The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, July 07, 2008
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Why Does My Camer...
Q&A 2: Studio Lighting: ...
Q&A 1: Color Managemen...
Q&A 2: Purchasing a Fl...

"A huge round of applause for Mr. and Mrs. 'S' for their considered, truthful and encouraging comments! I found their lessons full of valuable tips and appreciated their encouragements to respect the people we try and capture." -student in Street Photography with Susan and Neil Silverman

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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...

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Finding the Best Light When Traveling ... by Brenda Tharp
"Rise early, and stay out late" is my motto wherever I am traveling. When you work the edges of day and night, you get the most interesting light and you can create more mood-evoking images of your destinations. Plan your evening meals to be early or late - so that you don't miss the great light.
And for those hotels that offer breakfast included? You might get them to put it out early for you or prepare a boxed breakfast to go. Or simply come back for breakfast after the best morning light has come and gone.
Editor's Note: Check out Brenda Tharp's excellent Travel Photography: Capturing a Sense of Place course.

Featured Gallery
Awaiting an Audience
© - Chuck Inglefield

Welcome to the 376th issue of SnapShot!

BetterPhoto's July online photography school is off to a terrific start, but good news! It's not too late to enroll in one of our courses, which offer interactivity with top pros, plus all the great convenience of the Web. See our course listings... By the way, 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, check out instructor Brenda Tharp's enlightening Photo Tip, information on BetterPhoto's popular photo clubs, and another fine collection of questions and answers. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Yes, you can still join the fun. For example, 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 July 13th. Enroll in our awesome yearlong ClassTracks program and you'll receive a free Pro BetterPholio. Then, upon completion, you'll qualify for an additional free 4-week course! Learn more... Check out the BetterPhoto Quick Keyworder Game! Just click on the Win Big Points graphic on the Welcome page of your Member Center (note: for BetterPholio owners or student alumni). Top score wins 50% off a photography course or BetterPholio! Next award ceremony: August 1st.

Photo Q&A

1: Why Does My Camera Write Slow?
I love my Canon Digital Rebel XTi ... however, when shooting fireworks, it writes extremely slow, causing me to lose some good shots. I have turned off the viewing, tried different file types (Raw vs. JPEG, smaller or larger) but nothing helps. Any suggestions?
- Karen Seargeant
Hi Karen,
The modern digital camera features chip logic - i.e., the camera’s main chip or CPU has all manor of built-in computer enhancing programming. These are computer routines that improve the images we take. Especially rigorous are the routines for situations that present a photographic challenge. You would be unhappy if you turned off these enhancements. We pay the price which is a longer processing time. We gain by better images.
- Alan N. Marcus
Hi Karen,
if you are shooting at slow shutter speeds (1 sec or slower), it does take longer for the information to be processed & written to the card.
Long exposures on Canon dSLRs with noise reduction use a dark frame to reduce noise. The shot still consists of one single exposure but then there is delay while the dark frame is taken and then the results are combined and the result written to the card.
For fireworks, you should be shooting 1/15 thru 1/40 of a second range, and it should be a faster write time. I just shot a fireworks show, and at f/8 thru f/11 and ISO 400, I was shooting between 1/20 and 1/30 speed, and they were writing fast enough to keep up with the show.
- Carlton WardSee Sample Photo - Seattle 4th 2

Don't feel bad, Karen, even the Nikon D300 ($1700) and the D3 ($5000) process slow when long shutter speeds are used with Noise Reduction turned on.
Technology will soon cure this too. :)
- Pete H
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2: Studio Lighting: Barn Doors?
I have 4 Photogenic PLR1000DRC lights and was wondering if I need to buy 4 barn doors or will just 1 or 2 serve my needs. I'm more of a photojournalist, but I also work as a portrait photographer who does official work portraits - i.e., Employee of Quarter, or Army portraits.
- Pam Barrett
Hi Pam, when I started a couple of decades ago I bought a set of barn doors for each strobe. I stopped doing that pretty quickly as I rarely use more than one set of barn doors on a shot. Save your money for a grid spot and a snoot.
Thanks, John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

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Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
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I use barn doors on the back light/hair light. On the main light, I have a large soft box on the fill. My main light has the barn doors with the large parabolic reflector and diffuser.
The backlight has the barn doors with the grid for diffusers and gels. I tell people all the time it's got a lot to do with who taught you and the equipment you find you enjoy working with.
I love the old parabolic lighting myself - it is so easy to direct and see the definition of shadow. But some photographers will always prefer softboxes. It's simply a matter of preference as in most medias of art.
I hope this helps,
Debby Tabb
- Debby Tabb
Get at least 2 barn doors, but get at least 4 grids ... I use my 10 and 20 degree grids the most.
- Oliver Anderson
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1: Color Management

