take pictures like an underwater wizard


How to take pictures like photography’s underwater wizards

We spent a day at the New Jersey shore recently and that Atlantic surf was rough. I got tumbled a few times and had to hold onto my bathing trunks. Watching the surf got us thinking and talking about taking photos in the water. What was clear to us was that the water we were swimming in, especially with the churning surf, wasn’t clear. Even if we wanted to use our waterproof mobile phone to take some photos the photos would most likely be poor.

The discussion got us thinking about a marine biology site we’d visited in the Pacific where they were tending dolphins and working to preserve the local reefs. One thing we recalled was how clear the water was and how nice it might have been to see some underwater photos taken in the area. We know nothing about underwater photography but got interested enough to look into what it might involve and what the results were for photographers who did know underwater photography.

Our online research led us to an article that appeared on CNN and features three photographers who are considered experts in the underwater photography world. They are Brian Skerry, Adriana Basques, and David Fleetham.

Here’s a bit of what CNN had to say. “When it comes to underwater photography, though, few people have what it takes… We asked some of the planet’s best underwater shooters for tips on the technique and equipment they use to make superlative marine photography. They shared their secrets and some of their best shots.”

If you enjoy underwater photography take a look at these photos to get started and then follow the link after the photos to see the CNN article and over 20 excellent photos.








I don’t know what you will think of these photos, but we were impressed. See the entire set of photos along with the advice and observations of these three experts here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/25/travel/qa-diving-photographers/

Walter Krieg

Are you one of the many folks posting photos of food?

Do you take photos of Food?

We here at dotPhoto work to keep up with what’s happening in different areas of photography. Recently, we began to hear more and more about folks taking many photos of food and getting them up on the Internet. As we dug deeper we learned that over the past few years there are literally millions of photos of food that have been posted on the web! People have found new ways of sharing a meal, including a huge numbers of photos in chain restaurants. It turns out that many of these photos are considered bland and could, if folks knew a little more about food photography, represent the food a bit better and look more tempting and mouth watering. If you’re like us you’re a bit surprised by these food photo facts and opinions. It appears that we all have lots we can learn about food photography.

Given our need to learn, we thought we’d seek out and then share an expert food photographer’s outlook on what’s happening in the food photography field. You might also be interested to know how she got interested in it, and how she takes her attractive photos. Our photographer is California-based food photographer Liza Gershman.

One of the things Lisa says is, “Culturally, there is a bit of a return to the idea that we are connected to food, that it’s important to know what’s in it and where it’s coming from.” Possibly this is a part of the reason why taking food photos has become popular. Here are a few of Lisa’s photos and you can see more of her photos and what she has to say about food photography by clicking the link at the end of this blog. Let’s get started…

Liza Gershman wants to know if your food photos are bland? If they are she explains how to add some sizzle.

Here’s a clear shot of some “raw materials”.


















And, if you like chicken, a tempting photo of a ready-to-serve dish


















See more of Lisa’s food photos and her ideas on how we can also take shots that will call us to the table here: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/food-photos-bland-liza-gershman-163927158.html

Walter Krieg

HeARTs speak members donate their talents to save homeless dogs

Last week we looked at cat rescue and how well taken photos can help to draw animal lovers in and help to motivate them to adopt a cat at a café in either Washington, DC or Los Angeles, CA. After we posted our cat article we received an email telling us about a group whose photographer members do the same to help spread the word about dog rescue organizations. HeARTs Speak’s membership spans 20 countries, including 47 U.S. states, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Singapore, Argentina, Canada, the U.K., Venezuela, Lithuania, and the Netherlands.

HeARTs Speak’s network of artists & advocates provide their services pro-bono to animal welfare organizations in communities. Dogster magazine recently posted an article about their work.

As Dogster says, “not every shelter or rescue has the means to afford professional photography, nor the skills and equipment necessary to take great photos.” You can see the value of good photos here and by looking at their work in the article we link to after the photos. And, if after reading the article you’re interested, you can become a HeARTs Speak member. Here’s Lily


















And here’s Mara




See the fine photos and learn about HeARTs Speak here: http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/hearts-speak-members-donate-their-talents-to-save-homeless-pets.

