Freezing Fred’s Beak
This week’s MMT (posted on Saturday, 1/2) had blurred images of Fred’s beak (shoebill stork) as he chatters (calls). I was curious to know how much of the blur was due to slow shutter speed versus hand-holding so I went back on Sunday. Now, granted, this wasn’t a rigorous scientific test but I was able to confirm that Fred’s beak can be frozen with a faster shutter speed. On the blurred images, I was using 1/1000 second and this time, I used 1/2000 second. I’d like to have taken some at slower speeds but Fred chattered 3 times in 3 hours. The first and third times, he chattered for about 5 seconds so I got a few shots. The second time, he chattered only for 2 seconds which wasn’t long enough for me to get shots. Overall, in 3 hours, I fired off 150+ frames and got 3 usable photos. Another issue is that Fred rapidly blinks his nictitating eyelid while chattering. I managed to capture many images of him with weird “Night of the Living Dead” eyes as in the first photo (below).
The Digital Photo Guy Blog Gets a Facelift
This is the 6th year for this site. During the first 4 years, it was a static site that was rarely updated because making changes was excruciatingly slow, complex and costly. In 2008, I resolved to fix the problem and commissioned a web developer to develop a new site that I could easily and quickly update myself. He recommended WordPress and the initial implementation took just 6 weeks. As soon as he was done, I started making changes and quickly learned how to do just about everything by myself. I’m no rocket scientist but WordPress makes everything simple and straightforward.
Now, a year after the initial launch, a new static home page has replaced the previous dynamic home page. A dynamic home page was fine in the beginning but, now, with so many articles and posts, it was quickly becoming unwieldly. Readers couldn’t easily find the information they sought. A static home page can act as “street signs” to help point readers in the right direction. As you can see, some of the signs are still not working. That’s because all the MMTs, posts and articles weren’t always correctly or fully tagged.
Tagging the material at this time would be counter productive because each update would generate an e-mail notification of an update and readers wuld be innundated with e-mails.
Starting in 2010, I’ll be more careful about tagging each MMT, post and article so readers can quickly find all material pertaining to Cameras/Lenses/Gear, Photo Editing and Photography.
In the meantime, the existing tags (right side of main blog) can help you find specific articles or MMTs. You can also use the Seach box along the right side of the main blog.
A website is a never-ending process. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment here. Good light, good memories and good luck in 2010.
Today we continue with actually using Adobe Camera Raw. Some of this may seem pretty obvious but, as any little kid knows, you have to learn to crawl before you can get to to good stuff in the dog’s bowl!
As always, the full MMT is in the Tips and News section and you’ll need a password to access it. To get a password via e-mail, just register for the site. While you’re at it, set up an RSS Feed using My Yahoo! If you’re not familiar with RSS, you can get full details by clicking here. As for why you want an RSS Feed, it’s like having your own custom newspaper delivered directly to your e-mail box as soon as something interesting happens. In addition to my site, you can also have RSS feeds from your local newspaper or CNN or Twiddly Winks Today Magazine. If there’s a website that covers whatever floats your boat, it probably has an RSS feed to which you can subscribe.
Next week, we’ll continue with the real meat & potatoes of ACR. While I milk ACR for a few weeks, I hope some of you get off your duffs and send in some ideas for future MMTs because coming up with ideas is the toughest part of writing these.
I see newbies (aka noobs) always asking, “Which is better, Raw or JPEG?” Life is full of either/or choices but this isn’t one of them. When you first buy a dSLR, it’s probably set up for JPEG as the default but you’ll soon start if you should be in Raw. Well, in this case you don’t have to make a choice between one or the other, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Most modern dSLRs can be set to capture Raw + JPEG. In fact, many can capture different sizes and resolutions of JPEG. Set your camera for Raw + JPEG and you’ll have files you can immediately share with friends and family as well as Raw files you can process and refine to your heart’s content.
Two Strobe Portrait Lighting
I’ve been studying and practicing lighting concepts on David Hobby’s site, Strobist. It’s not rocket science but it does require some cogitating. If you’re up for a challenge, try some of David’s ideas for lighting portraits with one or two strobes.
Palomar College Webinars
Both my classes, Digital SLR for New dSLR Owners and Photo Editing for Digital Photographers are available through Palomar College as webinars (webcats). In tough economic times, webcasts make even more sense because you can’t just stop learning but you can minimize costs. Webcasts save you gas, parking fees, snacks, babysitter costs and time. Click the above links to see what meets your needs.
If job push comes to shove, you might become the next accidental photographer so you may as well invest in yourself by taking classes. Besides, being able to produce great photos of company events can be a way to earn extra cash on the side. Think about it.
HOT OFF THE PRESSES!
