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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online


A Yen for Accuracy

In one of your daily photo tips you wrote: "The battery compartments on many old manual cameras are meant to be opened using a penny or quarter. The battery compartment on these cameras is usually on the bottom of the camera and has a curved slot to fit the shape of a coin..."

Right idea, wrong coin. You will notice that most of them are made in Japan and fit a Yen perfectly. I have carried one on my key chain for years.

Dick Reizner

Text Layout Issues

I find Vivid Light very interesting and always look forward to the next edition. Nice to see the piece about Calendars and postcards as I publish my own post and greeting cards here in the UK. However I seem to have a technical problem. The text is overlaid with the images in this part of the content. I have noticed this before on other items. Is this something I am doing wrong or is it a problem at your end. I am using 1024x768 resolution using Internet Explorer 6.

Keith Clark

We've corresponded with several people who've experienced this with Internet Explorer and contacted Microsoft regarding the problem as it seems to be machine dependent. 

From what we can gather it has to do with the font size selected for your system. In all but one case we've found that the font size of folks with this problem is set to "small" which causes a formatting bug in Explorer to show up. Microsoft recommended resetting the system font size to "large" to cure the problem. This is done by clicking the right mouse button on the screen background. Clicking on "settings", and then clicking on the "advanced" button and setting the font size. It takes less time to do this than to read about it. You may need to reboot after changing this setting. All you Mac guys please stop snickering at us poor PC users. 

Photo Labs

I took some prints I had done at <name of chain deleted> to a photo shop after reading your article on choosing photo lab. I had no idea my camera could take pictures this good! I will never, never, never use drug store processing again.


What a difference between the one hour lab I've been using and the photo shop I've switched to. Thanks guys.


I wanted to get 8x10's of my son done for several family members. After reading "Choosing the Right Photo Lab" I decided to have test 5x7s done at a couple of different labs to see how much difference there really was. I couldn't believe it. He is wearing a royal blue football jersey in the picture. Well let me tell you, it was only royal blue in two of the four prints! When I pointed this out one lab offered me a choice of my money back or a reprint and the other lab denied it was their problem. They insisted it was a problem with the negative even after I showed them the correct print from another lab! 

Of the four, one was noticeably better than the others. They not only got the order for five 8x10s they got all of my business from now on. If not for your article I wouldn't have realized just how much difference there can be.

Connie J.

Thought the piece by Chuck McKern, on selecting the right photo lab was right on the money, problem is he did not identify the lab he uses. Is this information available? 

Thanks for a great site,
Ralph Knutsen

We didn't publish the name since it's a small local lab in Southern New Jersey. If you live in the area drop Chuck an email and he can connect you with the lab.

A Not-So-Fun Kinda Guy

I recently found your magazine through a link on a photography site. I have read the current issue and all of your previous issues. I have been a serious photographer for over 30 years so I am more than qualified to comment on the subject of photography. First I must say that I like your magazine. However I found several references in columns written by Mr. McGee, Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Stanley that are of concern to me. All of these authors stress the "fun" aspect of photography and the need to "experiment". The reference I found most disturbing was in Mr. McGee's Kids in a Candy Store article published in the current issue. In that article he referred to "burning through film" and in general made it sound as though he were in some kind of photographic amusement park. 

It is my opinion, and I cannot word this strongly enough, that such editorial comments do a disservice to photographers who are learning the craft. Simply having fun does not teach you about photography. Nor will experimentation without direction and method. Only hard work and strict attention to detail will improve the quality of your work. Each frame of film should be treated as gold and care should be taken to perfectly compose the image to be captured on that frame. Every image should be the best image that you are capable of making and any image that is not worth printing should be taken as a sign of failure. It should have been possible to shoot Zion with only two or three rolls of film! Gentleman while your magazine is entertaining you are obviously not serious enough about your photography. You should be advocating hard work and harsh critique by other photographers. Only hard work will make you into a better photographer. So forget the fun and get to work!

William K. Manteuffel

William you must be a barrel of laughs at a party! Sheesh! 

The fact is film isn't gold and that for most people photography is fun. It is the joy of discovery, creation, experimentation, and sometimes just fooling around. Most of all it is what they do to forget about work! The fact that they enjoy what they're doing is a good thing. Having fun doesn't mean that you can't be critical of your images or that you can't still strive to improve. The first time I go to the lab and I'm not excited to see the images I'll hang up my camera. 

William I want you to try an experiment. Put your eye to the viewfinder and smile - now doesn't that feel better!


Just discovered your site via an eMail. Don't know who sent it to me. I went to your site - very nice... I signed up for your newsletter and passed your site address on to a friend. HOWEVER, I read the article on Understanding Resolution happens to be a subject of great interest because I really didn't know how to calibrate the various components of my system i.e. camera, scanner, monitor, printer. Your article was helpful but there is an error in the article I believe. On page two under Digital Camera Resolution you say... "'d need a 2 megapixel camera (2400x3000 = 2 million)" That had me confused until I multiplied 2400x300 and got 7.2mm. The 2400x300 should have been 1200x1725. Right?

I only point this out because it's very important to be precise as we are trying to learn a whole new concept of photography.

Just trying to be helpful.. I do like your site and will visit it least.

Steve Hirsch

Steve you're right. It was a typo. We corrected it as soon as you, and a couple of other sharp eyed readers pointed it out. 

Tell Us What You Like

I don't know if you accept requests for articles, but if you do.... With all the new airline travel regulations and security that have been put in place since last September, I would find extremely helpful, an article on traveling via airline with camera equipment. What can be expected and how a person can prepare to minimize disruptions and delays. I used to carry a Lowe Pro backpack with camera, lenses and flashes and checked tripods and other such hard goods. I have a feeling this won't be practical anymore. Hope you consider this request and thanks for an informative web site.


We do take requests. Check out The Traveling Photographer After 9-11 in this month's issue.

Itīs a great online magazine - I visit you every month and I recommend you to others. 

The best articles are IMHO (in my humble opinion) the articles where great photographers tell about their photographing, a trip or how a certain image was captured.

Now I will download your January issue, print out the most interesting articles - and go to bed with the lights on for a few hours :-)

Yours sincerely, 
Kim from Denmark

I have loved taking pictures for years but last year I got my first digital camera and am having so much fun with it. I want to learn as much as I can about photography and will take some classes as soon as I can. Thank you for all the information you have in this magazine. It is very interesting and I am glad you have so much patience with beginners.


A Question

This may be a dumb question but why do some letters in your feedback column have a person's name. Some have only their first name, and some have part of an email address?

Nah, not a dumb question at all. It depends on how people sign their email. Some tell us their full name, some only sign with a first or last name, and some sign with their email address. How they sign is how we print it. If someone asks, we withhold their name, and if it's an email address we only print the first part so that they won't get a bunch of junk mail.


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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online