Sunday, October 28, 2012

Learn Some Awesome Photography Techniques and Take Amazing Images

Re-Post from 
By Adam Dachis
You're only scratching the surface of photography when you're simply snapping photos. This weekend, learn to paint with light, create amazing star trails, and alter space and time as we know it.
Note: For those of you with Canon point-and-shoot cameras, consider installing CHDK to add extra features. Doing so will allow you to accomplish the techniques described in this post much more easily. DSLR owners, on the other hand, are good to go, but some can still add a few awesome features with Magic Lantern.


Play With Time

Time-lapse photography offers some pretty amazing opportunities. For starters, star trails—achieved by a long exposure of the night sky—make for beautiful images every time. For the most part, it simply takes patience. (Check out this guide for full instructions.)
Of course, you can do plenty more by playing with time. Long exposures create all sorts of effects beyond capturing the stars in a unique light. You can experiment with longer exposures when moving the camera or keeping it still. If you're capturing images when there's plenty of light, be sure to lower your ISO/film speed and stop down your lens' aperture to a higher f-stop (e.g. f/22). This will allow less light to hit the sensor so a longer exposure won't overexposure your photo as quickly.
You don't have to stop at photos, either. Time lapse videos—the process of taking a photo at set intervals and combining them all into one motion sequence—are extremely compelling. While we haven't tackled the subject in-depth, Photojojo created a great guide. All you really need is an intervalometer, your camera, and some time, but getting everything set up just right takes a little work. Canon camera owners can use custom firmware CHDK or Magic Lantern to make the creation of these time lapse videos even easier.


Paint With Light


Lightpainting is similar to time lapse photography, in that it utilizes long exposures to create special effects with light. That said, lightpainting involves you creating the special light patterns with glow sticks, flashlights, or any other source. As you can see with the picture to the right, these man-made effects can be pretty stunning. To learn more, read this post. It contains a helpful video that explains the entire process. If your camera can handle long exposures, you can go out and do this any night with a friend. It's really fun!

 Make Your Own Bokeh

Bokeh—the out-of-focus area of your photos—generally looks like a bunch of basic shapes. Some lenses offer nice smooth circles while others create harsher, angled shapes. If you create your own bokeh, you can make any shape you want (like the hearts in the images to the right). Just take some paper, cut out a shape, and strap it to your lens. With that simple trick, you'll make some really cool, out-of-focus images.


Transplant Your Subjects


Sometimes you've got a great location and a great subject, but they're not in the same place. With photo editing software, that's no problem. All you need to do is shoot your subject on a green screen and transplant them anywhere you like. Building your own green screen is actually really cheap and easy. (I made one several years ago over the weekend and made a lot of fun things with it.) If that's too much work, your computer monitor (or any screen, really), can do the trick for smaller objects.


Create 3D Images


I'm not a big fan of 3D. That said, the gimmick can be fun when you're making your own images and don't need any special equipment to view them. While imperfect, this easy trick can offer the illusion of a 3D photograph by simply alternating between two frames at a high speed. It's no amazing feat, but it's a pretty cool trick that anybody can see.


Create a Photosynth


Learn Some Awesome Photography Techniques and Take Amazing Images This Weekend

What is a photosynth? It's like a panoramic photo, but in all directions. Microsoft created the concept and software to help you make them. Essentially, you take your camera and go somewhere, then snap tons of pictures in every direction. After that, all you really have to do is upload them with Microsoft's photosynth tool and you can navigate through 3D-like space. It's a neat way to experience a place that offers more depth than a traditional still image. For a full walkthrough on how to do this (with video!), check out our guide.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Windows 8 system requirements

Windows 8 Pro

Windows 8 system requirements

If you want to run Windows 8 on your PC, here's what it takes:
  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

    Additional requirements to use certain features:

  • To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch (more info)
  • To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
  • To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768
  • Internet access (ISP fees might apply)
  • Secure boot requires firmware that supports UEFI v2.3.1 Errata B and has the Microsoft Windows Certification Authority in the UEFI signature database
  • Some games and programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
  • Microsoft account required for some features
  • Watching DVDs requires separate playback software (more info)
  • Windows Media Center license sold separately (more info)
  • BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • BitLocker requires either Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 or a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • Client Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and additional 2 GB of RAM (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • A TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center (Windows 8 Pro Pack and Windows 8 Media Center Pack only)
  • Free Internet TV content varies by geography, some content might require additional fees (Windows 8 Pro Pack and Windows 8 Media Center Pack only)
To check if your PC meets these requirements, you can run the Upgrade Assistant.