Monday, December 15, 2008

Take holiday travel photos like a pro: 3 insider tips

Holiday travel for family gatherings and vacations often offer unique photographic opportunities. I’ve got some help for you to conquer three holiday travel photographic challenges; fireworks, photographing elderly family members at family gatherings, holiday lights.

Whether it’s a family outing to Disney World, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, or great family holidays at Grandma’s, you don’t want to miss saving any special memories with your camera.

Wherever you’re traveling, there will probably be fireworks to bring in the new year.
Whether you’re using a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera) or a Digital Point and Shoot Camera (DPS), or even a film camera, to get great fireworks photos you need a tripod. Get one which fully supports the weight of your camera and lens. As a pro photog, I have an expensive carbon fiber tripod for my heavy DSLR, with attached long telephoto lenses weighing several pounds. If you have a light weight DSLR, or a DPS camera, you can purchase a very workable tripod for $70-$130.

If you’re using a DSLR, get a cable release, and use it to release the shutter. Whatever camera you’re using, turn off the flash.

You’ll need to go to manual focus, and set your distance to infinity. I suggest you use a normal to wide angle lens, or setting on your camera. Set your ISO (sensor sensitivity to light) to 100, or the lowest available setting above that. Set your camera mode to manual. You might think the lens aperture should be wide open, as it’s dark at midnight, but you’re taking photos of fireworks, which are very bright lights, so set your lens between f/8 and f/16. Start by taking your photo with the shutter open for a second or two. Look at the photos in your camera, and then adjust how long you keep your shutter open accordingly. You can do this by setting the shutter to bulb on most cameras. Consult your manual about this.
Many will be traveling to spend time during the holidays with parents and grandparents. Photographs of the elderly can be difficult, but special consideration of them can make a difference.
When indoors, try using the available light in rooms instead of the harsh light of a flash. Straight on light from a flash can make an elderly person’s skin look outer-worldly, and bounced flashes can produce unwelcome shadow and skin detail. If you need more light when inside, try to move your subject near a window. If you’ve got a Point and Shoot camera, and you’ve got to use a flash, go ahead. It’s better than missing a great shot. If you have a DSLR with a separate flash, put a diffuser over it if possible.

To get wonderful photos of grandparents, engage them to reminisce about their lives. You’ll be able to capture their spirit as they smile, laugh, or even shed a happy tear about their life experience. Consider focusing in on their smile, eyes, hands, and profile. Capture them interacting with family members.

Take photos of them where they are most comfortable. For my grandmothers, that would have been in the kitchen or at the dining room table. For my dad, that’s in the den, or out on the golf course. Taking a walk with them, if they’re able, can produce great photo opportunities.
Many of us enjoy looking at and photographing holiday lights on buildings. At some travel destinations the lights can be spectacular. At Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Castle at the holidays is bathed in more than 200,000 tiny white lights, making its exterior shimmer, as if it’s made out of ice.
Rule one, to get good pictures of holiday lights — Turn off your flash! I repeat — for most pictures of holiday lights, turn off your flash!

I said most, but for some situations you’ll want to use a flash. If you want to get an indoor shot of the family Christmas tree, you’ll probably need a flash to see the ornaments in your photo. If all the family’s children are posing under the tree, you might use your flash, but you might find the Christmas-tree lights are sufficient, and give a beautiful luminescence to their faces in the evening. In the morning, you might find the glow from the sun through the window perfect for a photo.

Outdoors on houses, stores, and streets, to capture the lights, don’t use a flash. Try shooting at twilight. You’ll capture some color in the sky, and detail in buildings, rather than the pitch-black tone which comes later in the evening.

Set your ISO at 100 for holiday lights photos. It eliminates the noise in the shots to get pleasing photos. When you use a low ISO for outdoor holiday lighting, that generally means your exposure will be long enough that the photos will require you to use a tripod, or at least find a way to strongly brace the camera in your hands. I suggest you use a tripod, if possible.
Enjoy the holidays!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TSA “approved” bags are nice, but here’s why I’m sticking with my old carry-on

TSA-approved security checkpoint bags are finally shipping. This is a little off the beaten path concerning Travel Photography, but many of us carry our laptops for travel storage, viewing and editing of our photos while away from home and office, so I thought I'd talk about the new security checkpoint bags. I wouldn't be surprised that soon there will be some photo gear bags which can hopefully breeze through security. I hope they are better than these bags.

I’ve had a chance to check out two of them; the Targus Zip-Thru Corporate bag, and the Skooba Checkthrough bag. Briefly, I like the Targus bag a bit better than the Skooba bag, but neither would move me to stop using my Skooba MegaMedia Bag. says the Skooba Checkthrough bag has “plenty of organizer pockets; … sturdily constructed; well-thought-out design …” but it’s “expensive; bulky; when fully loaded, may be too heavy to carry on one shoulder or briefcase-style.”

As someone who carries the larger MegaMedia bag on my shoulder, I have no problem with the bulk or weight of the loaded Checkthrough bag. One of the bag’s problems, in my opinion, is that there isn’t quite enough room in the bag to take my laptop and accessories, plus a small point-and-shoot camera and accessories, plus papers and other materials for my business meetings.

I don’t like the interior storage area for my business papers. The area is pretty tight, and has no divider. I like an exterior storage area because it’s easier to stuff extra items in it, as you can bulge out the side, and you don’t have to disturb your equipment to get to your papers. says the Targus Zip-Thru, has a “well-padded laptop compartment; may speed your way through airport-security checkpoints,” but “the TSA agent may force you to take your laptop out anyway … [it's] less roomy than it looks.”

I found the corporate version of the bag roughly equivalent to the size of the Skooba Checkthrough. Like the Skooba, there isn’t enough storage for me. The area for business papers is larger in this bag, and has a divider, which is good, but like the Skooba bag, it still isn’t on the exterior of the bag, where I prefer it.

Unlike the Skooba bag, which reveals the laptop behind a clear panel, the Targus bag doesn’t, but TSA’s idea behind these bags is that the laptop is alone in a compartment, with nothing below or above it, while it goes through X-ray. The Targus bag accomplishes that task.

There is a problem with both bags, however, which could require secondary screening when used. On the Targus site, they warn you to avoid stacking electronic items in your bag, and keep your bag as uncluttered as possible.

In my opinion, the design of the pockets and compartments in both bags literally force electronics stacking and clutter, unless you really pack light. I’ve been caught for that a few times, and had my bag hand searched.

When your accessories are stacked in layers, when X-rayed, agents can’t view individual gear items. My MegaMedia bag normally has enough room and an organization which permits me to spread my accessories out better than these bags, and I don’t mind removing my laptop from the bag for inspection, so I’m sticking with it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Are travel photos on your online photo site safe?

Are your travel photos on your online photo site safe? Maybe not.

They weren’t for members of Digital Railroad, who learned on Oct. 29th that the site was going out of business and their photos would be lost forever if they didn’t act immediately.

Anyone who logged in to the photo site was greeted with the following message: “We deeply regret to inform you that Digital Railroad (DRR) has shut down.” The company had sought new financing, but their efforts failed. It turned out that Digital Railroad was able to maintain access to photos through midnight of October 31st, but after that, the site was closed and transfer of the photos to other locations impossible.

The vast majority of traveler and amateur photographers now take digital photographs. Even countless professional photographers, especially ones involved in newspaper and magazine photography (except fashion photographers) have made the jump to digital photography. About four years ago, I completely moved from film to digital photography.

I have a substantial photo site hosted by Smugmug. I have about 1,300 photos online, and I’m about to upload another few hundred soon. For me, my Smugmug hosted site is essential to my photography business. Through the site’s display of my work, I’ve sold many photos to a variety of clients either directly from the site, or from my library of photos, when clients became interested in my photography via the sites.

On forums on TalkingTravelers, members have pointed me to their online sites containing countless wonderful photographs of their travels. Showing your travel photographs online to friends and family is one of the top uses of Internet photo websites. Many travelers use Internet photo sites as their main repository for their precious photos, and have no copies elsewhere. After a while, for the average amateur photographer, the aggregate file storage size of their photographs exceeds the available capacity of their computer’s hard drive.

So what can anyone do to ensure they don’t loose their precious photographs preserving wonderful memories of great sojourns around the world?

Don’t depend on photography websites as your primary storage for photographs. The sites are not under your control, so you can’t depend that your photographs will be there forever. There are steps you can take, even if your computer’s hard drive doesn’t have enough capacity to store all your photographs:
  1. You can print each photograph. The problem with this solution is that it doesn’t make it easy to make high quality duplicate prints, or computer displayed photographs later, if the original digital photographic files are lost or deleted.
  2. You can put all your photographs on a CD or DVD for long-term storage. Archival quality CD blanks are readily available. However, there are still questions about the longevity of archival DVDs. The real problem with this solution is that according to how many photographs you take, the number of CDs and DVDs in your photographic library may become unwieldy.
  3. You can put your photographs on external hard drives. Currently, this is the solution I follow. While I use my Internet photo site for display of some of my photographs, to show them off to clients, as well as friends, family, and fellow travelers, all my photographs are on external hard drives connected to my computer. I use Seagate FreeAgent Pro units, soon to be superseded by Seagate FreeAgent XTreme external hard drives which have a triple interface, including USB and Firewire connections. I connect these hard drives to my computer via Firewire due to its high transfer speed. I use duplicate external hard drives to have a backup of my photos, as I can’t afford to loose my work. (Seagate 750 GB FreeAgent Pro Triple Interface External Hard Drives can be purchased today for as little as $135.)
  4. Skip media that’s impractical. I don’t consider long term digital photograph storage on other media such as memory cards, or removable cartridge drives to be feasible, as they don’t have long term viability.
If you currently use Internet photographic sites as your primary digital photographic storage location, I strongly suggest you consider and take advantage of other alternatives.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

10 travel photography to-do’s before you depart

After your plane has landed on Baltra Island, while waiting for the zodiac to take you to your boat, you see sea lions lounging on the dock. You pull out your camera, press the “on” button, and nothing happens. You forgot to charge the battery.

Aboard the boat, while your battery charges, you miss great shots of whales while traveling to North Seymour. Five days later, all your memory chips are filled, but you have two more days left on the cruise, and you haven’t even been to see those Giant Galapagos Tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island yet.

I can’t tell you how often these and other lapses in trip preparation plague travelers.

Whether you use a Digital Point and Shoot (DPS) camera in “automatic,” or an advanced Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera, you still need to plan and prepare to take photographs while traveling. Travel photographs become keepsakes and can refresh extraordinary memories, so don’t let a lack of a little preparation stop you from saving those memories. Here are ten preparation tips for anyone who takes photographs while traveling:
  1. Determine your photo storage requirements. You definitely need enough memory cards to store each day’s photos, so you can keep shooting without worrying about running out of space. If you have a portable hard drive which can directly upload memory card images, such as a Hyperdrive Colorspace, or a laptop computer, you can upload your photos each evening and reuse your memory cards after formatting them. If not, since memory cards can be expensive, and difficult or impossible to find while traveling, I recommend bringing enough cards with you to store all your photos for your entire trip. Some locations have “photo kiosks” you can use to write your photos to CDs, or you may be able to upload your photos at an Internet cafĂ© to a photo sharing website while traveling, but you can’t depend on their availability, hence my recommendation.
  2. If you don’t have one, purchase a spare battery for your camera. It can take several hours to charge a digital camera battery. You don’t want to loose a single “perfect photo” opportunity while your battery charges. Charge both batteries just before you leave on your trip, and don’t forget to bring your battery charger with you.
  3. Make sure your charger will work wherever you’re traveling. Most digital camera battery chargers can handle voltages from 100-240V, so they will work the world over. Unfortunately, the electrical outlets where you’re traveling may be different from those at home. You can determine if you need to purchase an adapter for your charger’s plug, online, at sites such as Magellan’s Travel Supplies, where you can also purchase the adapters.
  4. Know your gear. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Digital cameras today are packed with great features, and even if you use your DPS in “automatic” there are some camera functions you should know how to control. For example, many museums permit photography, but not with a flash. You need to know how to turn your flash on and off, and for portraits you should know how to turn on the “red eye” setting. You need to know how to format memory cards in your camera after you’ve uploaded your photos, to clear the cards and refresh them. You need to be able to set your focus mode or turn on image stabilization, if your DPS has these features. DSLR cameras have even more to learn. You should familiarize yourself with all your camera’s features to get the most out of it possible.
  5. Well before you leave, test your camera. Last week, a good friend left on a 10-day pilgrimage to see the Apparitions of Lourdes, La Salette, and Laus in France. Just before he was to leave, he pulled out his camera, which he hadn’t used in months, and found it was broken. He borrowed a replacement. You may not have a “loaner” available to you, so test your camera far enough ahead of time that you could replace or repair it in time for your trip.
  6. Before you leave, make sure you have a well-padded camera bag that is sized right for your camera and accessories. Your equipment should fit snugly, and be easy to organize and access. You need this to protect your equipment from vibration and shock which can occur while traveling. Last fall while in Paris, near the Eiffel Tower, I was accidentally pushed into a railing. My bag protected my lenses beautifully, so I could keep using them on the trip.
  7. Pack your camera (and all your valuables for that matter) in your carry-on, not in your checked-in luggage. You don’t want to arrive at your destination, only to open your luggage to find your camera stolen or broken, plus airlines exempt themselves from liability due to theft or damage of valuables, including cameras, in your checked-in luggage. And did you ever watch baggage handlers in action?
  8. Once you set your itinerary, consider doing some photographic planning. Look for specific photographic opportunities among your destinations. Photographers talk about the “golden hours” with good reason. The light quality around dawn and dusk is warm, golden, and casts great shadows. Research your itinerary, and if you have to, get out of bed early or eat dinner late to catch the golden hours. Don’t forget those incredible sunset photos everyone loves. Here’s a good site to help you determine the time of sunrise and sunset.
  9. Before you travel, study your destinations and the customs of its peoples. You don’t want to offend anyone or run afoul of laws. Many people do not like being photographed, and in some Islamic countries, photographing women is forbidden.
  10. Be prepared for bad weather on your trip. Moisture can be deadly for digital cameras. It isn’t worth it to take chances while you travel. The simple precaution of carrying a polythene bag to protect your gear, if necessary, can save your camera and those precious memories you’re trying to keep. Some camera bags come with their own rain covers. I have an inexpensive, but highly effective, commercial rain cover for my camera, which allows me to shoot in the rain. If you’re near the sea, or on a cruise, take care to protect your gear from salt spray and the salt air.
Enjoy your trip!

