Digital Photography Tips to Help You Capture Life's Memories

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 10

Holiday Photo Tips…How to Take Great Holiday Photos!

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States, much of the world is now full swing into the Holiday Season. Hanukkah and Christmas are fast approaching and shortly after that we will celebrate the New Year.

Noah ChristmasThis time of year we have some great opportunities for photography. From family gatherings, to Christmas and New Year’s parties there are many opportunities to take pictures and preserve memories of family and friends.
Even beyond those special times with family and friends there are other opportunities to take some great pictures that capture the mood of this festive season.

Towns and homes are alive with Christmas lights, Christmas trees and many other holiday decorations all presenting photographers with a wide variety of subjects to photograph. Today’s digital cameras make it much easier to take photos of the holiday lights than ever before.

In this issue of Capturing Life's Memories we will cover a few quick tips to help you capture many great photos this holiday season.

Top Holiday Photo Tips

1. Keep your camera with you and take lots of photos. As you go about your holiday activities try and keep a camera with you and allow yourself to slowdown from the hustle and bustle of the season to take time to capture the many different types of photos available this time of year.

2. Take photos of the details of season. The holiday lights and decorations offer some great opportunities for an aspiring photographer to take some photos that might be suitable for sale on a stock photography site. Even if you have no interest in trying to sell stock photos trying to take photos that look like they are suitable for a magazine can make for some great additions to your family album as well. This might include photos of the holiday meal preparations, gift wrapping, decorations, etc. Try to capture the festive mood of the holidays through the small details we sometimes overlook.

3. Get close or zoom in. Fill the frame with your subject. Zoom in close on the details mentioned above. Try to capture the emotions of the children by focusing on their faces.

Christmas Cookies

4. Get creative. Experiment with different lighting, angles and perspectives to capture those special shots that just say WOW!

5. Try to use natural lighting. The soft glow of the holiday lights help set the mood and capture the ambiance of the season.

6. If you have a new camera, take it out of automatic mode and try adjusting your settings manually. Many digital cameras today have special low light modes. Try using the different modes and settings to learn what you camera is able to do.

7. The best time to shoot photos of outdoor holiday lights is at twilight. This is the time shortly after the sun goes down where there is still some color left in the sky. Shortly after the lights come on and the sky begins to turn dark is a great time to take photos of holiday lights. It allows you to get some color in the sky as well as capture the beauty of the lights.

holiday lights

8. Use the “Night View” or “Nighttime Portrait Mode” if your camera has one when taking pictures outdoors at night or if you are taking a portrait of a person at night. This helps avoid having the flash overwhelm the natural lighting and allows you to properly expose both the people and the background.

9. Taking pictures in low light settings presents some unique challenges that you need to overcome. First you must keep your shutter speed high enough to avoid camera shake. Using a tripod can help avoid this but you can also adjust your ISO to a higher setting which will allow for a faster shutter speed. But keep in mind that higher ISO’s also mean increased amounts of digital noise so knowing how to use the big three camera settings of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed is a key to taking good low light photos.

10. Think HDR. HDR or High Dynamic Range Photography is where you capture three or more images at different exposures and then use software to combine them into a single photo that brings out the full dynamic range of the image. For more information on this type of photography check out our page on HDR Photography.

Until Next Month

Christmas OrnamentEnjoy the holiday season and take lots of great photos.

A great way to get creative and create some cool lighting effects is with the inexpensive Bokeh Masters Kit . Using this kit will help create some cool bokeh effects especially when there is holiday lights in the background. Check it out at Amazon.com

I hope you capture many great photos and special memories this holiday season.

Until next month.

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 9

Fall is in the Air…Photographing the Beauty of Fall Colors

FlagsFor those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere, fall is upon us and with it comes the incredible beauty of the fall colors as the leaves change colors. For those of us who live near areas that have lots of trees and an abundance of fall color, autumn is a great time for landscape photography.
As the leaves change colors and the trees and hills come alive with color there are so many opportunities to capture some great photos.

In this month’s issue of Capturing Life’s Memories I will share with you a few tips on photographing fall colors.

Tips for Photographing Fall Colors

Wyandotte County Lake Fall Colors 21-Plan the photo. As with other types of photos some advanced planning can help us capture great fall color pictures. This begins with knowing where and when to shoot the colors. In many areas the “peak” time for fall colors can be a relatively short time frame. In these areas just a few days can make a big difference because once the leaves start falling from the trees that beautiful hillside full of color can quickly start showing some barren trees and less color in just the matter of a few days. Having some ideas of the best places to capture those stunning fall color photos from will also help you be prepared when the time is right.

2—Understanding the Light. Like almost all types of landscape photography some of the best time to photograph fall colors is during the golden hours. That is the time just before and just after sunrise or sunset. At this time the low angle of the sun produces a “warmer” light that can enhance the fall colors and really help “spotlight” the beautiful colors. Another good type of light for taking fall color photos is the diffused light of an overcast day. Even though you miss out on the dramatic skies, an overcast sky brings out a different softer quality light to the fall colors and is a good time for taking pictures. Still another time that is great for taking photos of fall colors is right after a rain. After a rain the air is normally very clear making the colors are often more vibrant.

Wyandotte County Lake Fall Colors 13--Using a filter. Two types of filters can help you improve your fall color photos. The first is a polarizing filter which can help reduce glare as well as increase the saturation of the colors. Polarizing filters work the best when the light is at a 90 degree angle but are worth trying even with different lighting conditions to see what if any affect they have on the image. The second type of filter that can be helpful is the UV filter. This type of filter can help reduce some of the haze in the sky and make for a better photo.

4--Adjust your white balance. Small adjustments to your white balance can make a big difference in how your photos of fall colors turn out. While the auto white balance settings normally tend to do a good job in most situations, experiment with your white balance settings especially on an overcast days when the light tends to have a cool, blue cast to it. Try to see if a simple white balance adjustment does not bring out more color in the photo. Even during the golden hours taking your camera off of auto white balance and using a daylight setting can help retain the “warm” colors the light at that time has. Of course you can also adjust your white balance after fact in most digital photo editing programs, but getting it right in camera is much better.

5--Remember that stunning fall colors are only one part of a great autumn image. Don’t become so enthralled with the beautiful colors that you ignore other things like composition, etc. It is easy for me to find myself so caught up with the beauty around me that I almost go into “snapshot mode” where I start taking picture after picture with not enough thought towards how I might be able to compose the image better. When I find myself starting to do this I need to remind myself to slow down really observe all there is before me. Then I can start “seeing” the photos and making small changes that can have a dramatic effect on the quality of my photo.

