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  • Tips For Keeping Your Camera Safe While Traveling

    Posted on January 3rd, 2012 Staff Writer

    Many photographers, professional and novice, will be very accommodating and travel to various locations for photo shoots.  With the demand for various locations, it is important that not only to travel safe but to protect your equipment from theft.  Many hotels offer a safety box for expensive items and prefer patrons to provide a written itemized inventory of any expensive possessions.  Here are some helpful travel tips to ensure safety to your equipment.

    1. Notify the hotel in advance as well as at check in of any equipment you may bring to their establishment.
    2. Before leaving your studio or home, write all serial numbers down from the camera to every lens being brought.
    3. Instead of using a protective camera bag, consider changing your camera bag to an everyday bag.  Most purse/bag snatchers are familiar with camera bags and can spot the value a mile away but by using a different kind of bag it can help you by keeping a low-profile.
    4. Avoid having customers enter your room and hold conferences in the hotel lobby or local restaurant.
    5. When leaving the safety of your hotel room, only take equipment that will be necessary for the photo shoot in progress.  Place the remainder of your equipment somewhere safe, such as the hotel safe.
    6. Investigate insurance companies for property insurance.  Some insurance companies will offer professionals, such as photographers, with insurance for their equipment to ensure coverage for any loss or damage to the equipment.

    Traveling to events and locations can be fun and safe if proper precautions are taken.  Your equipment is much value to your profession and must be kept safe from theft as well as damage.  Understanding the options a photographer has for safety can result in a safe and productions photo shoot.

  • Photographing the Aurora Borealis

    Posted on January 19th, 2010 Staff Writer

    Today we are going to talk about photographing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. If you have the chance to travel far enough north to witness this phenomenon then I suggest you take a few photos because it’s something you will want to remember. The lights in the sky are caused by the Earth’s magnetic field interacting with energy from the sun. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

    The best months to view the Northern Lights are March and September usually in the far northern or southern hemisphere. The times of best activity seem to be from 10:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M.

    A few things you might need

    Tripod
    Wide Angle Lense
    Remote Shutter Release Cord or Remote Control
    Extra batteries for the cold
    Folding Chair (unless you prefer to stand and wait)

    Lenses

    You will need a fast wide angle lense. Most wide angle lenses that are included with SLR cameras are f/3.5. This is not fast enough. Try using a f/2.8 or, if you are serious then use a f/1.4. The faster (wider maximum aperture) the lens the better.

    Get the best picture

    If your camera has the ability, shoot in RAW mode to capture the most detail. For starters shoot in manual mode, roughly ISO 400 to 800, an aperture of f/2.8, and a shutter speed of 30 seconds. If you do not have the f/2.8 capability, you will need to bump up the ISO to 800 or 1600.

    Focus

    Since the Aurora is far away, set the focus to infinity. Be sure and test your lens in daylight. You may need to back off from full infinity for correct focus.

    Patience

    Aurora photography takes patience. You might have spend many nights waiting for the perfect shot.

    We hope these few tips can get you started if you want to shoot the Northern Lights. Also be sure and visit 42nd Street Photo for all your camera needs.

  • Photography and Sports – Get In The Game

    Posted on January 9th, 2010 Staff Writer

    Today we are going to talk about sports photography and offer a few tips that may help you out. Sports photography can be challenging if you do not have the right equipment. This is also probably one of the purest forums of photography. Most sports are very quick paced events and usually there are quite a few players and plays happening at once. These few tips ensure great action shots on the field, court or wherever play is taking place.

    Equipment

    Snapshot digital cameras are difficult to use for sports photography due to the time lag while the camera focuses and the shutter opens. These cameras are not very good under low light conditions due to the very small pixels. They also have built in zoom lenses which may be good to shoot a sport like basketball, but not good enough for sports like baseball and football.

    DSLR cameras like the Canon 40D and Nikon D300 are more suitable for sports photography. These cameras usually include a decent kit lens like an 18mm to 50mm zoom. The one issue with these lenses is that ther are usually slow in terms of focal ratio. For a sport like football you will need a lense that is at least 200mm to 300mm.

    Get in the Game

    Timing is of the essence for a sports photographer. Make sure you are paying attention to whats happening on the field/court as well as whats happening on the sidelines or dugout. Record the reactions of teammates and coaches to great plays and disastrous errors by their team or the opposing team. They just as effective in capturing the memory of a great play as the play itself. Be sure and also take photos as fast as possible. The action can move pretty fast in a game like football. Try to get as close to your subject as possible for the best resolution.

    Understand the game you are shooting. If you understand that game and teams playing it will make it easier to capture those great moments.

    Pay attention and expect the unexpected. In all sports anything can and will happen. The one time you put your camera down could be the one time a great play happens. You need to have the camera focused a second ahead or you’ll miss your shot.

    Sport photography takes practice, so take as many photos as possible. You will get better as time goes with each shot. Good luck.

  • Photography Gift Ideas for Christmas

    Posted on November 25th, 2009 Staff Writer

    The holidays are right around the corner and many people have either started shopping for gifts or will right after Thanksgiving. Here are a few suggestions for that photographer in the family.

    1. Top End Digital Camera

    Just take a trip down to your local camera store or to 42nd Street Photo if you are in the New York City area. These stores usually have a great selection of all types of digital cameras.

    2. Photography Magazine Subscription

    Consider gift subscriptions to such photography-related magazines as American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Professional Photographer, Shutterbug or Digital Photographer.

    3. Digital Photography Course

    You can check out photography courses being offered the New York Institute of Photography. Course types include NYI Complete Course in Professional Photography, Digital Photography Complete Course: Adobe® Photoshop® for Photographers, and NYI Short Course: Fundamentals of Digital Photography.