Friday, October 3, 2008

What do penguins and four-year-olds have in common? (Hint: get some measuring tape)

Neptune Pool at the Hearst CastleYou’ve arrived at SeaWorld, camera in hand, and youngsters in tow. In the back of your mind is your spouse’s complaint that on the last family vacation, many of your kids’ photos showed little more than the tops of their heads.

So my question to you is, “What do penguins and four year olds have in common?”

Don’t tell me it’s their waddle.

I know. You think I’ve asked you a totally crazy question, but humor me. If you’re on a family vacation with young children, the answer will definitely help you get great family vacation photos with the kids.

Have you figured it out yet? Give up?

Alright, the answer is, they’re both short! You need to understand that their height, compared to your adult height, makes a significant difference in how you photograph children.

Recently, a neighbor of mine was really upset when she got her prints back from Costco. Most every Disney World photo of her kids featured their great heads of hair. Parents know what their children look like. It’s in their minds’ eyes, but the camera only captures what it’s actually pointed at.

In wildlife photography, I often kneel or lie on the ground to take a photograph of a bird nesting in the sand, or a small animal resting or feeding. To facilitate those shots I often use a right angle viewfinder on my DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera) so I can just bend over or kneel, and look down into my camera while it’s low to the ground. The important point is I put my camera’s lens down to the level of the animal I’m photographing, thereby allowing me to capture their body, head, and eyes well.

While you’re on vacation, regardless of what camera you own, the problem of taking anyone’s photo from above their eye level, especially children, is that it most often gives a domineering impression. This can be used effectively if you’re a news photographer and you want to show how small and helpless a child is, but for a family photo, it’s unflattering to say the least.

So, whether you need to bend, kneel, sit or lie down, get the camera at approximately your children’s eye level when taking their photo. If your family vacation includes grandparents, try to set up your photo with the grandparents sitting, to even their height with your youngsters.

Here are some more tips for getting great shots of your children on a family vacation:
  • Kids move fast and have short attention spans, so use a fast shutter speed to freeze their motion. Have some of the kids belongings around to use as props. A great environment for taking their photos is when they are busy and concentrating, such as when they’re building castles on the beach.
  • Don’t be afraid to take close-in head shots. You might even consider filling the frame with their full faces, but get some full body shots too.
  • To get down to the kid’s level, you might even roll around on the ground with them. Try shooting them from below their eye level to give your shots a different perspective, showing the world from your children’s point of view.
  • If you’re at a location like Disney World, use their mascots as props to engage your children and add extra life to the photo.
  • Let the kids make faces if they want to. That can make some wonderful photos.
  • If you’re using a digital camera, extra shots cost nothing if you cull out the bad ones before having them printed, so use the camera’s ability and its memory card’s capacity to continuously take photos of your children at a particular spot, instead of just one or two. Getting that perfect shot is a matter of chance to a large extent, which is why professionals take so many shots when shooting children.
  • If the lighting for your photo requires a flash, remember to stand close enough to your children that your camera is within its flash’s effective range. For most point-and-shoot cameras, that means you have to be within 10 to 15 feet of the kids. I always get a big kick out of all those people at arenas and stadiums who think their flashes are helping their photos.
  • Since you’re taking these photos at eye level, if you’re using a point-and-shoot camera with the flash, consider turning on the “red eye” prevention setting to eliminate or reduce that awful look. If you’re using a DSLR, get a separate flash unit, and mount it on a bracket about 6 to 8 inches or more above your lens to eliminate “red eye.”
  • Take some practice shots with your digital camera to make sure the settings you’ve chosen for your camera are right, before you get going with your photos. You don’t want to take great photographs, only to have them be under or over exposed.
  • Kids generally hate to pose for your photos, so most posed photos don’t often end up as keepers. Don’t be afraid of just snapping away for candid shots. You’ll be happy with the results.
Good luck. I think you’ll find these tips can help you get some wonderful family vacation keepsake photographs.

Friday, August 8, 2008

When your camera’s memory card fails, can it be saved?

I’ve seen it happen over and over again to travelers. Digital camera memory cards become corrupted and unusable. Worse yet, a traveler’s best photographs become trapped on those corrupt cards, such as a family photo in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, or a photo of the July 4th fireworks at the Statue of Liberty. Can you fix the card, or recover those priceless photos? Well…maybe.

The world of photography has radically changed in the last decade. For amateurs and professionals alike, the biggest change for most of us is yesterday’s film is today’s memory card. When I’m out on a shoot, or just taking photos for myself during my travels, I’m often asked about photographic problems and techniques. By far, the number one question is, “My memory card’s gone bad, and I have so many good photos on it. Can you help?”

It doesn’t matter whether you have a Point & Shoot or a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. They all use memory cards, which are much the same as the memory sticks and usb flash drives. Digital camera users must take precautions to prevent photo loss when using their compact flash, SD, or other memory cards.

The Galapagos Islands may have more opportunities to photograph spectacular landscapes, and unusual wildlife, on the ground, in the air and under the water, than anywhere else on Earth. I spent a week cruising in the Galapagos last December, which included zodiac explorations, hikes on many islands and numerous snorkeling outings.

For photographers, the isolation of the Galapagos, like other locations in South America, Africa, and even in US National Parks, is a two edged sword. While the photographic opportunities are almost limitless, the immediate availability of replacement equipment and supplies, including memory cards, is almost nil. While out on a trail in Crater Lake National Park, for example, if a memory card fails, and can’t be immediately rejuvenated, you better have a back up, or those upcoming, once in a lifetime photographs, will only be a dim memory of an opportunity lost forever.

The best ways to avoid memory card catastrophe is to have a spare memory card, use high quality cards, take precautions to prevent their corruption, and have digital image recovery software available, which may be able to extract your photos from a corrupt card.

Even if the memory card in your camera can store hundreds of photos, every photographer should have at least one spare, in case of card failure. I always suggest using high quality memory cards. While you may be able to save a few dollars purchasing cheap cards on eBay or at deep discounters, I don’t recommend it. I use only high quality cards for my photos. I don’t think saving just a few dollars is worth losing your priceless photos, like some I took not long ago of incredible sunsets at the Grand Canyon.

There are specific actions which can cause memory cards to become corrupt and fail.
More often than not, the corruption is due to: turning off your camera before photos are completely written to the card, removing the memory card from your camera while photos are being written to the card, formatting a card in a computer instead of the camera and deleting individual photos from the card in the camera, especially when the card is almost full.

When I give advice about memory card use, I suggest three major rules. Never delete a photo from a memory card. Always format a memory card only in your camera, never in your computer. After copying (never use move) your photos to your computer, format the memory card in your camera before you use it again. Following these rules and your common sense, you will likely prevent most memory card corruption problems.

Sometimes, despite your utmost care, memory cards fail. When that happens you may be able to recover your photos. Some high quality memory card manufacturers have their own recovery software. Sandisk’s RescuePRO Deluxe has saved me a couple of times. Digital Inspiration has two other program recommendations which are often successful. Every photographer should have a quality recovery program ready to go in case it’s needed.

Once you’ve done your best to recover your photos and store them on your computer, you can try to restore your memory card. First, try formatting the card in your camera. If that fails, even though above I said not to do it, attempt formatting the card in your computer using FAT formatting, and if that works, reformat it in your camera before using it. If that doesn’t work, see if the manufacturer will replace the card.

Good luck.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part IV

Land IquanaSaturday, our last full day, was giant land tortoise day on Santa Cruz Island. There were two main activities for the day and you had your choice about when to do each, morning or afternoon. In the morning, we went to the Charles Darwin Research Station and toured it and the grounds and saw the giant tortoises there. It was enlightening, and frankly for many would have been better to have been at the beginning of the cruise. We saw George there of course. There was good shopping at the Darwin Center store and at the National Park store. Then we were in town (a short walk) at Puerto Ayora for more shopping. There are a number of good stores there. In the afternoon we took a half hour bus ride to a private farm where they allow the animals to roam free. We saw more than 50 giant tortoises in the wild there, and lots of egrets. It was amazing. We even got to see a rarity; two giant tortoises mating. The male was really into it, thrusting periodically and braying so loudly we could hear him from hundreds of yards away. After we returned to town, there was time for last minute shopping.

Giant Galapagos TortoiseThat night we had a great send-off cocktail party during which they showed a slide show presentation of the photos the Naturalists had taken during the week of the animals and us, accompanyied by music. The show, and the outtakes were put on a CD and given to each of us after the presentation to take home. After a going away meal, a local Folkloric Show was held in the lounge.

Sunday morning we got our bags out the door by 7:00am. We got them back at the hotel in Quito. At 8:30am, after breakfast we were off to the dock at Baltra near where we had docked overnight, by zodiac, then the 5 minute bus ride to the airport. I should add here that it was Sunday night that the virtue of choosing a 90 passenger boat over a 50 passenger boat came full to the fore. While anchored that night off Baltra, there was a strong breeze which kept our boats orientation steady with the bow pointing directly to shore. Unfortunately, there was a cross current 90 degrees off the wind which severely rocked the boat all night. Most everyone admitted they got little if any sleep that night and a couple said they fell out of bed. More than a few were queezy. At the airport, speaking to the Lindblad group we found they had a much tougher time in there smaller boat that night. There we checked in en-mass, got our Official Galapagos stamp in our passports and went to the VIP lounge to await our flight to Quito by Tame. The plane was again great, with a light lunch served. We were met by our Quito guides that afternoon in the airport and bussed to the Marriott. After getting our rooms which had been preassigned, our luggage was brought up and we were off for an afteroon of shopping at the big market and galleria via Celebrity bus. The market was fun where there were all sorts of things to purchase and bargaining with the merchants (cash only here). That evening dinner at the hotel was included at the Marriott's top restaurant. We were free to eat there at a time of our discretion.

Monday morning, Celebrity provided bus service to the airport for our return to our homes starting at 5:00am. Most everyone was off then, or at 6:00am, or like us and most of the group, at 7:00am. More than 50 of the 90 on the cruise were off to Miami on American's flight at 9:55am. We said our goodbyes again in the customs area of Miami International as we dispersed throughout the US.

This was one fabulous trip. I could have easily enjoyed another week there. I'd go back very soon if I had the chance, though I do have other places I very much want to visit and see. The Galapagos are an incredible setting; the animals, both land and marine, the plant life, the scenery, were all unbelievable, like no where else on Earth.

Celebrity didn't miss a trick in organizing and running the trip, on the pre/post cruise and the cruise itself, from the carefully run fabulously guided excursions to the little touches like the wonderful snacks after a long morning or afternoon excursion, waiting for us at the grill. The crew was incredible and got a well deserved standing ovation at the end slide presentation Saturday evening, from the Naturalist with whom we spent so much time, to the waiters, the bar tenders, the stateroom attendants, the officers, the chefs, everyone.

The tour guides in Quito were wonderful too.

The Xpedition is a very classy 90 passenger yacht, with good room sizes and all the necessary amenities one looks for from a luxury cruise.

Of course it didn't hurt that the 90 passengers were a sensational group, all very motivated about this incredible journey.

I can't say enough good about the Xpedition, Celebrity, and this Galapagos journey. We got much more than our money's worth, if you want to put it that way too.

It's a trip and journey of a lifetime, which anyone who can afford it should take.

Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part III

Celebrity XpeditionUpon arriving on the boat the events of the day were explained, as well as a few simple rules which needed to be followed (for example about getting on and off the boat, and we were taken to our stateroom. We quickly explored the boat, and then went to the hot tub. By the time we got back (20 minutes) our luggage was at the room. We dressed, and unpacked and headed to Darwin's for lunch. By this time the boat was on the move to North Seymour from Baltra.

