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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online

We Give Advice

Every time I take a picture with my new camera my finger is in the frame. What should I do?

Go to the hospital and have the finger removed.

I've gotten in trouble twice for reading your magazine at work. What should I do? 


The solution is simple. Buy your boss a camera and get him hooked on photography. Then he'll be too busy reading the magazine to notice that you are too. Problem solved. Boy we're smart!

What type of safelight do you use in your "Digital Darkroom"? 

Alex Lofquist

Replace all the bulbs in your office with black light bulbs and buy a red lava lamp. It won't make any difference when you're printing but it'll look cool and nobody will want to bother you when you're printing. They'll all keep their distance…

Digital Exposure

A very clear and concise description of exposure techniques. When I switched to digital, I had stopped using them.

Thank you for the reminders. 
Harvey Nemwan

Great article on exposure. 

Article was very good. I have shot photography since 1958 when I helped a friend in a darkroom, (we were in the Army in Germany). I bought a Nikon 5000 2 to 3 months ago and yes it is a large learning curve. I have two N90s that I have taken the batteries out of so they don't leak, and keep the 5000 on my belt. It goes every where I go, and boy have I learned a lot about making pictures. I am having more fun with my camera than I have ever had in my life.

I had an enlarger that I had used for over 30 years. When I bought my Nikon LS-2000 scanner, I put the enlarger in my storage barn. After 6 months I sold my enlarger. I am not going to get rid of my cameras, but I am sure thinking about the D100.

Thanks for the good writing you all do. Look forward to the email each month.

Chuck Pike

Contest Question

Last month a couple of folks called us on the contest results from Issue #26, creating a signature image. The original contest rules had stipulated color images, and one of the winners was a black and white image. (see Mea Culpa in last month's Feedback section). The winner Danny Vowell wrote us this email:

I pulled a bonehead move and converted the image to b&w before entering it...even though that particular contest was color only. This was a mistake on my part, but because of that, I humbly decline the film. Please feel free to post this in the feedback section of your magazine so those who were upset can see this was not intentional and I do not intend to take advantage of it.

Danny Vowell

We were impressed by Danny's sense of fair play. Ultimately the mistake was ours, the image was excellent, and we felt that if nothing else, Danny's honesty deserved some recognition. We've decided to let his image stand.

Tell the women who are obsessing on the photo contest to lighten up.

Sue G.

Actually they had a valid point, which is why we treated it seriously.

Nova Bags 

Just read your article on the Nova 4. I bought one about a month ago and it's working out very well......I didn't realize it had a rain cover.....Just goes to show that you can learn something new every day!!!

Thank you 

Thank God there's somebody out there who's not afraid to criticize a manufacturer when they pull a bonehead move. Your pictures clearly showed the difference in the size of the bags. I've had an old Nova 4 for probably six years or so and I love how much stuff I can pack into it. Somebody blew it on the new design.


I have a new Nova 2 and I love it! If I wanted to pack more stuff into it I'd have bought the bigger bag. And looks ARE important. But then I wouldn't expect a GUY to understand that.


We've never checked but we hope you're right about McGee being a guy. If not that's the UGLIEST woman we've ever seen. 

I really liked the review of the Nova bags. You pointed out some legitimate drawbacks in the new design and illustrated them with pictures to show exactly what you meant. But I've got to believe that Lowepro did some market studies and found out that looks are more important to a lot of photographers than how much they can cram into a bag. Maybe you're overestimating the general public.

Michael Larsson

Annoying Ads 

This is a complaint. The blinking/flashing ads along side of or within the article's text is INCREDIBLY ANOYING -- I'd like to see you ditch it entirely or, if you insist on having it, just let it lay there, that I can deal with.

In issue #26 the "offending ad" was from Apple I guess; the text in the white blinking box reads "Break through the barriers to digital photography. A free Apple on-line seminar" on one "side" and "Learn how to improve your art without compromising your business" on the other.

I guess I don't mind ads per se, I realize that's how magazines, in print and on-line, survive but the blinking again was very annoying. I appreciate your listening. I really enjoy your and the other contributor's articles -- keep up the good work.

Thanks. Guy Fox

We corresponded with Guy and this is actually two of his emails blended together. This has been a sensitive issue with readers all along and I expect it will continue to be a sensitive issue. We do have standards about what kind of ads we take, and we try and keep out the offensive ones - though that is getting harder and harder to do. As for the Apple ad in question, to be honest we didn't think it was so bad compared to a lot of what we see on the Web. This particular ad cycles through it's message three times before stopping. You can see the ad in question by clicking here. 

What do you think? 

Is this ad better or worse than what you see on other sites you frequent, and did you find it offensive?  Click Here to tell us  

Closeups in Nature

Mitch Moraski - "Closeups in Nature" was a great article. The images were stunning. I found myself just looking at them, wishing I could produce something nearly as good.

Lots of really good advise. I've been itching to try some close-up work. Now I know where to start.

Mark Lang

Good article on macro. BUT a problem after 40! I am 70 and three months and have shot 20 rolls of macro wild flowers this spring in stereo. I am working on a new stereo slide show of northeast Ohio wild flowers. I started in hip boots to take the Skunk Cabbage flowers. What's a little dirt and water if you can get good macro shots.

Jim Kunkel

Digital Handcoloring 

I enjoyed your digital handcoloring examples. I like to make a duplicate layer which I desaturate and fool with until I'm happy with the contrast, etc. I put it over a colored layer and then erase so the color shows where I want it. Saves the hassle of making a selection, and I get a better result--probably because my selections are messy. I recently did a bunch of baby photos this way. I put the desaturated layer over the original image and erased with a low opacity brush until I got the look I wanted. I will email you some examples.

Susan Bernet

The methods in your article are a lot easier than the darkroom methods I learned many years ago. I've always loved the handcolored look. Now I think I'll give it a try again.

Ed Schlegel

I just reread your article on digital handcoloring again. I'm really amazed at what you can do in Photoshop. Most of the books I see are all about creating these wild images that have nothing to do with photography. Please keep up the kind of articles you're writing. As someone who is still learning Photoshop they're really helpful.

Photoshop is an amazing tool. No matter how long we use it we'll still be "just learning Photoshop" ourselves.

Ruffed Grouse 

I just returned from a horseback pack trip in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park and the Absoraka Beartooth Mountains. Although my aim was to photograph big game animals, I was fortunate enough to photograph ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, and blue grouse. When you're as far into the wilderness as we were,(approximately 20 miles from the nearest road at times)the grouse have no fear of humans. I was able to walk within 20 feet of the different grouse I saw and photograph them at will.

Eric Virkler 

10 Tips for Better Photos

It always pays to "push the envelope". Many of my most successful images have been taken either at the end of the roll or in less than perfect conditions.

David Sandoz

I thought 10 Tips for Better Photos was too much of a beginner column. I want a little more from Vivid Light.


We try and offer articles for folks at different levels. Beginners have to start somewhere, why not encourage them to learn?

I think #10 is the most important. Don't be so serious sometimes. Unfortunately it's the easiest rule to forget.

That's what makes us good photographers. Silliness comes naturally.

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