I'm finding Colour Management rather a never-ending pursuit. I'm having problems with my monitor at the moment. I'm using Color Munki. However, when I'm adjusting the brightness and contrast controls, the contrast I can achieve but the brightness will not go low enough for calibration purposes (set at zero at the moment!). The program moves on from there and gives me a profile but it does look a touch bright to me.
So is my monitor calibrated too bright now (which will mean my images are too dark) or are they just right? Also does this mean that my monitor cannot be calibrated?
Cheers in advance,
- Kevin SkinnerSee Sample Photo - Hermitage Falls>

I recently answered a similar question on the forum and I'll copy it here (below). The 'problem' of color management is often over-complicated, and solutions illogical - which of course leads to poor or unpredictable results. I blame some of this on bad information that floats around the Internet, and some of it on Adobe. My goal for color management has been to simplify it and make it logical and easy to follow. An inherent difference in RGB (an additive color theory based on light) and CMYK (a subtractive theory based on light absorption) is that the two are never the same exactly. This does not, however, mean you can't have reasonably get predictable results. But before I repeat myself ad-nauseum, the following is copied with a few changes...

The question of getting prints to match is a heady one ... one that I answer all the time in my From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow course ... Books are written on the subject of color management spanning 500 pages. That is, a short response here won't do it all for you. However, the important things:

- Calibrate your monitor (I use Spyder Pro)
- Create a custom ICC profile (usually part of #1)
- Decide on a sensible workflow (handling of color and color spaces from camera to print)
- Make the most of your corrections (correct your images to look their best)
- Embed your working space profile (some suggest specific printer profiles or other things, but generally these would only be helpful in situations where you have converted to CMYK)
- TEST. Don't go right for that 28x20 print ... get the service to print 3x5 or 5x7s as a test on the SAME MACHINE.

Each service will be a bit different, as will each paper and each machine they use. This will lead some to want to use custom profiles for output. That can really become a headache ... and another step where people can ruin their chances of getting the right results by assigning profiles incorrectly. I print with a service even though I have pre-press experience as I will not buy a $60,000 printer for my home, but can print on one cheaply at a service.

There are inherent differences in CMYK and RGB, and you see on screen in one and generally (with variations) print in the other. You will not get them to be identical, but you can get them pretty close with "normal" images. I like the idea and results I get with Laser Light printers (also sometimes called LED or CRT), which project light to expose paper which is then run through a photographic process ... no ink. The printers themselves are really expensive and you wouldn't likely own one, but services often do and can make your inkless prints for a bargain.

A lot of what you hear about working spaces and profiles is junk. Your workflow needs to make sense more than conform to sRGB, AdobeRGB, ProRGB, or whatever. It is often the "making sense" part that people leave behind as it is the biggest pain. I calibrate with a hardware device on any machine I correct images on ... I use a ColorVision Spyder. You can get away with the Express model. Hardware calibration is superior to software calibration.

If your monitor is an issue and images are important to you, get a better monitor. I use a 30" Apple Cinema Display and a Mac Pro laptop - and as good as the latter is, I do not correct images on it. I have worked with other monitors that are suggested as excellent, and, honestly, they have ranged from crummy to OK. I only switched from CRTs this past December because of the flaws in flat screens.

So I think generally Pete and I agree that people get carried away with color management for minimal and unnoticeable 'gains' in performance.
I teach a class in Color Workflow because it is such an issue ... I'll be writing a book for the next few months but will be back teaching again in September.
Hope that helps!

- Richard Lynch

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Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
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2: Purchasing a Flash and Mount Bracket

Hey BP Gang! I am looking to purchase a flash and possible mounting bracket for my Canon 20D. I am leaning towards the Canon 580EX ... any suggestions?
gretchen :0)
- Gretchen J. Gilkey

Two thumbs up for the 580EX II. Many good brackets to choose from. With any, you'll need the OC-E3 off-camera shoe cord.

- Jon Close

Hi Gretchen,
I started with the 580EX and then added a 430EX and later an STE2 transmitter to allow me to set both lights at different positions away from the camera. The 580 will also trigger the 430 in a master/slave configuration. Starting with the 580EX is a smart choice.
I still don't have/use a mounting bracket because I have never found one that felt comfortable to me - but many people swear by them. I rely more on my tripod for most of my photography, but for weddings, I can see a flash mount as being very beneficial.

- Carlton Ward
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