The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Reflectors/Diffus...
Q&A 1: Monitor Calibra...
Q&A 2: Word Processing...
Q&A 3: Night Photograp...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"Great class! Brenda's lessons are always clear and easy to follow ... Her critiques were very helpful. She seems to be able to see the intention behind a not-completely-successful picture, while also giving good advice on how to improve it. I would definitely take another course from Brenda!" -student in Brenda Tharp's online course, Travel Photography: Capturing a Sense of Place





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THIS WEEK'S TIP
The Versatile Polarizing Filter ... by Kerry Drager
Best known for deepening a pale blue sky, the polarizer also can enhance colors by reducing glare on most reflective objects - i.e., foliage, water, windows, painted objects, wet rocks, etc. Incidentally, on an overcast day, the polarizer works its visual magic on many surfaces too.
Note #1: There's a verrrrry good reason that this unique filter rotates in its mount: The polarizer must have the proper orientation! :-) Thus, it's essential to turn the filter while previewing the possible effects in your camera's viewfinder.
Note #2: If you aren't certain whether the polarizer will help your picture, then shoot the same scene both with and without the filter. After all, there's nothing like comparison!
More info: Learn all sorts of cool shooting techniques from Kerry Drager in his online courses: Creative Light and Composition and Creative Close-ups


   
Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 336th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

We are just thrilled with the success of our 3rd annual BetterPhoto Summit this past weekend. What an incredible experience - so inspiring and informative! To all of you who attended: Can't you hardly wait to take a photo trip?? Now, onward and forward ... The next session of our online school kicks off this Wednesday (October 3rd) with another outstanding lineup of photography and Photoshop courses! See the Fall class schedule... If you need help deciding, try our easy-to-use CourseFinder ... In this issue of SnapShot, be sure to check out our regular features, along with an excellent Photo Tip (by instructor Kerry Drager) on polarizing filters. ... A reminder: BetterPhoto.com has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and you can take part in the BetterPhotoMentor program by donating your unwanted digital camera. ... That's it for now. Have a great week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Enroll now in one of our interactive online classes! You'll learn photography or Photoshop through exciting weekly assignments and helpful critiques from experienced pros. We have many fine ways to learn more about photography. For example: Instructor Insights blogs and the Trip Planner guide. Our BetterPhoto Gift Cards are redeemable toward any Betterphoto.com products: PhotoCourses, Premium or Deluxe BetterPholios, ProCritiques, books, etc.

Photo Q&A

1: Reflectors/Diffusers
I bought the 5-in-1 round collapsible reflector/diffuser from Photographer's Edge and now am not sure how to set it up. What do I use to hold it where I want it? It is 22" wide. Help!
- Janet Detota
ANSWER 1:
Janet, the answer probably depends on whether you use the 5-n-1 in a studio or in the field. There are stands with appropriate clips to hold the reflector.
I use mine in the field and hand-hold the reflector. I use a cable release to trip the shutter, so I am able to move around a good bit to get the best angle. I have seen pictures showing the reflector leaning against the tripod legs. I think how you use it is limited only by your ingenuity.
John
- John Rhodes
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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1: Monitor Calibration Software

Hello All,
I'm looking to buy a color management monitor calibration tool. There are so many out there but I have been looking at the Spyder2Pro software. Any comments or feedback on the Spyder2Pro or other color management software is greatly appreciated. I print using the Epson R2400. Thanks!
- Matt Parker

ANSWER 1:
Matt,
I've been using Spyder Pros for years. I've been very happy with it. Before that I used a device manufactured by Sequel Imaging, which I believe became the Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display LT. In the earlier version, it was an excellent device, so I imagine it would have only improved. I have not used but also heard of people having success with the Pantone Huey.
I can recommend the Spyder from first-hand use. Any calibration device (it is not just software, but hardware as well) will make a difference.
I often recommend not printing at home and using a service as well. I think printing is too much of a diversion, and you can use a service to print off machines you would never buy for your home (upward of $40,000). You also don't have to worry about calibration, supplies, maintenance. I don't have a printer even hooked up to my main work station.
I hope that helps!

- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=121428

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Richard Lynch:
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
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ANSWER 2:
Hi Matt – Just to back up what Richard already said and to share my experiences: I also use the Spyder Pro and once gave the Huey a test as well. Personally, I greatly prefer the Spyder and find that it is much more accurate. I find it simple and uncomplicated to use - although, at first, the directions can seem a little daunting. Once you set it up and use it the first time it becomes very simple.
BTW: You have a terrific gallery! Many of your images are of places I greatly love or those that I yearn to visit.
Irene

- Irene Troy
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Word Processing Software for the Mac

Is there a particular word processing software that works best with Adobe Photoshop CS3? How does the word processor (documents?) affect storage of photos? I just changed to a Mac, but I have read conflicting reviews on the Office/Word for Macs from general users. What do photographers prefer?
- Joan E. Herwig

ANSWER 1:
It really probably depends what you are trying to do with text and Photoshop. If you are going to be working with Web sites and data-driven image creation, your needs may differ from someone who will just be typing things into a word-processor to spell-check them.
What will you be doing?

- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=121428

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Richard Lynch:
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
4-Week Short Course: Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer
4-Week Short Course: From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow
4-Week Short Course: Correct and Enhance Your Images

ANSWER 2:
I guess I am mostly concerned with saving, transferring photos in and out of documents, etc., to and from an external HD, uploading photos to Web sites, etc. Also, I have been working on writing a book and have many floppies of text to transfer from Word from my PC.

- Joan E. Herwig

ANSWER 3:
If I were writing a book (and I have), I'd use something like Adobe Pagemaker for the final layout with photos. I'd only use Microsoft Word, or another word processor, for the preliminary writing.
There are a lot of word processing software packages for the Mac, but Microsoft Word is still the one to beat.
For your other tasks (uploading photos to Web sites), you don't need word processing software. You can use a photo editing program to resize photos appropriately and then use your Web browser to upload them. You'll use the operating system features to move photos from one disk to another.

- John Clifford

ANSWER 4:
As John suggests, a layout program may be better for 'design' than Word. I've not only written a few books (the writing being almost exactly what John describes: writing in Word and then layout in another program), but before I did that I worked at a publishing house as an editor, designer and pre-press person. Programs like PageMaker, Quark Xpress, InDesign and other programs made for page layout will usually give you more control, and they have features created specifically for book design. Word, in my experience, has not always played well with graphics, and may have color issues as part of your color workflow.

- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=121428

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Richard Lynch:
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
4-Week Short Course: Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer
4-Week Short Course: From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow
4-Week Short Course: Correct and Enhance Your Images
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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3: Night Photography

Please help! Why do my night photographs come out blurry? I use a tripod and I also use the self-timer, yet my shots still come out slightly blurry and not crisp. This is driving me nuts now. I am determined to get good at taking pictures at night, but it is getting frustrating to say the least. I use a Canon Digital Rebel 35mm digital camera. Thanks!
- Vincent J. DeSanto

ANSWER 1:
Type of tripod? Shutter speed? The only thing I can think of is "mirror slap" - especially if your exposures are between 1/8th and several secs. Can you post an example? Mirror slap has a definite signature look.

- Pete Herman

ANSWER 2:
What are you trying to take pictures of? The night sky? Moon? Stars? Post one of those pics typical of the problem so that we can see it.
What apertures and shutter times did you use on those blurry exposures? If it's long shutter times: Remember that the earth moves, revolves, 24 hours a day! So the moon and stars change position continuously. You would see that with long shutter times.

- W. Smith

ANSWER 3:
Lightweight tripod with heavy lens, standing on a bridge and a car goes by, keeping your hand on the camera, wind - all potential causes of blurriness.

- Gregory La Grange

ANSWER 4:
And do you use the selftimer on a 2-second or a 10-second delay? With a lightweight tripod and a heavy camera/lens combo, two seconds is simply not long enough to finish the swaying or swinging. Even 10 seconds may not be long enough. Momentum is a considerable force.
Can you lose the tripod and try with a beanbag or pillow? That would effectively dampen any movement.

- W. Smith

ANSWER 5:
Along with everything else, watch your focus. Autofocus depends on contrast and often does not work well in low-light situations.
Bill

- William Schuette
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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