A TRAVEL IMAGE BRIEF BY DAVID SMITH
How I captured this image:
This marvelous old man sits in his canoe at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An Vietnam an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century . He patiently waits for tourists to walk along the bank of the village lake saying with with broken English words “pictures for a dollar”.
I gladly gave him a dollar took his photograph and then took the time to turn my camera around to show him his photo on the LCD screen. I must have been the first person in weeks to do that because his face lit up with a huge smile and chuckle. I needed his attention because my first photo was awful as he was looking into the sun with hot spots and blown out highlights on his face.
Most of the tourists that visited Hoi An that day were from a cruise ship, a 2-3 hour drive away, so most snapped his photo at noon with glaring mid day sun and contrasty haze then moved on not realizing how their bad photo can be corrected easily. Having his attention and after waiting for the crowd to disperse I waved my hand in a circular motion to get him to turn his canoe around so the sun was behind him while I pulled out my 70-200 mm lens and moved further back to zoom in and create a narrow depth of field.
To properly expose his shaded face and blow out highlights in the debris filled lake I guessed at a camera exposure value (EV) of +2.0 and spot focused in his eyes then recomposed. An alternative was to stay close and use flash to lighten up his face but I would lose much of his wonderful facial feature lines and old character. A quick glance at my LCD confirmed the dramatic effect I was looking for as I sensed a “once in a lifetime” type of photo op was upon me. As I teach digital and travel photography worldwide I decided to bracket more shots at +1 and 0.0 EV to demonstrate the benefit of taking the camera off automatic, over exposing using no flash and zooming in for a narrow depth of field.
Out of the 10,000 images in my Interface Image s online archives this one is the most viewed image by far. This image is used frequently in my own photography and camera classes and workshops to demonstrate camera exposure value settings and is featured in my Online Travel Photography-Amazing Tips and Techniques Course .
Camera Settings: Canon 20D with Canon 70-200 IS L lens| Exposure 1/250sec @ f/8 | ISO 400 | Focal Length 200mm
Location: UNESCO World Heritage site at ancient Hoi An, Vietnam
Image Award: This image was award Image of the Day by Light and Composition Magazine on May 15, 2013.
Use this image: License or download Hoi An Fisherman from the Interface Images World Photo Collection or order a fine art print Hoi An Fisherman by David Smith from the new World Faces Fine Art Gallery
Easy Panorama Travel Images – Part 2 © 2013 David Smith www.interfaceimages.com
Using your camera to capture panoramic images was covered in a recent Blog post: Easy Panorama Travel Images – Part 1. After capturing the multiple set of images with your camera, stitching of your panorama images is easy with today’s stitching software. Note that some cameras stitch the images in camera or use a video capture technique without requiring a computer and software. This post covers software techniques.
Before merging the images into a panorama you need to decide on the final size of the panorama photograph and to match that size with your own printer or photo finishers capability. A common panorama aspect ratio (i.e width:height) is 4:1,5:1 or 6:1. A typical image resolution for printing is 300 pixels per inch so a 100 in wide x 20 in. tall panorama print (a 5:1 aspect ratio) requires a crop width of 100 in x 300 pixels/inch = 30,000 pixels and a height crop of 20 in. x 300 pixels/inch = 6,000 pixels. In short, 30,000 x 6,000 pixels. Simply select your crop dimensions for 30,000 x 6,000 pixels and set the resolution in the crop tool to 300 pixels/inch and voila you have a crop!
Some online printing services may restrict image file size so your huge panorama file may not be accepted. Check the uploading specifications for your printer service as some may accept lower resolution (as low as 100 pixels per inch), compressed files or smaller dimensions for upsizing. Alternately deliver the image file directly. Expect file sizes in the range of 10 Megabytes to 50 Megabytes and more depending on the camera megapixels, number of images used in creating the panorama, cropping, image resolution and jpg compression or quality settings used.
The screen snapshots in this post are taken from Adobe Photoshop CS4′s “Photomerge” tool which is identical to Photoshop Elements (9 and up) File/New/Photomerge tool. Most scenic and travel panoramas involve subjects which are a long distance from the camera so shooting handheld and leaving the software default settings and options on the wizards works well. In some cases, particularly for closer architectural images, you may need to experiment with image layout and image distortion correction option settings to get a good merge. Sometimes just repeating the software process creates a better merge.
