Our Tools Are Pretty Great

Do you treat your memory cards, as I do, like they are nearly indestructible? My storage system does include a card wallet, but only for organizational purposes. I regularly store cards in my actual "wallet" wallet, as well as the jeans pocket of my pants adjacent to my car keys or my cell phone—depending on whether or not a card has been shot. I know, it's weird. But still, the point is that I don't exactly treat them with kid gloves. And that's okay. Turns out we all do this. It's one of the benefits of living in the digital era. Our "film" no longer has to be handled as carefully as it did back in the bad old days. Take, for instance, this tongue in cheek bit of satire from The Online Photographer. It's a list of do's and don'ts for the proper handling of memory cards that includes not changing cards in direct sunlight and storing unused cards in the freezer. Goodness, can you even remember the lengths to which we once had to go in order to make good pictures? If you're unfortunate enough to be too young to remember those days, you may not enjoy this bit of satire as much as the rest of us. But either way, trust me: it's good to be a digital photographer. We don't even have to put our hands in chemistry any more. You definitely won't find me complaining about that. Today's tools are pretty darn great.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/08/handling-memory-cards.html
DPMag
Do you treat your memory cards, as I do, like they are nearly indestructible? My storage system does include a card wallet, but only for organizational purposes. I regularly store cards in my actual "wallet" wallet, as well as the jeans pocket of my pants adjacent to my car keys…

More Camera Tools You Can Make From Paper

Paper is an important part of my photography. I use cardboard sheets as fill cards, I use little bits of white paper to bounce my flash, and now I can use simple black paper to create a lens hood. While I've seen lens shades made from paper in the past, it's never really occurred to me to use the stuff in a simpler fashion—namely, just wrap it around the end of a lens and secure it with a rubber band to create an instant lens shade. Voila, it's just that simple. I'm never going to recommend this homemade solution in lieu of a factory spec lens hood, but in a pinch when you've lost or broken your lens shade, I'd rather see you using a cobbled together paper system to keep insidious lens flare out of your lens. It is, in fact, very much better than nothing. Check out John Neel's tip at the Pixiq blog for all the particulars of his system.

http://www.pixiq.com/article/easy-paper-lens-hood-or-shade
DPMag
Paper is an important part of my photography. I use cardboard sheets as fill cards, I use little bits of white paper to bounce my flash, and now I can use simple black paper to create a lens hood. While I've seen lens shades made from paper in the past,…

Beautiful Battery Caddy

I've been told that my obsession with batteries is unhealthy. Still… I just can't help myself. I'm always on the lookout for a better battery, or a better charger, or a better system of organizing my batteries so that I can tell the difference between the dead ones and the charged ones. Well now I've found an ideal solution for that last problem courtesy of Scott Kelby. It's the Personal Battery Caddy from Adorama, and I've just ordered a pair of my own. It's the perfect place to keep AA flash batteries so that you know which ones are ready to go and which ones are dead. This is a problem that I know I'm always fighting with, and I've tried solutions ranging from rubber bands to plastic bags to gaff tape. With this new system I'll probably leave the dead ones rolling around in the camera bag like I already do—I know, not brilliant—and I'll know that the ones in the caddy are ready to go. Plus now I won't have to worry about the charged ones slipping out and into that dead battery mix. A simple solution that's sure to make my life easier.

http://weeklyphototips.blogspot.com/2012/08/battery-caddy-small-item-big-help.html
DPMag
I've been told that my obsession with batteries is unhealthy. Still… I just can't help myself. I'm always on the lookout for a better battery, or a better charger, or a better system of organizing my batteries so that I can tell the difference between the dead ones and the…

An Inexpensive And Portable Daylight Studio

Here's a neat idea if you're into studio-caliber portrait lighting but you just don't have a studio space. You can turn normal daylight into nice, "north light" illumination. There's a long tradition of world class photographers using daylight to make impactful portraits--a guy named Avedon comes to mind--so why not join that group? Check out the article by David Hobby on his Strobist blog to learn how and why he set up his inexpensive and portable daylight studio. Best of all this setup requires minimal equipment and can be utilized anywhere that you can find the sun.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2012/07/build-diy-portable-north-light-photo.html
DPMag
Here's a neat idea if you're into studio-caliber portrait lighting but you just don't have a studio space. You can turn normal daylight into nice, "north light" illumination. There's a long tradition of world class photographers using daylight to make impactful portraits--a guy named Avedon comes to mind--so why not…

Giant Olympic Imagery

Yay! Olympic photos have arrived! I'm an Olympics junkie. My wife, however, is not. This has caused me to examine why I so look forward to the games, and what it is that has me so enthralled. I know that I love any spectacle, and any sporting triumph—that's why I'm such a fan of the Tour de France, the Super Bowl and any other athletic spectacle I can find. But still, the Olympics is special. All this analysis finally led me to this realization: it's the visuals! What a gorgeously rendered and attentively photographed visual extravaganza we are fortunate to witness every couple of years. The opening of the London Olympics was no let down, and I thought the visual imagery was outstanding. So I've been champing at the bit to see NBC's gigapan images of the Olympic opening ever since I learned of the plan to create them. Check out DP Review for a link to the NBC gigapans, and stick around DP Review if you care to read an interesting discussion in the comments about the merits, viability and practicality of super-high-resolution displays and their place in Olympic broadcasting.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/08/01/8K-video-and-gigapan-images-bring-olympics-in-high-resolution
DPMag
Yay! Olympic photos have arrived! I'm an Olympics junkie. My wife, however, is not. This has caused me to examine why I so look forward to the games, and what it is that has me so enthralled. I know that I love any spectacle, and any sporting triumph—that's why I'm…

Photographing The Night Sky's Aurora Australis

Way back when I was a high school kid (unfortunately now more than 20 years ago), I was lucky enough to spend a week in the wild woods of southern Ontario's Quetico National Park. This experience of living sparely in nature was a powerful event in my young life, and one that's stayed with me. One of the most special moments of that trip came late one night when my friends and I paddled our canoes out to the middle of a lake to watch as the northern lights began to glow. The aurora borealis is an amazing, ethereal shimmering light in the night sky, visible in northern latitudes on summer nights. Way down at the South Pole they have the same thing, but they call it Aurora Australis. Either way, being able to photograph such a gorgeous phenomenon is a life-long dream of mine--and it is for many others, I know. In this DPS post by Loic Le Guilly, you can learn not only how he approached his first chance to photograph a strong Aurora, but also see how he post-processed the photographs to bring out the color and maximize detail. And of course, you can also bask in the glory of these gorgeous Aurora photographs.

http://digital-photography-school.com/how-i-captured-my-first-aurora-australis
DPMag
Way back when I was a high school kid (unfortunately now more than 20 years ago), I was lucky enough to spend a week in the wild woods of southern Ontario's Quetico National Park. This experience of living sparely in nature was a powerful event in my young life, and…
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