Walter Krieg

Attractive cat pictures aid kitten rescues

Earlier this year our daughter who is in school in Washington, DC, began working at a new tea and coffee café called Crumbs & Whiskers. She has always loved, owned, and cared for cats at home and thought working at this new café while away at school could help her stay close to her favorite animals. As it turns out, Crumbs & Whiskers is one of the first cat cafes – a coffee shop with rescue cats who are up for adoption.

More specifically, the business is partnered with the local chapter of the Humane Society in order to provide a boarding space for around 15–25 cats at a time. Through the partnership arrangement, the Humane Society provides vaccinated and vetted cats to Crumbs and Whiskers which functions as a foster home for the cats until they are adopted.

The café uses an online reservation system for scheduling visits and allows customers to begin the application process for adopting one of the cats on site. Here are a few photos of cats at the Café. Below you see Baby.


And next is Kiaa.



As you can see from the above, pleasing photos make the cats more attractive and help to invite viewers to adopt them.

Recently the owner of the café in DC opened a new café in Los Angeles, and we started looking for rescue missions in L.A. What we found was a rescue mission named Kitten Rescue that enlists a photographer, Casey Christopher, to help them tell the stories of their cats to make them more attractive for adoption.

Here are a few of Casey’s photos and a link to see many more. Enjoy.





See more at: http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/30-unbearably-cute-cat-pics-from-los-angeles-kitten-rescue

Walter Krieg

How to broadcast from your phone to your TV




From dotPhoto servers to your phone to your TV

Android phones can show dotPhoto.com and dotPhoto slideshows on Miracast-compatible televisions. In our demonstration, we use a 50″ Sharp Aquos TV. To activate Miracast, choose the Input button on the TV’s remote control, and scroll down to Miracast.

On your phone, install the Miracast short cut from Google Play.  When your TV is set to the Miracast input, activate the Miracast short cut on your phone, which broadcasts to your TV.

Compatible Miracast TVs

If your TV is not Miracast-compatible, you can use Miradisplay dongles like this one available from Amazon for about $20:

Dongles plug into an extra video port and often include a USB plug that pulls power to run the dongle.






iPhones and Apple Devices

OS X and iOS do not support Miracast, opting instead for Apple’s own AirPlay technology for screen mirroring. AirPlay is compatible only with Apple’s second- and third-generation Apple TVs. On a hardware level, the majority of devices produced in the last year support Miracast.

This video describes how to set up AirPlay so that you can screen-mirror with an iPhone.


what does It take to be an adventure photographer?

Being an Adventure Photographer

We live in a town and rarely travel to areas that you would associate with the term “adventure”. But a few weeks ago we travelled to the Lake Tahoe area for what we hoped would be an adventure. A huge lake, mountain vistas, National Forests, hiking trails, and nothing but blue skies, we couldn’t ask for more.

Once there we took to the outdoors and got a feel for the true beauty of nature at about 6,000 feet. The lake’s shores were peaceful and calm. We took photos and felt quite relaxed. As we thought about it we decided we were having a wonderful vacation but it was not what we would call an adventure. Here are a few photos from one of our trail hikes.

Here my wife and daughters are setting out ahead of me.


and as we wandered about, here’s a little of what we took in.




As I said, very beautiful and quite peaceful.

When we returned to our lodging after this hike we started to ask ourselves what an adventure would look like. And, like most folks in this age of the Internet, we took to the cloud to see what others might offer as an adventure. But who should we ask? As we searched we came to the conclusion that if anyone should know what an adventure is it would be an Adventure Photographer. That’s when we discovered Krystle Wright and thought…

Let’s ask Krystle Wright… an Adventure Photographer

Ms. Wright is an up-and-coming Australian Adventure Photographer with a number of well known clients. She says about one of her adventures, “I broke off a bunch of teeth and swallowed them after a mountain biking accident”. Take a look.


And here you can see the extent of the gear Krystle has gathered so she can be ready for any assignment.


Krystle says of her photography, “I like to put myself in very complicated situations and then simplify them visually.”

Take a look at an interview with Krystle and some of her “simplified” photos. I think you’ll agree with us that Krystle knows adventure and it’s not for a relaxing vacation.

See the interview at https://gearjunkie.com/adventure-sport-photographer-krystle-wright-interview.


