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Preserve and Protect: Got a Backup Plan for Your Photos?

Don't lose those precious photos. Make sure you've got a backup…

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4.7 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

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Destination Latin America:

Blaine Harrington on photographing Latin America

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Destination Asia: A Showcase for the Storytelling Power of Travel Images

Travel shooter Blaine Harrington offers tips for…

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Create a Visual Meme With Your Photos & Quick Wit!

Learn how to create a Meme with your own digital photographs that you…

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4.7 Rating
'Shooting the Curl' Gets a Whole New Meaning

Welcome to the surf as Clark Little sees it.

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4.8 Rating
Going Solo: A Two-Wheel Photo Journey Across Asia

Photojournalist Eleanor Moseman documents vanishing cultures

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4.4 Rating
For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

Beginner

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10 Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Nature photographer Rod Planck offers tips for shooting colorful fall foliage

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3.8 Rating
Creatively Photographing Objects Up Close

The idea that less is more can be applied to the subject matter in your photos.

Beginner

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4.2 Rating
Route 66 Road Trip

Tom Bol travels Route 66 with a Df D-SLR

Beginner

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3.9 Rating
No Limits: For Better Photos, Think Like a Photojournalist

David Handschuh on thinking like a photojournalist

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Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

An Easy to Use Accessory, Polarizing Filters Bring out the Color and Definition in…

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4.7 Rating
One Shot: No Exit

Bill Durrence on ow a simple change can alter a photo’s feeling

Beginner

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Photographing the US National Parks

Chris Nicholson on photographing in the US National Parks

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20 Tips for Great Graduation Day Photos

Tips for taking great photos of your young graduate on their big day

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You’re the Guest: How to Capture Unique Photos at a Wedding

Abby Liga discusses getting great photos when you're a…

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Top Photography Tips from Nikon School Instructors

Learn photography the easy way, at Nikon School

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Photograph Family and Friends During the Holidays

The holidays are prime picture-taking time. Get some great tips on…

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4.5 Rating
A Photographic Expedition — Easter Island and Patagonia, Chile

Travel to Patagonia and Easter Island for a photographic…

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Understanding Nikon Wireless Connectivity

Learn how to connect your camera and compatible smart device wirelessly

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4.9 Rating
Corey Rich

Adventure photographer Corey Rich is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography and multimedia work.

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4.6 Rating
5 Easy Composition Guidelines

Follow 5 easy tips for better photo compositions

Beginner

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4.3 Rating
Tips for Photographing Mountains

Making the most of mountains in landscape photographs

Beginner

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Photo Tips from Across America

Nikon training specialist, Kristine Bosworth, covers the country and sends photography…

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3.7 Rating
Nikon Capture NX-D Software

Overview of Nikon's software for image processing and editing

Beginner

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4.1 Rating
Active D-Lighting

Active D-Lighting optimizes high contrast images to restore the shadow and highlight details that are…

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Taking Pictures at Dusk and at Night

How do I take pictures at dusk and at night?

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Joel Sartore

Conservation photographer Joel Sartore is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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4.5 Rating
Moose Peterson: How to Photograph Winter Landscapes

Exposing so the Snow’s White and Six Other Tips for Great Winter…

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Tips from a Model Turned Professional Photographer

See how photographer Nancy Brown turned a 20-year modeling career in…

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Shooting Abstract Photos that Make the Viewer Guess

Sometimes showing just a hint of your subject can be more compelling…

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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power
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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

Beginner

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Flash Photography the Easy Way

David Tejada's easy-does-it flash tips

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4.5 Rating
Capturing or Freezing Motion in Photos

Learn how to freeze the motion in an action scene or capture a blur to show…

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3.8 Rating
The Versatile Appeal of the D600

See what makes the D600 an appealing camera

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2.9 Rating
Built-in World Maps

Track where you've been shooting; locate Points of Interest.

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3.9 Rating
Getting Creative with White Balance

Try getting creative with your camera's white balance for some interesting results.

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4.4 Rating
How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

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Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is a phenomenon in which light rays passing through a lens focus at different…

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4.4 Rating
Shooting Spectacular Sunrises and Sunsets

Jim Harmer’s tips for photographing at dawn and dusk

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4.2 Rating
Shooting a Rock Concert

Whether you're taking photos at a major rock concert or at your child's school performance, these…

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Tips For Making Tempting Food Photos

Alison Lyons offers simple tips for taking great photos of food & drink

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Andrew Hancock

Sports photographer Andrew Hancock is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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4.7 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky

Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse

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COOLPIX Cameras and Cool Lighting with Speedlights

Lucas Gilman shows you how to use Speedlights with COOLPIX cameras

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How to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse

Learn the techniques needed to shoot lunar eclipses from Mr. Eclipse, Fred Espenak

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3D Mode

Capture images in 3D for viewing on 3D compatible HDTVs and computers.

