Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - Beware the Sensor Size

Friday's Photo Tip - Beware the Sensor Size

various sizes of granite blocks in a wall

All digital cameras use a sensor to capture an image - it is the film of the digital camera.

Remember all the different kinds and sizes of film there used to be to choose from?

Well digital cameras are the same way there too.

Depending on the camera you buy, it will have a certain size sensor.

The sensors in the the DSLR cameras are broken down into two different types.

They are the Full Frame Sensor and the APS-C Sensor.

The full frame sensor is equated to the full 35mm size in the film cameras.

The APS-C is considered a "cropped" version of the 35mm size.

So it stands to reason that the full frame has more pixels which will produce a larger image.

It is also quite a bit more expensive.

The APS-C sensor is what is in most DSLRs on the market today.

This doesn't mean that the DSLR with the APS-C sensor is inferior though.

It does the same job as the full frame - it just produces a smaller file.

Since most professionals need the large file, they opt to go with the full frame camera.

In the last few years, lens manufacturers have been coming out with lenses that are designed for the APS-C cameras.

Now, they can also be used on the full frame cameras, but the pixels will be limited by the amount of the camera that they were designed for.

A couple of the manufacturers have also mentioned that there is serious vignetting when using them.

The manufacturers also have a special code on the lens style number that indicates they are the cropped style and not the full frame. This is something to be aware of when purchasing a lens, especially if you are using an APS camera now and want to upgrade in the future.

And if you are wondering about using the full frame lens on an APS sensor camera - go for it.

Each camera brand has a "crop factor" depending on the actual size of the sensor.

This crop factor affects the field of view (FOV) of the lens.

If the camera has a 1.6 crop factor, then a 300mm lens captures an image that would take a 480mm lens on a full frame camera to capture.

This crop factor doesn't work as nicely on the wide angle images though.

As always - there are pros and cons to everyting.

The point and shoot cameras don't have to worry about any of these problems though.

Their sensors are designed to work perfectly with their fixed lenses.

Photography has something to offer for everyone - from the inexperienced to the experienced.

And digital photography makes it so much more fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ABC Wednesday - B is for Broken Bricks

B is for Broken Bricks............

a brick sidewalk that needs repair

Considering that this is a sidewalk, and these bricks get a lot of foot traffic, most of them appear to be in really good condition.

There are not a lot of cracks or crumbling of the ones still in the walkway - their edges are still quite defined.

Water and frost heaves in the winter have wreaked havoc along the curb side with the bricks, and I was kind of surprised that the loose ones are still there and not picked up.

You need to be careful walking along this sidewalk to begin with as it is very uneven, but those loose bricks just invite someone to trip over them.

If we ever get back to this area, it will be interesting to see the condition this sidewalk is in.

At the very least I hope those wayward bricks are gone!

This is the fifth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Two Gala Apples for Green Thumb Sunday

Two Gala Apples for Green Thumb Sunday

to gala apples hanging in a tree

Green Thumb Sunday Blogroll

How to join Green Thumb Sunday

I haven't done a Green Thumb Sunday post for a few weeks, so I will post this image of two Gala Apples for this one.

It was taken last fall, and I just couldn't resist them while walking through the orchard.

There were gorgeous specimens everywhere, but this one seemed just perfect with the light.

You can eat while you pick, and they tasted so good!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - Image Stabilization

Friday's Photo Tip - Image Stabilization

a floating buoy on the water

Image Stabilization is a new term when it comes to photography.

Before digital cameras came along, if this term was mentioned, it would probably be taken as a fancy term for "using a tripod".

And if we were to use a tripod at all times, then this image stabilization would not even be necessary, even with today's cameras.

But it does make life so much easier for a photographer to have this technology since it isn't always practical to use a tripod.

And just what does it do for photography?

It allows the photographer to shoot in lower light conditions with slower shutter speeds without using a tripod for stability. It detects slight movements of the camera body and compensates for them when it snaps the image.

The result is sharper images by hand held cameras with slower shutter speeds.

It used to be recommend with an SLR camera to not shoot below a shutter speed of 30 as it is pretty hard to hold everything very still and get a sharp image.

I have used 30 with no problems with my DSLR and I have also had good success with a shutter speed of 15 - without a tripod - so this technology does work.

But you won't find this image stabilization technology in most DSLRs.

It is in most point and shoot digital cameras, and the video cameras all have it also.

So why not the DSLR's?

Well, it is in one brand that I know of - Sony.

This technology is built into the camera, and what ever lens you put on the camera will be able to take advantage of this feature.

Most of the DSLR manufacturers have yet to add this feature in their camera bodies.

But they do make lenses that has this technology built into them. And they are very expensive.

Is it a necessary feature to consider when purchasing a DSLR?

I really don't think it is, especially when a tripod will do the job.

But when you are hiking around with a heavy zoom lens on the camera, it is awfully nice to have this feature when grabbing a quick image.