Blue Footed BoobySoon after we had the obligatory Life Boat drill. At 4:30 that afternoon, we took the high intensity tour of North Seymour Island for about 1.5 hours, 2 KM. Along the boulder strewn trail we saw frigates, land iguanas, sea lions, Blue Footed Boobies and marine iguanas. There was a low intensity zodiac ride available as well. Our hike was more than we could have hoped for. We saw zillions of animals, took lots of photos, and learned a huge amount from the naturalist. The animals are unafraid of people because they haven't been harmed by us in past years. You stand right in the midst of them, even birds. It's actually quite unnerving at first.

That evening there was a Welcome Captain's cocktail party prior to our evening briefing for the next day and our signup for the next day's activities, and followed by an excellent dinner.

By the way the dress code is CASUAL. No bathing suits are allowed in Darwin's or at dinner and some kind of footwear is required at dinner, but that's about it.

Kicker RockOn Monday we took an early morning 7:00am circumnavigation around Kicker Rock after a continental breakfast at the Beagle Grill. It was fantastic. The rock itself is fabulous, with light early morning light coming through the middle where there is a big break in the rock and giving an amazing picture. There we saw sea lions, frigates, Sally Lightfoot crabs, etc.

That morning we went to Puerto Baquero Moreno and the Human History Museum which was quite interesting, followed by shopping in town. We went down to the beach there where there were many sea lions (cubs too) and crabs, as well as marine iguanas. The harbor was lovely. Lunch at the Beagle Grill in particular was great with local grilled fish being the best choice.

After lunch, anyone who wanted to snorkel during the cruise got to obtain, and try-on the equipment, which was then your particular equipment for the duration of the cruise. Wetsuits where then hung in the lockers for you by room number and the rest of the equipment was hung next to the lockers on deck 3 in numbered bags.

American OystercatchersThat afternoon we went to Espanola Island and a High Intensity 3 KM hike over rough terrain. We saw marine iquanas, hawks, sea lions, mocking birds, yellow finches, etc. At the cliffs the scenery was unreal and the blow hole fabulous. We saw a number of Boobies here including nesting ones. There were medium and low intensity activities too.

That night we were entertained by Jacobo on the piano in the Lounge prior to the next day's briefing followed by dinner at Darwin's.

Tuesday morning after breakfast there was an 8:00am medium intensity trip at Cormorant point (wet landing) at Floreana Island. We got to learn and see about the volcanic history of the site. We saw all kinds of plant species unique to the area and visited a large brackish pond where we saw numerous flamingos, stilts, and pintailed ducks. We crossed over to a beach area where we saw numerous sea turtles close to shore. We snorkeled from the beach and saw sea turtles, sharks and barracudas under the sea. The number of fish was staggering here. Advanced snorkeling was available from Champion's island in the late morning, but I didn't go there myself.

It's interesting to note that upon returning to the boat each time from an excursion (land or sea) there was always a snack of a sandwich and some pastry, plus fruit based drinks right at the grill area to tide us over for lunch or dinner, and of course the bars were always open. This was quite tasty and we thought special.

Lunch was in Darwin's or you could go to the sandwich station at the grill.

Hawksbill TurtleAt 2:00pm I went to Mystery Bay for advanced snorkeling. It was great. I saw sea turtles, sea lions, rays, fish of all kinds and colors, and penquins. You have to be a strong swimmer to do the advanced snorkeling or you'll tire rapidly from the currents and the cold (even in the wet suit) and spend almost all your time in the zodiac instead of the water which would be a waste.

At 4:00pm there was the trip to the Baroness Lookout where people saw egrets, herons and plenty of sea turtles upon landing. It was just a short hike for this one, up the hill to the lookout.

Jacobo was at the piano again in the Lounge before the briefing, and after dinner the deck officers took us star gazing from deck 6 to learn about the southern sky.

Wednesday morning we were at Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island. Here we took a hike along a beautiful beach and found many Sea Turtle nesting areas. The brackish ponds had mostly dried up, so unfortunately there were no stilts or flamingos there. From the beach we went snorkeling, and this was the best snorkeling of the cruise. The water was crystal clear and the number of fish, sea turtles, parrot fish, sea lions, mantas, barracudas, rays, and sharks was extraordinary. Since the water was so clear, underwater photography was very easy.

This day we had a great Mexican buffet for lunch and in the early afternoon another great lecture, this one on the Human History of the Galapagos.

Galapagos PenquinsThat afternoon at 4:00pm we went to Bartolome Island and a high intensity climb to the top of the bill hill 374 feet up. Buzz Aldrin called the landscape of Bartolome Island the closest to what he saw on the moon, anywhere on Earth. It is outre-worldly. Down at the bottom again, we cruised around the area and saw many many penguins. There were other activities offered here too, including snorkeling and a hike across the island's short isthmus.

I'd like to add something here about the intensity of the different excursions. If you're in decent shape and prepared to take a long hike (3 hours) with good shoes over somewhat rough terrain then the high intensity excursions are for you. You don't have to be a twenty something to do this. Many of us were in our 60's and some in their 70's and one in here 80's (she does lots of walking and working out at home) who did all the high intensity activities. Now my wife and I are in the gym several days a week at home, but active people our age can definitely do these hikes. For those that can't, the low intensity walks and zodiac rides will still give those taking them a chance to see amazing scenery and tons of amazing animals.

After the briefing and dinner we had a hilarious "Crossing the Line" party in the lounge lead by the Naturalists in "pirate and Neptune costume" right as we crossed the Equator into the northern hemisphere. They crowned their queen and we all toasted the queen with champaign and had a great time. We were all give a "Crossing the Line" certificate at the party.

Thursday found us at Isabela and Fernandina Islands. In the morning we zodiacced into Elizabeth Bay and saw tons of sea creatures and Penquins, as well as the flightless Galapagos Cormerant. On the way back we had a real treat. A large number of Boobies and Pelicans had spotted a large school of fish and went into a feeding frenzy around us. We got to see them "dive bomb" into the ocean and go fishing. It was a sight not to believe.

At lunch we were treated to a sumptuous Ecuadorian Lunch Buffet in both Darwin's and the Beagle Grill. Was that lunch every fabulous!

Later we were treated to a wonderful lecture about the History of Conservation in the Galapagos.

That afternoon at 4:00pm we went on a high intensity 2.5 hike on Fernandina Island. The volcanic scenery was amazing. We saw a huge Marine Iquana colony there and more flightless Cormorants, as well as the ever present Sally Lightfoot crabs. The volcanic scenery against the blue ocean presented a scenery unlike any elsewhere on Earth. As usual, there was a low intensity activity in zodiacs available.

