Hey, I hope everyone had a good Independence Day if you live in the United States, and a perfectly normal July 4th otherwise. My wife and I went to see fireworks at Shoreline in Mountain View, and I took my camera along:
My fireworks pictures turned out 10x better than they ever have before. It’s true that I have a tripod and digital SLR now, but the pictures would have sucked again this year, except for a wonderful little book called The Digital Photography Book, by Scott Kelby. The idea behind this book is brilliant. From the back cover:
If you and I were out on a shoot, and you asked me, “Hey, how do I get this flower to be in focus, with the background out of focus?,” I wouldn’t stand there and give you a photography lecture. In real life, I’d just say “Put on your zoom lens, set your f-stop to f/2.8, focus on the flower, and fire away.” That’s what this book is all about: you and I out shooting where I answer questions … — without all the technical explanations and techie photo speak.
For the fireworks photos, the advice was
– Set your camera to full manual mode and put it on a tripod.
– Use a three or four second shutter speed.
– Set your aperture to f/11.
That’s all I did, and my photo snapshots were great. The book is jam-packed with tips like that. I highly recommend Kelby’s book if you’re starting out in photography.
This post is already longer than I intended, but I just want to send a shout-out to Rick Klau and all the Feedburner folks that joined Google. In my encounters with them before they joined Google, the FeedBurner team was amazing and humorous. Plus FeedBurner just started offering a couple really useful premium services for the low, low cost of free.
I was paying for one particular FeedBurner service called MyBrand. Instead of hosting your feeds on e.g. http://feeds.feedburner.com/mattcutts/uJBW , the MyBrand services lets you create a CNAME subdomain so that the address of your feed can be http://feeds.mattcutts.com/mattcutts/uJBW instead. That way the “ownership” of the final feed location always stays under your control.
I’d say that anyone using FeedBurner should take advantage of the newly free MyBrand service. The best write-up I’ve seen of how to do it is this MyBrand tutorial by Danny Sullivan.