Thursday, August 31, 2006


originally uploaded by billspaced.
Fourth of July 2005. I took this picture with my new Canon Rebel XT. It's not a perfect representation of the actual fireworks that took place, but I think it's a really cool image.

What do you think? Let me know!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

101 Ways to improve your digital photography - - courtesy of Christoph Marquardt from Tips from the Top Floor

This site has 101 ways to improve your digital photography. Runs the gamut from instant feedback to composition to lighting and post processing. The author, Christoph Marquardt, runs the very popular site, Tips from the Top Floor, and podcast, also by the same name.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Raw versus Jpeg

An issue that you may have been pondering, or hopefully have already resolved for yourself, is shooting Raw versus Jpeg. There are pros and cons for each, but I have made the ultimate non-choice (where I can have my cake and eat it, too, whatever that means): I shoot both. My Rebel has the ability to capture both Raw and Jpeg at the same time.

Sure, it's a bit slower, but only a little. I shoot both for several reasons.


  1. Lossless format
  2. Can correct exposure and other user errors after the fact
  1. Ready for casual viewing and printing
  2. No workflow required for #1
So, when shooting both, I get all the benefits, and only two small drawbacks. I need more file space to store them and I sometimes confuse the heck out of myself, organizationally.

Here's an article that gives a succinct analysis (opinion?) on the issue. It's well worth reading.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Where there’s one good shot, there are at least three good shots."

"Where there’s one good shot, there are at least three good shots."

Who said it?
Terry Livingstone, nature photographer. I am sure he didn't say it first, but he says it here in a feature article at about making a beach trip a photo safari. There are a lot of insightful things that Terry says in this article. It's a good read about nature and landscape photography.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Framing the Shot

One of the most essential, if not the most essential, things that you have to "stick" when shooting is framing the shot. Remember those lousy 60s movies where the film director walks around with his hands to his face in the shape of a frame? It was cheesy in the movies, but in fact this is exactly what you need to be doing when framing a shot.

However, you don't have to hold your hands out like a Hollywood director. You simply use your camera to frame the shot.

Framing the shot is getting those important components of the shot in the shot. What does this mean? It means getting the subject, foreground, and background in the shot in a way that maximizes the effect or emotion you are trying to elicit.

There is one tried-and-true rule in framing a shot: The rule of thirds. Imagine the scene you are capturing is divided into 9 boxes, like a tic-tac-toe game. The points where the horizontal and vertical lines meet are the key places where you want to position your subjects. It's generally safe to say that your subject should not be centered in the middle box; rather, his or her eyes should lay on top of the top intersection, either on the left or the right.

Depending upon the foreground and background and the direction in which the subject is looking, and/or where the action (if any) in the scene is moving towards, will dictate whether the subject's eyes lay on the left or the right upper intersection.

If, say, the subject is looking to his left and he's facing you, then his eyes should be positioned near the upper left intersection.

If the subject is kneeling down and looking up towards the right of the frame, then his eyes should be near the lower left intersection.

As with everything, though, there are exceptions to this rule. Remember, photography is a little science (all that technology!) and a LOT art. Therefore, be wary of sticking to this rule 100% of the time. There are occasions where centering the subject works or where doing exactly the opposite can have quite a good effect.

For example, if you're trying to show symmetry, your subject might be best represented by centering it in the shot.

For a slightly different perspective on framing a shot, take a look here.

Equipment You Will Need

I mentioned in the last post the expense of photography. I should clarify this point a little more. Hence, the topic of this post is what you'll need, at a bare minimum, to enjoy yourself and perhaps get others to dig your work, too.

Basic list

  • Camera. Any kind for now will do. Digital is better. Digital SLR is still better. But not completely necessary.
  • A computer.
  • If you go digital, and why wouldn't you -- Post-processing software. This is a fancy term for "Photoshop" or one of its "equivalents" like Paint Shop Pro or iPhoto. You don't need Photoshop. Photoshop Elements is a very handy, yet inexpensive, tool for editing and tweaking your photos.
That's it, really. Oh, and again, if you go digital, some memory cards (at least one).

You can get an entire basic setup for a few hundred dollars. Anything you want to print, you can deliver it to Costco or one of many fine "photo finishers." So, initially, you don't even need a printer.

Some things that are nice to have:
  • Camera bag
  • Cleaning kit
  • Extra camera battery
  • Extra memory cards
  • Memory card reader, to transfer images from the card to the computer
  • Specialized lenses (zooms, telephotos, macros, wide angles, etc.)
  • Filters
  • Flashes
  • Battery chargers
  • Printer, maybe even specialized ink
  • Special photo paper (it's not all the same)
The most essential ingredient you'll need is your creativity. Make sure you take it along with you on any photo trips. I have seen beautiful pix taken with a cell phone and some pretty bad ones taken with a $3000 digital SLR.

The next post will be about framing a shot. How to get that perfect angle/perspective to render the emotion that you envision.

What Is It About Photography That Is So Enticing?

I often wonder why people like what they like. Why does a doctor become a doctor? Well, it must be because he likes "doctoring." Same goes for firemen, politicians, and pilots. Of course, photographers get into photography because they love it.

But why? What makes photograpy so great that you'd want to spend not only your time but your money on its pursuit? Photography can be extremely expensive, in terms of time and money. A good, not great, digital SLR will set you back well over $500. The best ones go for thousands. Lenses can cost at least an arm, if not an arm and two legs. Tripods, external flashes, bags, memory -- it all costs money.

Not to mention the monumental cost in terms of time. Time to set up a shoot, do the shoot, do the post-processing and printing, the delivery -- one could easily spend 24 hours a day perfecting his craft.

However, that's impossible, and, quite frankly it is not the objective of this site. The objective of this site is to pique your interest in photography, bring out your creativity, and enjoy one of life's most interesting and passionate activities.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy. Until you can't. Then, just go out there and snap some shots.

Welcome to my Photododo Blog

Hi! This is my first post to my blog, Photododo. Why Photododo? I don't know; it just sounded cool when I said it. I tried Photo Hound. Taken. Photo Monkey. Also taken. Would should I do?

I am kind of a dork; I guess one could say a dodo. Plus, my grandma's nickname was Dodo. So, it kinda fits.

Did I mention that it sounds cool? Yeah? Sorry.

Anyway, I hope to entertain you here with my photographs and commentary on them and photography in general. For now, since this is my only post, please make full use of all the links to the right. These are sources that I refer to almost daily.