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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online


Death to pop-ups

PLEASE get rid of the pop-up advertising. It is so annoying, it may actually cause me to not view your site. What is most annoying is that every time you read an article and come back to the home page, the damn pop-up goes off again. It also slows down loading - like many people I'm on a phone modem. I know you need to sell advertising to pay the bills. Just use good old banners. The pop-ups are a good way to kill your site.

Just a suggestion...

Don Ferrario

Get rid of the pop up internet advertisements, or mark me "unsubscribe" I can't even see the email without seeing 2 ad boxes first........

Tom Waters

Your pop ups lock up my computer. I can't get out of them with out rebooting AOL. Shame on your greed!

Al Kressler

The lock-up issue is an AOL problem. As for our greed - well if you can tell us how we can stay in business and never take another ad I'll be glad to do it. The reality is that ALL of the folks who work here are doing it because they love photography not because of greed. Shame on you for your accusation.

Take the terrible ads off your startup or delete me from your mailing list. I don't care how good your site is; if ads pop up that I can't shut down, I'm not going to look at your site.

Larry Miller

Well folks the pop-ups are gone! As we explained in previous feedback columns the pop-ups were a result of a contract we had signed with online ad agency DoubleClick. But with the number of ads being booked severely down, the remaining ad inventory was the equivalent of what you get on late night TV - annoying ads that no one wants to see. It had gotten so bad that almost all of the ads we were getting were pop-up ads, so that it was actually getting difficult to navigate the site. As a result we contacted DoubleClick and asked them to block all pop-ups from our site. Does that mean you'll never see another pop-up? Actually no, but in the future if you do see one it will be photo related and it won't interfere with navigating the site. Advertising on the Web is going to undergo a lot of changes in the next year or so while advertisers try and figure out what works. Expect to see a lot of bad ideas before somebody finally gets it right.

You have canned the popups GREAT!

Jim Duval

Back Issues

I just noticed the "previous issues" button for the first time. You guys have a lot of stuff back there. Will you keep it around after January first or do you only keep the issues for the last year?

Barry Sanders (no not that Barry Sanders, I'm the old one with the glasses)

We're keeping it around. By clicking on previous issues you can go directly to any of the articles that we've published to date or read each month's magazine cover to cover. 

BTW Barry, "that" Barry Sanders will be the old one with the glasses some day to! Then how will you sign your email?

Digital Darkroom tips

Thank you so much for the tips on digital photography ! I did not realize you could make such a difference in the finished product, it made me want to practice on my digital photos. 

Thank you again,
Rose Butler

I found this month's article on using the computer to blur the background on consumer zoom portraits to be particularly interesting. What a sneaky idea. So I tried it for myself. Everything worked as you stated in the article. However, upon completion, my subject has an undesirable halo or blur around the edges. I assume this is caused by blurring the subject with the background on the background layer. I took a closer look at the final image in your article and your image appears to have the same effect. Do you know of a relatively simple procedure to prevent this from happening?

Again, thanks for the great magazine. Keep up the good work!
Steve Horne

Not seeing your final image it's hard to be certain but I can guess at a couple of possible causes. BTW the halo effect you refer to in the online image is because I wasn't as careful in my cropping as I normally would be - figuring that the image was being scaled so much it wouldn't be noticeable. Guess I was wrong!

First when you're cropping the subject to it's own layer you need to make sure that you get all of the subject and don't leave any hair behind. Being a little careless with the hair is why some "halo" is apparent in my image - particularly around the guy's wig. Anything "left behind" will be noticeable in the final image.

Next, before making the selection, you want to make sure that anti-alias and feathering are turned off. You want a good sharp edge. That should eliminate any halo effect around your subject.

Black & white filters

Thank you for sending me this issue. I am always seeking topics to do with black & white photography. The article regarding B&W was really informative. Please keep me on your list.

Regards, Elisher

I'm so glad that you run articles on black and white photography - please run more!


Black and white has really seen a resurgence in popularity recently so you can definitely expect to see more articles in the future.

