LED Macro Ring Light for Digital Cameras

•August 14, 2008 • 2 Comments

This LED ring from Marumi will allow you to take better close-up pictures with your compact digital camera. The ringlike form provides a smooth and shadowless illumination of your object from every side.

This ring light unit provides an illumination akin to daylight. This results in brighter colours. The ring light has two steps of light intensity. You always can choose the matching light intensity for the actual ambient light.

You can attach the ring light to any camera which has a tripod thread. By the help of the flexible bending arm you can adjust the ring light to any camera type. You just have to bend the bending arm so that it is positioned in front of the lens of the camera.

Features:

  • First ring light for compact digital cameras
  • Smooth illumination from every side
  • No object shadowing any more
  • Eight LEDs
  • Two steps of light intensity
  • Illumination akin to daylight
  • For any camera with tripod thread
  • Flexible bending arm for the LED-ring
  • Needs three AAA-batteries
  • Case included

The Marumi LED-8 LED Macro Ring Light for Compact Digital Camera is available from enjoyyourcamera.com for 79,99 EUR (about $126 USD).

 

 

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Photography Books in Amazon

•August 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Amazon.com Widgets

Avoiding Camera Shake

•August 11, 2008 • 2 Comments

Lens quality is so good today that even the least expensive digital cameras can take acceptably sharp pictures. So why is it that “blurry” pictures are the chief complaint among most photographers?

The answer is simple—people have shaky hands. In order to get good, sharp photographs, you’ve got to hold the camera very steady or use some type of camera support. Additionally, you’ve got to release the shutter gently. Whether you’re using a point-and-shoot camera or a DSLR, the best technique is to rest the camera in the palm of one hand and squeeze the shutter button gently with your free index finger.

Recently, a new system called “anti-shake” technology (sometimes known as “image-stabilization”) has begun to appear on cameras, and it has made great strides in providing sharper photos even at substantially slower shutter speeds. In fact, most anti-shake systems enable you to shoot at shutter speeds up to two or three stops slower than would be safe without the new systems. Look for the initials “AS” (anti-shake) or “IS” (image stabilization) in the camera’s model name to know if the camera incorporates some type of anti-shake technology.

Whatever the camera or technology, some basic facts apply: Camera shake increases as telephoto zoom settings increase because these lenses magnify vibrations. Also, long telephoto and zoom lenses are simply larger and heavier, making them harder to hold steady—even strong shoulders get weary after a few hours of shooting. Also, camera shake is far more likely at shutter speeds of 1/60 second or longer, and most digital cameras have a “camera shake” warning that will warn you to either use a higher shutter speed (which might require setting a higher ISO speed) or use a camera support, such as a tripod or monopod.

Finally, don’t rely on image-editing “sharpening” tools to save images blurred by camera shake. While these tools will increase overall sharpness a small amount, they won’t salvage images that are just plain blurry.

How to photograph sunsets

•July 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Avoid The Sun
The biggest problem with sunsets is the sun. It’s just too bright. Unlike human eyes, cameras cannot handle high contrasts, particularly highlights such as a bright sun. So including the sun in a photograph will usually give you a picture of a big white splodge. Your picture will be overexposed with little color or detail.

There’s no easy way around this, so the trick is to either wait until the sun is on the horizon (when it’s dimmer), or photograph the sunset without the sun. Look for clouds to obscure the sun or photograph a part of the sky away from the sun.

Shoot The Sunset After Sunset
The sky often has the most color after the sun has set (the “afterglow”). Pick a day when there’s a sprinkling of very high, whispy clouds as they’ll turn a bright golden color about 15-30 minutes after sunset.

Find A Foreground
Pictures of just the sky can be boring so find a simple foreground to add depth and interest. Your foreground will be silhouetted, so find a subject that has an interesting outline set against the sky or reflecting water. In these examples I used piers and palm trees.

Anything below the sky (or reflecting water) will not be visible in the photograph (it’ll just be black) so crop it out. Position the horizon low in your frame so that you capture just the colorful sky and any reflecting water.

To photograph people, get within ten feet of them and use a flash (“fill-flash”) to add light on their faces.

Filters
I take some shots with no filter and some with an FL-D (magenta), to add some purple to the sky. I’ve tried other filters but they just tend to mess up the delicate colors.

Watch for Clouds
Clouds add magic to a sunset. The way the light beams through, or reflects off these changing formations is wonderful. Generally you want a scattering of clouds above you, but no clouds (clear weather) on and past the horizon (allowing the sun to shine through). Low clouds are tricky as they often obscure the sun and, even when they don’t, their colors come and go quickly. High whispy clouds are my favorite. They light up later, for a longer period of time, and over a larger portion of the sky.

Keep on shooting

I recommend the following book:

The Complete Guide to Night and Low-Light Photography (Paperback) 

The Rule of Thirds

•July 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment
If you ask the average backyard photographer what composing a good photo is, they’ll tell you to put your subject dead center and you can’t go wrong. If you go through your family photo album right now, you’ll find dozens, maybe even hundreds of photographs demonstrating this very advice. Some of them might be good pictures, capturing the essence of your uncle, your mother, or your pet dog, but maybe not great photos.Back in the days of darkroom development, bad composition could be easily corrected during the printing stage using an enlarger. With digital photography, it’s still pretty easy with the photo editing program of your choice once you’ve uploaded images to your computer. But either way, you’re creating an extra step after the initial shoot. Save yourself some time and do it right the first time.

