Thursday, December 27, 2007

Some macro digital photography basics

By: Ziv Haparnas

Macro photography is underused by many amateur photographers. Professional photographer use macro photography to take extremely high quality macro photos that impress their viewers. Here are some facts about such macro digital photos.

We have all seen macro digital photos even if some of us did not realize that they were such. The two most common macro digital photos objects are flowers and insects. But macro photography is not limited to these objects. Creative photographers take macro photos of objects that you would never think of – and create astonishing digital photos. For example taking a macro photo of a simple screw that is half way screwed in a piece of wood can be an amazing digital photo if taken using the right techniques of lighting and macro photography.

So what is macro photography? There are many definitions that can be used. The most intuitive one is simple: digital photos that are taken from very close to the objects. Another definition is digital photos that present objects in real life sizes when printed on a 4X6 paper. Yet another definition extends this to a real life size (1:1 ratio) or better (i.e. bigger than in real life).

Professional photographers use special equipment that was designed specifically
for macro photography. Special lenses, lens tube extenders, flash units such as ring flashes and more are used. There is no doubt that such equipment can help specially in scenes that are hard to photograph. But even the cheapest digital pocket camera is capable of pretty good macro photography if only used right by the photographer.

Practically all digital cameras can be put in a “macro mode”. Usually this mode is illustrated as a “flower icon” (probably because flowers are the most common object for macro photography). When you put the camera in a macro mode – the camera optimizes its settings for the best macro digital photo. If your camera allows manual control of some of its settings (like aperture and focus) you can improve the quality of the photos further more.

In macro mode the digital camera will set a wider aperture in order to achieve a narrower depth of field. This helps create a macro photo that is focused on a very close item with its background blurry. The camera will also optimize its focusing algorithms to focusing on a very close object. In fact in macro mode it will be hard to make the camera focus on objects in normal or infinite distances.

Some cameras also set the flash intensity to lower since the object is close less flash light energy is needed to light up the scene. Macro photography lighting is a complicated issue due to the close proximity of the object to the lens. A right angle, source and intensity of the flash are hard to achieve. For that reason it is always better to take macro digital photos in a highly lit environment like in daylight.

In conclusion – like most other photography techniques it is important to use macro photography in the right scenarios. It also takes a lot of practice to achieve high quality macro digital photos. For example if you want to get a macro photo of a bee on a flower – you need to learn how to lock the camera focus – press the shutter button half way while all the settings are set and wait for that bee to show up. Also take as many photos as you can so hopefully one of them will be the perfect one you were aiming at. Go out and start taking macro photos to practice your skills. It is a good idea not to limit yourself to flowers and insects, anything can be a good object, a nail, a screw or a piece of candy.

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This article can be reprinted only if the resource box including the backlink is included. Find more on photo printing and photography is on - a place about Canon cameras and printing Ziv Haparnas writes about practical technology issues.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Take Better Digital Photos By Understanding Your Camera's ISO Settings

By Jeff Galbraith

What does ISO stand for, you ask? ISO stands for International Standards Organization, which refers to the group that set the standards for film speed. Luckily, this doesn’t have anything to do with what you need to know about ISO.

ISO, as it relates to digital photography, is an indicator of how sensitive to light your camera’s sensor is, and most digital cameras allow you to adjust this sensitivity. The majority of low to mid-range digital cameras have an ISO range that goes from somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 or 100 up to around 400 to 800. The lower the ISO number, the more light that is necessary to get proper exposure on a given shot.

So why not crank the ISO setting all the way up to the max and be done with it? Although this would allow you to get good exposure even in low light situations, there is a catch. The higher you set the ISO, the more “noise” there will be, causing your pictures to come out grainy looking. FYI, the camera’s “auto” setting doesn’t always choose the lowest ISO possible.

These days a good number of digital cameras employ some form of noise reduction at higher ISO settings. Unfortunately digital noise reduction is accomplished by applying a slight amount of blur to the image, which not only blurs out some of the noise, but also blurs out some of the fine detail.

All things considered, the best way to approach ISO is to use the lowest possible setting, but don’t over do it—using too low an ISO setting can result in blurry images caused by “camera shake”.

Assuming that you are using a camera with an ISO range of 50 to 400, here are some rule of thumb examples:

When shooting outside on a bright sunny day, use the lowest setting (ISO 50). On a heavily overcast day, or when shooting in heavy shade, use the next higher setting (ISO 100). When shooting in the early morning or late evening, use the next higher setting (ISO 200). If shooting at dusk or dawn, you would need to use your highest setting (ISO 400).