Are there any plans for a regular black and white darkroom column every month or every other month? Some of us old farts would like that sort of thing. 


There aren't any plans for a monthly black and white darkroom column but we do have some darkroom articles in the works for next year.

Winter shooting

Gary Stanley's pics are absolutely fabulous!! Thanks so much for some cold w-weather tips!

Brenda Smith

I live in Key Largo. Does Gary have any tips for winter shooting down here? :o)


Yep, make sure you dress in layers, be careful of frostbite, and watch out for 'gators in the snow - sheesh, everybody's a comedian ;^)

The Agfa Ansco Speedex dinosaur

Why bother? I don't see what anyone can get from using such old junk.

Art Lee

I have seven old cameras that I have picked up at yard sales and I think they're great to take out and shoot. For my day job I use a Nikon D1 and the old cameras are a nice change of pace.


I read your article about your battle with the old Agfa/Ansco camera with great interest and a little laugh. One of the reasons I found it interesting is that I began as apprentice in a photoshop in Denmark in 1959, I was in other words nearly finished with my apprenticeship in 1962 when the camera was new.

I have sold quite a few of them. In Europe they were called Agfa Isolette and had the shutter release on the top of the camera body, they had also double exposure lock, you had to wind the film before you could take a new picture. On the other hand I must also say that in 1962 when your camera was built they were slightly out of date here in Europe. My guess it was a version made specially for the US market your aunt had got. By the way, try to look a little closer on the front of the objective, you will then see that the focus is 75 mm, a normal focus for 6 x 6 cm cameras.

In the fifties when the Isolette cameras were quite popular, there was a great series of different models from very cheap and simple models like your aunts, I have a memory that the price for that was about 150:- DKK, about 15 US$. The top model had a lens at f 1:3.5 and a Compur shutter with 1 second to 1/500 second and a price label at about 500:- DKK or 50 US$.

I have worked with photo for over 40 years and have become a bit of a collector of old cameras.

Hans Peter Larsson

The ultimate equipment bargain

If a notebook or cassette recorder is not enough for you tech-freaks, there are a couple of other ways you can keep track of information when photographing. 

  • Use the excellent free program "Fotopad" on your Palm pilot. Download it at 
  • Splash out on a high-end camera with the facility to imprint data in the slide/negative margins. I recently purchased a Pentax MZ-S and it provides very comprehensive exposure information just above the frame - conveniently placed for viewing through your loupe (as long as the slide's not mounted)

Photo software for you Palm Pilot, and you call us tech freaks! ;^)

On travel

Yesterday I sent an e mail to the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. travel editor. I do not have a problem being searched at an airport but I see this scenario as an opportunity to have your camera gear stolen.

the text I sent is listed below.

"Sunday I returned from San Diego and had the following experience going through security at the SAN airport.

I placed my backpack on the conveyor belt for the scanner, the backpack contained about $2000 in camera gear. I then passed through the people scanner (it did not go off). I was told to immediately come across the people lane to a table, empty my pockets, including my wallet and get the wand treatment and a hand search. The picture is; people are walking between me and my camera gear picking up their carry on luggage while mine sits exposed and vulnerable. My wallet was opened and the cash was looked at by security, the wallet was then placed on the open table with people passing within 3 feet while I was wanded and patted down. I could not watch both items at the same time, one was always behind me. Distracted by the search and vulnerable you better believe it. Open to easy theft, you know it.

What rights does an air traveler have in post 9/11 times? How would you have handled this same scenario?

I was not ripped off this time maybe because my wife was traveling with me and had a hold on the backpack but many times I travel alone."

Joe Dupont 

Your fears are justified. The x-ray machine is where many bag thefts take place. The best you could have done is voice your concern to the security folks about the equipment in your bag and your fear of it being stolen, then ask if you (or they) can bring it over to the table so it's not out of sight. Security folks will be aware of theft risks. I would not however just make a grab for the bag. I would expect that there will continue to be inconsistencies from airport to airport until security is federalized.


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