TYPICAL PHOTO STITCHING STEPS
When your subject is closer to the camera, within 50 feet or so, you can get parallax errors associated with the fact that the optical center of the camera is not the same as the tripod screw pivot point or center point of a handheld sequence. In such cases the camera position needs to move forward or backward to minimize this type of distortion using somewhat expensive ($200 plus) adjustment mounts or like I do jury rigging off tripod center camera mounts with screws and metal pieces for a few dollars. To correct perspective distortion and correct buildings falling in (i.e. vertical lines are not vertical) in Photoshop CS or Elements use Select/All and the Edit/Transform/Perspective options then select and drag the tiny corner boxes for vertical true lines. Watch for an upcoming Blog post this month entitled “Easy Correction of Perspective Distorted Travel Images”
PANORAMA STITCHING SOFTWARE
In addition to the easy to use panorama tool wizards in Adobe (www.adobe.com) Photoshop CS (CS2 and up) and Photoshop Elements (9.0 and up), software supplied with some cameras and other software solutions are available. Other panorama stiching software includes the free Hugin Panorma Photosticher (www.hugin.sourceforge.net), PTgui (€ 79 and up) from www.ptgui.com and panatour (€99.00) from www.kolor.com.
PANORAMA FINE ART PRINTS.
I have recently added a high quality World panoramic fine art print collection to my Fine Art America online print gallery including 360 degree views of the interior of Grand Central Station in New York City (in color and black and white) , snowy city skyline of Vancouver, BC, Monaco harbor in the French Riviera, Portofino in the Italian Riviera , Santorini caldera and newly uploaded Cape Town Skyline at sunset and the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia. Most of my panoramic fine art prints have been dramatically enhanced with the Adjust 5.0 “Spicify” plug-in (usable in most software products) from Topaz Labs.
SHARE YOUR PANORAMA IMAGES
You are welcome to post links to your online panorama images in the comments below or join and upload your travel images to my Facebook Group: Travel Photography Tips and Photo Adventures. I will award complimentary lifetime access to my online Travel Photography-Amazing Tips & Techniques Course for the best panoramic image submitted before May 31/13.
About the author: David Smith is a world travel photographer, travel writer, travel photo blogger, photo instructor and guest lecturer on cruise ships, photo conferences and corporate events. He has visited 100 countries on 6 continents and is published worldwide. Recent clients include National Geographic -Poland, Wall Street Journal, Seabourn Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruise Lines, Holland America Lines, Geo Saison and Frommers. Web sites: Interface Images online archives , Fine Art Print Galley, online photo training courses, Facebook page and Facebook Travel Photo group. Contact
Shooting the Panorama
This post – Part 1 will cover shooting the panorama with your camera. My next post as Part 2 will cover software sources, stitching techniques and enhancing your panoramas.
Digital cameras and recent software updates make the creation of quality panorama images of your travels very easy. Travelers frequently come across truly amazing photo ops with sweeping landscapes, buildings with unique architecture and beautiful lobbies or pastoral scenes or sunsets that a single wide angle lens setting simply misses the total grandeur of the scene. Cruise ships frequently visit ports of call where panorama techniques will better capture the scene as you arrive, leave the port, or tour around. Visit a prior post Photo Tips for Tours & Shore Excursions
Some new digital cameras enable the creation of excellent panorama images in camera with one shutter click using a horizontal video mode where you pan across the scene with your camera. The camera automatically coverts the horizontal video to one wide panorama image in camera. However, this post will feature how to stitch and merge a sequence of individual photos taken with a traditional digital camera and later with computer software.
Here are the steps for creating panoramic images.
1. Planning your shots before photographing the sequence of shots to be stitched and merged later is important. If the scene is quite narrow (eg.
long distance shot of a city skyline) you will want to shot with the camera held horizontally and if the important elements in the scene are more
tall than wide (eg. close to city buildings, scenes with an important foreground) shoot with camera vertically or turned 90 degrees. When I have
time, a shoot a set of shots horizontally and vertically to cover all my bases. Most are not aware that photo merge features not only merge a
photo sequence in one line but also sequences in multiple lines (meaning you can shot the side of a building, say shooting floors 1 -4, then
shootings floors 5-8, etc. thereby eliminating the need for an expensive super wide angle/fish eye lens)
2. If you have a polarized filter on your lens consider removing it since the angle of the camera to the sun changes as you move the camera
across the scene thereby varying the degree of polarization in each shot. Some software products with a photo merge feature sometimes reveal
significant banding in the final panorama images due to the tonal changes from the different levels of polarization in each shot. However
Photoshop Element Version 6 and up and Photoshop CS3 and up use photo merge solutions that solve this banding issue quite well so removing the
polarized filter may not be required.
