The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, October 15, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Washed-Out Sky...
Q&A 2: Orange-tinted Pic...
Q&A 3: Extension Tubes a...
Q&A 4: Action Portraits...
Q&A 5: Coffee Shop Photo...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"Kerry Drager is one of the best teachers I have ever had. His reviews are very constructive and he genuinely wants you to learn all that you can. Bravo, Kerry!" -student in Kerry's Creative Light and Composition course





GIFT IDEA FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS!
BetterPhoto gift cards are ideal for the holidays and other special occasions. They are redeemable toward any BP product - including PhotoCourses, ProCritiques, BetterPholios, and books and DVDs.


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THIS WEEK'S TIP
Fall Photography Suggestions ... by Kevin Moss
In a recent BetterBlog, instructor Kevin Moss (who teaches Digital Photography for Nature Photographers) offered the following tips:
- Look for overcast or rainy days to shoot: That's right! Bright sunlight can wash out the colors of the leaves, leaving you with "flat"-looking images. The best time to shoot fall color is right after it rains, when there is still cloud cover, but the trees are wet, giving you nice dark bark contrasting with the color of the leaves.
- Shoot on a tripod: This is a must for sharp images.
- Get in close: Make it a habit of shooting your scenes wide-angle first, then proceed to zoom in for another series of close-up shots, maybe just of sections of trees and colorful leaves. Lastly, move in even closer for close-ups of maybe a handful of colorful leaves.
- Use a circular polarizer: Your best friend for many scenes of fall color, is to put a circular polarizer over your lens. The circular polarizer will reduce glare from the leaves, and help saturate colors in your shot.


   
Featured Gallery
Bond Falls Reflections
© - Dean Pennala

Welcome to the 338th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

Did you miss enrolling in the Fall session of online classes? You're in luck, since we have an outstanding schedule of 4-week photo courses coming up in November! ... Need help finding a class? Try our easy-to-use CourseFinder. ... At BetterPhoto, our pro instructors share their expertise in many different ways, including through the frequently updated BetterBlogs. Read recent entries from Jim Zuckerman, Richard Lynch, Kevin Moss, John Siskin and others. ... And if you haven't yet checked out the new BetterPhoto Clubs, you're in for a treat. It's such an awesome way to interact and bond with photo friends. ... That's it for now. Have a terrific week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

At BetterPhoto, we have an awesome schedule of online photography and Photoshop courses led by top pros. Enroll in our free trial Digital SLR Photography course, and see firsthand how our awesome online classes work. Sign up now ... Our Deluxe BetterPholios let you showcase your photography in an extremely sleek and very cool way.

