My Picks for Favorite Photo Tips

by Derrick Story

In a previous weblog, Favorite Photo Tips, I shared a couple interesting photo tips then asked readers to post theirs. Many did just that. As promised, my favorites of the reader-submitted bunch get a signed copy of the Digital Photography Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition. So without further yammering, here are my picks (in no particular order):

Digital camera as communication tool by Phil Calvert

While traveling in Japan I found a novel use for a digital camera. Most of the restaurants there have lifelike plastic displays of the food they serve. Since I couldn’t speak Japanese, I just took a picture of what I wanted to eat and showed it to the waiter. He thought it was very funny, but I did get what I ordered.

Low Light Autofocusing by Conny Svensson

Try to focus on something better lit at the same range as the subject you wish to photograph. Maybe close to a lamp or some other light source. Continue holding down the shutter button halfways, point at the subject, and take the shot.

Keeping track of spent and freshly charged batteries by Phil Calvert

I have a Canon A70 that uses four AAs. I always put the spare, freshly changed batteries in the carrier with their polarities alternating, one after another; in other words, battery no. 1 has “+” facing up, battery no. 2 has “-” facing up, etc. When I change batteries, I drop the spent batteries out of the camera and slip the new ones in -- if you practice you won’t have to fuss with getting the new batteries oriented right, you can just drop them right in. Then I take the old ones and put them in the carrier with there polarities matching, thus avoiding the embarrassment of putting spent batteries back into the camera.

Level Panoramas by Charles Eaton

You can shoot level panoramas keeping the full height of your image and not have to crop the top and bottom of it. The trick is to use a tripod with a three axis pan head with a two axis bubble level in the flash shoe of your camera. Do a few test pans to make sure everything remains level as you swing the camera through the shots. Your panos will improve.

Picture Notes by Mark W.

When I go backpacking I can easily take 150 pictures over 5 days. Actually, I could take more if I had the memory for it. But the problem is that when I get home, I may not remember what some of my pictures are of. So I bring my palm pilot and take notes for every picture I shoot. That way, days later, I know that picture 84 is of "Horseshoe Meadow", not "some nice looking field somewhere in the wilderness."

Editor's note -- If you camera has voice annotations, then that's another way to identify locations for reference later. And don't forget to take pictures of signs too, when they're available; it's a lot faster than writing a note.

And one bonus tip...

Super Vision by jonblock

I stumbled on this trick last summer while on a small boat with a group of people trying to see an eagle's nest on shore. Some people were having trouble finding the nest among the treetops. I pulled out the camera, used the optical zoom to get as close as possible, and snapped a picture. Next, I switched to the camera's preview mode, zoomed in on the photo, and found the nest. Now, by zooming back out in steps, others could see exactly where to squint when they looked back up into the trees.

Pretty good list folks. Thanks to all who participated. If the favorites could send me their mailing information, I'll get those books sent asap.