The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, March 30, 2009
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Special Efects wi...
Q&A 1: Wildlife Lens...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"Wonderful class! Very helpful critiques and always the suggestion to submit variations of photos. Really made me think and trust my instinct more!" -Cheryl Gould, student in Inspiring Nature Photography: The Essentials, taught by Outdoor Photographer columnist and instructor William Neill



INSTRUCTOR THOUGHTS, TIPS AND NEWS
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THIS WEEK'S TIP
A Tripod's Key Companion ... by Kerry Drager
Even with a rock-steady tripod, it's still possible to jiggle the camera accidentally while taking a picture. The cable shutter release is a must-have accessory that attaches to the camera's electronic terminal (or, in some cases, the shutter button) and allows you to trip the shutter without directly having to touch the camera. With its hands-off operation, the cable release helps minimize vibration for telephoto shots, close-ups, long exposures ... actually, I use it routinely with a tripod.
Also, some SLR cameras have a lock-up mode that reduces the possibility of vibration when the mirror flips up during slower exposures or when using super-long telephotos. Still another option for preventing possible fuzziness in your pictures: the camera's self-timer. Of course, the lockup mode and self-timer each "requires" a totally stationary subject.
Editor's Note: Kerry Drager teaches Creative Light and Composition and Creative Close-ups here at BetterPhoto!


   
Featured Gallery
The Big Surprise
© - Susana Heide - Thiessen

Welcome to the 414th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

An exciting April is on tap at BetterPhoto! Imagine getting direct feedback on your photos from a top professional - regardless of where you live! But act now, since our online courses begin on April 8th. See our school schedule... Need help finding the right course? Try our cool CourseFinder... And, of course, we look forward to springtime's great photo event: the BetterPhoto Summit on April 19th in Florida. Read what a previous Summit participant (Nancy Lynch) has to say: "You always go the extra mile to make us all feel special ... thanks. Your attention to detail is off the charts." See the Summit details... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the Weekly Photo Tip and an insightful Q&A post on wildlife photography with instructor Jim Zuckerman. ... That's it for this week. Enjoy your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our quarterly 8-week online PhotoCourses will be back on board, starting April 8th! BetterPhoto's classes offer great interaction between pro instructor and students, along with all the convenience of the Web. See the 8-week listings... Also check out our 4-week courses, which are fast, fun, to the point, and also begin on April 8th. If you have taken 5 or more classes, you can take advantage of MVBP Rewards Program today. For every five classes you take, you receive a 50% discount on your next course! Learn more... Learn from the pros, meet fellow members, and give your photography a creative jolt in St. Augustine, Florida! That's the very cool site of a very hot event: the next BetterPhoto Summit (April 19th, 2009). Learn more...

Photo Q&A

1: Special Efects with Reflection & Lquid Look
I have seen a lot of photos of flowers reflected in a surface that looks liquid, but it is not a natural reflection in water. It seems to be some sort of special effect. If you know what I mean, do you know how to do it?
Thanks,
joan
- Joan E. Herwig
ANSWER 1:
Hello Joan,
It's the Flood Filter by Flaming Pear - http://www.flamingpear.com/flood.html
Have fun!
- Carlton Ward
ANSWER 2:
Hi again Joan,
There was just a thread about filters - http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=33728
You can actually do the reflection yourself with Photoshop. I learned this in Jim Zuckerman's Photoshop: Creative Techniques class as well as other editing techniques dupilcated by many of the other plug-in filters. I do use a couple of filters (Topaz) and an HDR program (PhotoMatix) that can also be done with Photoshop, but I like the controls and ease of using these which is why I use them.
The thread covers quite a bit of info.
- Carlton Ward
ANSWER 3:
The flood filter is only about $20, so it's a pretty good deal as filters go.
- Carolyn Fletcher
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

Answer this question:
1: Wildlife Lens

Looking for recommendations on a lens plus accessories for less than $2500 and compatible with Canon 20D. The primary purpose is to shoot wildife shots so I want as much focal length and shutter speed as possible. Thanks in advance!
- Nevia Cashwell

ANSWER 1:
Hi Nevia,
Thanks for your email - I hope my suggestions were helpful in my direct email to you a couple days ago.
For anyone else interested, here are my thoughts on this subject: There are not any great telephoto lenses in this price range for shooting wildlife. Your choices are either a fixed 400mm or the 100-400mm zoom, both of which are Canon and both are relatively slow for wildlife shooting - f/5.6. You will be able to take some shots of wildlife for sure, but you won't be happy with the small lens aperture. The good news is that because you are shooting a 20D, you'll have a magnification factor of 1.6x. That means that your 400 mm becomes a 640mm.
I have heard both good and bad things about the 100-400mm Canon zoom. Some people say that it is sharp but most people say that it is not.

