Feb 27, 2009

Day's End…

Familiar Faces #2, Copyright Kenny Weng, With Permission @ moodaholic.com

Familiar Faces #2
©Kenny Weng
With Permission

Some weeks seem to oscillate - the ageless good news/bad news cycle.
As the globe decries fiscal hemorrhage and as photographers stand in immediate need of surcease, I’ve found several sites which show promise, resiliency of mankind, and even… hope!

Syl Arena, Pixsylated, wrote a highly evocative piece on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider Wednesday guest blog. His message, “In Lessons I Didn’t Learn in Photo School, running with the pack won’t get you any attention these days. Create ways for people to remember you. If you know tons about photography but create shallow photos, then read literature, visit art galleries, learn ethnic cooking, volunteer, watch foreign movies, attend theater, travel, coach youth sports… Learning to create photographs that “look” like your world should be only a milestone – not the destination!”

Rob Haggart, A Photo Editor, wrote a provocative piece Young Photographers Just Don’t Have A Chance Right Now. A reader responded, saying he’d been a recent graduate of photography school and, “…never really had a chance to establish ourselves in the field that we truly love.” He cites Simon Norfolk On World Press Photo “My advice? Get re-skilled. Keep your photographic aspirations but try to get a trade like film editing, web-design or accounting. Soon we’ll all be amateur photographers with real money-making jobs on the side that we don’t tell our colleagues about. We need to get over the snobbery attached to that.”
As of my reading, numerous comments came in from around the planet. Each, in its own way, speaks to photography, that great passion, and is a revelation…

Jeff Revell, PhotoWalkPro, had a byline titled Danish Inspiration
Here is a Danish photographer’s way of showing how he approaches today’s photography and world chaos.
In Kenny Weng’s words at m8daholic, “The purpose of my photoblog is to maintain a fair playground with my own rules. The rules do shift over time. Lately the rules are to try making the most in camera on location, though all possible adjustment through RAW is allowed - just like the old dark room.”
I also commend these images; #1 and #2!

As I sit through numerous single judge photo competitions, I listen to judges who “want a straight horizon in the mountains, won’t let a building keystone, decry use of too much vignette, crop a symmetric contrail’s reflection framing ducks on a golden pond, …, yada yada”.
When I look at m8daholic, both in mission statement and thematic images, I am struck by the photographic passion and personal statements made by Kenny Weng.
I found Kenny’s photography particularly moving and spent a early, contemplative, pre-dawn sojourn in Denmark, since Kenny’s work shows me a way beyond both my current shooting limits and other’s judged perceptions.
In particular, I commend the image above. This man expresses wisdom, a rather deep awareness of real life, and embodies an age old, yet timeless strength. Was this person once a struggling photographer?

As I was closing, I found another blog: Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist – a feminine viewpoint. She has good advice for the future as well…

It seems to me that, if photography is really a field you love, you should make every opportunity to find new paths, to find new ways of expanding your photography and self, and, to what some may think as hackneyed journalism, reach for the stars…
Or, simply recall an old saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going..."

Feb 24, 2009

The Future of HDR - II

HDR Videos, DVDs, and Books w LR2 and CS4

Whether its DVDs, videos, or books – High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is flourishing with Lightroom 2 (LR) and Photoshop CS4(PS).
The authors shown above
John Doogan FNZIPP (and Adobe Ambassador),
Ben Willmore (HDR & Beyond), and
Matt Kloskowski NAPP (DVD)
take different approaches.

Last Thursday’s Future of HDR was prelude to a central question, “Where and how will our future growth proceed in digital photography as we use better cameras to provide HDR images which represent what our eye actually saw?”

What Does Each Approach Offer?
While I have not seen Kloskowski’s HDR DVD, I have seen his Lightroom DVD. His approach is simple; a nuts and bolts use of Lightroom rather than enhanced tool application. I presume he uses Photomatix for HDR the same way. I can’t speak to his tone mapping approach.
Ben Willmore briefly touched on his HDR approach in two short CS3 videos with Bert Monroy. The first shows how to use CS3 to Merge to HDR to align and create an initial image. The second uses CS3 brightness and other advanced masking tools (curves) to more carefully tone map images. He has a book out next month entitled HDR and Beyond with CS4.
John Doogan’s videos spend 2 hours skillfully showing how to use several HDR approaches. In New and Improved Adobe Photomerge and Merge to HDR in Photoshop CS4, he uses Lightroom to Merge to HDR, then either applies CS4 layer adjustments or Lightroom nondestructive graduated filters or local adjustment brushes to enhance and add subtle changes to his HDR images. As a nature photographer, I enjoyed his Landscape Photographers Guide to Lightroom and CS4. Both can be viewed on video by clicking on each title below.

