Sunday Apr 07, 2013

The Effective F-Stop of Your Macro Lens

I am doing macro photography with focus stacking again and that has forced me to revisit depth-of-field calculations as well as diffraction broadening effects. In both cases the effective F-stop of the lens is an essential parameter. So what is the effective F-stop of my macro lens? 

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Monday Mar 18, 2013

Update to corrections for SCP

The latest printing of "Science for the Curious Photographer" is identified by the CRC Press logo that appears at the lower right hand corner of the front cover, on the spine, and on the back cover.  Most of the typos have been corrected, but unfortunately a few remain.  The updated list of corrections with the remaining ones shown in red can be found here.

Sunday Mar 03, 2013

Should APS-C Camera Users Consider Moving to the Micro Four Thirds (mFT) Format

These comments concern mainly amateur nature photographers who would like to reduce the size and weight of their gear. I am the happy owner of a Canon 7D that I use primarily for wildlife photography with telephoto lenses. I also use a Canon 60D for landscapes, macrophotography, and night sky photography. When I travel with two camera bodies and a set of lenses including my Canon 100-400mm, my backpack is too heavy. Why not switch to one of the new mFT cameras and cut the weight by a factor of two? The Michael Reichmann’s recent review1 of the Olympus OM-D on and the in depth review2 of the same camera on indicate there will be little, if any, loss in image quality relative to APS-C with the smaller format.[Read More]

Saturday Mar 02, 2013

Landscape Astrophotography without Star Trails

I like to photograph the night sky in such a way that the stars appear to be bright points of light and not lines or streaks. This is possible if the exposure time is adjusted so that the images of the stars move on the camera sensor by amounts that are not evident in enlarged images.  My calculations of the required exposure times are described in the following pdf document.

Landscape Astrophotography without Star Trails (647kb)

Latest printing of "Science for the Curious Photographer"

“Science for the Curious Photographer” is now being shipped with the corrections that I have reported. Also, I am happy to note that photographs, illustrations, and tables have been appropriately improved. I did not see any indication that this is a “second printing.” One way to check that you have a corrected copy is to look at Table E.1 in Appendix E. In the latest printing, the table contains a left hand column giving numbers 1 – 17 for the rows.

You can find all of the reported errors listed in my December 6, 2012, blog entry. There is also a link to high resolution copies of the photographs.

Thursday Dec 06, 2012

Corrections for the first printing of "Science for the Curious Photographer"

Errors and typos found in the first printing of SCP are listed here.

Saturday Aug 11, 2012

Focusing on stars for night sky photography

Years ago I enjoyed astrophotography with an Olympus OM-1 35mm camera mounted on a 5” Celestron telescope, but only recently have I realized the accessibility of great astrophotography to anyone with a DSLR and a tripod. Night sky photography is so much easier and better now with digital cameras. If you have not discovered the wonders of the sky at night, I suggest you look at Manel Soria’s article on Landscape Astrophotography at Also Phil Hart’s eBook, Shooting Stars, provides an excellent introduction.[Read More]

Wednesday Jul 04, 2012

Southern Utah again and again with a bit of Arizona

We only discovered the scenic wonders of Southern Utah in 2011, and we have made up for lost time by visiting there two more times since then. Our first visit was in the spring of 2011, and I reported on that trip in my post of July 11, 2011. We returned in the fall of 2011 and revisited Arches, Canyonlands, and Bryce Canyon NP’s.[Read More]

Monday Jul 02, 2012

Iceland Anyone?

Iceland is only about five hours from New York, and probably offers the greatest scenic diversity in the world for an area only about the size of West Virginia. I hardily recommend Iceland for interesting vacations and wonderful nature photography. We visited Iceland in 2006 and took the Ring Rider road trip that was offered by Iceland Air. That included a car and “farm stays” spaced around the island. We saw magnificent waterfalls, geothermal areas, an arctic lagoon filled with ice bergs, and a variety of arctic birds. On top of that, there is European history dating from 870 CE, and ancient Nordic myths in the form of sagas.[Read More]

Thursday May 24, 2012

iPad 2 versus the “new” iPad: How much resolution is enough for photographers?

A great use for iPads is the presentation of photographic portfolios. Indeed the images are beautiful, and they tend to have greater impact than similar sized paper prints. Now a new iPad has been released that offers twice the resolution of iPads 1 and 2. So the obvious question is, “how much better will my photographs appear?”  To read my conclusions download the following document:

Resolution - iPad 2 vs new iPad (394kb pdf)

Saturday Mar 03, 2012

Readers are requested to report typos in Science for the Curious Photographer

Please report typos and suspected errors in SCP either in a comment here or directly to: csjj36 at earthlink dot net.  An updated list of corrections will be reported here and will be used for the next printing of the book.  Thanks, I appreciate your help.

Saturday Feb 18, 2012

Updated Corrections

Another typo (page 29) has been found in the book "Science for the Curious Photographer" which was not in the original eBook.  It has been included in the list of corrections shown here.

Tuesday Jan 17, 2012

High Quality Photography Is Still All About Prints

Many of us try to obtain high-resolution images with high signal-to-noise ratios through the use of good equipment and good techniques. Unfortunately, some of our efforts are wasted when we display our images online and in small prints. It is only with 13”x19” and larger prints that high image quality can be appreciated. At some point in the future, large electronic displays will replace paper prints and will require the same high quality images now required for prints, but we are not there yet and printing is still the way to produce exhibition quality displays. In this entry I discuss what I have learned on the way to producing exhibition quality prints. It is aimed at serious amateur photographers who want to display their prints and even to sell some of them.[Read More]

Monday Dec 26, 2011

Notes on scanning negatives

Some of us photographic seniors have negatives and slides that we need to digitize, and that can be a problem. In general dedicated film scanners are better than flatbed scanners for copying film, but many film scanners have vanished from the market; and the good ones that remain tend to be expensive. One alternative is to search for a good flatbed scanner that has an integrated transparency unit and make do with that. For example recent reviews demonstrate that the Epson 700 and 750 are satisfactory film scanners. I went a cheaper route a few years ago and purchased an HP G4050 scanner for prints and an occasional negative or slide. [Read More]

Sunday Nov 13, 2011

Updated list of corrections for Science for the Curious Photographer

One pair of corrections has been added to the list of correction for SCP. The complete list (pdf document) can be found here.

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