Friday 4th January 2008

Happy New Year to you all and welcome to the first edition of 2008.

In this edition our main article takes a look at using the D40x as a second camera or a small camera to carry with you at all times. This lightweight and small footprint camera is a marvel. It may not have all the wiz-bang functions of it's big brothers, but it can pack a punch with it's 10.2 megapixel picture image. You can still take images in Raw but at the same time have help and guidance in the facilities it does have at your fingertips. It's back panel is used to control the most used functions of the camera and has little images on many of the standard settings like White Balance, exposure etc to show you what effect making the change will make to your image. Of course as we have pointed out in the article because it has the same image quality as those taken on it's big brothers you can also use it as a second camera. Having a second camera allows you to run two lenses at the same time and to back up important photographs such as wedding and commercial shots. The small size of this camera means you can carry it with you easily in a briefcase or handbag so you will never miss again those unexpected opportunities.

Each week we are taking each of the many courses we have on offer and giving you a quick look behind the scenes of what is involved in the course, giving you the opportunity to find out what you will get to learn when you come on the course covered. This week we are looking at the Creative Lighting and Flash (CLG). Looking in a bit more detail at our CLG training day, but also looking at flash and showing that there is more to it than you may have first realised as well as covering the options of Nikon Flash methods available to you and listing other courses we have which will contain an element of flash, but not to the same degree. Flash of course will be used all year round inside and out, but during these winter months when more indoor photography perhaps is undertaken it is more widely used. How is your understanding of flash, do you use it enough or could you benefit from attending this course? The article also looks at the different flash units in some detail and covers studio lighting, the use of reflectors and fill in flash as well.

Snow Post?

The snow in Cheltenham, January 2007 and the original photograph in this image was taken with Nikon D2x and Nikon 18-70 lens at 62mm ISO 320 1/250th f8.

Our photographers diary this week is looking forward to February. Christmas and January has colourful night time events such as fireworks, fire festivals, Christmas lights etc see our This Month section to find those items you could be out photographing this weekend. However February is still just as colourful with the Chinese New Year parades in London and many other cities around the country with Chinese communities, as well as Pancake races around the UK and a Viking Festival in York. Of course don't forget to also check out our Nature and Wildlife diary to find out what the other beings on this earth are up to during these months, February being the start of Snowdrop appearances.

Our featured location guide is Oxford City Centre, an architectural paradise with large impressive buildings from the round Radcliffe Camera Building, to the Bridge of Sighs and all the college buildings that make up the Oxford University. Visiting Oxford with it's wealth of photo opportunities and shopping could take up a whole day, but if you want to also do something different then you could also visit the nearby RSPB grassland reserve of Otmoor.

Just one final point Photo Skills has 3 Basic one day training days running this month for beginners, the first of these, on Friday 18th Introduction to Digital Photography has 1 place left. If you can't make this then we have another set planned for March. Take a look at the website for more details.

Other pages in this newsletter

A Technical Term explained looks Flash Guide Numbers, what they are and how we might compute them, specifically looking at the Nikon Flash systems those that are inbuilt on some of the DSLR's and the independent flashes they have.

Technical tip: This weeks technical tip looks at Protective Filters, what we know as UV or Skylight filters, but also looking at how filters can sometimes affect the image especially when put on wide angle lenses. This also looks at simple tests you can do to check out the suitability of your lens for filters and highlights several problems that you may come across. This is well worth a look and is more detailed than you'll expect.

Photographers Diary: February, where you can go, what you can see and photograph during the month.

Featured Location:  Oxford City Centre a wealth of architectural buildings from the new to the old stone buildings of the Oxford University colleges. But also many parks and gardens, canals and rivers, cobbled streets and museums. Something for everyone open all year.

Location Guides:  Bedd-Morris Standing Stone, Newport, Pembrokeshire

Dorset Coast, Charmouth, Dorset

Otmoor, Oxon

We will be adding more location guides each week.

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