Just wanted to let everyone know I’ve migrated this blog over to my website. Please change your bookmarks to reflect the new address:


I hope you follow me to my new digs. The blog has a new look I think you’ll like. This move will allow me to offer more features in the future and, hopefully, attract more viewers.

See you there!


I came up with this neat little memory/visual trick to let me know at a glance the charge state of my NiMh batteries. It’s really simple. If your batteries are fresh from the charger, orient all the positive ends in the same direction when you store them. If your batteries have been used, simply flip one of the batteries (I charge in units of four) around so that three will show the positive ends, and the fourth will be, of course, negative and the indicator of your batteries’ condition. The photo below illustrates what a set ready for recharge looks like. 


If the batteries arent all showing the same pole, its time for a recharge!

If the batteries aren't all showing the same pole, it's time for a recharge!

 One more battery-related tip…look for the new low-discharge NiMh batteries. Instead of draining 1% of their power per DAY, these babies will lose 1% of their juice over a MONTH! That means you can toss ’em into your camera bag and be confident that they’ll be ready to work six months from now. They cost a bit more but, for my money, they’re worth it.

…have been in a cave for the last month, you might want to think about sending your camera to Canon service immediately. Seems this model has a problem with the mirror falling off. Apparently this has happened enough to warrant a recall and free repair by Canon. Check this link for more info: http://tinyurl.com/dennisblog

The one thing …

What’s the one thing that separates the successful photographer from the rest of the camera-toting crowd? The willingness to learn from their mistakes. This means, of course, pushing that envelope and trying new things that will cause those mistakes in the first place!

Get out there and try something new today. Haven’t used a flash or, shudder, multiple flashes? Been afraid of the dark and haven’t experienced the thrill of time exposures? How about HDR? Go out there and be brave. We all make mistakes. Make yours and move forward.

Don’t be one of those people who say “I wish I had my camera with me” after something truly spectacular happens. Carry your camera with you wherever you go! If you’re unable ot carry a bulky DSLR, grab a point and shoot with a sensor chip of at least 3 megapixels resolution and stick it in your purse or jacket pocket.

You never know when you’ll be witness to a great photo situation and, believe me, you’ll kick yourself if you can’t lay hands on something with a lens when you do.

My personal choice for a carry-everywhere camera? The Canon Powershot G10. It’s one of the few point-and-shoot cameras with RAW capability and is reasonably inexpensive. If you’re interested in something cheaper, the earlier model, the G9, is very nice too. We’re talking $500 or less, fyi. Yeah, photography ain’t a cheap hobby…

While we’re at it, set your camera to auto ISO, aperture priority (set to f/5.6) and, if you’ve got it, set image stabilization ON. Setting your camera in this manner will leave you prepared to capture photos in almost any situation

So make a habit of taking your camera along…you just might make a picture that’ll reward you for it!

Here’s a short list of things to do now that you’ve got your dream camera:

  • Get a set of NiMh batteries…and a spare. Look for the new batteries that are labeled low discharge. This variety will keep a charge longer. On average, they lose only 1-2% of their charge per month. They’re worth the extra bucks.
  • Buy a carrying case. Don’t look to break the bank for a case. Your local Wal-Mart or Target carries a variety of cheap cases. Find one that will hold your camera, batteries, cards and, if needed, extra lenses. A case will protect your bag from dust, rain and prying eyes. Shy away from the ones with camera company logos emblazoned on them because they scream “steal me” to thieves.
  • Toss the memory card that came with the camera (for point and shoots, it’s usually 32MB or so…totally worthless) and invest in a 4GB card. Memory card prices are at a record low, take advantage of it now.
  • Read the manual! I can never say it enough. I know many are poorly written but slog through it a dozen pages at a time till you’ve read it all. It’ll be time well spent.
  • Get out there and practice. While practice won’t necessarily make you perfect, it will make you better. Take advantage of the instant feedback digital imaging provides to make a lot of photos and experiment with all the settings on your camera. Find which ones work best for you and get familiar with your “little friend.”  Delete the bad ones after you download them, never in the field. Remember, shoot in haste, delete at leisure.

One final tip. Find a friend with a similar passion for photography. It’s a great way to stay motivated as you learn to use your new camera. It’ll also give you a buddy to attend photo walks with!

Christmas mornings provide plenty of opportunities for memorable family photos. Given the frenetic nature of things (especially if little ones are involved), you’ve got to be ready to shoot fast and furious all morning — often before you’ve even had that first cup of coffee! Having your camera gear ready to go as soon as your feet hit the floor will help make your day a little less frantic. Here’s my Christmas morning checklist for success:

  • Put a freshly-formatted card in camera. I use two 4GB cards.
  • Put fully-charged batteries in flash(es) and camera! Again, have a spare set charged and ready to go too.
  • Make sure your sensor is clean (and give it a cleaning, if you’re comfortable doing that). A lot of dust here will make your post-processing stretch into the new year, if you’re unlucky!
  • Have lenses of choice clean and ready to use. (I put mine on the coffee table in the room we open gifts)
  • Set ISO to 400 (good quality without a lot of noise) and camera mode to aperture priority (I set mine at f/5.6 for my shooting conditions). Setting shutter to continuous, not single-frame, will help you capture more frames from fleeting situations.

Doing these things beforehand allow you to concentrate on your photography, not your equipment.

Remember, you’re a part of the family too. Don’t let taking photos take you out of the fun! Shoot lots and edit on the 26th!