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DSLR Guide News, Dec. 2005 - Taking Photos in the Cold
December 28, 2005
Delightful Photos Tips for Frightful Weather
Table of ContentsIntro - Photography in the cold
SLR Q and A - Can I use film lenses with a digital SLR?
4 Quick Tips - Winter landscape photography
The Gear - Essential accessories for your new SLR
Recent Updates - What's new at the Guide
Coming Soon - The SLR Guide E-course
IntroductionWinter is a challenging time of year for photographers.
I have to admit, I am a fair-weather photographer. When the rain starts coming down and the temperature drops, grabbing my camera and heading outside is not high on my list of things to do.
The problem here is that Winter offers a real wealth of photographic opportunities. Snow, fog, ice and rain create exceptional patterns and an interesting mood to photographs that can't be captured in the middle of Summer.
If you do decide to venture out into the elements, just make sure you take proper care of your digital SLR.
Keep the camera in a plastic enclosure when shooting in the rain, and try to keep the camera close to your body when shooting in cold conditions. You want to keep the camera's battery as warm as possible, because digital SLR batteries run out faster when they are cold.
So long as you protect your camera and other gear, there's no reason you can't be out taking great photos during the Winter.
One thing's for sure: you won't have to work around a lot of other people for prime photography moments. All of us fair-weather folk will be indoors waiting for Spring to come.
Digital SLR Q&AQuestion: Can I use my film lenses with a digital SLR?
Answer: In many cases you can. The nice part about buying a digital SLR from the same manufacturer as your old film SLR is that you don't have to go out and spend a ton of money on new lenses.
There is a big catch here: this does not apply if you have a really ancient film SLR (say, something that is 30 years old). Here's the defining factor: it all depends on the lens mount.
When you attach an SLR lens to a camera you thread the lens inside the camera body and twist it until it locks into place. It's a lot like screwing a bolt onto a nut.
When you're working with the bolt and nut, they both have to be the same size to attach to each other - the same thing is true of a lens and a camera body.
The camera manufacturers have different designations for their lens mounts - many Nikon cameras use F-mount lenses, while Minoltas use A-mount lenses.
When you're considering a new digital SLR and have a lot of lenses lying around, figure out what type of lens mount they have. If the lens mount type is compatible with the digital SLR model you are considering, then all of those lenses should work just fine.
And even if your really old lenses aren't compatible, don't despair! If you want to save a bit of money when it comes to lenses, just go to a local camera swap. Find 5 year-old lenses that have the right mount type for your digital SLR, and you can save a huge amount of money.
Here's why this works: professional photographers typically upgrade to new gear when it comes out. A 5 year-old lens is not terribly useful to a pro, unless that lens was exceptionally well designed. Innovations in lens design mean that new lenses are sharper and faster than old ones.
If you head to a camera swap you are bound to find some pros offloading really good lenses for modest prices. This is a great way to build up the lens collection for your digital SLR without paying a ton of money.
4 Quick TipsSince I began this newsletter talking about Winter photography, it makes sense to focus on the most common type of Winter photography: landscapes.
I'm convinced that landscape photography is more popular in the Winter since portrait subjects are either bundled from head to toe, or they are freezing. Neither one of these conditions makes for exceptional portraits.
Since this is the case, let's talk about 4 tips that will improve your Winter landscape photos.
1. Use Manual Controls
2. Adjust Your Exposure
3. Look for Patterns
4. Take Photos Early
What Gear You NeedLet's say that you are a fortunate individual who has received a new digital SLR for the holidays. Congratulations, you're on your way to exploring the engaging world of digital SLR photography!
Before you go running out the door, consider a few additional items to go with your digital SLR. My hope is that the person gifting the camera was savvy enough to get you some of these items, but if they didn't you'll want to get them yourself.
1. A Memory Card Reader
You can either get an all-in-one card reader for any memory card you might ever own, or a dedicated card reader for compact flash or SD memory cards.
2. A UV Lens
Sample Selection of UV Filters
3. A Camera Bag
I personally use the Adorama Slinger Bag, and love it. The bag is big enough to hold a digital SLR with a nice zoom lens attached, and there are plenty of compartments to store additional lenses and accessories as your gear expands. It holds everything that I need to go out and take photos under every type of condition. I also like the over-the-shoulder design, because I can swing the bag to my front when I need to get some gear out. This is much easier than a backpack, which I would have to take off completely every time I needed to change a lens.
Recent Updates to The GuideThere have not been as many changes to the Digital SLR Guide since the last newsletter (I blame the holidays) but there have been some recent developments.
New Camera Review
The Carnival of Digital Cameras
Coming SoonWhat's around the corner for the Digital SLR Guide? More reviews, more camera comparisons and a special tutorial course in digital SLR cameras.
The tutorial course will help anyone who already has a digital SLR camera (whether they found it through the guide or not). It will include an introduction to typical digital SLR features including aperture, shutter speed, exposure, ISO and white balance.
It will also provide you with tips for improving your photographs, whether your favorite style of photography is portraits or landscapes.
Due to the amount of work that will go into this course, I can't provide it for free to everyone, but as a reader of this newsletter you will receive a special complimentary pass to preview the course once it's available.
Look for that in the January or February newsletter.
In ConclusionI hope that everyone is enjoying a happy, safe and relaxing holiday. Some of my family members were kind enough to gift me some photographic equipment (surprise, surprise) so playing around with that will keep me busy well into next year.
I'd like to welcome all of the new subscribers this month, and remind everyone that I am always happy to hear your thoughts.
If there's some topic that you'd like to see covered in this newsletter, contact me and let me know. I try to accomodate as many requests as I can, and even if I don't get to your request this month, I've still got plenty of newsletters to go!
Thanks for reading - Happy New Year!
--Chris Roberts, Your Digital SLR Guide
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