How to get perfect white balance

Custom white balance can be a tricky subject, especially if you are new to digital photography. My preferred method is using a measured neutral gray card. The one I use is called a WhiBal and is made by This video demonstrates how I use the card when shooting and in editing the files.

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Inglewood photo walk huge success!

Photo walk

Superb weather, great neighborhood, and most importantly 50 inspired photographers all made the Calgary Inglewood Photo Walk a huge success!

People started gathering around 9:30am at the parking lot at 9th Avenue and 12 Street SE, the main intersection in Inglewood. Not long after there was a vehicle collision at that intersection! Emergency crews were on scene quickly. Luckily no one was injured and it gave the walkers some spot news to photograph while waiting.

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Get better color in your photos

Most people keep their digital cameras and their camera phones set on Auto White Balance (AWB), which works okay most of the time. But to get the best colour you need to set your white balance to capture the colour temperature of the light falling on the subject. If you set your camera on Auto White Balance, the camera wants to make the colour neutral. If there is predominant amount of one colour, such as orange, like in a sunset or wild storm, then the camera thinks, “Whoa, too much orange, we need to neutralize that.” The camera doesn’t know what type of light you are shooting in, it just sees orange.

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When was the last time you backed up your files?

It’s not if but when your computer hard drive will die. If this hasn’t happened to you already, your turn will come. I promise. Twice in the past few days my computer has frozen and acted weird. This is something that rarely happens. It’s probably as a result of downloading so many educational products from so many sources and being on so many websites at one time. (I commonly have 30+ tabs open at any given time.) I see this as a warning sign to clean up all the files in my downloads folder, clear my browser cache and do a thorough backup of my files so I can clear some space off my main hard drive.

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The importance of calibrating your computer screen color

You’ve been going through all the exercises in my photo lessons. You’ve spent time getting the perfect lighting, perfect white balance, perfect exposure, and best composition, and you are now ready to have a look at the photos on your computer. You load up your photos and open a couple up in your favorite image editing program. Your heart sinks. Um . . . What happened?

Your photos look nothing like the way they were in your scene. Now it’s true, your mind can probably fill in the blanks and recreate that magical place for you in true colour, but really deep down you know something isn’t quite right.

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20 Tips for critiquing your holiday photos

Imagine this scenario: Your friend has just come back from an eco-vacation in the Antarctic. She’s invited you and several friends over one night to look at her photos. When you arrive you get a glass of red wine and find yourself a comfy spot on the couch. She’s borrowed the data projector from work and has it pointed at the coffee-with-cream coloured wall. The lights dim. The show begins.

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Photography is like skateboarding

Marlene Hielema in the skate park

I have a confession to make: I was a teenage skateboarder (and in my mind I still am). I was probably more into skateboarding than photography. I read all the skateboarding magazines, and had tear sheets and posters of skateboarding plastered all over my bedroom walls. I practiced 360’s every spare moment, and had contests with my brothers on who could do the most 360’s in a row.

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