Site search Web search

Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online

Mea Culpa 

I think you've got an error in your tutorial, "Demystifying Flash Guide Numbers". You state that, "Another thing to keep in mind when using this procedure is when you are increasing your film speed, your guide numbers will double every two stops. This would mean the flash in this example would now have a guide number of 236 with ISO 400 film. This would give you an aperture of f/19.6. Going to an ISO 800 film, your guide number would jump to 472." But there is only ONE stop difference between ISO400 and ISO800.

Uncle Frank

Yep. Uncle Frank's right on this one. 

We're making Chuck write "there is only one stop difference between ISO 400 and ISO 800" 100 times on the blackboard and then making him shoot for a week with a Holga as punishment.

I enjoyed L.L. Rue's article about the puffins at Machias Seal, but I must correct one small factual error. The return of the Atlantic Puffin to historical nesting islands in Maine has been accomplished with the approval of the state of Maine, but the effort has been made by the National Audubon Society's Seabird Restoration Program, directed by Dr. Steve Kress, who first thought of the idea of attracting seabirds back to their ancestral islands by the use of decoys and sound recordings (social attraction) as well as raising young on these islands so they imprint on the location as 'home'. For details, see the website ( I have been a volunteer with this project since 1996.

Anthony Hill

Konica Minolta Maxxum 7 Digital

I am pretty bummed out and at the same time very pleasantly surprised by the article on the Maxxum 7 Digital. I have had many many discussions about Minolta not wanting to move into the digital SLR arena with so called specialists from different photograph equipment stores. They all said Minolta has decided not to go into the DSLR market because of...a lot of the things they said were bs based. I said that the Maxxum 7 would be a great platform to build a competitive camera to compete with the Canon's, Olympus's and Nikon's of this world. I own a D300 Canon and a Minolta Maxxum 7 and Dynax 7 (older model) The 7 has always been a favorite. I was thinking of getting a D10 Canon this year but now I heard about the Maxxum 7 Digital. I think I will wait and compare. I think they have a hit on their hand if they keep the price on a competitive level.

Dax Carand

It pays to look forward and be patient. Many people were being intimidated to switch from Minolta to either Canon or Nikon because of their line of Digital SLR cameras. Speaking as someone who owns several G lenses from Minolta, including a spectacular 300 2.8, I could not justify selling these great pieces of glass at the huge losses people were unloading these lenses at, just to have availability of a DSLR. I'm now glad I waited. In fact, you could describe my outlook as "deliriously happy". Those of us that own the Maxxum 7 know how superior it is to other competitors. The metering is second to none. It's interface is nothing short of spectacular. And now, all my newspaper assignments will be easier and my I will squeeze in an extra sports game the night before deadline with ease. Minolta was very careful not to imitate the in lens anti vibration technology of other brands, so as not to open themselves to a lawsuit. And now the tides have turned. Anyone trying to mess with Minolta's anti-shake technology will be dealt with in the the same manner as Minolta has in the past been met.

By the way, having a digital camera designed after a well constructed camera like the 7 shows that this new DSLR will be no toy. I often get asked by people if my 7 is a digital camera when they see the window in the back. How clever Minolta was to have the foresight to integrate this feature with the digital 7.

Jim, your article is lucid, well thought out, and complete. I applaud you. Best....


Thank you for your positive report ON the Konica Minolta DSLR. It's been a long time coming and appears to be well worth waiting for (well, as far as you can tell from a mockup it does) My major, major worry is that I wonder what KM's pricing policy will be for this product, given that their current range of digital cameras are quite (quite?...try very!) expensive down here in Australia. Let's face it Minolta, for whatever reasons, have treated their very loyal band of supporters quite badly over the last 5-10 years or so and perhaps it's about time that they rewarded those of us that have continued to support them with a fairly priced product.

Wayne Naughton

Great article on the Konica-Minolta Digital Maxxum. I started with a Dynax 505si back in 2001. The weight and image quality I got out of that camera was great. After taking a formal B&W photography class @ a local community college, i began to become less intimidated by jumping into digital. Because of my investment in a telephoto lens and 5600 HS flash, I wanted to stick with Minolta, and so then I picked up a 7Hi. What a great camera!

