Digital Photography Hacks: geek out with your digital cam

I am no photographer, but ever since I bought my first Casio Exilim camera (I'm on my third now, and I can't recommend them enough — small, light, easy and durable, I carry mine everywhere and always) I've found myself shooting nearly every day.

Not being a photog, I'm pretty pig-ignorant on subjects like focus, depth-of-field, ISO, and so forth.

I just scored O'Reilly's new Digital Photography Hacks, written by the inestimable Derrick Story, s geeek's geek and a photographer's photographer, whose work I've admired for years. Derrick's new book follows the form of all the O'Reilly Hacks books: 100 easy-to-digest tips and tricks for digital cams, aimed squarely at people like me, geeks who get computers but cameras not so much.

These hacks are just what I needed to start to get my head around more advanced phototaking. Passages like "The flow of traffic provides a great opportunity to add motion to your compositions. Automobiles are light-painting machines, and it's easy to put them to work for you" (emphasis mine) really did me in: automobiles are light-painting machines! Wow! Suddenly, the whole world looked different.

There are many many great hacks in this book, but my favorite is #47: Judge Image Sharpness From File Size. If you've taken a bunch of photos of the same subject and want to determine which one is sharpest, compare the file-size. Images that have more information will compress poorly, which means that the biggest files in your shoot are likely the sharpest. Keen.