Until Next Month

To find out more information on when the peak time is for fall colors in your area you can do an internet search for the best times and location for taking fall photos in your area. Many state governments and tourism groups have pages that cover this subject.

Remember the best time to photograph fall colors is anytime you can. Even though we talked about different lighting conditions you can get good fall color photos in the middle of a bright sunny day as well. If you live in an area that does not have large numbers of trees look for different types of fall color photos. For example a single tree can be enough, you just need to explore it from different angles and take a different type of photo than the scenic vista full of fall colors.

The colors of fall also make a great time for taking portraits. Autumn is a good time to get out and explore. It presents a lot of opportunities for taking great pictures.

I hope you capture many great photos and special memories this fall.

Until next month.

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 8

A Few of My Favorite Things

Sunflower 2One thing I love about digital photography is how it encourages me to get out and explore the world around me.

With my camera in hand I can make an “adventure” exploring almost anything from my backyard to a local park to a trip around town or across the state or country.

Each adventure begins as I look for opportunities to “find a photograph” in the places I visit and the things I see. The challenge is to not only capture the obvious photos but to also capture to the ones that others overlook.

We live in amazing world full of colors, textures, plants, animals, people, etc. These present us with endless photographic opportunities. Also many of us live in areas where there are all kinds of events, scenic attractions, etc. that provide great photo opportunities. Wherever we find ourselves we are truly surrounded by great photos waiting to be captured.

For this month I would like to share with you a few of my favorite recent photographs and let you know a little about the story behind them and the camera settings used to capture these special memories.

Botanical Gardens, Gardens, Flowers, etc.

Botanical Gardens, gardens, and flowers, make for great photographic subjects. Here are few recent examples of photos from a recent trip to Powell Gardens in Missouri. One of the key elements for capturing images of butterflies and insects is patience. Local parks and gardens offer a great place for photography. When visiting them take your time and be patient. Also be sure to pay attention to the lighting. Sometimes slightly changing your angle will allow more dramatic lighting and result in a much better photograph.

butterfly 2This image of a butterfly was taken using a telephoto lens. The combination of longer focal range (500mm) and lower f-stop (f6.3) allowed for a nice blurred background and helping separate the butterfly from the background.

Another factor in making this a better photo is the angle the light is to the subject which helps to highlight the butterfly's wings.

To capture this photo I focused on the butterfly and waited until it had opened its wings. By shooting a series of photos of the butterfly I was able to get several different ones with this being one of my favorites.

butterflyHere is another photo of a butterfly taken during the same trip.

As you can see the angle of the light is slightly different on this photo but similar settings were used which again helped the butterfly standout from the background.

Because this photo did not have the direct lighting of the first one, the ISO was increased to 400 but the aperture remained the same at f6.3. Sometimes even slight changes to your camera settings can make a big difference in the photograph.

macro 2Just as patience is the key to many photographs it is especially important when trying to take macro photos of insects. Had I not been walking slowly and carefully while observing what was going on around me I would have overlooked these small insects hard at work.
For this photo I used the program mode on my camera with a shutter speed of 1/500 and an aperture of f6.3. This combination allowed an ISO of only 200 resulting in a good quality image.

Because the lighting was good enough I was able to capture this without using a tripod. My telephoto lens was zoomed in at 330mm keeping this photo well within the "reciprocal value" needed to obtain a sharp photo when hand-holding the camera.

macro exampleThe second image taken just a few minutes later uses the same setting. Again the combination of faster shutter speed and lower f-stop allows you to freeze the insect and have a limited depth of field to help separate the subject from the background.

Photographing butterflies and other insects can be challenging and fun. Often they move from flower to flower very fast but with proper technique, some patience and a little luck you can capture some great photos of these amazing and often colorful creatures.

water lillyThis is just one of many photos of flowers that were taken on my trip to Powell Gardens.

This photo was also shot using the program mode on my camera. The photo was captured using a shutter speed of 1/640 and an aperture of f9. This combination allowed me to keep the ISO speed at 200 allowing for a sharp, "noise free" image.

In order to "frame" the flower the way I wanted to I used a my telephoto lens zoomed in at 500mm and supported it using a monopod to help avoid any camera shake or motion blur.

For this image I used some of the powerful editing tools of ACDSee Pro 4.0 to help adjust the image and bring out the beauty of the flower and its reflection. While the original image was very good without any editing, it was slightly darker and I wanted to help bring out the reflection and color a little more, which the powerful editing tools in ACDSee Pro easily did.

Waterfalls, Scenic Vistas, wide open spaces, etc.

Waterfalls, scenic vistas and wide open spaces can all make for great photos. I am not sure what it is about waterfalls but they seem to draw photographers like magnets.
The area I live in has very few waterfalls and they are much smaller and less powerful than the majestic ones like Niagara Falls that draw millions of people each year to see their amazing power and beauty. Yet even though they are much smaller and less powerful even these waterfalls make for a great photographic subject.

There are many different ways of photographing waterfalls. Using a fast shutter speed allows you to "freeze" the water and results in one type of photograph while using a slow shutter speed will "blur" the water resulting in those almost surreal photos as the water takes on a different perspective.

On a recent trip across Kansas I went to Pillsbury Crossing outside of Manhattan, Kansas to take a picture of the waterfall there. I was hoping to take pictures at the slow shutter speeds necessary to blur the water but ended up not being able to accomplish that for a variety of reasons. First of all I left the attachment plate to my tripod at home attached to my camcorder...rule one always double check all equipment before leaving home. Next I was at the waterfall on a bright sunny day in the middle of the afternoon and I simply could not adjust my shutter speed to be low enough without over exposing the image. While I still captured some great photos of the waterfall I did not get the type of photo I had hoped to because I simply was not prepared.

Pillsbury Crossing

On my next trip there I will be sure to try and be there either early in the morning or early evening so the light is less direct. I will also be sure to have my tripod and some neutral density filters with me to allow me to have everything needed to slow down the shutter speed and come away with that beautiful waterfall picture with the silky smooth water.

The moral of this story is to always double check your equipment before you leave for a day of photography and plan ahead so you are there at the right time of day and with all the equipment needed to capture the type of photograph you are looking for.

Even though I did not get the photo I was hoping for, I did get some good photos of this scenic area including this panorama of the waterfall. This photo is actually a series of individual photos taken in vertical format and then "stitched" together using the auto merge function of PhotoShop CS5. The result is a high resolution panoramic picture seen above.