3. Shoot the first shot of a panorama sequence with your arm in the shot (then shoot the same shot without the arm) so when I look at tons of
thumbnail images in my editing browser I can quickly spot the first of a panorama sequence by looking for my arm in a shot. Shoot slowly holding the camera
steady, feet apart and elbow to your chest and be sure to overlap each image by at least 30% when shooting. Use a horizon line, road edge or
building feature to ensure you panning shots are lined up. Ideally a tripod should be used but I never carry one anymore while travelling.
4. Use good composition and avoid centering the horizon line. For example if the foreground is exciting (a blue lagoon) and the sky is boring,
place the horizon in the upper 2/3 of the shot. If it is a dynamic sunset scene place the horizon in the bottom 1/3 of the scene. Sunset shots are dramatically improved by underexposing by at least -1 or -2 EV. See a previous post on capturing dramatic sunsets.
5. If you scene is close to you (eg. in a small room, objects within about 50 feet) you will get panorama distortion effects arsing from the fact
that the optical center of your camera (the nodal point) is never the same as the tripod screw position or hand held pivot point of the camera.
This is called parallax error but is not an issue for most travel panoramas since most of your panorama features will be far away.
In the next post, Easy Panorama Travel images – Part 2 I will cover the common steps on using panorama stitching features of several software
products, how to enhance your final panoramas with stunning color and black and white effects and where and how to get your stunning panoramas
printed. In the meantime, feel free to post comments and online links to your own panorama creations and please share this post on your social
Readers are welcome to order fine art prints of my panorama images with worldwide shipping for their own enjoyment. They will look great in an office, board room, over a fireplace, in a rec room or a hallway. Click on any of the images in this post for printing options and prices. Visit our fine art image collection at Fine Art America. Enjoy! Watch for the next quiz: Where’s David & Anna? for prizes.
David Smith is a world travel and event photographer, travel writer, Blogger, keynote public speaker and cruise ship guest lecturer. Visit his online gallery Interface Images, Facebook Page , Blog Images-Connecting the World and his Fine Art America print gallery. He has also recently published two online photography courses Travel Photography-Amazing Tips & Techniques and Easy Photography Tips for Cruise Ships and Ports. These fun, information and inspirational online courses include live online video, comprehensive handouts and more and can be downloaded to computers, tablets and smart phones. Each course is only $39 and are sponsored by Udemy the leader in online education where all courses have a 100% money back guartantee. Blog subscribers can take use the coupon code $10FF at checkout
Please share this by using the social networks links in this post.
The timing couldn’t be better. As the Oceania Cruise Lines Marina cruise ship swung about to slip by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, an intense vivid red sunset was punctuated by a Muslim call to prayer echoing among the minarets. On deck, some tears were shed, cameras clicked furiously and it was all over in a few minutes as dusk faded into night and the ship moved southwards down the Bosphorus.
As a professional travel photographer and guest travel and adventure photographer lecturer on cruise ships worldwide I knew I was about to experience something special. I photographed about 200 images panning across the old Istanbul city skyline in a 10 minute period since this was a lifetime photo moment for me. Individual images as horizontal and vertical shots plus panorama sequences kept me busy while tears streamed down my face as the colors got more vivid and I heard the Muslim call to prayer echoing along the Istanbul harbor. As I snapped away furiously, I also swapped lens on my Canon 7D frequently from my Canon 17-85mm IS to my Canon 70-200 IS L lens for different perspective. When it was over I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I am not very religious but God was in Istanbul that evening.
To see how this photograph was taken visit our recent Bog post – Taking Dramatic Sunsets
Check out our new quiz posted today Where’s David and Anna? All correct answers (specific travel destination please) get complimentary access to one of David’s new online photography courses with live video, comprehensive handouts and more: Travel Photography-Amazing Tips and Techniques OR Easy Photography for Cruise Ships and Ports. If you do not know the answer don’t worry. All Images-Connecting the World Blog subscribers get half price on either of the above $39 courses. Use the coupon code BLOG50 at checkout!
Image details and photographer background:
Technical Info: Canon EOS 7D | Exposure 1/500s @ f/6.3 | ISO 400 | Focal Length: 144mm | Bias -1 1/3EV
Photographer: David Smith (Vancouver, BC, Canada) Registered Photographer
David Smith is a professional photographer, travel writer and keynote speaker based in West Vancouver, BC.He has traveled to over 90 countries and 6 continents and considers himself a “dream traveler capturing the world one smiling face at a time”. His travel images have been published worldwide with over 10,000 images of world travel, ethnic life and cruise ship adventures in his Interface Images online gallery at http://www.interfaceimages.com.
