the coast, things like that. In those types of situations, at least turn your back to the wind to shield the camera, and you may not want to change lenses at all.
- Stephanie M. Stevens
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