Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm Documenting UFOs With My Digital Camera So Take Me Seriously!

By Michelle Drumheller

The introduction and continuing use of digital photography has created a division in the photography and UFO community.

It's not the same as a traditional film camera, argue some photographers and so called photograph 'purists' and UFO experts. Images can be altered using photo editing software like Photoshop, say others.

The truth is, most people don't understand digital cameras or they do not like the change brought about by this somewhat new medium and stepped up use in UFO documentation.
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, UFO sky fishing using digital cameras will continue.

Keep it Real!

Digital photographers should keep work unaltered and archived correctly. Here are a few recommendations on how to do this:

1. Save your original image in TIFF or RAW and never make any changes to it. Digital SLR cameras shoot in RAW, TIFF, and JPEG. Regular digital cameras may only shoot in JPEG. JPEG degrades every time you move it, change it, and save it, so it is not an archival format. If you have the capability to shoot in RAW use it. RAW images are very similar to shooting slides (remember those) using a film camera. The images are very very clear. If you are shooting in JPEG you must first download the image to your computer, and 'Save As' a TIFF. You cannot convert a TIFF or JPEG to RAW you can only take photographs in RAW. RAW images can be converted to TIFF and JPEG.

2. Rename your image correctly. Include a date, time, and location. You may also want to include the type of camera you use and the lens if you are using a digital SLR camera. The more information the better. Also, make sure the date and time on your digital camera LCD monitor is correct. Change it if it is not.

3. Resize your images using photo editing software. I recommend Adobe Photoshop Elements which is very affordable. You need to understand resolution and how to change file formats for archiving photographs and sending over the Internet. Have you ever received a picture from someone and had it so big you could only see one small portion of the image? You need to avoid that common mistake.

4. Your work is a photograph. A digital photograph is unchanged. If you alter it is it digital media. These same rules apply to any artwork you submit in art competitions. You may lightly change dark and light settings. For instance you could perform an auto enhancement to correct any color imbalance. This is still considered a photograph. Any other more advanced changes and it is digital media.

Michelle Drumheller

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