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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online

Oh! So That's Why They Keep Sending Those Checks!

You have to have your head up your ass to pay all that money for a IS or VR lens. What ever happened to learning good handholding technique and using a good tripod and ballhead combination? You do your readers a disservice when you tell them about IS technology. Instead you should do your job explain what good technique is. It's just being LAZY to rely on some computer chip instead of learning to do it the right way. Or are you guys so much in Canon's and Nikon's pocket that you're afraid to point out how useless these technologies really are?


Jim McGee replies - Boy do I feel silly! Those checks from Nikon and Canon have been piling up on my desk for four years now while I've been saying both good and bad things about their products. Now that you've straightened me out I can cash all those checks and trade my old pickup in on a new Beemer.

Actually I find IS, VR and all the other anti-shake technologies can give you a bit of an edge in low light situations. Are they worth the price? That depends on your shooting style and wallet.

Explain good shooting technique? Actually we have talked about it quite a bit. Check out Long Handheld Exposures, Getting Past Fear of Failure and Proper Technique for Wide Angle & Telephoto Lenses as two examples that deal with proper hand holding technique and What is Hyperfocal Distance and Why Should I Care?, which explains proper focusing, depth of field and hyperfocal distance in detail (along with downloadable hyperfocal tables). 

These are just a few examples. Virtually every editor has discussed technique on numerous occasions in articles about composition, exposure and technique. I was actually a bit surprised by your email. Most of the feedback we get is from readers who find us downright pithy.

I Want My Vivid Light ! 

I was just curious if had email problems. I didn't receive my email that the new issue was online. Thank goodness I check often. That's it.

Lewis Kline

All of a sudden we started getting a lot of these emails. We use an automated email service that eliminates duplicate emails, automatically corrects typos in email addresses and removes invalid emails from our subscriber database as it sends out each issue. One of the reasons we picked them is that they only dealt with legitimate businesses and refused to deal with spammers. Unfortunately a few months ago they decided to start accepting spam. That got their service black listed by many ISPs - which means that a lot of you stopped receiving Vivid Light in your email boxes. It took a little digging on our part to determine what was going on but now that we know we're moving the mailing back in-house for the time being. That should correct the problems of subscribers not receiving our mailings when the new issue comes out. We can only apologize for the inconvenience. Spam is truly the worst thing to ever happen to the Internet.

Digital Rebel 

The Rebel is too cool! So is Farace! It sounds like he has a lot of fun when he shoots! I just got a digital Rebel (two weeks ago). I can't believe how much shooting I've done. Not having to worry about film and developing is so empowering. I'm trying shots I'd have never tried before. This is just great!

Having fun! 

I purchased a Digital Rebel at Christmas and I really like the camera. My only concern is that it is really light and feels kind of small after my Elan 7. It just feels like I need to be more gentle with it.


I've had my Digital Rebel two months now and it will be how many more months before Nikon has the D70 out? 

Eat my dust Nikon boys!
Canon Bob

Odds & Ends

How come everybody has a head shot at the top of their article except Jim McGee. Why is he shot from a distance?


Look closely at the photo. Do you still have to ask?

I really enjoy Lennie Rue's articles. He's the first one I read every month! Every vacation I try to go to a different national park and I've gotten some great ideas from his column.

David S.

I did a search on infrared film and found a couple of articles that Chuck McKern wrote. 

Thanks for all the great information. 

I just wanted to thank you for some great articles. I just found your site tonight. I was doing a search for infrared developing and got one of your articles. I'm trying to experiment with infrared and was sad to learn that no one in my area will develop it. *sigh*

I was also very happy to find an article you did concerning the digital rebel and the 10D. I just bought a digital rebel and was wondering (just today, in fact) what the real difference was between the two. Obviously, other than price. I wanted to know if both cameras could produce the same quality prints (all variables being equal). If I read correctly, it would seem that they both would produce the same quality prints. One just has more bells and whistles. But jeez, the rebel has a TON of bells and whistles itself!

Thanks again, I'm looking forward to reading more articles.


Thanks for the compliments. You are indeed correct about the Rebel vs. the 10D, but there is one important feature besides bells & whistles - ruggedness. While the 10D isn't a 1D it is built to take more abuse than the Rebel. It's a real issue for working pros, but much less so for most amatuers.

We've actually done three articles on infrared. I've included the links below. You can see an index of all the articles we've published over the last four years on our Back Issues Page:

Color Infrared Photography 

Understanding and Using Black & White Infrared Film 

and Digital Infrared, on creating infrared look alikes in PhotoShop 

Excellent article. Thank you Mr. Chuck McKern for the descriptive article on flash guide and such. Now I know what that number means and what to do with it. 

