Monthly Archives: February 2016

Top Night Photography Tips to Bring Photos to Life

There’s nothing more beautiful than a professionally taken photo which was shot at dusk or nighttime. The problem here is that people usually think that it’s hard to take breathtaking photos after dark, or that you need to be a professional photographer with years of experience, but this is very far from the truth. Today you’ll learn some basic night photography tips that will bring your night photos to life, like never before, if you have the right camera and features, you’ll be a pro in no time.

First of all I’d like to discuss some things you will need if you’re looking to make a career out of photography, or simply add some spice to your personal hobby. If you want to take stunning photos at night, none of these night photography tips should be ignored. Primarily, you need to have a tripod if you don’t own one already. It doesn’t matter how steady you think your hand is, if it’s top-quality you’re after, you definitely want to get one of these.

Secondly, look for a camera which has a fast shutter speed setting, as well as an exposure compensation setting. The shutter will greatly improve the quality of your photos, a low ISO setting is also recommended for better quality. The exposure compensation is sometimes automatically controlled by the shutter, which will typically lighten and darken your photos and allow you to capture mind-blowing photos. You can also switch the aperture mode to the “on” position, which will control the shutter speed for you. Manually you’ll be looking for a 1-3 second shutter speed, no more.

Thirdly, it’s recommended that you get a camera that has a remote control, or start using it if you’re the same as me when I just started out, thinking that it’s a useless gadget, which is not the case at all. Pressing the “shoot” button manually will add a slight blur to the image, so use your remote control at all times for best results. Next, you want to go into your camera’s “white balance” setting. Most digital cameras have this set to auto detect, which will actually reduce the brightness of your picture.

Set your white balance to daylight settings to maintain the vivid colors instead of blocking it out with auto or night settings. These are very basic night photography tips, but they can make a world of difference to your images. The last of the night photography tips I’d like to share with you here today is what time is best for taking these photos. Choosing the perfect time for your shoot is also vital to the outcome.

Try and avoid shooting in total darkness, the best time is just after dusk and before dawn when there’s a hint of light visible in the sky above. This will brighten colors even more, creating amazing images with ease. This will give you a 20-30 minute time frame to capture the perfect image, so make sure everything’s set up and ready to go. Play around with these night photography tips and be amazed at the difference they make.

12 Alternatives for the All Night Toddler Nurser

1. Tank your baby up during the day.

Toddlers love to breastfeed, yet they are often so busy during the day that they forget to nurse, or mom is so busy that she forgets to nurse. But at night, there you are, only an inch away, and baby wants to make up for missed daytime nursings. (This is a common scenario when a breastfeeding mother returns to work outside the home.) Finding more time to nurse during the day may make the night weaning easier.

2. Increase daytime touch.

Wear your baby in a sling and give your baby more touch time during the day. It’s easy when babies get older to greatly decrease the amount of touching time without realizing it. All-night nursing can sometimes be a baby’s signal reminding mothers not to rush their baby into dependence. In developing a healthy independence, a child leaves and comes back; lets go and clings, step by step until she is going out more than she is coming back. Many mothers have noted that babies and toddlers show an increased need for nursing and holding time right before undertaking a new stage of development, such as crawling or walking.

3. Awaken baby for a full feeding just before you go to bed.

Rather than going off to sleep only to be wakened an hour or two later, get in a feeding when you retire for the night. This way, your sleep will be disturbed one less time, and you’ll (hopefully) get a longer stretch of sleep.

4. Get baby used to other “nursings.”

Try wearing him down to sleep in a baby sling. After baby is fed, but not yet asleep, wear him in a baby sling around the house or around the block. When he’s in a deep sleep, ease him onto your bed and extricate yourself from the sling. This is a good way for dad to take over part of the bedtime routine. Eventually, your baby will associate father’s arms with falling asleep, and he’ll be willing to accept comfort from dad in the middle of the night as an alternative to nursing. Other ways to ease your baby into sleep without nursing him include patting or rubbing his back, singing and rocking, or even dancing in the dark to some tunes you like or lullabies you croon.

5. Make the breast less available.

Once your baby has nursed to sleep, use your finger to detach him from the breast. Then pull your nightgown over your breast and sleep covered up. A baby who can’t find the nipple quickly may just fall back to sleep. If you can stay awake long enough to put the breast away, he may not latch on again so soon.

