The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, June 04, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: On Screen Resolut...
Q&A 2: Chemicals for a D...
Q&A 3: Matching Prints t...
Q&A 4: Battery Charging ...

"I feel really fortunate to have stumbled onto BetterPhoto. It's so amazing to get critiques from such talented, knowledgeable, and successful photographers as Jim. His honesty, candor, and encouraging words - you can't put a price on it!" -student in Jim Zuckerman's Making Money with Your Photography online course

Learn to produce creative fashion images, whether you want to simply make beautiful photos or even pursue a career in professional photography. This comprehensive 8-week online class is taught by pro fashion shooter Bruce Smith. Learn more...

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Thinking About Getting a Tripod? Read This! ... by Susan and Neil Silverman
The type of photography that you want to do with a tripod is a real consideration - plus where you plan to use it. For example, will you use it in sand or salt-water situations? Will you frequently be in windy situations? Your height is also an important consideration too. These are just some of the things to think about - as well as your ability to carry extra weight since less expensive ones can be quite a bit heavier and more awkward than more expensive ones. A rule of thumb is that you want a good sturdy tripod and you would like it to be as tall as you might need without extending the center column. If you extend the center column, essentially you are creating a monopod and not benefitting from the solid stance of the three legs of the tripod.
Editor's Note: Susan and Neil Silverman teach several excellent online courses, including Jump Start to Digital Photography.

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 319th issue of SnapShot!

There's plenty of excitement at as the new month gets under way! First, off, the next round of our 4-week online classes begins June 6th, and with two new courses - Jim Zuckerman's Techniques of Natural Light Photography and William Neill's Landscape Essentials - this will be our best lineup of short classes yet! See the course schedule... June too soon? See our July 8-week photo courses. Can't decide which class is best for you? Try our very cool and easy-to-use CourseFinder ... Get your own Web site! Our Deluxe and Pro BetterPholios are great ways to show - or sell - your photography. Plus, our new monthly newsletter for BetterPholio owners is filled with tips and updates. Compare the BetterPholio options... Great BP features updated! Check out our awesome Trip Planner to plan your next photo getaway. BetterPhoto instructors regularly contribute insights and helpful techniques to BetterBlogs. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

At, you can learn from the pros - online, anytime! Enroll now for our next round of 4-week interactive online photography courses. Incidentally, we have two awesome new classes:Check out the entire June school schedule... The 2007 BetterPhoto Conference - September 29th and 30th in Chicago - will be an action-packed event. Check the Conference Program and see for yourself! For a daily dose of inspiration, subscribe to our Photo of the Day newsletter. It's free, and issue #1000 will be published in just a matter of days! For all the details, see BetterPhoto's Free Photography Newsletters page.

Photo Q&A

1: On Screen Resolution - Scanned Images
I am an amateur photographer and use a Minolta Maxxum 5 35mm film SLR camera. When I develop my film and have it put on a CD, the resolution on the CD isn't very good. The pictures appear very "pixely". Where is the best place to have pictures put on CDs at the best resolution for computer viewing and/or what can I do to make my pictures look better on-screen?
- Clayton T. Williams
If the photos don't look good on screen, they weren't scanned at a high enough resolution. Actually, I think it must have been really low because you don't need that high of a resolution, or a file that big, to view on screen. Screen views at 72ppi and an uploaded file just needs to be 300-400k.
Now if you're trying to zoom in on the image after you get it on your screen, then, yes, even a slight increase in image size will start to show pixels. But scanned negatives can be scanned at different resolutions. So if you used a one-hour lab that provides a CD with your pictures, the resolution is probably low in order to make it a quick.
Find a better lab or a print shop that does scans, if you know of no other people who own a scanner.
- Gregory La Grange
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2: Chemicals for a Darkroom?
What are the name of the chemicals needed for darkroom photography? Is there any other substitute aside from the enlarger?
- CLaro T. Cagulada
Using an enlarger and building a darkroom may be quite an undertaking. There is also the option of working in a 'digital darkroom' by either scanning your film negatives or just shooting with a digital camera. I have an enlarger and haven't used it in many years now...and all the chemicals stay at my digital printing service rather than in my home/darkroom. In fact, I took down the darkroom and now have more space in the basement.

If you already have a computer (and I assume you do as you accessed this forum), setting up your digital darkroom may be as easy as purchasing a program like Photoshop Elements for image editing--or even using software that you already have on your system or that came with your camera or scanner. In comparison, you would have to dedicate a lot of effort to learning not just how to use an enlarger, but to setting up a darkroom space, and collecting all the other equipment that goes with it.

Is there a specific reason you are looking for an enlarger rather than 'going digital'?

