Friday, April 22, 2011

A Big Thanks

Just want to thank Jim and Jeannine  for inviting the the Elfrida Photo Group into their home for last weeks meeting.  Jim taught us how measure our photos and frames and cut double mats to fit these measurements. As we all took turns we snacked on chip and dips.  After the workshop Jeannine and George fed us a great dinner of hamburgers, coleslaw, beans,and all the fix-ins. Desert was cookies and fluff.

New Followers

We would like to say "Welcome"  to John and Ellen from Evil Empire State of NY (I am still a Red Sox fan) and thank you for your gracious comments.  Actually the camera was sitting on the table and the cat was pushing the release button.  Darn critter wanted more cat food for being helpful but I accused him of trying to upstage me and making my camera smell like fish.

We would also like to welcome Ticia to our followers of the greatest photo blog.  Just my


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Flying Horse?


One of the facets of life that is hard to display in a still photograph is motion.  Yes, we can blur the photo to represent motion or catch the subject with hair flying out or in the process of motion.



Here I have captured the marvel of the unknown.  A flying horse.  He is not touching the earth, his tail is pointing back and he has just launched for an afternoon flight.  Hey, I can have moments of grandeur.  Getting back to the serious side of photography, photos of animals, whether wild or pets, always make great pictures.  Telephoto lens help capture the subject when they are at a distance and not paying attention to the photographer.  This is especially a very good idea when taking pictures of wild animals, such as a pack of wolves or a mother bear with cubs.  And asking the mother bear to sign a model release form is another bad idea.  Maybe not too bad, though, as it weeds out the wacko photographers and helps clean the human gene pool.  Back to the photos…..


Above….the subject is starting to raise off the ground.  Only one of his landing gear is still touching the runway.  Below I have captured the subject as he plays with the food dish.  The older, more sophisticated horse can only watch as the “kid” plays.



Alas, I should say…..

“That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.”


Monday, April 18, 2011

Making a Slide Show & Saving in DVD Format

The discussion came up at our last meeting about making a slide show in Windows 7 and saving the final show in a DVD format so it can be played in any DVD player.

I used the Windows Live Movie Maker as this program allows for making of videos and/or still photos to make a slide show. A word to the wise….generally, these cannot be used as a “For Sale” item if you are using copyright material, music as an example. Same applies if the photos are someone else’s artistic work but I find making a DVD for sending to family members a good way to let them see my world.

Okay, that being said, let’s talk about the assembly of the Mk-1, Mod-2 Acme Jungle Gym…..ooops, wrong program. Trying again I suggest you preselect your photographs and put them in email size (640 X 480 pixels) and copy them into a folder. That way they are easy to find and upload into the movie maker. With friends and family the watermark is an optional item. My brother would sell me out in a minute….no, only kidding but he’ll never know as he is yet to come into the electronic age. He, like our mother, believes the microwave oven is high tech stuff.

 Picture #1

 Picture #2

For this demo, I have selected 3 web (email) sized photos. These are uploaded into the Windows Live Movie Maker by clicking on the “Add videos and photos’ icon. (See Picture #1 and Picture #2)

 Picture #3

You will see the pictures in the box on the right side (See Picture #3) and they will play starting at the top left and across to the right. Next to the Add videos/photos you will see the “Add music” icon. This can be used to add any MP3 file for background music. Another option would be to use a microphone and add your own interpretation of the photos. I am not going into the use of music or audio as that is something you can experiment with on your own. The next set of icons (Movie Themes) control how each photo comes into and leaves the viewing screen (fade, roll off, etc.).

Picture #4

Once you have all the photos you want to use, have selected background audio/music, and have selected the Movie Themes you are ready to save your project. This is done the same way as any file or folder, generally with a “Save Project As” command so you can name the video. (See Picture #4) This menu is in the upper left with a “down” pointer. Once we have saved our project, then we can make the DVD for playing on other DVD players.

