Thursday, 17 January 2008

Photography Tips

Courtesy Of The New York Institute Of Photography

What's your biggest problem when you take pictures of your favorite kid or adult at the beach? According to the world's largest photography school, New York Institute of Photography (NYI), it's not the he-man who'll kick sand in your face. It's too much sun on your subject's face!

They're not talking about the ozone layer or a bad sun-burn. They're talking about direct sunlight rendering some areas of the face too bright for your film and others too dark. And they're talking about keeping your subject from squinting.

It's easy to solve these problems, according to NYI. First, they suggest, don't follow the old Kodak advice of shooting with the sun behind you over your shoulder. Rather, try to shoot when your subject's face is in the shade. For example, wait for a cloud to blot out the direct sunlight. Or shoot on an overcast day. Don't put your camera away when it's overcast. According to NYI, overcast light is even better for closeup portraits. Or move your subject into a shadow area - for example, under the shadow of an umbrella, a boardwalk, or a lakeside tree. In all these cases, you've eliminated both problems - bright highlights/dark shadows and the squint - by taking the direct sun off your subject's face. The resulting closeup portraits can be stunning.

Second, if you can't find any shade, try turning your subject until he or she doesn't squint any more. Then add light by using your strobe. It may sound crazy to use a strobe because you have too much light, but it works. The light from your strobe fills in the too-dark shadow areas on the face, producing a far better image on the film. You probably have a "fill-flash" setting on your point-and-shoot. NYI says, this is the time to use it.

For additional tips and tricks to help you take better pictures when you travel on vacation, visit the New York Institute of Photography web site at

Fun At The Beach -- Beach Tips & Packing Lists

By Amanda Formaro

If you live near a beach, whether it be the ocean or a lake, it's a great way to enjoy time with your kids and keep away the boredom bug. If you don't live near the water, but are planning a vacation to the beach, here's a list of items that are a must have!


This is probably the most important item in your beach bag. Make sure that you have sufficient sunscreen protection for yourself and your children. The sun's ultraviolet rays are at their strongest during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., so limit your time in the sun during those hours. Choose a sunscreen lotion that is at the very least 15 SPF, more appropriate for children is an SPF of 30 or more. Be sure to adequately apply the sunscreen to all exposed skin, including ears, nose, and neck. Speak to your doctor about sunscreen and babies under 6 months of age.

Don't forget your lips!

Bring along sun protective lip balm with an SPF of 15 or more. An Aloe based after sun lotion is a great way to soothe your skin after a day in the sun, apply after your day at the beach.

Protective Barriers

Sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays, sun hats with brims, and beach umbrellas are all wonderful items to have along for added protection.

Babies under 6 months old should wear protective clothing, a brimmed sun hat, and if possible, baby sunglasses that protect from harmful UV rays. Babies should not spend a lot of time in the sun, but when they are, keep them protected!

A first aid kit with band aids, an antibiotic cream, and other essentials is an excellent idea as well.

Chairs & Blanket

There are chairs made specifically for the beach, they sit low to the ground and fold up neatly, often they include a handy shoulder strap. Don't count on the beach having chairs for its guests.

A blanket is another nice thing to bring along. Not only is it comfortable to sit on, but it's a welcome comfort from the hot sand on bare feet.

Sand & Water Toys

Kids love digging and building in the sand, it's a must for a beach visit. There is a huge variety of toys on the market made specifically for water play. Nerf balls and lightweight canvas Frisbee discs are great because they float and often come in neon colors so they can be seen easily. Don't forget the standard shovels and pails, sand diggers, and sand sifters -- great for building sand castles, sifting for shells and rocks, and pouring water into makeshift motes.

Bring along a plastic jar to collect shells. A butterfly or small fishing net can be loads of fun for catching small minnows near lake shorelines. And let's not forget the old beach standby, the beach ball. Squirting water toys are also a blast and can keep the kids busy for hours. Goggles and water masks are great, but can be easily lost in the water. Be sure to bring along extras. There are hundreds of different kinds of beach and water toys, bring along what your family will enjoy.

Floatation Devices

Most public beaches do not allow items such as floating rafts, noodles, or "arm floaties" as they are not Coast Guard approved swim or safety wear. Check with your beach lifeguards or town officials to see what they will or will not allow.

Coast Guard approved life jackets are welcome and recommended for young swimmers, even those who have recently learned to swim, for safety purposes. Many beaches offer free loaner lifejackets, or they offer them for a nominal fee.

Extra Towels

Bring towels along for each member of your family, this goes without saying. Bringing along an extra or two cannot hurt, especially if little Timmy decides to take his into the water with him.

Water & Snacks

Being in the sun can quickly dehydrate you. Bring along bottled water, enough for everyone in your family. Check with your beach and see if coolers are allowed so that you can keep it nice and cold.

If your beach does allow coolers, this is a great way to save money on snacks. Instead of buying from the beach concession stand, bring along fresh fruit, pretzels, cold sandwiches and carrot sticks.

