Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mandatory Homework - Understanding Histograms

Sorry about the lack of blogging yesterday.... life happened. But I'm back today and I have a good one for both of you who read my blog!

Mandatory Reading, there will be a quiz later....

Understanding Histograms

I'll be on an all day shoot tomorrow, so I'll see you on Monday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Finding the Center of Your Picture

Here's one that used to stump me all the time. How do you find the center of an image? When I discovered the method it was too easy!

Simply, set the rulers to percentage.

Setting the rulers to percentage can also be helpful when recording action that will be run on files of different sizes where you might want an effect to be applied to a certain percentage of an area.

See you tomorrow,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mean Sisters

I kept telling the older one she better watch out. One day the younger child would get her revenge. Alas....

See you tomorrow,

Friday, September 18, 2009

Foto Friday

1/200 sec at f/3.2 ISO 320 190mm (70-200mm f/2.8) Canon 40D Natural Light

Have a great weekend everyone. I'll see you Monday,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lightroom 2.5 and Camera Raw 5.5 released

Camera Raw 5.5 has been released, along with Lightroom 2.5. This release is basically a camera update, along with one announced bug fix.

Camera additions are:
  • Nikon D300s
  • Nikon D3000
  • Olympus E-P1
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ35
  • Panasonic DMC-GF1

  • Release Notes:
    Camera Raw 5.5 and Lightroom 2.5 include a correction to the demosaic algorithms for Bayer sensor cameras with unequal green response. Olympus, Panasonic and Sony are among the more popular camera manufacturers affected by this change. But the demosaic correction provides only a subtle visual improvement to the processing of those raw files.

    AND FINALLY!!! (Thank you thank you thank you!) Lightroom 2.5 corrects for the following problem in Lightroom 2.4. Lightroom 2.4 on Windows continued to display the import dialog when a memory card was detected regardless of the preference setting "Show import dialog when a memory card is detected."


    Lightroom 2.5: Macintosh | Windows

    Adobe Camera Raw 5.5: Macintosh | Windows

    See you tomorrow,

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Guessing Game

    (Thankfully) I was very busy today, but I'm rushing to make my Wednesday post in time! Judging from the clock, I have 35 minutes to spare! LOL

    Anyway, I thought we'd play a neat game. It's simple - where did I take the picture above?!?


    See you tomorrow,

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Tip Tuesday - Zoom Zoom Zoom (in CS4)

    In Photoshop CS4 you can use a new shortcut Cmd/Ctrl - 1 to set the zoom level to 100% (also known as Actual Pixels). This makes Photoshop CS4 work like the other Creative Suite Applications such as Illustrator, InDesign, and Flash. Or, you can double click on the Zoom tool to display the image at 100%. In addition, the old standby’s will still work - Cmd/Ctrl - Option/Alt - 0 (zero), Cmd/Ctrl - 0 (zero) will "Fit To Screen", Cmd/Ctrl -“+” (plus) will zoom in, Cmd/Ctrl - “-” (minus) will zoom out.

    See you tomorrow,

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Check This Out: TweetDeck

    Short and quick today. If you're into Twitter and Facebook (and MySpace), you're going to love what I discovered today. It's called TweetDeck.

    TweetDeck is your personal browser for staying in touch with what’s happening now, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook and more.

    TweetDeck shows you everything you want to see at once, so you can stay organized and up to date.

    I like it!

    See you tomorrow,

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    How Will You Remember 9-11 Today?

    This post is coming out of left field for most of you that know me, but I wanted to do something different today since it's 9-11. Something that might matter.

    Then I got this email:

    Dear Chris,

    I think that this is probably the most difficult introduction that I’ve ever written. I have so much to say, yet I can’t seem to begin.

    So, I’ll begin this way. Heroes walk among us every day. Some you’ll readily recognize: those in the Armed Forces (or who have served), firefighters, police officers. However, there are also heroes who make a profound and lasting difference, but do so quietly. These are the invisible heroes, and they are everywhere—especially in the photographic industry.

    Bravery comes in many forms. I’m in constant awe of not only those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others, but also those who willingly open their hearts to others, even when the circumstances cause their own hearts to break while they are helping.