Two-year-old takes his truck on wild adventures

And Mom takes the shots

We all like to take photos of our kids playing and having a good time with toys and gadgets we get for them. We especially like it if we can join in on the fun and create a fun filled visual story. But, honestly, if you’re like me and my family it doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does it is a real treat for us and the folks we share our photos with.

Given that I like trying to create little photo stories, I was happy to run across this photo sequence created by a mom with her young son. Turns out she’s a pro photographer and I’m a rank amateur, but I am encouraged by what I see here and think with a bit of planning and practice I might be able to create a good story too.

Once I have the photos I want, the easiest part of my story creation will be creating a slideshow that friends and family will see. The slideshow story will automatically be available to view once I upload my photos into a dotPhoto Album and send the “Album Links to Image View” address to the folks I want to invite. When folks come to that address they will see the slideshow. Note that our pro photographer’s photos can be seen by clicking a link in the story, but there’s no slideshow like we can see on dotPhoto.

Getting back to our pro photographer, Alaina Carr; here are a few fun shots from her wild adventure story of her son, Miles, as it appears on the babble.com website. If this introduction catches your fancy click the link at the end of the blog to see more of the photos for yourself. From babble:

“In a photo series called “The Adventure of Miles,” Mile’s mother documents the daily adventures of the toddler and his Little Tikes Truck on her Facebook page. Despite the fact that Miles’ feet could barely even reach the ground while sitting in his truck a few months ago, the young cruiser has kept a steady pace of road trips in his plastic ride.”

Here’s Miles.



As you can see, he’s raring to go!
But first a few stops, one stop at the drive-thru bank to make a deposit,



and a second to get a bite to eat.


See the rest of Mile’s story at: https://www.babble.com/parenting/the-adventures-of-miles-photo-series/. Then it’s our turn to create a photo story.


What is optical image stabilization?

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) explained…

As we try to improve our photo taking…we work to make sure that our photos are clear and sharp with the proper resolution. We try hard to hold a steady hand as we snap our photos. But as we all know, that’s not always enough. If we can get the camera to help us it may make things a whole lot easier.

Help might be on the way. It looks like new cameras, even on our smart phones, might just be getting ready to do the job by not only adding a feature called Optical Image Stabilization but improving it immensely.

Optical Image Stabilization has been around commercially since the mid-90s when it started being used in compact cameras and SLR lenses as a method of letting photographers shoot longer exposures without needing a tripod. It works by moving lens elements to counteract wobbly hand-induced camera shake, thereby reducing blur.

Our writer tells us that not only are SLR and similar cameras coming equipped with improved OIS, but new smart phone models are as well. If this is true and, given our desire to use our smart phones for more and more of our photography, should we look forward to this feature as a true benefit?

and should my next smart phone have it?

Simon Crisp tells us…

“The cameras in our smartphones keep getting better as they gain tech and features previously reserved for high-end cameras. One such example is Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) which promises less blurry images and smoother video. Here we look at exactly what OIS is, how it works, and whether it’s a feature you’ll want in your next smartphone.” Let’s take a look…

Here’s what we might be able to look forward to



See more of what Simon has to say here: http://www.gizmag.com/what-is-ois-optical-image-stabilization/42212/

The photo tips that finally clicked

The Photo Tips That Finally Clicked And Made Me A Better Photographer

What should we concentrate on?

As we try to learn photography…we often feel that we can’t get it right. Is it us? Is it what we’re shooting? Is it the camera? Something else? We search for answers and today the Internet offers us many possible lessons and loads of articles to review and study. Our writer claims he spent much time and experienced much frustration before finally putting it together himself. If nothing else he works hard in this article to combine many lessons into one place so that we don’t have to search far and wide for answers on how to improve our photography. Let’s see what Thorin Klosowski has to tell us.

Thorin says

“In high school and early college, I wanted to be a concert photographer. I spent tons of money developing poorly-shot 35mm film from a cheap SLR camera. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the hang of it… Photography is hard, and nothing about it clicked, as it were.

