Thursday, June 29, 2017

Protect yourself from the latest ransomware attack.

After investigating the Petya ransomware, Cybereason security researcher Amit Serper realized that if the malware is downloaded and executes on an infected system, the ransomware looks for a specific local file and will both exit and not encrypt a system if that file is found.

Potential victims, which have not -- or for whatever reason, cannot -- patch their systems can create a file, set it to read-only, and block the ransomware from executing.

In order to enable the preventative measure, an extensionless file [ a notepad text file with the .txt removed ] called perfc needs to be created in the C:\Windows folder and made read-only.

clip_image002The first step is to enable Windows extensions. Open Control Panel / Appearance and Personalization.  Now, click on Folder Options or File Explorer Option, as it is now called / View tab. In this tab, under Advance Settings, you will see the option Hide extensions for known file types. Uncheck this option and click on Apply and OK.

Now, you can see file extensions for all files anywhere on your Windows system.

The C:\Windows folder should then be opened, and on your Desktop open the Notepad application. Create a file called perfc, press enter, and make sure there is no extension added. Now the file has been created, right-click the file and select Properties, and check "Read-only." With your File Explorer open but reduced in size and the perfc file showing on the Desktop, move this file to the Windows folder.

You should now have the file in the correct place to display C:\Windows\perfc.


Other researchers later confirmed the discovery, although some noted that creating a perfc.dat file as well is likely to help.

This is not a kill-switch for Petya. As of the time of writing, no researcher has been able to find a way to create one to shut down the campaign. However, this is a measure that can protect individual systems -- at least, for now.

As the workaround is now public, it is possible the Petya operators will modify the malware's source to negate these defenses. Patching, as in many cases, is king.

If you have been the unfortunate victim of the latest global ransomware outbreak, you should not, under any circumstances, pay the ransom.

While some ransomware strains dangle the carrot in order to force you to pay up, there is no point paying in this case. The email address set to slurp up $300 blackmail payments in return for supposed decryption has been blocked.

Unfortunately, there is no way to retrieve lost and encrypted files caused by this attack, and so the best advice which can be offered at the moment is to restore a backup if you can or keep the system in the hopes that researchers will be able to develop a free decryption key.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Photographing Level Horizons

Use a tripod. It helps keep your camera steady - in any position you select - so you can compose your picture more precisely.

    Some SLR cameras accept interchangeable viewfinder screens. A particularly useful one is the architectural-style grid, which comes with etched lines (both horizontal and vertical) that assist with lining up horizons and assorted other compositional references.

    A bubble level often tips you off to any tilting. Some tripods come equipped with a level; otherwise, an add-on accessory is available that slips onto the camera's flash shoe. But remember: Such a bubble is NOT foolproof (see next item).

    Trust your eye: On occasion, the horizon may not look right, even though the camera appears perfectly level ... and even though the bubble level confirms it. In those cases, you may need to actually slant the camera ever so slightly in order to keep the image visually level. I've found that this sort of thing happens most often with slightly sloping ridgelines, lakes that include opposite shorelines, and similar scenes ... so that even though, technically, these lines should slant a bit, they actually appear tilted in the photograph. Thus, levelling them out would be recommended!

    After composing your shot, perform this last-minute task: Check the viewfinder to see if things look "right." Specifically: Is there the same amount of sky AND the same amount of land (or sea) on each side of the picture frame?

Lastly: Think of these horizon-line suggestions as take-it-or-leave-it guidelines that you consider thoughtfully, not as hard-and-fast orders that you follow mindlessly. For example, intentionally "rocking the photographic boat" - i.e., with a severe slant - could result in a visually striking "diagonal" image!

About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kerry Drager
Kerry Drager is a professional photographer, teacher and writer who is also the co-author of two books: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography and The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light. He has taught many photography courses (online and in person), seminars and field workshops.
Be sure to check out Kerry's website -

Friday, May 26, 2017

Few of us know how to capture strong emotion

Many of us know how to capture a good composition (there are tons of tutorials on the web about this).

However very few of us know how to capture strong emotion in a photograph.

To me, emotion is more important than composition in a frame. Why? Because emotion is what hits us in the gut, and burns itself into our memory. A photograph without emotion is dead.

Not only that, but as humans— we are emotionally-driven creatures. Anything that strikes fear, excitement, or novelty into our minds will be more memorable.

