UV Filters

Does your camera have a lens on it?

Yes? You should protect it. Protect that lens by installing a UV filter (or a ‘skylight filter’ that has a slight pink cast to it).  They are not very expensive and will prevent your lens from getting scratched or, worse yet, broken. If you scratch or break the UV filter, you will be out a few dollars. But if you break your lens, it’s easily in the hundreds of dollars.

In addition to physical protection, the UV filter may help your photos by filtering UV light.  The UV filter filters – yes, you guessed it, UV light.  What is UV light?  It is the light from the sun at the upper part of the spectrum.  No, you can’t see it with your eyes.  But, yes, that camera of yours can see it just fine.  And what does nasty UV light do to your photos?  It makes them hazy if you are using a film-camera.  It increases “purple fringing” or chromatic aberration.  By using a UV filter, you will decrease haze (film cameras) and decrease “purple fringing” (chromatic aberration).

What type to use?

Continue reading

Maximum Lens Sharpness – The “Sweet Spot”


What is a lens’s “sweet spot?”

Everybody wants sharp and focused photos. You can get good sharpness near to far in a photo by hyperfocal focusing, but what are the limits of sharpness of your lens? At what aperture (f-stop value) will you get the sharpest photos? This is also known as the “sweet spot” of the lens. Here is a simple test you can do to find out where your lens is sharpest. But first, some basic rules…

General Rules for Lenses

The rules are about the same for every lens. Here are the general ones: Continue reading

How much camera do you need?


How Much Camera Do I Really Need?

The question inevitably will come up: “How much camera do I really need?”

It’s not possible to know the answer to this unless you know what you will do with the camera.  But, here is a rough guide:

  • Pro: the most camera you can buy for the money, dSLR, of course.
  • Semi-pro: not more than a 15 Mp dSLR (Canon T1i/D500)
  • Amateur: a high-end point and shoot (Canon G-series)
  • Hobbyist: a compact point and shoot (Nikon L-series)
  • Novice: a low-end point and shoot (maybe even just a camera phone)

This is a proven list by the way.  I’ve lived it and I own those listed above.

What am I?

“But, what am I?”, you ask. Well here is another list for that: Continue reading

Copyright Your Photos


Why Copyright? Why not?

With the software for image processing and the cameras available today, is there any reason why someone would not apply copyright information to their photos?  Why, yes, yes there is — it’s called “oversight” and “stupidity.”  For as easy as it is, there really is no excuse not to apply your copyright to your images.  Protect them.  They’re yours.

I use Lightroom software to import and touch up my photos, and there is a provision for applying copyright information to the metadata of your image right at the point of import.  I simply fill in the field that applies metadata and save it as my own preset.  When the photos are imported from my camera into Lightroom, the copyright notice is automatically applied.


Continue reading

Storm Light

What is “Storm Light?”

“Storm light” is a special kind of outdoor lighting that occurs usually just after a storm has passed. The atmosphere is usually full of small particles of dust, rain, and ice, and this creates a unique coloration of the sky and land. It is one of the best, most difficult, most dangerous, and rarest of times to shoot landscape photos. Continue reading

What topics would you like to see in a book about photography?

I value your opinion:  What topics would you like to see in a book about photography?

Please click your answers below. Choose multiple chapter titles from my list or type some of your own, then click the vote button. Thank you very much for your help!

How to Export a Video for Vimeo

vimeo logo stripes

Why Vimeo?

Vimeo is a video hosting platform similar to YouTube, but with much better video quality. I have started putting my videos on Vimeo because the user experience is so much better. True, there are not as many hits as on YouTube because YouTube is much more popular, but as a photographer I want the best picture quality in my videos. That better video quality available on Vimeo means I need to render or export my videos with the settings that work for Vimeo.

Vimeo Video Settings

Here are the settings I’ve successfully used: Continue reading

Instruction Manuals


Believe it or not, it is very important to keep those instruction manuals that came with your cameras.  With the complexity that is inherent in almost every high-end digital camera sold today, it is nearly impossible to master all features of your camera right out-of-the-box, or even years later (as in my case). Continue reading

Camera Straps


The only thing keeping you from dropping that expensive digital camera of yours is the camera strap.  Whether it is a hand strap or shoulder strap type, you had better have it on your camera if you want to avoid an expensive repair. Here are some recommendations:

Continue reading