Digital Photo 150 at Napa Valley College



Digital Asset Management in Bridge and contact sheets in Bridge is a topic I’d like to learn. Bridge is the hubcap of all the other adobe apps and one image in Bridge is avaiable to all the other applications without having to have any versions or other copies.   Bridge should be a part of my workflow and is an application available to PCs and Macs using Adobe software.

When I didn’t know the Mac, I bought a Mac and got around it. I embrace the Mac now… I think that with patience, and showing me, that I am capable of learning to use Lightroom and Photoshop, to do the projects…I need hands on “show me”, as my vision is too poor now to see the board, and cannot see projected images.  I have appt this month to measure the cataract in optometry and if large enough to be fixed, will have surgery to remove the cataract and clear up the vision.

April 2011 Notes: Student-to-Student

Blogging about topics of interest to students of Beginning, Intermediate Digital Photo., and if you have a topic to share with the rest of us students, send it to me please at

4 Tools Under-Used by Students

I have four basic tools at my command, in the M mode: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and WB. I have found myself giving the ISO a +0.3 (100) or +0.7 (200) but have not yet found myself over 500, usually holding at 100 or 200 for most images.  If you are indoors framing a long hallway leading to the outside, it is interesting to leave the WB set for incandescent, and turn down the ISO (light sensitivity) whenever your lens is pointing to something brighter.  Narrow the aperture for the hallway images to a midrange value between f/8 and f/16, depending on the amount of available light.  I would even try f/22 if the light is very very bright…but for most situations without direct sunlight coming in the door, just normal outdoor shaded light at the open doorway of the hallway, f/16 or f/11 or one exposure of each is great.  So far in the M mode for the “down the hallway leading outside and open doorway” scenario, we have incandescent, ISO 100 and we have narrowed down the aperture to a midrange value… next step is just to adjust the shutter speed setting now so the light meter dot sits on the center value of 0 inside your viewfinder of your DSLR.  A negative value on light meter (underexposure) will be too dark for inside the room and any + value in the lightmeter (over-exposure) will blow out the hallway with light…  Your own sense of creative composition will tell you whether to center the hallway subjects or put them off center to 1/3 line.

In Napa City, California at the river downtown is the Napa Valley Marketplace with a General Store… stand inside the General store and practice creating an image of people entering and exiting the hallway.. this hallway is also lined with art work… the back door facing the river is another excellent door which you can leave your WB on incandescent and practice creating an image… It will give you blue tinted glass until the WB changes to a “cloudy” setting, but “cloudy WB” will distort the colors inside… look up… are they using incandescent light bulbs or have they gone neon… you need to know for color temperature settings and your WB.  Very bright, means ISO goes down… Need light, open the aperture, as still not a good idea to get your ISO settings up high, as you run the risk of pixel noise.  When you know the aperture needs based on light, set it first, and you can usually get WB at sunny for sunshine and cloudy for overcast diffused light, and shady for outdoor low light, but always where there are light bulbs inside, set your WB to incandescent or the one showing the icon of the light bulb.  Use the M mode which gives you the greatest creativity and in post-processing any image you have deliberately under-exposed skip the white point setting…in your post processing.  The second you step outside with your DSLR, change the WB to sunny or cloudy or shady, based on your light needs… Leave the ISO around 100 or 200 and no more.  Some professionals keep ISO at 100 outside.  Scott Kelby’s blog is at and students can bookmark Kelby Training.