But what is the best way to capture emotion? Some suggestions:

    Hand-gestures: If your subject leaning their body against their fist? Is your subject scratching his chin? Is your subject giving you the middle-finger? Try not to photograph your subject with their hands just by their sides. Try to engage them to make an interesting hand-gesture by commenting on their face, hair, or bodily accessories. Or be patient and wait until your subject makes an interesting hand-gesture— then photograph.
     Body-language: Is your subject slouched over, or standing upright? Is your subject leaning towards someone, or leaning backwards? A person’s body-language shows a lot of their emotion, and inner-thoughts. Also as a tip, if you mimic the body language of another person, you can better empathize and feel their emotions.
     Eye contact: The saying: “Eyes are the windows to the soul” is very true. A photograph with strong eye contact can strike fear, excitement, or sensuality into our photographs. It is very difficult to make sustained eye-contact with someone else, that is why whenever we make a photograph with strong eye-contact, it tends to be more memorable. Experiment making photos with your subjects looking directly into the lens and away.
     Aesthetics: You can feel certain emotions in a photograph based on the aesthetics. For example, a black and white photograph will tend to feel more nostalgic, sad, and retrospective. A vibrant color photograph shows more excitement, joy, and has a more contemporary flavor. There is no “right” or “wrong” type of post-processing to use in your work — but know that the aesthetics of an image will affect the emotion.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

viewbug - Photography community.

Viewbug is a website that is useful for both the enthusiastic amateur, and the professional or would-be professional photographer. The different levels of membership, from free to premium gold, mean that users with different interests and requirements can all get a lot out of the site.

All levels of ViewBug membership entitle a user to upload photographs, transfer them from other upload sites such as Flickr, and edit and back up images. It's also possible to watermark images to protect the user's digital copyright. Unlike many similar watermarking options online, Viewbug's is actually easy to use. There are also a selection of editing tools available, which are good, but not comparable to expensive, paid-for software such as Photoshop.

All ViewBug membership levels entitle a user to set categories of who may view an image. This can be the world at large, a specified group of people, or an image can be kept entirely private. Users may set up journals which are groups of images in one of two templates, accompanied by titles and text as desired, 3d slideshows (limited numbers, and for paid memberships only), and albums of their own images.

The only down side to this site is that you have to earn so many points before you can really get into the special invitation areas, but if you keep at it every day then after awhile it stars paying off. has a BugFavorite section to promote and present original material from creative users in order to help attract more views for these users.

Have a look at viewbug

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What is the difference between Lightroom and photoshop express?


    is a photo editor, you open an image, edit, save and close.
    It has more tools to edit images, using selection tools,  filters,  layers etc.
    You manage your folders yourself.


    Is a way to organize your library, you start a catalogue and use the program to import your pictures.
    While not to be surpassed the editing toolbox is not as extensive as that of Photoshop.
    Native Raw support, so editing happens in the software, giving a fast workflow.
    Edits are all saved in a sidecar file along with a database,  so everything is non destructive
    When you need your photos outside the program, you need to export  them eg as jpg - because the original is untouched, edits are only visible in Lightroom unless you export them to a new file.

These descriptions can be applied to both the computer programs as their equivalent apps on mobile devices.

The bigger difference is that Photoshop on mobile devices can be used as a standalone app. Lightroom on mobile needs the software on the computer. You then link the app to the library on your computer. On your computer you choose the files you wish to share with the mobile app. You can then see them on your mobile device, and even edit them. The edits you make on either device will be synced to the other.

So the mobile Lightroom app is useless without the software on your computer.

by Jon Waterschoot

Sunday, February 28, 2016

10 best photography tips for beginners

New to photography? Need some beginner-friendly photo tips to help you get up and running with your camera? We can help.
Digital photography can be daunting when you’re a beginner. All the confusing camera controls, customization options and photography jargon – it’s bewildering.
This starter’s guide should help cut through some of the confusion. We’ll show you how to set up your camera so that you can quickly start taking better photos.
This isn’t simply an abridged version of your camera manual though. Rather, it’s a hand-picked assortment of 10 of our best beginner photo tips that will help you become a more confident photographer.

1. Don’t stress about the quality of your digital camera.

It’s easy to find yourself going round in circles when it comes to photographic equipment, and all too easy to believe that the camera gear you own is holding you back. But really, it isn’t: any camera is capable of producing a stunning picture.
Yes, there are some digital cameras that will give you a wider dynamic range and others that may have a more responsive AF system.
But ultimately, the success of a photo comes down to its composition – what you choose to include (and leave out) of the picture, and how you arrange it in the frame.

