Site moved to, redirecting in 1 second...

Stamping Is My Business!: Photography

4 posts categorized "Photography"

February 20, 2010

PHOTOGRAPHY - Memory Card Maintenance Tips

Has your camera's memory card ever failed on you? 

It doesn't happen often, but, over time, memory card failure will strike just about everyone.

There are a few things you can to, however, to keep your memory card in tip-top shape and minimize the chances of card failure.

Dave Johnson, of PC World, shares the following tips:

  1. Don't delete photos with your camera
  2. Format your card regularly
  3. Have a spare
  4. Know your card's life expectancy

And if you would permit me to add another:

     5.  Don't buy cheap cards!  There are reasons why some 4GB cards are $9.99 and others are $19.99.  If your photos are important to you, this is NOT the place to save a few dollars!

To read the full PC World article, click here.

February 12, 2010

PHOTOGRAPHY FRIDAY - Fuzzy photos? Here's How To Sharpen Them...

Have you ever taken a picture that looked great when you previewed it on the little screen in your camera, but was actually a little blurry or out of focus when you saw it on your computer screen at home?

It happens all the time, and (for me) it's one of the more annoying aspects of photography.

The truth is, everything looks good on that little screen!  The larger you make an image, though, in a print or on a larger screen, the more the imperfections will come out.

If you have trouble with sharpness in your photos, here are some tips for to help bring your pictures into focus:

1. Go manual - If you're relying on your camera's auto-focus, it's possible the lens is just slightly off.  Use the manual focus, instead, and you'll know your taking the sharpest picture possible.

2. Use a tripod - Most people don't realize our bodies are in constant motion.  Even when we think we're standing completely still, the beating of our hearts (and the resulting pulse in our hands and arms) move the camera.  So does the motion we have to make to press the button to take the picture.  Putting your camera on a tripod is the only way to really get your camera to a motionless state.  I took the photo below with a a tripod.  Given the composition, there's no way I would have gotten the sharpness without one:

Carl01 copy

3. Watch your shutter speed - The slower your shutter speed, the harder it is to capture a sharp image.  So, if you have to hold the camera when taking the picture, choose a fast shutter speed (1/500th of a second or higher) to freeze motion.

4. Watch your aperture - the smaller your f-stop, the more likely you'll get a sharp picture.  Try to set your f-stop to f/16 or f/22.

5. Use post-processing tools - finally, you're going to find, in some cases, you'll get a little blur or a fuzzy edge.  Sometimes, the conditions you're taking the pictures in doesn't allow for the steps above.  And, sometimes, a lens just takes fuzzy pictures.  If that's the case, use a program like Photoshop Elements and employ the Sharpen tool.  You can't overdo it.  It won't make a truly out of focus picture suddenly sharp.  It will, however, fix smaller focus issues.

If there's an aspect of photography you'd like to hear more about, e-mail me with a suggestion.

And, if you'd like to see more photography tips, click here.

November 20, 2009

PHOTOGRAPHY FRIDAY - Two Tips To Make Your Photos Stand Out

If you look at the photos you've taken over the years, you'll probably begin to notice some similarities in the way they're composed, as well as the point-of-view you're shooting from.

Taken one-at-a-time, these similarities don't matter much.  When you're looking at lots of photos at once, though.  Say, for example, in a scrapbook, these similarities take away some of the excitment the book should generate.

Here are two tips you can employ right away to raise the level of your photography and make each photo stand out:

image from photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net1. Foreground/Background Composition - I don't care how interesting a photo is.  You can always make it more interesting by placing something in the foreground.  This creates a greater depth in the photo and provides more eye candy for the viewer.John at Sesame 2

2. Perspective - If every one of your shots are taken straight-on, the 'wow' factor you gain when changing the perspective will amaze you.  Get down on the floor and shoot up.  Get up on a ladder and shoot down.  The possibilities are endless, but the effect will always be powerful.

By the way, I did get out to photograph the Leonid Meteor Shower this week.  Here's the best shot I took - Leonids in Orion:

image from

November 13, 2009

PHOTOGRAPHY FRIDAY - Photographing Next Week's Leonid Meteor Shower

image from This Monday night/Tuesday morning, we're going to be treated to one of the planet's best annual light shows - the Leonid Meteor Shower!

This year, astronomers are predicting better-than-average numbers, especially during the peak time of about 4:00 a.m. eastern, Tuesday morning.

Additionally, about 12 hours later, Australia and New Zealand readers may be treated to an "outburst," with the very real possibility of 500 shooting stars per hour.

And, since the moon won't be a factor next week, this year's Leonids present a rare photographic opportunity... and, if the pictures turn out well, a great scrapbooking one, too!

So, how do you get pictures like the one above?  Follow these steps using your DSLR digital camera:

  • Make sure your camera has a B or T setting (bulb setting).  Select that setting. 
  • Make sure you have a shutter release cable
  • Use your widest angle lens (less than 55mm works best)
  • Remove any glass filters you may have previously attached to the lens
  • Set your ISO to 100
  • Set your focus to infinity
  • Set your auto-focus to manual
  • Open up your aperture as far as you can (the lower the number, the better)
  • Now, find the darkest spot you can. Seriously, the darker the better, as even a little light will show up in your pictures due to the long exposure times.
  • Finding stable, level ground, attach your camera to your tripod and get yourself set up.
  • Rotate your lens so you're taking the widest angle shot you can.
  • Attach your shutter release cable to your camera and depress the cable.

As long as you keep the button depressed, the shutter of your camera will stay open.  Since you're shooting in such low-light conditions, the longer, the better.

Start with a 5-minute exposure.  At the end of five minutes, let go of the cable to close the shutter and see what you've got.  Increase or decrease your exposure times by 60 and 30-second intervals until you get a level of exposure you're happy with.

What you'll end up with are the stars stationary in the sky, and the meteors streaking across in long lines.  Be aware, though, the longer you keep your shutter open, the more likely you'll end up with 'star trails' due to the rotation of the Earth.

If you have a higher-end DSLR (which will handle photo noise more efficiently), you can increase the ISO and decrease the shutter speed.  For example, try ISO 800 for 60 seconds.

Finally, if it's cold where you live, don't forget to bundle up!  AND, you might want to bring along a few of those air-activated hand warmers to place around your lens to prevent condensation.

If you end up with a good photo, send it to me, or send me the link to your blog post with the photo.  I'll add it to this blog.

Good luck!