Another photo taken while traveling through Kansas is this one taken at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area outside of Great Bend, Kansas. As I was driving through the area hoping to get some photographs of birds or wildlife I instead captured this panoramic image of a large thunderstorm building in the distance.

Cheyenne Bottoms Panorama

This photo, like the one of the waterfall above is actually a series of photos taken in vertical format and then merged together in Photoshop to create one large panoramic image.

Taking photos of storms presents its own unique set of challenges. While this particular one was quite a distance away and of no danger, we must be very careful when there is lightning or other dangerous weather conditions. If you do decide to try and take photos of approaching storms be sure and do so safely and with proper precautions.

Sunsets and Sunrises

Sunsets and Sunrises are another favorite of mine to photograph. When photographing sunrises and sunsets you have the choice to simply capture the beauty of the scene without any foreground objects or you can choose to include some interesting foreground subject and silhouette it against the sunrise or sunset. Both make for dramatic and beautiful photos.
This series of sunrise photos taken in a wheat field show you how making a few changes to your camera settings or photographing the subject from a slightly different angle can give you dramatically different photos.

When I decided to take some photos of a wheat field at sunrise I had a specific image in mind that I was trying to capture. That led me to take lots of photos using different settings and from different angles. In doing so I not only captured the type of image I was hoping to but also many other vastly different images as well.

I have chosen these three photos as examples of how minor changes in your camera settings or selecting a different angle or perspective can dramatically change the photo.

Wheat SunriseThe first image is the one that had in mind when I began my photo shoot that morning. It is one of wheat being silhouetted in front of the rising sun. For this image I adjusted my exposure compensation to -1.3ev to help make the foreground darker while bringing out the color of the sunrise. To capture it I used the program mode on my camera with a shutter speed of 1/640, aperture of f13 and ISO of 200. Taken at 40mm using an 18-70mm lens allowed me to capture the type of image I was trying to capture.

WheatThe second image was taken just a few minutes later and shows you just how much a change in angle or perspective can change the image being captured. For this photo I turned away from the sunrise and using a lower angle I captured a photo looking up towards the morning sky. Most of the settings were very similar to the first photo, although I did not use any exposure compensation and instead let the cameras normal exposure capture a much lighter image.

wheat sunrise1For the third image I again was trying to capture a silhouette of the wheat with the sunrise in the background. But instead of using the wider angle 40mm focal length I switched to a telephoto lens and zoomed in to 230mm while using aperture priority to minimize my depth of field. This combination allowed for the smoother "bokeh" or blurred background that is noticeable in this picture.

Taking photos at sunrise or sunset presents its own unique sets of challenges. As in many other photographic settings, slight changes in your perspective or camera settings can produce vastly different results.

Old towns, deserted buildings, off the beaten path places, etc.

Old towns, deserted buildings, off the beaten path places also are another of my favorite subjects to photograph.
Often in our busy lives we drive right by these small towns or abandoned buildings with scarcely a thought. Yet often they hold some great photographic opportunities if we slow down and take time to explore them.

Bobs Market

I took this photo of Bobs Market on the almost deserted main street in small town in Western Kansas. I liked this particular building because of subtle colors and the details of the decaying bricks and wood. It reminded me of times gone by and I feel like recording pictures of these types of places helps preserve a of our history and captures a small piece of Americana.

For this photo I used a focal length of 55mm and and ISO of 200, aperture of f13 and shutter speed of 1/125 second. After taking the photo I adjusted the colors and lighting slightly useing ACDSee Pro 4.0. After that I loaded the photo into Photoshop CS4 and used Topaz Labs Adjust Photoshop Filter on it.

This filter helps bring out the details in the brick and wood and adjusts the color from a more dramatic photo. If you are not familiar with Topaz Filters you should try them out. You can download a free 30 day trial of Topaz Adjust here.

Birds, animals, wildlife, etc.

RacconBirds and wildlife are some of my favorite things to photograph. That is why choosing just one image to share with from this group of subjects was hard. Although I finally decided on this photograph of a raccoon on a road sign.
This photo is one of those that was only captured because I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I had been out photographing a sunset at Monument Rocks in Western Kansas and was slowly making my way along the dirt roads heading back to the main highway. As I was driving along I caught a glimpse of something on top of a road sign and after stopping and backing up discovered this little raccoon.

I suspect he had probably climbed the road sign as a way of getting away from some predator. Quickly grabbing my camera, I took several pictures of him trying to get one that captured the moment. Because of the reflective paint on the sign and the dark night it was hard to find a setting or angle that allowed me to get a good picture. But by adjusting my angle and using a flash I finally was able to get this picture which I liked.

Taken at 70mm with flash and using an ISO of 800, aperture of f5.6 and shutter speed of 1/125 second, I was able to get a well exposed image by taking it from the back side of the road sign. After taking several photos I left the raccoon hanging there and drove off into the night.

One reason I like this photo is for image it can convey. This small raccoon found his shelter on top of this lonely road sign in the middle of Western Kansas. As the highest thing around it provided him with protection from whatever predator had "treed" him there. As long as he would "hang in there" he would be safe. I could not help but think of the irony of him holding on for safety to a road sign riddled with bullet holes.

I suspect many of us have had times where we too "hung on" to whatever could support us through our difficult days, much like that small raccoon was that night in Kansas.

I hope that you have enjoyed seeing some of my favorite photos from this summer. I would love for you to share some of you favorite photos and the stories behind them with myself and the visitors to my website.

If you would like to share a photo you can easily do so by filling out the form at the bottom of my page on Vacation Photography Tips.

Until Next Month,

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 7

Nighttime Photography Tips

Fireworks at Kaufman StadiumTaking low light photos of nighttime scenes can be both challenging and fun. We all know that light is important to getting good photographs but that does not mean we should put away our cameras after the sun goes down. Instead we should embrace the challenge that nighttime photography presents and after learning a few simple techniques set out to capture some breathtaking nighttime photos.

In this issue of Capturing Life’s Memories I will cover a few of the basic requirements and techniques needed for successful nighttime photography. I hope you will find this informative and inspirational enough to venture out into the night and see what kinds of photos you can capture.

Click here for more information on how to take pictures of fireworks like the one above.