I'm now a proud owner of an A2 as well as an Olympus E-1. Both are great w/ their battery packs! For someone that does cover shots for magazines like Chicago Athlete, I'm a big stickler for prints. I sincerely hope that KM raises the bar of a 6MP camera to something higher- say 8mp like the A2 or even greater. Also, regarding the full size APS sensor, does that mean that there will _not_ be a lens conversion factor of about 1.6 as it is with the Nikon D100 or Canon 10D? A big reason I got the E-1 was it's weatherproofing ability, as well as it's ability to wide angle "out-of-the-box". 

Ramon Nayar

Great article on the Digital Minolta. I want one !!!!


Great that Minolta is bringing out an SLR body, I have a Dynax 7 with 2.8 lenses with nowhere digital to go....but only a 6 megapixel CCD...that's a disappointment

Dave Dancer

In reference to your article about the "Minolta Maxxum 7 Digital" SLR, I really believe that Minolta waited to long. The fact that they're waiting until Fall to release the camera is also going to hurt Minolta. Many loyal Minolta users (including myself) have already quit playing the wait-and-see game. Maybe that's why KEH and eBay have a better selection of used Minolta equipment than they do Canon. We don't even know what the Maxxum Digital's price range is going to be. I really don't see it slowing down Canon's "Digital Rebel" sales.

John Ayres

Do you think this camera will be available in the United States in the fall. I went to Minoltas web site and I only saw it on the European site

Rivky Nussbaum

I like what I see! could you keep me informed of it's progress before it's put on the market in the fall. Thanks,

Sam Wilson

Our Controversial Cover

I am disappointed at the inclusion of pornographic material in the new format. I had been very happy to find Vivid Light because of it's excellent content and the fact that it was almost the only source of information I could find that did not include nudity. I now do not feel comfortable telling others about your magazine, even though my favorite authors are still writing for you. I would rather pay for a magazine with the old format than get this one free.

Bill Proseus

I really don't mind that Vivid Light includes articles on nude photography. I can look at the table of contents and decide not to read those articles. But when you put a naked woman on the cover I can't avoid seeing her. Viewing this type of material is a temptation I'd rather not be exposed to. Can you please consider this view when choosing future covers.

Thank you, 
David Allen Lake

God did not intend for man to go through the world naked. It is one thing to have articles in your publication that deal with that kind of photography. It is quite another to put such images on the cover where anyone can see them.

Name withheld by request

I thoroughly enjoy your site. I am an avid wildlife and nature photographer and the tips and insight that you provide are invaluable. However, I was disappointed to see the image of the nude but partially covered woman that was chosen to grace your cover (home page) this month. I do not have any desire to view images such as this. I understand that the articles that you write on this area of photography are of interest to some people, and of no interest to others. For those who do not wish to see images such as this, they can simply skip those articles. When this image is displayed on the opening page, all readers of your magazine are forced to see this image, even if only for a few seconds. I would prefer that images of this nature were limited to the articles written about them.

(Also, for those of us who read your magazine during our lunch break at work, we don't want to have to worry what images will be popping up on our screen when we open your site.)


[Jim McGee responds] Actually I was surprised by this reaction since the woman on the cover was less exposed than a woman wearing a bikini. I only received a few emails like these but it made me wonder how our readers as a group felt about the subject - which is why it's the subject of this month's reader forum. Please weigh in with your opinion I'd like to hear what our readers think.

Contest Winners & Updates

Have you considered comparable awards such as memory cards, etc. I would think that might increase the amount of entries in the future.

Joseph Polevoi

Re: competition, Why just 20 films as a prize? Have you noticed how many of the winners are digital camera users? So how about a digital medium prize for them. My S2 won't take a Fuji film....

Jack Cowper

[Jim McGee responds] Guys, sometimes it takes a little longer to make things happened than I'd like, but I am listening. Check out this month's contest page and you'll find that Jasc Software is now a sponsor. 

Each winner receives a copy of the Paint Shop Pro Photo Suite. I also hope to add a memory card sponsor in the next month or so. Fujifilm is still a sponsor. They've been with us since the beginning (four years now) and we still have a lot of folks out there shooting film.

Looking at last months assignment (Striking Skies & Weather Phenomenon), I was, of course, pleased to see my image of the lightning in there! Yeahh! I get to see the cloud formations all the time as well and the Winner is well deserved (I knew I should have sent in another one!). 

