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Photography/Background Photo Image/s Capture.


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Dear Dave

1.Is it possible to capture/take background photos similarly when we look in a mirror. i.e. Through Mirror camera lens, we are able to view background i.e. objects which are behind us at a distance.

As a example,

Trees, Trains, Ships etc.

2. Can there be any advantages for a camera constructed by increasing the Camera Height to give us twice the area of the camera rectangle. i.e. Top Rectangle and Bottom Rectangle. The Viewing Glass and Lens are present on both the sides of the camera but they are diagonally opposite. The Top Rectangle will be the same as attached in the figure. The Bottom Rectangle will have the Lens on the opposite side of the Top Rectangle and viewing image glass will be on the opposite side of the Top rectangle. Both are diagonally opposite ?.  

i.e. One can Hold Digital Camera from either side and take photos.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Hi again Prashant!

I'm back... and first, thanks so much for the great ratings for my previous answer!

And now to your latest interesting questions!

Yes, it is possible to shoot into a mirror to capture subjects that are behind you.  Whether there are any advantages to doing that depends on the effects you want to create. You can use this technique to "put yourself into the scene," for instance, but you may have to do some contortions to keep the camera itself out of the picture!

A variation of this technique is also used a lot to frame artistic reflections in windows of things that are behind the photographer. I've done it often to capture images of lighthouses that are reflected in the panes of an old building's windows. If no light is exiting the building through its windows, they will look black and act like textured mirrors. The effect can be quite lovely. And for centuries, photographers have shot images of distant buildings and other subjects that were reflected in pools of water on the ground. Still other photogs love to shoot images that are distorted in curved reflecting surfaces (such as automobile bodies).

So there's no end to the ways that you can employ reflective surfaces to create beautiful artistic  images! One that I shot several years ago shows both the Eiffel Tower and its reflection in the rainy-day stone of the Trocadero plaza facing it. Both the tower and the people looking at it were reflected in the stone's wet, mirrored, surface... and it's still one of my favorite images!

The best thing to do is to try... experiment... see what happens. And with digital cameras, there's nothing to lose by trying!

Now your second question is a little more difficult to understand. My first reaction is to observe that in most cases, very little will be gained by making a camera larger and more square. Yes, there would be a small red-eye-removal benefit from moving the camera's integral flash further away from the lens. But there'd still be the limiting factor of the digital sensor itself. No matter how much a camera's body might be stretched, the fixed sensor within determines how big its photos can be.

Admittedly, there are bigger sensors out there. And the cameras built around them also tend to have larger bodies! There are also "large format" digital backs that can convert existing bodies into very-wide-field imaging systems (see <a href="">). So it is possible (though expensive) to build a "stretched" digital camera with a very wide field of view.

And technically, it would also be possible to build a camera with lenses on both sides, but this idea probably isn't worth pursuing. After all, that's exactly what many of today's latest smart phones already do... and in a pocketable form factor! Many of them already have cameras on both sides, and though the one used for video chats tends to be lower quality, that too will probably change in the future.  

Now, I don't yet believe that smart phones will kill off digital cameras. But it wasn't all that long ago that I held similar disbeliefs about digital cameras killing off film. And they have almost nearly done so. But I have great faith that mobile phones WILL continue to include higher- and higher-quality cameras on both of their sides!

Hope this helps... and thanks again for the great ratings!




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Dave Powell


My specialty is highly atmospheric digital-infrared photography, and I'd love to answer questions about digital-IR equipment and procedures. I can also help people understand classic "old-photog" techniques (like "Sunny 16 Exposure" and "Hyperfocal Focusing")... which are still useful today. I can answer questions about processing, improving, manipulating, and printing digital photos with programs like Photoshop. I'm an inveterate tinkerer, and may be able to answer questions about making one's own photo equipment (such as DIY special-effect filters, close-up adapters, and pin-hole cameras); about doing super-closeup macro photography (film or digital); and about using older lenses on cameras made by different manufacturers (such as Nikon lenses on Canon bodies and Pentax lenses on Olympus bodies. I can answer general purchasing questions, such as "Can any of the digital SLRs use my old Minolta film lenses?" But as others have noted, nobody can identify the "best" camera for another person. That calls for extensive web research plus hands-on time in a good camera store. (But I can point to great web resources for doing this research!)


Over the past 40 years, I've used a huge variety of film cameras (SLR, rangefinder, point-and-shoot, high-end, fantastique-plastique, fully manual, highly automated, 35mm, 110, medium format, Polaroid, folding, even homemade pinhole). I've used digital cameras since the late 1990s (began when I was writing user manuals for Polaroid’s digital cameras). I've also won juried photo competitions in the Boston area, and have exhibited and sold original prints. (Amazingly, my best-selling print was taken with a lowly 0.8-megapixel camera, and very carefully processed to print at 12x18 inches!) I’ve taught local adult-ed classes about digital cameras, Photoshop image processing, and better photography through self-understanding. I’ve contributed to Popular Photography’s tips and tricks column, and am currently writing a book about taking better photos through self-understanding.

Popular Photography (tips and tricks column), plus dozens of magazines and blog sites that have carried my bylined articles about computers, networking, information security, and eLearning.

Masters in Science Communications, Boston University, 1980. Bachelors in Mathematics, Denison University, 1970.

Awards and Honors
I've won several juried photo competitions in the Boston area, and have exhibited and sold original prints... especially digital-infrared landscapes, architectural abstracts, and cityscapes. I've also won multiple international awards in the technical-writing field... including a business press equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. And I've even written for Sesame Street!

Past/Present Clients
Winchester Recreation Department (taught photography classes) Jenks Senior Center (taught photography and Photoshop classes) Polaroid (wrote their digital-camera user manuals until they entered Chapter 11)

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