Discover 7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography

Changing camera angles and take an ordinary pose and transform it to an extraordinary one.

Changing camera angles and take an ordinary pose and transform it to an extraordinary one. These photos are from the presentation: “7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography”

I'm really excited to be asked to show how to take better vacation photos at the May 20th meeting of the North Ridgeville Arts Council. I will be presenting “Discover 7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography.” The information can be used to improve vacation photography, pictures of friends and family, sporting events and more.

Topics to be covered include: how to choose a camera, creative composition from unusual camera angles, use of natural light and electronic flash, how to help people look their best, enhancing photos after they're taken, saving and preserving picture files to guard against loss from a computer crash, different ways to display photographs for maximum enjoyment and more.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

The meeting is on Monday, May 20th at 7 p.m. at North Ridgeville Library,35700 Bainbridge Rd, North Ridgeville.

The PERFECT consumer digital camera revealed at last

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7Have you been longing for the perfect digital camera with all the features you ever wanted at a price that was affordable?

I'm sorry – it does NOT exist. Not even cameras costing thousands of dollars have every feature that professional photographers want.

BUT, there is a camera that comes close. You can even get it used for under $250! BONUS ALERT: It can even record high definition videos – all in the same camera body.

I purchased the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 last December (Merry Christmas to me) as a great camera to take on vacations, throw in the car's glove box or stash in my briefcase. It fits comfortably in my pants pocket so I don't have to hang it from my neck when out-and-about!

So what criteria do I use for selecting the perfect camera?

My top complaint with consumer point-and-shoots is what's called “shutter lag.” That's the amount of time it takes for the camera to actually snap the photo from the moment you push the shutter button. Low-end cameras have a delay or lag as long as one second. That means you'll ALWAYS miss your toddler's first jump into the pool, your little leaguer hitting a home run or any other moment that passes within a second from when you click the shutter.

Other key features of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7:

– Solid metal body – should withstand more of a “beating” than a plastic camera body.

– Big 3″ colorful, sharp LCD display makes viewing photos easier in direct sunlight.

– 12 megapixel sensor allows for beautiful enlargements up to 8×10 inches.

– Amazing 12x optical zoom lens (up to 300 mm equivalent if you’re from the “old school” 35mm camera era). This makes taking photos of birds or animals better without having to get as close to them. (SPECIAL NOTE: When shopping for a camera, always ignore the “digital zoom” numbers on a camera. The picture quality of a digital zoom compared to an optical zoom is ALWAYS poor because the camera is just magnifying the photo’s pixels to give the zoomed-in look.

– Smooth and quiet auto focus

– Optical image stabilization – lessens blurriness from camera movement under low-light situations.

– “Intelligent Resolution” feature greatly improves photo quality.

– Automatic exposure and full manual modes

– Built-in flash

– Built-in GPS feature that records where you are when you take a photo. That’s great for those who travel a lot and forget the name of the place they took the photo.

– Very good movie quality in 720p AVCHD which looks as good as video recorded in full 1080 HD.

– Accepts SD/SDHC and new SDXC huge capacity memory cards.

To get the full specifications and current prices for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7, click here.

What camera do you use? What do you like best about it? What features would you like to have in your next camera? Please leave your comments on this post.

Out-of-focus pictures – NEVER AGAIN with amazing Lytro camera!

Ever lose a great photo because it was out-of-focus? That may soon be a thing of the past if the Lytro camera delivers as promised!

Before reading any further, click on different areas of each photo (above) to see how this camera allows you to choose any part of the scene to be in sharp focus.  (If the focus doesn't change, you may not have Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer. Get it here for free.) What is so unique about this feature is that you choose your focus point (the area of interest that you want to draw the viewer's attention too) AFTER you take the picture. Until now, there has never been a camera or software that gives that kind of capability! This could be a real “game changer” for anyone who has trouble taking pictures in sharp focus.

See more amazing photos like the ones shown here at the Lytro web site. They even give a technical explanation as to how this amazing camera works.
Unfortunately, Lytro isn't saying much about the camera specifications other than it will be small enough to fit in a pocket and that it will be “competitively priced.”

Lytro expects to roll out the cameras to consumers by the end of the year. (Hopefully in time for Christmas.)

Does this camera seem like something that you might purchase? What would be a fair price to pay? Please comment on this post.

Side note: Lytro has contacted me to be a possible “beta tester” of their camera. I've completed a questionnaire and am awaiting a response. If or when I receive the camera, I'll post some pictures and a review of my personal experience using it in “real-world” situations.

Out with the new, in with the old – Polaroid cameras to replace digital?

Polaroid SX 70 replacement film by "The Impossible Project"

Is it time to simplify your photography and ditch that fancy, new digital camera?

The founders of The Impossible Project, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, think so. Recently they released its first color instant film, PX 70 Color Shade, designed for use in Polaroid SX 70 cameras.

PX 70 Color Shade, the company says, is reminiscent of the original Polaroid Time Zero film and “delivers unique images by rendering astonishing pastel tones with crisp details. “Combined with a highly sensitive overall exposure performance and strong characteristics, it allows achieving breathtakingly charming results,” states the company.

The film can be used not only in SX 70 cameras but also in all 600 series Polaroid cameras, with appropriate adjustment of the exposure settings.

In October 2008 The Impossible Project saved the last Polaroid production plant for Integral Instant film in Enschede (NL) and started to re-invent and re-produce new instant films for traditional Polaroid Cameras.

So what do you think? Please leave your comments – below.

Camera of the future revealed

Canon Wonder Camera

The Canon Wonder could be the hottest new camera in 2030. I'll go out on a limb and predict there will be something like it from one of the manufacturers well before 2030.

Canon displayed the amazing concept camera at Shanghai Expo 2010. (Click the photos at left to see them larger.)

They call it the camera of the future and estimate a 20 year wait before something like it is ready. Continue reading

Smartphones may make digital cameras a thing of the past

Droid X

It seems that every day, there's another smartphone being introduced that makes your pocket sized digital camera a little less important. The latest smartphones have higher resolution than many digital cameras on the market. Why not lighten your purse or back pack and leave the camera at home?

Case in point: Motorola’s latest Android smartphone, the Droid X, has an 8 megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash and auto-focus. It also captures 720p video, and has a 4.3-inch, 854 x 480 WVGA display. It will be available later this summer from Verizon Wireless.

The Galaxy S camera phone made by Samsung will soon be offered by the top four U.S. carriers. However, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless will each offer the Galaxy with other names: Captivate, Epic 4G, Vibrant, and Fascinate, respectively. Sprint’s version includes a front-facing VGA camera for video calling.

Continue reading