The one that struck me the most though was 'Misty Sunrise' by Jay O'Brien. I have admired the Foggy and Mist type shots for a very long time. Unfortunately, in Oklahoma, we don't get a lot of opportunity to get out and take this type of photograph. My hats off to you Jay. I really liked the photo!

John Diel


I just read the article on how to photograph wildlife. I enjoyed the author's "straight to the point" emphasis, and the "keep it simple" way to photograph--knowing your camera and using a tripod. Great for beginners but also good as refreshers for the more experienced. Excellent photographs!

Jo Edmundson

Sir - Thank you for posting the photos on the internet. I am a woodcarver, and am looking for images to use, to capture the deer for my carving.

These are great images, and hope to use these to complete my in-the-round carvings of a white tail.

As I expect to carve additional deer, I will visit your site, and will also look at your books for sale.

Thank you! 
Red Fisher

I've only just found your site and have been reading through all the back issues on wildlife photography. Wonderful! I'm looking forward to my holiday in the U.S. and Canada this summer and to trying out my new zoom lense.


These are just fabulous photos of insects. Great color and clarity. Sharp high magnification shots. How do you get them to hold still for you?

Joseph Lynn Pizzo

[Frank Phillips responds] I find bugs everywhere. Obviously, the deeper you get into "nature", the more bugs you will find, but you don't necessarily have to be at a botanical gardens or nature preserve or national park to find lots of great bugs. I always start in my own back yard. I have planted some very fragrant tea olive bushes along the back of my property, and I have many "encore" azalea plants (the ones that bloom several times a year) along the midline of my back yard. Fragrant and colorful plants are very attractive to bugs, so that's what you want if you want the bugs to come to you. Otherwise, it is always a good idea to visit your local botanical gardens or nature preserve, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

Getting them to "hold still" is another challenge all in itself. You have to move slowly...VERY slowly. Many times the bug will fly away, but if you're lucky, it will sit and pose for you for a while. It just takes a lot of time and practice. You can see my entire bug gallery here:


The article "Flash Photography Made Simple" was superficial at best. The article merely summarized various flash techniques. I was hoping to read how to accomplish fill flash.

Dave Yuhas

This magazine is the best, I'm addicted, I just learned how to use my Vivitar flash with my Minolta Maxxum 5 and my Dimage 7hi properly because of you guys, I bought this flash only knowing how to turn it on but after I read your article on lighting, wow, the results are amazing!

Thank you very much!! Manuel Lopez

Digital Rebel

I just read through the feedback section and have a comment about thr ruggedness of the digital rebel. I have had a Nikon 8008s for several years-never dropped it or banged it on anything. I've had the rebel for just a few months now and have dropped it twice. Not a scratch! Maybe I'm just lucky. Also, I agree with someone there, it is so liberating not having to worry about film and developing costs. I shoot a lot more now. Great magazine!!!!

Ernie Decker

After reading Joe Farace's article on the Digital Rebel I went to the camera store and took a look at one. It seems too plasticy to me. I doubt it will hold up in the long run. I'll stick with my Elan 7 a little longer until I can afford the 10D.

Joey Mac

Photoshop & Digital Photography

Just a note about Photoshop - you were right in answering a recent question that Photoshop CS performs more actions on 16-bit files, but might have also mentioned that converting the file to 8-bit will open up the "disabled" actions...

Just a thought.... I'm enjoying looking through back articles a lot! Plus I really enjoyed Mitch and Gary's columns this month!


I'm not sure if it's been mentioned before on your site, but there's one more thing you could add to your "Sharing Your Photos using Email and the Web" article. For Windows XP users, you can download for free from Microsoft's website, XP Power Toys. This includes a feature called Image resizer. (

No need to open up a separate program. Just select one or more jpegs in Windows Explorer, right click and pick "Resize Pictures". Perfect for email.

