Tagged With digital camera

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A lone flame against a dark backdrop makes a great scene, but, on most automatic cameras, a washed-out or drab picture. Digital Photography School has sound advice on capturing fire in a frame. For instance, if you're practicing or shooting with a candle flame, don't focus on the flame itself, but on the end of the wick:

The flame itself will not be in super-clear focus as it is producing the light while being a three dimensional object, meaning the intensity and points to focus on it will be varied. If your camera has spot metering, use it and take a reading off the flame itself. This may produce a fairly dark image, so experiment with overexposing a little by slowing down the shutter speed.

Many of the principles of shooting fireworks apply, but DPS' post goes into detail about getting tricky/nifty shots, like the fire trail pictured above. Drop links to your own successful flame shots in the comments below. Photo by Gaetan Lee.

Playing With Fire - How to Photograph Fire

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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You don't have to wander very far on YouTube to find concert footage, but venues and artists are getting increasingly narky about the prospect of being filmed. At a Go West/Pseudo Echo/Wa Wa Nee concert in Perth last weekend, a security guard came up to me and pointedly asked if I was planning to video the concert (I wasn't). My crime? Using an i-Mate 9502 to surf the Web -- apparently the large screen makes it a video suspect. In a more blatant crackdown, Prince recently demanded that YouTube remove all fan footage of him performing Radiohead's Creep from the site, even though the members of Radiohead (who in theory would lose songwriting royalties from such postings) actually don't give a damn.

There's not much you can do about pop star lawyers, but there's some obvious strategies you can use if you do plan to film parts of a concert and don't want a shakedown from the security goons too soon. Check the venue policy first: some places have a blanket ban (in which case there's not much point trying), with others it's dictated by the artist. Getting a seat away from the aisles makes you harder to reach. Using a smaller camera and only filming for small bursts makes it hard to distinguish what you're doing from regular photography. Anyone got any other tips for concert capture?

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The iPhone-toting blogger at Minddriven says that the cameraphone is often within reach when he wants to capture a task to his to-do list—so he snaps a photo of what needs to be done instead of writing it down. If he needs to buy more toothpaste, he snaps a photo of the empty tube and stores it in the to-do album. When he buys new toothpaste? He deletes the photo. Definitely a nice way to track tasks for the more visual folks among us, though I wonder what happens when he thinks of the empty toothpaste tube but isn't standing in front of it.

The fastest ToDo List is a ToDo Album ...

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Wired's How-To Wiki takes a group-edited look at the digital camera market and how a newcomer (or, more likely at this point, a buyer replacing their first, outdated model) can parse all the features and statistics to come out with a reasonable bargain. Their advice on megapixels, one of the most hyped features on any camera, is pretty reasonable:

Then there is the fact that even a 3.1 MP camera, which is obsolete for non-camphones, can take a perfectly passable 6" by 8" photograph. The current standard for the low end of consumer digital cameras is between 5 and 7 megapixels, allowing flawless 8x10s. Really, when any camera you buy lets you print 8x10s, do more mexapixels matter?

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You might think your consumer-model Canon digital camera can't pull off the kind of fancy shots and tricks that make you stop and look on Flickr—until you unlock your camera's potential with the Canon Hacker's Development Kit. The completely reversible firmware upgrade, available for models running the DIGIC II or DIGIC III platforms, speeds up fast shutter modes (from 1/1,600th of a second to 1/60,000th!), allows for time-lapse photography and other scripted shots, unlimited interval shooting, better HDR pics, and much, much more. Wired's How-To Wiki has a handy guide and introduction to the CHDK, available at the link below. I lack a Canon to try out the CHDK, so let your fellow readers know what you think if you've taken this step already.

Supercharge Your Camera with Open-Source CHDK Firmware

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Still have the remnants of your pre-digital photo-taking taking up space in closets (or perhaps put to other uses)? Photo blog Photojojo details the steps one Flickr user took to turn an old white plastic film container into a snug-fitting diffuser for a pop-up flash, using only a ruler and a utility knife. It's a bit more rugged and adaptable than that other DIY diffuser, a coffee filter, and gets you the same reduction in pasty-looking portraits and over-exposure. Hit the link for step-by-step instructions and photos.

Reduce, Reuse, Diffuse: Make Your Own Flash Diffuser from an Old Film Container

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In part one of this series you kicked your digital SLR camera's auto mode to the curb with the help of program mode. In doing so, you learned to control the flash, the ISO value, and the white balance. Now in part two we're going straight to manual mode to learn about aperture sizes and shutter speeds. So let's do this thing. Put your camera in manual mode by turning the mode dial to the "M" setting as pictured above.

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Just noticed a useful feature in previously mentioned document scanner service, Qipit: the ability to fax your document scans, effectively turning your camera (or cameraphone!) into an outgoing fax machine. After you register for an account at Qipit, you snap a photo of a document, and email it or upload it to the web site. Once Qipit does its thing, converting your document into a PDF, select the "Fax" button below it to send it off. Qipit supports multi-page documents too. Looks like an interesting alternative to FaxZero. How do you send and receive faxes over the web? Let us know in the comments.

Qipit