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Against the Elements

Wednesday Dec 16, 2009
Against the Elements
Weather is very unpredictable. It may be difficult to tell what the atmospheric conditions will be later on in the day. If you have an inkling that there will be extreme weather and you will be working with your camera outdoors, be sure to follow these procedures and precautions to protect your camera from the damaging elements of the weather.

Do not use your camera in wet weather if it doesn’t have overhead protection. As a makeshift camera protector, you can use a plastic bag. All you have to do is to cut a hole into the bag. This hole is where the camera lens will go through. Put a UV filter on the lens and gather the bag against the UV filter. Use a rubber band to secure the plastic bag on the UV filter. This method can only be used for cameras that have extended lenses and can be fitted with filters.

If the camera has been sprinkled with water, wipe it down with a soft cloth. Remove all the detachable elements and wipe them each individually. Keep all the camera compartments open until it dries completely.

If an unfortunate accident caused your camera to become submerged in water, there may be a small probability that it will still work, especially if it has fallen into fresh water. If it falls into salt water, however, it is highly unlikely that it will work again, because the salt corrodes the camera components. Still, you should try rinsing it in fresh water, and then letting it dry. The salt may have only caused minimal damage, not enough to keep the camera from functioning.

When the weather is extremely hot, be sure to protect the camera by shielding it from the sun. If you decide to cover it with a piece of fabric, make sure to use lightly-colored cloth as dark material absorbs more heat and can cause damage as well. Also, you have to check if the material has dirt, sand, moisture, or any other element that can harm the camera.

Conversely, when the weather is extremely cold, you have to take special notice of the camera’s batteries. These are the parts which are most susceptible to damage at very low temperatures.

Finally, if condensation develops on your camera, you should remove the memory card and the batteries. Condensation is very hard to wipe down, especially if it is inside the camera. The best thing to do in this instance is to wait until the condensation dries out on its own. You can also put silica gel in the place where you store your camera. This gel absorbs moisture such as condensation.


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A Choice of Lenses

Wednesday Dec 16, 2009
A Choice of Lenses
Camera lenses are a good investment. They may be expensive, but if your lens is of  high quality, the photographs you produce will be exceptional as well.

There are three common types of camera lenses. These are the normal, telephoto, and wide. The main difference between these three is their focal lengths.
Normal camera lenses have a focal length of 50 mm. This lens is the most commonly used among all three. It is also the most convenient to carry, because it is lighter and smaller than the other two. It is also capable of taking photographs with a little amount of light.
With telephoto lenses, the focal lengths are longer than normal. Examples of focal lengths for telephoto lenses are 300 mm and 70 mm. When taking photographs using telephoto lenses, the subjects are brought closer. You will be able to get close-up action shots even when you are not too close. In using telephoto lenses, the field depth is also reduced. While the back and foreground is blurred, the subject itself is focused clearly.
Conversely, the focal lengths of wide lenses are shorter. The usual focal lengths of wide lenses are 24 mm, 28 mm, and 45 mm. The range of a photograph taken with a wide lens is wider than can be seen by human eyes. This kind of lens is usually used to take photographs of landscapes and large groups of people. The objects in the foreground are highlighted, while those in the background fade away into the distance.
Aside from these common lenses, there are also special lenses that are sold in the market. These lenses are used when photographers want to add special effects to their pictures.
Fisheye lenses have a 180-degree view. The four sides of the photo appear much farther than they actually are, but the center is brought much closer. There are two kinds of fisheye lenses. One is circular, and one has a full frame.
When a photographer wants to take close-up photographs, you use a macro lens. This lens’ focus is very close to the subject. Examples of focal lenses of macro lens are 50 mm, 55 mm, 90 mm, 100 mm, and 105 mm. Macro lenses also have high optical qualities.

If you need to take pictures of tall buildings and the like, perspective/shift control lenses are for you. You can fit the entire subject onto the picture without having to tilt the camera. With the perspective/shift control lenses, you can keep the camera upright, so the building would not seem as though it is inclined.


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Lens Hoods: To Buy or not to Buy

Wednesday Dec 16, 2009
Lens Hoods: To Buy or not to Buy
When taking photography, it is not only important to have a high-quality camera, you should also be equipped with the right accessories. However, with all the accessories sold in the market, there are some which may only turn out to be a waste of your money. This can be a big loss, since most professional camera accessories are very expensive.

The lens hood is one of them. What exactly is a lens hood? Is it really necessary for a photographer to own one?

Many people consider lens hoods to be impractical. They cost money, and they can be inconvenient to bring around since they are bulky and the take up a lot of bag space. Although there may be some situations wherein photos wind up with the same quality regardless of whether or not a lens hood is used, the converse is also true. There are a lot of instances wherein a lens hood can greatly improve the overall quality of a photograph. Also, lens hoods serve the practical purpose of protecting the lens from dirt or damage. Lens hoods can help prevent lens breakage, especially if they are made of sturdy material. A lens hood can also make a camera more inaccessible, protecting it from dust, dirt, and rain. It keeps the lens dry and clean and also guards against scratches and accidental fingerprinting.

A lens hood prevents unnecessary light from reaching the front of the lens. This light creates flare and reduces contrast in photographs. Flare causes a decrease in the quality of the photos. When you use a lens hood, the colors will turn out to be much richer, and there will also be a resulting increase in deepness of the saturation.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a lens hood. The rule of thumb is that, the longer and wider the hood, the better. Smaller hoods allow light to enter the lens, so there is more flare. There are a number of possible lens hood shapes. Some of these are circular, tulip-style or butterfly, rectangular, chopped tulip, and chopped and capped tulip. The shape of the lens hood dictates the shape of the illuminating cone that lights up the frame of the photograph. When there is no lens hood, the shape of the illuminating light cone is pyramidal. All these lens hoods vary in compactness and in the degree of flare prevention that they afford.


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