Photo Q&A

1: Washed-Out Sky
I just did a wedding this past weekend. Some of the pics were outside in a park with a clear sky and at @ 6:30 pm, so the sun was coming down, although there was enough light to not use a flash. My subjects looked fine in the pic but the sky was totally washed out white, without a flash. I then went ahead and put my polarizer on, which darkened the sky but then forced me to use my flash and those pics turned out fine. Anyone give me a clue as to why the sky was all washed out?
Thanks,
Mindy
- M Shores
ANSWER 1:
Simply because the sky was much brighter than your foreground subjects. Fill flash, with or without the polarizer, is one solution. Another is a split or graduated neutral density filter that reduces the exposure of the sky to better match that of the foreground.
- Jon Close
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2: Orange-tinted Pictures
Some of my indoor photos in lower light are turning out a bit orangy... Can someone assist? Thanks!
- Roberta Esch
ANSWER 1:
It's simply a white balance problem, since different light sources emit a different temperature of light. The human eyes are remarkable in that it sees most light sources as white light. Daylight (sunlight) has relatively even red, green, and blue wavelengths. Fluorescent lights are high in green wavelengths and tungsten lights are high in red wavelengths of light. What this means to you is that when you're taking pictures indoors that are primarily lit by tungsten lighting (incandescent lighting in which a filament is heated to create the light), this will give a red/orange glow on your images if your camera (or film) thinks it is seeing white daylight (or sunlight). If you are using a digital camera, search your camera manual for the White Balance setting and change it to the one that looks like light bulb when you're shooting indoors (without flash). Flash is balanced to the same as daylight (sunlight).
- Justin G.
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3: Extension Tubes and Focusing Distance
This is for digital and film. When I want to get really close, but without a lens practically touching, (ex. flower petal), do I need an extension tube, or a costly macro lens to focus close, but from a bit more distance? I use +10 close-up filter.
- Mary L. Lemley
ANSWER 1:
All I have ever used for my macro shots are extension tubes. They are just about the best piece of equipment I have ever purchased for my camera. I have never owned a macro lens for the reason of cost.
- Michelle M. Peters
ANSWER 2:
An extension tube lets you focus on objects that are closer to your camera. Macro lenses also allow you to do this, usually by extending the front of the lens greatly (just as extension tubes do), and in addition, generally have specialized optical properties that aid in close focusing.
You can use extension tubes with a macro lens to get even closer to the subject (and therefore to get more magnification). If you really want close-ups of things like insects, snakes, etc., but don't want to get close enough to disturb them, get bitten/stung, etc., then a 105mm, 150mm, or 180mm macro is a great lens. You can also use extension tubes with ordinary lenses of longer focal lengths, e.g., a 70-200 zoom.
Depth of field will be very shallow with a telephoto macro lens, so you'll want to stop down, and many macro lenses will go down to as far as f/32 or even f/64. But, be warned that many high-resolution D-SLRs start becoming diffraction-limited at around f/11 or so. You're trading off depth of field for total sharpness, so try to arrange things so that the plane of focus extends along your desired subject. For instance, shoot a photo of a butterfly from the side, not head-on.
- John Clifford
ANSWER 3:
If you need "working distance", extension tubes (and/or bellows units) work better with short to medium telephoto lenses (in the 80 to 200 mm range) ... and better still if the lens is specially designed for close-focusing.
Shorter lenses will allow you to reproduce a larger image within the frame but you WILL need to get in there very close to the subject before it will pop into focus.
Most of my macro work is done with a 105 mm lens mounted onto a bellows assembly, which operates pretty much the same as extension tubes...only adjustable. The size of the image in the frame varies by how much lens extension is used.
The working distance with this lens is around 10 to 12 inches.
A longer lens will add even greater working distance...up to several feet depending upon how many millimeters of extension are applied.
This photo was taken with a 180 mm lens and a 36 mm extension tube from around 2 1/2 to 3 feet away.
(Sometimes, a situation arises that requires full-frame coverage ... but you REALLY NEED to back up.)
Here's a few tips when using extension tubes:
*Depth of field will be limited so you should focus (manually) onto what's most important to your composition ... like an eye of an insect or that particular particle of that flower that first caught your eye.
*Meter something "neutral" in the same light...then re-compose.
Too often, great macros are ruined when the primary point of interest is very dark or very light and a shot that can't be re-done is taken in haste.
*A tripod and an immobile subject are essential.
Camera-shake and subject movement will be amplified exponentially the closer you get.
Hope this helps.
Bob
- Bob Cammarata
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4: Action Portraits
I have been doing a lot of portrait photography indoors and out. During these sessions, the clients are sitting still and I am able to use a slow shutter speed. I have been asked to do more candid outdoor portraits and am getting a lot of motion blur. Oh, I will be using a Canon 24-105 F4L IS USM lens. I also have a Canon 50mm fixed lens. Thank you so much!
- Sharon K. King
ANSWER 1:
You'll need to kick in your flash in combo with a slow shutter speed. Use a balanced fill setting so the flash does not become the dominant light. This will produce some "action" with blurring but the flash will freeze the subjects as long as your shutter speed is not too low.
I use this method when I photographing paramedics in the back of the ambulance. I use a slow sync setting on the camera that pulls in the ambient light and then triggers a small burst of flash to pull in some detail and freeze the action. Sometimes I get some hand-motion blur, etc., but this does heighten the action which I like (as well as my publishers!).
I would recommend that you experiment with different settings with a friend or family member first. Then you'll be ready when you shoot the real thing.
Good luck!
Ray
- Raymond H. Kemp
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5: Coffee Shop Photography Display
Hello friends!
I have the opportunity to exhibit and sell some of my work at a local coffee shop, and I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas about how to best arrange things? Does it look better to have each individual photo definitely distinct and apart from the others? Does it look better to frame them similarly and group them by threes... in differing sizes? I don't have anything to go on so far because mine will be the only photos at this place, at least as of right now. Any ideas would be welcome - thanks!
- Katrina McMeans
ANSWER 1:
I'd pick a common frame and matte color for all images. I tend to use black metal frames and white mattes that I hand-cut myself (after you cut and frame a dozen mattes, a $100 matte cutter pays for itself). That way, my art work stands on its own. I've always found that the fanciest framing and matting surrounds the most mundane images, and conversely, a white matte and black or silver frame serve best to make the print the focus of attention. I always hand-write my image title just below the bottom left corner of the image on the matte, and sign my name just below the bottom right corner of the image on the matte, using a very sharp pencil.
In regards to grouping: I'd use my best judgment and arrange my images so that they looked good. If you have a theme - e.g., flowers, animals, airplanes - you may want to put them all together. Otherwise, place the images where they will catch the eye and where they look good.
I'd also print up a 3"x5" card for each image, with the image title, some information about the camera and printing process, some information about the subject itself, price, and your name and contact information (email, Web site).
Have you thought about pricing? By the time I make an 8x10 print, buy the frame and the matte board, cut the matte, and mount the print, I've gotten about 10 minutes of labor and about $15 (frame with glass, raw matte board, printer paper and materials) of materials... and I'd want to at least double my money. So I'd charge $30 for an 8x10 print with matte in an 11x14 frame. If you start doing a lot of this, you can cut your costs by buying the frames online at a considerable discount. I'd pretty much stick with 8x10s in 11x14 frames or 11x14s in 16x20 frames (and charge $40 for the 11x14s). You really can't frame a 5x7 (in an 8x10 frame) for much less in materials, and who'd buy a 5x7 for $25 when they can see the same image in 8x10 for $30? Of course, you might want to display a few 5x7s at $25 to see if they'll sell, and also to "push" people into buying the larger sizes as a "bargain."
Good luck!
- John Clifford
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