Equipment for Nighttime Photography

London at nightYour Camera…a DSLR or other interchangeable lens camera is the best type of camera for nighttime photography. The more compact point-and-shoot cameras often do not have the manual controls needed for nighttime photography. The advantage of a DSLR or Four Thirds format camera is you have the ability to use a full manual mode allowing you control over all your camera controls. This along with a longer shutter speed and less digital noise gives you more flexibility over controlling the exposure of the photo. For example many DSLR’s have a “blub” mode which simply means the shutter will stay open for as long as the shutter button is depressed. This allows you to have full control over your shutter speed. Smaller point and shoot and super zoom cameras typically do not have this feature.

However that does not mean that if you do not have a DSLR you cannot take good nighttime photos. Many point-and-shoot cameras have special modes, such as twilight or nighttime mode. Some even have manual modes, which allow you even more control. My super zoom Sony DSC-HX1 has a full manual mode but the shutter speed is limited to 30 seconds instead of the longer “bulb” mode on my DSLR. While it is able to capture some great nighttime photos overall the DSLR is better suited for nighttime photography.

Your Tripod…No matter what type of camera you have you need a good, solid tripod for nighttime photography. The tripod needs to be heavy duty enough to easily support your camera and lens. For smaller cameras you can get by with a lighter weight tripod, but if you have a DSLR you will need a more expensive heavy duty model. When considering tripods you want to make sure it is rated to support the weight of your camera. A good ball head is also needed to allow you to shoot in both vertical and horizontal modes and to allow you to easily adjust the tripod. While fluid head tripods are great for video use or when panning, for most types of photography a fluid head is less preferred than a good, high-quality ball head.

A Remote Cable Release…when shooting at slow shutter speeds that can be several seconds long any camera movement can induce motion blur in the image or decrease the sharpness of the image. Using either a remote control or a remote cable release allows you to start and stop the shutter without inducing any camera shake that might happen by simply pushing on the shutter button. Many if not most DSLR’s accept a remote cable release that can allow you to “lock” the shutter open for extremely long nighttime exposures.

A Small Flashlight…while not a requirement, having a flashlight can be invaluable when making camera adjustments for nighttime photography. This is especially important if you will be taking photos where there is little if any ambient light available.

Camera Settings for Nighttime Photography

Cityscape at NightGenerally speaking you will want to keep your ISO speed as low as possible when shooting longer exposure nighttime scenes. Of course it really depends on your subject because if there are people or you want to try and freeze the action you will need a faster shutter speed and therefore a larger ISO speed to ensure enough light falls on the image sensor to properly expose it.

Full manual control is normally best as it allows you more control over the key camera settings. Since low light situations can prevent the camera’s autofocus from “locking in” on a subject it is best to use manual focus when shooting fireworks or similar subjects. Using manual focus allows you to lock in the focus to help avoid the camera’s autofocus circuits from “hunting” or searching for a good focal point.

In order to help create special “star effects” on the bright points of light in the photo, such as street lights, etc., you should use a longer shutter speed and smaller aperture setting. An aperture setting of between F/22 and F/32 can help produce a “star effect” on street lights as the lights are being “shaped” by the camera’s aperture blades. Of course if you use a smaller aperture setting you will need to adjust the shutter speed to allow enough light to properly expose the image.

Click here for more information on camera settings such as ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

Using Flash for Nighttime Photography

Most of what we have been discussing so far has to do with natural light nighttime photography. However there are some cases such as nighttime portraits where you will need to use a flash to light your subject. The problem with using flash it that normal flash modes can “ruin” the nighttime atmosphere that you want in your photo. This happens when the flash properly lights the subject but the background is too dark to show any detail. This is where the “slow-sync” flash setting can save the day. This special flash setting that most DSLR’s have allows the flash to be used to properly expose the subject while still allowing the camera to use a slower shutter speed to make sure the background retains that pleasing nighttime atmosphere.

Creating Special “Hollywood Style” Bokeh in Your Nighttime Photography Pictures.

The Bokeh Masters Kit is an inexpensive accessory designed to allow you to create special “bokeh” effects in your nighttime photography. Using the Bokeh Master kit allows you to create different shaped patterns in the lights of your nighttime scene. From circles to stars and everything in between this handy accessory is fun to play with and can help you produce some great nighttime special effects.

I trust these nighttime photography tips have been helpful to you. Until next time keep “capturing life’s memories one picture at a time.”

Until Next Month,

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 6

See the Light for Better Photos!

Flowers and SeaPhotography is all about light. In fact the word itself is a combination of “photo” which means “light” and “graphy” which means “representing or recording” and that is exactly what photography does it records light.

Is it any wonder then that light is one of the most important aspects of photography? Yet how often do we snap away taking picture after picture with little thought to the lighting and then when we print them out or view them on the computer screen we are disappointed with the pictures our camera takes? Yet the problem is normally not the camera but in our failure to “see the light”.

The more aware we are of how even subtle changes in light can dramatically affect our photos the closer we will come to understanding how to “control the light” so we can capture the best possible photo for any given situation.

Sometimes this can be as simple as changing our angle or perspective or adjusting our camera settings. Other times it will mean moving our subject to a different location, changing the time we take the photograph, or using some type of light modifier or external light source to achieve the light we need to capture the photo the way we want it to look.

Here are some quick tips on both “seeing the light” and “controlling the light” , both of which are important to becoming a better photographer.

Changing our angle or perspective

Slight changes in the angle or perspective to our subject can sometimes make a big difference in how the light falls on them and even alter the “mood” of the photo. Trying different angles and viewpoints can help us capture a better image and sometimes minor adjustments can make a big difference in how the light falls on the subject.

For example at sunrise or sunset having your subject face the light will bathe them in a rich colorful light but have them stand with their back to the light and you can easily create a silhouette portrait that will be give us a totally different photo.

A slight change in angle can often help avoid glare from hitting the subject or avoid lens flare which is a reflection of light from the front of the lens. Finding the best angle and view is part of what separates a photographer from someone who simply takes snapshots.

Changing our camera settings

Adjusting our camera settings will allow us to compensate for less than ideal lighting conditions. This is where using the “exposure compensation” feature of a camera becomes invaluable.

For example taking pictures of people with the light at their back is known as a “back-lighting” condition. It often results in the photo being exposed for the brighter background and the subject is then too dark. Adjusting our exposure compensation will allow us to properly expose the subject without over exposing the background too much.

Of course you can also use fill flash in those conditions with excellent results as well. Slight adjustments to our exposure can help bring out the details in a dark subject and result in a much better picture. That is why learning to use the different modes and features of our camera is so important.

