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Your Mind’s Eye

30th November 2013

It May be too Limiting

What do you visualize of when you hear someone say that they are going to visit Colorado?

Most of us already have a picture in mind even before that person finishes his/her sentence.

It doesn’t matter if they are visiting New York City or Texas, Paris or Timbuktu. And of course it doesn’t matter if we’ve never before visited that place. We’re all influenced by our mind’s eye – the previous information and images that we’ve associated with that particular place.

This past year I visited Colorado on several different occasions.

As I reviewed a few of the photos taken during my visits, I found it interesting to see how these photos aligned with my idea of “Colorado” images.

These three photos contains what I most closely identify with Colorado: mountainous, snow, lots of wildlife.





Colorado, being a large state has quite varied terrain. So as not to shortchange Colorado, I wanted to take a few photos that expand my preconceived notion of the state.

These stacks of hay in Del Norte show that there’s plenty of farming and ranching here.

I believe that the yellow trees are aspens growing near Cortez – part of the high plains desert.

This leafless cottonwood tree sits close to a nearby stream near Salida – running water is another trademark of Colorado.

So I keep telling myself: don’t fixate on the “mind’s eye”. I tell the photographer in me to keep eyes wide to everything when traveling. Colorado is more than the Rockies, New York City is more than the Statue of Liberty, Texas is more than the Alamo and Paris is more than the Eiffel Tower.



Written by: Arnie Lee





eBook Giveaway

27th November 2013

FREE – any of our seven Stay Focused Guides

These books are for photographers who want to solve common shooting problems with their DSLR. They were originally available as 4-color printed books through book and online stores and sell for $22.95 each.

You can download the PDF editions now free of charge.

Each chapter shows you how to adjust the camera settings for turning a problematic “before” picture into a top notch “after” photograph.

They’re written for the following DSLRs***.

o Canon XS

o Canon XSi

o Canon T2i

o Nikon D40

o Nikon D60

o Nikon D3000

o Nikon D5000

*** If you have a different camera, I encourage you to download a copy and follow along since the techniques are very similar regardless of the make and model.

There is no obligation, but if you’re so inclined we’d like you to subscribe to our newsletter which brings you tips, techniques, reviews and lots of other “things photographic” from Stay Focused.

To get your free download, please click here.



Written by: Arnie Lee





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Oops. Saved Again!

26th November 2013

Why I use filters instead of lens caps

In my photography early days, I was a faithful user of lens caps. Whenever I wasn’t shooting, I would snap the lens cap onto the lens. I considered this a safe way to care for my equipment. Of course, most of us also enclosed the entire camera inside its companion leather case. Yes, we were very protective of our precious equipment. And yes again, I spent a lot of time looking for misplaced or buying replacement lens caps.

When I acquired my first SLR at age 14, I quickly fell out of the habit of using lens caps. I may have inherited this trait from my photography mentor for whom I worked while still a student. John explained that removing a lens cap required too much time when you are trying to capture the action.

Instead, I began to using a filter on the lens to protect the front glass element. The filter prevents dust and dirt from accumulating on the lens surface. And the filter is easier and safer to clean. To this day I use either a high quality UV or Skylight filter for most of my shooting.

Now that digital cameras have replaced film cameras I also notice that leather cases have all but gone out of style. I see very few them of them these days. But I do notice that many photographers still use lens caps to protect the glass in front.

I’m not here to make a political case for or against lens caps, only to suggest that filters offer more than dust protection for your lens. In addition, they can protect the front lens element from nasty scratches.

Here’s my latest proof. I was carrying this camera into the house when it slipped out of my hand and onto the floor. As you can see the filter is shattered.

Of course my heart missed a few beats as I watch the camera as it hits the floor. However, after removing the filter I can see that the front lens surface remains untouched.

In spite of the fall, the camera is working perfectly. Apparently the lens barrel took the brunt of the fall so I’ll have to repair the lens’ electronics.. But the glass is still pristine.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve had a mishap such as this. Actually, this is the third time that a filter has saved the front glass element of one of my lenses. This alone tells me that I should keep on buying filters for each of my lenses.


Written by: Arnie Lee







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