Friday, March 12, 2010

My blog is carbon neutral

I got an email from Christin who works for an initiative team in Germany called "Make it green!" The email is as follows:

Hi Hanjié,

just stumbled over your blog - nice work!

I am part of a young team in Germany, working for an initiative called "Make it green!". Our goal is to contribute our part in reducing the carbon footprint by raising awareness of the severe environmental damage caused by carbon emissions. One of our activities is to raise awareness of the carbon emissions resulting from the use of the internet - specifically of blogs. A blog with 15,000 visits a month has a yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 8lb. To neutralise these emissions we have created "My blog is carbon neutral" buttons so bloggers can demonstrate that they care about the environment and the carbon footprint of their blogs. We present them a small but nontheless worthy solution to contribute to environmental issues. Our idea is to show possibilities to make a contribution to protect the environment.

To find out how you can participate please visit

And how do we actually neutralize your blog's carbon footprint? We are planting trees in cooperation with the Arbor Day Foundation in Plumas National Forest in Northern California for our project to neutralize the carbon footprint of blogs. Thousands of wildfires burned down many national forests over the past ten years and 88.000 acres of Plumas' were destroyed by two fires in 2007. To help replanting we need the support of bloggers all over the world! For every participating blog we plant a tree. One blog - one tree.

Why do we do this? We are a German based company called kaufDA, which provides advertisement brochures of local stores online to help consumers search for specific products and find good deals in their neighborhood. This reduces the amount of brochures printed and so the project helps the environment by reducing unnecessary paper in mailboxes. An American on average receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. This has the same carbon footprint as burning six gallons of gasoline.

We'd be glad to plant your tree! Help us and show that you care! Every tree counts!

Best wishes from Germany,


"Make it green!"- Team

To participate, just write a short blog post about the programme “My blog is carbon neutral” and include one of the buttons from the website listed above on your site (ideally in the sidebar). Send the link of your blog to and they'll plant a tree for you, neutralising the carbon dioxide emissions of your blog. The trees will be planted in the spring of 2010 by the Arbor Day Foundation.

The buttons are cute, I like them all!

carbon neutral offers and shopping with carbon neutral offers and shopping with carbon neutral offers and shopping with

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Black Card Photography II - Fireworks

Fireworks photography is a relatively easy theme in photography and the two most important gadgets needed are a tripod and any camera that has an adjustable shutter speed no less than a few seconds. The principle of fireworks photography is to catch the moving trail of fireworks from launch until it's finished exploding which usually takes a few seconds. As a long time exposure is used in fireworks photography, secure your camera to something that will ensure it doesn’t move during the photo shooting. If you have a better camera, there are a few settings to perfect the fireworks photography.

General settings:
Set your camera and lens to manual; focus on something in a distance (infinite usually works just fine); a low ISO (100/200) to get the cleanest shot possible; turn off Noise Reduction to maximize the number of photos you can capture (noise reduction can slow you down by half); photo format in RAW (an ideal format for post editing if needed, expecially for correcting white balance and noise reduction)
Aperure setting:
Set your aperture to f8-f16 with ISO 100, which gives you a pretty good depth-of-field. As the emission of fireworks is very bright, a mid to small range of F stop usually works well in such settings. The difference between mid (f8) and small (F16) aperture is that a smaller aperture gives thiner trails of light whereas bigger aperture fattens trails out.

Shutter speed:
Set the shutter speed to buld. A remote release in hand in buld mode gives you total control of shutter speeds, resulting in various fireworks patterns. (Details later)

Black card:
Unlike my black card photography part I, the application of a black card in fireworks photography isn't to get a balanced exposure in a great dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of the image but to black out smoke as well as to prevent an over-exposed image due to too many 'bursts' in one frame with complex exposures.

Left: over-exposed due to too many bursts at the bottom of the frame; right: the complete trails of fireworks in different altitudes were captured by using a black card.

Black card photography in fireworks, first, use spot metering mode to measure the exposure time of the foreground and follow the steps as follows:

Don't be afraid to try, you never know what you might get as a result. Good luck and let me know.