Award winning photographer/author to webcast Photoshop Elements with
The Digital Photo Guy
OK, the details aren’t yet firm so I can’t give you exact times or dates. I can’t even tell you the name of the photographer/author but it’s someone that any serious photographer will instantly recognize. In a few weeks, this mystery guest will teach a “Photoshop Elements 1-Click Wonders” webcast that will show you how to get the most out of PSE (all tips will also apply to Photoshop CSx) with the least time and effort. This is for photographers who want to spend more time shooting and less time processing, which is just about every photographer. If we get enough pre-registrations, the class will be less than $50 (his regular classes run from $200-$1000). Stay tuned for details at 11 o’clock.
Monday Morning Tip
This week’s MMT is a continuation of the “back to basics” trend I started several weeks ago. Today, we’ll discuss the two most useful metering modes for amateur photographers. Modern digital cameras sport as many as 4 and 5 different metering modes but, for most photographers including both amateur and pro, 2 are really important.
Pattern Metering (aka, evaluative, matrix, Multi-Segment, ESP, etc) checks the light at multiple points and applies a very complex, proprietary algorithm to develop an exposure solution. Modern pattern meters are very good and will meet the needs of most amateur photographers most of the time.
Spot and Partial Spot Metering is useful in those occasions when the subject is either backlit or spotlit. If the subject is standing in front of a bright window, the meter will be fooled by the backlighting and the subject will be underexposed while objects outside the window may be perfectly exposed. Usually, it’s easier to reposition the subject but what if that’s not possible? Using the Spot or Partial Spot Meter will help you correctly expose the subject, at the expense of the background. In other words, the background may be overexposed but that’s a creative choice for you to make. You can read the entire MMT on the Tips and News page. (you need a password to access all the MMTs, register on this page to get a password)
In this article, about half-way down, I showed you how to set up My Yahoo! so it would automatically notify you via e-mail, instant messanger or cell phone when new content is added to my blog. At that time, I didn’t know how to set up an auto notification in Google Reader.
It turns out Google Reader doesn’t have an integrated solution but there are several 3rd party solutions here. Basically, you install the small application and it notifies you when an update is posted on this site.
I think it might be easier to open a Yahoo! account and set up My Yahoo! as a reader. You can also use a standalone reader like NewGator.
Another major milestone in making my website easier to use and maintain. The bottom line benefit to you, the reader, is that I can spend more time writing useful and fun things for you instead of futzing around with techie, geekie things.
In a previous post, I explained what RSS does for you and how to subscribe to my blog via RSS. At that time, I had to use a manual subscription process because the automated system wasn’t working quite right. Well citizen, it’s now fully automated. Sure, you’ll still have to make a few decisions like where you want the articles to show up but, for the most part, it’s a matter of clicking the RSS icon on my Home page and selecting the RSS reader you use.
In the top right corner of my Home page, you’ll find an RSS icon like you see to the left. Clicking on that icon will bring up a page with the latest articles and a dialog box in the upper right corner that looks like the image below.
If you don’t see this, click the link that says, “Show All Subscriber Options” and that will bring up the Subscribe Now! box. Notice that 2 of the choices are My Yahoo! and Google. Since most people already have Yahoo! or Google accounts by virtue of having an e-mail account with them, this is probably the path of least resistance. If you use Microsoft Outlook, you can drop down the menu titled (Choose Your Reader) and select Newsgator for Outlook. For this, you need to download and install Newsgator Inbox.
Now that you’ve successfully subscribed to my feed, add My Yahoo! or Google Reader to your favorites and check for new posts whenever you like. Any site that displays an RSS icon can be added as a subscription. Let’s assume that, along with photography, you have an interest in gardening, drag racing, military history and pregnant toads. You can add all these sites to your reader as long as they offer RSS feeds. Think of RSS as a way to create a custom newspaper. Only the news that interests you will be displayed.
But, I Want It Automagically!
What if you’re waiting with bated breath for every pearl of wisdom that flies off my keyboard? (I wish!) Seriously, what if you want to know the moment new material is posted? That’s pretty easy.
On My Yahoo!, you’ll find a set of 3 icons along the top right of each feed, as shown below.
Click the center icon that looks like a gear and select Alerts and then click Add an Alert. That will give you options for being notified via e-mail, Yahoo! IM or a text message to your cell phone. I use e-mail to my Yahoo! account but if you use IM or text message to your cell phone, consider yourself promoted to full blown Geek or Geekess.
The point to all this is that you’re automatically notified when a blog is updated. You can set up different schedules for different blogs. On my blog, you might want to know as soon as new material is posted. On other blogs, you can set it to notify you once per day.
Repairing the RSS link on my site was made possible by Amin, a really, really smart guy who publishes a blog for WordPress users titled Tips and Tricks. If you’re considering your own WordPress blog, you should check out Amin’s blog.
Please try setting up your RSS reader because I’m going to drop my e-mail newsletter as soon as most people have switched over.