David frequently lectures on digital and travel photography; travel adventures, world culture and port destination topics. As a frequent guest lecturer with Holland America, Oceania Cruise Lines, Regent Seven Seas and Seabourn Cruise Lines in the last 8 years he looks forward to explore the amazing photogenic world in future. He also tutors and teaches digital photography classes and camera workshops for photographers at all levels at home between trips. He is represented internationally by stock photo agencies and his images and travel writings have been published internationally in magazines, books, websites, and newspapers (recently in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today Travel, Geo Saison Magazine and Frommer’s Travel Guides). He is a professional member of the Editorial Photographers Association and past President of the North Shore Photographic Society in West Vancouver, B.C. His presentations are known to inform, entertain and inspire his audiences. A 1969 B.Sc. (Hon. Chemistry) graduate of the University of British Columbia, he spent a 35-year career in executive management, entrepreneurship, corporate finance and business crisis management. Ironically, as soon as “they took chemistry out of photography” he followed his true passions and pursued digital photography and world travel as a full time career over 12 years ago. His wife Anna is also a published travel photographer, travel writer and cruise ship guest lecturer and workshop leader on exotic fabrics and world textile arts. He has recently published a series of popular Travel Photography online courses with live recorded video, audience Q&As, comprehensive handouts all viewable online 24/7 and downloadable to all tablets and smart phones.
Print Collection: 5-david-smith.artistwebsites.com/
Season’s greetings from your dream traveler team David and Anna Smith -capturing the World one smiling face at a time.
After 5 years of very intensive world travel to over 50 new (for us) countries and capturing over 400,000 images and videos we are now home for the Holidays. We wish our Blog subscribers, friends all over the world and family the best wishes of the season and a rocking 2013! You can look forward to some entertaining, informative and inspiring Blog posts in 2013 but lets try one right now!
WHERE’S DAVID AND ANNA?
Many of you have seen this type of signature shot of us jumping in the air in quite recognizable world locations if you attended one of our photography classes, public speeches, cruise ship lectures or seen a previous Blog post.
How did we get this photo?We set up our camera for a fast shutter speed of a 1/1000th of a sec or faster (or in Sports Mode); in low light we increased the ISO to get the fast shutter speed; and used continuous (or burst) mode for multiple photos with one press of the shutter. Using a wide angle (or zoom out) lens setting to capture us and the background we hand our camera to someone and say “press the shutter on the count of 3 and keep it pressed”. We then position ourselves with the recognizable background and David counts while we jump on 2 and jump several times. The result is about 10 to 40 photos and we simply select the one where we have jumped the highest later.
For fun we streamed all the consecutive shots from other recognizable locations and posted them in a 2 minute YouTube video “The Jump”
Well this photo of us is not in a very recognizable location. This location, devoid of vegetation, is in an active volcanic area and is certainly unique due to relatively recent (16th Century) major volcanic lava flows. The first 12 people to name the national park or the specific island in the photo, will receive a complimentary and lifetime access to David’s brand new online Travel Photography – Amazing Tips & Techniques Course. To enter send an email to email@example.com with your answer. Hint: it’s in a European country. Please do not put your answer in the comments section below.
For those that don’t know the answer I am offering this new online course to Blog subscribers at an introductory half price offer until New Year’s Day – Jan. 1, 2013. Enter the discount code HALFOFF when checking out. You can also gift this course, a perfect holiday gift for travelers and photographers. The regular price for this comprehensive course with handouts is $39 -the special price is $20.00. This live video course can be viewed on computers, smart phones and tablets.
Our travel photography motto: Don’t ask what you will photograph today but ask what you will be given today and put yourself in the place of most potential…and always SMILE!
Good luck with the contest and cheers to you and your family from West Vancouver in beautiful British Columbia!
When Captain Ressa moved Oceania Cruise Lines new Marina cruise ship from the pier in Istanbul, he could not have picked better timing. As she swung about to slip by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, an intense vivid red sunset was punctuated by a Muslim call to prayer echoing among the minarets. On deck, some tears were shed, cameras clicked furiously and it was all over in a few minutes as dusk faded into night and the ship moved southwards down the Bosphorus. Being the start of a Oceania Cruises “Myths and Monuments” voyage to Turkey and Greece is this lifetime memorable event a sign of more to come?
