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Stories by Alex Wild

How important are camera bodies?

Philip Ryan thinks Canon and Nikon should be worried: Sony has, once again, radically changed the world of DSLRs with its A77. Plus, it has done so without compromises in the shooting experience or in image quality...

September 27, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: Catching a Sunbeam

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [Nikon Coolpix 995 - 3 megapixel classic digicam from 2001]One frustrating aspect of point-and-shoot cameras is the sheer ugliness of the on-camera flash...

September 15, 2011 — Alex Wild

Why are media insects misidentified?

Here's a book cover that reliably sends entomologists into hysterics:What's so funny?Well, that's not a bee. In fact, this insect last shared an ancestor with a bee over 350 million years ago...

September 12, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: lighting is more important than camera

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [ Canon Powershot SX10 IS - $210; off-camera Canon 430EX II flash- $200; Raynox DCR 250 macro converter - $60; Cowboy Studio NPT-04 wireless remote strobe trigger - $22; DIY white box - free]If you're wondering why Compound Eye has been quiet this week, the hiatus is because I've been off instructing the BugShot insect photography workshop...

September 8, 2011 — Alex Wild

Creative Commons Is Not Public Domain

I do not Creative Commons license my images.The reason is simple : I am evil consumers of Creative Commons licenses do not understand them. In particular, they seem to miss one key bit of information: Creative Commons licences are contracts...

August 28, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: Insect Wings on a Cheap Scanner

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [HP deskjet F4280 printer/scanner - $150]A few weeks ago I took wings off a dead periodical cicada and stuck them in my basic desktop scanner/printer/copier just to see what the machine could do...

August 25, 2011 — Alex Wild

Reader Photo: The Python's Shape

I love this simple shot, submitted by herpetological photographer Stephen Zozaya.In fact, I like the photo so much I'll use it to illustrate a general point about photographic composition...

August 22, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: The iPhone looks at a Spiny Spider

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [taken with an Apple iPhone 3G & $20 macro lens]There's a cliché in photography that the best camera is the one you have with you...

August 18, 2011 — Alex Wild

Google's Reverse Image Search

Earlier this summer Google quietly embedded a powerful new tool in their image works: the reverse search.The concept is simple. Drag an image into the search bar (as above), and Google will return locations where the same image appears on the web...

August 16, 2011 — Alex Wild

Organic Honey Is A Sweet Illusion

Forgive the off-topic post, but today is Food Day here at Scientific American. As I teach a university beekeeping class, I'd like to talk about honey .Considering the revered place of honey as the oldest natural sweetener, and considering that its insect makers- honey bees- are highly intolerant of pesticides, you might think honey would be the easiest food crop to produce for the "organic" food market...

August 11, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: The Magic DNA Machine

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3]Captured with an inexpensive Panasonic point-and-shoot camera, the above photograph of a thermal cycler is beyond the abilities of standard professional-grade SLR equipment...

August 11, 2011 — Alex Wild

Powerpoint Peeves #1: The Pointlessness of Thumbnail Images

Here is a slide appearing in 4 of every 5 conference presentations. If you've seen any Science By Powerpoint it should look familiar:It's the slide with bullet points and a tiny image in the corner.Some talks consist entirely of this format, repeated 30 times over...

August 8, 2011 — Alex Wild

Reader Photo: Widow in the Web

Sean McCann's flickr photostream has some gems, including this photo of a female widow spider:The dramatic impact of this photo, in my opinion, is due to lighting from the side.

August 5, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: the Mantid's Shadow

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3]The on-camera flash options for a small digicam are pretty awful.

August 4, 2011 — Alex Wild

How much should blog images be compressed?

The tech gurus behind the scenes at Scientific American have been working out kinks in our new network, and some of the issues relate to image size & storage.

August 1, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: Mining through Columbine

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [HP deskjet F4280 printer/scanner - $150]For capturing two-dimensional subjects like leaves or insect wings, a simple desktop scanner will often suffice...

July 28, 2011 — Alex Wild
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