Extra Clothing

Bringing along an extra T-shirt or pair of shorts is not a bad idea. If your beach trip will continue on into the evening, bring a windbreaker or sweat jacket for everyone, just in case the temperature dips down. Be sure that everyone has adequate footwear, swim shoes are a great idea as well, especially for rocky beaches.

Preserving Memories

Don't forget your camera! You can purchase waterproof disposable cameras to capture all of those sunny moments. Inexpensive disposable cameras are even available for underwater use.

Your Beach Survival Kit

Now that you are ready to head off to the beach, here's a summarization of everything we have suggested. Check each item off to see if you are ready to roll!

___ sunscreen (at least 15 SPF)
___ lip balm
___ aloe after sun lotion
___ first aid kit
___ sun hat
___ sunglasses
___ beach umbrella
___ chairs blanket
___ pail & shovel
___ Nerf type ball and/or lightweight nylon Frisbee disc
___ sand digger and sifter
___ goggles or masks
___ plastic jar for collecting shells
___ life jackets
___ towels (and extras)
___ bottled water
___ snacks (if allowable)
___ extra clothing and footwear
___ water/swim shoes
___ waterproof disposable camera

Preserving Nature

A special note: remember, if you find live snails, crabs, fish, starfish, or other underwater lifeforms, observe them, then put them back. Only take home empty shells, fossilized starfish, and rocks. Enjoy your trip to the beach. Be sure to discuss water safety with your kids before going.

taken from

Sunbathing in Libya

From Anouk Zijlma

If you enjoy the souqs and medinas of Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco then you'll love Libya. No, this isn't a joke; Libya really is a fine tourist destination. Perhaps the best thing about traveling in Libya is that it is relatively hassle free since not many tourists actually go there. You can shop in peace at the bazaars and enjoy the fabulous portraits of Gaddafi that hang everywhere.

Other highlights include:
Leptis Magna: One of the best preserved Roman cities along the Mediterranean.
Ghadhames: A ghost town famous for its desert architecture and labyrinth streets.
Cyrene: The most important Greek city in Africa dating back to the 7th century BC. Its cliff top setting is spectacular and you may even find yourself alone at this World Heritage site.
Benghazi: Libya's second city has a lively old town (medina) with excellent souqs(bazaars).

Getting to Libya isn't as difficult as it was a few years ago since international airlines are allowed to fly into the country again. Transport within the country is decent but it is recommended you take a tour. Only a few people speak English and tourism is not very well developed so facilities can be scarce even at the World Heritage sites.

taken from

Morro de São Paulo - Bahia (Paraíso)

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Healthy Sunbathing Tips for All Tanners

Photo credit: Alex Bramwell

With all of the increased attention placed on tanning beds there are many individuals who are using the natural sun to achieve their tan. Many individuals all around the world can sunbath over half of the year, but others may only get a few months of valuable sunbathing time. Regardless of how much time you have to get a natural tan you are still encouraged to remember that that sunbathing is not completely safe.

Naturally bathing in the sun is safer than tanning beds; however, there are still risks associated with it. There are a number of sunbathing safety tips that natural tanners can use. These tips are not guaranteed to prevent a sunbather from getting burned or developing skin problems, but they may help reduce the risk and keep you healthy.

Sunbathers are encouraged to use sunscreen. You may be wondering why you should use screen when the point of sunbathing is to get a sun tan. Sun screen is used to protect your skin; however, it will not necessarily prevent yourself from getting a sun tan. Even if a sun screen with a low SPF is used it is still better than not having anything to protect your skin.

An avid sunbather can not just apply sunscreen once and then leave it at that. Sunbathers are encouraged to regularly apply sun screen to their body every few hours. This time may need to be increased depending on a few factors. Even though there are sunscreens that claim to be waterproof they do not always offer the same results after coming into contact with water. Sunbathers who swim or sweat a lot while sun bathing are encouraged to reapply their sunscreen even more often. Occasionally adding additional sunscreen will not prevent yourselves from achieving a tan.

Many sunbathers plan on a particular time to go sunbathing each day and others sunbath whenever they have a few extra minutes. When scheduling a time to sunbath you are encouraged to remember that the sun in most of the United States is extremely powerful from ten in the morning till around three in the afternoon. At this time the ultraviolet rays being produced by the sun are greater than normal. Sunbathers are encouraged to sunbath around those hours. It is important to remember that you do not have to tan between ten and three just to get a tan. A tan can be obtained just about anytime that the sun is out and shinning.

The skin is not the only other part of the body that can be damaged due to sun exposure. The eyes are sensitive to the sun and ultraviolet rays. When using a tanning bed at a tanning salon all tanners are required or encouraged to wear protective eye gear and the same should go for natural sunbathing. Sunglasses come in all different shapes and sizes; therefore, the smaller the glasses are the less likely it is that tan lines will appear on your face.

Sunbathing outside in the sun can not only get you a great tan, but it could also be fun. There are many natural sunbathers who enjoy the sun and spending time outside. While sunless tanning lotions and sunless tanning sprays are the safest ways to get a tan it is possible that your actions can help reduce the dangers.

taken from