Many if not most digital SLR cameras have it. The self-timer mode can be used to reduce camera shake or for taking self-portraits. In practice, I found this feature not as useful as it should be, at least on my Nikon D200.

To reduce camera shake, and the blur it causes, I prefer a remote shutter release because it is more efficient: no need to waste the extra seconds between shots.

For self-portraits, I found it almost useless. Why? Because the moment after I press the shutter release after framing the photograph, it immediately tries to focus. It will either focus on the wrong things, or fail to focus at all due to lack of contrasty details in the background. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on December 8th, 2008. No Comments.
Christmas lights bokeh

Christmas lights bokeh by whatsthatpicture

It is the holiday season again. You may be tempted to take photos of the beautiful Christmas lights.  How about getting creative and shoot them out of focus? The result is the beautiful and dreamy light circles like what you see below the title of this post. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on December 5th, 2008. 4 Comments.

Soft focus is not blur or “slightly out of focus”. If you think you can get the same effect by intentionally turning the lens out of focus during shooting, you will be disappointed. True soft focus should still have the important subject areas in focus while having a sense of softness.

To achieve the soft focus, you could spend anywhere between 20 to 100 US dollars to buy one of the soft focus filters. Fortunately, the soft focus effect is one f the most simple special effects to achieve in a capable photo editor such as Capture NX2. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on November 17th, 2008. No Comments.

The Crop Tool in Nikon Capture NX2 is quite usable for practical purposes. You can do crop with fixed aspect ratio (presets or custom) or do a free crop that allows you to change the aspect ratio and size on the fly. However you may find it tricky if you want to crop a region with a fixed pixel dimension, for example, you want to crop an exact 1058 pixel wide and 705 pixel high region out of a 4288 (W) by 2848 (H) image. It is easy to set the exact ratio using the custom fixed aspect ratio crop method, but NX2 doesn’t tell you the size of the crop when you start cropping. That makes things a little tricky. Read More…

Posted in Tutorials on November 2nd, 2008. 3 Comments.

Nikon has posted sample video excerpts from its upcoming Creative Lighting System DVD, titled “A Hands-on Guide to Creative Lighting”. According to Nikon press release, the DVD will be available starting November 1, 2008, and can be obtained online at the Nikon Mall ( or at authorized Nikon dealers for an estimated selling price of $39.95.

Posted in News, Photography Lighting on October 31st, 2008. No Comments.

Cross processing (xpro) refers to processing film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film (Wikipedia).

Two methods are common: processing color negative films in slide chemicals (“C-41 as E-6”), or processing slide films using the color negative chemicals (“E-6 as C-41”). Due to the characteristics of the films and chemicals, the effects are different. Processing color negative film in slide chemical tends to produce flat tones and muted colors with less red but more green/yellow while processing slide film in in color negative chemicals often produces very contrasty images with blown highlights. In either cases, we’d expect to see wild color shifts that are not quite predictable due to many factors such as film/chemical, exposure, etc, will affect the process.

Simulating the cross processing effect in photo editors are fairly easy using curves adjustments in individual color channels. For photoshop users, this is a nice tutorial on how to do the “C-41 as E-6” type cross-processing in Adobe Photoshop. For demonstration purposes, I will show you how to do the same adjustments using Nikon Capture NX2. Read More…

Posted in Tutorials on October 22nd, 2008. 2 Comments.

Black and white photography never lose its charm even in the digital photography era. It is difficult to find a camera that does not offer a Black and White mode. Nikon is no exception. If you shoot JPEG, the camera performs the color conversion in the built-in processing engine. This leaves you with little control over the process. Raw shooters are much better off because the Black and White mode in the camera is merely a tag in the Raw file. The Raw file still has all the color information. Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) completely ignores it but Nikon software such as Nikon View/Capture NX recognizes the tag and displays the image accordingly.

So, what’s the point of selecting the Black and White mode in the camera when shooting Raw format? Not much. Perhaps in most cases you are satisfied with the default result so you don’t need to do anything before converting the photos to other formats for sharing or printing. Otherwise, shooting in color mode and convert it to Black and White is likely more flexible.

In this tutorial, I will discuss the different ways of converting normal color photos into black and white in Capture NX2. Read More…

Posted in Tutorials on October 20th, 2008. 3 Comments.

Night photography can be very challenging but it can also be fun. You get the chance to produce some of the most dramatic images. The following are the examples of what you can do when the night falls. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on October 11th, 2008. 2 Comments.
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