Photo Tip Series – How to Photograph Christmas Decorations

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about how to photograph Christmas decorations. Everyone loves this time of year in the month of December. There is plenty to photograph this time of year. People love the lit Christmas decorations to being them joy and happiness. Why not capture the memories for a lifetime.

There are always plenty of lit Christmas trees in the area you live in or go to your local city government properties and parks. If you are photographing at night these are some items you need to bring which are a flashlight, tripod, cable release, and a wide-angle lens, plus the your camera. The wide-angle lens I am referring to is the 18-55mm lens, which will work. Make sure your camera is ready to go with charged batteries and plenty of SD cards.

Next, choose a well-decorated holiday location. In the Central Florida area, I would recommend either Lake Eola Park, Lake Mary City Hall, the Holy Land Experience, Light Up UCF, Downtown Sanford, Winter Springs Town Center, Downtown Deland, Cranes Roost Park (No display up for 2015), and many other locations around the Orlando area too.

When you’re on location find the best-decorated holiday area and set-up your tripod. Get your camera ready. Set your camera on manual setting. Next, your ISO should be set to 100 to 800. A high ISO will give grainy photos. Set the aperture at between f8 or f16. The shutter speed will depend on the amount of lighting in the area. You will have to experiment with either the shutter speed to bulb or low light shutter speeds such as 1/20 of a second. There are not rules. Also connect your cable release to the camera to reduce camera shake. Check the back of the camera display to review the photo and make adjustments. Do not use your flash on long exposures because you will not see the natural light and will blow out the scene of the photo.

If you forget your tripod, it is not a problem. There is still a way to photograph the well-decorated holiday scene. First bump your ISO to 2500 to 5K. Just remember you may see some grain from a high ISO in your photo. Set your camera to manual mode. Your f stop range from f4 to f8. The shutter speed will range from 1/50 to 1/200 of a second. You will have to experience to come up with the right combination of f stop and shutter speed. This is what makes photography fun. Another was is to put the camera on a flat surface little a chair or paved ground and put your camera on the timer for a long exposure too.

If you’d would like to see some example of my holiday photography go to www.otownfun.com and click on the “Holidays” on the top menu. These are some of the photos that will be up for a limited time. Thank you for reading this Photo tip Series and check back again for more Photography Tips in the future.

 

 

Food Review on Central Florida Cracker Barrel Restaurants

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

When driving down the highway or interstate you may have noticed a brown old country store and restaurant called Cracker Barrel. Crack Barrel’s are known for they’re Southern country cooking. Don’t take my word for it.

Cracker Barrel serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No matter what time of day when you’re hungry, you’re always welcome at this place. Plus, breakfast served all day! There is always plenty of parking when arriving at any Central Florida Cracker Barrels. When you walk up to the building you will notice a row of old wooden reproduction rocking chairs for sale. You’re welcome to sit in one of the rocking chairs on the porch while you relax and enjoy life.

When you step in the building you will be entering the Cracker Barrel in-store retail shop. They have many in unique items for sale. During the holiday times they have a great selection of Christmas items which includes decorations, clothing, and packaged foods. One will notice a uniquely decorated Christmas tree when you walk in the door. Crack Barrel wants visitors to brows their shop before going into the dinning room to eat.

After checking out the shop, it is time to eat. A friendly hostess will seat you at one of their many non-smoking dining room tables. Once seated the hostess will hand you a brown parchment paper menu. There is a large selection of food items on the menu. For breakfast, I usually get the Old Timers Breakfast. This traditional food selection comes with hot biscuits and gravy, grits, hash browns, your choice style eggs, and bacon. Also, served with a slice of orange on the plate.

While waiting for your food, each table has a wooden triangle peg game. This game is great for people who are bored and want something to do while there food is being prepared. Also, near the fireplace inside the dinner room is checkerboard and chess game set for two players.

When your food is ready, your waitress deliver your food directly to your table. If you have a food item that does not look right. Just let them know and they will happy bring you a new fresh food item. If you run out of hot biscuit, let the waitress know and she will be glad to bring some more to your table. Once you get finish eating the best part is paying for it. And don’t forget about tipping the waitress too. Dinners must pay at the retail store counter outside of the dinning room. They take cash and credit only.

The restaurant décor is very old country store theme from the 1800’s. Many antiques hang from the wall and ceiling throughout the entire building. Many of these items are reproductions along with a hand full of real hand made items. Some of the items consist of cooking related items, agricultural, industrial, sports, and photos of families and portraits. These items are not for sale. If you’re looking to add one of these items to your collection check out your local antique shops.

Most of the Crack Barrel Restaurant and Stores are laid out the same at many locations. I highly recommend this place for anyone who is hungry. This is a regular place I frequent. So come stop your local Cracker Barrel in Central Florida or anywhere else in the Southern United States and seat down for a great country meal.

Fore more information on Cracker Barrel Old Country Store go to www.crackerbarrel.com

Photo and Logo provided by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

 

Food Review on Central Florida Golden Corral Restaurants

GC sm_lines

Photo by Golden Corral

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

Altamonte Springs, FL – There are many great food buffet places out in the Central Florida area. One place that comes to mind is Golden Corral Restaurants. They have been in the Metro Orlando area for over twenty years. This is one of my favorite buffet places in town. Their slogan is the “Best Buffet in the USA.” You name and they probably have it on the menu. Some local Golden Corrals may have different food items.

Looking for a weekend breakfast place than Golden Corral should be on your list. I just stopped by there the other day. Some of the item on the food buffet are scrambled eggs, bacon, harsh browns, grits, biscuits, pancakes, mini muffins, cake donuts, sausage, French toast, omelets. Plus they have salads and other lunch and dinner food items too. I would suggest trying a plain cake donuts with chocolate on it and making it from the chocolate fountain at the desert station. Whatever food item is available try adding a little chocolate to it. It might spice up your morning.

The cost for breakfast for one is under $10. Where can you get a couple of plates of food for under $10? Nowhere! After eating this buffet breakfast you might feel stuffed. No need to eat lunch later in the day.

Have you thought about what your eating on Christmas day. If you don’t feel like cooking, then check out a Golden Corral Restaurant nearest you. On Christmas Day some locations in the city will not be open for breakfast. Only tourist locations will be open for breakfast. The Christmas Day buffet will cost $14.95 per person plus tax. Some locations will be open from 10am to 10pm. Call your nearest Golden Coral location for more information or go online to www.goldencorral.com .

Also, sign up for the Golden Coral Good as Gold Club online or in-person for coupons and much more. They will email you a welcome surprise, restaurant news, a special gift for your birthday, and announcements of new and seasonal food items.

 

Photo Tip Series – Lens Selection for a SLR Camera

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about is the Lens selection for your SLR camera. It does not matter if you own film or digital SLR camera. If you have a SLR camera body then you have to make the decision on what lens to attach. The lens selection will depend on what you are photographing.

Some people are unaware about the technical information about some lenses. Today, some models like Nikon still use lenses from the past and present. As a Nikon user, I am trilled about using vintage lenses on my camera. They don’t make lenses like they used too. Most lenses today have a plastic mounts. The older metal mounts can also break too. It is your decision to go with plastic vs. metal mounts. If you own a Nikon DX camera body you have the option of buying either FX or DX lenses for your camera. FX lenses are made for full frame SLR cameras.

When shopping for a lens you have the option of buying a brand name or a third party lens. Some of the well-known third party lens manufacturers are Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina. I have personally used all three brands. There are other third party brands out there too. Don’t discount the third party lenses. Sometime the third party lenses are better than the name brand lens. Please read online photo equipment reviews for certain lenses before thinking of purchasing them. This will save you time and a headache of problems.

If you decide to buy a used lens then check out these guidelines to look out for. Check the lens for fungus, cracks, damaged internal and external parts, and or missing pieces. Ask the buyer or retail store questions on the lens you are thinking of purchasing. If you feel it is not in good shape walk away from the sell. Each store is going to have a different selection of lenses for sell. Other places to purchase used lenses are eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, pawn shops, individual owners, and direct from the manufacturer. Finally, ask the retail shop or individual if they are willing to lower to price for the lens you are looking at. You never know unless you try and ask.

After purchasing a lens, many photographers buy lens accessories. Some of these accessories include lens hood, lens front and rear lens caps, lens filters, and a nice lens bag to protect your lens. Lens hoods are made in either rubber, metal, and plastic. Each one has its draw back. When buying a new lens it already comes with front and rear lens caps. If you are buying a used lens sometime the lens does not come with lens caps at all. If you do not know the exact lens opening for a lens cap I would recommend bring the lens in person to a photography retail store for assistance. Another accessory is the lens filter used for many reasons. If you want to protect your lens then buy a clear skylight filter. Please note there are different quality and colors lens filters. Consult your photography retail store associate for assistance and they will explain an show you the different quality lens filters and colors.

When traveling within the United States or traveling the world. You might want a lens you can use on the go. I would recommend the 28-300mm lens. This is an all-purpose lens so you don’t have to change lenses in daylight situations. If you had two lenses you would be carrying around an18-55mm lens along with a 70-300mm lens. Sometime there is not time to change lens on a tour, on a ride, and l or in a live performance.

For wide-angle photography, many photographers like photograph portraits. Portrait photography is a photo of individuals, family members, relatives, co-workers, and teammates. It does not matter if it is one person or filling the whole entire frame with people. The lens I recommend for portrait photography is the 18-55mm lens. This lens is great in tight situation and for group shoots too. Another situation this lens is great for is up-close concert photography near the stage or an overall feel of the stage setting with people enjoying the concert.