Even with a faster shutter speed, some of the lenses are heavy, and this image stabilization kicks in to save the photo.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ABC Wednesday - A is for Archway

A is for Archway............

a white archway against a blue sky

And so begins another round for our ABC Wednesday theme. We are now on round 5, and it has taken us two years to complete the previous 4 rounds. Please see the link at the bottom of the post if you are interested in joining us each Wednesday.

This week's A is an archway over a walkway that is part of the historical Strawbery Banke settlement in Porstmouth, NH.

I remember when I was back in my photography class over 28 years ago - one of the images in my portfolio was a black and white print I had made of this same structure.

I like the color in this one, but there was something about the black and white that fit so perfectly with this vintage scene, as this house dates back to the 1800's.

I didn't notice it at this time I took the photo - but if you look closely, you will see Christmas tree lights strung around the whole thing.

I tell you, I was not impressed at all when I noticed that in the post processing.

This whole Strawbery Banke museum area has been kept as original as possible, and those tacky lights just blow me away.

This photo was taken in early October - so there is no way that they could be Christmas decorations.

I am so glad I have the old photo of it. When I find the negative, I will scan it and post it so you can see it in it's true beauty, not this disappointing version.

This is the fifth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

From Plants to Fabric

From Plants to Fabric

macro texture of a bamboo cutting board

I find it amazing what can be done with bamboo. Pictured above is a bamboo cutting board, one of the many uses of this versatile, quick growing plant.

I was just reading about a pair of Nikon Eco Binoculars and they come in a carrying case that is made from fibers that are derived from the eucalyptus plant.

I have only seen bamboo used as wood and eucalyptus used as dried plants in arrangements.

But both are used to make clothing or fabric products from the pulp fibers in the plant.

These natural fibers are very strong and they are soft as silk against the skin.

They are quick growing which leads to quicker production.

Buying products that utilize these sustainable textiles makes a brighter future for our planet Earth.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - RAW vs JPG

Friday's Photo Tip - RAW vs JPG

raw banana bread dough in a baking pan

The debate to shoot RAW or JPG has gone on for years, and I believe it will always be this way.

Both sides have their pros and cons and the diehards for each side will continue to tout their way as the best.

For the most part, I shoot in the jpg format, but I have just had an experience that I think may have me changing my ways - but only on some photos.

When shooting jpg in the camera, the software in the camera compresses the file of the image, making it readable by most computer programs. It is considered the universal standard for photos.

When shooting raw, the file is saved without any compression. They are huge files, but they contain every exact pixel of info - no guessing going on with the raw format.

But every camera has a different way of processing raw files, and only one kind of software, designed just for it, can handle it most of the time. And when the firmware in the camera gets updated, it may need new software to process it. This makes old raw files obselete real quick.

A memory card will fill up extremely fast when shooting raw, and the processing of it takes longer too. If you are photoing action you need to wait for the camera to process the file before shooting the next frame.

Jpgs (also known as jpegs) allow you to fit more images on a memory card, and I have never had to wait for my camera to process them - it saves really quickly to the card.

Both types of files can be tweaked, but the raw ones need an extra step in the processing routine in order to make them tweakable in a program like photoshop. This is another program which just increases the processing time.

So, why would one want to shoot RAW when it makes more sense to shoot JPG?

I have been submitting images to a new stock agency, and they require the submitted file to be 48MB in size.

My jpg files are, on average, 28MB in size. This means I need to interpolate, or enlarge my file in order for it to even be considered for this agency.

When interpolating a compressed image, the program looks at the pixels and does its best to fill in the blank spaces to give this file 48MB of info. Since a jpg is compressed with a lot of guesswork to begin with, it is just more guessing which leads to artifacts and poor resolution when viewed at 100% in photoshop.

By using a RAW file, all of the info is there to interpolate with, not as much guessing going on as with the JPG. A cleaner and sharper image should be the result by interpolating a raw file as opposed to a jpg file.

Since I will only be sending certain images to this agency, I will shoot only the ones for them as RAW and will continue with JPG for all my other images.

But if one can afford the 24 megapixel DSLR, then none of this really matters - the JPGs will be just as gorgeous as the RAWs since the files will be so big to begin with.

It's always a numbers game!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ABC Wednesday - Z is for Zoom Lens

Z is for Zoom Lens............

several filters for a camera lens

No - that is not a zoom lens in the photo, but one of those filters pictured will be going on a new one that will arrive in the next day or two.

And man, am I excited!

I have spent many hours researching and comparing and reading about the different lenses that are available for my Sony DSLR.

As it uses many of the Minolta AF lenses, I have a huge selection to pick from, and it is a very involved job to find the right one.

I currently own a Minolta 70-210mm f4 beer can zoom lens that is a beauty, and I was hoping to find something with more reach - perhaps in the 300-400mm range.

But the prices on these babies is just ridiculous. The glass is top notch, so of course they are expensive, but for used Minolta lenses, I just couldn't see spending so much. And as much as I wanted a prime lens, I had to think twice about the zooms.

