Digital Photography: 17th Annual Mudd Volleyball Tournament

Digital Photography Sunscreen

Well, it finally came and I got to go out and enjoy one of my favorite charity events held annually in Albuquerque, the 17th Annual Mudd Volleyball Tournament.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time going into specifics. The proceeds from the event go to the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation. Last year, $463,000 was raised. For more info on the Foundation, click here:

Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation

For more info on the tournament, you can check out their website at:

Albq Mudd Volleyball

This is the first time I’ve gotten to go out and enjoy the tournament.

Even though it is a volleyball tournament, most are there for the chills, thrills and more important, the spills.

One thing is evident, smiles are everywhere. It is a great place to work on your shutter reflexes, but it’s not the most equipment friendly event in town.

If you’re going to take your camera, make sure it is treated for the elements as the mud and the dust will be everywhere.

The beauty of the event is there is no assigned pits for the spectators, you just wander to the pit of your choice and enjoy some great comedy, Er.. I mean, uh…. Volleyball!!!

I just threw a couple of my favorite pix on this page. I’m working on embedding a Flash Gallery with more pix.

Digital Photography Clean:  Not For Long

Digital Photography: A Spill With Class

View the entire set of images on my Photobucket account as a slideshow.

Photobucket Mudd Volleyball Slideshow

Digital Photography: He posted his what?

Digital photography enthusiasts around the world are now riveted in their seats and watching in wonder as the “Distinguished Gentleman”, Anthony Weiner (D-Rep), from the great state of NY, is under fire from some, for having posted an ambiguous identity picture of his personal region, while claiming his “Twitter” account was hacked. Reports are still murky days into the scandal as to whether or not Weiner actually posted the image, or as he claims, his “Twitter” account was “hacked”.  Weiner initially denied it was his… picture. Now his denials are falling markedly short of denying it was Weiner himself, who posted the image.

All of the uproar, all of the ruckus. I get it.

Add to that a fiery, outspoken personality, a few political enemies. a 21-year old college student, the recipient of the allegedly “private” Tweet, you’ve got a great scandal in the making.

Politics aside, can anyone please explain to me when this is ever a good idea? I’m baffled:

I have a camera…,

I have a..

few minutes to spare and a…,


Now, I’m going to take this here picture that I’m so proud of and zip it into cyberspace where it will be recorded for all of eternity for my spouse, children, employer, employees and great-aunt Edna to see. Maybe they’ll be impressed too.

So, how is all of this going to play out? Only time will tell.

The most important piece of information in this story? Exactly how many times in one week can you use the word “wiener” in a national news story and get away with it?

If you’re thinking to yourself, “What a putz!” You probably didn’t have to see see the picture either.

If you want to see some body humor, how about something from a real comic genius:,0,5260640.photogallery

Digital Photography Quick Histogram Tip

Okay, so you’ve got the basics of the histogram and how it can help.

One use for the histogram is you do not have to see your entire image on a little tiny 2 ½ or 3 inch screen, but you can see how all of the colors in your image are laid out, do
they fall within acceptable limits?  Are they clipped, (cut off), on either side?  If they are too bright, all you need to do is reduce the amount of light coming into the camera, (ie. A higher f-stop number, a lower ISO setting or a faster shutter speed).

If your image is too dark, you may need to go ahead and add more  light to the image in camera, not in photo editing software…  Remember how to do this?  (A lower f-stop
number, a higher ISO setting, or a slower shutter speed).

Here’s where the dirty little secret of histograms comes in…  Are you ready?  It’s okay to have an image that is a little too bright in your camera.  As long as the image is not clipped on the right, you can take the brightness out of your pictures with not too much distortion.  When you make an image darker in your favorite image editing program, you can bring back some of the detail.

If you try that the other way, the results aren’t nearly as good.  Let’s think about this for just a minute.

When you brighten a dark image, you increase the amount of digital noise that is visible in your picture.
This makes your picture look grainy, and noisy.  It actually reveals the imperfections in your picture.

When you decrease the brightness of an image, you are taking away detail from all of the bright spots in your picture, and giving the picture depth and substance.  You are
removing the brightest spots in the picture and bringing them closer to the shades of midtones (the middle tones of your image) and shadows (the darker parts of your image).

If you err on the side of slightly too bright, your images will work harder to make you proud.

Hope you find this tip useful.



