The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, September 22, 2008
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Cleaning the Sens...
Q&A 2: Auto ISO Mode...
Q&A 3: Color Film Negati...

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When Photoshop Gets Weird (Resetting Settings) by Richard Lynch
There will be times for some of you when Photoshop (or Elements) starts to behave in an unpredictable way. Cursors might look wrong, palettes missing buttons, other parts of the interface misshapen and other things may happen. It may be brought on for a number of reasons, including poor system maintenance (see my article Keeping Your System Healthy), not having enough RAM or hard drive space, having a virus, or simply having a preferences file become corrupted.
Preferences shouldn't really become corrupt very often, and if they do, you likely have more than just a simple problem with your system. But before you go reinstalling or calling tech support for Adobe or your computer, there is one quick thing to try: resetting your Settings. It is an easy fix for a variety of inexplicable oddities that might happen in the interface. Here is all you have to do:
1. Close out of Photoshop/Elements.
2. Launch the program as you normally do.
3. IMMEDIATELY on beginning the launch (do NOT wait for the program to open), hold down the following keys: Alt+Control+Shift (PC/Windows) or Option+Command+Shift (Mac/OS X) ... Note: Elements users who see the screen that allows them to choose to go to Editor, Organizer, etc., need to address that screen to go to Editor and hold down the keys a second time.
4. When the dialog appears asking if you want to delete the Settings File, click "Yes".
Photoshop/Elements will rebuild the file with default settings, and often will fix oddities. Palettes will be restored to their original positions, and settings that are normally retained behind the scenes will be set to the factory defaults. Noting the position of the palette is one way to know you deleted the Settings correctly. After you reset, check to see if you still have the same issue ... if not, it was just the Settings file, and you can get back to work!
I teach this basic step in my Photoshop 101 course here at! -Richard Lynch

Featured Gallery
Mesa Arch at Sunrise
© - Daniel  P. Woods

Welcome to the 387th issue of SnapShot!

Would you like to learn more about exposure, composition, digital photography, Photoshop, or the business of photography? Our next school session begins next week (Oct. 1), but act fast, since some classes are already starting to fill up. BetterPhoto's awesome online photography courses give you personal interaction with top pros - regardless of where you live! ... New title, same outstanding course: Check out Outdoor Photographer columnist and BP instructor William Neill's Inspiring Nature Photography: The Essentials course (formerly "Landscape Photography Essentials"). ... By the way: BetterPhoto Clubs have been wildly popular, with almost 400 clubs on board! They are a great way to meet people with similar interests, learn and gain new skills together, and share and discuss photos. Learn how to join an existing club or to form a new one. ... In this issue of SnapShot: Don't miss instructor Richard Lynch's excellent This Week's Tip ("When Photoshop Gets Weird"). ... That's it for this week. Enjoy your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

If you haven't lately, stop by our cool Community page. Many features are updated regularly. Access the page via the Community tab near the top of any BP page, or click here... If you aren't receiving BetterPhoto's daily dose of visual inspiration, you should be! Check out our free Photo of the Day newsletter at the subscription page. "This was my first course, but I loved every minute of it! Before I took the course, I had NO IDEA what all those settings and buttons on my camera did. Now ... I have a much better understanding of how to get what I want out of my camera. I would definitely recommend this class!" - says Lisa Barrera-Phillips in Digital SLR Photography with Vik Orenstein

Photo Q&A

1: Cleaning the Sensor
Hello! I am planning on purchasing my first DSLR ... the Canon 40D. From what I understand, I need some type of cleaning device for the sensor. Are there any recommendations out there? Any advice to offer? Thanks in advance!
- Margie Kirby
At the Nascar/AMA races the pros mostly use the Sensor Brush from Visible Dust company ... I think they're the best.
- Oliver Anderson
Margie, I've used Copper Hill Images kit for about 2 years now and no complaints.
- Todd Bennett
Margie, The self-cleaning sensor on the 40D works very well. My 20D did not have this feature, and I was constantly needing to use a blower to remove dust particles. Try to keep your camera pointed down when changing lenses (in a dust-free place if possible), and this will help to keep dust out. Also make sure your camera is OFF when changing lenses because when it is ON, the sensor is energized and will attract dust. I have sensor wipes but have not needed to use them on my 40D. I have only used the blower a few times as well and I rarely ever see dust spots on my photos.
Be careful with sensor wipes as even a small scratch will turn your camera into a paperweight. Also - NO Compressed air should ever be used to clean a sensor. - My .02 cents.
- Carlton Ward
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2: Auto ISO Mode
Hello, fabulous people!
I was just curious how auto ISO worked. Why does it use, say, ISO 400 when it seems like it could have used ISO 100 (and increased the aperture)? Anyone?
- Cassie Garat
Messing with the aperture isn't always the answer. Your camera doesn't know if you're taking a picture of a group of people or just one person. A large aperture can kill a group shot. So you can't let the camera make all the decisions. I'll take a little noise with ISO 400 before having some of my subjects out of focus.
- Cherylann Collins
So, if I set my camera to portrait mode, are there more chances for it choosing a lower ISO? And if I set my camera to landscape mode, I should expect bigger ISOs since it won't increase aperture?
- Cassie Garat
Different cameras have different biases programmed into their full auto modes. Regardless, the full auto modes must make lots of decisions and compromises, and you the user wouldn't necessarily make the same choices. Best to shoot in modes that allow you to choose the ISO, aperture, shutter speed you want.
- Jon Close
Forget the scene modes. Those are for snapshots. Use Av, aperture priority, Tv, Shutter Speed priority, or even Manual if you want to control your camera.
- W. Smith VIII
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3: Color Film Negatives
Hello everyone,
When I take my photos in to be developed, there are various colors in the negatives - such as a purple flower may appear red in the negative. Why? I am using film of various speeds. It doesn't say slide film on the box so it must be color negative. The camera is a Minolta Maxxum 9xi. I am just curious.
- Ron 
Actually, Ron, a very good and reasonable question that I should probably defer to our resident expert on photographic processes, Alan Marcus.
In the meantime, however, when processed, the dyes in color negatives correspond to other dyes in color photo paper. As you've discovered, what you see is not what you get. Red produces green, green produces red, yellow may produce blue, purple comes out red. BTW, color negatives produce slightly better color saturation when they're overexposed a bit, say by 1 stop, unlike slide film that does better slightly underexposed by say 1/3 or 1/2 a stop.
There are lots of combinations unlike the more straight color reversal process of transparency film printed on reversal paper. In the case of transparencies, the positive image you see on the film is printed on reversal paper to produce a positive image.
- Mark Feldstein
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