The Digital Photo Guy

Capture the Moment

by on Jan.10, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos

Monday Morning Tip – 01/11/10

Did anyone notice today is another palindrome? It’s not as rare as 01/02/2010 but 01/11/10 is, technically, a palindrome. What’s that got to do with digital photography? Not a whole lot except that observation is a large part of good photography. Below is a photo I made over Christmas.

We hadn’t made any plans for Christmas so, when we took off in our RV at the last minute, we didn’t have reservations. Readers who own RVs know that usually means boondocking, parking overnight wherever it’s permitted and moving on the next day in search of new adventures. So, Christmas eve found us parked at the San Manuel Indian Casino in Highland, CA. We had boondocked there in the past on our way north and liked the quiet, isolated parking lot with a million-dollar view.

As the sun set to the southwest, Mary pointed out the colors. Parked alongside a 200 foot drop, a chain link fence kept fools like me from falling over the edge. Unfortunately, the fence also wreaked havoc on photos. The wind was gusting to 15MPH, making it sketchy to climb onto the roof of the RV. The only option was to climb the chain link fence and hang myself over the top by my armpits. It wasn’t very comfortable and my armpits thought it was the “pits” (pun intended). I was only able to hang there for about 10 frames before my armpits started screaming. The photo above was one of those 10 frames. I processed it through Topaz Labs Adjust3 masking the dark area at the bottom to retain the sparkling lights below us. Exposure was f/4, 1/350 second, ISO 200.

Today’s takeaway is that there are photo opportunities everywhere. I have one former student who has been sending me photos of a glass globe in his backyard for critique. Some may think, “What can possibly be interesting about a glass yard ornament?” but I’m fascinated by his determination to make a good photo of that glass globe and I enjoy seeing his progress with each attempt.

Canon G11 Review Off-the-Charts

My review of the Canon G11 has been viewed more than any other recent MMT. Readers from around the world seem to be reading it. I can only guess that readers like articles about “stuff” even though I try to focus people on composition, exposure and clarity.

To satiate your appetite for “stuff”, here are  links to recent articles I’ve read. If you’re using an external flash, you know all about cycle time, that interminable period of time between shots while the flash screeches like a banshee while it recharges the capacitors. Meanwhile, your subject is expressing all sorts of interesting, funny, poignant and/or memorable expressions. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get that flash to cycle faster? A whole lot faster? Check out David Hobby’s post about NiZn (nickel zinc) rechargeable batteries. These puppies are like NiMH (nickel metal hydride) batteries on steroids. WARNING – I am not responsible for you frying your flash!

Speaking of flash, if you read David’s blog, Strobist, you’re probably familiar with the LumoPro 120, an inexpensive manual flash that has more sync options than a camel has fleas. In preparation for my free Flash Photoshoot workshop at Deer Park Winery, I bought one to compare with my Canon flashes. Right off the bat, US$130 is a whole lot better than US$400 for a Canon 580EX. Better still, I can connect these directly to my Paul C. Buff CyberSync remote flash triggers, skipping the $30-$50 adaptors. Before you get all hot & bothered, keep in mind that this is a MANUAL flash. No TTL, E-TTL, iTTL or any of that fancy stuff. In other words, you’ll have to think about how much juice you want that puppy to pop. A full write-up will be posted here in the near future.

Finally, for readers curious about Paul C. Buff CyberSyncsthese are the best bang for the buck in remote triggers. First, what’s a remote trigger? A remote trigger lets you to place a flash away from your camera so you can better control the light. The flash can be up to 400 feet away which is farther than most amateurs will ever position their flashes. Below is an example of when a remote is needed.

This was taken with a remote triggered flash sitting on the car seat. It could have been done with a long cord but a remote trigger is infinitely more convenient.

FREE Photoshop Elements Webinar Wednesday 1/13

The free webinar is this Wednesday, 1/13 at 6PM Pacific Time (7PM Mountain, 8PM Central and 9PM Eastern). I still have seats available so please tell your friends and family. I really want to “stress test” the new system with as many people as possible. Click HERE at 6PM Pacific Time on Wednesday, 1/13 to enter the classroom. You’ll need a high-speed Internet connection, speakers and a standard web browser (MS IE, Firefox, Apple Safari) on your PC or Mac.

As always, thanks for reading. Good Light, Good Memories and Good Luck to you in 2010.

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