Keep 'em coming. 
Kamal Hossain

I read "A Trio of New Digital SLRs" with interest. While they're interesting and all I still think I'll stay with my F100 for a while longer and let the prices come down a little more before I go digital. Things are still just changing too fast for me right now.

Name withheld by request

The OPC 

Whatever happened to the On-Line Photo Community? Last year there was some mention of it but I haven't seen anything since.


Jim McGee responds - We partnered with A3D to implement the classifieds and with an ISP to provide space and utilities for the forums and portfolios. 

A3D ran out of money and closed their doors in December. The ISP had troubles of their own and we decided it was best to look elsewhere. I hope to have lined up replacements for both these companies by the time I'm writing next month's column. So goes life on the Web these days…

Fine Art Nature Photography

Mitch - the shot you got of the waves just disgusts me. I grew up going to the lake every weekend. I can't count how many times I have seen that image and NEVER SHOT IT! I guess I need to open my mind a little more! Great work and good articles! I really look forward to your articles every month.

Thank you for all the good work you do! 
Collin Atnip

David vs. Goliath 

Bravo for David vs. Goliath! I have both these lenses and each has its place. If I'm shooting in low light or I really want to be able to isolate my subject against the background there's no beating the 80-200 f2.8. But for general running around and travel shooting there's no beating the 70-300. I like the extra reach of the 300mm (especially with a teleconverter) and my back and shoulders like the light weight (turning 65 is NOT for the faint of heart).

Keep speaking truth. 
Frank B. 

Jim, first off I enjoy your articles in Vivid Light so keep up the good work. There were other factors that could have been added to your comparison "David vs. Goliath - Do You Really Need Pro Glass".

1) The impact of lens speed was covered for auto focus effect which is not a major factor for me since I typically manually focus but it is a factor in determining the range of light that you can reasonably work while hand holding (the 1/Focal length rule). If you are a slide shooter this becomes a real factor as the light diminishes at the end of the day.

2) The lens speed is only a starting point, when you throw on a filter the situation deteriorates from there. The extra stop or so that a filter adds is significant when starting at 5.6.


I really enjoyed "David vs. Goliath". I'm a Canon shooter and have both the Canon 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM and 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lenses. I'd say his observations apply equally to these two Canon lenses.

As a part-time freelancer for a small town paper I would say the last line in the article may just be the most important "you'll be happy with either one - as long as you're honest with yourself about how you really shoot."

Jeff B. King, Jr.

Really enjoyed Jim McGee's article on lense choice (comparing 80-200 with 70-300). It's nice to not be constantly told I have to spend a lot of money on glass, and made to feel bad--as many writers do--about not having the best glass.

Peter Knapp

I've been using the AFS version of the 80-200 f2.8 for several years now and I can't even IMAGINE going back to the 70-300mm or any lens of its ilk. I'll gladly carry the extra weight.


I have both lenses and use them about an equal amount of time. I like the brightness and focus speed of the 80-200 lens and the additional length of the 70-300 lens. One thing you did not mention is if you place a 6T on the 70-300 lens it becomes a good close-up lens. Try it.

James Saxon

Digital's Dirty Little Secret

This old article continues to get attention

Your are right on the money. I have several "stranded" 360 K floppies now ! 

Alex Williamson

Ultimately it's up to the photographer to take responsibility for archiving their images so they're not lost. Lamenting the fact that stupid people will loose images and memories would be like lamenting the fact that some stupid companies lost data they had on punch cards.

Eric A.


On Jim McGee's photo of the lonely tree against a frozen ocean...

Just curious... why didn't he level up the horizon? Isn't it physically impossible for the oceanic horizon to be anything other than perfectly horizontal?

Nice shot, though. And nice article.

Bob Castelline 
Altoona, Iowa

Jim responds - Actually I shot it both ways. I just preferred that shot, which was how the actual horizon was oriented, a little better.

Just found your magazine on the web. I have read every thing in it, and look forward to the up coming issues.

Keep up the good work. 
Gene Brooks

Did you find the back issues section?

That should keep you busy for a while, there's over 800 articles in there! :-)

Ernst Kruger

I came across your magazine by sheer serendipity. I am software engineer from India and amateur photographer (if I could call myself one!). I usually don't like to send feedback as I feel that it will be ignored. But I think I should send my feedback here even if it gets ignored.

All I would like to say is that this magazine is absolutely great!! It has so much of info, specially for beginners like me, and it's really helpful.

I wish you all the best in your efforts.

With warm wishes, 
Nilesh Dhakras.

I try to answer everyone, though sometimes it takes me awhile. Thank you for your kind words, and please trust that we don't ignore anyone's feedback.

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