Worth a Thousand Words: Issue #019


Worth a Thousand Words, Issue #019 — Cool Camera Simulator!
November 16, 2011

Sensor Dust: Public Enemy #1!

Dust is your enemy! Sensor dust is simply dust particles that adhere to the digital sensor of your camera. These can get onto your sensor when you change lenses. They result in dark grey “spots” on your image. Get the scoop on cleaning your camera sensor, and keeping it clean.


Creativity Exercise

Be Inspired by Other Photographers

We’re always searching for ways to be more creative with our photography. Where do you go for inspiration? In a recent poll on the website, many people reported that they find inspiration in Nature, and in the world around us. It’s essential that the environment can stimulate you to want to make a photograph. Sometimes, though, we need an extra push to be more creative in how we interpret the scene that has so inspired us. Where can we go for that?

I like to look to other photographers — not to copy their work, but to be inspired by it. Sometimes looking at an image can spark an idea. Other times, just looking at a collection of beautiful images can give me the urge to pick up my camera, and go out shooting.

Why not go the old-fashioned route, and pick up a book of photography in the library? There’s something special about looking at actual printed images. Magazines can be another source of inspiring images and ideas. Last, but definitely not least, is the Internet. Now it’s possible to access the images not only of the big name photographers out there, but also the lesser known ones. Here are a couple of examples of landscape photographers that I’ve come across recently to get you started:



Something Every Photographer Needs to Know: Tip of the Month

Run Through the Full Focal Range

Sometimes when you are photographing, there is something close to your lens that you can’t easily see because it is completely out of focus. This most often happens when you are shooting outdoors. Something like a blade of grass is in front of the lens, but you are focused on a landscape in the distance, so the grass is blurred and almost disappears. Almost. You can’t easily see it through the lens, but when you develop your photograph, you will see the effect of it as a soft but distracting band of color running across your image.

To avoid this, set your lens on manual focus, and turn the focus ring to run through the full focal range of the lens from nearest to furthest. If you do have something close to the lens, it will become apparent as you run through that part of the focal range. You can then move it out of the way, or adjust your shooting position to eliminate the problem.

Thanks to a member of the Etobicoke Camera Club for mentioning this tip during my recent talk there. I’m sorry, I don’t know your name to give you full credit!


Cool Link of the Month

Camera Simulator

Just yesterday, I came across this amazing and free learning tool. I’ve been searching for something like this for ages, and finally, someone has created it! This tool lets you simulate changing the settings on an SLR camera to see their effect. You can adjust the lighting of the scene, the focal length of the lens, the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Most importantly, you can then see the resulting image.

What’s New this Month at Ultimate Photo Tips

Project 365

Yesterday marked the halfway point in my 365 project, where I’m taking a photo every day in an effort to improve my photography and my creativity, and simply to get me out shooting more often. My project inspired Barbara Bender, a guest columnist on this site, to start her own variant of this project. Barbara has set herself the task of making one photograph each week for a year in the vicinity of her home. She’s written an article for us to describe her experience at almost halfway through the project:


Your Thoughts

In last month’s poll, I asked what camera mode you shoot in most of the time. I’m delighted to see that the majority of you are using the camera’s manual modes. Here’s how the results broke down: 15% are using Program mode, and the rest are in one of the camera’s manual modes. That 85% is divided into 4% using shutter priority, a large majority of 59% using aperture priority, and 22% using fully manual. I’m in there with the majority using aperture priority most of the time, since I tend to shoot subjects that don’t move. I often adjust the resulting exposure with exposure compensation if the camera’s meter doesn’t quite get it right.

This month, I’d like to find out how much time you manage to spend with your photography. Until I started my 365 project, I found that I was so busy that I didn’t get out to shoot nearly as often as I’d like. Sometimes, you just have to make the time! So, how often do you manage to pick up your camera and take photographs? Cast your vote in this month’s poll, and let me know! The poll is in the right-hand nav bar of the website:

Photo Challenges

The topic for October’s challenge was “Monochrome.” We had a wonderful variety of entries that all showed off how monochrome really emphasizes form, line and texture. The winner was an image taken with an inexpensive point and shoot camera, showing once again that it’s not about the gear, but about who’s behind the camera. Check out the wonderful moment captured by our winner, Luis Vera, here:

The topic for November’s challenge is “Urban Architecture.” Let’s see those buildings, old or new, or in combination. I love to look at images of buildings, but creating them is not my strong suit, so I look forward to your entries to show me how it’s done! Submit your image here:

Happy shooting from Ultimate Photo Tips!