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3.3 Rating
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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4.5 Rating
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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4.3 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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Photographing the US National Parks

Chris Nicholson on photographing in the US National Parks

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Want Better Landscape Photos? First Check Your Definition of "Landscape"

Tony Sweet offers tips for better landscape…

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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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4.2 Rating
Top Photography Tips from Nikon School Instructors

Learn photography the easy way, at Nikon School

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

Travel to Patagonia and Easter Island for a photographic…

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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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3.7 Rating
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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3.7 Rating
Nikon Capture NX-D Software

Overview of Nikon's software for image processing and editing

Beginner

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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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3.7 Rating
Chromatic Aberration

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

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3.8 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
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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4.6 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky

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

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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
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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4.7 Rating
3D Mode

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

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4.6 Rating
In the Tradition

Legacy Nikon underwater cameras

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4.3 Rating
Getting Creative with Photos and Video

Tell better stories using the myriad of fun and artistic features built into Nikon…

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4.5 Rating
John Shaw: A Photographer's Vision Simplified

See how one of the foremost nature, outdoor and natural history…

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4.6 Rating
One Shot: Crop Factor

Carol Freeman field tests the new AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

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4.3 Rating
One Shot: See a Puddle, Make a Picture...or Two

Randy Ziegler on the importance of patience while out shooting

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4.6 Rating
How-To Take Great Photos at the Aquarium

Tips for photographing the fish and creatures that live under water

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4.4 Rating
How To Grow Your Garden Photography Skills

Taking great photographs of your own garden is easy with a few simple tips

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3.2 Rating
Smart Portrait System

Nikon’s Smart Portrait System incorporates into COOLPIX cameras a series of automatic functions,…

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2.9 Rating
What to do When you Need Stills while Shooting HD Video

Shoot simultaneously or save a frame options with the D4 or D4s…

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GPS

Embed GPS data in your images and track where you've been.

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4.1 Rating
Getting Started: Memory Cards and Batteries

Take care of the little things, and you'll be ready for the big things.

Beginner

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AF Area Modes
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AF Area Modes

Nikon’s three AF area modes—single point AF, dynamic area AF and auto area AF—are designed to handle any…

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Night Photography

Reed Hoffmann's tips for great night photography

Beginner

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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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