Text And Photos By Bryan F Peterson

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Clever ways to put blur into your pictures

TO GET ULTRASHARP, ULTRA-realistic photos, you might try a fast shutter speed and stable tripod. But what if realism seems a little too...boring? What if you're in the mood for surrealism instead? This would call for an opposite approach: a long shutter speed and an unstable camera support: a car, a scooter, or even your pet terrier!

For my own experiment in impressionism, I used a 10-speed bicycle and my Nikon D1x. After carefully (very carefully!) attaching the cam-

era to the bike's handlebars with one of the many Manfrotto Super Clamp configurations, I took off down a country lane in the South of France on a bright day in mid-October. All around me, the deep greens of late summer were flecked with autumn's yellows, reds, and oranges. With my 35-75mm f/2.8 AF Nikkor lens at a relatively slow shutter speed of 1/6 sec at f/22, I had all that I needed to go Van Gogh.

Want to try this yourself? First, choose the right type of road. It's easier to keep your camera steady if the path is smooth, so asphalt and concrete are better than dirt or gravel.

Next, find a vibrant subject. Whether in town or country, greater color and contrast will furnish more vivid results. A country lane lined with trees in autumn or a city street lit by neon at dusk would both be excellent subjects.

Third, exclude the sky when composing your image. Most of the time, the block of sky included in a photo is one solid color, whether it be blue, gray, or white. This color won't streak during long exposures, but will remain a block of (boring) monotone.

As for anchoring the camera to the bike's handlebars, I recommend one of the inexpensive Manfrotto Super Clamp rigs. If that's not an option for you, consider picking up three 4x6-inch sponges. Place one at the back of the camera and the other two on either side of the front. Then use duct tape to bind the

RIGHTEOUS RIG:

Manfrotto makes clamps for attaching cameras to almost anything (visit www.bogenimaging.us). For this project, I used a mini ballhead (A), column clamp (B), and a standard tripod center column (not shown). Total cost: $126.

THE SURREAL LIFE: The same rig (below left) that I used for the bicycle blur on the next page, I also used on a shopping cart (above, top) and from a car's rearview mirror (above, bottom).

padded camera to the handlebars. Be sure to wrap the camera several times over, to ensure that it will be completely secured. Try to keep the camera as level as possible, and don't worry: the sponges will protect your camera from the sticky residue that duct tape can leave behind.

To get the relatively long exposures required for good streaking (1/6 to 1 sec), use the slowest ISO speed and smallest aperture possible. On a really bright day, you may need a neutral-density filter to get good blurs (unless you pedal like crazy). And finally, a cable release is a must. That is, if you want to shoot while keeping both hands on the handlebars! ©

IN TODAY'S SIZZLING REAL

estate market, chances of scoring that big sale can nosedive who' sellers use the unflattering property photos taken by photo-unsav . real estate agents. Don't miss your shot at a great sale. If you don't like the agent's pictures, improve your chances of getting more interest and a higher selling price by taking your own amazing photographs.

What do you need to know to do this? To get the insider tips, we went to one of Manhattan's busiest architectural photographers, Bjôrg Mag-nea (www.bjorgmagnea.com). "The secret," she explains, "is to compose pictures that hide the flaws and showcase the attractions of your home. You want to make it appear as elegant and spacious as possible."

"Start by looking at the house," says Magnea, "and decide which elements to play up, and which to bury. Find broad, uncluttered interior and exterior views with character, charm, and space."

She recommends compositions that offer unobstructed views, with lead-

ing lines draw-;.; attention to attr.;L-tive focal points si^li as stairways, dmn^. couches, or t.iNcv Compose your shni^ sn these visual anch whole and unc and leave enoug (compositionally i , > roi:n c! them to project Linpk' feeling for the you're only an average decorator but have a friend who designs, or one who simply has a talent for making spaces look appealing, enlist his or her help. Also, ask the real estate agent's opinion about the property's most desirable selling points to help guide the photo session.

When you've decided what to photograph, draw up a timetable. Usually, different rooms or exterior facades look best in light at different times of day. Don't try to get all your shots in a single two-hour session.

"The hallmark of great real estate photography is the absence of optical distortion, says Magnea. Poor architectural photography, on the other hand, is plagued by perspective distortion (a.k.a. keystoning) and by barrel distortion (where parallel lines bow outward, especially at the edges of the frame). Barrel distortion is a common flaw in photos made with inexpensive wide-angle lenses.

The good news? Both perspective and barrel distortion are to control.

To eliminate barrel distort use a pro-quality wide-anji.

SHOOT YOUR MOST ATTRACTIVE ROOMS, even if they're not the biggest. A small attractive room will serve you better than a large unattractive one. IF A FIREPLACE IS CENTRAL TO COM-SITION, make sure it's lit, and shot late in ihe day or at night.

, THINGS TO CROP: Electrical outlets and wires. Bare lightbulbs (even in fixtures). Worn soiled, or torn upholstery.

, FOR MAXIMUM SHARPNESS, stop your lens all the way down, and then open up one stop.

, THINGS TO CROP: Electrical outlets and wires. Bare lightbulbs (even in fixtures). Worn soiled, or torn upholstery.

, FOR MAXIMUM SHARPNESS, stop your lens all the way down, and then open up one stop.

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Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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