Solar Eclipse – August 21st

The next total solar eclipse will occur on August 21st 2017. The path of totality is scheduled to be seen from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Those who are located outside of this path of totality will be able to see portions of the eclipse, in a partial eclipse, with the moon covering a section of the sun’s disk. 

Path of totality, courtesy of NASA

Though New Jersey is not within the zone of totality, we are still located within the zone for a partial eclipse. At the height of the eclipse here, we should see the sun covered approximately 73%. The best time to look out for the eclipse in New Jersey is going to be around 2:45 pm. 

Regardless of a partial eclipse or not, it is extremely important to use eye protection when viewing the eclipse. Looking at the sun at anytime can damage your eyes, especially during an eclipse. Special glasses are produced for the solar eclipse, and should be ISO certified to ensure your safety when viewing this special sight. The only time it is safe to view the sun without glasses is at totality, when the moon completely covers the sun’s disk (this will not occur in New Jersey).

 

Some Tips to Help Photograph the Solar Eclipse

  • Use a telephoto/zoom lens and a tele-converter
  • Never look at the sun through your camera’s lens without proper eye protection
  • Use a solar filter for safe viewing at all times UNLESS the eclipse is at totality
  • You want a focal length under 2000mm on a full frame camera, or 1300mm on a crop sensor (this is to ensure you get the entire sun within your shot)
  • Get a sturdy tripod, and manually focus the camera to infinity
  • Practice, take a ‘test’ shot on a day before the eclipse, shoot various shutter speeds with a fixed aperture (between f/8 and f/16), and look for optimal exposures

More tips can be found online, like on Nikon’s website here

Where to Photograph Fireworks – Locations and Tips 2017

North Jersey’s parade, fireworks and celebration map

List of North Jersey fireworks, times and dates

Here are some basic starting points

Please let us know if you get some great shots we’d love to see!
Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. Have a great 4th of July Holiday weekend from all of us at BCC.

Find a fireworks display on NJ.com‘s 4th of July celebrations page.

  • Use a tripod
  • Electronic release, 2 second self timer to eliminate shake or by carefully pressing the shutter button to minimize shake.
  • Manually set your camera ISO to 100 (You do not want Auto ISO)
  • Lens Choice – Wide Angle Zoom to frame what you’d like to capture
  • Auto White Balance or Daylight
  • Set your lens to manual focus then focus to infinity (take a test image and make sure things are sharp) Don’t forget to switch back to auto focus when done shooting
  • Method 1 – Set your camera to Manual exposure – Try 5 seconds at f/8 – 16 – this will allow you to capture several bursts
  • Method 2 – Try setting you camera to the “B” setting in manual – keep the shutter depressed at f/ 8 – 16 for several bursts
  • Carefully release the shutter if not using a release to capture from one to several bursts

**Evaluate your exposure – Shorter exposures (or smaller apertures ) will darken the image and capture shorter trails, Longer exposures (or larger apertures ) will lighten the image and capture longer trails.** If necessary make adjustments and take some more shots

If you are using a point a shoot, check your camera’s manual to see if you have a fireworks mode.

Improving Fireworks photos

Shoot with a tripod – it will give a more natural cascade of light.

Shooting the Finale!

The finale is many times brighter than rest of the show. Be ready to choose a shorter exposure or smaller aperture to prevent overexposure. The exposure you need is dependent on the number of simultaneous bursts. In some really incredible finales you may find yourself shooting at 1/4 or 1/8th of a second. Experiment for best results.

Why use a tripod?

Hand-held image above shows motion from camera shake in the burst of light.

The image below is steadied by a tripod, 5 seconds, f/16 at 100 ISO

Other Techniques

Set your camera to B and lock open your shutter – keep the lens covered with a dark hat and remove the hat to capture a burst then recover and repeat to capture several bursts. Just be careful not to bump your camera.
You can even zoom the lens during exposure for some interesting effects

Experiment and best of all have fun.