Moving to a different location

Changing location is often a great thing to do when taking pictures of people during the harsh, midday sun. Moving out of the direct sun into the shade of a tree is a good way of getting a more pleasing light for taking portraits. Of course this also works at those times of day when the shadows are longer. Changing our location and or angle to the subject can dramatically change the way the shadows fall and the overall “mood” of our photo.

Changing the time we take the photograph.

The time of day we take a photograph can make all the difference in the world. Subjects look different at different hours of the day. Even with photographing people if we want to use natural lighting the time of day can make a big difference in how our photos turn out.

Here are brief descriptions of the advantages and disadvantages of different times of the day.

Before Dawn—too dark for taking pictures of people but a great time for landscape photography. Using a tripod in the pre-dawn hours can help us capture those foggy, misty mornings which can give our landscape photos a surreal effect. Long exposure photos can help you capture some really cool images in the pre-dawn hours and minutes.

Kansas SunsetSunrise and Sunset—a time of long shadows and pleasing light can be a good time regardless of your subject matter. Identify where the sun will rise or fall and plan your picture accordingly. Of course sunrise and sunset hours are great times for capturing landscape photos with colorful skies. On many days the sunrise or sunset itself can become the subject because of the overwhelming beauty that is often presented to us at the beginning and end of each day.

Early Morning and Late Afternoon—these are known as the “golden hours” because the warm, golden light. The warm light and soft shadows during these hours often make for the best lighting of the day. These times are especially good for portraits and landscapes.

High Noon—the midday hours is a time of harsh shadows and stark lighting. These hours are generally not the best time for taking pictures of people or landscapes but like anytime of the day there are ways to use the light to our advantage and with some creativity you might find that unusual angle to capture a great photo even when the light is not the best type.

Dusk and Early Evening—are great times for landscapes and pictures of buildings and city skylines. Using a tripod and longer exposure can result in a dark blue sky with your subject bathed in the street lights and floodlights that come on during the twilight hours.

Night time—even the darkest of nights present us with chances for some imaginative photography. Whether it is taking pictures of star-trails or the light streaks of cars on a highway, long exposure nighttime photography can be fun and exciting.

Using light modifiers or external light sources

External light sources can be anything from a on camera flash to external lighting such as photography strobes, etc. Using either the on camera flash or a hot-shoe flash for fill-flash can often improve your daytime portraits by helping eliminate shadows on the subject. There are several different types of light modifiers that can cover these flashes to produce a more pleasing “softer” flash effect. Many external flashes also allow you to “bounce” the flash which also softens the flash effect and avoids some of the shortcomings of direct flash.

Another type of light modifier that can be useful in natural lighting is a reflector. This can be something as simple as a large white sheet of paper or cardboard to special designed reflectors that will help eliminate shadows and result in a softer light on the subject. Reflectors and or wireless flashes both can be used to help light your subject from two different angles which often results in more pleasing portraits.

Seeing and Controlling the Light is something all of us can learn.

Sea LionBecause photography is all about recording or “capturing” light the better we become at understanding how different lighting conditions will affect a photo, the better we will be able to take good pictures rather than simply snapshots.

Understanding how to control our cameras in any lighting condition and with any subject will allow us to take great photos in challenging lighting conditions.

Instead of being disappointed with the “bad photos our cameras take” being able to "See the Light" will help us be able to cherish those special moments of life that we captured through the wonderful world of photography.

Until Next Month,

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 5

Quick Travel Photography Tips for Springtime Travel!

Flower1May is already upon us and spring is right around the corner. For those of us who live in areas that experience all four seasons, the warmer days of spring and even summer can be great motivation to get out and do some sightseeing.

Whether it is a summer vacation or just a day trip to some scenic area close to home the warmer days ahead offer us some great opportunities for travel and sightseeing trips.

In this month’s issue of Capturing Life’s Memories we will cover some basic travel photography tips to keep in mind on your next vacation or trip.

Here Are Some Quick Travel Photography Tips

1. Start early in the morning. This not only allows you to take advantage of the early morning Golden Hour but it also can help you avoid crowds at popular tourist spots.

2. If you are new to that area check out postcards and travel magazines so you are familiar with some of the top photo spots around you. Postcards and travel magazines are also useful to show you different angles or perspectives to take pictures from.

3. Look for those photos that capture the ambiance of the place being visited. That might include photos of unique storefronts, a farmers market or some other type of open air market place. It can also include pictures of that quaint restaurant with the unique decorations appetizing food, or great scenic view.

4. Get permission to photograph local people when in unique settings. Ask permission to get the shopkeeper in his shop or a street vendor on the corner. Capture the faces and expressions of the people and places you visit.

5. Take advantage of being able to photograph subjects or activities you would not be able to at home. For example if you are vacationing at a beach or lake try to get photos of some of the watersports such as surfing or skiing.

6. Look for opportunities to photograph some of the local wildlife.

7. Don’t put your camera away at dark. Capture the sunsets if possible. At twilight and after dark look for those interesting signs, busy streets and other shots. Take pictures of interesting and historical buildings that are brightly lit up by floodlights, etc.

8. Take “stock” type pictures. By this I mean take pictures like you might see in a magazine or on a webpage. This could include pictures of the meal at a high end restaurant or local cafe. Or it might be taking photos of the different textures, etc. and other everyday objects that can complement your family and scenic pictures and help bring back all the memories of your vacation or trip.

I hope you enjoy these quick travel photography tips. Even if you are staying close to home or just going through your day to day activities you can still use some of these tips to help stimulate your creative genius and capture some great photos right in your backyard or neighborhood.

Until Next Month,

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 4

Unleash Your Creative Genius…Or How to Find Cool Photographs in Overlooked Places!

As a photographer we can easily pass up great chances to take cool and creative photographs because we overlook so many photographic opportunities around us.

Often I find myself so intent on photographing my main subject, whether that is a baseball game, some scenic vista, an approaching storm, my kids, etc., that I overlook those unusual and interesting photo opportunities that are around all of us almost every day.

You might be thinking…what interesting photo opportunities? We live and work in a wonderful world full of interesting textures, fascinating details, and spectacular colors.

texture exampleAll of which can make for some dramatic and interesting photos if we will take the time to look for them and slow down long enough to really explore the world we live in.

Many of the conceptual or creative photos that can be captured of these types of subjects have potential to make us money in the stock photography market, or simply be a great picture to add to our portfolio, or as a conversation starter.

Even if you are not really “into” that type of abstract or conceptual photography, spending some time finding and photographing these overlooked subjects can be a great way of developing your photographic skills and help develop your “eye” for a great photograph of the things you love to take pictures of.

