Monthly Archives: May 2009

Sync your Photos

Sync your photos

sync_your_photos

Ever wanted to show your friend a great sports photo from last weeks event? You pull out your laptop, boot it up, and then realize it’s back on the desktop computer at home. Don’t let this frustration ever happen again.

There is an easy way to avoid this situation and it’s called Windows Live Sync. This small application basically takes all your photos from one computer and keeps them synced up with your other computers. Anytime you add some photos to one machine it sends those same photos to all the other computers you specified.

The great part is if you use Windows Live Gallery, Sync is already set to be used. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have Windows Live Gallery installed on each computer you would like to keep synced. Now just open up Windows Live Gallery, click file, then select Setup gallery sync. It will guide you through a simple wizard to get you going.

setup_sync

Once it’s setup you don’t have to worry about it. All of the syncing takes place in the background so you can keep on viewing or editing your photos like normal, you don’t even need to keep Windows Live Gallery open for things to keep up to date.

Windows Live Sync doesn’t have to be limited to your sports photos either, you can have it sync any folder you want with your other computers. So if you ever find yourself wishing you had your other computer with the photos you need, you may want to take a look at Windows Live Sync.

Terance

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

Digital vs Optical Zoom

 

Many times when purchasing a digital camera you will hear reference to two different zoom types, digital zoom and optical zoom. In short you should never even look at the digital zoom number. That’s right, it will only cause you a headache in the end wondering why your photos always turn out so poorly.

Let’s take a look at what each term means and the difference.

The dark side: Digital zoom

Digital zoom is exactly what it says, it digitally zooms into your photo. For example let’s say you are photographing a soccer game and you are standing at midfield taking photos of the goalie.  Digital zoom will start to magnify your image more and more as you zoom in closer. This will make your photo pixilated, because your photo is made up of very small pixels, and the more you zoom in using your digital zoom the larger these pixels become. The larger the pixels become the more blocky and blurry your final photo will be.

There really is no need to use your digital zoom anyway, as you can do the exact same thing on your computer after you have taken the shot. To achieve a similar result, just crop in on your photo and then resize it back to the original dimensions. The only difference is that you are doing the digital zoom rather than your camera.

So how can you avoid this? Simply turn it off. Many cameras have the ability to tell it not to use the digital zoom at all. This can be found in  your cameras menu. Many times you can also tell when your camera switches from optical to digital. If you have digital zoom enabled, try and zoom in on something as tight as you can. You may notice a slight pause somewhere in between the start to the end. That slight pause is when the camera is actually turning on the digital zoom and using it instead of the optical.

Optical zoom is always better

In contrast to digital zoom, optical zoom is actually physically moving your parts of your lens to zoom in or out. In doing this you do not lose any quality no matter how far you zoom into your subject. You might think of this as a magnifying glass. You can look at something very close, but you don’t lose any quality while doing so.

If for some reason you are not able to zoom in as far as you would like with the optical zoom on your camera, I would suggest you either take the shot as is and crop later, or if possible, get closer to your athlete of interest.

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

Enjoy your Photos

Have you done anything interesting with your sports photos lately?  Why did you spend all the time and effort to take them?  Of course to share and enjoy them, and maybe even sale them.  When you realize that you’ve captured a great great the first thing you want to do is to share it with someone.  In fact, sometimes I’m so excited about the photo I captured, I need to share them right now, and will find myself walking over to people showing the photo on the camera’s LCD screen.  Although small it’s good enough to see and people get excited.  The next thing I hear is wow, cool, I need a copy of that.  There are many ways to share and enjoy your photos, many of which we often overlook.  We will look at them on the camera, maybe once on the computer and then we move on to the next event.  Here are some great ways to enjoy your sports shots that you’ve taken such care to capture.

Electronically
Of course you can look at them on your computer screen, but there are better ways to leverage your computer.  Select a photo as the background on your computer or specify a folder for the screen saver.  To use your photos as the background on your computer or to choose a folder to use as the screen saver slide show in windows, go to the control panel and double click on display.  It’s easy to do and you’ll be surprised at how fun it is to see your photos displayed as the screen saver.  I’m repeatedly surprised as I walk up to my computer and look at the screen saver to see photos that I forgot I had taken…………….

Prints
Yes, perhaps old fashioned for some, but many times nothing beats having a set of prints of your favorite sports photos.  It’s kind of like holding cash in your hand it feels so much better than a check…………….Options for printing your photos are numerous and inexpensive.  Do them online or locally, they will turn out beautifully and are a joy to view and share.  Don’t forget that there are many more sizes than 4×6.  In fact vertical shots of athletes are great in a 5×7 size which doesn’t cost much more, but appears so much larger.  Take your best shots, frame them and hang them on the wall.  Do 8x10s, 11x14s, 16x20s and larger.  There is so much competition for printing and the prices have come down so dramatically you should take advantage of printing your photos.