    4. Digital Photo and Video Editing Software

    Digital photography is about capturing a beautifully unique image, it’s also about manipulating that image to achieve the best from it. There is some excellent photo editing software out there like Corel Paint Shop Pro and Adobe Photoshop.

    5. Photography Gear

    You might also consider photography gear like tripods, lens attachments, carrying cases, clothing with camera brand logos on them.

    We hope that these suggestions will help with your holiday planning for that photographer in your life.

  • 42nd Street Photo Offers Tips For Photographing People

    Posted on June 11th, 2009 Staff Writer

    It has been the experience of the folks here at 42nd Street Photo that taking pictures is not an art form for everyone, but all of us like taking good pictures, especially of those we love. While photographing your family and friends may not be rocket science, we’ve found that a lot of people are unhappy with the way their portraits and group shots turn out, so we’re here to help with some handy tips that might help.

    First off, you need a good digital camera. This doesn’t mean that you need to go out and buy the best DSLR on the market, it simply means that you should purchase a camera that suits your needs and can do what you need it to do.

    The first step is to determine how you want to share your pictures:

    • If you know for a fact that you will only be sharing your image captures online, then you don’t need to get a camera with a ton of mega-pixels. Anything over 8.0 is more than you’ll really need for digital sharing through email and to put on your personal websites.
    • If you plan on sharing these images on a HD television however, check the resolution of the TV to see how large it goes. It’s best to capture these images at the same size as the TV if you want clean and clear pictures to be displayed correctly.
    • If you wish to print your pictures and share them that way, it’s best to go with a larger MP count, at least 12.0 or greater – 14.0 is a great resolution, but for 4×6 or 5×7 printouts, 12MP should do the trick.

    The second step is to determine what kind of pictures you will be taking. Do you tend to take a lot of pictures at your families sporting events or special occasions, or do you primarily plan to photograph those that stand still, smile and say “cheese”?

    • If you only plan to take portraits, a fancy DSLR with a high shutter speed is not necessary. Simple point-and- shoot cameras go up to a great enough MP count that one of these will work for digital or print sharing purposes.
    • If you tend to capture images of others in action, such as dancing at a wedding, playing sports, running, etc., you may want to get a camera with a broader range of features. Many POS cameras will tend to take blurry pictures when action is in the scene, so a higher-end POS or a DSLR with a good shutter speed and aperture is the key to sharper action shots.

    The next step is anticipating your shot.

    • For still shots, you have all the time in the world to tweak the settings on your digital camera, so unless you are shooting in auto all the time, it is best to read the manual that came with your camera to figure out the best settings for close to medium range portrait shots. Frame the shot however looks best to you, keeping in mind the position of lighting around you. Generally speaking, portraits come out best when the flash is not needed, and the camera is mounted on a tripod, so there is no worry to hold the camera steady. Light should come from behind you (or whoever is taking the picture) but at a slight angle, so the facial features stand out better.
    • For action shots, manual settings are best, and a DSLR camera is preferred. The great thing about DSLR’s over most POS cameras is that they snap the picture right away, so that you wont get stuck with nothing but a foot or hand in frame, and miss out on the good stuff. Also, many DSLR’s have better auto settings, if you’re not comfortable with manual mode. Still, you should check out the manual and learn what the settings do, and experiment with different types of action shots in different lighting conditions.

    When it comes down to it, practice and experimentation helps a lot to ensure better pictures. If you only take pictures when you want good shots, you may not be satisfied with the results. If you get in the habit of carrying your camera with you everywhere you go, feel free to snap away (since you wont be wasting film!) and if you think of it, mark down in a photo journal what the conditions and settings were, so you can make a reference later if you do or don’t like the way it turned out.

  • What Will Happen to Film?

    Posted on July 22nd, 2008 Staff Writer

    While many might have been asking themselves this questions for the past few years, it seems that we’re getting to that point in time that VHS reached when DVD technology became widely available to, and far more affordable for, the general public. The fact is, film has fewer uses, extra processing steps and a lot more hastle to it than digital photography.

    Many of you might remember the days of film. You’d flip open the back of your camera, insert the roll, close the case, wind it, and snap away – until you got to the end that is. Then, 27 shots later, you would attempt to take one last picture to get your money’s worth, just in case there was extra room on the film. And it would always be a goofy picture, because if it didn’t come out, it wouldn’t be any great loss.

    Afterwards, you would take your film to the photo shop, or your local drug store’s photo lab, and decide between the regular development process, or the 24 hour deal for a few more dollars. The anticipation was part of the fun, but the real joy came in the sleeve you used to fill out your order, along with the original, developed film - was it double or single prints? Did you go for the 4×6 or the 5×7 size? Choices, choices. Of course, there was always that one that didn’t come out quite as you had hoped, or that snapshot of your brother-in-law was plagued by the dreaded red eye. Who remembers Kodak Advantix? We do.

    Yes, the days of film were fun while they lasted, but there comes a time when technology becomes to good for the previous generation. While many professionals and a few amateurs still prefer good ol’ fashion film, many have stepped into the digital age with their photography. The ease of use, the ability to delete a photo that wasn’t quite right, and the ever growing storage for thousands of pictures – these are just a few reasons that make digital photography the preferred medium in our modern society. Furthermore, the ability to print as many copies as you wish from your home computer, the option of emailing them to family members, the opportunity handing a CD or DVD disc full of pictures to all your friends, are all great ways of sharing that traditional film never allowed.

    We will never forget the days of film, but technology calls, along with convenience, and we at 42nd Street Photo answer that call.