Travel Photo Tip with David Smith: Capturing better sunset images
I cringed as I saw most cameras capturing this lifetime moment with just a few shots in automatic mode. Light meters, even in today’s sophisticated digital cameras, can’t handle the complexity of both the intense bright spots around the sun lit clouds and the dark moods of the burnt ember colored sky. In automatic mode the inability of a camera’s sensor to capture both bright and darks
at the same time results in a rather flat looking image with blown out bright areas and not so colorful clouds. To capturing better sunsets with your camera you must underexpose the shot to reduce blown out brights and increase the saturation of the brilliant colors..
The magic elixir that makes this happen without having to know anything about shutter speeds and f-stops is the Exposure Value (EV) button. Often a plus/minus symbol with a diagonal line or a menu setting control in almost all digital cameras have this control, sometimes enabled only when you are NOT in automatic or scene modes.
To underexpose your shot set the EV control to a negative number. The default setting is EV=0.0 so take a shot at the auto or default setting, then move the EV setting to -1.0 take a shot, then move it to -2.0 take a shot, etc. Better cameras have EV setting ranges of up to + or – 5.0 so go lower than EV=-2.0 if you can. An EV of -2.0 is the same as underexposing by 2 stops in the old film camera world. You can see the results instantly on your camera’s LCD. By bracketing you can can select the best shot to show later. This sequence of photos of the same scene shows the dramatic difference to sunsets by underexposing the shot in 1 EV increments. IMHO, the most dramatic images is the -2 EV shot.
NOW – to really Jazz up the shot!
To create an even more dramatic image as shown in the top of this post, I selected the -2.0 EV shot and performed a 1 mouse click adjustment of the image by using an amazing image enhancement plug-in called Topaz Adjust 5.0 from Topaz Labs. I used my favorite “Spicify” preset from the dozens of presets available. This preset gives the image a dramatic textured effect ideal for travel photos .Other plug-ins for image noise, simplify, black and white effects and others are also available from Topaz Labs. These plug-ins work with Photoshop Elements, Photoshop CSx, iPhoto, free Irvanfu and many other photo editing software products and all are user friendly and no not require “Photoshop” skills. They even offer free and live training webinars.
Readers can order fine art canvas, prints, acrylic and cards of this Istanbul sunset image from our Fine Art America web site. This image can also be downloaded and licensed for publication from our online Interface Images world travel photo archives
David Smith is a professional travel photographer, guest lecturer and photo workshop leader on cruise ships, photo conferences and corporate events. He is published worldwide and his web site is Interface Images
Many guided tours and cruise ship shore excursions provide excellent travel photography opportunities that are frequently missed. As frequent guest lecturers and invited escorts on tours organized by Oceania Cruise Lines and Regent Seven Seas, Anna and I have toured most world ports of call in the their amazing Mediterranean, Baltic, Atlantic, Caribbean, South American, SE Asian and South Pacific and Australian/NZ itineraries. There are some travel photos and videos in this post to help illustrate some of the following suggestions for getting better travel images while on tour:
1. Research your tour itinerary by reading the detailed tour descriptions and attend shore excursion presentations on board to learn planned visit locations in advance to help prepare your photography strategy and a shot list. Local tour operators can move you around quickly so always have your camera ready for those one in a lifetime photo opportunities. Practice your camera techniques before touring to avoid fumbling with your camera on site. David’s Travel Photography Tips and Techniques a 2 hour DVD from Amazon will help.
2. Locate yourself for uncluttered shots. If there is live entertainment or a cultural demonstration sit in the front or side of the audience to get unfettered action images. Consider walking about during the show to get different angles and distances from the action. All entertainers and presenters are willing to have their photographs taken You paid for the tour and presenters are paid by the tour operator their are paid as well so get your cameras out and ask. Be sure to capture locals in ethnic dress. Visit a previous Blog post about photography of people you don’t know for more.
3. Create a photo story of the tour to create more interest when you share your photography later. Capture the your guide, the sign on the front of the bus, flags, icons and symbols as well as the typical shots. Get establishing shots (the most common type), medium range shots and close-ups to keep interest. Review a prior post Travel Photography Tips for Cruisers – Part 1 for more hints.
Have a look at this slide show David’s photos of his recent Oceania Cruise Lines shore excursion tour of the newly opened Titanic Belfast Museum. (Our tour guide Ed Boyd is a professional actor as well and he made the tour fascinating by acting out the major players as they decided on the number of lifeboats to put on board)
8. When you come across an excellent tour guide or fabulous entertainersa tip is always appreciated and use that opportunity to get portraits of your guide and hosts with and without your travelling companions and be sure to hand your camera to someone to get yourself included in the fun and excitement of your tour photo story. Exchange contact information, be Facebook friends and send your photos to your new friends. Revisiting those magical ports of call and have new friends waiting for you makes travelling with your camera a must while on tour and on shore excursions.
