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DSLR Guide News - New Intermediate Lessons
April 29, 2010
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New Intermediate LessonsThey're finally here!
My second series of lessons for digital SLR photographers have been published and are now available for purchase on the site.
These 5 online lessons are a follow-up to my Beginner Digital SLR Lessons, and they build on the basic techniques covered in the Beginner series.
This second set of lessons is all about LIGHT, both natural and artificial.
Specifically, you'll learn things like:
The bulk of the lessons focus on techniques that you can implement without spending a lot of money on expensive accessories. All you need is a camera with a built-in flash.
However, some parts of the lessons are written exclusively for people with separate flash units - also called "external" flashes or speedlight/speedlite.
If you are the proud owner of an external flash but have yet to figure out how to really leverage its abilities, then these lessons will show you how.
Just like the Beginner Digital SLR Lessons, all 5 of the Intermediate Lessons are available online and can be viewed via any computer with Internet access. You may also download each lesson as a PDF file so that you can refer to them offline or print them to take with you on the road.
Your one-time fee gives you unlimited access to the lessons: you may refer to the lessons as often as you like. Even if you should forget the access information years from now, just send me an e-mail and I'll be happy to help you get them again.
Quick Photo TipThis month's quick tip really will be quick - I'm spending a lot of time making sure that the new lessons are up and running and ran out of time to write a detailed tip for this newsletter.
The question that I'll tackle this month is: how to crop for print enlargements.
Regardless of the program that you use, the steps that you will follow will be the same. In the end, it all comes down to aspect ratio.
Aspect ratio describes the relationship between the long side of your image and the short one.
Let's take an example of an image in landscape mode. The actual pixel dimensions of this particular photo are 2455 x 1696. Using lots of division, these numbers can be simplified to 3x2.
If this were expressed as an aspect ratio it would look like 3:2 (note: the 3:2 aspect ratio is used by Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony, while Olympus cameras have a 4:3 aspect ratio). What you should notice here is that an image with a 3:2 aspect ratio is equivalent to a 6:4 aspect ratio (just multiply both numbers by 2).
And guess what? A 6:4 aspect ratio means that you can make a 6x4 inch print and that NONE of your original image will get cropped.
Now let's make an 8x10 inch enlarged print of this same image. We've got a problem: no amount of multiplication will make a 3:2 aspect ratio equivalent to 10:8 (or 5:4). If we do multiply 3:2 by 4 we get 12:8.
This means that you can make an 8x12 inch print of a 3:2 image and none of your image will get cropped. However, if you make an 8x10 inch print, a full two inches of your original photo won't appear in the final print.
Rather than letting the printer crop your photos, take matters into your own hands:
The same approach can be applied to other enlargements that don't exactly match the 3:2 aspect ratio like 5x7 and 11x17. By pre-cropping your photos before you print, you're ensuring that what you get in your print matches exactly with the image on your monitor.
To help the newcomers out, I've started this new section of the newsletter (thanks to a suggestion on the Digital SLR Guide Facebook page).
Each month, I'll be describing - in very basic language - one feature of your camera. Make sure that you have your camera close at hand so you can follow along and try out settings as I describe them.
As the months go along, I'll also link back to each past issue of the newsletter so that you can quickly refer to it if you need a refresher on any one feature.
If you're already well-versed in camera settings like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance then you need not read this section (that's why it's at the very end).
If you're eager to learn more about your camera than one topic per month, then take a look at my Beginner Digital SLR Lessons, which describe all of these settings and many more.
The topic we'll begin with is focal length.
Focal length is really just the fancy DSLR term for the ability of your lens to ZOOM. If you've been using a compact camera for some time, you may know that the camera has a 3x, 5x or maybe even a 10x zoom.
People rarely discuss the focal length of a compact camera lens, but it's a fairly common term when you're talking about a DSLR lens.
Here's the gist of it:
When you're using a wide-angle lens (with a small focal length) and you look through the viewfinder, you see everything from the foreground to the background. Wide-angle lenses are typically used for landscape photography.
When you're using a telephoto lens and you look through the viewfinder, you only see a portion of the scene in front of you, and that view is magnified.
Telephoto lenses let you take close-up pictures of subjects from very far away, which is why they are the lens of choice for wildlife photographers.
This is pretty straightforward, but gets a bit confusing when you start talking about zoom lenses, which have VARIABLE focal lengths.
Let's pick the typical kit 18-55mm zoom lens to use as an example.
However, the same terminology could be applied to a 70-300mm zoom:
The big difference here is that the 70-300mm lens cannot capture the same wide angle of view as the 18-55mm and the 18-55mm cannot zoom in as close as the 70-300mm.
Speaking of zoom, let's take a moment to talk about zoom POWER; this is how the zoom setting of all compact digital cameras is described.
To get the zoom power of any DSLR lens, divide the telephoto focal length by the wide-angle focal length.
Other Photography Sites
Great Photo Blogs
Recommended Digital SLR Retailers(These are the three online stores that I use to purchase all of my digital SLR photography gear)
In ConclusionIf you do sign up for the lessons and have problems that require my attention, please be patient.
I expect that there might be some issues to work out since the lessons are newly available and I will be answering your e-mail and questions as quickly as possible.
Hopefully things will go smoothly and there won't be too many problems, but I've worked with computers for too long to expect that everything will be perfect!
Now that the new lessons are complete, I'll be updating pages on the rest of the site that are getting out-of-date.
Until next month, happy picture taking!
--Chris Roberts, Your Digital SLR Guide
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