However, there is a way to avoid using your higher ISO settings, even in low light—its called a tripod. This three-legged wonder allows you to keep your camera perfectly steady, which eliminates the blurry images caused by camera shake.

Another option to keep your camera steady during low light shots is to set your camera on a stationary object (like a rock or the hood of your car) and use the self-timer. This feature allows a few seconds lag between the time you press the shutter button and when the camera takes the picture.

Remember, keeping those ISO settings as low as you can, will give you clearer, cleaner photos.

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Do you agree that Japanese love dogs ?? The picture was
taken at a rest house on the highway in Japan.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

How does a digital camera passive auto focus work

By: Ziv Haparnas

In focus objects in a digital photo is a very basic requirement for high quality photography. There are two different ways to focus on such objects: manual or automatic. There are a few automatic focus methods one of them is known as passive auto focus.

High quality sharp and crisp digital photos are a result of many optical parameters that need to be set right. One of the most important optical parameters is focus. When objects in a digital photo are out of focus they look blurry and are missing details and clarity. When objects are in focus they look sharp and crisp.

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While focus can be set manually by the photographer in most cases using the digital camera’s automatic focus feature is much easier and faster. There are many different algorithms and methods that digital cameras use in order to automatically determine the right focus for a specific scenario. One of those methods is knows as passive auto focus.

Passive auto focus

In many ways the passive auto focus imitates the way in which we set the focus manually. The digital camera defines one or more regions in the picture to focus on. These areas are usually around the center of the photo and are marked as rectangles on the viewfinder or the LCD. The digital camera then analyzes the captured picture seen through those regions.

The digital camera has a built-in computer chip that can run image processing algorithms. The camera executes such image processing algorithms to determine a Focus Level number. The exact way in which such a number is calculated is out of the scope of this article. A very simplistic explanation is that the digital camera transforms the digital image to a frequency space and measures the amount of high frequencies in the photo (high frequency in an image correlates to high contrast or to focus). The more high frequencies present the more in focus an image is and the higher the Focus Level number is.

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The digital camera goal is to maximize the Focus Level number. In this way the digital camera achieves the best possible focus (or at least theoretically achieves such a focus). The digital camera does that by moving its lenses back and forth as it recalculates the Focus Level number. The camera is searching for a position where the Focus Level number is the highest.

When such a position is found the digital camera compares the Focus Level number to a predetermined threshold. If it is higher the digital camera announces a successful focus (usually by coloring the focused areas in green). If it is lower the digital camera announces a failure (usually by coloring the non-focused areas in red).

The passive auto focus method is relatively cheap to implement as it does not require extra sensors (such as distance sensors for active focus solutions). However passive auto focus can also fail. The reasons can vary: poor lighting conditions, low contrast objects that are hard to focus on like walls or solid surfaces and others.

When the auto focus fails you can either try to focus on other objects in the same distance from the digital camera, lock the focus and pan back to the original objects you wanted to capture or you can revert to old fashion manual focus.

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Ziv Haparnas is an expert in technology. Information about photography and photo prints is on - your home for photo prints This article can be published and used as long as the resource box including the backlink is included. Mr. Haparnas writes about practical technology and science issues.

One of the tourist spot in outskirt of Tokyo Japan

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Improve Your Digital Photography Using Depth of Field (DOF)

By Jeff Galbraith

Depth of field (DOF) is probably a term you have heard used in photography often enough, but what does it really mean, and how can you use it to make your digital pictures better?

The term depth of field refers to how much of your picture is in sharp focus. For example, in portrait shots you will notice that the background is often blurred and soft looking, while the subject is clear and sharp. Pictures like this have a shallow depth of field.
You have probably also noticed that in landscape shots everything in the picture is often sharp and clear, all the way from the dead tree in the foreground to the mountains off in the distance. Pictures like this have a deep depth of field.

There are two main things that affect depth of field:
1.) The aperture (or F stop) setting--this refers to how wide the shutter opens.

2.) The focal length of the lens--this refers to how much the lens “zooms in” your subject.
First we’ll take a look at the aperture settings. Most digital cameras have an aperture range of about F2.8 to F8, and this range usually compresses to about F4.5 to F8 when using full zoom. These aperture ranges vary somewhat from camera to camera, but we will use F2.8 to F8, with a full zoom range of F4.5 to F8, as our example.

At the lowest setting (F2.8), the object you focus on will be sharp, but objects in the background will appear softer and out of focus. At the highest setting (F8), everything from the foreground of your picture to the objects off in the distance will appear sharp and in focus.
Now the focal length--we’ll use a digital camera with a 4 times zoom (35mm to 140mm focal length) as our example. At the 35mm end of your zoom range (no zoom), pretty much everything in your pictures will appear in focus. However, at the 140mm end of your zoom range (full zoom), only the object you focus on will appear sharp.