Nikkor Prime Lens 35mm, f/2 for Nikon DSLRs

This has a lens diameter of 52mm.  The lens is very short and will work well on wide-angle landscapes… Set the aperture ring white dot to f/2 to mount it on the DSLR rings at the body opening and when you turn the lens to seat it, it will automatically change itself to f/22… so for the D3 body, I can leave it at f/22 and do macro work, or landscape  (in P or M mode) and its focus ring does move a little bit in and out but not nearly as much as on a zoom lens…  Every image created with this lens is 35mm.  To be creative with this prime lens, use the “other” three tools in your hat… ISO, WB, and shutter speed.  It will vary by camera, whether or not you can change the f/settings from the aperture ring on the lens or in-camera… when I move it off f/22 on the D3 body, then shutter button and release cord stop working… I have to leave the aperture ring set to  f/22…    The landscapes with the prime are nice and sharp, better than the 35 mm settings on a zoom and the f/2 rating of the lens makes this what they call “fast glass”.  (Even though it feels lightweight and feels like you want to hand hold this glass, use a tripod for best results).   I have yet to test it in low light but an “after sunset” landscape is in the plans for testing this new little lens.  It also has a setup now that fits on the end of the lens (with a UV filter already in place) and holds Cokin filters….. wonder what a red filter would be like creating a sunset?  See next topic.

Cokin Filters (Graduated Neutral Density)

The link for downloading brochures about the filters and the different holding “rings”..

My tiny landscape with the 52mm diameter is small compared to a 200mm zoom.. and I noticed the cost went way up when I bought a UV filter for the wider lens… so when I decided it was time to play with Cokin Filters, the smaller lens became the guinea pig because it would be cheaper… Now I have a black square-shaped holder with a round hole in the middle that screws on to the end of the landscape 35mm lens. Glass squares come in square plastic cases, slide into the grooves of the holder and stay in place to be turned to where I need them in relation to the horizon… I have a set of grey gradiated darkness to lightness filters… there are three glasses each in its own plastic square box… take one out, and slide it in to the holder grooves and you can twirl it in a 360 circle with one finger but don’t get too frisky or the holder comes unscrewed…  with your eye in the viewfinder you don’t notice the gradiations much as the changes are pretty subtle but the idea is to put the darker end of the glass up, or to the side, of the part of the image which is the brightest, and the lighter part of the filter to the part of the image which is the darkest… then with that done, and the light and dark tones evened out more by the filter, it will be easier now to set exposure without blowing out one part that is too bright or without ender-exposing the part of an image that is too dark.  The darkest gradiated glass is for the most extreme differences between sky and ground, such as an ocean sunset…put the darkest above the horizon, at the horizon, and the lightest at the horizon but under the horizon for the foreground….  The darkest glass has the most pronounced change in the middle and the lightest colored filter has a more gentle change in the middle..with the gradiations…  I have not ordered a set of colored filters yet, from Cokin but have download a brochure about them, and see they are no changes from light to dark… just a solid color of glass that is shaped like a square and goes into the grooves of the holder on the end of the lens…. At the link above, (free), you can download information and read about it. B&H Photo and sell Cokin, but so do other places so google a few for “cokin filter” and get your best price.  (BTW, the holders come in sizes based on the diameter you’d use to buy your UV filter and some lenses have the diameter printed on the side of the lens).

The reason the lenses have threading at the end of the lens, is so that you add a UV filter to protect it from scratches and those are double threaded, so stuff gets added to the UV filter, like a Cokin filter holder, right over the UV filter…  ta da!!!  Experience it and be creative!

In Digital Photo Pro issue of April 2011:

What ISO settings are “safe”? and “Fine Art Masters Top Printing Tips”. and “HD DSLR Rigs”.  The Photoshop Convention Kelby runs reported on “The Grid” TV show that popularity for HD photography has drastically dropped recently… there is a lot of HD software out there, with sliders to make HD images and people are not in tune with post-processing enough to tweak their own images after doing a software fix…. so they are disillusioned with the power of that software, have no idea what to do after making images… so use default settings…  Mr. Concepcion from Kelby Training is publishing a book focusing on HD after the image creation… the tweaking that makes the difference… (the post-processing), so finally students will have a good postk-processing book on some tweaking techniques… I have not yet found that book online, but will blog it here when I locate it..

That’s all I have for this month.



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