Circle of Life: Transferring Your Photo and Video Memories to DVD

Ah, the circle of life. People usually think of it as a poetic phrase to help kids stomach the brutality of the food chain, no pun intended. In the video and photography business, I think of it as that little donut-shaped wonder called the DVD. It’s amazing what can be contained on that little circle, truly whole lifetimes of images, including those taken decades and decades before computers were so much as a twinkle in your eye.

We have a video-conversion service here Lawrence Photo. It’s not just about converting an 8 mm film of your grandparents having a snowball fight, though that’s certainly possible and important to do. It’s not just about transferring footage of your son’s homecoming football game off that dust-collecting VHS tape in your basement, though you should do that, too. No, it’s for more than just moving images. Video conversion also includes transferring stills—those beautiful memories you’ve captured on prints, slides, and digital images.   Get them on a DVD, and you can preserve them longer and easily make copies to your heart’s content.

Scan photos and videos to DVD at Lawrence Photo

It can take less than a dozen years for magnetic tape to deteriorate into a haze, so I certainly don’t wish to downplay the importance of transferring your videos. I just want to point out that your stills could use that same kind of TLC via DVD, as well. Father Time has no mercy on photographs. He weakens their colors and changes their hues. He washes them out as the decades pile up. Scan them into your computer, upload them to a cloud service, and not only have you got yourself a Band-Aid but also you’ve got memories that are harder to lose and easier to share.

With the low costs of digital photography, the advent of smart-phone cameras, and the age of inexpensive point-and-shoots, we take more photographs than ever. The down side is that we also print far fewer of them, and in the end, forget far more of them over time. Dig through those boxes and pore through those digital files. Bring the images to us, and we’ll give you back a true circle of life.

Shoot the Moon

Photographing the Moon

So many ways to make the moon beautiful!

Are you up for a challenge? Photographing a full moon certainly qualifies. This is your week to try your hand! Thursday night is the full moon, and we’re expected to have partly cloudy skies, allowing us (hopefully) a view of it. April’s full moon is called the Pink Moon, for a variety of wild phlox that blooms early in spring.

Keep in mind that there are whole books written on the topic of moon photography, so we’re just scratching the surface here. However, there really are just two basic challenges that stand between you and a good moon photograph: proportion and light. With the right equipment—if not some post-production finesse—you can manage.

Let’s start with perspective. You are really far away from the moon, so much farther than you are from anything else that will be in your scene. Your brain makes visual adjustments for that disparity; your camera, left to its own devices, does not. A longer lens will help. Grab a lens that is at least 200mm. Otherwise; the moon will look tiny and sad. For good detail, 300mm is more like it, but a telephoto lens is your best bet. Remember: With big zoom, you risk shaky photographs, so be sure to use a tripod and your shutter delay.

Now let’s talk about light. Though you’re shooting at nighttime, your subject is illuminated in sunlight. Try the Sunny 16 rule: Use an f/16 aperture with the same shutter speed as the ISO (e.g., ISO 100, 1/100 s). From there, experiment with different settings to find the sweet spot for your equipment and conditions. Also, remember how we talked about HDR photography last week? If you’re trying to photograph a moonscape, bracketing together multiple exposures can really help. You’ll get the best lighting of the moon in one exposure, then the best lighting of the rest of the scene in another exposure (or two). The composite of these images will more closely approximate what your brain saw.

While it’s a huge thrill to get a photograph that looks beautiful straightaway, your pal when it comes to photographing the moon is a photo-editing tool like Photoshop. Back at home, you can sharpen the angles and make micro-adjustments to the brightness, contrast, and colors to get the photograph looking its best.

Ready to try? Moonrise is at 7:10 p.m. tomorrow!

P.S. Check out this stunningly beautiful real-time video of a moonrise: