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Monday, July 20, 2009
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Q&A 1: Slave/Master flas...
Q&A 2: How to Photograph...
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The Visual Power of Ultra Wide Angle Lenses by Jim Zuckerman
One of the ways in which I dramatize subjects, whether I'm shooting architecture, people, landscapes, or anything else, is to use ultra wide angle lenses. I consider 'ultra wide' to be focal lengths in the 10mm to 16mm range for less-than-full-frame sensor cameras (remember that for Nikon and Canon cameras you have to multiply the focal length by 1.5x and 1.6x, respectively, to determine the real focal length of the lens), and for full frame cameras focal lengths 20mm or less is ultra wide.

The closer you place the foreground to a wide angle lens, the more distortion you'll get. Sometimes this isn't what you want; in other instances, it produces amazing images that you'll love. In the extreme, you can create outrageous pictures that will crack people up, especially if the subjects happen to be funny anyway - like cows (I don't know what it is about cows, but they make people laugh).

Using a lens like this is a way to design your images in a dramatic way. It does not duplicate what you see with your eyes at all, but it's a valid and intriguing way to photograph many subjects. When tripods are allowed (like here), you have the luxury of being able to close the lens down for maximum depth of field. Even though ultra wide angle lenses have tremendous depth of field, when foreground objects are placed very close to the camera position, the distant background won't be as sharp as you'd like if you use a large aperture like f/2.8 or f/4.

Editor's Note: Jim Zuckerman teaches many outstanding courses here at BetterPhoto, including Techniques of Natural Light Photography and Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 430th issue of SnapShot!

Give your photography a creative jolt at the BetterPhoto Summit this Saturday! Learn from the pros and meet fellow members at this jam-packed photography conference, which takes place this Saturday, July 25th, in beautiful Seattle, Washington. And, at the optional Best of Seattle V.I.P. Workshop, you can spend an inspiring day shooting with the pros. But you'll need to sign up now, since seating is limited and time is running out. See the Summit details... ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss instructor Jim Zuckerman's excellent photo tip ("The Visual Power of Ultra Wide Angle Lenses"), along with several fine Q&A discussions. ... That's it for now. I look forward to seeing you in Seattle!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Each week, receive an inspiring lesson and motivating assignment. Then get expert feedback, while interacting with pro instructor and classmates. Find out how our famous online photo courses work! Then try a 4-week online photography adventure! Our courses are affordable and fit right into your busy schedule. See our listing of short courses, which kick off on August 5th. If you've been hitting a wall lately, then we have some great ways to get inspired! For BetterPhoto's daily dose of visual inspiration, check out our free Photo of the Day newsletter at the subscription page. ... In addition, view the past contest winners of our monthly contest.

Photo Q&A

1: Slave/Master flash
I would like to know if it is possible to use my ETTL flash away from the camera (as a slave) and use the flash on my Cannon 50D as the master? I saw someone doing this with their Nikon set-up, and I was thinking of hundreds of ways to use this if it can be done.
Thanks a bunch!!! :o)
- Gretchen J. Gilkey
Wireless flash control is not a built-in feature of EOS cameras. A controller must be connected to the camera's hotshoe. Controllers include the 580EX II, 580EX (discontinued), 550EX (discontinued), MT-24EX, MR-14EX, and ST-E2.
- Jon Close
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2: How to Photograph a Shy Child?
Hi all,

I did a photo shoot of a two-and-a-half year-old, and she was very shy. I couldn't get a single decent photo of her. She would turn her face around or look away. Other times, she would hug one of the parents tightly and close her eyes.
I have rescheduled the shoot in a couple of days at her house ... just thought maybe she is more comfortable there. What is there that I can do to make her comfortable with the camera?
I have done photo shoots of shy kids before, but this one is very stubborn. Please tell me how would you handle such situation. Thanks.

- Sobia Chishti
I haven't done any professional studio shots with kids - but I have taken hundreds of shots of children in everyday settings. I usually have something that will capture their attention (stuffed animal I can put on my head, bubbles, big colorful ball, etc.). I like to spend some time playing/talking with them before if possible. If I'm at their house, I get them to show my their favorite toys, places to play, etc. Then I take some pictures of those items and show the child. I take pictures of mom/dad - even get them to help me take pictures. So far, this has always worked for me. One time, I took pictures of toes - which made the child giggle - but broke the ice so I could take their picture.
Good luck and hope this helps!!
gretchen :o)
- Gretchen J. Gilkey
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3: Filters at High Altitude?
Who has experience with photographing at high altitudes? Do you recommend a particular filter? Does anyone have feedback on the Hi-Lux Warming UV Filter from Singh Ray? Thanks!
- Nadja Meta
How high is "high altitude"? I live at about 4000 feet above sea level, and it only takes 20 to 30 minutes driving from here to get to altitudes of 5-7 thousand feet. I use a circular polarizer when taking landscape photos. It helps reduce/eliminate that hazy look in the photos caused by light reflecting off micro particles in the atmosphere and scattering in every direction. The polarizer can be used anywhere, not just at high altitudes. It is designed to reduce glare off metal objects or water on sunny days, so its not just a high altitude thing. I just live where there are spacious valleys and skies with high mountains and hills so its a benefit for me to use them when out in these areas cause it helps get rid of the hazy skies in the pictures.
- Edwin Johnson
Hi Nadja,
Filters have many uses, however we are taking about haze reduction. Distant landscapes and aerial views are often veiled by a bluish haze. This is true despite clear weather. This effect is due to the scattering of light by water vapor and suspended dust particles. Violet and ultraviolet are scattered more because they have the shortest frequencies. Thus the haze has violet and ultraviolet as its principle components.
In black-and-white photography, we use a yellow filter to cut haze because yellow is a blue blocker. In color photography, yellow works but imparts a strong yellow cast. So for color we resort to a UV blocker. This is a clear filter that absorbs mainly the UV rays. It is likely the most popular filter because it is sold by every camera dealer with the argument that it will also protect your expensive camera lenses from scratches.
You should know that the UV filter will only work at altitude or on distant vistas with miles of air between camera and subject. A popular filter is the Skylight; it is a UV haze cutter, plus its light salmon color warms slightly taking away some of the natural bluishness seen in shade on a sunlit days and the coldness caused by full cloud cover. Also, you should know that a polarizing screen also acts as a UV and, best of all, it darken blue sky and removes or reduces reflection from non-metallic surfaces (non-conductors of electricity). They are wonderful when shooting subjects that contain glass and permit slight penetration into water. The polarizer should be your first filter purchase.
Don’t expect magic from the UV. Your choice for the UV should be the Skylight IA. Beware: Most advice you receive will likely be based on books and teachers familiar with the UV’s effect on a film camera. Films are highly sensitive to UV. In the construction of a digital camera, the sensor chip has a protective thin cover glass. This affords the opportunity to make it into a cut-off filter that blocks near-infrared and limit passage to the visible portion spectrum. The blocking nature of the cover glass and the sensitivity of the chip to UV will be a variant model to model.
Alan Marcus (marginal technical advice)
- Alan N. Marcus
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