I recently found a camera that both suits my needs and that I’ll actually carry around with me, the Sony RX100. As a bonus, I’ve also learned how to use the damn thing. A lot of different factors fell into place for this whole thing to stick, and I’m now able to enjoy it as a hobby. If you’re interested in photography too, don’t be me — start with these suggestions”

Quit Obsessing Over the Camera and Just Pick One You’ll Actually Use



Find Photographers You Admire, and Copy, Copy, Copy



And there’s much more. To see what else Thorin has to say follow this link. We think you’ll find it interesting, informative, and easy to follow along. http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/03/the-photo-tips-that-finally-clicked-and-made-me-a-better-photographer/




Take quality silhouette photos

If you’re like me you keep your eyes open for just the right conditions to take photos of attractive silhouettes…sunset especially is my favorite. As much as I like silhouettes I’m reluctant to take silhouette photos unless the light looks just right to me. For example, here’s one I took of Lady Liberty on a New York harbor crossing recently.


The light was coming from the west, that was the direction I was facing, and the sun had dropped below the horizon. I could see the shadow on the water in front of the statue. I thought these were ideal conditions so I snapped away, but somehow I didn’t get quite the result I was hoping for. I expected there to be more distinction between the background sky and the statue. And since I don’t get out on New York harbor very often I won’t soon have another chance.

Given this result, I began looking online for help with silhouette photography and found this article with tips on how to give myself a good chance at getting a silhouette photo I will be satisfied with. The author is Marc Schenker and here are a few of his tips and examples of his work.

Mark Schenker suggests

  • Choose the Time of Day
  • Get Yourself into the Best Position for the Shot
  • Adjust Your Camera Settings Accordingly

And a few more thoughtful suggestions that I believe will help me the next time I want to take silhouette photos.

Here are two of his silhouettes.





See what Mark has to say about silhouette photography in this article: https://contrastly.com/learn-how-to-photograph-silhouettes-the-easy-way/

And he does make it sound easy. I’ll be using his tips in the future.



High quality vacation photos with your mobile phone

Are you focused on high quality photos when on vacation?

We here at dotPhoto work hard to take the best photos we can when we go off on vacation. Myself, I get my trusty DSLR ready and start practicing a week or so before we leave. What I’m beginning to think is unusual is that I take almost all my everyday photos with my camera phone and not my digital camera.

Of course when we have gatherings of friends and family or I attend our daughter’s basketball games I set the mobile camera app to auto and take dozens and dozens of photos and delete the ones I don’t like. But on vacation we go to different and interesting places and I’m afraid that unless I use the DSLR I just won’t get the quality of photos I desire and, unlike games and other gatherings which happen pretty often, I won’t get a second chance.

Recently I began seeing articles that said that the quality of cameras being built into phones was improving. Much of what I read was coming from the manufacturers so I had my doubts, but these articles put me on the lookout for more reviews and information. While hunting around I came across this piece by Karen Loftus telling me that I can rely on my mobile phone’s camera. So take a look at the results.


Did this photo get your attention? But it’s not mine it’s Karen’s. Karen interviewed a number of well respected photographers and here’s the first thing she learned.

  • Seriously, leave the DSLR at home.

And, there’s more for us to learn in this article that Karen Loftus penned. http://www.insidehook.com/nation/take-great-travel-photos-with-iphone-smartphone


Tiles help you take photos of small attractive products

Do you like to take photos of small attractive products…or gifts or items you buy for your home? Well we do, and it is always a challenge to find a good setting for the photo: the right table, the right surface, the right background…I think you know what I mean. Even professional photographers work hard to find an attractive way to photograph a product so that the product stands out.

To get a few ideas on improving our techniques we’ve been poking around and, as we searched we came across a pro with what we think are some truly good ideas for small products. See what you think.

Laya Gerlock explains…

Tiles Are a Product Photographer’s Best Friend

As a product photographer, I’ve always had a problem with finding what to use as a background. Even more so when I need to go to my client to shoot their products.

Before, I was limited to shooting on a black granite tile. Then I added some do-it-yourself wood planks into my props collection, but carrying the wood planks was a big problem, as they were too heavy and I could only limit myself to about 2 wood planks per shoot.

Fast forward a bit. I was in the hardware store to get something when I saw a piece of tile that resembled a rocky surface, which was perfect for a shot I wanted to create. Then my curiosity with different tiles was born.


