The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, November 05, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Yellow Tint Indoo...
Q&A 2: Moisture on Slide...
Q&A 3: Dark Hair/Dark Ba...
Q&A 4: Noise Reduction...
Q&A 5: Fluorescent Ligh...

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Make Your Lightweight Tripod Sturdier! ... by John Siskin
One way to add stability to a lightweight tripod is to add weight. An easy way to do this is to put a gallon bottle full of water into a market bag. Then I put the handles of the bag around the top of the tripod. I like this because I can fill up the bottle at the site rather than carrying the extra weight with me, or I can use water I brought for other reasons.
Editor's Note: John Siskin teaches excellent online courses here at See John's bio and courses...

Featured Gallery
Desert Light
© - Marc E. Adamus

Welcome to the 341st issue of SnapShot!

Would you like to take your photography - or Photoshop - to the next level? Our latest round of 4-week online courses begins November 7th! See the schedule... Or consider one of our outstanding 8-week classes, with a special school session just getting under way. ... Say, are you getting all of our newsletters? Besides the one you're reading now, BetterPhoto publishes three other free newsletters. For details and to subscribe... Also, if you haven't checked out our Instructor Insights recently, go to BetterBlogs, with recent entries from Richard Lynch, Jim Zuckerman and Kerry Drager. ... That's it for now. Enjoy this issue of Snapshot and enjoy a fine week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our online classes are so much fun and you learn a lot in a short time. Enroll now in a BetterPhoto 4-week course! See the schedule... Note: We now have payment plans available for all classes! If you missed the start of Fall's 8-week online courses, you're in luck! We've added a special 8-week session that just began. Great news! Jim Miotke's upcoming fourth book - The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Children - will include photos and stories by BetterPhoto members and students. If you're interested, check out the awesome details...

Photo Q&A

1: Yellow Tint Indoors
How do I get rid of the yellow tint in my wedding or indoor pics? What settings do I need - i.e., White Balance or flash? I have a Canon XT and 580 EX flash. Thanks.
Using the flash indoors, you are going to have mixed lighting: incandescent or fluorescent ambient lighting on the background, and the flash on the near subjects. There is not a single white balance setting that can correct both. The ususal (simple) procedure is to set the white balance for your flash-lit subject (i.e. Flash or 6000°K), and let the background take on the yellowish cast of the ambient lighting.
The more involved alternative is to set the white balance for the ambient lighting, and then apply a color-correcting gel filter over the flash (not the camera lens) so that the flash output matches the color temperature of the ambient lighting. The color correcting filter will decrease the effective range of the flash somewhat. For example, with typical tungsten incandescent bulbs, set the XT's white balance for Tungsten (3200°K) and use a 85B color correcting filter over the 580EX's flash to lower its color temperature from 6000°K down to 3200°K.
- Jon Close
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2: Moisture on Slides
Help! I was going through my slides and noticed moisture on several of them. They are in 8x10 sheets made to hold slides, and those are in 3-ring binders. The binders are stored in a large plastic bin to keep out dust and moisture. The sheets are supposed to be safe for slides. How do I clean the slides, and what did I do wrong in the storage of them? Thanks!
- Kathleen J. Bielak
Take the slides out and blot dry gently. If there are any water spots left, try some film cleaner. If you stored them in a closed container, you need some silica packs to absorb the moisture in the air.
- gregory la grange
Thank you so much. The film cleaner I could probably get at a camera store, but the silica packets? The other thing I noticed was the bulk of the affected slides were in a particular type and brand of pages. Needless to say, these pages will make the trip to the circular file :}. Thanks again for your help. KJB
- Kathleen J. Bielak
Silica packets can be found at a good camera supply store.
- gregory la grange
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3: Dark Hair/Dark Background
I have a image of a young man with very dark hair against a black backdrop. I like the way it looks, but the mother wants more detail in the hair against the backdrop. Does anyone know a way to increase or lighten the area around the hair on the left above the ear?
- Pamela A. DavisSee Sample Photo - Kyle

Hello Pamela,
This is a strong case for why studio photographers use a "hair light." Simply put, it's a snooted strobe aimed at the subject's hair.
There is some magic you can do if you don't have a studio setup ... ahh, gotta love digital and image editing.

Shoot TWO photos in rapid succession (otherwise, your subject will move and this won't work). Shoot one for normal exposure and the next one overexposed about 2 stops. Sandwich the two images and erase part of the hair line with a soft brush. This is not the preferred method, but when lacking the proper light setup, it's better than nothing.
All the best,

- Pete Herman
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4: Noise Reduction
What does reducing noise do to the photo? I noticed if I choose it in IPhoto, it looks different than if I do it in elements. If I go higher than, say, 60%, the photo gets a fake look. Sometimes it's cool, but I just wonder what is it really doing?
- Wendy Moghadam
I'm oversimplifying slightly here, but generally noise reduction involves a type of blurring (sometimes closer to what the Median filter does in Photoshop than Blur or Gaussian Blur). More sophisticated noise reduction will involve detail detection and masking. That is, it will try and find edges of your obejcts and keep these areas from blurring so you retain detail and just lose the noise where the blur occurs. The more extreme your application, the more obvious it will generally be.
Generally, I avoid noise reduction unless I'd have a spectacular shot with it - which usually only happens if it is a shot that can get away with a lot of detail being removed. Also, my process for reducing noise is one I made up, and involves not only edge detection and blurring, but actually adding noise to avoid some of the flattening and "fake look" that WS refers to.
There are many ways to reduce noise and many hyped tools, but I've yet to see one that can accomplish noise reduction without compromising detail.
- Richard Lynch

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5: Fluorescent Lighting
Before I buy one, can someone let me know if I can use continuous, fluorescent lighting (cool lights) on both digital and film photography? Thanks!
- Robert 
The increasingly popular cool lights are rated near daylight balance. However, I have noticed a very slight tint of green if the light is close to the subject. Since I shoot digital, this is easily corrected in Photoshop by applying a slight curve opposite the green which is magenta. For film, you may have to add a FL filter or have the image color-corrected during printing. I no longer use the fluorescent cool lights except in limited situations. I've switched to HMIs, which are terrific.
- Raymond H. Kemp
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