Picture #5

On right side of the menu bar for Windows Live Movie Maker we have another save selection. (See Picture #5) This is labeled “Save Movie” which has the subcommand of “Burn DVD”. The burn DVD command will transform the files into a DVD format and once completed with the burn, you should be able to play the burnt copy in a standard DVD player. Do not test it in another computer as this will read the original format of the files and show you the slideshow. Try the DVD in a “stand-alone” DVD player.

One other note of interest. I used a DVD+R to burn the slideshow. DVD+R disks do not normally require a “finalize” command as they will do this function automatically. I did not try to burn a copy in the DVD-R format.


Screen captures made using  Screenhunter 5.1 Free

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Windows 7 Tips, Tricks & Misc. Info–Giddy-Up, Faster, Faster

To speedup any computer through the years was to simply add more RAM (random access memory) to the computer.  Adding RAM called for you to purchase a circuit card, sometimes a matched pair and open up the case on the computer.  Today, that is still the case, so to speak.  Physical RAM (now called SDRAM) is still the best way to add flexibility and processing speed to a computer. 

But Windows 7 gives us another option.  If you have a USB thumb drive that is equal to/or up to twice the amount of RAM you have installed in the computer, then you may be able to use the thumb drive as extended memory.   Preparing the thumb drives for use, you should first make sure there are no files you need on the drive, plug it into the USB port and right click on it’s icon in Computer.  Select and run Ready Boost to speed up your data handling.  If Ready Boost will not run with the thumb drive you have, then you will need a newer thumb drive.  Not EVERY thumb drive will work.  Remember your RAM is temporary memory and whatever you have not saved when you turn off the computer, goes away.  The thumb drive normally is like a hard drive in that it saves the data it contains but NOT WHEN USED AS RAM MEMORY.  This is just one way to help speed up file handling by your computer.

NOTE:  If your computer has slots for reading camera memory cards/sticks, you can use most camera memory cards and accomplish higher speeds as discussed above.

Another improvement was to run the Disk Defragmentation (Defrag).  Vista and Windows 7 are quite similar except Windows 7 has the fat trimmed out of the OS letting it run much faster than Vista.  Defrag would take “fragmented” files and rearrange the file to be in one location.  You no longer have to defrag in Windows 7 because the computer does it automatically if the computer is idle.

As always, there will be more to come on this blog concerning Windows.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Out of Focus??

Problem: I want to take a picture with everything in focus. The camera seems to cause the background and/or foreground to be blurred.

This is fairly easy to correct but you must know how your particular camera looks at your target. The main culprit is simply manual or correct mode selection to control of the depth of field. Another controlling factor is your autofocus settings. Most cameras have several modes which use different symbols to show you where the camera is looking for the focus. The closer the subject is to the camera, the camera will give you a limited depth of field and blurred images in front and behind the subject. If you are using a zoom lens, lower the magnification of the lens making the object seem farther away will give you a more open depth of field.

Depth of Field is one of the key tools of a photographer and a thorough understanding of it is essential. Pictures of landscapes with wide-angle lens will normally give you an open depth of field or infinite focus. Setting the depth of field to a limited focal range is desirable when taking photos of objects between the camera and the horizon. This brings the object into sharp focus and blurs the background to lead the eye to the subject of the photograph.

The camera lens f/stop (aperture) setting controls the opening of the camera shutter. The f/stop can be looked at as a math fraction. (Example: 1/2 is larger than 1/4. f/2 is a larger aperture opening than f/4) f/22 is about the smallest you will find for digital photography unless you are a profession making all them big bucks. Okay, how does this fit in with the subject?? Your f/stop is the key element to setting up depth of field. Controlling depth of field is easiest if you are using a DSLR camera. Of course, you are saying, “….but I own a point-and-shoot camera!!” Again, I say you MUST know your camera. Read that owner’s manual because most have various modes controlling the lens aperture in priority or a manual mode so you can select both aperture and exposure time.

Ray added on 04/02/2011:

NOTE:  As my wife would say....The Mississippi River flows clearer than what you just wrote!!!  Okay, so I'm going to "revamp" or "rewrite" this article using my skills of confusion and aberration of facts. ("Just give me the facts, m'am.")

Ray O’Neal