Getting The Most Out Of Your Camera

Have you ever found yourself in a situation and wishing you had a hot shoe flash with you? Well being the biggest “anti-flash fan” you know of (I’m just kidding! I’m not “anti-flash”. My concern and talking point is a caution against built-in flashes.) I have some things for you to look into if you are interested in getting just a little bit more out of your camera’s performance.

Having used my equipment in a lot of situations with varied amounts of lighting, I became very dissatisfied with blurry photos. So, in an effort to understand more about the performance of my camera and lenses, I began searching for methods of shooting without a flash and blur.

As I began my search I discovered that when shooting black & white (monochrome) pictures, my camera was more sensitive in lower lighted areas giving me the capability to shoot with a faster shutter speed.

At the same time, I did not want to only shooting black & white (monochrome) photos in low light, so how can I get around this problem? Some cameras come with editing software. Canon provides “Canon Utilities Software” with their SLR cameras, so there may be comparable software with other camera brands. In “Canon Utilities Software” post-exposure changes are possible by reading the EXIF data from the photo and altering the information in a new file temporarily stored in a separate data file.

However, before I prattle too far afield of my given topic, my point of shooting black & white (monochrome) photos to avoid needing to add light; the picture style can be changed in the editing process of “Canon Utilities Software”. What this mean is black & white (monochrome) shots can be change into color shots!

The camera takes the information of colors with each black & white (monochrome) shot, however not as it would when shooting in color. Do not be surprised when changing picture styles that the color is not as vibrant as when shooting in other pictures styles.

More on picture styles and black & white shooting in Part 2.

Inkscape and Darktable

In our discussion of Darktable in “Post-Production Software 3” I briefly mentioned watermarks and proceeded to move on. I am grateful to announce that I have successfully added a watermark to Darktable and now able to discuss the details with you!

It really is as simple as Darktable makes it out to  be in the resources section.

Having downloaded and installed “Inkscape”. I was able to import the image I created as my studio watermark and saved it off as an “SVG” file. Now that the “SVG” file is created, it can be moved to the watermark folder. The “watermark” folder may not be in the given file location listed in Darktable’s user manual. I did some searches and had each folder list its content until I found the “watermark” folder. Making sure to catalog the folder location I moved the “SVG” file into it and started the Darktable program to make sure it saw the file for watermarking. (If you place the watermarking file in the “watermark” folder while the program is running, use the reload button to the right of the watermark menu.)

Once your watermark is in place, you can change its position or check the box next to “blend” and change the layering modes as well as the opacity of the watermark.

One caution in using “Inkscape” for creating watermarks. When working with layers, be sure to merge all of your layers properly or you will come out with a blank box for text. For

example, below is an example of my mess-up. Watermarking the photo is no problem, however, I was hoping to display my website URL while claiming the intellectual rights of my photograph.

As you can see in the lower right hand side there is a short, white rectangle which was supposed to contain my website URL. I cannot win them all, I guess! This is a good illustration though of learning from mistakes instead of letting the mess-up dictate my choices and attitudes. Each mess-up is an opportunity to learn something new!