Lisa of StepIntoFlorence is an excellent tour guide!
This YouTube video shows what happens when you hand your camera to someone else to capture your fun as your travel. … old folks jumping all over the world!
We have been travelling too frequently to keep the Blog current for the last few months but you can expect Blog updates from David and Anna Smith now about twice per month….
Permission to post this in its entirety on other Blogs and web sites is granted subject to providing your info and a link and credit to “David/Anna Smith of Interface Images - online world travel photo gallery “
Dust Be Gone! Ridding your Point and Shoot or SLR Camera Sensor of Dust.
For traveling photographers digital camera sensor dust can ruin your day or your entire trip! A camera image sensor is an electrostatic device and easily attracts dust particles to its surface and if large enough can ruin your images.
When I photographed clear plastic food containers for a manufacturing client several years ago I needed to increase the contrast significantly to make the transparent product stand out. I was astounded at the hundreds of dust particles adhering, like a snowstorm, to my digital camera sensor. Not usually an issue with complex multicolor backgrounds dust particles can wreck havoc when they are large and visible in a sky or plain background. Auto sensor cleaning cameras had not been developed yet, so I ran to my local camera store and picked up a camera sensor dust cleaning brush system called Arctic Butterfly by Visible Dust. A battery operated spinning brush achieves a static charge and when you gently stroke the charged brush on you cameras sensor it easily picks up all the dust. It works so well that I frequently zoom in and scroll all over a plain color image (e.g. grey sky, white wall) and stroke away when I see dust.
I know of an African safari tourist who thought using a blower brush on his camera’s sensor was the trick to remove dust but he didn’t notice that oil droplets and other gunk being sprayed from the blower would ruin every image taken on this once in a lifetime trip – so sad. Cloning out the dust spots with your editing software is certainly a last resort option but get a life! We would rather travel or Blog post than spending needless hours fixing images.
Here is an example of an image from a SLR camera showing tiny dust spots in the blue sky:
Even though my Canon 7D has auto sensor cleaning I take the Arctic Butterfly with me on my world travels just in case. Noting that most cameras with auto sensor cleaning systems have a backup mode which really says “well, my sensor cleaning system didn’t work so let’s automatically clone away the dust spot on all images”. Moist pollen that dries and frequent lens changes in salt spray, windy or desert environments are particularly problematic. Well, SLR cameras seem to have dust sensor cleaning solutions but what about point and shoot cameras?
OMG! THE VACUUM CLEANER SOLUTION!
For about 3 years in my digital and travel photography lectures and classes, I always thought that point and shoot cameras don’t have sensor dust problems since the camera body is sealed and the lens is not removable. I did wonder about the pressure changes inside the camera from zooming in and out the camera lens – perhaps sucking in dust? A few years ago a cruise ship guest showed me his P&S camera with huge sensor dust spots that ruined every image. When we visiting Jordan’s Wadi Run desert with 2 point and shoot and a SLR camera shooting out of a speeding 4 wheel drive with windows open became sensor dust hell for all cameras!. The SLR was easily cleaned but the other cameras were stowed to be dealt with on return home. Fortunately it was the second to last day of a 3 month journey. Ultimately both point ans hoot cameras were exchanged under warranty.
Until last month I suggested the only solution for point and shoot sensor dust problems is to return the camera for professional dis-assembly and cleaning (a step frequently costing more than the worth of the camera) or buy a new one. In a recent cruise ship lecture a woman piped out “I used a vacuum cleaner nozzle over my extended lens and it sucked away all the sensor dust”. I repeated her comment in my next class and I had a very happy camper who did the same thing and got his camera back and operational without visible sensor dust at the start of a long travel journey.
For travelers vacuum cleaners are easy to find in hotels, cruise ships and shops (but not remote deserts!) so is this the ultimate solution for P&S camera sensor dust? Will the powerful suction do away with tiny semiconductors or dislodge camera parts? Should this solution be only for cameras that will be tossed anyway? Please share your thoughts and experiences on this apparent “easy” solution. Fill in the comments and your experiences with digital camera sensor dust in the reply section below.
Dust be gone?
A Simple On Camera Flash Technique to Amaze your audience…. Creating Camera Flash Images So Unique that No-one can replicate them – even you!
By popular demand, I am re-posting, updating and giving more details/samples on this technique since many of my recent photography class and workshop attendees have asked me to do so in the Blog.