So how does all this translate into making better pictures with your digital camera? Well, it’s like this:
Set your camera to “aperture priority”. Your camera’s manual will have simple directions on how to do this (it’s quite often just a matter of turning the dial on top). Once you have your camera on “aperture priority”, you will be able to select the aperture setting that you want, and the camera automatically chooses the correct shutter speed.

If you want to take a picture where only your subject is in focus (like a portrait for example), first, zoom in rather than get close, and second, choose an aperture setting with the lowest number possible, in this case F4.5.
If you want to take a picture where the whole scene is in focus (like a landscape for example), first, zoom in very little or not at all, and second, choose an aperture setting at or near the highest number possible, in this case F8.

So, don’t be shy, take your camera off of “auto” and try the “aperture priority” setting--you’ll be glad you did.
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Picture of blue sky, white cloud and shadow reflected on the lake
makes a nice landscape photography. Behind is Mt Fiji of Japan
Photo by pixeleye

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Seven common mistakes when taking digital photos

By: Ziv Haparnas

You have probably taken photos before just to find out later that they did not come out as expected. Although digital cameras are getting smarter there are still a lot of decisions that the photographer has to make. There are also many mistakes that the photographer can make. Here are seven common ones.

Many mistakes can ruin a photo. Here is a list of seven common ones. The first step to avoid these is to understand what they are and why they ruin a photo. The second step is to be aware of them when shooting your photos.

Out of focus: An out of focus photo looks blurry and has low contrast. Usually such a photo is useless and can not be corrected. Most digital cameras can automatically set the focus for you and in most cases they choose the right focus for the scene. Some scenes however are harder to focus on and can fool the camera's auto focus mechanism. If you are using an SLR camera you can make sure that the objects are in focus by looking through the viewfinder. Most cameras sound a short beep when the focus is locked and also display a green rectangle around the area that they focused on. Always make sure that this area is where the objects that you care about are. For example if there are two objects in the scene in different distances from the camera make sure that the camera focused on the object you want.

Blurry photos:
Blurry photos are most likely the result of camera shakes. Learn how to hold your camera to minimize shaking: it should be held firmly with two hands and it should "touch" your face. If you are shooting photos using slow shutter speeds you should use a sturdy tripod to prevent shaking. If you can not guarantee that the camera will be stable for example if you are shooting while you're moving set the camera to shutter priority and choose a fast shutter speed (assuming of course that the light conditions allow such setting) for example setting the shutter speed to anything faster than 1/250 of a second will most likely guarantee a non blurry photo even if the camera shakes a bit.

Underexposed: Photos that are underexposed look dark and lack details. The reason for underexposed photos is setting the exposure too low. Although the camera can measure ambient light and make the exposure decisions for you it can be confused by more complicated scenes. For example if there is a very bright light source in the photo it can confuse the camera to believe that there is enough light in the scene for a low exposure setting. The result will be a photo that captures the bright area but darkens all the others. Usually you can assume that scenes that have extreme lighting gaps between different areas confuse the camera for example if a quarter of the photo is very bright and the rest is very dark the camera is likely to set the wrong exposure. In such cases you can manually correct the exposure.

Overexposed: Photos that are overexposed have blown out areas and sometimes are completely saturated and white. The reasons for overexposed photos are similar to underexposed ones. The camera makes an exposure decision that is incorrect due to complicated scene conditions. In such scenes you can manually correct the exposure.

Shaded objects: A good example of shaded objects is when taking a portrait photo in daylight. The camera measures enough ambient light to set a low exposure value. Although there is enough ambient light shades can appear on the object depending on the angle of the light source relative to the object. For example if the objects face is lit from the side the objects nose can create shades. Or maybe if the object is wearing a hat and is lit from above the hat can create shades on the objects face. The camera can not automatically correct such shades. By understanding what causes shades you can easily eliminate them by turning on the fill-in flash. Firing the fill-in flash (make sure that the object is within flash range) will remove the shades from the object.

Red eye: This is a very common phenomenon. When taking photos of people or animals using a flash in a dark environment the eyes have some red glow in them. There are a few things that you can do to prevent red-eyes: some cameras support a "red eye reduction" mode. In that mode the camera fires the flash a few times before taking the photo. Although this can help reducing red-eye it can also result in photos of people with their eyes closed (as they are blinded by the pre-flash their reflex is to close their eyes). Other ways to prevent red-eye is to use bounce flash (you can do that with special equipment or for example by pointing the flash to a white wall) and using more ambient light if possible (for example by turning on all the lights in the room). Some cameras include built-in image processing software that automatically removes red-eye from the photos or alternatively you can use many software packages on your home computer to accomplish the same.