Here are few quick tips for unleashing your creative genius and finding those cool photographs in overlooked places.

wormy treeGetting a cool image out of the everyday things that surrounds us begins with training our eye to look for images in areas others overlook.

Once you develop your eye for unusual texture and color patterns you will begin to see photographic opportunities all around you. There can be amazing potential for close-up abstract photos full of interesting colors, textures and details in places we normally overlook.

1. Look for bold or contrasting colors in a scene. Peeling paint can add dramatic texture. Zoom in for a close up shot of the details and fill your frame with the bold colors and cool textures.

2. Look closely at the details many people overlook. It might be a pattern or texture or some other eye-catching detail that you can zoom in on and get a cool abstract photo from. Using a macro lens will help you get closer and capture some amazing details and textures in the most mundane objects.

3. Develop an eye for textures. Different textures make for interesting conceptual and abstract photographs when shot properly. Look for the right angle to capture the texture in a way it really stands out. Side lighting will help bring out the textures and the more depth you can get the better your images will be.

4. Identify those everyday things we normally pass by that are full of photographic opportunities if we get close and look at the details. Examples include abandoned buildings, a picnic table with peeling paint, rusty autos or other items. There are simply too many possibilities to name them all. We are often surrounded by vibrant colors, interesting patterns, details and textures, all of which can make for a great photographic opportunities.

As you learn to explore the often overlooked world of abstract, texture, colors and details around you, you will also need to adjust your camera settings to produce different effects. Try shooting the same scene from multiple angles and with different f-stops to produce varying depth of field.

As the warmer weather of spring and summer approach grab your camera and start exploring the overlooked world full of fascinating textures, colors and details. It is fun way of expanding your photographic interests as well as improving your skills as a photographer.

Hope you capture many great memories this month.

Have fun and be safe!

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 3

In Like a Lion...Out Like a Lamb!

March is a month that is famous…or maybe infamous…for its unusual weather in many areas of the United States. In fact there are a couple of common sayings concerning this this month’s weather patterns.

March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. or... March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb!

Storm CloudsThe unpredictable and sometimes unusual weather patterns associated with this time of changing seasons was brought home recently here in the Midwest.

Within a few days we have had near record high temperatures, followed by several inches of snow, which gave way to warmer temperatures again...then that was followed by fog, sleet, hail and thunderstorms, complete with tornado warnings all on the same day!

OK you might be asking…what does your crazy weather have to do with my photography?

Glad you asked…I mentioned it because March with all its weather madness and fluctuations is a great time for you to take some interesting weather photos…and taking weather photos can be both fun and challenging.

There is something awe inspiring when powerful storms are in the air and being able to witness and even capture some of that majesty and power through photography can be a great experience.

So without further ado…here are some quick weather photography tips for you to keep in mind this month as you are out and about.

Stormy Weather Photography Tips

1. Embrace the weather don’t fight it. This is especially important if you are traveling and the weather does not cooperate. Look for the extraordinary scenes that can come up with the changing weather.

2. Keep up to date on the weather forecast and always be on the lookout for those scenes and locations where a bank of fog or some other type of weather change could give your photo that magical, mystical look. That way when the chance comes and fog is in the forecast you can be prepared to capture that picturesque scene.

3. Stormy weather can present changing light conditions that can be hard to expose for. For best results use the exposure compensation feature to quickly adjust your exposure to what best captures the scene. One easy way of doing that is by using the exposure compensation bracketing feature, if your camera has one. That allows you to take a series of photos while slightly overexposing for one and under exposing for another. This gives you three photos taken at slightly different exposures to play with and see which exposure captures the mood of that scene.

4. While it might be tempting to stay at home on a rainy day, it can also provide some great photographic opportunities. The rain can help bring out the colors of the scene and provide you with lots of interesting reflections and patterns. Of course don’t forget the chance of capturing a great picture of a rainbow at the end of the storm. If you see the storm clouds starting to break up, note the position of the sun and turn your back to it as rainbows will normally appear on the side of the storm that is towards the sun.

5. Speaking of rainbows a circular polarizing filter can help saturate the colors of the rainbow. Another trick is to use the exposure compensation to under-expose the picture by a small amount. Again exposure bracketing can help here as well.

6. Stormy weather also provides many opportunities to try using different shutter speeds to see what type of effect you will get and how the scene can change based on a few simple adjustments to your camera.

OK…are you ready to get out and take some pictures the next time the unpredictable and ever changing March weather provides you with a great chance to take some cool weather related photos?

If so then be sure to be safe because as beautiful as those storm clouds can be they can also be very dangerous.

Here a few quick tips to help you stay safe no matter what the weather is like.

1. Be aware of your surroundings. If it is raining be aware of the possibility of flash flooding. If you are photographing an approaching lightning storm be aware of things like fences, etc. that can conduct a strike from miles away.

2. If you are taking pictures of a lightning storm at night be on the watch for animals or even humans that might pose a threat.

3. In wet and rainy conditions have some type of cover for your camera to keep it dry. For years I used one made of an old heavy raincoat that did a relatively good job even if it did not look that great. Of course there are also several well-made rain covers on the market today. I bought a set of fairly set of fairly in-expensive covers that I am ready to try out this year and put to rest my trusty homemade rain cover.

4. What if you don’t have a rain cover…you can make one from a garbage bag in a pinch…or simply look for ways to keep your camera dry. You can try taking photos out of your car or even better look for some type of overhead cover that will keep you dry but also offer a good view of your subject or the approaching storm.

Hope you enjoyed this month's Newsletter!

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 2

February is here and Romance is in the Air!

It’s February and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is a day when many people focus on romance and giving gifts to that special person in their life. Because of that it presents many different photo opportunities, whether it is taking pictures of your children and their valentine boxes, photos of your loved ones, or a romantic photo of or with that special person in your life.

This issue of Capturing Life’s Memories features some basic Valentine Day Photo Tips as well as some other photo ideas for you to consider. It also highlights a couple of outstanding product updates that have been recently announced. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Capturing Life’s Memories….and are able to enjoy and capture many special memories this month.

Valentine Day Photo Tips

• Be sure and watch the background in your scene. Avoid distracting backgrounds that will take the focus away from your subject.

• It you are taking pictures of people try to capture those “real life” moments. While posed photos are good…be ready to capture candid shots as well…sometimes the unexpected spontaneous moment makes for the best picture of all.