Happy Independence Day!

Preventing Memory Card Trouble – Best Practice

Preventing errors:
The main preventable causes of digital camera disasters are:

  • Continuing to shoot past the cameras low battery warning. If the battery goes dead while the camera is saving an image to your card or transferring images to your computer more than likely, your card will become unreadable. Using a card reader (powered by your computer) rather than your camera cable (powered by your battery) reduces risk. 
  • Never shoot until the card is full – reading 0 pictures left
  • Ejecting the memory card while the camera is saving a file (light still flashing).
  • Opening the card access door before turning the camera off especially if still saving (light still flashing)
  • Switching to view mode while the camera is saving an image or
  • Improper storage leading to Physical Damage
  • Using the same card in multiple cameras – this may cause unpredictable results
  • Using cards after they exhibit errors – replace cards after you experience trouble

Reducing your risk in the future:
There is no guarantee that you can prevent all errors or will be able to recover files but there are some things you can do to MAXIMIZE your chances of recovery before you run into trouble. The best approach is to archive your images on the memory card to Cloud, DVD or Blu-Ray or other safe media. Once you’re certain the images are all copied, you should FORMAT your card.  

Formatting the card sets the card up to receive new images sequentially written to the disk. This means that the picture is stored in one complete area on the memory card. Over time if you frequently erase and retake many pictures, the camera is unable to save the files in one complete piece and needs to store the image in many pieces called FRAGMENTS on the memory card.

Should the media become corrupted; the recovery process can only recover the first portion of a fragmented file. An example of an image recovered from a fragmented file is shown below. 

         

The next image was recovered from a media card with CONTIGUOUS files affording you the best chance of a full recovery.

What to do after disaster strikes:
When you get the scary message “CARD ERROR” or (CH) there is a very good chance that images can still be recovered from your media card. First, don’t do anything with your card. Remove your card from the camera. Don’t run Windows Scandisk or any other utility on your memory card. Don’t format the card in your camera or computer. It is essential you don’t do anything with the problem card in order to maximize the chances for a good recovery. This is why we suggest carrying multiple cards in your camera bag.

 

The Promaster Advantage:
If you purchased a Promaster memory card from Bergen County Camera, your in house standard recovery is Free + media charges, a Promaster advantage! (does not include DriveSavers). In the event your Promaster card has any electronic damage, the card will be replaced at no charge to you!

DriveSavers Recovery Services

Any memory cards that are not recoverable by our standard file recovery service can be sent for advanced recovery from DriveSavers. Although this can be expensive, they may be able to recover images when we are unable to. All jobs sent to DriveSavers through Bergen County Camera receive a 10% discount off their regular prices.

 

Fall Foliage: Tips and State Foliage Websites

Foliage Photography:
Tips for great pictures

Foliage Maps:

–>> The Foliage Network Maps – website with frequent updates and color maps of the northeastern United States.

Filters

A polarizing filter is really the only “must have” filter to bring along for great digital fall foliage pictures. A polarizer creates dramatic fall foliage pictures by darkening the sky, increasing contrast and deepening colors and removing the sheen from the leaves. Most other filter effects such as enhancing reds and oranges, sepia and graduated effects can be easily created in Photoshop. Your standard protective UV filter should be removed before putting your polarizer on – never stack filters. Also, don’t forget to remove your polarizer when you move back inside, as it reduces light by one to two f-stops. Shop Polarizers in our online store.


Click to see image with and without a polarizer.

A second type of filter is an enhancing filter which does just what the name implies – enhances. This filter is especially effective with the bright primary colors of autumn (reds, oranges and browns). A third filter is a Color / Neutral Graduated filter which utilizes a color (or gray) that gradually diminishes from dark to light across the filter. These filters are often used to deepen the sky or to balance the exposure between foreground and background, which helps you keep the sky blue rather than washed out.