Dark Silhouettes: When taking photos with a bright light source behind the object (for example when the sun is behind the object) the result will be a silhouette of the object. One example is taking a photo of someone on the beach against a sunset. The result will be a dark silhouette of the person with a good photo of the sunset background. This problem can be solved using a fill-in flash. The fill-in flash lights the object making sure that it is captured with all its details. Simply remember to use a fill-in flash when taking pictures of objects with a bright light source behind them. One limitation is that the objects must be within the flash range otherwise the flash is useless and they will appear as silhouettes in the photo.

Information about photography and photo prints is on - your home for shutterfly and photo prints Ziv Haparnas is an expert technology writer. This article can be reprinted and used as long as the resource box including the backlink is included. Ziv Haparnas writes about practical technology issues. Article Source:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Digital camera modes shutter aperture priority and more

By: Ziv Haparnas

Digital cameras can be put in different photo shooting modes. The most used mode is automatic - the only thing you need to do is point and shoot. However understanding and using the other options will allow you to get better photos in certain scenarios. Here is how.

We will go over the various camera modes. Some modes might not be available on your camera. You can set the mode either by using the camera menus on its LCD in which case you can read and choose the mode by its name or you can set it by rotating a dial in which case you choose the mode by its visual icon. Spend some time learning the icons your camera dial uses - some are simple to remember (like
A for Aperture priority and S for Shutter priority) others can be confusing.

Automatic mode This is the simplest mode and is also sometimes known as Program Shooting. In this mode the camera does everything for you it sets the shutter speed, aperture, focus and fires the flash if needed. This mode is the easiest to use and is good if you have to capture an event and have no time to play with the settings. It is also a good starting point for amateurs and a good choice if you just want to capture a moment or an experience and do not care so much about the fine photographic qualities of the photo.

Aperture priority in this mode you manually set the aperture value. The camera automatically takes care of everything else for you for example setting the optimal shutter speed for the aperture you chose. There are physical limitations and not every aperture value that you choose can be accompanied by other settings that will result in a good photo. The camera will let you know by flashing a green LED or in another way if it found the optimal settings that work with your chosen aperture value. One of the most common usages of this mode is when you need a narrow depth of field. By decreasing the aperture f-number the depth of field gets narrower. A narrow depth of field results in a photo that is focused on a specific object at a specific distance while the background is blurred. This is commonly used for example when taking portrait photos.

Shutter priority in this mode you manually set the shutter speed. The camera automatically takes care of everything else for you for example setting the optimal aperture value for the shutter speed you chose. There are physical limitations and not every shutter speed that you choose can be accompanied by other settings that will result in a good photo. The camera will let you know by flashing a green LED or in another way if it found the optimal settings that work with your chosen shutter speed. Using this mode is useful if you need to capture fast moving object or want to freeze the scene by setting the shutter to high speed. In other scenarios if you want to capture the feeling of motion in the photo a slow shutter speed would do the trick. For example when taking photos of water setting the shutter to relatively slow speed blurs the water and captures its movement making the photo more alive.

Manual mode
In this mode you can set both the aperture and the shutter speed to whatever value you want. It gives you the most flexibility in shooting the photo but it is also harder to use. Although the camera does not set the values for you most cameras will still let you know if the values you chose are good or not for the photo you are shooting.

Portrait mode This mode optimizes the camera settings for portrait photos. The camera sets the aperture to a low f-number and the shutter to high speed in order to shoot with a narrow depth of field resulting in a focused object and blurred background. Portrait mode should be used in a well lit environment such as outdoor daylight or a well lit studio. It is better not to use this mode with a flash.

Landscape mode
This mode optimizes the camera settings for landscape photos. White balance is set for natural sun light and the depth of field is deep allowing to capture objects at great distances.

Macro mode
This mode is used when taking extreme close-up photos. How close you can get to the object depends on the lenses you use.

Sport mode In this mode you can take photos of high speed object such as runners or cars in a car race. The shutter is set to high speed to capture the object without blurring it and the auto focus is usually set to continuous to allow focusing on the moving object.

Night mode The camera optimizes the settings for night photos. Usually when taking night photos in other modes the result is a black photo and some scattered dots of light. In night mode the photo will include more details of less lit objects. Since night mode uses very slow shutter speeds the camera needs to be stabilized either on a stable surface or using a tripod.

