The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, April 06, 2009
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Are Filters Obsol...
Q&A 1: Buying a Teleco...

"Until now, I was a complete novice in Photoshop, had just acquired CS4 and was rather intimidated. Kevin puts you absolutely at ease with his patience and humor, and you're assured that there's no such thing as a stupid Q. His critiques are precise and to the point. ... You learn what's good about an image and receive suggestions for still further improvement. Kevin is a gem ... His obvious enthusiasm for his subject is a gift to his students." -Nancy de Flon, student in Kevin Moss's Photoshop For Nature Photographers course

The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book is the latest book from BetterPhoto instructor and author Richard Lynch. Richard, by the way, teaches several excellent courses right here at BP, including Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool. Also, check out Richard's bio and other courses.

The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure is the title of a new book by BP instructor Sean Arbabi. Sean, of course, teaches the excellent Better Exposure: How to Meter Light online class right here at BetterPhoto. Also, see Sean's bio.

The contest continues to be an important part of everyday BP life. If you are a member, student, or BetterPholio website owner, you can access the contest and upload photos via your Member Center. ... Elsewhere in your Member Center, you have access to the Forum: Just click on the "Discussions/Q&A" tab!

Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 65923 serious photographers.
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Photographing Cities at Night!
For lights, colors, and drama, there's little that beats city skylines. In a recent photo blog, instructor Jim Zuckerman writes: "It was thrilling to shoot Chicago from the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building. There is an observation floor there, and I waited until twilight and night to get the best shots.
"The biggest problem was paying attention to, and eliminating, reflections in the glass from lights in the interior. I used my hat, my arms, and my body to block those reflections. I used a tripod, of course, and it was a pleasure that no one stopped my wife and I from using them.
"I used a daylight white balance and a 200 ISO."
Editor's Notes: See Jim Z's Chicago photo in his Basic Gallery. Learn more about Jim and his online courses.

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 415th issue of SnapShot!

At BetterPhoto, we are excited about the first day of school this Wednesday (April 8th)! We have a terrific lineup of both 8-week and 4-week online courses in photography and Photoshop, with classes for all skill levels. But sign up now, because many courses are filling up fast. See courses by category... Of course, later this month (April 19th) is the photographic event of the season: the BetterPhoto Summit in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida! Learn from the pros, meet fellow members, and give your photography a giant boost. Let me share this response from previous Summit participant Brenda Gow: "Jim, you and your teammates are awesome! I am highly recommending this to my friends." Thanks, Brenda! ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our 8-week classes - which are now offered quarterly - are back in session beginning April 8th. So sign up now or you'll have to wait until July for the next 8-week session! BetterPhoto's online photo courses give you personal interaction with successful pros and the great convenience of the Web. Four-week courses are offered each month, with the next session kicking off this Wednesday. See the 4-week listings. BetterPhoto's virtual classroom is very interactive and very convenient. Take a quick tour to see how it works!

Photo Q&A

1: Are Filters Obsolete?
Been wondering what with so much editing that can be done with software, are there still advantages to actually using real filters, such as polarizing, ND, etc.? It seems that a lot can be done, maybe so much as to render filters obsolete. For those who disagree, what filters do you still carry with you and use on a regular basis? Also, interested in opinions on the Cokin filter system. Thanks.
- Nevia Cashwell
Filters to balance light sources will likely become obsolete, since auto-white balance will adjust to whatever illumination is present or applied.
Split ND's and polarizing filters will be tough to eliminate entirely with a digital equivalent so those will probably stick around.
And of course, those ubiquitous "filters for protection" for your new lens (such as the skylight filter) will hang around as long as the undercarriage rustproofing you were talked into on that new car you just bought.
- Bob Cammarata
I second Bob's comment about the split/graduated neutral density and polarizer filters. True, with software, you can try to replicate some of this, but it's not the same ... kinda like true infrared and a Photoshop IR effect. You should strive to be as true as possible out of the camera, then polish with Photoshop.
- Ken Smith
On-camera filters, in my opinion, are still useful depending on how they alter light. Some things can be replicated, like soft-focus effects, simple gradient filters, etc. However, something like a polarizing filter (which changes how light is selectively captured in a scene) or using a R72 filter on a camera that can capture IR are not replaceable. Neutral Density filters would also fall in that category. I use all three of these.
Color filters would generally be something I would not recommend ... such as those you might use for capturing B&W, as the result will actually cut down on the possibilities you'd otherwise have in converting to B&W from a full-color image.
Ken, I actually do the same with a 95mm R72 with a reversed hood when shooting digital IR. The hood helps block any potential seepage. It's just too time-consuming to unscrew, focus, screw back, shoot...
I hope that helps!
- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Basic BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Richard Lynch:
4-Week Short Course: Correct and Enhance Your Images
4-Week Short Course: From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow
4-Week Short Course: Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
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1: Buying a Teleconverter

I have a Nikon D60 with 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 VR lens. I want to buy a teleconverter but I can't find any support as to what model number is compatible with my camera/lens. I would like a 2x converter. Any help is very appreciated.
- Melissa  Hintz

Nikon's own TC-14E II, TC-17E II, and TC-20E II are not compatible with that lens. They have an extended front element that nests into the rear of a select few lenses. Similar for Sigma's teleconverters.
Kenko (Pro-300 is their better line) and Tamron (SP is their better line) teleconverters will fit on most any lens. But teleconverters work best on large aperture (low f-number) lenses. They are generally not recommended for 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 zooms. With a 1.4x, the lens becomes effectively 98-420 f/6.3-8. With a 2x, it is 140-600 f/9-11. The resulting small maximum aperture will make autofocus ineffective, and will also hamper manual focus with a dimmer viewfinder.
If you must, get a 1.4x. The maximum aperture is still usable, and it won't degrade image sharpness as much as will a 2x. Combined with the "crop factor" of the D60's DX-sized sensor, 1.4x on a 70-300 zoom will give you the equivalent reach that professional nature shooters have with a 600mm lens on a full-frame digital or 35mm film camera. If you need more than that, crop and enlarge often gives better results than using a 2x teleconverter on a zoom.

- Jon Close
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