There is a Sigma lens that is 120-400mm, but that is also the same lens aperture as the others.
In my opinion the ideal compromise telephoto lens is a 500mm f/4 IS. This is just a little more than double your budget (about $5500), but it gives you the magnification that you need, it is very sharp, and it is one of stop faster.
Jim

- Jim Zuckerman

See Jim Zuckerman's Basic BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=28046

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jim Zuckerman:
4-Week Short Course: Making Masterpieces with Corel Painter
4-Week Short Course: Stock Photography
4-Week Short Course: Taking the Mystery Out of Flash Photography
4-Week Short Course: Techniques of Natural Light Photography
4-Week Short Course: Wildlife Photography
Developing Your Creative Artistic Vision
Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography
Fundamentals of Photography Made Easy
Making Money with Your Photography
Perfect Digital Exposure
Photoshop: Advanced Creative Techniques
Photoshop: Creative Techniques
Self-Discovery in Photography: Where Does Your Passion Lie?

ANSWER 2:
Thanks again, Jim. You are always so helpful. I'm still trying to decide what to do. Do you happen to know how much speed I would lose using the Canon 2X extender with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens?

- Nevia Cashwell

ANSWER 3:
Nevia,
You lose two f-stops. This is one reason why an f/4 lens is so much better because with a 2x tele-converter you end up with f/8. However, if you start with f/5.6, you will be shooting at f/11 with a 2x, and that's just way too slow for wildlife photography.
Jim

- Jim Zuckerman

See Jim Zuckerman's Basic BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=28046

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jim Zuckerman:
4-Week Short Course: Making Masterpieces with Corel Painter
4-Week Short Course: Stock Photography
4-Week Short Course: Taking the Mystery Out of Flash Photography
4-Week Short Course: Techniques of Natural Light Photography
4-Week Short Course: Wildlife Photography
Developing Your Creative Artistic Vision
Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography
Fundamentals of Photography Made Easy
Making Money with Your Photography
Perfect Digital Exposure
Photoshop: Advanced Creative Techniques
Photoshop: Creative Techniques
Self-Discovery in Photography: Where Does Your Passion Lie?

ANSWER 4:
The words "...as much focal length and shutter speed as possible", and "..lens and accessories less than $2500", definitely suggests thinking USED rather than new.

Typically, serious wildlife photographers opt for fast super-telephoto prime lenses that function well with matching tele-converters.
Those 400 to 600mm beasts are cumbersome and expensive but they get the job done.

You can often find great deals on used tele's if you shop around. With a little luck, you won't exceed your budget by much.

...And don't skimp on a cheap teleconverter. Get a good one that's compatible.

- Bob Cammarata

ANSWER 5:
I find that the 2x teleconverter produced soft images. However the 1.4x is great, I don't see any softening of the images ... wonder why that is? (I use these on the Canon 70-200L f/2.8, because I am saving every penny for the 500mm Jim suggests!)

- Leslie J. Morris

ANSWER 6:
Leslie,
Here is a link to a photo on my website:
http://www.corporatefineart.com/-/corporatefineart/gallery.asp?cat=11057&pID=1&row=15

When I first got the 500mm f/4, I did a test at the zoo. This photo was taken with a 2x teleconverter and it's quite sharp. Look at the whiskers on the tiger. I used a tripod, a fast shutter speed (which is essential - 1/500th or faster is ideal, but nothing less than 1/250), and I turned the IS off.
Is this as sharp as the photo would have been without the 2x? No. But it's darn good.
Jim

P.S.: Leslie,
If you bought the teleconverter several years ago, it may not have the most recent technology built in. I believe Canon made a 2X #2. That may be the reason why you felt yours isn't sharp. It could also be that your shutter speed was too slow.

- Jim Zuckerman

See Jim Zuckerman's Basic BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=28046

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jim Zuckerman:
4-Week Short Course: Making Masterpieces with Corel Painter
4-Week Short Course: Stock Photography
4-Week Short Course: Taking the Mystery Out of Flash Photography
4-Week Short Course: Techniques of Natural Light Photography
4-Week Short Course: Wildlife Photography
Developing Your Creative Artistic Vision
Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography
Fundamentals of Photography Made Easy
Making Money with Your Photography
Perfect Digital Exposure
Photoshop: Advanced Creative Techniques
Photoshop: Creative Techniques
Self-Discovery in Photography: Where Does Your Passion Lie?
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

Answer this question:


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