Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone by John Dersham

Happy New Year from DeKalb Tourism. We hope you have a blessed and wonderful new year.
In case you are traveling for the New Year’s holiday I thought I would pass along some information on where to go and what destinations around the USA and world bring in the most people for their New Year’s celebrations.
I happened to see a quiz on the news the other night. They asked us to name the number one New Years tourist destination in the USA. I suppose most people like me guessed New York City. According to USA Today the award goes to Orlando who claims they will have 53 million visitors in 2012 as opposed to 50 million for New York City. Orlando’s tourism department “Visit Orlando” claims their numbers are calculated for people come from 50 miles or more. This is a standard tourism calculation. New York City claims Orlando includes a much larger geography in their count which includes multiple counties and New York’s number is only the city and its boroughs. Visit Orlando claims they will have the highest number of tourists in the US for New Year’s celebrations.
Travelocity travel experts have compiled a list of the top 10 New Year’s Eve destinations in the country where travelers can celebrate the New Year, based on Travelocity bookings. From big cities to laid-back beaches and mountain hideaways, the list reveals the diverse locations where travelers plan to welcome 2012.
Top Ten United States
1-Orlando 2-New York City 3-South Florida 4-Las Vegas 5-Los Angeles 6- Denver 7-Cancun 8-San Francisco 9-Phoenix 10-Chicago.
If you have an international preference here is a list of the top ten New Years destinations according to
1-Sydney, Australia 2-New York City 3-Berlin, Germany 4-London, England 5-Toronto, Ontario 6-Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 7-Tokoyo, Japan 8-Los Angeles 9-Paris, France 10- Disney World Orlando.
To hear more about these destinations and how the rating was determined you can go to the following websites for more information. and

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Photography Tips for the Holiday Season and Beyond by John Dersham

Tips for Holiday pictures: Most digital cameras have very good low light sensors. This means you can take pictures in your living room in low light. Unless your room has a lot of window light, I recommend you use your camera flash. It helps fill in shadows and people will look better. Try to shoot close to your subject so you do not have too much in your scene that is not part of your subject. To shoot nice portraits use window light. Place your subject near a window and look at their faces to make sure shadows do not fall in the wrong places. Hold your camera level and still. Use your camera viewfinder to compose, if it has one. If you are shooting at night and want a good Christmas tree picture and you want it to look like it is night, then turn off your flash and sit the camera on a tripod or other stable hard surface to keep it from shaking during exposure. You should not hand hold a camera with a shutter speed of less than 1/30 of a second. Set your ISO on your camera to at least 800 to 2000 for nighttime interior scenes. Remember to switch it back to 200-400 when outside. Take time to compose your pictures before you shoot them. This will help you have more interesting compositions. Remember, the purpose of photography is to record history. Once you snap the picture it becomes history. Careful consideration of composition will give you pictures that you will want to look at over and over. Download your pictures often and file them with a description as well as the date. Back up your pictures to a CD or another off line backup system. You do not want to lose your valuable memories the next time your computer crashes. I suggest you have the pictures you like best printed on photographic paper at a lab, like Walgreens or Wal-Mart. Photographic paper will last 100 years or more, as long as they are not hanging in direct daylight.
Here are some more tips:
• Good lighting: For scenery shots the best time is early or late in the day. This time of year you should try 8:00am through 11:00 am and 2:00pm through 4:00pm. When the sun is at an angle in the sky the quality of lighting on your scene is much more interesting than when the sun is straight up as it is mid-day.
• Use your flash: When shooting people outside at a range of ten feet or closer, always use your flash. This helps eliminate unsightly shadows on your subjects’ faces.
• Hold your camera level: If you hold your camera level and parallel to your scene you will avoid distortion. Example: when you are at the beach, water is always level. If you hold your camera at even the slightest angle your water will look like it is going uphill. It is easy to tell if your camera is level by looking at the horizon line of your ocean view. If it is a straight line and not angled, then your camera is being held level. The same holds true for shooting landscapes, buildings, road scenes, etc.
• Composition: Good pictures are composed like a piece of art. Before you take a picture look at your available angles. Pick angles that flatter your scene by having a leading line running from the foreground into your scene. Do not crop important subjects too close the edge of the scene. Your horizon line should not be in the middle of your scene, in most cases your foreground should lead into the primary subject with the sky being a third or less of the scene, unless a primary element of the scene is the sky. Remember to hold your camera level and steady. Look at your lighting, shoot at angles where the lighting contributes to your composition. It is best when your primary subject is not in the dead center of the picture. It should be up or down or left or right of center.
• Use your viewfinder: If you have a viewfinder on your camera it is better to compose through it and not through the LCD panel on the back of your digital camera. Using the LCD panel is less stable, is prone to not holding the camera level and is harder to see your composition, especially outside. If your camera can only be used by viewing through a LCD panel then be aware of camera stability and composition.
• Hold your camera with both hands: Your camera should be held steadily using two hands with the camera held squarely and firmly. One hand shots are unsteady and will rarely be held level and parallel to the scene. This is true even if you are shooting at an unusual angle like down on the ground or crouched.
• Make sure when taking pictures of people, their faces are well lighted and do not have unattractive shadows on their faces. Make sure the background behind your subject is simple and free of distractive clutter, such as trees that appear to be growing out of your subjects head.
• If you are shooting a picture that is intended to deliver a message, such as a festival or fair, make sure you show people in the scene doing things and laughing and smiling. Show kids and babies. Show the action of people participating in the event. When promoting tourism or an attraction, you want it to look well attended.
• Shoot your digital pictures on your camera’s highest resolution then resize them smaller if needed for internet use or small print sizes.
• Download your pictures to your computer chronologically and by subject. Make them easy to find no matter how many folders you have.
• Always back up your image files and keep them stored in a different physical location. Use a storage service or back up to CD, thumb drive or other external drive and store those items in a different building or a safety deposit box. Remember, the purpose of photographs is to capture a moment in time, permanently. Losing your images due to computer crashes or accidental catalog problems is very disappointing and can be an irreplaceable loss.