Digital Photography Tips to Help You Capture Life's Memories

All things tips, software reviews, camera reviews, etc.

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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 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.

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