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Archive for the ‘Digital Photography’ Category


Thursday, December 30th, 2004

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about megapixels lately. Stuff like, “How many do I need?” and “Will my photos be sharper with more?” and “Will more megapixels improve the quality of my images?”

Well, here’s the scoop!

First, how they are determined -

So, you’ve found a camera that has 5.0 megapixels and you’re wondering exactly how they arrived at that number. Did they just grab it out… Continue reading

Winter Photography

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

If you’re like most photographers, you probably pack up your camera equipment once the snow starts flying. Sure, you’ll drag it out for the holidays, but for the most part it sits on shelf looking more like a knick-knack than a high tech piece of photographic equipment.

Well, no more!

Some of my best images are taken when there’s snow on the ground. There’s nothing like going out of… Continue reading

Focus Lock

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

A reader asks:

“I have a problem with my digital camera. When I shoot an off-center subject, the camera focuses on the wall behind them. How can I make the camera focus on what I want it to?”

Many digital cameras focus on whatever is in the very center of the viewfinder or LCD screen. So, if your subject isn’t there, the stuff behind (or in front) of them will… Continue reading

The Cloning Tool

Tuesday, December 14th, 2004

The Basics

Have you ever been out shooting and thought you snagged a capture worthy of the next Nobel Prize? Have you ever gone home, loaded that same photo, and noticed you missed an empty fast food cup that was sitting smack dab in the middle of your composition? You were so close to that perfect image, if only there was a way to remove that stinkin’ cup…

Ah, you’re… Continue reading

Clean Your Lens Right

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Lens Cleaning Techniques

Yeah, I know, this doesn’t really seem like an overly exciting topic today, but I think it’s well worth a mention. Seems like every time someone hands me his or her camera to take a photo, the lens looks like it’s been dipped into a shop vac.

First off, a clean lens is an essential ingredient to great photos. A lens that’s full of smudges, dirt, or… Continue reading

Flash Modes Made Easy

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Havin’ Fun Flashin’

Nope, this isn’t an article explaining how to go out on the street and flash unsuspecting victims, but I couldn’t resist the title :-)

OK, over the last three weeks or so, we’ve been poking around in some of the more intermediate and advanced areas of digital photography, so I thought we’d go with something easier this week—Flash Modes.

Most digital cameras have a variety of different… Continue reading

Histogram Basics

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Histogram Fun

A Hist-o-what?

A histogram is a graphical representation of the light values of the image. Yeah, I know, that really helps. Many newer digicams include a histogram display, and it’s actually one of the most useful features you can have on a digital camera.

First off, let’s look at a picture of one:

Wait, don’t stop reading! I know, I know, it looks confusing, but just hang… Continue reading

Exposure Compensation

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Exposure Compensation

Have you ever shot an outdoor scene and had it come out a little too light or a little too dark? Yup, it happens to all of us at one time or another. For whatever reason, the camera misreads the scene and your exposure is all wrong.

So, what do you do when you look at the LCD panel and the photo you just shot is too light… Continue reading

Great Fall Photos

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Fall Color Tricks And Tips

With autumn here already (where, exactly, did summer go?), we’ve been getting lots of requests for fall color tips. So, when you venture out this season to grab some brightly colored autumn imagery, keep this in mind:

1. Shoot during good light — we’ve been talking about his for the last couple weeks, so I’m not going to get too detailed. Suffice to say that… Continue reading

Great Light

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Great Light

I get questions all the time about my photos. People want to know why they look the way they do. They think it’s some big Photoshop secret I’ve yet to share. Nope :-)

One of the biggest tricks in my bag is to shoot during great light. If you can do that, you’ve won 80% of the battle—the rest is just compose and shoot.

What do I mean… Continue reading

Macro Mode

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Macro Mode

We had a reader ask:

“My camera is supposed to be able to focus down to 4 inches, but I can’t get anywhere close to that. Do you think the camera is defective?”

Your camera is probably fine. I’ve seen this happen to several friends, so I know you’re not alone.

In order to get in really close, you’ll need to switch your digicam to Macro mode (usually… Continue reading

Save Your Photos As You Edit

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Have you ever been working on an image and had the computer crash? Sucks, doesn’t it? All that hard work, down the proverbial tubes.

I remember a few years back working on an image in Photoshop. It was a restoration of an old photo I was doing for a family member (I was “volunteered” since I “knew about those darn computers”).

So, I scanned… Continue reading

Formatting Memory Card

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Formatting Cards

A reader asks, “What’s with card formatting? Do I really need to do it? I just popped my card into my camera and everything seems to work OK.”

Formatting a card basically insures that it is going to work right with your camera.

Just like computers, memory cards have files systems, folders, etc. When you use your camera to format a card, it sets the card up the… Continue reading

Pc Or Mac For Digital Imaging?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

PC Or Mac For Digital Imaging?

