The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, April 07, 2008
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Are There Cons to...
Q&A 2: Condensation and ...
Q&A 3: How to Shoot Comp...
Q&A 4: Extension Tubes...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"This course provides an outstanding opportunity to get to know your DSLR. It forces you to dive into features that could otherwise intimidate. By the end of this course, I had finally bonded with my camera. ... I recommend it to anyone who needs to get to know their DSLR so that they can become more consistent and confident!" - student in Ibarionex Perello's DSLR Features: When, Why and How to Use Them

LENSBABIES: GET CREATIVE!
The Lensbaby is the unique, fun, useful, and affordable tool for creative photography. Also check out instructor Tony Sweet's photo (below) and his excellent Creative Nature/Outdoor Photos with Lensbabies online course here at BetterPhoto.



CLASSTRACKS: MASTER PHOTOGRAPHY IN 1 YEAR!
With purchase in our awesome yearlong ClassTracks program, you receive a free Pro BetterPholio, and upon completion, you qualify for an additional free 4-week course! Learn more...


TURN YOUR PHOTOS INTO BEAUTIFUL CARDS!
Photographer's Edge features a complete line of do-it-yourself Photo Frame Greeting Cards for all types of photographers and subjects. Visit Photographer's Edge...


PERFECT FOR ANY OCCASION: BP GIFT CARD!
Give your favorite photographer something really special! Our BetterPhoto Gift Cards are redeemable toward PhotoCourses, ProCritiques, Premium BetterPholios, or Deluxe or Pro BetterPholio web sites. Best yet, no wrapping required!


ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 67714 serious photographers.
Learn More...

THIS WEEK'S TIP
Make Dramatic Portraits with Shadow and Highlight! by Ibarionex Perello
The human eye is attracted to areas of high contrast. Meetings of light and dark, black and white draw our attention, particularly when looking at a photograph. Itís a visual fact that can be used to great effect when shooting a portrait.
The key to composing a strong portrait in high contrast light is the placement of your subject. Itís important to place your subject in the area of highlight and not in shadow, especially the eyes. Since the eyes are the most important element of the shot, you want to make sure that this area of the subjectís face is brightly illuminated. Always stay aware of how shadows are rendered across the face.
Often the best time of day to use this strong directional light is in the morning or late afternoon, when the sun is close to horizon. Photographing at noon will result in the poorest photographs as they produce the bad shadows on the face mentioned earlier.
Editor's Note: To learn more about Ibarionex Perello and his excellent online photo courses, see Ibarionex's Deluxe BetterPholio.


   
Featured Gallery
fingerstyle
© - bob garas

Welcome to the 363rd issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

BetterPhoto's April photography school is off to an awesome start, but good news! It's not too late to enroll in one of our interactive online photo courses. See our class schedule... Incidentally, you may qualify our new "frequent flier" program. For every five classes you take, you'll receive a 50% discount on your next course! Learn more about MVBP Rewards... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss our usual features - including an excellent Photo Tip on portrait photography, plus an excellent Questions and Answers section with items on extension tubes, noise reduction, shooting waterfalls, and more. ... That's it for this week. Enjoy your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Yes, you can still join the fun. If you sign up for one of our 8-week online courses today, we will send you the first lesson pronto. Then you will have plenty of time to do the first assignment, which isn't even due until April 13th. Our four-week online courses are fun, fast and to the point. There's still space in our March session. Otherwise, our next session kicks off on Besides SnapShot, BetterPhoto publishes three other free newsletters on photography and Photoshop - including our daily dose of visual inspiration (Photo of the Day). For details and to subscribe...

Photo Q&A

1: Are There Cons to Noise Reduction?
I do a lot of photography at high ISOs, therefore I turn the noise reduction feature onto high on my D80. Can I leave it on all the time? Or does this have side effects? Thanks!
- Scott J. Chalmers
ANSWER 1:
Scott,
Side effects of noise reduction may include loss of detail. Noise reduction generally happens as a result of what is really blurring, so you are bound to compromise detail in noise reduction by any automated process (computers just perform calculations, they don't see the images after all). I would keep noise reduction for when you are sure you really need it, and likely you will do just as well or better to wait till post-processing.
Richard
- Richard Lynch