Tips

  • Nothing takes away from foliage more than a bright white overcast sky. In these situations, try to reduce the amount of sky in your images or use a Neutral Graduated filter.
  • Dramatic storm clouds of autumn thunderstorms interspersed with blue sky make a stunning backdrop for the brilliant colors of fall, especially when the vivid colors are brought out with a polarizer filter.
  • Use a tripod for the sharpest possible image. This will allow an ISO of 100 or 200. Remember to use a remote release or self timer to prevent motion when pressing the shutter.
  • Colors are warmer and can be more dramatic closer to sunrise and sunset. The hour before and after sunrise and sunset are considered by many to be the “magic hours” where you get an amazing quality of light.
  • Experiment, take lots of pictures and above all have fun!
  • Since you are shooting more with your digital camera, be sure to edit out some images before showing off your work to family and friends
Once you’ve assembled your camera and a few filters, all you’ll need is foliage at the peak of color. We’ve assembled a list of state hotlines below to help schedule your trip. Need some ideas for places to shoot, be sure to visit Bergen County Camera’s Where to take great Pictures page. Have some suggestions of your own? Please send us an email or comment on this post.

Fall foliage websites and hotlines

The Foliage Network – website with frequent updates and color maps of the northeastern United States.

State by State foliage websites – click on your state of interest below.

New Jersey 
mid to late October 
Connecticut
 Late September - mid October 
Maine 
Early September - mid October
Massachusetts
October 
New Hampshire 
Late September - mid October
New York
Late September - late October
Pennsylvania 
Early October
Vermont 
Early September - Late October
Virginia 
September - Late November
Delaware 
Late October
Maryland 
Late September - Late October
Rhode Island 
Late September - mid October 

Remember to visit Bergen County Camera for filters, tripods, lenses, cameras and prints.

Where to Photograph Fireworks – Locations and Tips 2016

North Jersey’s parade, fireworks and celebration map

List of North Jersey fireworks, times and dates

Here are some basic starting points

Please let us know if you get some great shots we’d love to see!
Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. Have a great 4th of July Holiday weekend from all of us at BCC.

Find a fireworks display on NJ.com‘s 4th of July celebrations page.

  • Use a tripod
  • Electronic release, 2 second self timer to eliminate shake or by carefully pressing the shutter button to minimize shake.
  • Manually set your camera ISO to 100 (You do not want Auto ISO)
  • Lens Choice – Wide Angle Zoom to frame what you’d like to capture
  • Auto White Balance or Daylight
  • Set your lens to manual focus then focus to infinity (take a test image and make sure things are sharp) Don’t forget to switch back to auto focus when done shooting
  • Method 1 – Set your camera to Manual exposure – Try 5 seconds at f/8 – 16 – this will allow you to capture several bursts
  • Method 2 – Try setting you camera to the “B” setting in manual – keep the shutter depressed at f/ 8 – 16 for several bursts
  • Carefully release the shutter if not using a release to capture from one to several bursts

**Evaluate your exposure – Shorter exposures (or smaller apertures ) will darken the image and capture shorter trails, Longer exposures (or larger apertures ) will lighten the image and capture longer trails.** If necessary make adjustments and take some more shots

If you are using a point a shoot, check your camera’s manual to see if you have a fireworks mode.

Improving Fireworks photos

Shoot with a tripod – it will give a more natural cascade of light.

Shooting the Finale!

The finale is many times brighter than rest of the show. Be ready to choose a shorter exposure or smaller aperture to prevent overexposure. The exposure you need is dependent on the number of simultaneous bursts. In some really incredible finales you may find yourself shooting at 1/4 or 1/8th of a second. Experiment for best results.

Why use a tripod?

Hand-held image above shows motion from camera shake in the burst of light.

The image below is steadied by a tripod, 5 seconds, f/16 at 100 ISO

Other Techniques

Set your camera to B and lock open your shutter – keep the lens covered with a dark hat and remove the hat to capture a burst then recover and repeat to capture several bursts. Just be careful not to bump your camera.
You can even zoom the lens during exposure for some interesting effects

Experiment and best of all have fun.