2. Choose the right shooting mode for the job.

Your digital camera’s scene modes are fine for snapshots, but if you want to take more creative photos then step up to the more advanced semi-automatic shooting modes.
Aperture Priority (A or Av on the mode dial) is the one to choose if you want to control the depth of field – how sharp your photos are from front to back. As a result, it’s a smart choice for portraits, landscapes, macro photos – pretty much everything!
Aperture Priority is a semi-automatic mode: you set the aperture, and the camera then sets a corresponding shutter speed for a ‘correct’ exposure, based on the camera’s reading of the scene.
Shutter Priority (S or Tv) works the same way, although you control the shutter speed instead, with the camera setting an appropriate aperture. This makes it a good shooting mode to plump for when you’re shooting sports and action.
Program mode (P) is like an advanced fully automatic mode, where the camera sets both the aperture and shutter speed.
However, you can rotate the camera dial to ‘shift’ the aperture and shutter speed combination in order to get a different effect while still maintaining the same overall exposure.
This makes Program mode a good choice for on-the-fly shooting where you just want to be sure you’re going to get the shot.

3. Don’t feel you have to use the camera manually.

We’re first to champion the benefits of taking as much control back from the camera as possible for consistent results. But here’s the thing: many of the automatic camera settings give perfectly good results.
Take white balance, for instance. The Auto White Balance (AWB) setting does a decent job in many situations. It may go a bit squiffy in mixed lighting, and it can leave sunsets looking a bit insipid, but overall it’s pretty good at neutralising unwanted colour casts.
The camera’s autofocus system is generally a much faster option than manual focus – although you’ll get more accurate results if you tell the camera where you want it to focus by manually selecting one of the AF points in the viewfinder.
Auto ISO can be another life-saver. Here, the camera will raise and lower the ISO sensitivity as you move from dark to bright conditions, improving your chances of taking a sharp photo.

4. Wait for the right light.

This is what photography is all about, really: thinking about the light in terms of its quality, quantity and direction, and how it suits the subject.
To reveal detail and reduce the contrast of a scene, shoot when the light is soft and diffused. Outdoor portraits and macro photos look great when shot under bright but overcast skies. Less so at midday on a bright, clear day – the light is just too harsh.
Landscape photographers set their alarms for the early hours for a reason. The rich, raking light at sunrise (and sunset) adds warmth and texture to rural and coastal shots.
Experiment with back lighting and taking photos when a subject is lit from the side for more dramatic results. Shoot with the sun behind you by all means, but make sure your shadow doesn’t creep into the photo.
In short, keep an eye on the light and find a camera position that best takes advantage of it.

5. Why it’s better to shoot in RAW.

Most digital cameras offers a choice of two file formats to record photos in: RAW and JPEG.
If you save your photos as JPEGs, then all the choices you make in the camera will be locked into the final image.
If you find that your pictures are too dark or too bright, or the colours looks wrong, then you’ll have no option to try and fix them in Photoshop or similar image-editing software.
The problem is that JPEGs are a compromise: compared to some other file formats, they’re heavily compressed, and the quality gets progressively worse as you make further edits and continue saving the file. However, if you save a photo as a RAW file, then you’re just saving all the raw data from the camera.
In fact, all digital photos are shot in the RAW file format. It’s just that if you use the JPEG option on the camera, then it processes the raw data and saves the resulting JPEG to the memory card.
If you choose to save images as RAW files rather than JPEGs, then you have to process the images yourself, either in-camera with a compatible model or in software such as Lightroom.
Saving the RAW file enable you to go back in time: you can change some of the picture settings after you’ve taken the shot.
Want to try a different white balance or Picture Style, or tweak the exposure and sharpness? You can with RAW.
You won’t be able to change the aperture, shutter speed, ISO or focus point though, so get these photography fundamentals right at the time of shooting.