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ANSWER 2:
Hello Scott,
In-camera NR in its most simplest form is essentially a gaussian blur on steroids. (i.e) It (tries) to "smooth" the image noise while leaving contrasting edges unmolested. The software used to do this is marginally acceptable depending on various external inputs. How bad is the noise? What ISO? What subject matter? What kind of noise etc.? All digital noise are not created equal.
Personally, I am not a fan of in-camera NR. 1) It slows down frame rates and processing time from shot to shot. 2) It takes all control away from the photographer. 3) It employs NR over the ENTIRE image! Yikes!
I prefer using post production to control noise. Some programs are far superior doing this compared to in-camera processing and give the photographer far more control.
As technology advances, so does NR in sensor design. The Nikon D300 can shoot at ISO 1600 with little NR required with a well-lit subject. My older D70 would NEVER shoot acceptably at that ISO no matter how much NR I applied.
To answer your question: If you feel the need to process noise in-camera, then no; I would not leave NR on all the time ... only when needed.
All the best
Pete
- Pete H
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2: Condensation and Cameras
Over the weekend, I was at an indoor water park, and I had stored my camera in our room which was cooled to about 65 degrees. When I brought it into the water park, the temp was close to 82 with 100% humidity. My lens fogged over almost immediately and I had trouble focusing the majority of the time I was there. I'm planning a trip to Costa Rica in May and would prefer that this sort of thing does not happen again. Do you have any suggestions on how I can prep my camera for the extreme humidity that I may face there? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
- Tim Hennessey
ANSWER 1:
Greetings. When changing from extreme environmental temps like cooler to warm, you're likely to get condensation forming on everything from your skin to your equipment. The solution is before changing environments, stick your gear inside a plastic, zip-lock type bag, squeeze the air out of it, and zip it shut. The condensation will form on the outside of the bag, and the equipment temp will equilibrate after a few minutes and you're ready to shoot.
For lens fogging, you can also use a good cleaner that helps repel moisture. For that, I like some stuff called ROR (residual oil remover). It's a good cleaner and seems to help prevent fogging in greenhouse environments and indoor pool areas. Take it light ;>)
Mark
- Mark Feldstein
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3: How to Shoot Compelling Waterfall Photos?
How do you seasoned photographers make your water in your waterfall pictures look smooth or sometimes like smoke? Do you get this effect by the setting you choose when taking the picture? OR, do you all manipulate the photo in photo Shop to get that effect?
- Tammy L. Newcomb
ANSWER 1:
To "veil" water effectively, these points should be remembered:
1) A tripod or other support is essential if your composition includes elements surrounding the falls.
2) Your distance to the action can determine what shutter speed to use. At greater distances, a much slower speed will be required to blur the action than if the same falls were photographed closer. The effect you seek will be much harder to achieve from far away.
3) Overcast days are best ... but keep in mind that heavy cloud cover or deep shade will render the entire scene with a bluish tinge. You can use warming filters (or white-balance adjustments) to combat this color shift.
4) Compose carefully to avoid any sunlit portions of the falls when shooting in deep shade or those portions of the frame will blow out (...and over-expose). Also, avoid including the sky in all shooting scenarios for the same reason.
5) Practice on small falls on tiny creeks so you can get close to the action ... so close in fact that you have to worry about water splashing onto your lens. This will not only solve the distance dilhemma but sometimes it's just fun to get your feet wet.
6) Meter the brightest (frothiest) part of the falls and set your exposure to over-expose that part of the falls by 1/2 stop. (My own tests have concluded that this metering method works well in most lighting scenarios.)
6) Try to compose the scene with a contrasting (darker) background to acentuate the falls.
7) Include a "subject" or point of interest in the foreground and use the veiled falls or rapids as a background.
8) Shooting the scene at different shutter speeds will yield different effects.
9) The human eye and brain perceives motion at somewhere around 1/60 second. (If you were to photograph a waterfall in 35mm format with a 50mm lens at 1/60 second, the degree of implied motion would be the same as seen with the naked eye.). Every speed slower than 1/60 second with the same equipment would imply greater motion.
At 1/15 second, a vertical falls a few feet away from the lens will veil nicely. At 1/4 second, it will appear cotton-like. and at 1 second or slower, it will be "smokin'".
Bob
- Bob Cammarata
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4: Extension Tubes
I want to buy an extension tube that I can use with my Canon 28-135mm IS and Canon EF 70-200 f4L lens. I have read that the Canon EF12 is better suited for single focal-length lenses and that the EF25 extension tube is better for zooms. I am not sure what to do and I need help. I am planning on using it with my Canon EOS 10D.
- Pieter J. Roelofse
ANSWER 1:
Pieter, I have successfully used my Canon EF25 on my 70-200 f4L lens, and used to use the 12mm on my 28-135mm when I owned that. Both gave me very good results. The 25mm will be almost too much with the 28-135, forcing you to get really close in to your subject and that sometimes blocks light and/or scares any living things off. SO the 12mm would be a better choice for the 28-135mm, but it's not very effective for the 70-200mm. For that, the EF25 would be better.
There are some discussions that tubes with zooms are not "the best", but overall I have not had an issue, and my macro pictures are published in greeting cards, calendars and sold as stock photos. It's possible that with digital, we're seeing more problems that with film were just non-visible - chromatic abberations, softness at corners, etc.
Personally, I use the Canon 500D diopter, on my 70-200 and fixed 300mm; the dual element glass is optically excellent. I don't worry about putting extra glass in front of the lens with this thing. AND, you don't lose light - an important issue with macro.
Ultimately, you really want to get a dedicated macro lens if you like doing macro photography. They are optically the best solution, and the 100mm Canon is superb. On your 10D, the 100mm becomes a 160mm macro, giving you good working distance from your subject and 1:1 or lifesize reproduction.
Hope this helps!
- Brenda Tharp

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ANSWER 2:
Shorter extension tubes are better with short focal length lenses, and longer lengths are better with teles. Best option is to get both, but the Canon models are pretty expensive for simple metal tubes with minimal electronics. Kenko markets a tube set (12mm, 20mm, 36mm) for not much more than the price of the Canon EF 25 II.
- Jon Close
ANSWER 3:
I have the Kenko set ... As Jon says, you get three for the price of a single canon tube. I originally purchased the EF 25, then turned it back in after I got the Kenko tubes.
- Ken Smith
ANSWER 4:
Yes, the Kenko tubes are fine, as long as the materials they are made with last as long - i.e. the contacts, etc. I have no issue with them, I've just been very happy with my Canon, but you do get three for around the price of one - that's a good deal.
The shorter extension tube may work better with shorter focal lengths, but for macro use I found it gets you so close that you are in the way. I've used the 12mm on my 28-135 and it's OK on the longer end but on the 28mm end I was too close; same thing on my 17-40 - at the 40mm end, I was touching the flower, as I recall. So I just don't find that tubes are very useful for anything shorter than 100mm, personally. But everyone has their own way of getting their pictures! Thanks, Jon and Ken, for contributing to help answer Pieter's question.
- Brenda Tharp

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