7. Just say no!

When our son, Matthew, was two, Martha felt desperate for sleep if awakened more than two times. I would wake up to hear a dialogue like “Nee” (his word for nurse)…”No!”… “Nee!”… “No!”… “Nee!”… “No, not now. In the morning. Mommy’s sleeping. You sleep, too.” A firm but calm, peaceful voice almost always did the trick. You can manage to stay peaceful in this situation when you know you are not damaging your very secure, attachment- parented child.

8. “Nummies go night-night.”

Now the marketing begins. Around eighteen months, your child has the capacity to understand simple sentences. Program your toddler not to expect to be nursed when she awakens, such as “We’ll nurse again when Mr. Sun comes up.” When you nurse her to sleep (or have the first or second night nursing) the last thing she should hear is “Mommy go night-night, Daddy go night-night, baby go night-night, and nummies go night- night” (or whatever she dubs her favorite pacifiers). When she wakes during the night the first thing she should hear is a gentle reminder, “Nummies are night- night. Baby go night-night, too.” This program may require a week or two of repetition. Soon she will get the message that daytime is for feeding and nighttime is for sleeping. If “nummies” stay night-night, baby will too — at least till dawn.

9. Offer a substitute.

High-need babies are not easily fooled; they don’t readily accept substitutes. Yet, it’s worth a try. Remember, nursing does not always mean breastfeeding. Honor your husband with his share of “night nursing” so your toddler does not always expect to be comforted by nummies. This gives dad a chance to develop creative nighttime fathering skills and the child a chance to expand her acceptance of nighttime comforters.

10. Increase the sleeping distance between you.

If the above suggestions do not entice your persistent night nurser to cut back, yet you still feel you must encourage him to do so, try another sleeping arrangement. Try putting him in a bedside co-sleeper bassinet, on a mattress or futon at the foot of your bed, or even sleeping in another room with a sibling. Dad or mom can lie down beside baby to comfort him if he awakens. Mom can even nurse, if necessary and then sneak back to her own bed if continued closeness seems to encourage continued waking.

11. Sleep in another room.

If your baby persists in wanting to nurse all night, relocate “Mom’s All-Night Diner” to another room and let baby sleep next to dad for a few nights. He may wake less often when the breast is not so available and when he does wake, he will learn to accept comfort from dad.

12. Let baby be the barometer.

When trying any behavior-changing technique on a child, don’t persist with a bad experiment. Use your baby’s daytime behavior as a barometer of whether your change in nighttime parenting style is working. If after several nights of working on night weaning your baby is her same self during the day then persist with your gradual night weaning. If, however, she becomes more clingy, whiny, or distant, take this as a clue to slow down your rate of night weaning.

Babies will wean and someday they will sleep through the night. This high maintenance stage of nighttime parenting will pass. The time in your arms, at your breast, and in your bed is a relatively short while in the life of a baby, yet the memories of love and availability last forever.

4 Safety Tips for Night Driving

Hone Your Vision

Our pupils dilate in the dark, and our eyesight tends to detect lights and movement rather than the color and sharp details that we recognize during the day, according to experts. Consequently, our depth perception isn’t as keen at night, and our eyes may be more prone to become dry or tired because we tend to concentrate more and blink less.

With these physiological factors in mind, there are a few things you can do to make nighttime treks less treacherous. Eye doctors typically recommend scanning the road and keeping your eyes moving instead of concentrating all your vision on one area.

It’s also important to understand what you’re seeing. For example, if you’re traveling through a rural area that’s packed with deer, raccoons or other wildlife, two small, bright dots may be animal eyes in the distance ahead. Avoid hitting an animal by looking for reflections of your headlights in its eyes, which should be visible well before you can see the entire animal.

Make sure you’re getting your vision checked regularly, too. The American Optometric Association recommends getting your eyes checked every two years if you’re 18 to 60 years old, and annually after that.

Lighten Up
At night, the lights around you can work against you just as much as they work for you. Make sure that your headlights are aimed properly, since misaligned headlights can negatively impact your visibility and blind other motorists, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Driving at dusk also poses greater risks than you might expect, since your eyes have to continually adjust as night falls. If the lights on your dashboard are on their brightest setting, it may take a toll on your forward visibility. Dim your interior lights so that they are visible, but not distracting. That way, it will be easy for your eyes to adjust to the lights on the road ahead.

