TWiP #179 – TWiP the Light Fantastic

Audio MP3

On this episode of TWiP… Holiday Photography Tips, Remotely controlled DSLRs, and Shooting in the dust.

Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson, Tyler Ginter, Catherine Hall, and Ron Brinkmann


TSA Episode Retrospective
After receiving a lot of feedback from TWiP #178 the group briefly discusses how photographers’ rights are impacted by changes in TSA policies and screening procedures.
On TWiP #177 guest host Tyler Ginter discussed how uses Squarespace for components of their online presence. Although Squarespace is a sponsor of the show their is no connection or affiliation with The primary goal was to demonstrate how building web sites can help worthy causes such as the children of

Holiday Photo Tips
With the holiday season in full swing the group shares some fun tips for taking and sharing holiday memories:

  • Catherine: Prioritize important events to make sure holiday memories are preserved, particularly when family & friends don’t get to see each other often. Using a good point-and-shoot camera helps to have it with you at all times. Play with the flash settings on your camera (such as slow sync) to capture low light without blowing out Christmas tree and other holiday lights.
  • Ron: For holiday parties and family events, if you’ve been identified as ‘the photographer’ of the group it’s important to organize the shots so that people don’t have to sift through the entire set. Pictures of kids with their toys can be a fun memories years down the line.
  • Tyler: Always try to tell a story through a group of shots. When shooting in snow remember to keep your camera gear dry and that light will reflect off the snow. Shooting time-lapse sequences with an intervalometer can be a fun way to put a different perspective on holiday events (more information on time-lapse at Tyler’s blog or email with questions).
  • Frederick: Asks a question to Ron on how to get the best possible low-light shots with camera phones.
  • Ron: Turn on more lights whenever possible… but moving light sources to be closer to your subject and preventing harsh backlighting will allow the small sensors in camera phones to capture unique lighting.

Remotely Controlled DSLRs
Using blueSLR photographers can wirelessly control a supported camera from a smartphone while embedding GPS location data in their images. The group discusses how this device could be used in various situations for remote triggering, intervalometer, and geotagging versus other available solutions. While many GPS solutions can be very complex this solution allows GPS location data to be written into the EXIF data directly from the camera.

Shooting in the Dust
Catherine, Tyler, and Ron share the experiences shooting in harsh environments where dust and sand can be unavoidable. Keeping a single lens mounted to the camera avoids the risk of accumulation inside the camera while swapping lenses. Cleaning the exterior of the camera body with compressed air or cleaning cloths can also minimize risk, but never use compressed air inside the camera! A lens filter can help to protect the front lens element but might add optical artifacts depending on the type of filter (such as a variable neutral density filter) under certain lighting conditions.

Every week our producers scour the TWiP forums to find the best questions for us to answer on the show. Here are this week’s questions:

Question #1 from tsunam99: I’m looking for a camera that is “compact” but has good low light performance (e.g. pictures at parties/events, etc).  I used to have the Finepix F30, which I loved, but then it kinda… got dropped.  So, something like the Canon S95 or the Lumix LX5 (skipping the G12 due to its extra bulk – though having a viewfinder is tempting).  Having said that, I stumbled upon the preview on dpreview for the upcoming Lumix GF2 micro four thirds (well, technically, since I live in Japan, it’s already available).  I know that the micro four thirds (and others like it, such as the Sony NEX, etc) are a compromise between a standard DSLR and a compact, but was wondering if it’s worth considering such a camera (with a pancake lense) given the advantages a larger sensor should have in low light conditions.  Or, is the performance of high end point-n-shoots close enough (now that’s a relative term…) that the only reason to go with a micro four thirds would be to be able to use multiple lenses?

  • Ron: Recently purchased a Canon S95 after traveling with a Lumix LX3. Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Lumix GF2 can make for a great travel camera with a larger sensor from a point-and-shoot.
  • Catherine: Just purchased the Canon S95 instead of the Canon G12 due to the size differences for being able to carry around in a pocket.

Question #2 from MasonPelt: What memory should I get with the Canon 60D? I plan on shooting more video then photos with the camera so speed is very important to me.

  • Tyler: Canon recommends UDMA Compact Flash cards for the 7D and 5D MkII, so when shopping for SD cards make sure they support high speed transfers such as SDHC Class 10 media.


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On December 14th at 8pm ET / 5pm PT, Ron Brinkmann will be on the Peachpit Photo Club live webcast!


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