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Pictures may be
used for non-profitable purposes as long as the source is recognized:
Picture by Jacob M Van
By using a zoom
lens, one can blur the background and make the subject stand out more
vividly. A combination of wide lens-opening and high
speed has the same effect. My old film camera was better at it than my digital one.
Originals taken on Kodak film with Exaktar
zoom lens. Slides digitalized
by Olympus FE-240 or HP Scanjet 3970.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good (Gen. 1:31).
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and
take care of it (Gen. 2:15).
blue sky can accentuate contrasting colors:
Take pictures from various
angles and various zoom adjustments. With digital, it does not cost extra.
However, erase unwanted ones as soon as possible to prevent confusingly
large photo files. When originals are taken in high density, composition can
later further be improved by the crop function (available in Microsoft
Office Picture Manager). Alternating wide angle and
close-ups makes your slide-show more interesting and informative.
Instead of putting the main subject
in the middle of the picture, rather use the one-third rule: put
vertical objects one-third from left or right, and horizontal ones one-third
from top or bottom. Try to balance left with right and top with bottom. In
the picture below (left), there are four horizontal triangular scenes: foreground, sea,
mountains, and air. The two triangles pointing to the left (foreground and
mountains) are balanced by the two triangles pointing to the right (sea and
Follow it up with a zoom-in of the
round peak. The zoom-in of the peak above (right) maintains
the one-third rule. Foreground and background highlight the peak.
Pictures may be used for
non-profitable purposes as long as the source is recognized:
Picture by Jacob M Van Zyl,
Film versus Digital
I was rather reluctant to
replace my 35 mm camera with a digital one. I had to convince myself digital
was really better. I took a series of pictures with both cameras, using a
tripod. Digital triumphed with flying colors. The picture is sharper, and
the colors more realistic. Compare the color and sharpness of the water and
leaves in these pictures (1 = digital, 2 = film):
Compressing or resizing
To compress pictures for e-mail,
use Microsoft Office Picture Manager. Sending up to ten pictures is okay
with document size; it reduces space considerably but still gives a clear
picture. If you have more than 10 pictures, use web or email format.
Showing high density pictures on
your television set is a waste of time. As the TV has only limited lines and
columns, the CD player has to reduce the size of the pictures. That's why
large-size pictures load slowly on TV. To reduce the size of several hundred
pictures at once, use the program that came with your digital camera. My Olympus
program do that fast and efficiently. Before you resize en masse, make a
copy of your original picture file, and work from the copy.
Save memories by digitalizing
old photos, films, and videos.
Transferring slides (color
positives) to CD/DVD
From 1950-80 color slides were popular.
One had to put up a slide projector and screen to show them to friends.
After that, color pictures became more popular because one could share them
anywhere with a friend by means of an album. Still later digital cameras
took over because they made sharing via the Internet easier.
If you have a lot of 35 mm
color slides you may make the task easier by first sorting the slides into
main and subgroups, for instance: nature (various places), family (various
periods), tours (year and place). Then your digital photos will be sorted
too, enabling you to find any picture fast. You can make sorting of slides
faster by using a piece of white perspex or frosted glass (2x2 foot or 60x60
cm), placing it on books above a light, and spreading about 50 slides on the
glass. Write the names of main groups on paper and put the sorted slides on
the paper. Once you have the main groups, sort each main group into
subgroups, and then sort each subgroup into a logical sequence, enabling you
to tell the story. Store your slides in sorted sequence. This sorting of the slides, before you start copying them
to digital format, will later save a lot of time. It divides the
daunting task into attainable sections, and if you later want to improve on
a specific slide you will easily find it.
If money is not a problem, you
can have your slides transferred to CD by a professional. You may do the job
yourself by means of a scanner with slide-scanning capability (it's a long,
slow, frustrating process -- about 2 to 3 minutes per slide). You may speed
up the process with the help of a digital camera with
super-macro function, able to photograph a color slide. With a simple
apparatus it will take about 30 seconds per slide: six times faster than a
scanner. All the photos above (except for one) are 35 mm color slides copied
by a small digital camera.
By pointing the camera straight at the window or to the wall you can vary
the amount of indirect sunlight shining through the slide. Some old, dark
slides can be revived to quite acceptable standard. The first one below is
from a scanner (this is how the slide actually looks), and the second is
a copy of the slide made by the digital camera (this is how the scene
Copy by Scanner
Copy by digital camera
With a piece of wood, a milk
bottle, a cough syrup box, and duct tape you can built a gadget to transfer
slides to CDs. The camera is fixed on the plank by a bolt, the box by glue,
and the milk bottle pieces by a slit in the wood. The box eliminates light
from the sides. The milk bottle pieces diffuse light from the front. You have to
experiment with distances because cameras differ. My mighty slide-converter
looks like this:
Below: Diagram of
slide-converter for digital camera
Transferring color negatives to CD/DVD
Because slide projectors could not compete with
television, I switched in the 1980's to color photos that I could show to
family and friends in an album. I recently discovered that many worthwhile
pictures are not in my albums but hidden as color negatives in a drawer. My
old HP scanner was not up to the task. I got a Canoscan 9000F which
delivers excellent quality and scans 12 color negatives at a time. There is
more expensive stuff on the market that scans 30 negatives at a time, but if
your budget is limited like mine, the Canoscan 9000F is a good option.
Transferring home movies to MiniDV and DVD
The home-style method (using Super8-projector and
camcorder) is not commendable. Because Super8 runs at 18 frames per second
(fps), a NTSC camcorder at 29 fps, and a PAL camcorder at 25 fps, you
will end up with a video or DVD that has lines running horizontally up or
down on the screen. A Web search for "film to video" will show many sites offering this transfer
service. Beware! Transfers are not created equal. Do your homework well. I found valuable information on two sites in
("dirty little secrets") and
www.sunrayvideo.com ("film to video transfers").
Home movies filmed 30 to 50 years ago are now
approaching the end of their life span. Save those family memories NOW by
having those films transferred to MiniDV and DVD. Get both formats. DVD is
handy to show on your TV, but MiniDV is better for editing (you must have a
MiniDV camcorder). Copy the MiniDV's
to all the hard disks you have.
With some camcorders or movie making software you can
take still photos from the MiniDV, such as the lion below, having a peek
through the rear window of our car--too close for comfort! (Original taken
by Canon Super8 film camera. Film transferred to MiniDV by Sunrayvideo.com.
Single frame taken from MiniDV by Canon ZR45).
Industry still don't know how long the different media will store your
valuable data. Once you have digitalized photos, slides,
and movies, you can transfer them easily to newer technology as it becomes
available. When the TV programs are lousy, my wife and I put a
home-movie-DVD in the player and enjoy flicker-free viewing without the
hassles of an old Super8 projector.
Transferring VHS to MiniDV and DVD
VHS videos don't last forever. The tapes may
stretch, fold or break; the magnetic layer on the tape (that stores the
data) may deteriorate with repeated use, or electrical motors of appliances
(fans, drills, or vacuum-cleaners)
may adversely effect the stored data on the tape. Copying an analog
videotape to another always diminishes quality. That's one of the benefits
of digital storage: copies are exact replicas of the original. Transfer your
family memories from VHS to digital format (hard disk, MiniDV, and DVD), and
save them for future generations. I received excellent service and
reasonable prices from
Digitalize your old photos,
films, and tapes for continual enjoyment!