The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, January 10, 2011
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Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: How to Boost the ...
Q&A 1: Laptop for Edit...

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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.

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 507th issue of SnapShot!

Things are getting exciting here at BetterPhoto! We have just launched a self-guided course that's jam-packed with value, information, and motivation. "Better Photography 101" consists of a 74-page ebook and Jim Miotke's excellent videos that demonstrate key skills, plus access to a private online forum. Tutorials, videos, and discussions with fellow photography enthusiasts... how cool is that!?! The regular price is $97, but if you sign up today, it's only $77 and we'll add 10 bonus materials. But act now, since the sale ends this Friday, January 14th, at midnight. Get all the Better Photography 101 details here... ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the work of two instructors: Rob Sheppard's "Photographing Snow: Light, Color, and Exposure" article and Jim Zuckerman's "The Visual Power of Ultra Wide -Angle Lenses" photo tip. ... 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

In his new article, BetterPhoto instructor Rob Sheppard takes on the art of snow photography - specifically, light, color, and exposure. Read about photographing snow. Our Deluxe and Pro BetterPholios are great ways to show - or sell - your photography. Plus, our monthly newsletter for BetterPholio owners offers tips and updates.

Photo Q&A

1: How to Boost the Available Light
I photography dogs - mostly outdoors, but sometimes I am forced to shoot indoors. I am looking to buy some extra lighting for when the natural light is just not enough. I want something very portable. Help?
- Sherri  L. Regalbuto
Hi Sherri,
I like using monolights when I shoot dogs. The real problem is not what light you use, but learning to use it. When you work outdoors, you capture an image that you see, or to put it another way, you take a photograph. When you are responsible for lighting an image, you make the photograph. Not only do you put the elements of an image together, you can decide the angle, color and quality of the light that makes the shot. Alien Bee and Calumet, along with several others, make good monolights.
- John H. Siskin

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4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting See Sample Photo - Title: What?

Thank you John. I don't often set up an image with dogs, or at least I try not to. I do, however, work with outdoor lighting or natural light when I can. Sometimes there just simply isn't enough for any type of movement. I am a dog behaviorist so I like natural candids.
- Sherri  L. Regalbuto
There are strobes that come with battery packs. JTL has the Mobilight, and I think Norman makes one. You are not tied to a power pack or a power outlet with these. You can take them anywhere and have monolight lighting just like in a studio. This may not be a route you want to go, but it adds a lot of flexibility.
- Randy  A. Myers
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1: Laptop for Editing Photos?

Is a MacBook good for photography? I am on a tight budget and can't afford a MacBook Pro.
- Karim Abiali

In general, laptops are not recommended for photography. I used one for over four years, and when I went to an iMac, I saw the difference immediately. If you do choose to use a laptop, I suggest that you get a large quality screen to go with it. The screen size makes a huge difference. Both Apple and Dell make excellent large monitors. I only went from a 17" laptop to the 21" iMac, and the difference is phenomenal.

- Lynn R. Powers

Hi Karim,
I have a 15" Macbook Pro and a 24" IMAC. I only use the Macbook Pro for downloading images and emails while traveling. I don't use it for photo editing (although it does have Photoshop CS5 loaded), because a laptop is so inconsistent as far as colors and calibration. Every time you move a laptop into a different light, the calibration has changed.
A few yaesr ago, I used a laptop with a calibrated 19" monitor that I would edit images on since the monitor always stayed in the same room with consistent ambient lighting and was constantly calibrated with Spyder2 Pro. Even a slight tilt of the screen will affect the colors and clarity on a laptop screen.
In my current setup, I wait til I get home and use my 24" IMAC to do all of my editing. If I could have only one (24" IMAC or 15" MacBook Pro), I would definitely keep my IMAC over my MBP.
my .02m

- Carlton WardSee Sample Photo - Carltons 24" IMAC

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