In conclusion take advantage of the fact that taking extra digital photos is free. There is no added cost in taking more photos. Experiment with different photo shooting modes and learn which one works best in which scenario. You will quickly find yourself naturally changing the camera modes to accommodate different conditions.

Ziv Haparnas is an expert in technology. Find more on photo printing and photography is on - a place about digital photo printing Mr. Haparnas writes about science and technology. This article can be published only if the resource box including the backlink is included. Article Source:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Understanding Digital Camera Zoom Lenses

Photo by Pixeleye

By Michael Huddleston

There are two types of zooms used with digital cameras: optical and digital.

Optical Zoom
An optical zoom changes magnification by moving glass in the lens, changing the image falling on the sensor. Using an optical zoom maintains picture quality.

Zoom Ranges and 35mm Equivalents
Optical zoom lenses usually have a specification called “equivalent in 35mm.” This tells you the zoom range of the digital camera compared to a 35mm film camera. Typical 35mm equivalent zoom ranges you will see listed are 35mm-70mm or 35mm-105mm.

For example:

Wide-angle means a lens takes in more than normal viewing perspective. Telephoto lenses magnify the subject, bring it closer. Using these numbers as a guide, you can get an idea of the range of zoom lenses and what they will do for you.

28mm…..wide angle
35mm……slight wide angle
50mm…..normal perspective
70mm…..slight telephoto
105mm…..moderate telephoto
135mm…..strong telephoto
200mm+…..extreme telephoto So, a 35mm-105mm equivalent zoom lens changes from a slight wide angle to a moderate telephoto. A 28mm-200mm equivalent lens changes from a wide angle to an extreme telephoto.
A 35mm-105mm equivalent zoom is adequate for most users. If you plan on doing landscapes or picture taking in small, confined areas, consider a camera that can zoom to a 28mm equivalent.

Optical Zoom as 2x, 3x, 5x…
Taking the 35mm-105mm example above, we divide 105 by 35 to get a 3x zoom. A 28mm-105mm would be approximately a 4x zoom, and a 35mm-350mm would be a 10x zoom.

Digital Zoom
A digital zoom does not change, magnification. It simply crops the image on the sensor to magnify the image. Because less sensor is used, you use fewer pixels. This decreases picture quality. When comparing cameras, always use the optical number as this is much more important. You can get the same effect as a digital zoom by using software to crop the photos.

Note About Digital Zoom
As digital cameras become more sophisticated and powerful they are becoming capable of delivering “optical tricks” that render pictures that are remarkably stable and good looking. Only recently, cameras “digital zooms” are getting much better. Like all things though some companies are better than others. Do your research.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Buying A Digital Camera? Five Things To Consider

By John Steele

When considering the purchase your first digital camera you will discover that today's cameras contain a vast array of advanced features. Probably most of them will be features you're not familiar with, and by the time you finish reading this article, the manufacturers will have added a dozen new ones.

The type of camera you choose doesn't have to be a difficult decision. Here are five guidelines that can help you find the camera you need. Regardless of the options and capabilities of the camera your first real question should be.

1. How much do I want to spend?

This may sound like an over simplification, but using this approach will allow you to concentrate on the wide variety of cameras you can afford. Once you've answered that question, a lot of the other questions will be eliminated by default. There are some good inexpensive cameras available, but the great one's can get very expensive. Determine your price range first. Then compare the cameras that fall in that category.

You'll save a lot of time and frustration. It's probably worthwhile to mention that I have found some great buys on refurbished high-end cameras on ebay. Just make sure you check the seller's feedback, return policy, and warranty, on the camera. You can buy a lot of camera at an enormous discount on ebay if you've done your homework and know what you're looking for.

After you've determined what your budget will allow, it's time to compare features. The second question that naturally arises is.

2. Which features do I need, and which features will I never use?

Even though the list of advanced features on today's digital cameras is endless, they still fall into two basic categories; either DSLR (digital single lens reflex) or point-and-shoot. The comparison of DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras is beyond the scope of this article; there are just too many variables.

There are great camera comparison charts available on the web. But nothing beats going to your local photography store to hold the cameras and ask questions about their controls and capabilities. By physically inspecting the camera it's easier to decide if it's something your willing to carry all day; especially when comparing DSLR cameras which are often heavy and bulky. By looking at the features on the different models you will better be able to determine if you need a camera with manual settings or if automatic settings will be adequate.

If you are going to use the camera for more than just a hobby a DSLR is the obvious choice. There is so much more you can do with a DSLR, and you have far more control over the type of pictures you can take. The downside is they're expensive, and if you're unfamiliar with photography, they have a hefty learning curve. When buying a digital camera it all boils down to how it fits your lifestyle, and what you intend to use it for.