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Preserve and Protect: Got a Backup Plan for Your Photos?

That's pretty much a rhetorical question, right? After all, you're here at Learn & Explore at NikonUSA.com, where you've probably been reading about photo techniques, picking up tips from the pros and checking out the latest Nikon gear. If it's one thing you've got nailed, it's protecting the photos you've stored on your computer.

So let's talk briefly about some of the ways you might improve your backup system....

Wait. What? You don't have a backup system? Well, okay, but you've got a plan, right? Not that either. Okay, how about a scheme? A hope?

Actually, we're not surprised.

It was in mid-2009 that the Consumer Electronics Association reported that "nearly one in three consumers don't see the need to back up their files, while nearly a quarter (22 percent) say they aren't backing up files because it's too time consuming." Well, you're thinking that "files" mean every sort of document, not just photos. You're right, but research also reveals that photos account for 85 percent of stored digital files—and the average American adult has 1,800 digital files. So, let's see, 85 percent of 1,800...well, we can all do the math and see the problem.

Here's the scary part: hard drives will fail. It's not a question of if, it's when. They come with an expiration date. They have a life expectancy. They will go down; and very often, it'll be suddenly.

The truth is that it's easy to preserve and protect the precious moments you've captured in pictures.

The easiest way is to simply return to the thrilling days of yesteryear by making prints. Chances are you're already doing that, but if not, it's an easy, secure way of backing up your photos. Prints in albums, prints in frames, prints magnet-clipped to the 'fridge—it's as easy as autofocus.

You can also easily back up your images to CDs or DVDs. Research shows that some 75 percent of folks who back up their files back them up to these disks. It's quick and convenient, and photo retailers do it all the time for their customers. If you want to do it yourself, you can simply use your computer's operating system to burn a CD of your images at the same time you transfer them to your hard drive. Also, software that will back up only new and changed photos is readily available.

Nikon's got a pretty neat piece of software for photo backup. It's called Nikon Transfer and it's a free download from the download section of NikonUSA, plus it comes free with every Nikon digital camera. With it you can set a camera preference that will automatically download your pictures from the camera to a designated picture folder on your hard drive—and at the same time transfer those pictures to a secondary location, like a backup hard drive.

You just need to get into the habit of writing disks whenever you've got a batch of keepers. And remember to keep the keepers "original" files on your hard drive, or write 'em to a second disk. Transferring your photos to a disk and then deleting them from the hard drive isn't backup.

An  ideal choice—and the method preferred by many pro shooters—is to back up photos to dedicated external hard drives. Just connect the backup drive to your computer via USB or FireWire cable and you're pretty much ready to transfer. Almost all external drives comes with free software that'll do the job.

If you're thinking of going the external hard drive route, you'll have to make a size choice. A 500 gigabyte drive will provide plenty of storage, but if you're storing RAW files, or if you do after-capture photo manipulation and end up keeping several versions of the same photo, think bigger. These days, terabyte drives are fairly common (a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes). Remember, if your external drive is the computer's backup, that's fine, but if it's your only photo storage, that's not backup. You'll need two of them.

They key is to back up regularly, back up with a plan, back up as a routine part of uploading new photos to your computer. There are hard drives that make the job a snap; they pretty much do everything for you automatically or do it at one click, backing up new or changed files or folders from your computer's internal hard drive.

Then there's cyberspace. Storing your images to an Internet server is easy, quick and inexpensive. For example, Nikon offers my Picturetown, which provides up to two gigabytes of free storage for your photos (or movies, if you wish) and the option of upgrading to 200 gigs in 20-gig increments for a nominal fee.

The decision on what to do and what to use is yours. A few choice words in the Google search window will get you started—words like "photo backup systems," "digital file backup" or backing up hard drives." If you want some real fun, Google "professional photo backup systems"—now there's some serious stuff.

But be sure to do something about backing up your photos.

We don't know what you shoot, and we don't know anything about your level of interest in photography. But neither of those matter. We do know your photos are important to you. And you know that too.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Memory Cards

Memory cards aren't strictly storage, though they do, of course store captured images. For some folks they're long term storage solutions, but for most, they serve to briefly hold the files until they can be transferred to a computer. Considering that they are the first repositories of your images, here are three quick tips for getting the best performance from them:

  • Delete photos from your computer after downloading, not from the card, one at a time. When you want to empty the entire card, reformat it in the camera.

  • Don't fill the card to the brim with images, stop short of the full measure of pictures. If you're close to filling the card completely, you may not have room for the next couple of photos you're planning to take.

  • Carry several media cards and split the images from an important shoot, just in case. It is what a lot of the pros do.

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