That evening we were all outside on decks 4 and 5 for a great barbecue "Under the Stars," after our piano entertainment in the lounge, followed by our nightly briefing for the next day.

Fur SealFriday we were at Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands. In the morning we made a wet landing at James Bay at Santiago Island. We walked along the beach and volcano flows, some of which were still warm after having been formed three years before. We saw marine iguanas, lots of various birds, but the highlight here was the Galapagos Fur Seas, which set up camp in the inter-tidal pools of collapsed lava tubes. The scenery again was unreal here. Each day we normally sea some kind of iguana, and crabs, and usually boobies, but each island has species unto itself and very different land and seascapes. It's just amazing. After the hike we went snorkeling again, and the snorkeling was excellent again with many species on display.

After Italian day for lunch we saw a wonderful IMAX movie about the Galapagos.

Then at 4:00pm we went out to Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. Here we went inland on a high intensity hike in search of land iguanas, which have been rare for us so far. We did come across three large land iguanas and various kinds of cactus on the hike. One was a huge yellow and red male, several feet long. Afterward was our last snorkeling time. Unfortunately the last was not the best. The water was very murky and all of us cut our time in the water short and went back to the boat.

That evening, after our piano entertainment, briefing and dinner, we had our movie night with popcorn and milkshakes while watching Winged Migration.

Go to Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part IV

Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part II

Celebrity Xpedition StateroomThe boat is excellent, but can't be considered in the same breadth as cruise ship. This is a boat, or better described as a large yacht. The lowest deck holds the crew's quarters. The next deck, Marina is the lowest deck of passenger staterooms. All staterooms are outside staterooms throughout the boat. This deck's rooms are the smallest. The restaurant, Darwin's, where all meals were served (you could eat elsewhere too as will be mentioned) is at the aft on this deck. Darwin's can hold all 90 passengers at once. At the back of this deck, was the staging area for leaving for excursions and the snorkeling equipment storage.

Celebrity Xpedition Discovery LoungeThe Vista deck is the next up, where we stayed. While the staterooms are not the same size as those on a full sized cruise ship they have plenty of room on all decks. The bathroom size is excellent with plenty of storage. Our stateroom was made up to have the beds as one bed as we requested. There was a night table, a desk with refrigerator, full with bottled water. There was a small sofa and coffee table. The window was large. There were two closets with plenty of shelves for all belongings and plenty of room under the bed to store all luggage. Our room had a problem with a faulty ceiling slat which was fixed immediately upon mentioning it to guest relations (mid ships on this deck). This deck also includes the Discovery Lounge with a wonderful bar area. The Discovery Lounge held all briefings and entertainment, and was a meeting area. It could hold all passengers easily. In the DL was an Internet Cafe area with several computers used with a small fee (about the only thing not included in the cost of the cruise). (I think it's time to mention that all meals, beverages including alcoholic (not premium), tips, etc. are included in your cruise fee.) At the back of this deck was the outdoor Beagle Grill. Breakfast and lunch were served here daily. We often ate lunch here to be outside, and because almost every day they had grilled food made to order which was great.

Celebrity Xpedition Blue Finch BarThe next deck was the Panorama deck which had the suites and the outdoor Blue Finch Bar which was a fun gathering area. From here you could walk up the stairs to the Sunrise deck's hot tub and lounging area and the forward lounging area. There were a few gym machines available adjacent to the hot tub area. Using the hot tube after excursions was wonderful. We didn't use the spa and sauna located on this deck. The ship's power is at 220 volts with both a European and American style outlet at the desk. The 110 volt outlet is in the bathroom. I think that about covers the Xpedition itself.

I want to add here that the crew of the ship was amazing. There were about the friendliest, most helpful, most hardworking ships crew I have ever encountered. About 99% of them are Ecuadorian. They were fabulous. The Naturalists were also absolutely great, and the cruise director, Jason extraordinary. If there was anything to be faulted about the ship and/or crew for us it was that sometimes part of the dinner was not hot (soup) because of the way it is staged. The soup wasn't cold, just not hot. We mentioned this to the Matre'd and they are working to improve this area. In addition, a couple of times we found the seafood a bit overcooked, although for the most part the food was excellent.

By the way, the boat had an Open Bridge policy which we took advantage of and toured. It's essentially the same as any cruise ship's bridge.

Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part III

Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part I

Celebrity XpeditionAs is our custom, we prefer to arrive at any international embarkation port three nights in advance. On occasion our luggage has taken those extra days before the cruise to get to us. It's no fun taking a cruise without all your clothes and belongings. On this cruise we arrived at the Quito, Ecuador Airport, at about 10:00pm Thursday evening, and after clearing immigration and customs (easy and pleasant) the JW Marriott/Celebrity representative was holding a sign with our name and took us to the Van, even though we were there a day before the precruise package started. I think it is enough to say that the JW Marriott, Quito is an excellent hotel with good food and superb service. I would go back there whenever in Quito in a heartbeat.

While the altitude in Quito didn't particularly affect us, it did affect many. There are now medications available to negate the altitude effect. Everyone who took them said they worked great. On our day "on our own" we took the cable car ride, $8 for two, which gave us a spectacular view of Quito (the Marriott van took us there), but the things to do and eat at the top and bottom were expensive and dreck. We took a taxi back to the hotel where we had a great lunch. In the afternoon, we took a long walk up the Amazon River Avenue and visited a market, church and a wonderful park. We had dinner in the hotel.

That night (Friday) after dinner the precruise package started. All meals were now included. On Saturday, after breakfast at the hotel, we were taken on an escorted bus/walking city tour the next morning which included the old colonial city area of Quito, which was very interesting. From there we went to the El Crater Restaurant that sits on the top rim of the Pululahua volcano at nearly 14,000 feet. Then we were off to Equator park (Mitad del Mundo (Center of the Earth) - latitude 0) which had a fascinating museum. There were some decent shops there from which a number of people made purchases. For dinner, we were taken to a private room at the Theatrum, the restaurant at the Teatro Nacional Sucre in the old section of town, and treated to a performance by one of Quito's opera stars. Dinner was fine, and the performance ... okay.

The next morning (Sunday) our checked-in luggage (1 bag per person weighing no more than 40 pounds) was left outside the room and picked up for transport to the ship. We didn't see it again until we were on board. After breakfast we took our single carry-on (two not permitted) to the lobby for our bus trip to the airport. I must digress that we were told a lower weight limit prior to leaving for the trip, and would have taken our own wet suits if we knew about the higher weight limit. I feel Celebrity should have told us about the change in advance, and should have allowed a 3rd bag per couple (same weight limit) which some people actually did bring. We flew on Tame Air to Baltra. Celebrity took care of all the paper work for this airline and we got priority treatment getting through the airport. On the two hour flight from Quito to Baltra we all got an excellent light lunch and the plane was clean, fresh, and had great service. At Baltra we went through immigration and customs and went to the VIP lounge. Shortly afterward, the buses came and we took the 5 minute ride to the dock.

