Greetings folks and welcome to the Out There Images Newsletter. I hope this message finds you doing well and taking lots of photos! I’ve been taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather here in Washington State to get outside and take some more digital photos for my files. Just a few evenings ago, I went out at dusk to photograph a local building silhouetted against the deep blue evening sky. My four year-old son was with me and wanted to take some pictures of the moon too, so I let him “point and shoot” with my digital SLR (a little bit scary).

Since this is the first Out There Images Newsletter, let me take a minute to describe our format. The first section will be “Photo Techniques” and is aimed at helping you take better photos by using your noggin! Next, we’ll cover a thought or two on digital photography called “Digital Tidbits”. Finally, in the “Workshop Updates” section we’ll include information on our newest workshops and offerings. If you want to read this letter on our website, then you can find it (along with pretty pictures) at Enjoy!

Photo Techniques: “Steady as she goes.”
One of the great things about digital photography is the immediacy of seeing results from your efforts on your camera’s playback screen. Unfortunately, this immediacy frequently lulls us into a bit of laziness. What I mean by laziness is that if you can see right away whether the shot was good or bad, then why worry too much about setting up the shot before hand? Don’t worry, I also fall into this same trap. You can just keep shooting until everything is good, right? After all, you can just delete them later.

Well, if you truly want to improve the look of your photos, then “snap out of it!” Slow down just a bit and think through the shot you want to take. Walk around, look through your viewfinder and compose the scene in front of you so that it is asthetically pleasing. Many times you’ll find me walking around a scene without my tripod – just looking through my view finder at different compositions. I’ll zoom in and out, try horizontal and vertical orientations, get close to the ground … you name it. Once I have a composition I like, then and only then will I plunk down my tripod and carefully set up the final shot. I find that taking a few minutes before actually tripping the shutter almost always results in a much better final product.

If you have to hand hold your shot for some reason, then at least make sure your hand holding technique is nice and solid. Hold your camera firmly with both hands while pressing it against your face. I know that a lot of digital cameras allow you to look at the rear screen while framing the picture, but I encourage you to look through the optical viewfinder instead. You’ll have a much better chance of getting sharp, unblurry photos this way.

Digital Tidbits: “Managing All Those Photos”
If you are like me, you have taken more digital photos than you know what to do with. We all need to get with the program and start editing and filing your shots right away. What good are your pictures if they are sitting on your computer hard drive never to be seen again? I recommend that you file your shots using a system that follows the way your own brain works.

For example, if you tend to think of your photos in terms of when they were taken, then file them according to dated files on your hard drive. If, like me, you like to categorize your shots by subject, then file them by folder according to names such as “Family”, “Costa Rica”, “Cars”, “Landscapes”, etc.

Once your pictures are sorted by folder (date, subject, smart number, etc.) then you can use an image browsing program to quickly look through the folder to find the shot you want. There are lots of options these days – ACDSee, Photoshop CS, Photoshop Elements, Nikon View, Windows Explorer, Gimp, Picture Project, Corel, etc. Some of my workshop participants just recently recommended a couple of free programs; one called “Gimp” and another called “Picasa”. Choose your favorite, and use it!

While you’re at it, why don’t you take some time to ruthlessly edit your pictures. Just delete the truly bad ones. Only keep photos around that you consider publishable or printable. The rest of the photos are just taking up space on your hard drive and causing your computer to run slower. I always throw away all my bad shots – no questions asked. Get rid of the garbage!

The sooner you start organizing and editing your photos, the fewer problems you’ll have in the future when trying to locate that great shot of Aunt Matilda kissing little Cousin Jack. The best way to stay on top of your digital photos is to try to make it a point to download and file your photos on the same day they were taken.

Workshop Updates
There are lots of changes and additions to our workshop schedule. Head over to our website to get the full scoop on each of these. As always, if you are interested in signing up, then send us an email and we’ll get your name on the class roster right away.

Photoshop for Photographers
Our Photoshop workshops are filling up, so sign up now to secure a spot. We’ll be using Photoshop CS on the classroom computers, but if you have a laptop loaded with Photoshop and want to bring it, then go ahead! More information is shown at:

Advanced Nikon D70
Many of you have asked for an Advanced Nikon D70 workshop. In response to the requests, I have scheduled a number of these workshops for later this Spring, Summer and Fall. We’ll be covering many more of the D70 special functions and custom setups. Additionally, the class will be more focused on photographic technique and methods. I think you’ll really like the course. Send an email to sign up or click here for more details:

Nikon iTTL Workshops
By popular demand, we’ve added iTTL workshops for the Seattle area. Check out the dates and locations here:

Travel and Nature Photography
April kicks off the wildflower and travel season for me. Join us on one of our multi-day weekend workshops to learn more about the Art of Travel Photography or Nature & Outdoor Photography in the Columbia Gorge. More info at:

Subscription Information
Many of you have asked to be added to this mailing list in order to stay up to date with our current class offerings. If you would like to be removed from this list, please respond with the word “REMOVE” written in the subject line and we’ll delete your name from our database right away.

Best regards,

Mike Hagen
Out There Images – “Get Out And Learn!”
[email protected]

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