Calendars
A great way to enjoy and share your photos is by creating a custom photo calendar.  Many years ago at Christmas my wife and I did a photo calendar that took hours and hours and only had a single photo per month.  How things have changed……………  Now it is fast and easy with both online and desktop software providing this service.  Use your own photos to create a custom calendar, specify personal dates such as birthdays and anniversaries.  Select photos for the cover, for each month and even for specific dates.  You can choose different layouts, themes, backgrounds and artwork.  The past couple of years at Christmas my siblings and I have produced a custom family calendar for the grandparents.  It was easy to coordinate, since we created an online account to share.  Each sibling uploaded their own photos into their account and then populated the pages and dates of the calendar that they were responsible for.  Once complete we had it printed and shipped for a Christmas gift.  Calendar’s are a great way to display your sports photos because it’s something you use regularly and will be looking at all year around.  Online services such as www.photoworks.com, www.kodakgallery.com, and www.smugmug.com plus many others provide photo calendar services.

Photo Books
Create stunning one-of-a-kind custom photo books for the coffee table or table-top from your sports photos.  Choose from a variety of sizes, styles and materials.  They can be hardbound, softbound, linen, vinyl or leather.  You select the photos, the layout, backgrounds and custom text.  Professional online tools make them easy to build through simple drag and drop methodology and the ability to automate or customize as much as you want.  The tools allow you to create and build your book anywhere at anytime. They are actually amazingly affordable for a custom one-of-a-kind piece.  You can create one for each sport, each athlete or targeted for a specific event. Beautiful photo books can be made at such places as www.snapfish.com, www.shutterfly.com, www.picaboo.com, www.mypublisher.com and many others.

Slide shows
Transform your sports photos into an entertaining photo slide show including captions and music!  Capture the excitement of the sporting event for those who couldn’t be there.  You can do this and more with a photo slide show, which are fun, easy to make and free.  There are many services to choose from each offering a unique approach. but all letting you choose captions, music and even hundreds of photos.  They make it easy to share as well through email, blogs or social networking sites.  Popular services are smilebox.com, slide.com, slideroll.com and many more.

Don’t forget you worked hard to take those great sports photos so remember to take time to enjoy them.

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

Lessons From the Playing Field

Understanding Sports lessons will make you a better sports photographer

“Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.”

Roger Bannister, the first man to run the mile under four minutes, knew better than to let other people squash his dreams.

All parents hope their children will grow up with the sort of courage and determination it takes to buck the conventional wisdom and do something great in life. They want their children to be successful, to be able to meet what life throws at them, to be good citizens. Brave, kind, and clever aren’t bad traits, either, and of course, they want them to be people others look up to. How do we accomplish that when, increasingly, parents have to fight their way through a maze of social networks, iPods, video games, texting, and the coolest new thing at the mall just to find out what their kids had for lunch? How do they plug these complicated children of the technological age into values that can’t be absorbed from a widget on their cell phones?

Nothing in the parenting how-to manuals or all the civics classes ever taught can quite measure up to the lessons children learn through participation in sports. Your ability to capture some of that emotion, those lessons and memories on camera are critical.  Quite aside from the physical benefits of a fitter, healthier body, the intangible lessons learned resonate lifelong: self-discipline, respect for authority, an understanding of the importance of rules, how to set and achieve goals, how to work with others . . . the list goes on. Best of all, it produces young people with an appreciation for more than what’s on the TV or the iPod. They learn, firsthand, how to deal with frustrations and challenges instead of from a scripted drama on a DVD; they learn camaraderie face-to-face with flesh-and-blood friends instead of strangers on FaceBook; and they learn the difference between just thinking about achievement and actually, well, achieving it.

While over 30 million American children are enrolled in sports programs of various types, for many parents, “sports” can be an intimidating word, conjuring up visions of rough and tumble games, injuries, and their child melting under the pressure of trying to hit the championship-winning run with the entire world watching. Yet what a thrill it is when a child actually hits that ball, scores the run, and experiences the never-to-be-forgotten joy of meeting a difficult challenge. What confidence and staying power come from persevering through the aches and pains of getting in shape and learning that a little sweat won’t kill you after all? What better way to learn that holding back is the sure road to disappointment? It is all too true that those who never try, never do anything worth remembering.

If there is one overriding lesson to be learned from taking part in sports, it is that it offers a mirror into ourselves. It is the world in miniature, full of every challenge life can offer, from dealing with physical pain to dealing with heartbreak. It teaches us how to lead as well as how to follow, how to think clearly when things are moving fast, how to set a goal and how to achieve it. It allows us to succeed and teaches us how to fail, and it gives us perspective. Michael Jordan says of his disappointments: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Success in sports is measured in milestones, not medals. It shows up in every incandescent grin over a softball clutched in a grubby fist, in every wobbly single axel landed perfectly, in every “I can do it!” delivered with steely dignity to a hovering parent. It appears in scraped knees, torn jerseys, tears of disappointment and tears of joy. It resounds in the cacophony of an alarm clock at a horrible hour, the thwock of a perfect connection of bat against ball, the hoarse, excited screams of parents cheering their child across the finish line, dead last. It comes from, simply, finishing what you start.  And that is the most lasting lesson of all.

Your ability to capture those emotions and those moment on camera are important for creating memories that last a life time.  Not that the camera will ingrain that character trait into the athlete, but the memory of those moments both good and bad help to make those life long lessons memorable.