I checked what Sony had available, and I was able to watch the online auctions and snag a great deal on a Sony 70-300 f4.5-5.6 G SSM.

The G glass is the next best thing to the APO glass (those beautiful white lenses) which costs thousands of dollars.

I did a lot of comparisons on many different websites on how this lens performs, and it gets rave reviews, and the photos are gorgeous - both in color and sharpness.

The one I purchased is second hand, but from the list of the other lenses that he owns - I know he took good care of it.

Did I mention I am excited - my fingers are crossed for tomorrow!

This is the fourth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday's Photo Tip - From a Different Angle

Friday's Photo Tip - From a Different Angle

a clear glass bowl filled with cherry tomatoes

First - I must apologize for my lack of posting and missing last Friday's Photo tip.

Life has been quite busy with a few unexpecteds thrown in which demanded my attention.

I have got a very interesting post for this week.

I received a question from Martha, over at Stir, Laugh, Repeat. She asked:

"Do you have advice on taking pictures with a digital camera. I write cookbooks and some of my recipes are stored on my blogs. I like to take a picture of a new dish to add to the post but my pictures don't always give the dish justice. Any tips?"

She has a few blogs, and after looking through them (many of the recipes sound so good!),
I got quite excited - I can actually help!

My first and biggest piece of advice is to experiment with different angles.

It seems the most sensible thing to photograph the food from above with most of the plate included.

It is a pretty set-up with beautiful plates and placemats, but you want to showcase the food.

Try taking the cheesecake, pie, or cake from a side angle to show it's height and all the goodies it has inside.

And don't be afraid to get closer to the food. Macros (the close ups) will show some great textures - especially if it is a casserole or salad dish with many colorful ingredients.

It is amazing how moving yourself around the plate, higher, lower, eye level or angled will change the whole composition of the photo.

And don't forget the props - a knife with a pat of butter beside a muffin that has been cut in half and then photographed at eye level rather than from above.

And sometimes just the edge of the plate leading the eye into the food that takes up the rest of the photo works well too.

I can remember when I was in my first photo class. I was given a roll of 36 exposure film and was told to use the whole thing on a tree outside the school.

I was thinking, how can I possibly take 36 different photos of this tree. By the time I had finished, I could have easily filled another roll.

I don't have too many food photos, but here is a link to my gallery that contains some. Hopefully some of them will show you what I am talking about.

One more thing - don't forget the background. As you change your angle be sure to check what else you are including in the shot.

I like to prop up a white sheet then set the subject on and in front of it. Keeps everything clean and uncluttered, and it helps reflect the light onto my subject.

A digital camera allows you to experiment to your hearts content at a very low cost. Have fun exploring new angles and simply delete the photos that don't work, and try again!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ABC Wednesday - Y is for ............

Y is for ............

a y shaped crack in the dirt

Okay, I thought I was pushing it last week with the XX's, but this week is really a stretch.

This would be a Y shaped crack in the very dry dirt.

As you all know from my previous posts that it has been raining here for over three weeks so there is no chance of the ground to be in that extra dry condition as of this post.

This one was taken not this past spring, but a year before that.

A real dry spell created this crack and I figured it would work for this week's Y post.

One more hard letter next week with Z and I had better start giving it some thought.

These last few letters are the toughest ones!

This is the fourth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Making Adjustments

Making Adjustments

a needle and spool of thread

My daughter surprised us with the news that we are going to be grandparents towards the end of this year.

I couldn't think of a better Christmas gift than this new little bundle that will be entering our lives.

Many things are changing for her as she prepares to welcome this little one.

The baby clothes are starting to pile up in the drawer as are all the necessaries a baby needs - the bassinet, stroller, and baby tub.

When she came over last week she was wearing maternity clothes for the first time - and she looked so cute.

The fashionable clothes that are available today are so different from the ones I wore so many years ago.

She has a good eye for finding good deals on everything that she has purchased so far, and as she gets further along, I am sure she will look just as cute as she does now.

So far all has gone well. She has been feeling good and eating the right things, and I enjoy taking walks with her when she comes to visit.

Keeping the stress low and her happy is the goal of us all as we await the arrival of this new life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

ABC Wednesday - X is for XXX

X is for XXX............

crosses in a window pane

I am really pushing it this week. I have been involved with ABC Wednesday for all 4 rounds that it has been through, and even with the dictionary to give me an idea, I am running out of things to photograph for X.

So, I decided this time to go with the shape of X - as in these window panes.

These windows are on one the oldest houses in our state. It is the Sherburne House that is located at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH.

It was constructed circa 1695, and when touring this house one can view the various materials and methods of construction for that era.

The windows are single paned, and I can only think how drafty they must have been when the cold winter wind blew.

I love the history in these old houses and walking through them sends you back to another time.

This is the fourth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.


Visitors Since 09/05/07