Chris Marquardt, "Tips from the Top Floor"

Episode 914 (1:26:27)

Webcam tip: Some Logitech webcams don't have drivers available for the Mac. Chris has found software called Webcam Settings in the Mac App Store that allows for a lot more control of the webcam. It allows for adjusting how many frames per second the cam uses, 50 or 60 hz, white balance, color and more.

There also was a question from George just before this segment asking about very high speed photography, and George wanted to know if Chris had experience with it. The slowest speed for most cameras is the speed of a flash firing. Use a very short flash to freeze motion because flashes can be very short, 10,000th of a second or shorter. We won't be seeing trillion frame-per-second consumer grade cameras, but Canon did show a camera capable of up to 120 frames per second.

This week's topic is late-night photography. Chris spent time holding a workshop in an old industrial park. When it shut down in the 80's, they converted it to a landscape park, and at night they illuminate it with colored lights. Even if you're shooting a city at night, you'll get interesting colors from the lights because of the longer exposure.

Night photography requires longer exposure times, and a need for a tripod. Don't even try automatic settings, make sure to have the camera in manual. the ISO should be 100-200. Aperture in medium range, f5 or f6. Shutter speeds at 10-20 seconds. It's easy to misjudge the darkness because on digital cameras everything will appear brighter. Some cameras will blink over any over-exposed areas.

Focusing is another difficult thing in night photography. With faintly lit things, your camera may just not focus. If you have a DSLR that has video, use the live view feature to get better focus. Switch to manual focus, switch on live view, and then zoom in digitally to focus. It will even work for stars in the sky.

The photo assignment is "face". Take a picture, tag it with the word "face", upload it to Flickr and send it to the Tech Guy group.