Macro Photography

Exploring the world of miniature objects with a macro lens is a special and exciting area of photography, and once you start, you will quickly become addicted. The world of macro photography holds many delights and is an area that cannot be appreciated with the human eye.Macro photography is the name given to close-up photography, and is best explained as images that are taken at reproduction ratios of life-size and above. Ratios of between 1:7 and 1:1 fall into the macro photography category.Understanding Ratios: This is a term used to express the magnification of a macro lens or other macro equipment that relates the real life-size object to the reproduction size on a slide or negative. If you shoot an object that is 3cm in length and it measures 1.5cm on a 35mm slide or negative – the ratio is 1:2. When both are equal length the ratio is 1:1Choosing the right lens is the most important factor with macro photography. While a telephoto lens may be acceptable with some types of close-up photography, the macro lens is invaluable to get really close and really accurate focusing.There is an endless range of subjects that fall under the range of macro photography. The most common subject for macro photography is the natural world – all types of flowers, plants, and insects. For the more creative photographer, macro photography is used in abstract imagery.With many forms of macro photography, especially with insects, a lens with a long focal lens – minimum 200 mm is required for some nature subjects. You need to keep a working distance from the subject to get a successful image – you don’t want to frighten your subject away.When shooting close-ups you are limited with depth-of-field – to get an attractive image you must focus on the most important part of the subject. This will be achieved easier if you place your camera on a tripod or monopod.By using your tripod you will reduce the risk of camera shake. Subject movement is also an important factor to consider. Macro photography magnifies the subject, leaving more room for blur. A strobe unit can be used to freeze movement – even on the brightest of days you should consider using your strobe unit. Try bouncing light from your strobe unit off a reflector. This will give your image a softer illumination.Many amateur photographers stay away from macro photography because they feel that their technical ability is too inept – your personal ability should not turn you away from this exciting part of photography – macro photography is like all types of photography – practice makes perfect.

Building A Home: 6 Things Your Builder Will Not Tell You

Buying a newly constructed home should be an enjoyable experience. Sadly, for most consumers, it’s a nightmare that will stay with them the rest of their life. A common statement made by many new homebuyers is that they will never have another home built for them.

Here’s 6 things your builder will probably never tell you.

“We market that our company only uses the finest craftsmen to build our homes when in reality, we use the cheapest trades we can find, which means that many are not skilled and are day laborers.”

Custom and spec homebuilders bid out the work on your home to the lowest bidder. Kinda like the U.S. Government. There is few Custom builders left who do their own work and have their own crews.

“I have a binding contract that will prevent you from suing me should you have major defects in your home after you move in. And better yet, there is little you can do to get me to fix it!”

Read the fine print on your contract. Better yet, have a real estate attorney read it for you and explain to you what legal recourse you have should there be problems after you close. I bet you’ll come out of the attorney’s office amazed at how little rights you have if you sign the builders contract.

“If you’re really smart, you’ll hire your own third party, code certified, home inspector because the public inspectors and even my own inspectors aren’t here with your best interest at heart!”

Builders today search out third party inspectors to perform “Quality Assurance” inspections. Problem is, this is just more marketing hype than anything. In most states, these third party inspectors do not have to be licensed to perform “Construction Inspections”. My inspectors and I find a long list of items that these inspectors either miss or ignore on every new home we inspect. Not once have we found a home that the builders inspector found a majority of the defects.

City and county inspectors are generally about the same as the builders inspector or worse. Many of these inspectors are so piled up with work that they can only spend 15 to 20 minutes in a home. Besides, it is not the City or County’s inspectors job to look for workmanship issues, they are only there looking for health and safety issues and protecting the City and County’s interest. Just like the builders inspectors are there protecting the builders interest, not yours!

If you don’t know a good code certified home inspector ask around or check out the American Society of Home Inspectors at ashi.org

“My sales people and I can tell you anything we want because we’re not regulated by the State”

In many states, you’ll find that the sales people for builders are not licensed with the real estate commission like Real Estate Agents are. This lets them tell you whatever they need to so you’ll buy a home from them. I’ve heard just about sales people promising homebuyers just about anything you can imagine they’d buy from their builder. Buyer beware and get them to put it in writing before you sign the contract!