See more of what Laya has to offer here: http://petapixel.com/2016/03/01/tiles-product-photographers-best-friend/


Video games may make you a better photographer

Point-and-shoot or shoot-em-up

“It makes sense that photography would be a natural fit for video games. Over the last several console generations, controllers have been evolving to better accommodate first-person shooters: their twin joysticks enabling simultaneous movement and aiming and their shoulder buttons deliberately evoking triggers. Shooting a camera and shooting a gun—mechanically speaking—they’re not so different.” VideoGamesTeachPhotography2VideoGamesTeachPhotography

Finding the right video games to learn photography?

We all want to be better photographers…to be as good as we can be when those moments arrive. We study photos taken by famous photographers like Ansel Adams whose black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, and books — or Dorothy Lange who made her mark in photography during the Great Depression by taking some of the most moving and dramatic photos of people and conditions in that era.

Some of us think about taking courses, including many offered online.  We take our studies very seriously. And, if you’re like us here at dotPhoto, you probably would not even think of online video games when you think about improving your photographic skills.

Our writer seriously offers that possibility. With forward-looking schools beginning to use games to teach “soft skills,” he sees the hand eye co-ordination, the ability to focus, and the fundamentals of a good shot being similar in video games and real life photography.

Patrick Lee tells us…

“Woe to the medical student who plays Surgeon Simulator instead of studying and goes on to be sued for gross malpractice after accidentally sawing open a patient’s lungs. Rest in peace to the aspiring skater who, emboldened by Rob Dyrdek’s proclamation that playing Skate is equivalent to learning how to skateboard, jumps on a board for the first time and tragically breaks their spine in 11 places.

As far back as the ’80s, edutainment titles like Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? and Oregon Trail were teaching kids geography and history, and now forward-looking schools are beginning to use games like Minecraft to teach soft skills such as curiosity and communication. But we don’t often hear about games being used to teach technical skills or trades. Maybe that’s for a reason. If your house was burning down, would you trust a firefighter whose only training came from playing Super Mario Sunshine?”  Yet, at the same time, it makes sense that photography would be a natural fit for video games.”

See more of what Patrick proposes here: http://www.avclub.com/article/can-video-games-teach-you-be-better-photographer-237294

Using a Smartphone to take High Quality Photos

The Right Digital Camera

If you’re like us here at dotPhoto, since the beginning of the digital photography age we’ve always looked for the best digital camera that we could afford. Cameras with enough resolution, zoom, EVF, motion correction, and more. We have always just assumed that if you want professional quality photos you buy a quality digital camera.

Well maybe that’s no longer necessary. It may now be possible to take professional level photos with… your Smart Phone. Yes, that’s right, your Smart Phone. We’ve been using our Smart Phones for casual vacation and family photos for years now, but when we want to take high quality photos of products and the like we’ve always reached for our digital camera.

Lately we’ve been seeing and hearing that this may no longer be necessary…that Smart Phones may be more than enough. Of course we hear this from the manufacturers who, let’s be honest, want to sell their devices. But now we’re seeing articles, like the one referenced here from a professional photographer, that back up these claims.


Here’s an excerpt from an article by Ramon Ray: “I recently bought a professional digital SLR camera. While it certainly has some features that make photos look stunning and professional, you don’t need to shell out the money for a fancy camera… With a few effective tips, you can take professional photos to use on your site and in your marketing.”

One great way to improve your smart phone pics is to use dotPhoto’s free editing software for cropping, tinting and other special effects.  Info on the dotPhoto Editor

Ray’s Tipshttp://www.business.com/arts-and-design/6-ways-to-take-professional-photos-with-your-smartphone

dotPhoto recently released our Android dotPhoto App that you can download for free from the Play Store. Our iOS version for the iPhone is in testing now.

How a New Type of Filter Could Revolutionize Low Light Photography

Alex Cooke explains…

Low Light Issues…

Color photography is great. There’s a problem, though: the way we give color information to a camera sensor makes them really terrible at low light performance. A team from the University of Utah may have the solution.

Most modern digital cameras use a Bayer filter to selectively filter incoming light into red, green, and blue components, using their relative amounts to assign overall color values. While this is a good system for color photography, it’s not so great for low light photography.




Here’s the University of Utah’s bright idea for low light photography

University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Rajesh Menon has developed a new camera color filter that lets in three times more light than conventional filters, resulting in much cleaner, more accurate pictures taken in lowlight. The new filter can be used for any kind of digital camera, but Menon is developing it specifically for smartphone cameras.