Obi-Wan's Photography Pages
I currently have several photo galleries online. I've just setup a
commercial site at Prairie Rim Images
where you can buy prints or other objects emblazened with your favorite
photos. The associated blog
is where I post most of my new tips and tutorials.
On the non-commercial side, I update
my Flickr gallery
more often, but
my Photo.Net gallery
contains some of my earlier photos that I never copied to Flickr.
Please visit any of them and let me know what you think of my work,
whether it's good or bad.
Whenever I happen across a useful web page out in the wild, I add
a link to it on this page so that all the
world can benefit from my good treasure hunting fortune -- and so that
I can find the page again myself from a different computer.
The following pages aren't so much about me personally. They were
written to help educate the general populace about a particular subject
or to document a particular modification that I've made. I'm a
died-in-the-wool engineer, so I'm handy with fixing things. I also
have a master's degree in computer science, specializing in image
processing, and have been a professional computer programmer and
system administrator for the last 20+ years, so I do have some expertise
in the following areas. Hopefully these pages will help others learn
a little more about the technical side of photography.
Good room lighting at a party or family
gathering can make a huge difference in the quality of the photos
that you bring home. When the event is confined to a single room, such
as a child's birthday party or Christmas morning, it only takes a little
bit of prep work to set up a simple lighting arrangement that will give
Macro photography is a fun area. While you
can certainly get great results by buying thousands of dollars worth
of specialized equipment, you can also do a lot by using more general
purpose equipment with a few modifiers. I created
this list a while back to document the various
equipment configurations I have and how they perform for macro work.
Image quality is important to me, and since I am starting to amass
quite a collection of lenses, I wanted to do an exhaustive test of
them to see which ones performed the best.
isn't completely scientific, but it does a pretty good job of showing
what each of my telephoto lenses (70mm or longer) is capable of.
I've seen quite a wide variety of image quality out of the various 50mm
("normal") lenses that cross my path. I've developed some gut instincts
about which lenses perform better, but I wanted some concrete data.
This page shows resolution test chart images
at every full aperture stop for 15 different lenses which cover the
This 150KB PDF contains a chart
showing the depth of field provided by a variety of focal lengths,
focal distances, and aperture sizes. It's very handy for determining
how big an aperture you need to keep a range of subjects in focus.
If you have any interest in digital photography, you're going to be
generating a fair bit of electronic data in the form of images.
Since any number of things can bring about the disappearance of data
from your computer's hard drive, I wanted to describe
my recommendations for backing
up your computer. People who refuse to do even basic backups and
then expect my help and sympathy when their hard drive dies annoy me
to no end.
One of the biggest advantages of digital photography is the ease with
which you can modify the image after it is taken. Perhaps the most
fundamental concept people should know to help them in postprocessing
is how to use a histogram.
I see a lot of people throw around terms relating to image resolution
while obviously having no clue what they're talking about. Understanding
the basics of image resolution will not
only help you get better quality prints, but will also keep you from
sounding like an idiot (and recognize those who do).
Strobist rocks! I've fallen
in love with using cheap, old, shoe-mounted flashes (located off
camera) to light my photos. I recently did a presentation to my
local photo group on the basics of off-camera flash. You can view
the PDF slides from that presentation
I enjoy shooting photos of fireworks on the Fourth of July. Heck, I
enjoy shooting off fireworks, too. The former is a little more
complicated than the latter, so I decided to share a few of my
tips and techniques for those just
Postprocessing is a wonderful crutch that most digital photographers
have learned to lean on. A skillful computer operator can make a crappy
photo acceptable and a mediocre photo pretty good. That takes time,
though. The more photos you take, the less postprocessing you want to
do. Getting it right in the camera is definitely faster. Here are
a few things I learned from an event I shot
where postprocessing was simply not an option.
I do a lot of shopping for old, used, manual camera lenses at garage
sales, pawn shops, and classified ads. There were an unbelievable
number of third party lens manufacturers thirty years ago, and they
produced equipment with a wide range of quality. Any time I research
a lens for which I have trouble tracking down useful information, I
try to note my findings on this page so
that it's not so hard to find next time.
Most of the topics discussed in this section require the use of a tiny
screwdriver. If that idea excites you, read on.
The Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 macro lens has been produced for
decades, and has a well-deserved reputation for being a wonderfully
sharp and well-built lens. Its one drawback is that it does have
a tendancy to leak oil onto the aperture blades, leaving them stuck
in place and unwilling to move when you turn the aperture ring.
Here's how to clean them.
The Canon 430EX flash is a great little flash for those who want a
reliable, fully automatic flash, but can't justify the cost of the
larger 580EX. Unfortunately, the most annoying feature of the 430EX
is that the head will only rotate 90 degrees to the right. By spending
a little time with some screwdrivers and a Dremmel Tool, the head can
be allowed to rotate as much as 160 degrees to the right. A similar
procedure works on Nikon flashes like the SB800.
Here's how to do it.
PC sync plugs are a notoriously expensive and unreliable method for
triggering flashes, and many speedlight flashes are limited to just
a hot shoe for their trigger connection. A growing number of people
are now starting to use 1/8" (3.5mm) miniphone audio plugs to do this
job. Audio cables are cheap, plentiful, and reliable. Many radio
triggers come with miniphone plugs, but very few flashes have followed
suit. Consequently, I've added my own 1/8" jacks to several of my
Here's how to install them.
The following are some books on photography that I recommend or plan to read:
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last updated 3 May 2012