Proper biking safety, helmet precautions and rules of the road before you venture out on two wheels. Advice for safe riding.
Biking is an exhilarating sport, great exercise and fun for the entire family. If you know the rules of the road, you can enjoy many years of biking safely and pass responsible biking etiquette down to your children as well. Following the rules of safety will prevent accidents and injury to you, your bike and other bikers on the road. A bike is a vehicle and it is your responsibility to ride it as safely as you would drive a car, using all of the proper equipment necessary and respecting others on the road as well as pedestrians.
Before you even get on your bike, be sure it is properly equipped and in good working order. Be sure your tires are inflated properly, your brakes are working correctly and that you have reflectors on the front, back and sides of your bike. Make sure your seat is tightened as well as the bolts holding on the tires and pedals.
Your equipment is also very important. Never ride a bike without a helmet. In most states, helmets are the law and you can receive a summons if you are caught without one. The most severe and most preventable biking injuries are those to the head and there is no reason not to wear a helmet. Helmets are quite inexpensive and are an essential safety element, don?t skimp on them. Make sure your helmet fits well and is in good condition. Your helmet will make you more visible to drivers and other bikers as well as protect your head in the event of a fall. You can almost guarantee that you will crash at least once while riding a bike and if you do fall, you should replace your helmet. Be sure you wear close fitting pants or biking shorts, never ride a bike with loose pants that can become caught in the chain of your bike. If you are riding at night wear clothing with reflective strips on it. You can purchase a roll of reflective tape at your local sporting goods store and make any outfit reflect.
While you are riding, there are some rules of the road that you should know to observe proper etiquette in regards to motor vehicles and other bikers. Always ride with the traffic, never against it. While you should never ride in the middle of the road, you should ride near the lane, not too far into the shoulder where you may not be seen. You must always use hand signals to indicate your turns and you should always give the right of way to any pedestrians. Observe all traffic signals and remain a safe distance from any cars and bikes in front of you. Never dart in and out of traffic and never pull out from between two parked cars. Since you don?t have a horn, it is impossible to warn other drivers of your presence, so stay a safe distance away from cars and make sure drivers see you before you pull out in front of them.
If you keep your bike and helmet in good condition, they can last for years and so can you if you follow proper safety precautions!
Tips for amateurs to taking better photographs with any type of camera.
Everyone enjoys having photographs of family, friends, vacations, and interesting sites to capture memories and perhaps express a little creativity. Often times, a simple adjustment or two can greatly improve the shot, bringing even more pleasure to the finished photograph. Whether the photographer is using an expensive 35 MM SLR type of camera, or a simple, inexpensive 110 disposable pocket camera, attention to a few details can make all the difference in improving your pictures.
The main areas where anyone can improve are content, lighting, and angle: CONTENT
Flip through your favorite magazines and notice how professional photographers "frame" their subjects. Grouping a nice collection of objects or people together is one method of creating good content, and isolation of a single subject is another. Remember who is going to be looking at your pictures and what you want them to see.
Taking photographs of several objects or people can make a beautiful layout. A group of people standing together can turn out nicely if you ask them to act "natural" and place them in a natural setting. For example, having them all sit randomly on a large rock is more natural than having them line up like a classroom of kindergartners in a yearbook. The surrounding scenery can provide more color and interest, too.
Indoors, if taking a portrait of your office crew, why not have them all standing around the coffee machine as if chatting, or have them act as if they are working and you caught them with your camera. The more natural the background and subject, the better the photograph will look in the end. Most "posed" pictures are not much fun to look at, although there may be the rare occasion where this type of shot is desired.
Outdoors, things such as groupings of flowers, trees and the like in nature can be balanced by being aware of how many items you wish to include and the angle at which you take the picture. Keep in mind your final product and how you would like it to appear. Do you want to show the detail in one little daisy, or would you like to capture the whole field of daisies?
Sometimes it helps to include an object for size reference with your subject, such as a person standing next to that cactus can show just how huge it was, or placing your little child beside a common object, such as a door in your home, can help register their height at that particular age.
The most common mistake amateur photographers make is having too much background that is not related to the subject. By getting a little closer, and/or zooming in on your subject a little, try to isolate your subject from all the surrounding blank walls or chaos. Getting closer can also capture a little more detail in your subject itself. Be careful and know how close you can get with your particular camera model, as getting too close can cause your shot to come out distorted or out of focus. Some of the best people portraits are gained by filling the whole picture frame with their face and capturing the detail of their expression and likeness.
Lighting is something you must be very aware of in order to take better photographs. Even with the simplest camera equipment, the amount, direction, and quality of light make all the difference between a great photo and a terrible one.
Despite most amateur photographers' beliefs that you need lots of bright lighting, most cameras take better photographs with indirect lighting. This would be an overcast day or light shade outdoors, and a covered flash indoors. You can cover your flash with a light white cloth, which will allow some of the light through, but not bring such a harsh light to your subject.
The direction of direct, harsh light brings problems to your pictures. If facing the sun, your subjects will end up squinting, but with their back to the sun, their face may turn out too shaded, and you risk getting the glare of the sun in your camera lens. With more indirect type of lighting, you do not have to worry about glare or shadows so much.
Sometimes, though, you can use direct lighting and shadows to your advantage, such as taking a close up of a person's face, allowing direct light to shine on one half of their face, and the other half cast in shadow. This may bring out their unique facial features. This can also work well with rock formations, with the longer shadows of early morning or late evening giving more of a feeling of depth and angles in your subject than taking a straight on picture at high noon. If you choose to shoot in bright sunlight, always make sure the sun is not pointing directly into your camera, but is at some angle to your back.
Choosing your angle can make a great deal of difference in the interest of your photography as well. Don't be afraid to move around and see how the view looks from higher, lower, to one side, or even turning your camera for an angular or longwise shot. Try placing the subject in different parts of the picture, the top, bottom, or to the side, rather than always dead center. Intentionally off-center shots are very much the rage with professional photographers today.
A final word: accept the fact that as you practice and experiment, you will have some bad shots, but as you look at these, try to learn from them by asking yourself what you could have done differently to improve your photograph. Then your experience will not be wasted.
The keys to taking better photographs are being aware of your content, your lighting, and your angle; not being afraid to experiment; allowing yourself to be a little bit creative; and knowing what your camera can do.
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