The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, January 25, 2010
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Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Action Shots in I...
Q&A 1: Gray Cards...
Q&A 2: 2X Lens for Can...

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What do you need to make images in HDR? BP instructor Deborah Sandidge answers: "A great subject, a tripod, and Photomatix or Photoshop to process the images." For tips, read Deb's photo blog...

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Street Photography and the Pursuit of Light
BP instructor Ibarionex Perello discusses the value of light - as well as subject - while photographing city streets. Read his insightful thoughts...

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 457th issue of SnapShot!

BetterPhoto's next online course session is coming right up - Feb. 3rd. But did you know you can get started before class starts? That's right! Simply enroll now in any online course on photography or Photoshop, and get a jump-start with an early lesson! See the school schedule here ... In this issue of SnapShot, check out the tips and thoughts of two top BP instructors: Deborah Sandidge ("Winter Scenery and HDR Photography") and Ibarionex Perello ("Street Photography and the Pursuit of Light"). ... That's it for now. Have fun with 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

BetterPhoto's online photography courses are truly MOTIVATING! You'll get direct access to REAL PROS. The next session kicks off Feb. 3rd. Learn more... Take your photography or Photoshop to the next level! Our outstanding 8-week courses return March 10th, but if you enroll now, you can get started with an early lesson. See the school schedule... For every five classes you take, you receive a 50% discount on your next course! Learn more about MVBP Rewards...

Photo Q&A

1: Action Shots in Indoor Arenas
Hello all,
I am trying to get crisp and clear action (taekwondo) shots in a venue that has the big strobe lighting and high ceilings. If I use the tv, it is too dark. If I add flash, I cannot get continnuous shots, and if I use the sports program, the shot have too much blur. My camera is a Canon 50D. Can anyone help please? Thanks.
- Jennifer Reid
I would start by going to aperture priority (AV on Canon?) and open up the lens to the smallest numerical value which might be F5.6 or F4. Jack up your ISO to at least 800 and maybe even 1000 or more. You need to get as much light to the sensor as you can while maintaining as high a shutter speed as possible. Given these conditions the camera controls should find a suitable shutter speed. You probably need to be at 1/200 or faster to freeze the action. For the most part, using flash at a competitive event is rude since it can affect the participants by blinding them if you're anywhere close to the action. If you're not close, the flash may not help anyway depending on the flash you are using.
Also, if you aren't shooting in Raw, I would suggest you start, since that will give you more latitude in your adjustments.
- Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer
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1: Gray Cards

Quick question: Is there any reason to use an 18% Gray Card when shooting in Raw?
- Clayton T. Williams

Hi Travis,
I only shoot Raw. I use a white balance card when shooting portraits, etc. It just lets me know that I am dialed in and allows better overall exposure, which cuts down on post-processing time. The center has an 18% gray section that can be used as a gray card but a pocket-sized gray card would be easier to use.
I bought a 14" White Balance card on Amazon that came with a DVD that explains the process better.

Hope this helps.

- Carlton Ward

Thanks for the response Carlton. Do you also use a light meter while shooting portraits? I am really starting to move forward with portrait and getting all the tools of the trade.

- Clayton T. Williams

Hi Clayton and Carlton,
I use a gray card when I want accurate color, and like Carlton, I always shoot in Raw. I use a balance pre-set for my lights, also. I use the preset when I want pleasing color rather than accurate color. When I use the card, I shoot it with the lights and then shoot the images. I use the shot with the card to do the balance after the shoot in the Raw conversion program. Then I apply that balance to the rest of the shots. This is easier than doing the work in camera. I use a light meter for technical work, like copy work. I would never use one for portraits with a digital camera.

- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Basic BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Business to Business: Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
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2: 2X Lens for Canon Rebel ES

I want to purchase a 2X lens for my Canon Rebel ES 75-300mm lense. What is recommended, and what kind of price am I looking at?
- Jim L. Knapp

Teleconverters degrade the image to some degree. The TE1.4x is not as bad as the 2X. They also reduce the amount of light by one and two f stops, respectively. On my 300mm f4L IS, adding a 1.4X extender would reduce the maximum f stop to f5.6 and the 2X extender to a maximum of f.8.
With that lens, the 1.4X image is still very good but with the 2X is only usable(maybe).
Your camera and most cameras, the Canon 1D & 1Ds and probably the Nikon D3X and D3s being exceptions, will not autofocus at f stops smaller than f5.6. Manual focusing is necessary, which generally means a tripod is also needed. I have seen very high-quality glass, a Canon 500mm f4L with a 1.4X TE, and a 2X TE stacked that came out with excellent photos. Yes, it was manually focused and a high ISO was used.
Your lens is fine as a walk-around general general purpose lens but is not the quality that the prime L lenses have either in build or glass components. When you go to the full zoom of 300mm, your maximum aperture is 5.6. Add a 1.4X and you have a maximum of light of f8 and with a 2X the max is f11. It does get very difficult to focus with an f11 aperture.
If you have your heart set on trying a 2X tele extender I recommend the Kenko MC7DG 2X. It doesn't have the pins telling the camera that there is only an f11 amount of light entering the camera. Your camera will still read f5.6, so it is necessary to do the arithmetic yourself to figure out the proper shutter speed and ISO. My old catalog says it cost $135. It is the better of the two for your purpose with your lens.

- Lynn R. Powers
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