Zodiacs at Celebrity XpeditionAt the dock we were met by the zodiacs and taken to the Xpedition. The cruise had the full complement of 90 passengers. We met many wonderful cruise-mates and intend to stay in touch with them and possibly take another vacation with some of them in the future, probably in '09. Many of us want to go to Antarctica.

Go to Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part II

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge & how to get there

Wild Turkeys at the John Heinz National Wildlife RefugeThe John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is America's first urban National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1972 for the purpose of preserving, restoring, and developing the area known as Tinicum Marsh, to promote environmental education, and to afford visitors an opportunity to study wildlife in its natural habitat.

The Refuge received its current name in 1991, soon after the late Pennsylvania Senator H. John Heinz III was killed in a plane crash in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. The Refuge includes the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania, as well as other habitats which are home to a variety of plants, trees and animals native to southeastern Pennsylvania.

The “Impoundment Pond Area” of the Refuge is the area near the main entrance. The “Impoundment Pond” is a diked, non-tidal area of 145 acres (0.6 km2), adjacent to the tidal Darby Creek (runs along the opposite side of the dike), to the eastern end of the tidal Tinicum marsh. Originally created as a water source in case of emergencies by the Gulf Oil Corporation, it was donated to the City of Philadelphia in 1955. There are two boardwalks over parts of the “Impoundment Pond.”

The “Marsh Restoration Area” of the Refuge is comprised mostly of the tidal marsh, the preservation of which is the major reason the Refuge was created, and comprises about 75% of the total Refuge acreage of about 1,200 acres (4.9 km2). There is a new boardwalk which goes out into the “Marsh Restoration Area” from the dike road at the end of the “Impoundment Pond Area,” finished in November, 2015.

Each of the Refuge's two areas have varied habitats of woodlands, meadows, and fields. The “Impoundment Pond Area” has some tidal marsh areas on its periphery.

The tidal areas of Darby Creek and the Tinicum marsh typically have tidal changes from 5–7 feet (1.5–2.1m) twice daily.

There are more than 10 miles of trails in the Refuge. Due to the fragile nature of the habitat in the Refuge, “off-trail,” visitors are required to stay on the trails in the Refuge at all times, which means that much of the Refuge is unreachable by visitors and forms a safe haven for animals.

There are a number oil and natural gas pipelines running through the Refuge underground, and under the “Impoundment Pond.” They are well maintained by the companies operating them.

Main Entrance:

The main entrance to the Heinz Refuge, at 8601 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is at the intersection of 86th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard in southwest Philadelphia. The entrance leads to a series of paved parking areas. From the parking areas, the Refuge's visitor center can be quickly reached by walking under the archway along the paved path.

There are lavatories in the visitor center and porta-potties at three locations along the trails in the Refuge's “Impoundment Pond Area” on which visitors walk from the visitor center.
SEPTA's Route 37 and 108 buses both stop at 84th St. and Lindbergh Blvd, a two block walk to the Refuge's entrance.

SEPTA's Regional Rail Line has a stop at the Eastwick Station. This is several blocks southeast of the Refuge's main entrance. It's just two stops from Amtrak's 30th Street Station, on the Airport Line toward the airport.

Pennsylvania Route 420 Entrance:

The secondary entrance to the Heinz Refuge is on PA Route 420 North, a short distance from I-95. There is a small parking lot at the entrance. To set your GPS to get directions to the PA Route 420 entrance enter the address 643 Wanamaker Avenue, Norwood, PA 19074, or better yet the following Latitude 39.873726 and Longitude -75.302755 or 39°52'25.4"N and 75°18'09.9"W.

To drive to the PA Route 420 entrance from I-95, take the PA Route 420 North exit. The entrance to the entrance will be on the right, approximately 0.25 miles from I-95 South, or 0.5 miles including the exit corkscrew from I-95 North. From the intersection of Route 13, and PA Route 420 going south on PA Route 420, the entrance is 0.7 miles, but you will have to continue on to get to the entrance on the other side of the road by going to the entrance of I-95 North, then staying to the right go under PA Route 420, then take the PA Route 420 North exit.

Please see a map of the PA Route 420 entrance area below.
Map of the PA Route 420 entrance to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

There are no lavatories or porta-potties at the PA Route 420 entrance to the Refuge, nor any porta-potties in the “Marsh Restoration Area” in which visitors walk from this entrance of the Refuge.

NSL Photography's Glossary™ of Photographic Terms - #

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18% Gray
Middle Gray, or a standard average gray tone of 18 percent reflectance. The exposure meters of digital cameras are typically calibrated to 18% Gray.

3D Color Matrix Meter
Originally a Nikon technology which first appeared on its top film camera at the time, the F5. Since then the 3D Color Matrix Meter has been updated and improved significantly. The Nikon D3X DSLR camera now uses a 1,005-pixel RGB sensor for its metering. The 3D Color Matrix Meter evaluates each scene's brightness and contrast and using a special Red Green Blue (RGB) sensor, evaluates the scene's colors. Its powerful micro-computer uses a special Nikon exposure/color database to set the camera's exposure.

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Zoom Lens
A zoom lens is a  lens with the ability to vary its focal length (and thus angle of view), as opposed to a fixed focal length (FFL) or prime lens. A high quality zoom lens, also called a parfocal lens, is one which its maintains focus as its focal length is adjusted by the photographer. A lessor quality zoom lens which loses focus during zooming is called a varifocal lens.

Zoom lenses in digital point and shoot cameras are often described by the ratio of their longest to shortest focal lengths. For example, a zoom lens with focal lengths ranging from 100 mm to 400 mm can be described as a 4:1 or "4×" zoom.

Zoom lenses are often confused with telephoto lenses, those with a narrow angle of view which magnify the subject of the photograph. While some zoom lenses have a strictly telephoto range of focal lengths, some have a strictly wide-angle ranges, while others range from wide-angle to telephoto. Zoom lenses are popular because they can take the place of numerous lenses of fixed focal lengths, and help the photographer avoid having to switch lenses as necessary. Amateur photographers particular like zooms lenses to reduce their cost of lens for the photographer. Zoom lenses on digital point and shoot cameras allow them to have great flexibility, adding the capability to obtain wide angle and telephoto images.