Do you ever wonder how they get the perfect sports photography? If you said yes, then check out this telephoto zoom 70-200mm f2.8 lens. This lens is great in low light and to blur out the background at F2.8, which is the biggest opening on this lens. There are many sports you can photograph with this lens. Some big sports that come to mind are soccer, football, golf, basketball, baseball, and many more. Keep in mind this is an expensive lens if you bought it brand new. There are plenty of telephoto used lenses.

This information was written for general lens knowledge to help get you started. Once you have a camera in hand go out and capture the moments of a lifetime. Happy photography to you. Thank you for reading this Photo Tip Series and check back again for more Photography Tips in the future.

Photos courtesy of Nikon USA and Tamron USA. (Left photo) Nikon 18-55mm lens. (Right Photo) Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 Di

Central Florida Area Bojangles Now Closed!

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

Altamonte Springs, FL – On Sunday, December 6, 2015, at 4pm, WFTV reported the closing of all eight Central Florida Bojangles locations. This fast food chain stop business operations as reported in many of the Central Florida media companies.

I visited the Bojangles Altamonte Springs location in the early morning on Monday, December 7, 2015, and found the parking lot empty without any employees around except for WOFL covering this story. Other signs of the closed business were the lights left on, the counter menu board removed from the display, chairs stacked in the dining room, signs taken down from the windows.

Many customers drove by to see the closure of this Bojangles. People were wondering why they closed so suddenly. There is speculation that the Franchisee wanted to focus on his other business industry instead of his fast food business. I have reached out to the media representative of Bojangles and have not heard back from them.

Later in the afternoon, I returned back to the Altamonte Springs location and found WFTV setup for a live shoot for the evening newscast. There were a few cars and employees inside finishing up the closure. One would notice that all Bojangles signs have inverted upside down into the sign fixtures.

Aside from the Central Florida Bojangles locations closure, many customers will be missing out on some great Southern cooking. Bojangles is known for their famous chicken biscuits. I can remember eating a bacon biscuit at this restaurant in the comfortable dining room. It was mighty tasty. Now I will have to travel to the Jacksonville area to eat some good Bojangle food. Stay tuned for more information if Bojangles reopens their current restaurant locations in the near future.

 

Photo Tip Series – Buying a Camera

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

Welcome to my first Photo Tip series. To start off, here is a little bit about my background. I have been an avid photographer since I was a child. My parents gave me a Kodak film point and shoot camera, which started me in the world of photography. In my next stage of life, I attended college and bought my first Single Reflex Lens (SLR) Camera for Photo I class. I loved every minute of it of the class by going out and capturing many great images from architecture to people and everything else in between. After college, I was became a Graphic Designer and was in the field for a few years before deciding switching over to my true passion, which is photography. Most of my time today is focused around the world of photography. I am currently, a seasoned photojournalist covering many Central Florida events.

To get you started into photography, I will be discussing what type of camera to buy and some recommended places to buy a camera from. If you already own a camera, that is great continue using it until it dies or you want to upgrade. These tips can be used in the future when buying another camera.

Now you will have to make a decision on whether you want to buy a digital point and shoot camera or a digital SLR camera. These cameras can be bought new or used. Another factor to consider is the purchase price along with the camera features. If you’re looking for an entry-level digital camera then I recommend the digital point and shoot camera. Just set it on automatic setting and shoot away. If you’re a little more advanced I would recommend an entry-level to a prosumer digital SLR camera. There more features the camera has the more it will cost you. When deciding on what brand and model to purchase, I suggest doing your homework and compare different models and brands. The top three brands I recommend are Nikon, Canon, and Sony. But there are other brands out there that make great cameras too.

So now you have decided on a brand and a model for your camera. The next step is where to purchase your camera from. Do you want to purchase used, refurbish, or new camera? If purchasing a used camera please be aware of to check the shutter clicks and or shutter actuation count on the camera. To do this, go download a free copy of EXIF Viewer application to your computer. Next, take one photo with the used camera. Make sure it has an SD card in the camera when taking the one photo. Now transfer the SD card into your SD card reader to your laptop computer and open the EXIF Viewer application and review the number clicks that camera has been used. Just remember most cameras are rated at 150,000 clicks or more. When buying a used camera I would try to buy a barely used camera with around 10,000 or less clicks. Most used cameras do not come with a warranty. But you may want to look into buying a third party warranty for your camera. Some place to buy a used camera is thru photography retail stores, eBay, craislist.com, pawnshops, and or by an individual owner.

Another purchasing option is buying a refurbished camera. This is the better option than buying used plus you are able to purchase an extended warranty. Which is highly recommended. Plus you can save some money in the process to buy other photography equipment. Some places to purchase a refurbish camera are directly from the manufacture, retail stores, and eBay.

If you have the money to spend then buy new. Buying a new camera means no one else has ever used your camera, has a new warranty, and piece of mind. Plus you have the option of buying an extended warranty, which I recommend if you’re going to be keeping this camera for 3 to 5 years.

Once you have a camera in hand go out and capture the moments of a lifetime. Happy photography to you. Thank you for reading this Photo Tip Series and check back again for more Photography Tips in the future.