6. Avoid ‘clipped’ highlights.

If a photo is overexposed, then there’s a risk of all detail being bleached out of the brighter areas. These ‘blown’ or ‘clipped’ highlights look ugly, and it’s usually preferable to make sure you prevent this happening when you take the shot.
To do this, first find your camera’s brightness histogram – the graph that can be displayed alongside a photo during playback or Live View.
This is your at-a-glance guide to the picture’s exposure. The highlights are on the right (hey, it rhymes…) and the shadows are on the left. Or at least, that’s where they should be.
If the histogram is pushed up towards the right-hand side of the display, then the picture may be overexposed. You can double-check this by activating your camera’s Highlight Alert function, which you’ll find in the Playback menu. It causes areas of the picture that are potentially overexposed to blink when you play back an image.
If you this happens, learn how to use your camera’s Exposure Compensation function to reduce the exposure and take another shot.

7. Listen to the shutter speed.

There are many reasons why you can end up with a blurred photo, including the wrong autofocus mode being set on the camera and the lens not being focused in the right place.
But it’s the choice of shutter speed that makes a massive difference to how sharp your photos are.
The rule of thumb is that it needs to be equivalent to the focal length of the lens – so 1/50sec for a 50mm lens – or faster to be able to get sharp handheld pictures.
It’s easy to forget to check the shutter speed when you’re concentrating on getting the shot though. So keep your ears peeled: if you can hear the shutter both opening and closing, the chances are you’ll end up with a blurred photo.

8. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

The top professional photographers (the credible, consistent, creative ones) didn’t wake up one day, decide they were going to be photographers and immediately start taking great photos.
They did what the rest of us did: fumbled awkwardly with dials and buttons, became disheartened when their pictures turned out too dark or too bright and felt a flutter of excitement when they managed to take a sharp photo.
As landscape legend Ansel Adams is widely quoted as saying, ’12 significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.’
If one of the world’s greatest photographers wasn’t too worried about his hit rate, neither should you be about yours.

9. Kill the beep.

You know, the annoying beep that happens when your camera gets something in focus. It may not improve your photography, but it’ll make the process more enjoyable for you and everyone around you.

10. Look at the background first.

The quality of the background can make or break a photo, never mind how stunning your subject is.
Keep an eye out for bright and colourful objects and other elements that draw attention away from the focal point.
One day, you just might be lucky enough to have persuaded Angelina Jolie to pout in front of your lens. Honestly, you might.
But if there’s a flashy red car in the background or a telegraph pole appearing to sprout from her head, all eyes will be on those distractions instead. Ange is not going to thank you for this, trust us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Composition mistakes photographers make (and how to avoid them)

Do your images often look slightly off? We’ll help steer you right by avoiding these ten common composition mistakes and so you can start taking better photographs.

1. Subject too small in the frame
Our brains do a great job of zooming in on a subject and somehow excluding the surroundings, but when you look at an image they become obvious while the subject seems small and inconsequential in the frame. Before you take a shot consider whether it would look better if you took a few steps forward or zoomed in a little with your lens so the subject really fills the frame.

2. Shooting straight-on
Many novices get preoccupied with finding a subject and forget to think about how they’re going to photograph it. If you shoot a subject straight-on you will record its appearance, but you may fail to capture any context or atmosphere.

When you’re shooting a flower in a garden, for example, rather than shooting it straight-on from the edge of the bed, think about shooting it from the side so you have the rest of the flowerbed extending into the distance to give a sense of the huge number of blooms and the depth of colour.

3. Subject in the middle
Although a central subject can sometimes work it’s often better to shoot with it over to one side following the ‘rule of thirds’.  Many cameras are capable of showing a grid in the viewfinder and/or screen that can can help with this rule by splitting the scene into three equally sized columns and three equally sized rows. Your main subject should be positioned where two of the lines cross, with other image elements being located along the grid lines.

4. Nothing in the foreground
Whether you’re shooting a landscape or a still life image it pays to have something in the foreground to give the shot depth, add some scale and help draw the viewer’s eye. As well as being a waste of space, an empty foreground can act as a barrier to the eye that you feel you have to peer over.

Whether its a clump of flowers, a rock or tidemarks in the sand, most landscapes have something that can be used to inject a little interest into the foreground. When you’re constructing a still life scene it’s up to you to put something in the right place.

5. Deciding aspect ratio post capture
This point often goes hand-in-hand with an empty foreground because there’s a tendency to crop to remove the blank space and improve the composition. Post-capture cropping is fine, but you’ll usually find you make better images if you consider the aspect ratio at the shooting stage. Many cameras allow you to set aspect ratio so you can see different cropping in the viewfinder or on the main screen before taking the shot.

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