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White Balance
White balance is a function on the camera which allows it to compensate for different colors of light being emitted by different light sources.

Wide Angle Lens
In photography and cinematography, a wide-angle lens is a lens whose focal length is substantially shorter than the focal length of a normal lens for the image size produced by the camera, whether this is dictated by the dimensions of the image frame at the film plane for film cameras or the dimensions of the photosensor for digital cameras.

Many DSLR interchangeable lens cameras have photosensors which are smaller than the film format of full-frame 35 mm cameras. For the most part, the dimensions of these photosensors are similar to the APS-C image frame size, approximately 24 mm x 16 mm. Therefore, the angle of view for any given focal length lens will be narrower than it would be in a full-frame camera because the smaller sensor "sees" less of the image projected by the lens. The camera manufacturers provide a crop factor (sometimes called a field-of-view factor or a focal-length multiplier) to show how much smaller the sensor is than a full 35 mm film frame. For example, one common factor is 1.5 (Nikon DX format and some others) The 1.5 indicates that the angle of view of a lens on the camera is the same as that of a 1.5 times longer focal length on a 35 mm full-frame camera, which explains why the crop factor is also known as a focal-length multiplier. For example, a 28 mm lens on the DSLR (given a crop factor of 1.5) has the angle of view of a 42 mm lens on a full-frame camera.

Lens manufacturers have responded to this problem by making wide-angle lenses of much shorter focal lengths for these cameras, but in doing this, they limit the diameter of the image projected to slightly more than the diagonal measurement of the photosensor. This gives the designers more flexibility in providing the optical corrections necessary to economically produce high quality images at these short focal lengths, especially when the lenses are zoom lenses, however, these lenses cannot be used to light full 35mm sized sensors, such as the Nikon FX sensor.

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Variable Focus Lens
Lens of which the focal length can be continuously varied between set limits. The lens must be refocused with each change in focal length.

Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization)
With still cameras, camera shake is particularly problematic at slow shutter speeds or with long focal length (telephoto) lenses. Vibration reduction (image stabilization) is a mechanism used in a camera that stabilizes the recorded image by varying the optical path to the sensor. Stabilization for SLR and DSLR cameras is usually performed by the lens. Many digital point and shoot cameras also have image stabilization, but performed in the camera itself.

Image stabilization can often permit the use of shutter speeds 2–4 stops slower (exposures 4–16 times longer) than a person can normally accomplish hand holding a camera, for any particular lens/camera combination, although even slower effective speeds have been reported.

Some image stabilized lenses have an "Active Mode" intended to be used when shooting from a moving vehicle, such as a car or boat, to correct for larger shakes than the "Normal Mode."

Device or system indicating the field of view encompassed by the camera lens. The term is sometimes used as a description of the type of camera that does not use reflex or "straight-through" viewing systems and therefore has to have a separate viewfinder.

Underexposure of image corners produced deliberately by shading or unintentionally by inappropriate equipment, such as unsuitable lens hood or badly designed lens. A common fault of wide-angle lenses, owing to reflection cut-off, etc. of some of the very oblique rays.

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Ultra Low dispersion lens, pls refer to ED, LD sections.

Ultra-wide angle lens
Extra wide angle lens are those with an angle of view greater than 90°. For 35 mm cameras the description usually applies to lenses of shorter focal length than about 24 mm.

A condition in which too little light reaches the film, producing a thin negative, dark slide, dark image, or muddy-looking print.

Unipod (Monopod)
A one-legged support used to hold the camera steady.

The ultra violet light. This is beyond the visible spectrum i.e. it's invisible electromagnetic radiation of the sunlight.

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Tear Sheets
Tear sheets refer to ads taken out of the pages of magazines, newspapers and other printed matter. Any time work is published, the author gets copies, often literally clipped out of copies of the magazine, for their own future advertising and portfolio. Tear sheets provide evidence that the authors work has been published. Tear sheets are similar in this regard to reprints of articles.

Tear sheets got their name since it used to be common for magazines to rip up a few issues and send the pages torn out to authors, photographers, etc.

A teleconverter is a secondary lens which is mounted between the camera and a photographic lens. Its job is to enlarge the image obtained by the original lens. Teleconverters are typically made in 1.4x, 1.7x, 2x and 3x models. The use of a 2x teleconverter gives the effect of using lens with twice the focal length. It also decreases the intensity of the light reaching the film by a factor of 4 (an equivalent of doubling the focal ratio) as well as the resolution (by a factor of 2).

Tear sheets got their name since it used to be common for magazines to rip up a few issues and send the pages torn out to authors, photographers, etc.

Telephoto Lens
In photography, a telephoto lens has a specific construction of a long focal length lens in which the physical length of the lens is shorter than the focal length. In these lenses the optical center lies outside of its physical construction, so that the entire lens assembly is between the optical center and the focal plane. A regular lens of a focal length that is longer than what is considered a normal lens is not necessarily a telephoto lens. A telephoto lens has to incorporate a special lens group known as a telephoto group, nevertheless, non-telephoto lenses of long focal length are often informally referred to as telephoto lenses. The angle of view created by a telephoto lens is the same as that created by an ordinary lens of the same specified focal length.

Telephoto and other long focal length lenses are best known for making distant objects appear magnified. This effect is similar to moving closer to the object, but is not the same, since perspective is a function solely of viewing location. Two images taken from the same location, one with a wide angle lens and the other with a telephoto lens, will show identical perspective, in that near and far objects appear the same relative size to each other. Comparing magnification by using a long lens to magnification by moving closer, however, the telephoto shot appears to compress the distance between objects due to the perspective from the more distant location.

Through the Lens (TTL)
Type of exposure meter built into the camera body and reading through the camera lens. May measure either at full aperture or at picture taking aperture.

Through the Lens Focusing
Viewing a scene to be photographed through the same lens that admits light to the film or sensor. Through the lens viewing, as in an SLR or DSLR camera, while focusing and composing a picture, eliminates parallax.

Through the Lens Metering
Meter built into the camera to determine exposure for the scene by reading light that passes through the lens. SLR and DSLR cameras have built-in meters which measure light after it has passed through the lens, a feature that enables exposure readings to be taken from the actual image about to be recorded, whatever the lens angle of view and regardless of whether a filter is used or not.

Time Exposure
A comparatively long exposure made in seconds or minutes.

Twin lens reflex camera that has separate viewing and actual exposure lenses.

Slide film.

A three-legged supporting stand used to hold the camera steady. Especially useful when using slow shutter speeds, macro and telephoto lenses.

Tungsten Light
Light from regular room lamps and ceiling fixtures, not fluorescent. Images produced under this light source can be extremely warm.

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