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2. Cameras and Operating Systems

Berthold Daum Rocky Nook-IPS ePub

Before turning to the virtues of the CHDK, lets first have a look at some of the platforms the CHDK runs on. As its name suggests, the CHDK runs on Canon cameras. Specifically, the classic form of the CHDK runs on Canon compact cameras, such as Powershot and Digital Elph (Digital IXUS). For the still-experimental (at time of writing) EOS-CHDK, please see Canon EOS CHDK.

Practically all digital Canon compact cameras (and all of the newer camera models) are equipped with a zoom lens, allowing for an optical zoom range from 1:3 to 1:20+. The optical zoom can be extended via an optional digital zoom. All zoom lenses are equipped with a macro function, which again can be extended with a digital macro. Digital zoom and digital macro come at a cost, however: they reduce image resolution because only a part of the sensor is used for the final image.

Most Canon cameras are equipped with an optical image stabilizer; usually, these cameras carry the suffix IS in their name. Optical means that a lens element is moved to counteract camera shake. With this technique, it is possible to increase exposure times by a factor of 216 (14 f-stops) when shooting without a tripod. An image stabilizer is a very useful feature, especially for telephoto shots and for shooting in low light conditions.

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16. Cacti

Harald Mante Rocky Nook-IPS ePub


Nature is a multifaceted subject that often gives rise to excellent single images, but you will need a strong overall concept if you want to produce an effective photo series using a natural subject. Simple images of flowers and plants are only usually of documentary value and are not effective serial subjects. Large-scale viewsfor example, of Dutch tulip fieldsor small-scale macro views are much better suited to serial use. Both of these approaches make familiar subjects more abstract and encourage the viewer to take a second look.

In order to take high-quality macro photos, you will need to use a special lens and a tripod. Backlit leaf veins that are photographed without betraying the overall shape of the leaf make particularly interesting photos. Close-ups of tree bark are also a great source of abstract shapes and colors. Cacti and other succulents can usually only be found in greenhouses or on windowsills in much of the world. Cacti originally come from North and South America and boast an estimated 3,000 species and 220 genera, making them, along with orchids, one of the most diverse families of plants on Earth. Cacti have been cultivated as indoor plants since the 17th century and have been mass-bred for about the last 100 years, making them affordable for everyone.

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Cyrill Harnischmacher Rocky Nook-IPS ePub

The small size of compact or system flash units makes them ideal for tabletop photography. Their flash output is more than adequate because this type of photography doesn’t require large areas to be illuminated. They are simple to operate and can even be used in places without a power outlet. The availability of new and used flash units is almost overwhelmingly large. If you are considering purchasing or trying out a flash for tabletop photography, you may want to consider the following issues.

At a minimum, your tabletop flash unit should include the following:

Examples of other useful functions are as follows:

As a rule, most higher-end units from major camera and flash manufacturers offer all of these functions. Although it’s theoretically possible to use any flash, it can be prudent to limit yourself to one manufacturer. One benefit of doing this is you won’t have to switch back and forth between different methods of operation. Additionally, all of your equipment will likely be compatible and interchangeable.

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9. Correcting Color and Lighting

Lesa Snider O'Reilly Media ePub

Most digital photos could stand to have their colors and lighting adjusted. When you think about all the variables that come into play when you're capturing images, it's a wonder any photos turn out halfway decent! You're dependent on Mother Nature or the quality of artificial lighting, and, even then, it's easy to over- or underexpose an image. You need a good camera that can snap the shot before you miss it, a high-quality lens, and so on. Even if the stars are aligned and you get all that right, the camera itself may introduce a color cast, making your image look like it has overdosed on one particular color.

All these variables mean you need to spend some time correcting both the color and the lighting of your images. Not to worry: You've got an arsenal of tools at your disposal in Photoshop and its trusty sidekick, Camera Raw. In this chapter, you'll learn how to use all the automatic fixer-uppers (and there's a slew of 'em) like Auto Color, Variations, and so on. Then, you'll dive headfirst into professional-level adjustments such as Levels, Curves, and merging High Dynamic Range images (the latter is now easier in CS5). Next, you'll explore the glorious realm of Camera Raw for the easiest adjustments in the West, and, finally, you'll learn some tricks for saving images you can't fix any other way.

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11. Night Sights

Cyrill Harnischmacher Rocky Nook-IPS ePub

In order to take photos we need light, either from the sun or an artificial source. We cannot influence natural light sources, so we photographers have to make do with the light that is available, especially if we want to shoot moody images at dusk. Things look very different if we use flash to light up the night. Here, we can determine exactly what we light, where, and how brightly. We can also decide how bright to make the foreground or background by altering the aperture or the shutter speed. And we can even use timed exposures to make objects appear multiple times in a single image. So you see, using flash at night helps us to create new and fascinating images, but remains a challenge that uses techniques very different from the classic approach to photography that we are used to.

This piece is aimed at introducing you to nighttime flash techniques and intends to give you the knowledge you need to start experimenting on your own.

For the best results, your camera should be capable of manual shutter speeds of one second or longer, and should produce low noise in low light situations and at high ISO values (ISO 400 and above). Additionally, your lens should have a large maximum aperture.

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