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Getting the exposure right

One of the most common problems people have when taking photos is that part of the photo (usually the part that they want to see) is too dark or too bright. For example, when taking a photograph of a friend in front of the sunset, the sunset will show perfectly but the friend is a dark, unrecognizable blob. The problem is that the range of brightness in the scene is too much for your camera to record. So it has to “decide” which parts of the photo it wants to keep (the sunset, in this case) and which parts aren’t as important. And it often gets it wrong.

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Does the camera change the way we behave?

Clip from This American Life (Showtime)

The clip above relates the story of a group of school children who pretend to film a schoolmate being beaten up rather than help him. Sure, young kids will do that sort of thing. But it reminded me of the story of Chinese pothole photographer Liu Tao, tabloid photography in general, and exploitive photo journalism.

Sadly, I think a lot of people today are more likely to take pictures first and help second. Now that cameras are ubiquitous the problem is worse than ever. Is it the camera changing the way people behave or is bad human behavior just finding a new outlet? Probably a little of both.

Too Many Tripods to Choose From?

I was browsing through nikonian.org a few weeks back and found a great offering for folks like me, who want to upgrade from a rickety tripod to a more stable one. As soon as I began looking, I felt the strong urge to take a nap; I was overwhelmed by the number of choices.

Help arrived in the form of James Geib’s “Tripod Comparison Spreadsheet,” a compilation that lists more than 100 tripods and their specifications. The chart arrives as an Excel spreadsheet and lists makes and models, prices, maximum load, tripod weight, maximum and minimum heights, as well as folded heights. What makes this particularly useful is that the columns can be sorted. If price is your deciding factor, sort by price. However, if maximum load really matters, you can sort that way.

To get a copy, write to James_Geib (at) yahoo (dot) com. My copy arrived quickly and was automatically updated after the author found an error.

Original forum post at Nikonians.org

Add a lens to the Photodoto lens review database

Photodoto Lens DatabaseThe lens review database continues to be a great resource for photographers to research and share information about specific lens models from Canon, Nikon, Sigma, and others. If you don’t find a lens you are interested in, please take a moment to complete the lens request form by clicking the new “Add a lens to the database” link at the bottom of any lens database page. Your contribution will benefit yourself and other photographers looking for more information about that lens. Your fellow photographers thank you!

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