The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, November 16, 2009
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Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Indoor High Schoo...
Q&A 2: Help! Monitor Cal...
Q&A 1: Need Lightweigh...

"Jennifer Wu's love of photography shows in her teaching style and in her stunning images. The content was clearly and thoughtfully presented and her crystal clear feedback provided an exciting learning environment. ... If you want to take your photography to next level, I highly recommend Jennifer's Nature and Landscape Photography: Composition online class." -Alvaro Colindres

"One of the things that I encouraged my students to do at the recent BetterPhoto Summit in NYC was to approach strangers about making their photograph," writes pro shooter Ibarionex Perello. "The students who took on the challenge produced some wonderful images of people." Read Ibarionex's photo blog...

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Creative Flash Technique ... by Doug Steakley
Flash units have several menu choices and there is one that is particularly important to understand and become familiar with - the rear curtain sync. Read instructor Doug Steakley's blog...

Featured Gallery
Twilight Blue
© - Leslie McLain

Welcome to the 447th issue of SnapShot!

November is always a colorful time of year, but at BetterPhoto, we are turning our attention to December and another outstanding session of short courses. Our 4-week online classes are fun, fast and to the point - ideal for taking your photography or Photoshop skills to a higher level! See our school schedule... ... In this issue of SnapShot, Ibarionex Perello talks about approaching strangers for captivating portraits, while Doug Steakley shares a very useful camera flash technique (rear curtain sync). Also, there's a fine selection of questions and answers. ... That's it for this week. Enjoy your photography!    Kerry Drager   Newsletter Editor Where is Jim Miotke? Follow BetterPhoto's founder and president on Twitter: BetterPhotoJim

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Updates From BetterPhoto

Are you ready for a challenge? Learn how to become a master in composition in ways that you may have never considered. Check out Rob Sheppard's new 4-week online course: Composition Boot Camp. Good news: You don't have to wait for class to begin. Enroll in any online course, and you can get started today with an early lesson! See the December course listings... Too soon? Check our our January 8-week classes. Give your favorite photographer something really special this holiday season! A BetterPhoto Gift Card can be used for an online course, Deluxe or Pro website, and/or a photo book.

Photo Q&A

1: Indoor High School Sports Photography
I am looking for a lens that will be good for indoor high school sports photography. Typically, high school gyms and pool areas do not have the best lighting. I have a 100-400mm, but it's not fast enough. I am interested in the f/2.8 70-200mm. I went to a local camera store here in Chicago and was told that the f/2.8 70-200mm would not work well for this type of photography. Of course, the lens they suggested instead was the f/2.0 200mm with a price tag of close to $5,000. Any thoughts on the f/2.8 70-200mm? Or any suggestions on a different lens? I appreciate any input!
- Flo Bringas
To my mind, I would sacrifice a stop to have the versatility of the 70-200mm. A fixed focal length lens isn't always going to give you optimum focal length at a sporting event since you have action moving towards and away from you. Basically, you have more framing options with the zoom. Assuming you are using a digital camera, hopefully one that has low noise at high ISO, I would take my chances with the 2.8 70-200mm and pick up the lost stop with an increase in ISO. Depending on the difference in price, you might be able to upgrade your camera body to something with lower noise at the higher ISOs.
- Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer
I have the 100-400mm lens, but I do know the 70-200mm F2.8 is a super lens. That's a lot of extra dollars, considering you already have the 100-400mm. Assume you could not bump the ISO a little higher, then use noise software. If $$s aren't a problem, then certainly get the 70-200mm lens.
- Ken Smith
Ken makes a good point in regards to noise reduction software to help correct for excess noise if it becomes a problem. If you can avoid a major expense until you absolutely need a new piece of equipment, you are always better off to do so, unless you really want a new toy and have the resources to get it. I should have thought of that myself in the original answer.
- Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer
I've done volleyball and basketball in high school gyms, and my best shots have not been with my 70-200 2.8; they have been taken with my $125 50mm 1.8.
- Scott Wohlman
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2: Help! Monitor Calibration Question
OK, I just calibrated my monitor for the first time (using Spyder3Pro), and it's so dark I feel like I'm going to get real eye strain! Is this normal? It's driving me crazy!
- Tara R. Swartzendruber
Hi Tara,
The first thing to consider is that when you calibrate, make sure the lighting in the room is the same as any other time you are using the computer. If I open a window or change the ambient lighting in my room, I re-calibrate my monitor.
Follow the Spyder3 guide to adjust your monitor settings as recommended. Brightness levels may need adjusting as well.
I keep my room pretty dark, and it stays this way as it is easier for me to see the monitor.
Hope this helps!
- Carlton Ward
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1: Need Lightweight Yet Sturdy Tripod

Hi, I have a really good tripod but it is very heavy to carry for hiking with camera, and all the equipment. Can you suggest to me a light but steady tripod for this kind of situations? I have a Nikon D80 camera, and the heaviest lens I have is a 70-210 zoom.
- Lorena Simon

Take a look at a Monfrotto. I have neen using the the model 3001n for years. I do a lot of hiking.

- Donald  R. Curry

Hello Lorena,
I have a heavier Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 tripod that I mainly use at home and a very light Bogen/Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber Tripod w/Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Magnesium Hydrostatic Ballhead. The 190CXPRO4 has 4 sectioned legs and collapses down nicely for carrying on one of my camera backpacks. It runs about $324 at Amazon. It is easy to position, sturdy & very light.
I wanted the Gitzo 1541 (also a carbon fiber tripod) but this one runs about $600. The Gitzo with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead would be my preference but they are not cheap.
I am happy with the Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 w/468MGRC and this combo is cheaper than the Gitzo tripod alone.
If you have the $$ - I would go with the Gitzo/Really Right Stuff combo but otherwise my Manfrotto is a great alternative.
I hike a lot as well and it makes a huge difference when carrying a lightweight tripod and is well worth the investment. I also use a 100-400mm f/4.5L lens I carry on my hikes and it is plenty sturdy on this tripod.

- Carlton Ward

Hi Everyone,
Great question, and great tips! Also check out Rob Sheppard's Camera Tripods: An Essential Photo Accessory BetterPhoto Instructor Insights blog.



- Kerry Drager

See Kerry Drager's Basic BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Kerry Drager:
4-Week Short Course: Creative Close-ups
Creative Light and Composition
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