Wednesday, 1 of July of 2015

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Lenses, Lenses…Which To Use And What Do They Do?

Lenses, Lenses...Which To Use And What Do They Do?

So, you’ve decided to move from a simple point-and-shoot to an SLR. That means that you’re probably going to be changing lenses depending on what you want to capture. However, there are a lot of different kinds of lenses — which one is the best fit for what you want to do? Let’s go over some of the different types and see what they do to find out!

Are you looking to add a distorting effect to your photos? Or are you interested in getting a great image of the night sky? If so then a Fisheye Lens might be what you’re looking for. The fisheye lens distorts the subject, giving it either a convex or concave effect. Fisheye lenses were originally developed for astrophotography which aims to capture as wide a range of sky as possible.

Fisheye Lens

Are you interested in taking photos of things up close? For example, taking photos of insects on flowers or waves on the top of a lake? If so, then a Macro Lens might be what you need to add to your kit. Macro lenses have a very short focal length and are great for taking extremely close-up photos of various subjects. The photo captured through a macro lens will be many times larger than the subject of the photo itself.

Macro Lens

Maybe you’d rather take a broad photo of a mountain landscape or a forest or the ocean. If that’s what you’re after, then a Wide-Angle Lens should be part of your photography kit. Wide-angle lenses have a wider field-of-vision than the human eye, allowing them to capture broad panoramic vistas. A wide-angle lens can also focus on the background and the foreground, making it ideal for landscape photography.

Wide-Angle Lens

You might be interested in a lens that allows you to zoom in or out on your subject as required. If that’s the case, then a Zoom Lens is up your alley. Zoom lenses allow you to shorten or widen the lens’ focal length which increases or decreases the magnification on a subject. Bear in mind that zoom lenses are optical zooms — not digital zooms! Optical zoom increases the magnification on the subject. Digital zoom merely enlarges the picture and cuts out the area outside of the subject. Digital zoom results in poorer image qualities than optical zoom.

Zoom Lens

Do you want to bring your subject closer without the distortion of zooms? Then grab yourself a Telephoto Lens. The difference between a zoom and a telephoto lens is subtle. Zoom enlarges and magnifies the photo but telephoto lenses bring the subject “closer” to the photographer, reducing the distance between the subject and the lens. Telephoto lenses are great for capturing images of wildlife without disturbing them.

Telephoto Lens

Are you not sure what exactly you want to do and just want a simple lens that will allow you to develop your photography techniques without relying overly much on the camera’s on-board features or the lens itself? Then you might want to pick up what used to be a staple lens in photography: the Fixed-Focal Length Camera Lens. A fixed-focal length camera lens is non-adjustable and cannot zoom in on the subject or bring the subject closer to it. Using a fixed-focal length lens generally forces the photographer to be much more careful in composing and capturing the shot. They are less common now than they used to be since most cameras come with optical zoom built-in but these lenses were and are a way for budding amateur photographers to force themselves to learn the ropes of photography without being too reliant on post-production editing or camera features to “correct” their mistakes. Fixed-focal length lenses are also useful in portrait photography as they offer good mid-range focus and can be used in a variety of lighting conditions.

Fixed-Focal Length Lens

Are there other lenses you’d like to know more about? If so, leave a comment below and we’ll see what we can dig up for you!

— da Bird

Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Well, it’s been a pretty eventful week over here at Beach Camera. The temperatures have been climbing in New Jersey and everyone, even History Geek, has been trying to beat the heat. We celebrated Independence Day this Wednesday by posting and tweeting the entire Declaration of Independence. If you aren’t following us on Twitter, then you may have missed that. Also, the geek club has informed me that something pretty big happened over in Switzerland at the Large Hadron Collider. If any of you can guess what it was, then you’ll get a bunch of cool points with them. Anyhow, here are some other things you might have missed if you aren’t following us there!

That’s all for this week, folks! See you again on Monday. Have a great weekend!

— da Bird

In Honor of Independence Day

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Photography Tips and Tricks: Fireworks

Photography Tips and Tricks: Fireworks

Tomorrow is Independence Day in the US and if there’s one thing that is a great thing to capture on film, it’s fireworks. However, getting great shots of fireworks displays can be very tricky if you don’t know what to do. While some cameras do have a “Fireworks Mode” on them, you may be dissatisfied with the results. So, here are a few tricks to try with your camera if you want to capture some great fireworks shots.

1) Dial down the ISO — Manually set the ISO to 100 or 200 and adjust as needed.

2) Get a greater depth of field — Do this by setting the aperture to f/8 or f/11.

3) Take longer exposures — Let the shutter stay open longer and capture more bursts in a single shot.

4) Use a tripod — Since you’ll be taking longer exposures, the risk of camera shake is greater if you do not stabilize the camera on a tripod.

5) Use a lens-cover to reduce the chance of overexposing the sky between shots — While the shutter is still open, you can cover the lens with a piece of cardboard painted black or with a baseball cap.

Feel free to experiment and fine-tune your technique to get the results you want. And, if you do capture some great shots, feel free to share them with us over on Facebook or Pinterest!

— da Bird