Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Monday, January 25th 2010

Lens Cleaning Tips

Just before I was about to sell my old lens, I searched the web for good ways of cleaning the outsides of a lens.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the weird white stuff that gets stuck between the little grooves on your zoom and focus rings. I guess it’s a mix of salt, grease and dead skin cells. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you probably haven’t had your DSLR for a full year.

This is what it looks like:

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, dirty.

Anyway, the method that I found is really simple. (And cheap!)

Just find an old toothbrush and fill a cup with warm water. Dip the toothbrush in the water and flick it hard a few times to get most of the water out of it again.

Then you simply brush the mucky areas. Just make sure the toothbrush isn’t leaving pools of water all over your lens – it’ll get into the joins.

Rinse the toothbrush if it gets too dry.

If you don’t drop your lens in the cup of water, you should end up with a lens looking close to new!

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, clean!

(BTW, this is not the lens I sold. The toothbrush method worked so well I went ahead and cleaned all my lenses.)

Friday, July 3rd 2009

Removing .NET from Firefox’s User Agent String

I was one of many who was fooled into installing some version of Microsoft’s .NET runtime which installed an annoying extension into Firefox. It was annoying because it couldn’t be uninstalled. What’s wrong with you people at Microsoft?

After searching around I found a way of getting rid of the extension. But yesterday I realized that the extension had added a bit about .NET to Firefox’s user agent string.

So, how to get rid of it? Quite easily it turns out:

  1. Exit Firefox. (Open this page in your backup browser.)
  2. Find your Firefox profile.
  3. Open the file prefs.js in notepad.
  4. Search for microsoftdotnet.
  5. When you find it, delete the whole line where you found it, save and close. Done!

Monday, January 22nd 2007

Photography Tip of the Day: Warmer Flash Photos

I often think flash photos look unnatural. Flat and cold. Having an external flash which you can swivel to bounce the light off a ceiling or wall gets rid of the flat light, but you may still find the light looks unnaturally cold. This tip will give flash photos the feeling of being shot in ambient light.

The solution lies in adjusting the white balance setting of your camera. The trick is to manually set your white balance to 7000 K. (Or even higher – experiment!) By doing this your flash photos will end up a shade warmer than if you set the white balance to flash. When the camera is set to 7000 K it will interpret the light from the flash as slightly warm/yellow, since it has a colour temperature of 6000 K.

Hover the photo below to see the (slight!) difference this makes.

Differently coloured smarties

I know this is possible on the Canon EOS 30D, Canon EOS 5D, Nikon D200, Nikon D80 and the more expensive SLRs, but it may also be possible on some serious compacts. Fiddle around with your menus and settings and see what you find!

Edit: Here are some good articles on white balance and colour temperature:

Saturday, December 30th 2006

Canon/Photography Tip of the Day

Here’s a tip for those of you who have one of Canon’s digital EOS cameras (30D, 5D, 1D Mark II, 400D) and possibly others too:

Turn the contrast down to -4.

This may sound strange. Won’t that make my pictures grey and boring?! you might think.

No, it won’t. But it will bring out more detail in highlights and shadows. It gives the impression of increasing the dynamic range in the photos, even though – technically – it doesn’t.

Below are two example photos. The shown image is at contrast 0. Hover the image to see contrast -4.

Vaksala Church (kyrka)

Vaksala Church (kyrka)

So … the last few days or so I’ve been re-developing all my (~2200) raw image files with the contrast set to -4.


Saturday, August 26th 2006

Windows XP/2000 Tip of the Day

Having installed four different IM/VoIP programs (Google Talk, Skype, Wengo and Windows Live Messenger), I felt it would clutter up my Windows QuickLaunch bar if I added one shortcut for each program. So I thought it must be possible to launch several programs in one go if I create a batch file.

It turned out it wasn’t as simple as I thought. You can’t just simply create a batch file (a text file named *.bat) with a list of paths to each exe file. You have to use the START command. And you have to use quotation marks if the paths contain spaces. And if you use quotation marks for the path, windows cmd.exe (which runs the batch file) will interpret the path as a title for the command window… so you have to add a random title to these lines, straight after the START command. To cut a long story short, my batch file looks like this:

@echo off
START C:Program FilesWengoPhoneqtwengophone.exe -b
START C:Program FilesSkypePhoneSkype.exe /nosplash /minimized
START “blah” “C:Program FilesMSN Messengermsnmsgr.exe” /background
START “whatever” /MIN “C:Program FilesGoogleGoogle Talkgoogletalk.exe” /autostart

The @echo off on the first row is to keep the command window clean while running the coming rows of code. The exit on the last row closes the command window. Also, you should make sure you have each of the START command rows on single rows without line breaks.

As you can see, I’ve added a few tricks here too. Wengo, Skype and Windows Live Messenger all have switches that tell the applications to automatically minimize to the system tray. Google Talk doesn’t really, but the /autostart switch seems to do the trick some times. (Don’t ask me why it only does sometimes, but it does.) For the times that it doesn’t, I’ve added the /MIN switch to the START command, so it’ll at least be minimized to the Task Bar.

Screenshot of Windows System Tray with IM/chat applications. Google Talk, Windows Live (MSN) Messenger, Wengo/Wengophone.

It’s very nice not to have all the windows flood your screen when you launch them. I hope this little tip can be of help to someone!

Edit: I have noticed now that the /background switch for Windows Live Messenger only means that the signing in is done in the background. Once done, the contact list will show up on the screen unless you have a) set it to start automatically with Windows and b) unchecked Open WLM main window….