Happy Independence Day.

Free Saturday Focus Sessions February – March

Focus sessions are Free and take place in our store from 9:30 am – 10:15 am. Focus Sessions are mini classes and discussions and classes about photography. All sessions will allow for questions and answers. Please bring your camera and any images along that you have questions about. Please share your thoughts for future focus sessions in the comment box below. No RSVP – Free for everyone – Please bring a friend!

focusbanner1Hit the “Like Button” to let your friends know. Have suggestions for future focus sessions? Feel free to leave a comment.

 

Here’s our upcoming Focus Sessions:

 

February 20 – f2.8 vs f5.6 – Learning to control focus and gaining higher shutter speeds

February 27 – Print formats, from square to panoramic – how to showcase your images

March 5 – Parade Photos + Billy on bagpipes

March 12 – Photo Exchange – Trade your photos – Bring one take One – 8×10 only

March 19 – Food Photography

March 26 – Easter Flowers / Easter Egg Hunt for the Grown-Ups (discounts a freebies hidden around the store) Limit 1 egg per customer

These are free events – bring a friend along if you’d like. Share with your friends on Facebook – Click the Like button below. Hope you can join us!

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Free Saturday Focus Sessions for January

Focus sessions are free and take place in our store from 9:30 am – 10:15 am. All sessions will allow for questions and answers. Please bring your camera and any images along that you have questions about. Feel free to use the comment option to make suggestions for future focus sessions.

focusbanner1Hit the “Like Button” to let your friends know. Have suggestions for future focus sessions? Feel free to leave a comment.

 

Here’s our upcoming Focus Sessions:

 

January 2 – Shooting Geometric Patterns

January 9 – Using your flash (better)

January 16 – What is this button on my camera and why and when to use it

January 23 – f2.8 vs f5.6

January 30 – Shooting Basketball

These are free events – bring a friend along if you’d like. Share with your friends on Facebook – Click the Like button below. Hope you can join us!

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Focus Sessions for November and December

Focus sessions are free and take place in our store from 9:30 am – 10:15 am. All sessions will allow for questions and answers. Please bring your camera and any images along that you have questions about. Feel free to use the comment option to make suggestions for future focus sessions.

focusbanner1Hit the “Like Button” to let your friends know. Have suggestions for future focus sessions? Feel free to leave a comment.

 

Here’s our upcoming Focus Sessions:

November 7 – Lakota Wolf Preserve Trip Review

November 14 – How to Shoot and Create and order a Great Holiday Photo Card

November 21 – Action Cameras – GoPro and V-360

November 28 – Great Holiday Gift Ideas

December 5 – Your Art Makes a Great Gift

December 12 – Winter Photography

December 19 – Christmas Light Photography

December 26 – Celebrate – Holiday Merry with Us

These are free events – bring a friend along if you’d like. Share with your friends on Facebook – Click the Like button below. Hope you can join us!

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Upcoming Nikon Classes

nikon class bannerJuly 14th – Nikon Basic

The very basics of Auto mode, followed by how to get out of auto mode. This class focuses largely on scene modes and camera controls for exposure, white balance and focus. Composition and tips on improving photos are the main, non-technical areas that the class covers. This class is good for absolutely anyone with a camera, especially beginners and new DSLR owners. Join Bergen County Camera on Tuesday, July 14th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Tickets are $25 per person.

Eventbrite - Nikon Seminar - Basic

July 15th – Nikon Intermediate

This is an intermediate to advanced level DSLR class that covers many of the topics that one might explore after learning the basics of camera terminology and exposure. Topics covered include flash photography, custom settings, lenses, autofocus settings, metering and more. Join Bergen County Camera on Wednesday, July 15th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Tickets are $25 per person.

Eventbrite - Nikon Seminar - Intermediate