I came across this technique about 15 years ago by accident while I was playing with my camera settings at a wedding reception when the lights were down low and the dancing started. In the process of taking a photo someone knocked my elbow and the camera rotated as I pressed the shutter. When I saw the finished print I couldn’t believe or understand how I got the amazing effect of a crystal clear portrait of the bride and her family and a cool funky blurred background- but I do now! I teach this technique at most of my digital photo classes, seminars and lectures. Try it during a birthday party or with your dining room companions.
For a little background, I tutored this technique to a gal from Calgary and a guy in Vancouver a few months later. There were individually on a trip to Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro and one saw the other using this technique (very evident to see because it looks really weird from anyone watching you use it!) and in chatting, they found that they had both learned it from Dave the Rave (that’s me!) in private lessons back in Canada. What a small world! Well here it is… and I gave it a name: Dave’s Dynamo Effect ™ . I am certainly not the first person to uncover this trick but you may be hearing this firsthand here.
Dave’s Dynamo Effect (tm)
Facts: A camera flash will freeze close fast-moving objects in low light and has a limited distance range beyond which it has no effect at all. The duration of flashes vary by type and model, off-camera or built-in/pop-up and is typically between 1/1000 to 1/30,000 of a second. This is like a super fast shutter speed and when most or all of the light is from the flash (and not other sources) then you freeze anything to tack sharpness within the flash distance range, even if it is moving quickly. Objects that are beyond the flash range become more blurred if they move quickly or you rotate the camera. Therefore, in low light situations and with a very slow shutter speed you will get a tack sharp close moving object and blurred far away objects. Well, if the far way object, or background is not moving then you will get a dimly lit blurred background because of the slow shutter speed – boring!. Solution to this: Spin rotate your camera as you take the picture – this will cause the background to become ethereal looking, dizziness like, wild and crazy. Background lights will create a variable “falling star” trail increasing with more distance from the camera.
You can get this effect on ALL cameras by using an option that sets a slow shutter speed and forcing the flash on. A common setting to use on a point and shoot cameras is party mode, night portrait or slow sync (the later usually found off auto mode by scrolling your flash button) or in scene modes. The best setting to use on all SLR cameras and some Point and shoot cameras is Shutter Priority (S or TV) with flash forced on and set a shutter speed between 1/10 sec to 1/35 sec. If you can, vary the shutter speed as the effect will differ. Don’t forget to rotate the camera bigtime as you take the picture and everyone watching will think you are nuts! Try it. Some love this effect and some hate it! What’s funky is that no-one, even you, can duplicate the image again because they will be all different.
- Camera techie/enthusiasts s should set their shutter sync to 2nd curtain for optimum results. This will cause the trailing lights to go “in the right direction” but don’t worry about this setting if you don’t have it on your camera.
Confused? Read the above again slowly, attend one of my classes or look at the photos – all taken with Dave’s Dynamo Effect (tm).
2011 was our most travel photography rich year ever! With lecturing assignments on Oceania Cruise Lines, Regent Seven Seas and Holland America Lines we visited 5 continents and independently visited New York City, Washington DC and Honolulu. Some of our favourite travel images of 2011 are in this post.
Our motto is “Smile and the world just might smile back at you!” The only reason we come home now is to change clothes and visit our 5 grand children
Our inspiration to travel internationally came from our teen years when high school or family trips took each to Europe and by developing friendships with world travelers at home. Experiencing foreign countries and ethnic cultures and photographing local people is our love and breaks down all of our preconceived (and totally wrong!) notions of other other races, religions and cultures. Visiting Muslim countries, the jungles of Panama and remote villages in northern Thailand will be some of our lifelong memories. Photographing AND sharing images with our subjects is an instant ice-breaker for us. See a prior post on photography of people you don’t know.
A successful travel photography lifestyle as a couple requires extreme patience with each other and the rest of the world. When either of us finds a world-beating photo or amazing cultural arts shopping opportunity the other accommodates the other and always. Respecting the others passion makes frequent world travel fun. If you don’t get along at home, you will definitely not get along while travelling. We see so many couples ruin a trip by not understanding how important a fellow travellers’ needs are.
“You must trust and let people you meet, whether locals and other travellers, guide and help you along. Sure escorted tours are easy but independent travel enables you to meet locals and smell the local roses spices. Be sure to research destinations, places to stay and do, travel videos and photo opportunities before arriving” states David enthusiastically.”
Peace of mind increases by having a safety net that includes extra copies of all documents, important phone numbers, credit card information and do not write down but memorize PINS. Carry valuables in a money belt when visiting busy cities and popular travel destinations, pickpockets abound. We each use a money belt for passports, tickets, cash and credit cards in all crowded tourist destinations without exception as we have met many travellers who have had their travels and plans ruined by a pickpocket. A backup camera, lots of memory cards, batteries and charger and several different cash accounts at different banks to thwart ATM issues are mandatory for us.