• Do some creative editing in your favorite photo editing software. Effects like a “soft focus” effect or a theme related border can help create a romantic, whimsical or enchanting mood to your Valentine Day photos. Check out free online photo editors like Picnik for some creative and fun ways of adding theme related content or effects to your photos

• Use Valentine Day related props. Props are especially great when taking photos of children. There are many different Valentine Day related items that can be used in your photo. Have fun and capture the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

• When photographing kids get down to their level. Try different angles to find the best one to take their picture from.

• Zoom in for close-ups. Capture the emotions of the day…that special smile, the joy of receiving a special gift, etc.

• Another creative editing effect that can be very powerful on Valentine Day photos is selective or spot color editing. This is where you have most of the picture be black and white and then have one area or one color that is rendered in color. With the bright reds associated with Valentine Day using selective color editing can make for some great photos.

• Use natural lighting when possible. Natural lighting can help create a more “romantic mode” than the brighter light of a flash.

• Avoid using flash when taking an outdoor portrait at night. Many cameras have special modes for low light portraits. Using that mode or adjusting your settings can help keep the background from being completely “blacked out” and when used correctly will make for a better looking picture.

• Silhouette photos can be powerful ways of capturing a romantic mood and are easy to take.

• Capture the memories of your Valentine Day celebration by taking photos of the different moments or aspects of the day. Include the gift from your loved one, the table setting of a romantic candle lit table, a beautiful sunset that was shared, etc.

Additional Photo Ideas

February presents some great opportunities for photographers to focus on taking “stock” photos as there are many different themes or subjects one can capture that could be sold on one of the many stock photography sites,

With all the bright colors, flowers, and Valentine Day products available you have many opportunities to experiment with different types of product photography and depending upon your location it might even be a good time to go out and do some street photography…capturing those special moments and scenes that could become the background for the next bestselling greeting card.

In addition to Valentine Day photos, there are many other opportunities this month for you to get out and take photos. If you live in a colder climate venture out to the local sledding hill, ice skating area, etc. and capture some great seasonal photos of people enjoying winter.

Hot Products

Anthropics Technology has released the latest version of Portrait Professional. This is an outstanding software program that does an amazing job of quickly and easily doing professional retouching of portraits. If you are someone who takes a lot of portraits…this is a must have piece of digital editing software. It quickly allows you to get rid of skin imperfections, reduce wrinkles, and make special adjustments to all aspects of a person’s face. Version 10 offers several improved features and is currently on sale. Download a free trial copy yourself and see how this amazing software program can quickly improve your portraits.

You can find more details on Portrait Professional V 10 here….

Topaz Labs also announced an upgrade to ReMask 3 its popular masking plug-in for Adobe Photoshop.

This is a free upgrade for existing ReMask 3.0 customers and includes many new features as requested by users:

1. Increased speed and quality in foreground recovery processing - now twice as fast!

2. Improved Magic brush performance.

3. New menu items to save and load trimap and mask, allowing users to save and re-start partial results.

4. And much more...

For anyone not familiar with Topaz Labs products they make some of the best Photoshop Plugins available. All of which are available as fully functional trial downloads so you can check them out before you buy.

Topaz ReMask 3 is considered by many as one of the most effective and easy ways to extract complex objects, such as hair and wedding veils. It also greatly simplifies some common photography and design tasks, such as background replacement and selective adjustments.

You can find more details on Topaz ReMask 3.1 here….

Special Deals

Several companies are featuring special Valentine Day Sales this month. Here are few of the better ones I wanted to pass along to you.

Magazines.com is offering $5.00 off any magazine subscription this month as part of its Valentine Day promotion. This is a great opportunity to buy a magazine subscription for that special photographer in your life...or treat yourself to anyone of the many great magazines they offer for a highly reduced price.

Magazines.com, Inc.

PhotoWorks is offering 20% off any order. They feature a number of great photo gift ideas as well as all types of photo prints. Take advantage of this special sale and order some prints or photo gifts featuring your favorite photos.

If you have ever wanted to try your hand at green screen photography now is a great time to get started. Green Screen Wizard has announced a special sale this month. Check it out here:

Green Screen Wizard Valentine's Day Special is a complete getting started package with software, green screen, and 120 backgrounds! Special price is just $79.95 ($184 if purchased separately). Learn more now!

Hope you enjoyed this month’s Capturing Life’s Memories….

Alan

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Capturing Life's Memories Volume 1

Winter is Here!...and excitement is in the air!

You might be thinking what excitement?...and the answer is the introduction of new cameras and other electronics at the annual CES Show in Las Vegas! Every year in January thousands of people and hundreds of companies converge in Las Vegas, NV for the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest electronic shows of the year. It is always an exciting time as new products are introduced and we can get a glimpse of upcoming technology, etc. I will be highlighting a few of the new cameras in this issue of Capturing Life’s Memories as well as covering a few quick photo tips for taking winter photos and also passing along some special offers on some great products.

Winter Photo Tips

Winter photography presents some unique challenges to those of us who live in cold climates. Not only does the cold itself present challenges to us and possibly even our equipment but also snow covered scenes present unique challenges in order to get a good exposure. Here are few quick winter photo tips to help you get great winter photos!

Protect Your Camera…

1. Some say you should keep your camera warm by keeping it under your coat…others say the opposite. So what should you do? Avoid large temperature swings that can cause condensation on your lens and on or in your camera. Most cameras will operate fine down to temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but warming and cooling of the camera can cause condensation. Avoid putting your camera under your coat if you have been sweating as the high humidity can cause problems.

2. Have extra batteries along. Cold temperatures can reduce battery life...be smart and have an extra battery or batteries with you. Be sure to keep your extra battery warm. One way of keeping an extra batter warm is to put it in your pocket with a disposable hand warmer.

3. Keep your camera dry. If it is snowing hard enough, protect your camera using a clear plastic bag or even better…one of the many economical weatherproof camera covers available.

4. Brush snow off of your camera or lens instead of blowing it off. Your breath can cause condensation on the camera or lens.

5. Be careful as plastic becomes brittle in colder temperatures. This can make battery or memory card doors more susceptible to damage.

6. Also note that LCD’s displays can be affected by extreme cold. They can become slow to refresh or lose contrast. Once warmed back up they should be fine.

7. To avoid condensation from forming on your camera and lens when you go inside you can seal them in large freezer style zip-lock bags. This must be done while you are still outside and before going inside into the warmer more humid air. This allows the condensation to form on the outside of the bag instead of the camera. Once the camera gear is at room temperature you can remove it from the plastic bags.

