The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, May 03, 2010
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Cool Continuous L...
Q&A 1: Question using ...

"My pictures have improved so much. The critiques were so helpful. I learned to look for things that I hadn't considered before. Great class!" -Milly Houchins, student in Photographing Children and Babies with Vik Orenstein

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Photographing White Birds? Shoot in Raw!
When shooting white birds, it is essential you shoot in Raw mode versus JPEGs, advises top stock shooter Jim Zuckerman. "It's important to retain the beautiful detail in the white feathers, and this can only be done when shooting in Raw." Read Jim's BetterPhoto Instructor Insights blog here...

Featured Gallery
Light in the ferns
© - Alan C. Carmichael

Welcome to the 471st issue of SnapShot!

Awesome news! The BetterPhoto certification program has now launched. Get rewarded for your photography efforts with credit and credentials from the worldwide leader in online photography education! Read about certification here... ... In addition, more awesome news: The new online course session kicks off this Wednesday (May 5th). ... In this issue of SnapShot, be sure to check out the contributions of two of our top online instructors: Peter Burian ("Wide Angle: Get Creative with Your Photography!") and Jim Zuckerman ("Photographing White Birds? Shoot in Raw!"). ... 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 - and in his blog:

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our online photo courses offer personal interaction with top professionals! We have an awesome lineup of both 8-week courses and 4-week classes. Ultra wide-angle lenses are becoming very popular in DSLR photography, points out BetterPhoto instructor Peter Burian. "That's understandable but many buyers complain about a problem when using this type of lens: 'None of the lines of a building are straight in my photos'. The good news is that this is not caused by poor optical quality but by a shooting technique." Read more here... We are very proud of our virtual classroom, which is very interactive and very convenient. Take a quick tour...

Photo Q&A

1: Cool Continuous Lights
I was looking at studio lights on Amazon and I saw that they have a white fluorescent continuous light. It is supposed to be like natural light but cool so they can be on all the time without baking your subject. Does anyone know anything about them? Do they work?
Thank you.
- Shino D. Elliott
Fluorescent lights are cooler - temperature-wise - than incandescent. They use less energy for a given brightness, and incandescent lights produce light by sending current through a wire causing it to get hot and glow. So less heat is generated with fluoros.
But regular fluorescent lights aren't like natural light when it comes to color temperature. You would need lights that are daylight balanced to match natural light. Otherwise you have to do your white balance to avoid the green tint that comes with fluorescent lights.
- Gregory La Grange
I use dayligh-balanced Westcott Spyderlites sometimes. They do heat up if you leave them on for a while, and the bulbs are expensive. The light and the color are beautiful with these lights. The drawback is they're not as powerful as strobes. You have to use higher ISOs and slower shutter speeds. If you have subjects that tend to do a lot of moving, I wouldn't recommend them. They're also difficult with groups. They just don't have enough power to cover a group and much harder to get the settings you would with strobes. When I use strobes, every picture is sharp. With continuous lights, I get some soft images.
- Erica Murphy
Hi Shino,
There are a couple of things I don’t like about fluorescent lights. First, it is very difficult to change the power of a light. Most monolight strobes vary the output over a 5-stop range and they vary continuously. Second, as Erica mentions they are not very powerful. I saw a fluorescent soft box advertised as allowing you to shoot at f2.8, 1/30th of a second and ISO 200. That is, just not enough. Another problem, as they age, the lights do not maintain color all that well. Here’s a link to an article about the kinds of light used for photography: Strobes require learning to pre-visualize light, but they give you fabulous control. Thanks...
- John H. Siskin

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Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:
1: Question using Photomatix

I've been trying out Photomatix and like the effects, but I see a lot of pixelation (or noise) in what should be smooth areas such as the sky. I don't think I have accomplished one HDR image that would be useable for anything but a Web-sized print and only after using noise software on the sky. Anyone know what I'm doing wrong or if this is just the nature of the beast? Thanks!
- Sharon  Day

Hi Sharon,
The first thing is to shoot at a low ISO like 100 and using more depth of field helps as well.
The "Smoothing" selection works with "max" being the lighter touch and "min" will look a lot more graphic (almost cartoonish) and introduce more noise. I think this makes the most impact.
You have to play with the "strength" and "saturation" sliders a bit as well as all the others to find what you like.
Here is an image in which I used 5 exposures and used PhotoMatix "Exposure Fusion" instead of tone mapping. I like the result.
Hope this helps...

- Carlton Ward

Thanks, Carlton! I only shoot at ISO 100 and typically at f/16 and sometimes even higher. I did play with the sliders and every adjustment still displayed way too much artifacting in the sky. I had forgotten about that. I tried it once and liked it a lot so I'll try it on the one I was playing with this morning. Is it possible to completely eliminate noise with HDR? Or is that just something you have to live with? Thanks for responding. Glad to see you're still around the Q&A.

- Sharon  Day
Read this Q&A at

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