You’ve learned how to move in close, how to step into your subject and capture its details. But something’s missing. Or maybe you’re very happy with the shots you’ve taken already. How could you improve them any more?

Here’s a tip: Consider the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds is a term which means taking the viewfinder, or photograph, and dividing it with imaginary lines into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. Think of it as setting a tic-tac-toe board across your viewfinder, creating 9 small squares. (Some digital cameras even offer this grid as an option to toggle on and off using your viewfinder or the LCD on the back of the camera’s body. This is very helpful to the beginning photographer if your camera has this feature.)
By placing your subject on one of the cross sections, where the horizontal and vertical lines meet, you’re creating a much more pleasing snapshot.

In general, place people or things (your subject) to the right or left of the center (on those imaginary dissecting lines). For landscapes, put the horizon or the point of interest above or below the center of your frame (again, on the imaginary bissecting lines). Try it on some of the photos you’ve already taken, using the crop tool in your favorite image editing program. Choose an image from your hard drive with the subject composed in the center of the photo. Make a copy of it, then using the crop tool, crop your image so the subject remains off center. Now compare both photos. Which do you like best? You’ll like the photo that honors the rule of thirds.One more small tip to keep in mind, especially when photographing people, and using the rule of thirds. Never allow your subject (if it’s a living thing) to look outside the photo when you compose the shot. Always compose so your subject’s eyes are looking to the center of the photo. It doesn’t matter if they’re looking away from the camera – just be sure they’re eyes are on side or the other from the center imaginary line of a photo composition. To have a subject looking ‘off screen’, so to speak, seems unfinished and uncomfortable.

As a final note, remember, the saying ‘rules are made to be broken’ may be true in art-related fields, but most often, adhering to those guidelines will produce the best composition, and the best shot. You have to use your judgment and experiment with every shot.

Shooting Fireworks, Do you know how?

•July 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

As much fun as they are to watch, fireworks are equally as challenging to photograph.
I have some basic recommendations for you.
You need a correct viewing position, you will need to have something in the photo that is identifiable like a building or a National Monument. Other consideration in choosing the location is which way the wind is blowing because the fireworks creat smoke and if the wind blows towards you the shot will be blocked my the smoke and it will be very uncomfortable to shoot.

The camera oh well, it doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use, but it is better if you have a manual camera, SLR or DSLR and you can control the exposures. I recommentd the exposure at f/8 or f/11, use a slow speed film (ISO 50 or ISO 100) if you have digital you can shoot RAW because it iwll give you flexibility over the resulting color.

Do some test, shoot some cars at night, anything with a light, set your camera before the show, set the white balance to Sunny or Cloudy, Turn off your flash, the fireworks are bright enough, and your flash won’t reach them anyway. Don’t use lens filters.

This is obvious but use a tripod, this is key for a good shot, if you don’t have a tripod you can position your camera on top of a stable surface, like the roof of your car, the idea here is to sit motionless, you can always try to brace yourself against a tree or a building, or hold the camera on a walking stick.

Get a shutter release cable so you won’t have to touch the camera.

This is the most important trick to shoot fireworks, keep the shutter open to capture the entire burst. Set the exposure to the maximum length. To get the sharpest image it is best that nothing comes in contact with the camera during the exposure. Use the automatic long exposure of 30 seconds or more. If your camera does not have an automatic long exposure the use of a cable release is OK. Use the BULB (B) setting, which will keep the shutter open as long as the button is depressed. A rule of thumb is to open the shutter as soon as you hear or see the rocket shooting into the sky and to leave it open until the burst is dissipating. This will usually take several seconds.

Set your camera to manual focus and focus your lens at infinity. If your image has buildings, trees, or some other interesting foreground element then you might want to make sure they’re in focus. That depends on what you want out of the final photo. The streaks themselves are difficult to get “sharp” as they are just the glow of burning chemicals – there is nothing there to be really be sharp. So focus, though important, is not critical. Either way, once you get your focus set the way you want, leave it. Switch off your auto focus and don’t worry about it for the rest of the night.

Feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.

Summary:
Sturdy support
Shake-free release
Manual settings
Lowest ISO
BULB or several second shutter speeds
Loose framing
Infinity focus
Something in the frame to add scale/anchor the shot
Open shutter when mortar first leaves ground
Close shutter after several bursts
Don’t be afraid to reframe

I recommend this books Lighting Photo Workshop and Digital SLR Cameras & Photography For Dummies . Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition), The Digital Photography Book

Happy 4th of july and keep shooting.

 

Keep your camera hot and ready

•June 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

You never know when are you going to take a picture, every time I go out I take my camera with me, I make sure I have batteries, 2 or 3 storage data like SanDisk, clean kit and a comfortable backpack.

Check and double check, and check again your camera for dust, clean the lenses as much as you can to guarantee a perfect picture, basic lens cleaning tools are a blower, a microfiber cloth, and lens cleaning fluid. Dust has become a big headache for photographers that can’t deal with Photoshop.

A lightweight tripod is very useful also; make sure your tripod has a fast release so you don’t have to unscrew it from the camera to take a picture that doesn’t require a tripod. you can buy accesories like this one on Amazon. Enjoy, and thank you for reading.

Keep Shooting.