Our favorite destination is always our last one. However our many trips to the Greek Islands (there is no “bad” Greek island) and anywhere in Italy indicate European favorites and we intend in returning to Thailand soon to savor Thai food, people and stunning beauty. Believe it or not, Muslim countries like Morocco, Egypt and Jordan are also in our travel future, having nothing but great experiences there recently.
An evening gondola ride in Venice with an opera singers tenor voice and mandolin echoing off the canal walls, beach massages on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand and dining Brazilian style at the Porcão restaurant in Rio de Janiero are just some of their memories we cherish.
The best part of world travel is the travelers and local people you meet along the way. Eclectic Wayne and Pat Dunlap (their Blog: Unhooked Now; their amazing and brand new how-to book: Plan Your Escape! ) are a great inspiration to unhook from routine life and go for it; Effervescent Irini and her family, proprietors of the Hotel Hellas in Santorini for their love and enthusiasm anytime we visit there; and the lovely Zeena of Sydney Australia for keeping us travel energized with her phone calls, emails and Sydney tours after meeting her in Rhodes 6 years ago. The lovely hospitable Lisa who willingly hosted us in New York City near Central Park neighbors Federico and Cristina from Colombia who encourage us to go travel crazy and many others are just some people David and Anna have had the fortune to meet. Our friendships and travel tales can literally fill a book, which they will do someday.
We use www.tripadvisor.com frequently to research places to stay and what others say about an activity or location. They can easily select a quality level and budget for each destination then contact properties directly online or by phone to confirm details and current prices. With today’s weak world travel economy direct phone contact can save lots of money versus published online rates. We prefer 3 star family run hotels versus luxury chain hotels not just to save money but to meet locals and experience family life and ethic culture. They will splurge on fine dining in view restaurants but share a main course.
A mini laptop with WIFI and Skype permits free video calls to other Skype users and very inexpensive land line calls. It is faster, easier and cheaper to find a WIFI hot spot and make computer calls than to seek phone cards and figure out how to use them in foreign lands. Besides, Skype video calls lets their grand children remember what they look like.
As frequent cruise ship passenger enrichment lecturers and workshop leaders, we plan on continuing their world travels for the foreseeable future and explore the foreign lands thoroughly after disembarking the ships.
The Smith’s are addicted to world travel. Visit their Interface Images web site (www.interfaceimages.com ) and follow them on their Blog Images – Connecting the World to see why. They are truly dream travellers capturing the world one smiling face at a time.
More Travel Tips from Anna:
Watch out for the faux guides in Morocco and North Africa, they have many ways of manipulating their stories for you to become their friends only to find it will cost you big time at the end of the day. Watch out for photocopied money in Buenos Aires, we were at the Sunday market and were given some only to find out the next day at the deli they could tell it was fake from across the counter. Take taxis when there is limited time it is so worth it, perhaps share a cab makes for a fun filled day – local buses are easy and people are so willing to help you get to your destination.
Please remember to be courteous even if you don’t understand it only takes a smile and a nod of the head to try and communicate kindly. Try to learn a few words before you go. Take lots of small denomination bills for tipping, it can make the world of difference to someone and not hurt you in the least. Buy local handmade crafts (avoid the middleman) wherever you go – there is always a story behind every piece of artwork. Take pins or small souvenirs from your hometown to give away – make someone’s day extra special. Discover Japan and possibly other destinations using the local Good Host Guide program, what a remarkable rewarding experience and you make new friends.
Finally, Make your Bucket List and Just Go For It – Remember Life is not a dress rehearsal – we go this way once!
Photo Workshops/Public Speaking
David Smith leads digital photography classes and digital camera workshops for beginner, enthusiast and professional levels in the metro Vancouver, BC regions and guest lectures on cruise ships and conventions worldwide. For more visit David Smith Workshops/Photography Training
Anna Smith leads textile arts and cultural handicraft workshops and speaks on exotic fabrics of the world. Visit Anna Smith public speaking and workshops
- Video: Up In The Air: 16 Decks Above The Sea On The SeaWalk on Royal Princess
- A Royal Affair In Southampton: The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Christens Royal Princess
- In Photos: Kate Middleton Names Royal Princess In Southampton
- Royal Princess, In Photos
- Continuing A Week Of Princesses, I Leave For London To Meet A Royal Princess
Idyllic Polynesia – a 5 min. video. Relax & Enjoy!
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