Jan 28, 2009

Out of the Box…

Ziser's Videos

My people photography skills simply haven't been well honed.  So you'd expect I wouldn't look at wedding photography.
But, I became a devotee of David Ziser about the time we headed into recession/depression.  Every Thursday, David will write a business blog about some aspect of photography.  Occasionally, he’d tout one of his free videos.

One day, David showed up with a pool shot after sunset.  The sky was quite dark and the pool had green water – a marked color difference between sky and pool.
David’s Evening Blues video created a colorful transition ~ he brought out the sunset and colored the pool a deep blue – in concert with the sky colors.
Beyond that, it was a very interesting lesson in making subtle color changes to strengthen an image.  Naturally, it gave me a sense of how to use color in both Lightroom and Photoshop CS3.
Since then, whenever I get the chance, I imbibe my color senses in various David Ziser videos.  While I might be learning a little bit about wedding photography, I'm really learning about ever so subtle color enhancements and presentation styles.

Guess you could say I'm trying to think/learn out of the box...
Thanks, David!

Jan 27, 2009

Lightroom 2.3RC User Forum Comments

Within a few days of release for new Adobe software, user forums have scoped out and commented on the various bug fixes.  Here, we report on two forums:
Adobe User-to-User
Lightroom Forums

With some ~75 comments as of 0800 MST US, the international Lightroom community seems to feel that the memory leak has been repaired.  As you might expect, individual reports do with other concerns.  I leave it to you to see if one of those aspects affect your workflow.

Jan 24, 2009

Cross Roads

Hidden Mountain Sunset, Los Lunas, NM

Hidden Mountain
©Joe Bridwell
It was just a lark at first. We went sunset shootin’ west of Los Lunas. NM. A low cloud bank was pushing in from the west as the sun vanished behind Hidden Mountain. Then, the surprise began… vapor trails from an eastbound and northbound plane appeared. In a moment, their paths crossed, seeming to transfix yet emphasize the sky above the gorgeous pageantry of a remarkable sunset. And Hidden Mountain, as captured, indeed, is hidden…

This stunning image is a high dynamic range composite shot with a Nikon D300 on a steady tripod. Each image was shot at 14 bits, providing 4 times the color range of a 12 bit capture. This choice helped dramatize shadows, midtones, and highlights.
Three images were captured and brought into Lightroom 2.3. The new Photomatix Pro 3.1.3 Lightroom plugin then processed those images into a 32 bit hdr file (which we saved in case future software brush improvements provide other, more compelling benefits) before seamlessly returning a Tone Mapped 16 bit tif using Tone Compressor with no global color changes.
Back in Lightroom, we cropped the dark foreground, increased exposure 0.5EV, created a medium tone contrast, added a graduated filter in the sky, then modified a local sky-only grad filter contrast and saturation until our eye’s memory was satisfied.

Two unsuspecting pilots skillfully avoiding collision provide a sacred signature to the truly gorgeous aspects Nature provides as we extend what a camera can capture to what our incredible eye can make as a transcendent memory.

Jan 23, 2009

Lightroom 2.3RC

Lightroom 2.3RC

For me, a detailed local Adjustment Brush, while trying to sharpen a waterfall sheen on sandstone, finally froze the system…
At the time, I did not think memory leak.  But, I had been reading Lightroom blogs and Adobe forums, so when I saw 5.3RC I was enthused.  Then, I ran across this rather cryptic bug fix description in the LR2.3RC info sheet: A memory leak could cause Lightroom to crash while attempting to process files with local adjustments.
I’m just beginning to comprehend the strength of Lightroom’s local adjustment brush.  Because of the forum squawks about memory leak, there was some concern.  Happily, I installed LR2.3RC on an AMD 64 Athlon-X2 Dual Processor Dell laptop with no problem.
You can download LR2.3RC here.  Let’s hope the leak is plugged.

New Lightroom Plugin for Photomatix Pro

You can now perform a seamless HDR image construction between Lightroom 2 and Photomatix…
When Matt Kloskowski, NAPP, recently began the crusade to get Lightroom and Photomatix to really communicate, we had v 3.1.2 Photomatix and a plugin which would take files into Photomatix, but not return them to LR. This left it up to us to move such files back into our working catalog.
Most of us are used to LR2 sending a file out to Photoshop then seamlessly getting the result back. The guys and gals at HDRsoft promised to remedy the ‘dangling file’ situation post haste.
With advent of 3.1.3 beta4, Photomatix now has a new plugin to integrate with Lightroom It only runs on the new beta vice 3.1.2. When you select 3 or more images to process for HDR, Photomatix brings up a dialog box. At the bottom, this box asks you if you want to return the result and stack it with your original images. You may choose either 8 bit jpg or tif formats. You may also choose a 16 bit tif (my normal choice since I shoot raw).
So you will want to download the new beta to speed your HDR processing.

Jan 14, 2009

Lightroom through Andrew Rodney’s Eyes

Lightroom Conference Photoshop World 2009

After a beautiful relaxing Christmas, it's time to get back in the saddle... the silence reflects development of a Lightroom 2 workshop for February and March, 2009. The digital blogosphere also seemed relatively quiet; until Lightroom once again poked its head well above the surface.
Photoshop World Conference, Boston, March, plans to Have a Lightroom Conference within the Conference.
Creative, speed editing, camera lights, weddings, organization, using camera raw, basic, Photoshop, and show your work... these would be the topical labels you might put beneath your blog to attract attention for this innovative Lightroom conference. The list of luminaries making presentations is long; we single out Andrew Rodney, Photoshop Hall of Fame, Santa Fe, for further comment.

Andrew Rodney and Lightroom
On one of Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider guest blogs, Andrew, who began working with Photoshop 1.0.7 18 years ago, wrote "Lightroom represents (excuse the cliché) a quantum paradigm shift with respect to image processing." As of January the 12th, this blog posting had 42 comments; a diverse set of views and experiences regarding Lightroom with Andrew's responses.

Andrew also discussed Lightroom workflow:
Get it right in capture (good exposure, focus, etc)
Then get it right in rendering (Raw processing) [Lightroom inferred - rjb]
THEN resort to Photoshop or use Photoshop for local corrections and special effects you wish to achieve.

For our broader, philosophical view of Lightroom, Andrew said:
I think the newer selective color tools in LR2 are intended for broad strokes if you will. They help a great deal (lets burn in the corners, lets do large areas of correction). But I think for those of us that need really fine control, Photoshop will always be necessary. The idea is to minimize having to do large general area corrections on pixel based images which can be slower to accomplish.
Andrew has also promulgated free Lightroom presets and written Color Management for Photographers.

So, another cogent indication the 1-2 punch is Lightroom first, then fine tuning in Photoshop! As a bonus, in many cases Lightroom is quicker, since it's designed for photographers…

Jan 1, 2009

Families Together…

Families Together

Niece and Aunt
©Joe Bridwell
Golden Christmas moment in silence. Ageless beauty of childhood, dreams, and innocent memories… Simple grace, yet solid form.
Nikon D300, 60mm, 1/25, f5, iso 1600

Compositional elements are exquisite - essentially, graceful child and golden light as primary theme. The secondary theme is woman glancing at faint picture. A tertiary theme is subdued table, chair, and glasses creating a frame.
Nevertheless, it's as if this beloved child, amplifying golden light, cradled in some internal yet infinite wisdom, has graciously raised one hand to pray "Jesus, ..."
As the child departed for home, blue eyes awash with tears and arms full of warm hugs, we were able to clearly see how much being with all her family meant for Christmas, 2008!

May your Christmas have taken you to such limits of emotional and digital satisfaction! Happy New Year…