Weekend update: Shutter secrets

It seems that everyone's lugging around a digital SLR camera and multiple lenses these days. At the very least, you've got a smartphone in your pocket that has more megapixels than top-end point-and-shoot models had only a few years ago. So while more and more amateur photographers have access to the tools of the trade, how many actually know how to use them properly? (Trust me, I've got enough poorly-exposed, out-of-focus "artsy" shots in my iPhoto Library to fill several albums.)

Help arrives in today's Weekend section: Lavanya Ramanathan gets tips from several local pros to help you take great photos. Read the story and be sure to click through a gallery of shots by Mark Parascandola, Josh Sisk and Joshua Cogan.

Read on for the rest of what's inside today's Weekend section:

• As always, we pick the area's best events over the next three days, including heavy metal with an Indian twist, a celebration of the National Wildlife Refuge System's birthday and a visit by NBA highlight machine Blake Griffin.

• Brandon Weigel profiles "shamelessly self-confident" Baltimore rockersLower Dens. (We'll let you know the next time the band plays D.C. because the show with Wye Oak, tonight at the Black Cat, is sold out)

•Quick spins of new discs by Empresarios (Saturday at the Rock and Roll Hotel); The Ex (Saturday at the Black Cat); Rural Alberta Advantage (Sunday at the Rock and Roll Hotel); and Al Petteway & Amy White (Sunday at Jammin' Java).

•Stephanie Merry reports on playful wire sculptures by Alexander Calder.

•Signature's "And the Curtain Rises" explores the birth of the musical.

•Want to watch the Caps as they prep for the Stanley Cup playoffs?See them practice (for free!) in Arlington.

•AMC's "The Walking Dead' brings the zombie apocalypse to DVD and Blu-Ray.

•Opening at the movies this weekend: "Battle: Los Angeles""Red Riding Hood""Mars Needs Moms""The Kids Grow Up"; and "Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune."

Alex Baldinger is editor of the Going Out Guide blog, which covers food, drink, arts, music, events and other curiosities in the D.C. area. He is forever in search of a great sandwich.

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