Look For Special Winter Photo Opportunities.

1. Winter weather provides some great photo opportunities. While it is easier to stay inside where it is warm, be adventurous…but safe…and explore the winter wonderland around you…especially after a new snow fall.

2. Look for the unique designs and patterns that occur as part of the freezing and melting cycles of winter. Icicle covered trees, patterns in frozen water, fresh tracks in new snow…there are so many things to photograph during the winter.

Additional Winter Photo Tips

1. Take advantage of the early morning and late afternoon light. The best lighting on sunny winter days will be found during these time periods.

2. Look for subjects that add color to the scene. Also look for contrasting objects and unique perspectives that standout against the white snow.

3. Rely on your histogram to make sure the snow is properly exposed. Camera meters will normally meter snow as being equal to an 18% gray tone. This means the snow will be gray in the picture and everything darker than the snow will be black. Therefore you normally need to over expose a bright snowy scene. A general rule of thumb is to adjust your exposure compensation by +1 or +2 stops in order to get the snow to look white in the picture.

4. When photographing people with a bright, snowy background make sure you expose properly for the people. Use your cameras fill flash to help accomplish this.

5. On a clear sunny day snow will often take on a bluish cast from the sky. You can change your white balance to open shade or a custom setting to make sure the snow is white in the picture.

New Cameras Introduced at CES 2011

While not as big for photographers as the annual PMA (Photo Marketing Association) tradeshow this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) still gives photographers a glimpse at some of the upcoming digital camera models as well as new technology. As such it adds some excitement and anticipation as companies introduce some of their new camera models.

This year’s show featured new cameras from a number of manufacturers, including several with 3D capabilities. With the new models come more megapixels…with 14 and 16 megapixel sensors now being featured on several point-and-shoot models. More megapixels, longer optical zooms and lower prices are three common themes among many of the new models introduced this year. Several cameras also feature built in Wi-Fi technology making it much easier and faster to upload your photos to Facebook or an online photo sharing site, or even email them directly to family and friends.

Here are just a few of the many new digital cameras announced last week at CES.

1. Sony DSC-HX7--Featuring a 16-megapixel CMOS image sensor and able to shoot at up to 10 frames per second this is a fully featured compact camera from Sony. It is able to capture 1080i video, has built in HDR mode (high dynamic range) and a 3” LCD display. Expected to be released in March 2011 it will have a list price of $299.

2. Casio EX-ZS10and EX-ZS5-- These low cost cameras both feature a 14.1-megapixel sensor and 5X optical zoom. The EX-ZS10 is able to capture 720p video while the EX-ZS5 captures standard definition video. Expected retail price for these cameras will be around $130.00

3. Casio TRYX Digital Camera--This 12.1-megapixel compact camera was specially designed with teenagers in mind or other people who like to take pictures of themselves with a group of friends. It has a pop out screen and technology that allows you to take a picture simply by waving your hand in front of the screen. The unique design features a built in stand/handle that makes it easy to use the camera for self-portraits, etc. It also comes with a new technology called HDR-ART that allows you to apply a lot of special effects and adjustments right in the camera.

4. Samsung SH100--Featuring a 14.2-megapixel CCD image sensor and 5X optical zoom this camera is most noteworthy because it features built in Wi-Fi technology. Another cool feature on this new model is the fact that you can use a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone as a remote viewfinder. Not only can you see the photo you are about to take on your phone but you can also control the zoom feature and shutter directly from your phone. With built-in Wi-Fi it is easy to upload or email photos or even HD video directly to websites such as Facebook, Flickr or You Tube. It is expected to be released in March 2011 with a retail price of $199.99.

5. Liquid Image Camera Goggles--A cool new product for snowboarders, skiers, etc., these goggles feature a built in 12-megapixel camera that can take either still pictures or 1080p video at 30 frames per second or 720p video at 60 frames per second. Featuring a rechargeable lithium battery they are able to record about 1.5 to 2 hours of HD video on a single charge. Images and video are stored on a micro SD card and the goggles can also be connected by USB to a computer for downloading. They are expected to be released in the fall of 2011 with a list price of around $400.

6. Olympus PEN E-PL2--This is the 4th generation of the award-winning Olympus PEN family of interchangeable lens cameras. Featuring a 12.3-megapixel, four-thirds format, image sensor, this compact interchangeable camera is a great option for someone who wants DSLR-like quality without the bulk and size of a DSLR. Priced at $599.99 with a 14-42mm lens (28mm-84mm equivalent), this compact camera offers an affordable entry point to someone wanting to move into the Four Thirds camera format.

7. Sony DSC-TX10, DSC-WX9 and DSC-WX10--These are three of the five 16.2-megapixel Cyber-shot cameras Sony introduced. They feature Dual Rec technology which allows them to take still photos and video at the same time. The DSC-TX10 is also the first compact digital camera to feature full 1920 x 1080, 60 frame per second, HD video. Both the DSC-WX9 and DSC-WX10 use the same 16.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor for improved low light performance and are able to capture still images at the rate of 10 frames per second. Other features include the ability to create photos with a 3D effect including a special 3D Sweep Panorama mode. Some models have built in Wi-Fi and the DSC-TX10 is waterproof, shockproof and freeze-proof. It is designed to be waterproof down to 16 feet, shockproof from 5 feet and freeze proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an excellent compact camera for the outdoor enthusiast.

Special Offers and Hot Deals!

Deal#1

Photo Manager 10 Deluxe makes all digital photo tasks easier and faster: Complete photo collections can be quickly optimized, photos and video clips quickly managed, securely archived, and protected with a password. Presented your creations on the PC, on the web or on a mobile device. Incredibly useful for optimizing and organizing holiday photographs!

$59.99 (instead of $149.97)----Save $89.98

For more information check out these great software titles at: www.magix.com

Deal #2

Special Bundle: MAGIX Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 6 + PhotoStory on CD & DVD 9 deluxe

Have lots of photographs from that great office party and New Years’ celebrations? MAGIX and Xara have teamed up to provide you with some of the most advanced digital presentation and photo tools available on the market! Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 6 is simply the most flexible and time-saving solution for creating impressive graphics: powerful image editing and photo tools, compelling graphic design, adaptable page layout features and professional design templates, all in a single intuitive program! Combine this with the power of PhotoStory on CD & DVD 9 deluxe and you get the product of choice for creating multimedia video and slideshows to share your videos, pictures and designs – quickly and easily! With over 40 great extras!

$89.99 (instead of $179.98)...Save $89

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