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Get sunset and sunrise times for any location on Earth

Sunset/sunrise tables screenshotPhotographers know that the best light of the day usually happens at sunrise and sunset. I’m happy to announce the availability of a helpful utility that lets you use a map to find your location on the Earth and then instantly creates a table of sunset and sunrise times and moon phases.

Choose one of the dozens of pre-set locations or create your own custom location (with precision right down to the street level, if you like). The last location you selected on the map is automatically restored the next time you visit the page making it extremely easy to get up-to-date information.

Get sunset and sunrise times for any location on Earth

Online Manuals for Secondhand Cameras

Not everyone buys new cameras from a store. Those of you who buy used cameras may be happy to learn that you can easily get manuals for them. There are plenty of online sites that let you download manuals in some form. Finding manuals for digital cameras is relatively simple at sites like this.

In these types of sites, you just select a manufacturer and then download a file. Different manufacturers supply different types of files. On the Cameratown site, for example, Canon supplies html files, while Pentax uses pdf.

But maybe you have some weird camera you picked up at a yard sale, or a vintage film camera. Anyone with an older or more unusual camera should go to Michael Butkus Jr.’s site. This is a treasure trove for certain camera owners. Here you will find manuals for not only for older film cameras but also for their flashes and light meters.

One of the most fascinating resources on the Butkus site is the information about “orphan cameras,” or non-brand name cameras. I’ve never even heard of some of these, but I loved the names, which include Baldessa, Kowa Six, Paxette, and the Universal Buccaneer.

The Butkus site site also provides links to other camera sites with manuals, but these links are a bit iffy. Some led to long, dense lists of links, while others went nowhere. Still, the Butkus site is so chock full of information on vintage cameras and related equipment that you may never need the links.

Nikon Small World: Excellence in Photography through the Microscope

Fly by Charles Krebs, 1st Place 2005The Nikon Small World competition is a showcase for the best photomicrography—photographs of tiny things through a microscope—on the planet. The winners for the 2007 competition have been chosen (but have not been announced). For the first time, Nikon is allowing visitors to see the top 100 entries and rate them. The photographs are surreal, otherworldly, and strikingly beautiful. Well worth a visit if you are interested in extreme macro photography.

For more about photomicrography (in case you want to enter the 2008 competition):

Mastering a Subject

daisy showerDo you take the same types of pictures over and over again? You know what I mean—hundreds of flower images (or cars or cats or whatever) fill your photo albums, but no portraits, buildings, action shots, or street scenes. One school of thought urges you to push yourself to shoot what does not come naturally. However, I have another suggestions: stick with what you love, but work to perfect that subject.

There is a vast difference between lacking the imagination to try new subjects and deliberately working on one subject to develop skills. The first is a type of laziness; the second is a path to mastery. I like to think that I’m following the second path, but I’m too close to tell, so I’m going to use another example, flickr photographer Steve Wall.

Now, I’ve never met Steve; I know nothing about his life; he isn’t even an online correspondent, or at least he wasn’t until I asked permission to use his photos. But I have been following his photography on flickr for a few years because I saw some pictures of his that I liked and marked him as a contact. As such, I see a thumbnail of his latest image whenever I sign on.

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Location as important as technique when shooting fireworks

Fireworks by Mr Magoo ICUJuly 4th is just around the corner and with that comes another opportunity to get that classic fireworks shot you’ve always dreamed of. We’ve already covered the techniques you need to know and equipment necessary to shoot fireworks well. The methods are the same as last year. But an important point to keep in mind is that vantage point and location (especially secret locations like the one in the photo at right) are just as important as technique.

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