The third factor in the quest for the perfect digital camera is known as resolution. Although it may be considered a symbol of prestige to own a camera with the most mega-pixels, is it really necessary? Mega-pixels can be overrated.

3. Do I need high mega-pixels?

The resolution on digital cameras is measured in mega-pixels. The higher the number of mega-pixels the more defined the image will be. The problem that arises in this scenario is that more doesn't mean better. Five mega-pix is the typical starting point for most of today's digital cameras, and that is more than adequate for most pictures. Unless you are going to expand your pictures to a point they could be used for posters the extra mega-pixels are overkill. You don't need them. One caveat here however; if you plan submitting your photos to an agency a five mega-pix camera probably is not adequate, you need high resolution to meet the requirements of the stock photography agencies.

So you've found a camera you think you can live with and your ready to have some fun with it. You get it home and open the box only to discover you need accessories.

4. What accessories do I need?

Surprise! I've listed a few of the items your likely to find useful to go along with your camera. Though they don't appear to amount to much they can get expensive when added up.

Lenses (DSLR typically)

Spare Batteries / Recharger

Filters and Lens Caps

External Flash

Memory Cards


Photo Editing Software

Camera Case

The best way to buy the accessories is in a bundle included with the camera. Usually the manufacturers or the merchant offer some kind of an incentive to buy from them. This is another reason I like some of the camera packages offered on ebay. It's easy to get an expensive bundle of accessories included as a bonus in some of the camera deals offered there. At a minimum always try to get at least an extra battery and a charger as a bonus. Camera batteries lose their vitality quickly and are expensive to replace.

5. The hardest part is the research.

If you don't know what you're looking for, chances are you'll find it. Rather than just read about the cameras it helps a great deal if you take a little time to play with them at the store. I've found talking with sales people in person is far more beneficial than trying to communicate by telephone. Nothing will better help you decide which camera is for you than examining them.

Of course digital cameras are far more complex than what has been discussed in this article, and it's too easy to make a bad decision when buying online. That's why it's so important to get the feel of a camera before you buy it.

If you do find a camera you like and decide to buy it online, one a word of caution. Make sure you specify the little things like model number, warranty, place and date of manufacture, color, accessories, and so forth. It's easy to end up with a camera or lens you didn't want when buying from a vendor in another place. There are a lot of subtle variations in camera equipment. Be sure you know exactly what you're ordering and the return policy.

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Digital Camera - Mode Setting Control

By John Steele

Most digital cameras today have a mode setting knob. It's probably the most important control on your camera. The nice thing about the mode setting knob is that you can set it on full automatic and forget it. When the camera is in full automatic it does four things for you; it will:

1. Focus the Lens

2. Set the Aperture (size of the lens opening)

3. Meter the Light and Distance

4. Set the Shutter Speed

All you need to do is snap the picture and you will get a decent exposure. But if we take a closer look at the mode setting knob we'll see it has other features as well. The typical digital camera will have the following settings on its mode knob.

Landscape: The landscape icon usually looks like a mountain with a cloud over it. This setting presets the camera with a small aperture and helps keep your image in focus. It also sets the shutter speed fast enough to eliminate a blurred image. This setting can also be used for night landscapes, though it is not the preferred method. As you become more proficient with your camera you will learn ways to customize the settings to get better low light photos.

Sports Setting: This icon typically looks like a figure running. It locks in a faster shutter speed to freeze the subject and background. The camera will use the center of the viewfinder for focusing.

Portraits: This icon is easy to find it usually looks like a persons profile. This setting opens the aperture for a shorter depth of field. It keeps your subject in focus, but blurs the background for a more pleasing composition.

Night Portraits: In this zone the icon usually has a star or moon in it. When shooting in this mode the flash mechanism fires to fill the background and correctly illuminate the subject. The night setting can be used when shooting in very low light conditions.

Close-up: The close-up icon often looks like a flower, usually a tulip. This setting is used when you want to take pictures with great detail like plants or insects. This area of photography is often called macro-photography and is an art form in itself.

Think of the different basic zone modes as tools to be used in different picture taking situations as they arise. You will get average pictures with the automatic settings. Some of them will be quite good. But the better cameras contain advanced settings sometimes referred to as Creative Zone Settings. These controls give you much more creativity in the pictures you take, and can be used to provide greater adaptability as changing circumstances arise.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Blogging for Fun and Profit

A blog is an online version of diary where people write and display almost anything - their opinions, photos, jokes, thoughts for the day and more. People also share stories about their pets, their passion for soccer, stamps... the limit is only your imagination!

