“How can I help?”

I got email from a reader this week thanking me for SSA!, and asking what they could do for the site. Thanks for asking! I love getting email like this– it makes me feel like I’m helping people.

First off, I’ll never say no to receiving large stacks of cash. If you have a lot more money than you know what to do with, feel free to come by my loft and leave it in my mailbox. I promise to buy lots of excellent camera gear with it. :-)

Seriously, comments and questions on the entries really contribute a lot to the site. Not only do they help me feel like I’m not shouting into the void, but they also give me excellent feedback. If I know where my explanations have worked and what could be clearer I can do a better job in the future. Suggestions for topics let me know what people are interested in learning about.  Constructive criticism is welcome too, of course.  You can keep the hate mail to yourself, though.

Another great way to help is to spread the word.  Tell your friends!  Link to the site. (It goes without saying, but don’t spam.)   Stop Shooting Auto! is still a young site, and publicity is a good thing.  Getting new readers always makes me happy.

Click the links.  I actually make a very tiny amount of money from the site from Amazon product referral links.  As of this writing, I’ve made less than $50– on an hourly basis, that would make me the envy of third-world sweat shop workers.  Clearly, I’m not doing this to get rich!  However, when you buy something from a product link on the recommendation page or What’s in Patti’s camera bag?, I get a few cents from it.  That won’t make me rich, but it makes me smile.

More than anything, though, keep reading and commenting, and let me know how I’m doing.

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11 Comments

Filed under Introduction

11 responses to ““How can I help?”

  1. TJ

    I just love the flower porn pictures that you take, Patti. Macro photography has always interested me. Does it take a ton of money and gear to get pictures like you take?

  2. stopshootingauto

    The flower porn pictures rely on having a high-quality macro lens that can do at least 1:1 macro, as well as controllable on- and off-camera lighting. Beyond that, you need a tripod, a cable release, and some very patient flowers.

    Lighting is really the hard part. I use a variety of strobes in different configurations depending upon what I’m doing.

  3. just wanted to say thanks too! I’m a regular reader but infrequent commenter! I try to change that, the commenting not the visiting.

  4. TJ

    dangit… i can’t enjoy the Sports Illustrated photos of the Olympics now. I’m always looking at them and wondering how long the lens was and what their settings were and how they caught such marvelous pictures. LOL! Patti, you have created a monster.

  5. stopshootingauto

    Excellent!

    Wait ’til you start reading Strobist regularly, and can’t look at a photo without deconstructing the lighting.

  6. Rohit

    Hi Patti,

    Great site…its really helped consolidate my knowledge. Was wondering if you have any good tips on white balance? I am not sure if this has been covered yet…i think I have done all the pages in order…

  7. stopshootingauto

    Thanks, Rohit! Yes, white balance is definitely on my list of things to cover in the future.

  8. TJ

    I’m fixing to go to Australia for xmas again. We will be driving along the coast from Sydney to Melbourne. I anticipate wanting to take many scenery pictures. I usually can’t get all of what I see (and want to capture) onto one picture. What equipment do I need to do this better? I imagine you could stitch pictures together with Photoshop, but I’d rather not have to muck around with software solutions.

  9. TJ

    I must’ve missed something. I’ve been reading the Bryan Peterson book on Exposure. It’s *excellent*! I sat at the beach in Sydney and took pictures of waves for a while, trying to get the cotton candy effect. So frustrating. I checked the setting that my Auto mode selected. Then started slowing down the shutter speed in aperture preferred mode. sigh… I think the waves may have blurred, but the picture quickly became over exposed, so I can’t tell for sure. Adding to the frustration, I was reliant on my friends to take me to the beach and was unable to see the problem until after I got home and pulled it up on the PC. If I just had a bigger screen available when I’m trying to learn something so I could check it on the spot… and do let me know when pigs fly, will you? Got any hints on how to do the wave thing and what I am missing or misunderstanding?

  10. TJ

    Oh yeah. One more thing. I shot a LOT of pictures through the car window. And I picked up a lot of glare when I did it. Would a polarized filter take care of this? Also, I frequently like the way things look when I have my sunglasses on, but not when I take them off. Heh. I’m wondering if my pictures would also improve with a tinted lens on very sunny days.

  11. stopshootingauto

    If you were slowing down the shutter speed, you were probably in shutter priority mode.

    When you slow down the shutter speed in shutter priority mode, you cause the aperture to close down smaller and smaller. What probably happened is that you wound up with your aperture closed as small as it would go, but then you kept slowing down the shutter. When this happens, the camera will use whatever shutter speed it can and do the best with the aperture, but since it can’t go any smaller you’ll wind up with overexposed photos.

    I assume you were using the slowest ISO possible, the next thing you need is a neutral density filter. That’s basically a clear gray filter that goes in front of the lens and cuts out some of the light. You can get them in 1-stop, 2-stop, and 4-stop strengths (and probably some others). I bought an inexpensive set on Ebay, and they’re certainly good enough for occasional use.

    Oh, and you didn’t have to wait until you got home. All you had to do is look at the image and view the histogram, and you would have seen that it was stacked to the right.

    And yes, a polarizer would probably take care of the reflection from the car window. Rolling down the window is much easier.

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