Top Digital Photography Tips and Techniques
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banner year for digital photographers as more and more people discover or rediscover the fun of taking and sharing pictures.

Before the year is out I have a few more generalized tips to pass along, in no particular order. Some of these are actually answers to questions I’m frequently asked and that you might be wondering about.

Why doesn’t the average digital camera fire as soon as the shutter is pressed? Because it takes time for the camera to do everything it has to do before taking a picture such as focus, adjust exposure, set the white balance and so forth. That’s called “shutter lag.” It’s a part of digital photography that we have to tolerate unless one can afford the very expensive DSLR’s that the pros use.

For really good amateur photos that aren’t enlarged much beyond 8X10, 5 to 6 mega pixels in a quality camera is enough. If you don’t intend to ever make enlargements go for 4 or 5 with a really good lens and you’ll be happy.

Get a camera with a glass lens and preferably one with aspheric elements or that uses ED glass.

Don’t buy a camera that features a ridiculous digital zoom range because you’ll be disappointed with it. Use the optical zoom only and you’ll be happier. Digital zooms are pretty much a joke, and a selling point, because people always like to see big numbers such as 10X zoom or egads, 20X zoom. Trust me; it isn’t the same as a true optical zoom.

If you absolutely have to have a very long lens then buy an entry level DSLR, such as the canon Rebel or Pentax E Series, and separate true telephoto zoom lenses.

Use the highest picture quality setting or resolution your camera offers, you’ll be happy you did, especially if you want enlargements. I know it eats up memory, but hey, you paid for those pixels, so use them. Get extra memory cards from online retailers when they have sales or a rebate; that’s what I do. Don’t buy them locally from a drugstore and pay 2 to 3 times as much.

Keep your arms close to your sides when snapping pictures; you’ll be amazed at how much that helps steady the camera. Don’t hold your arms out as if they’re wings, you’ll look silly too.

OK, that’s enough.

In case you’re wondering about the photo, I took it 4 days ago at “Buffalo Bills Hotel and Casino”, which is in Primm, Nevada, about 45 miles south of Las Vegas.

It was a very blustery, cold day, and the sky appealed to me since we don’t see skies like that very often out here. I thought the clouds seen through part of the rollercoaster presented an interesting opportunity.

The camera I used was a Pentax RS430, 4.3 mega pixel digital camera, which is a tiny, but heavy little thing that’s built like a tank. It’s capable of taking 3D pictures, which is another of my passions, although the feature is difficult to use.

I got the camera off eBay, almost new, for a fraction of its value. Sometimes you get lucky. It’s always with me in case of unexpected opportunities without the worry of having to keep my more expensive gear hidden from thieves when I can’t carry it around.

The original image was enhanced just a smidgen in the Microsoft Office Picture Manager that came with Microsoft Office 2003.

This camera and the free software have resulted in some really good images for me, so as you can see that you can produce some high quality amateur pictures without going broke.

So that’s it for 2006. Thank you for stopping by and reading my postings, which I hope you found helpful and entertaining. Hopefully the coming year will be even better for all of us in all ways.

I want to wish you a very Happy New Year, and, please, however and wherever you celebrate, be sane and stay safe.

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