In the last few years, blogging has emerged to become a much more meaningful activity than simply maintaining a personal diary. People use it to advertise their products and services, in fact, quite a number of companies even create their online presence by using a blog instead of a website.

Starting a blog is free. You can create one at - a free service from Google Inc. You don't need to register a domain name or buy hosting. When you sign up at Blogger, everything happens online. Your blog will be hosted by Blogger and you get an URL like You simply log in to your account and start to write. This is much easier and cheaper than buying your own domain and hosting, then hiring someone to do the web design, writing and coding.

Another free blogging service available online is WordPress which is also very popular and easy to use. WordPress supports more features than Blogger while allowing you to customize your blog with various plug-in. You can check it out at

Monetize Your Blog

While blogging for your own interest, you can in fact maximize the potential of your blog for many marketing or commercial purposes.

The quickest and easiest way to turn a blog into a money-making enterprise is to include advertising on your blog. This can be done with contextual ad programs like Adsense - an advertising program by Google. Basically, you get paid when people click on the ads displayed on your website or blog.

Google Adsense program is free to sign up. You can visit to learn more about the rules and guidelines of the program. Other Adsense type ads that you can use for blog monetizing are SearchFeed, AdBrite, and Yahoo's Publisher’s Network (YPN).

Click here to get Google ads FREE

Affiliate program is another potential way to make money blogging. By focusing on the subject of your blog post, you can promote relevant products from cost per sale affiliate programs like ClickBank and Amazon. You can write a review about the product or service with your affiliate links embedded inside so you get the commission whenever a sale is made.

Boost Your Blog Traffic

Blogs are quickly indexed by search engines, but you need to update it regularly. Search engines love fresh content and regular update will ensure that your website is indexed and ranked high up as well. The higher up it appears, the more traffic will come to your site, which means more sales. You can actively participate in forums discussion or post comments on other blogs to get more link back traffic.

Whether you use your blog for fun or for work, remember that it’s a highly potential tool any which way. So what are you waiting for? Start blogging away right now!

About the author:

Lewis Low is founding editor of OnlineBizPromo. For more practical online business ideas and work-from-home opportunities, visit

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Friday, December 7, 2007

A Picture's Worth

Wow!......Picture tells you story is worth a million of words
By AllSportsBlog

Check it out the footage what the people says a picture's worth

Miss China is new Miss World

IT'S taken five years of strutting and posing, but China has achieved another of its global ambitions when a 23-year-old secretary from Beijing was crowned Miss World.

Zhang Jilin took the crown in Sanya, aresort at the sub-tropical southern tip of China's Hainan island, at the weekend. At 182cm, she was the tallest of the 106 contestants.

The crowd at the $13.5 million purpose-built tiara-shaped beauty parade centre went wild. The closest China had come to winning the contest was four years ago, also in Sanya, when the then Miss China came third.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wedding Photographer Jeff Ascough

Photo by Visuallens

Jeff Ascough has been a professional wedding photographer in the United Kingdom since 1989. He has covered over 1000 weddings with a documentary photography style. Ascough emphasizes capturing the moment without any prompting or interference and using available light. American Photo voted Ascough as one of the ten best wedding photographers in the world.

Advice for wedding photographers

The best thing to do is to practice with a model. Take images in different lighting conditions and see which give you the best images. That's how I started out. You should be looking for how the light molds the subject. Sometimes it's best to squint when looking at the light as this gives you a better indication of the light direction.

One of the differences that separates the talented pros from the rest in photography, is the photographer's ability to see light direction and quality. Try to second-guess what is going to happen. It might sound weird, but I have almost a sixth sense when it comes to photographing. I can see the image in my mind's eye before it happens. I suspect this is a result of many years of experience, though, rather than any special ability.

I know how and when to position myself for an image even before I bring the camera up to my eye. Once I'm looking through the view finder, I refine the framing and decide on what to leave in and what to leave out of the image. I then wait for the desired moment to happen. If all hell is breaking loose around me, e.g., the dancing at the reception, I'll go with my instincts and react to things happening. This manner of photographing is more haphazard though, and my success rate is a lot lower.

It's important to be as unobtrusive while photographing weddings. That said, you can be unobtrusive while less than three feet from the subject. It's all about how you behave when photographing. If you permanently have a camera up to your eye, firing off hundreds of images, the client is going to be very aware of you. Also, hiding in the shadows can be more intrusive than standing close to your subject, because odd behavior is noticeable. If you simply have the camera down at your side and just quietly observe, they will relax and start to ignore you.