Digital Photography D-SLR Tip: Screw-On Lens Filters Or How Not to Look Like A Goober (Well, Sometimes…)

Lessons Learned:

This is just a quick tip to keep you out of trouble. On the front of the lens on almost all D-SLR cameras is a group of threads used to screw on filters. The most basic filter is a UV Filter that will do a really good job of protecting the glass on the front of your lens with little noticeable difference in your images. These filters also have threads to screw additional filters onto. This is known as “stacking” filters. You can add “Neutral Density” Filters to cut the amount of light coming into the lens, “Circular Polarizers”, or almost any other combination of filters to allow you to get your desired result when taking your picture.

The problem:

These filters are very, very slim and can be difficult to separate once screwed on tightly.

This problem can be compounded by the fact that very little air gets in between these filters when added together, so you can have a vacuum seal form between these filters making them virtually impossible to separate without tools.

Add to this, if you take your camera, and/or camera bag from your nice, cool, air-conditioned vehicle or hotel room into the hot summer afternoon temperatures and the air between the filters will expand creating pressure between the filters causing them to become even “tighter”.

The solution:

Do not screw these filters on as tight as you can with your fingers, but give a little “breathing room”, so you don’t have to work nearly as hard to get them to separate when it comes time to take them apart again.

On-location quick fix #1: Hand the lens to a number of other people in the area and explain the situation to them clearly, to see if they too, are having difficulty separating the filters. This method is not preferred since the others will generally get fingerprints and all sorts of other debris on your sensitive, expensive lens filter. (This method usually doesn’t work, but it does give everyone in the immediate area a good laugh and allow them to join in the “fun”).

On-location quick fix #2: Place the filters near an air-conditioning vent, to cool down the filters and lower the air pressure in between the filters. Then attempt once again to manually separate the stubborn filters.

WARNING: The following quick fix will not be good for your equipment, and does require the use of sharp metal objects, so…, since you were the one to get yourself in this jam in the first place, you probably aren’t qualified to perform it. Use with caution and all responsibility is entirely your own.

On-location quick-fix #3: Take a thin blade, like the one on a pocket knife, and insert it in the space between the two filters. Give it a gentle nudge to possibly allow the vacuum seal formed between the two filters to break, (the vacuum seal, not the filters), put away the sharp object and then attempt once again to manually unscrew the filters.

On location quick-fix #4: Completely remove the stacked filters and place them in your camera bag in the misguided hope that the camera fairies will somehow have pity on you and loosen the filters for you over the next few weeks.
Warning: Removing all of the filters will expose the face of your lens to significant risk of expensive damage. Fix this situation as soon as possible.

All of the previous solutions may be attempted with your own degree of muttering, under-your-breath profanities, and other concealed methods of frustration. Feel free to flavor to personal distaste.

To really compound and confirm the gooberness element to this particular problem, if, after you separate the two filters, you want to see how it happened in the first place, screw them together again…

No comment.


Digital Photography: The Most Powerful Tool On Your Camera

Today, I’m going to drop a few tips on a very little understood tool that comes on almost every camera. it is called the histogram.

Now, before everyone starts freaking out, even though the histogram is a chart and it takes you back to sixth or seventh grade math class. Let’s look at that another way.

Histogram, that’s kind of like telegram, right? Think of it like this… Your camera is trying to send you a message. It wants to let you know how it is seeing the picture in front of it, and whether or not it will do a good job of seeing and copying it.

just push the display button on most models of camera and this chart will appear over the top of your image. If you’re thinking, “I don’t want this confusing chart covering up my pretty picture”, let’s look at this another way.

There are two types of histograms that you can see on the back of a camera. One will show you the balance of the red, green and blue channels on a picture.

The other histogram will show you the balance of light and dark in your picture.

The histogram is set up to be read from right to left. It should, for most normal images, start climbing gently on the left side, rise to its highest point in the middle, and the slowly taper off to the right. This will indicate a balanced image.

If your histogram shows you the left side starts halfway up the side and is cut off on the left side. Then your image is clipping the darks. There are too many deep darks in your picture to make it an averaged acceptable picture.

Here is an example of an underexposed image, and what its histogram looks like.

Digital Photography Mountain Memorial Dark

Clipping, this just means that side of the image is too light or too dark. The blacks will not be anything but the darkest black if it clips on the left. The whites will all be exposed as the brightest white if the histogram clips on the right.

If your image is too heavy on the right side… There are too many brights in your image and you may want to lower the exposure to bring these colors back into range.

Here is an example of an image that is balanced pretty even…

Digital Photography Mountain Memorial

So, keep in mind, the same concept applies for the histogram with colors, toward the middle is averaged, too much toward the edges is a bad thing.

Hope this helps you understand one of the most powerful tools on the digital camera.