- Richard Lynch

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Hi Claro,
There are many developing agents. Probably the two most common are Metol (CH3NHC6H4OH)2H2SO4 and Hydroquinone C6H4(OH)2. I have heard that you can get some burgundy wines to act as developers, but I have no experience with using them for this purpose.

The most critical chemical for photography is fix. There are only two chemicals that can easily make a silver image light safe. The most common one is sodium thiosulphate. Discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1819. Herschel is a critical figure in early photography: he introduced the word snapshot and discovered the cyanotype process.

I sometimes see that Craig’s List has enlargers for free, a good price. The enlarger mark suggests is very good, but if you can get an old Omega D2 you would be doing well. Instead of an enlarger you can get a large format camera. Nothing like shooting a camera that makes an 8X10 inch negative.

I use the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography as my desk reference on these matters, but I would suggest the Darkroom Cookbook. The cookbook is really good, but it is in the darkroom.

May good fortune follow you in this endeavor!
John Siskin

- John H. Siskin

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You were given the stuff for black and white, so, Claro, in case you meant color, speak up. You'll be able to get film for a long time, but the chemicals maybe not. Some working guys (not talking about senior portraits and wedding people) have said they're seeing it beginning to get harder to have their stuff processed. So the chemicals in the store may become a rarity at some point. Selling to individuals should go away before labs, since it's bought in bulk by labs.
- Gregory La Grange
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3: Matching Prints to Monitor
My printer (Epson Stylus Photo R1800) is not printing true colors. While looking at the computer screen, they look fine, but when I print them, they are dark. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help.
- Michelle Montgomery
Michelle, the first step is to calibrate your monitor. There are several good calibration systems out there. I use the Colorvision Spyder2 and achieve very good results. However, you will never get a print on paper to look exactly like an image on a monitor. Realize that the monitor is an RGB device that emits light, while the print is a CMYK colorspace and may be on a variety of media from gloss to matte finish.
Again, the starting point is a calibrated monitor. Then, you'll likely have to "dial in" your print to get the desired results. If your print is a bit darker than the final monitor image, then darken the screen to come as close to the print as possible using the monitor's backlight and/or brightness controls (check your printer manual).
Once the screen is close to the print, use a curves adjustment to affect the blacks, whites, or middle tones to get the desired result. Then print another test. You should get there with a few tweaks and get good results. Remember to recalibrate the monitor periodically.
Hope this helps.
- John R. Rhodes
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4: Battery Charging in the Field
Hello All,

I am planning a 20-day backpacking trip which I will be photo-documenting the entire way. Only problem is battery charging for not only my Canon EOS 20D but also for my portable external Wolvering hard-drive. I have 2 batteries for my 20D and they actually last quite a long time but not long enough for 20 days. The portable hard drive can download a 4Gb CompactFlash card about twice before the battery runs out.
Therefore, I have 2 questions for a 20-day backpacking trip (no access to electrical outlets): 1) What is the best method for batteries? Carry numerous ones or is there a cheaper and lightweight charging solution? 2) What is the best method to charge my portable hard drive?

- Matt Parker
Don't use the monitor and use the camera's automatic shut-off. A battery for a Nikon lasted the author of a National Geographic Explorer article for a 2-week canoe trip.
The hard drive, if you can't make up a connection to something like a dry cell battery, waiting till you get back might be your choice. But two 4gig cards worth of pictures sounds like enough to me, but I pick my spots more than most people.
- Gregory La Grange
Look into solar chargers; try I don't know how expensive or heavy they are.
- Stephanie M. Stevens
I agree that bringing spare batteries for the camera will be cheaper and lighter than any than any other option in the field. You can get spare BP-511A batteries for about $30 each.
Better yet, do you have any friends who shoot with a Canon? If they have a 10D, 20D, 30D, original Rebel, or even some of the earlier Powershot G-series cameras, they may have a spare BP-511 battery that they will loan you for the trip. Charge them all before you leave. And test them to be sure they took a full charge.
We went to DisneyWorld right after I first bought the Digital Rebel. I didn't know how long a battery would last on a full day out at the park, so I borrowed a spare from my brother who had a Powershot G2 or 3. It turned out to be a dud and wouldn't take a charge. It was a cheap knockoff that he had gotten on eBay. I only buy quality knockoffs ;-).
For the Wolverine drive, rather than bringing spare batteries for it, you make come out cheaper (and lighter) with a few extra memory cards. BestBuy usually has SanDisk Ultra II 2GB cards for about $35. Or again, check with friends to see if anyone has any spare cards to loan out for your trip.

Good luck & have fun.
Keep your socks dry.
Chris A. Vedros

- Chris A. Vedros
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