St. Petersburg Times

Holiday lights photography
We've stopped taking questions for Times Photo Technology Director Jack Rowland but check out his answers below to questions on digital photography.

Questions and answers:
Question: We have two dogs who are our children. We take a lot of picures of them, but their eyes look like they are from outer space. What can we do to keep the red eye out of our dog pictures? A sincere thank you!

Jack Rowland: Red eye in flash photographs is a common problem, especially if the photographs are taken in a very dark environment. When in dark situations your dogs' pupils are open wide to let in more light. When the camera's flash hits their eyes the light travels through the eye, illuminating the blood in the back of the eye socket.

There are several ways to diminish and even eliminate red eye in your photos. You can turn on more lights or move your subjects into an area with more ambient light. If you have a camera with a "red eye reduction" feature, turn it on. In red eye reduction mode cameras will emit a short pre-flash before the main flash, causing the pupils to close before the picture is taken and therefore reducing red eye. You can also change the angle of your photos, taking care to not fire the flash directly into your subjects' eyes.

And even if you have existing photos with red eye, you can use digital editing software to remove it. Most of the photo editing software for consumers, such as Adobe's Photoshop Elements, have tools for basic toning and red eye reduction. And there are several online photo printing services, such as, that offer the ability to remove red eye from your photos before ordering prints.

Question: I have a Sony Cybershot camera. When I have deleted photos and later taken the Memory Stick to Walmart's digital photo machine pictures that I thought I had deleted were still on the memory Stick. What am I doing wrong?

Jack Rowland: When you use your camera to "delete" photos you aren't really deleting them. The delete and quick format features in your camera remove the reference files pointing to the actual photos, but the photos are still there. This is actually a good thing. If you've ever accidentally re-formatted a digital card containing photos that have not been copied elsewhere, you can use special software to retrieve the "deleted" photos.

I have no experience with the Wal Mart digital photo machines but I'm guessing the software used on that machine is set to find all photos on the card, disregarding your deletions. The only way to totally erase all your photos is to do a full DOS format on your cards. It's good to get in the habit of formatting your digital cards from time to time to promote good card health. If you're a PC user this is easy to do because you can use the Windows formatting utility. If you're using a Mac in OS X you can format your cards on an available PC or use Virtual PC with Windows to do it. Both PC and Mac users can also use Lexar Media's Image Rescue software to format cards back to factory specs and retrieve photos from corrupt cards. Another utility for retrieving photos from corrupt cards is DataRescue's Photo Rescue We use both at the Times.

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