    In the midst of mourning, a group of heroes emerges to give families lasting images of their children who will never grow older. They are the photographers who volunteer for the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation. This week’s Vital Signs shares information about what they do—and how you can get involved.

    These photographers are my heroes.

    Now, I had heard of the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation before and even thought about joining, but today it just seemed right...

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    See you on Monday,

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    25 Cool Digital Photography Tutorials, Techniques and Effects

    Had a completely different idea for a post today, but got really busy (more soon) and lost track of time. So, I decided to share a group of cool tutorials I found recently.

    The list of cool digital photography techniques and tutorials is endless, you can even find 10 completely different methods to achieve the same effect. Which is the best? It really depends on the photographer and there level of expertise. Which ever effect you use, your images are going to look cool and unique.

    Check them out here.

    See you tomorrow,

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Fall Foliage Photography

    So I'm sitting here working on my Fall Foliage Fotos special for the website and it hit me...

    ...THIS is today's blog post!

    Autumn is right around the corner, bringing with it a seasonal change that inspires photographers across the nation: Fall foliage. There’s no question that autumn’s dramatic landscapes are stunning to behold; the real challenge is how to preserve the impact in a still photograph that captures the unique quality of this season. Here are a few tips that may help:

    Closer is Better!
    The temptation of wide shots, of entire forests or mountainsides may be hard to resist. However, variety is important. Shoot the panoramic landscapes, but also remember that beauty can be found in the details.

    Out-of-focus backgrounds are a photographic effect you can heighten, or reduce, by controlling your aperture: Wider apertures (that is, lower f-numbers, such as f/4, f/2.8, etc.) will result in a shallower range of focus, and soft backgrounds. Smaller apertures, such as f/11, f/16, or f/22 will increase the range of focus, resulting in sharper backgrounds. Either effect may work; you just need to make the creative choice depending on what, and how much of the background you want to see in the image.

    Instead of pointing and shooting, think about ways to artfully compose your shots for greater impact. Many beginners only pay attention to their main subject in the frame, and capture it in obvious ways (such as centered in the frame, or right in the foreground). Instead, take the time to consider the background, and experiment with more dynamic ways to make your main subject stand out:
    • Try not to shoot everything from eye-level.
    • Remember the Rule of Thirds.
    • Look for patterns or repetition in the frame, such as reflections or groups of similar objects, which creates a pleasing effect in the composition.
    • Remember that contrast can help colors to ‘pop’ – for example, the warm tones of autumn leaves will be enhanced with the subtle inclusion of something cool (blue, or blue-green) in the frame. For example, a vivid sliver of sky, or a blue-painted automobile or house strategically placed in the foreground.
    • Don’t forget the power of wide-angle lenses. A standard zoom lens, such as an 18-55mm lens (or 28-90mm lens on a film camera) can produce some spectacular results – especially if you move in close at its widest setting and focus upon one object in the foreground. A low-hanging branch with leaves can suddenly become a broad burst of color and detail, if you move in and focus upon the nearest leaf.
    • Shoot some back-lit pictures, with the sun coming toward the camera and shining through leaves. Back-lighting can really increase the rich color of fall foliage. Watch for glare or lens flare, however. Sometimes, moving the camera just a bit can cause other leaves to block the sun, shading the lens and reducing or eliminating lens flare.
    Try to Use Natural Light
    If possible, make a point of shooting during the ‘magic’, or golden, hours. This occurs generally during the first half-hour right after the sun rises in the morning, and the last half hour just before the sun sets at the end of the day. During these fleeting periods, the quality of light is ideal for autumn landscape photography:
    • The sunlight is naturally warm, rich, and golden-hued - further enhancing the colorful leaves.

    • The angle of the sunlight is lower and more directional. You can create enhanced textures and shapes if you shoot with it as side-light, or increased depth if used as a backlight.

    • The quality of magic-hour sunlight is more diffuse, with a pleasing contrast that is less likely to overexpose in the highlights, or underexpose in the shadows.
    However, if the weather is not cooperating (magic hour light is most pronounced on days with clear, sunny forecasts) – don’t get discouraged. Fall showers can inspire beautiful photo opportunities, as well: Fall colors can look even more saturated during or right after a rainstorm, and moody skies can offer that perfect contrast to a fiery-hued tree. Or, get out your macro lens and look for details such as raindrops clinging to the leaves.