“Your home is built over a landfill or swamp… maybe both.”

As prime land is filling up with new homes, real estate developers and builders are turning to sub prime land. Here in my market, we have subdivisions sitting on landfills, swamps and former rice patties. None are prime areas for building a home on.

“If you back out of the contract for any reason, we’ll keep your earnest money an upgrade money”

Many people are surprised to find this is true. In Texas most builders will, check with the Attorney General in your state to see if this is legal. Again, the builder or sales people may tell you different, but most contracts have a clause that says you’ll forfeit your earnest money or upgrade money if you back out of the home. Get it in writing what happens if you back out and the steps you must take to get your money back. Don’t think it won’t happen to you because I see it happen all the time.

As each state, county and city is different, you should check with a knowledgeable inspector in your area plus your real estate attorney before purchasing a newly constructed home. Also, GET EVERYTHING FROM THE BUILDER IN WRITING! If he promises you he’ll throw in a few extra outlets in the garage, get him to put it in the contract.

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Philippines – 10 Best Shopping Destinations in the Philippines

Apart from the beauty and elegance of the Philippines, this country is also a perfect place for shopping. There are lots of shopping destinations one can find in almost every corner of the Philippines. The country is packed with many shopping centers and bazaars where one can find almost everything. Tourists that visit the Philippines never leave the country empty handed with loads of shopping bags and luggage full of shopped items. Year after year, many more additional shopping centers are being established around the country making everyone have the best choices to do their shopping.

Here are ten among the many shopping destinations in the Philippines:

1. Ilalim ng Tulay Market
– meaning “under the bridge” market. It is located along the Carlos Palanca Street in Quiapo Manila. This is where one can find the best handicrafts made by the Filipinos. One can enjoy digging within the bargain stalls to look for items of their choice. What is more fascinating about shopping in this market is that the prices are always negotiable and everyone is welcome to bargain the price.

2. Makati Commercial Center – located at Makati City Philippines. Here one can find various items and even designer clothes and stuffs. This is a one stop shopping destination where one can surely find all the things they need. The establishment is also spacious for shoppers to have enough room to avoid inconvenience.

3. SM group of companies
- has lots of branches spreading all over the country selling the best items. The SM shopping malls have been really famous in the Philippines and are a regular shopping destination for the Filipino people. The SM group of companies is trusted for selling the best products and items that are made locally and others that are from abroad.

4. Street Shops – found everywhere in the Philippines along the street sides. There are different shops that sell several varieties of items. There are also retail shops and wholesale shops that are famous in the Philippines. Here, one can buy items in bulks and get lots of discounts. The more you buy, the more discounts you’ll get and one can save more.

5. Divisoria – this is the place for people looking for the cheapest items. Most of the Filipinos purchase their needs here. Some even come from the different provinces and shop in Divisoria. Here, people can buy lots of stuffs at once without spending too much.

6. Landmark – located in Makati City. Also one of the well known shopping centers in the Philippines selling the best quality items with its reasonable prices.

7. Greenhill’s Shopping Center
– a very famous shopping center in the Philippines where most of the shoppers prefer to go to buy quality items such as clothing, home wares, appliances and many others.

8. Harrison Plaza - located at Harrison Street Malate Manila. This is a one stop shopping center with packed with many stores and booths that sell different variety of items. This place is one of the best shopping places for Filipinos.

9. SM Mall of Asia – one of the branches of the SM group of companies. Considered as the largest shopping destination in Asia. One can enjoy various activities here, not only shopping. The mall has an ice skating ground where children and skaters can glide through the ice after their shopping spree.

10. Araneta Shopping Complex – one of the well known shopping destinations in the Philippines and the place to look for the best finds.

Here are just ten of the shopping destinations in the Philippines. There are so many other places to shop here, and one can find them anywhere in the country.