I had the “Should I use a PC or Mac for digital imaging” question brought up to me recently. It seems like when people start to get more serious about digital imaging, this question always comes up. So, what’s the answer?

A long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far, away, if you were going to do any kind of digital imaging, you were… Continue reading

Flash Distance

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Flash Distance

A reader asks, “I was at an outdoor concert and tried to take some photos. It was at night so I tried to use my flash. All I got was the back of people’s heads! You could see a little of what was on stage, but it didn’t look very good. What went wrong?”

Ah, flash distance. You don’t have enough of it. Most people think that all… Continue reading

Avoid Noise In Digital Photos

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Noisy Photos

At one time or another, you’ll probably hear people talk about “noise” in digital photos. Nope, this doesn’t involve screaming kids, it actually involves tiny specks of random color that show up in an image. It’s basically the digital equivalent of film grain.

Noisy photo (no it doesn’t look noisy from here, but look at the close-up below):

Close-up (note the grainy look)

How do you… Continue reading

Beware The Digital Zoom

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Beware The Digital Zoom!

Here’s the story behind this week’s exciting digital imaging tip:

My wife just got a new digital camera—her first actually. We found a simple, easy to use little Kodak and all seemed well, at first.

You see, this camera features both an optical and digital zoom. And that’s where the trouble starts.

My wife zooms in on our 3-year-old son and then decides to keep zooming… Continue reading

How To Shoot Fireworks

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Digital Fireworks

In the US we celebrate Independence day on July 4th while our friends up north celebrate Canada Day on July 1. With this in mind I thought an article on photographing fireworks might be helpful.

OK, first off, I want to stress that fireworks are tricky—no getting around it, no digital silver bullet to make this one easy. Even people who have shot fireworks for years sometimes… Continue reading

White Balance

More and more digital cameras are allowing you to customize your “White Balance”. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Probably wondering if you strayed off into the brighter laundry newsletter, but rest assured, you’re still in the right place.

White Balance is basically the color “temperature” adjustment for light (note this really has nothing to do with how hot the object producing the light may or may not… Continue reading

SLR or Compact Camera

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Digital SLR or Compact?

First, we jump into our time machine and look into the past…

Circa 2000

The digital SLR (Single Len Reflex – basically an interchangeable lens camera) was expensive. Entry was $5,000-$10,000 and only the pros could justify it (and they still had a hard time explaining it to their spouses). So, when the average guy went digital, it was with a compact digicam.

Fast forward to… Continue reading

The Polarizer—a Pro’s Secret Weapon

Ever notice how photos taken by the pros seem to have incredible color? The blue sky is extra-blue, the trees seem greener, the flowers seem more vibrant. How do they do it?

One trick is to use a filter called a “Polarizer”. Basically this filter’s sole purpose in life is to remove reflections. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a world… Continue reading

Color Modes

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Color Modes

One of our readers asks:

My imaging software has several different types of imaging “color modes.” It’s currently RGB, but I also see Grayscale, indexed, CMYK, and a couple others. Should I change from RGB to something else?

Probably not. RGB (Red Green Blue) is the normal color mode for digital photos. However, if you want the whole scoop, here are a few of the more common image… Continue reading

Sharpening Your Pictures

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

OK, so you have a digital camera and you’ve been hearing about how you can use software to “sharpen” photos. Sounds great, but as with any digital imaging technology, there are deadly pitfalls that await the unsuspecting picture-fixer-upper.

First off, let’s discuss two things the sharpening tool won’t help with:

1. Blurry photos due to camera or subject movement. You know the kind. You take a photo and the camera… Continue reading

Camera Buffer Basics

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Buffer Overload

A reader asks…

“I love my digital camera, but sometimes when I take a lot of photos all at once it seems to ‘overload’. It gets to a point where it just won’t take any more pictures for a minute or so. It’s really annoying when I am trying to get a shot and the camera won’t work. Do you know what causes this?”

Yup, sure do. Your… Continue reading

Memory Card Reader Basics

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Using Memory Card Readers

Seems like everyone is using memory card readers. If you want to find out what the fuss is all about, read on.

First off, most of these work in pretty much the same way. You plug it into your computer, Windows XP / ME automatically installs it (win 98 usually needs drivers), and you’re ready to start reading your memory cards.

Once you have the reader… Continue reading

Get Rid Of Red-Eye

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Ohh, we’ve all been there. You take a snap shot of your kids (or grandkids) and the devil in ‘em seems all too apparent. Those big red-eyes glaring back at you from the photo, screaming for some time in PhotoShop. Continue reading

Make Your Images The Right Size

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Making Pictures the Right Size

What’s the “right” size for a picture? Well, that depends on the photo. Most monitors display at 72 dpi (dots per inch). So, if you want the picture to be 5 inches wide (probably about the biggest you would want for an e-mail message), the picture would be 360 pixels wide (5 inches x 72 dpi = 360 pixels).

Pixel is short for “Picture Element”… Continue reading

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