    Autum photos are a big hit - everyone likes them. Take advantage of this short time period: Go out with your camera and shoot! Remember to look for different ways to shoot familiar subjects, whether it's up-close, down low, with filters, after dawn, or during a storm -- and you will find it pay off in many wonderful, dynamic shots that capture the spirit of the season.

    See you tomorrow,

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    Tip Tuesday - Adding Canvas Using the Crop Tool

    OK, so I forgot Monday was a holiday and I chose to spend it with family - hope you will forgive me! But, now we're on to Tuesday which means Tip Tuesday!

    To use the Crop tool to add canvas to your image, drag out a crop and release the mouse. Then, drag the crop handles outside of the image area and apply the crop. The area outside of the image will be added to the canvas. To keep the same aspect ratio, add in the shift key as you drag a corner. To add area to all four sides, hold the ALT key, to add the same amount all around the image while keeping the aspect ration, add in the SHIFT and ALT keys!

    Note: to add transparency around the image (instead of filling the added space with the background color) convert the Background into a layer by selecting Layer > New > Layer From Background (or by double clicking on the word Background in the Layers panel).

    See you tomorrow,

    Friday, September 4, 2009

    My Favorite Things...

    First let me apologize for the lack of post yesterday - and yes, I'm depressed about the outcome, but mercifully, most games will be on Saturday when I don't blog anyway....

    So on to My Favorite Things...

    No not in life silly, it's the favorite things that help me do whatever it is that I do here. (In no particular order)

    Adobe Photoshop
    I fell out of love with photography in college because I couldn't afford the film and processing. I fell back in love with it when I mastered Photoshop 5.5 (thanks to Scott Kelby - see below). I've been in love with both (photography and photoshop - not Scott, because that would just be weird) ever since.

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
    What Photoshop did to rekindle my passion for photography, Lightroom came along and stole! I now do 85% of my image processing in Lightroom, and most images never see Photoshop. Now Photoshop still has a loving place in my heart and I still use it daily, but the routine processing I do on my images is all done in Lightroom now.

    And I've noticed this strange phenomenon, if you tell someone you ran an image through Photoshop to clean it up - they immediately assume you "created" and "fabricated" your way into a nice image. For whatever reason, if people see a nice image now they assume it was "Photoshopped." I hear things like, "You must have Photoshopped that picture," or "wow that's beautiful, did you use Photoshop?" But tell them you processed that image in Lightroom without going into Photoshop at all, and they stare in disbelief and say things like, "That's a really nice image," or "You're a really good photographer." It really cracks me up.

    Canon "L" series Glass
    Particularly the 85mm, the 70-200mm, the 16-35mm, and the 24-70mm - L-O-V-E them!

    They're more expensive than other options, but world-class leaders in my book. Would buy them everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.

    Scott Kelby
    Wow. How do you sum up what this man has done for my career and abilities. I'm an Adobe Certified Instructor, Photographer, NAPP member, pretty decent Photoshop'er, blogger, Photowalker, trainer, and even help orphans in Kenya - all directly because of this man. He's a legend, a master, and from all accounts of speaking with his friends - a darn nice guy to boot, and one day I sincerely hope to call him "friend" as well.

    David Hobby
    No one has done more for lighting in photography than Mr. Hobby. An inspiration on so many levels.

    and finally, NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals)
    I'm a fiercely loyal member - recommend them to all my students, take my students to every workshop that comes near us, and strongly encourage everyone I know in the biz to join. Most do - have you?!?

    You guys and gals have heard me rave about them before. Still can't recommend them enough!

    I'll see you on Monday,

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Gone Fishin'

    I am, ummmm, otherwise occupied today!

    See you tomorrow,

    P.S. Go Pack!

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Tip Tuesday - Making Copies of Layers in Photoshop

    I'm initiating a new spot here on the blog - Tip Tuesday - where each Tuesday I will post a neat tip in my favorite software to help you!

    Today's tip: Making Copies of Layers in Photoshop

    Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) -drag a layer in the images area with the Move tool creates a copy of a layer. You can also Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) -drag in the Layers panel to duplicate a layer - select the layer(s) and drag until yo see a heavy black line between the layers and release.

    See you tomorrow,