By the same token, avoid staring at headlights from oncoming traffic and other bright lights out on the road. It’s easy to get distracted by the high beams of a tall truck, or the glare coming off of an illuminated billboard. If you’re blinded by oncoming traffic, look toward the right edge of the road and steer along its path until you can see clearly again, the NSC suggests.

Keep it Clean
Make sure that your headlights, taillights and turn signals are clean (and of course, clear of ice and snow), and ensure that your mirrors are also clean and properly adjusted. This can help maximize your ability to see what’s going on around you.Additionally, cleaning your windshield and windows with newspaper will help remove streaks that compromise your visibility at night, according to Popular Mechanics. Once your windows are clean, try to avoid touching them or wiping them off with your bare hand, since your skin’s oil can smear and create a glare when light shines in. Instead, keep a clean cloth in your glove box or center console, so you’ll have it handy when your windshield needs cleaning.

Stay Alert
It should go without saying, but distracted driving should always be avoided. Stop to stretch your legs and get food if you’re on a long trip, and if you’re tired, make sure you get some rest before heading back out on the road. It can be hard to judge how fast a car is traveling or how far away it is at night, so slow down and make sure that you are following other vehicles at a safe distance. Be mindful of other drivers, and switch to your low beams if there’s oncoming traffic or if you’re following another vehicle.

10 Tips for Driving After Dark

1 Own the Night: 10 Tips for Driving After Dark

Plenty of us hate night driving—there’s no feeling quite like getting someone else’s high beams shined in your eyes. But beyond the pure annoyance, few of us realize how dangerous it can be. Fatalities on the road occur at a rate three times greater at night than during the day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While only a quarter of all driving is done at night, more than half of all driving deaths occur then.
Your depth perception, ability to distinguish color, and peripheral vision are all worse in low-light conditions. You tend to be more tired at night. And consider a basic fact: Typical low beams illuminate the road from 160 to 250 feet in front of your car, and normal high beams shine from about 350 to 500 feet. At 60 mph it takes more than 200 feet to stop. So even with your high beams on, there’s not a lot of room for error.
But we can’t just sit around waiting for the sun to come up. Here are 10 tips to keep you safe on the road when the sun goes down.

2 Aim Your Headlights

We’ve found that headlights even in brand-new cars are sometimes uneven or pointed lower than necessary. So it’s worth the effort to aim them correctly. If you do it yourself, use the instructions in your owner’s manual. And be patient. It may take a few tries before you have them pointed perfectly. Just make sure those newly aimed lights are not blinding oncoming traffic.
Even lights that are aimed correctly can cast a dim glow if something is blocking the light, so be sure to clean the road grime from your headlights often. If you have an older car with plastic lens covers, those covers might have yellowed or faded over the years. The best fix is to buy a headlight polish kit to remove the haze so your lights shine through brightly. And check that they produce the same amount of light as they did when new. Aged incandescent bulbs make less light than new ones.

3 Dim Your Instrument Panel and Dash Lights

Cars come with dashboard dimmer switches for a reason. If you’re driving around with the dash light on max, you could be compromising your forward vision. Racers take the nighttime driving very seriously—in fact, endurance racers and rally drivers cover their dashboards with black felt to avoid stray reflections. While you shouldn’t do that in a road car, we like to turn down the dash brightness quite a bit.
And don’t leave your map lights on. Less-expensive interior lights will disperse light all over the interior and shine into the driver’s eyes, too. Most luxury cars have focused reading lights that pinpoint objects without causing glare. The rule of thumb for a good map light is that you should never see the source of the light from the driver’s seat. Still, as good as your map lights may be, it’s best to avoid driving with them on.

4 Don’t Wear the Wrong Glasses

Have you seen ads proclaiming that yellow-tint sunglasses will help you see better at night? Don’t believe them. The Sunglass Association of America says that yellow-lens glasses sold for night driving only make you think you see better.
The thought behind these glasses is that they might enhance contrast, helping you to distinguish objects in the dark. In reality, these hokey glasses actually cut down on the amount of light you can see. The smart choice is to use prescription glasses that have an anti-reflective coating, which keeps light from bouncing around inside your lenses. And as a bonus, these glasses have been shown to allow more light in.
Even if you’re on an ’80s music kick, it’s best to avoid sunglasses at night—or any glasses, if you don’t need them for vision correction. The sunglass industry folks say you’ll see the most light without glasses—antireflective coated or not.