Unobtrusiveness doesn't mean you can't be seen. That's a mistake many people make. For many clients, unobtrusiveness means that you are letting them get on with their special day without making them stop for photographs.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Photo contrast between Beijing and Chengde

Blue Skies of Chengde






Story and picture by Visuallens

A family friend of mine returned from a holiday trip to China told me that Chengde is a place that attracted them most compared to Beijing and Tianchen the package tour they took recently. I agree with their views.

This bring back my memory to the holiday trip I made with my family …

It took about four to five hour drive on the expressway across the mountainous region north of Beijing, and we arrived at a city called Chengde. It is a small plain surrounded by the Yanshan range.

And coming in from a noisy, dusty and congested Beijing, we would feel immediately the pleasant contrast in Chengde with its serenity, slow pace, blue skies and cooling mountain air. It is no wonder why the emperors in Qing Dynasty liked to spend their holiday in this city Chengde.

Chengde boasts of the biggest imperial palace garden called Bishu Shanchuang at the foot of Yanshan, which is twice the size of the Yihe Yuan summer palace in Beijing. The long name in Chinese simply means “a mountain resort to escape from the summer heat”

Those pine tree that line the pathways and decorate the open space have aged to become even more majestic now.One can almost hear the strains of pipa and gucheng floating through the courts and gardens.

As tourists, me and my family took some pictures during this China tour and also covered Beijing and Chengde . All the pictures were taken with a Canon Powershot S60 compact camera as I was advised by doctor not to carry heavy camera bag because of my neck problem.

More pictures can be seen in Pictorial

Noisy and dusty Beijing








Monday, November 19, 2007

Shooting towards the light

“Never shoot towards the light.” We’ve probably all heard this old photography “rule,” but, for now, let’s treat it more as a general guideline. If you want to shoot some photos that really pop, that really jump out and grab you—shoot towards the light.

Silhouettes are photos where your subject is dark against a bright background. Using a sunrise or sunset as the backdrop for your subject can give stunning results—your subject becomes a bold black figure against a canvas of bright and vivid colour.

When you use a bright and cloud filled sky as your background, your subject often doesn’t come out pure black, but comes across as dark and moody against a brooding sky.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Which is the Best — Nikon D3 or Canon Mark lll?

Story by Visuallens

The battle between the Nikon D3 and Canon Mark III continues. There are many die-hard users of both cameras and you can read the debates on these two popular cameras on many photograpy blogs.

I am neutral and I am not a so-called die-hard user of these two branded cameras. But I started my photography with a Nikon. I switched to a Canon when the EOS entered the market recently.

Let’s see how the Nikon D3 which I think is a superb camera stack up against its Canon rival. The Nikon D3 will be available in the market here by December and I am wondering how many professional photographers especially from newspaper companies and wire agencies will be using the Nikon D3 in the coming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Presently, the Canon Mark III has a better edge over its new rival. It is leading in the professional models in the world market.

However, Canon had admitted it had an autofocus problem but the company had solved the problem. It involved secondary mirror which was not staying aligned especially at high temperatures.

Nikon claimed another public relation advantage over Canon recently. NASA used the Nikon D2 in the recent astronaut adventure where the video telecast was widely telecast all over the world and everyone noticed the Nikon camera was used.

Can Canon maintain the same market shares of face stiff competition with the introduction of the Nikon D3 model in the market? We’ll watch how this battle unfold in the near future.

Meanwhile, check out for yourselves and compare these two sample pictures taken by a Nikon D3 and a Canon Mark lll with High ISO 3200 and Sample 100% cropped. The lady photos are taken with the Canon Mark lll and the baseball photos taken with the Nikon D3 with ISO 6400 and 100% cropped.

I was told that we are not allowed to use any pictures taken by the
pre-models for any publication as they are not fully-made model. I found
out that there are some samples of the photos taken with the Nikon D3 out in their blogs. Let me share with you of some of their findings.

To be fair with both parties, all of you can judge for yourselves by
examinating the sample photos taken with the Nikon D3 and Canon Mark lll.



According Master blog, the Nikon D3 pictures, shot at ISO 3200, were taken at a soccer field. They are believed to be taken using
a Nikon D3 and Nikon 400 f2.8 VR lens.



According to, Nikon Canada Inc. recently offered accredited professional sports photographers (attending the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball home games at the Rogers Stadium in Toronto), the opportunity to try out initial production samples of the new Nikon D3 12.1 MP FX Format digital SLR.



There are two video footages of Nikon D3 and Canon Mark lll for your viewing and comparation if you have a fast broad-band connection.

Click here to view : Nikon D3 and Canon Mark lll

So you had read and view the comparation of these cameras, which one you decide now! Nikon D3 or Canon Mark lll ? Welcome to vote and commend .

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