Keep up the good work, 

My husband and I went out to Machias Seal Island sometime between 1949 and 1955. We paid a lobsterman $20 to take us out and come back about 4 hours later to pick us up. $20 was our entire daily budget, so we had to cut short our vacatin by one day, but it was worth it. The tides had to be just right. Just as I got on the boat I realized I was almost out of film...4 pictures left, and no chance to get more. I remember scrambling over the seaweed covered rocks. There were only about 6 people on the island. There was one small building that one of them was camping in. The island was almost wall-to-wall with bird nests. The Terns did a lot of screaming but did not attack us. We could get very close to the Puffins. I did not have any fancy lenses, but got 4 good pictures of them. They made a noise that sounded like "Hey, Al" Since we saw them carrying fish lined up in their beaks, it must have been August. It had been raining all week, and the people on the island said we brought the sunshine, which shone all the time we were there. My pictures are slides.

Marge Mathis

Digital's Dirty Little Secret - The Article that Won't Die!

What an odd point of view... As a computer professional with 20 years of experience, I think you are making a series of unsubstantiated arguments regarding computer storage and difficulties stemming from advances of newer digital technologies. Let's start from your advice to pros to get an additional hard drive for permanent data storage is bad. Hard drive lasts on average less than 5 years. Thus, one must still back up. Right now, DVD-rewritable media is a convenient way to go. If the technology changes, the change is always towards the faster and bigger storage solution, so transferring from previous storage to a new one is a breeze. I still have old documents from floppies stored a) on my hard drive, b) on backup disk image on DVD-RW c) on burnt CD-ROM. rest assured that in 50-100 years if the mankind doesn't self destruct, you'd still be able to transfer from a floppy disk to whatever storage you have now, just like one can transfer 50-60 year old 8-mm family films to video or better yet to DVD now.

I wouldn't worry about the fate of digital images. Just like with the negatives or slide film, if stored properly, there is no problem.

And it's always a good idea to print your best or most likeable photos. Here's where home technology is still lacking, but that's what a professional printing service is for.

I am a big proponent of film myself, and if I want to make a more serious work, I fish a Hasselblad out of the bag. No need to do it all the time though. Meanwhile, let people have fun, go digital, get more practice and may be become better photographers with tools like digital rebel and D70 out there. And the best is yet to come...


Ugh, there are days I wish I'd never written this article (Digital's Dirty Little Secret), as people tend to misread it quite often. I too have been at this for twenty years and the observations in the column are based on my own experiences.

First I advocate the use of a large EXTERNAL hard drive for image storage. As this drive is only used for storage its usable life should be far more than five years based on the MTBF numbers - even for inexpensive consumer drives.

More important is the reason I advocate an external hard drive. That is so that as technologies change it is easier to move data to new formats. I can plug my 100 gigabyte USB drive into a new computer at the end of the day. When I return the next morning all the files will be on the new system. If I feel that drive is getting old or filled up I can plug it into a USB port and a new external drive into a firewire port and all of my images will be transferred overnight with a single mouse click. The point is portability and ease of use. When something is difficult, such as swapping several hundred CD-R disks it tends not to get done until is HAS to be done. At that point there may be problems reading old disks on new technology. I've experienced this myself with floppies and even hard drives where new controllers wouldn't accurately address old drives.

You advocate DVD-RW disks. The life span on these disks is much shorter than you realize. It can be VERY short depending on how they're stored (we're publishing an article on this topic next month). I absolutely DO NOT recommend using CD-RW or DVD-RW disks for long term storage of any image you care to keep.

I would take issue with the idea that moving from old media to new media is always a breeze. Far from it. Swap several hundred CDs, or copy several thousand hours of video from tape and you may change your mind. For the amateur who is taking the equivalent of a couple of shoe boxes of images CD-R is an option. For the pro who has thousands of images it's a nightmare.

I would agree it's a good idea to print your most prized photos. But if that is part of your archival strategy you'll need to use archival papers. Depending on the paper/ink combination you're looking at anywhere from 50 to 200 year print life for prints stored in the dark between 50 and 80 degrees at low humidity levels. But the lifespan of iamges on non-archival paper can be as short as a year.

As for letting people have fun, by all means, having fun with photography is one of the underlying principals of the magazine and something we advocate with every issue. But if you are a serious photographer or pro, as many of our readers are, you need to take steps to preserve your digital images or you will loose them. Just take a look at my column this month for a heartbreaking example


  Subscribe to Vivid Light 
Photography by email 

Tell Us What You Think

Vivid Light Photography, monthly photography magazine online

Site search Web search

Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online