5 Become a Retina Spotter

On dark country roads, animals are everywhere. An encounter between wildlife and your car can be devastating—to you, the beastie, and certainly your vehicle. But here’s a trick: You can often see the reflections of your headlights in an animal’s eyes long before you can see the animal itself. Pairs of tiny bright spots in the distance are a clear warning that an animal is in front of you down the road.
The best strategy when encountering large animals like deer: Slow down as quickly as you can. If you try to steer around a deer, they often will follow your lights and move in front of you.

6 Don’t Stare at Oncoming Lights

Bright lights can seriously disrupt your concentration at night. Inside the car, your eyes are used to the dim glow of the instrument panel and the dark road ahead. It’s very easy to become distracted and stare into a bright road sign or the headlights of an 18-wheeler headed your way without even realizing it. Turn your gaze away from other lights on the road, and don’t look at oncoming high beams. Even though you may sometimes find yourself trying to determine if that oncoming car’s high beams are on, or if they’re just mis-aimed, look away. If a car behind you has its high beams on, often you can move your rearview mirror to reflect light backward to alert the driver, and to get the reflection away from your own eyes.

7 Give Your Windshield a Wipe With Newspaper

Windshields that appear clean during the day may reveal streaks that can cause glare at night. A detailer’s trick is to polish glass with newspaper to remove residue. Try not to touch the inside surfaces of your windshield, side windows, or mirrors with your hands, even if it’s to wipe off mist. The oil from your skin will smear, and light will glare when it shines through any place where you touched the glass. Instead, keep a cotton or microfiber cloth in your door pocket.

8 Bolt on Some Fog Lights

Fog lights, as the name implies, help the driver see the road instead of simply lighting up the fog in front of the car. They’re are aimed as low as possible because fog itself often hangs no lower than a couple of feet above the road, and if a fog light is aimed high, it will produce glare in the fog and will blind oncoming drivers.
These lights can be useful even when it’s not foggy, however, because they spread wider than typical low beams, so they can help you see farther beyond the road’s shoulder. One point to remember: Fog lights placed low on a car’s front fascia will also create large shadows in front of small rocks, bumps and uneven potholes and make them look much larger.

9 Add Auxiliary Lights—Cautiously

When its time to really light up the night, there are plenty of auxiliary lamps available. These lights vary in name—they’re sometimes called driving lights, spot lights, or pencil beams.
But you’ve got to be careful with them. Some are meant only to supplement your high beams, and many of them are intended for off-road use only. So be sure to check the legality of the lights for road use in your state—some of them are against the law. The reason is that light from a high-intensity discharge (HID) source or from LEDs can be like instant daylight, and after a while your eyes will adjust to the increased brightness. Then when you turn off your extra lights for oncoming traffic, your ordinary low-beam headlights appear impossibly dim. Your eyes will need to readjust as if you’ve just walked into a dark movie theater, and that can take up to 30 seconds.
It’s best to temper your enthusiasm for driving lights, then, and select a pair of lamps that are meant for road use.

10 Clean and Adjust Your Exterior Mirrors

Dirty mirrors reflect the lights from cars behind you in a wider, diffused shape that can produce glare in your eyes, so clean them up. Also, aim the exterior mirrors so that you can move your head out of the path of lights reflected in them. We like to aim them downward just slightly. That way, you can see cars behind you by tipping your head slightly forward, but you keep the other car’s headlights out of your eyes—and prevent them from temporarily blinding you with their high beams.
Also don’t forget to switch your inside rear-view mirror to the Night or Auto Dim setting, which darkens the mirror to prevent glare.

11 Keep Your Eyes Healthy

To reduce the effects of eye fatigue at night while driving, eye doctors often recommend keeping your eyes moving, scanning all around your field of vision instead of focusing on one area. The American Optometric Association suggests checkups every three years if you’re under 40, every two years until you’re 60, and annually after that.