My HDR Experience
I began using HDR in October, 2007. For perspective, that was 6 months after the Photoshop CS3 release. At that time, few reviews suggested use of CS3 and its HDR capabilities. Rather, Photomatix Pro was hero from that day.
As I’ve worked with CS3 and Photomatix, one interesting reaction has been, “That image seems to be ‘science-fiction’ – meaning, it’s over done.” Hindsight, centered around shooting Magic Hour shots, that period between dawn and dusk, suggests HDR should be approached carefully with Photomatix. Use of Detail Enhancer (DE) provides a histogram which rarely seems to fit the general histogram shape from the initial capture image. On the other hand, Tone Compressor (TC) seems to be more consistent; it maintains similar histogram configurations. While DE has numerous knobs and dials for tone mapping, TC only has half that amount.
When you think of dodging and burning in CS3 as well as exciting new graduated filter and adjustment brushes in Lightroom 2 (and CS4) ~ that impressive tone mapping list shows Photomatix appearing to strongly lag behind. Moreover, those local nondestructive Adobe Camera Raw 5.x brushes allow us to swiftly add subtle clipping, recovery, fill light, shadows, brightness, clarity, vibrance, sharpness, auto align, auto blend, etc.
When compared to combinations of various tools used in tone mapping from Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 – the few global Photomatix knobs and dials, which only treat a global image, seem to become minor.

Brief Historical Perspective
So, what can we learn by perusing noted experts and their present approaches to HDR?
HDR began to appear through tutorials from different photographers. Early on it was Photomatix, but in 2008, Bridge and CS3 became prevalent. With release of LR2 in September, 2008 and CS4, October, 2008, Adobe Camera Raw, the underpinning of both, had become an active local brush adjustment environment. Workflow steps taking hours are reduced to 10s of minutes.
Now, HDR found a new home with more subtle nuances to its plethora of image corrections. I think advent of Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 as a combo puts us in a better tone mapping situation to softly, yet persistently enhance HDR. Several people are using Merge to HDR from Lightroom. Then they go on to use the sophistication of LR/PS. Of course, you will want to find your ‘guru’ or gurus’ and follow them… Adobe eSeminars provides you both HDR and additional topics.
As you become facile in use of various combo brushes, you will produce subtle, yet evocative HDR images – eschewing that old paradigm – HDR ‘science fiction’. And, should you be interested, we think you may become leaders in helping judges, sometimes rutted in tradition, widen their horizons…

Where Few Men Have Gone Before…
For me, CS4 is definitely on the near horizon; specifically because of some of the intricate steps Doogan’s 2 videos showed me - which work only with LR and CS4. With local nondestructive tools applied to different segments of an HDR image, we suggest a pen tablet for precision in advanced tone map modifications.

HDR and Beyond
Lightroom 2 Book (p. 262-267)
HDR Tutorials
Adobe eSeminars OnDemand
Various HDR and CS4 Topics

Feb 21, 2009

Nature's Old Men...

Old Mans Face & Mt Tayor, HDR, New Mexico

Old Man's Face
©Joe Bridwell

"I love the place (Four Corners)," Tony Hillerman wrote of vast lands that span the northeast corner of Arizona and straddle borders of New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. "I need only drive west from Shiprock into that great emptiness to feel my spirit lift."
One of my friends saw an earlier version of this image and wrote me, "Did you see the face in the rock of an old man with a beard; it looks like he is holding a teddy bear."
When I looked again, his face, somewhat crushed, with broken nose askew, and almost loosing a left eye beneath a stately Tam-o-Shanter, seemed to add such simple strength and a quizzical, wrinkled charm to distant Mt Taylor.  Is he a guardian of such mountain beauty?  In Anasazi lore, the teddy bear might really have been a treasured child. 

Keeper of the Gate, Cebolleta, New Mexico

Keeper of the Gate
©Joe Bridwell

Later, around a distant corner, this splendid, gnarled old tree, guarding a shrine up the road, might have been equally at home in legend’s ancient Sherwood Forest.  Could Coronado’s Conquistadores have ridden under this majestic tree, searching for Seven Cities of Gold?
Somehow, this old man and Robin Hood’s tree, guarding our past in variable tone poems, seem to speak together, "Age and grace are one - the same."  Both nature’s tree and broken rock face are wrinkled; both have survived the millennia; and each, in their unique way, is testament to age and simplicity.  Softly painting tree and face bring out their enduring longevity.

From Anasazi times, elders have gone to ground – found a quite place to pass their later years.
Our prayers are with them all…

Feb 20, 2009

The Future of HDR...

John Doogans LR2 Workflow on Landscapes

Credit: John Doogan, FNZIPP
With advent of Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4, new Tone Mapping twists are beginning to be applied to high dynamic range (HDR). An exhaustive Google search provide only a few tutorials; nevertheless, they were quite illuminating. John Doogan, Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, and Ben Willmore each have a new direction in HDR. Doogan works with LR2 and CS4; Kelby and Kloskowski work with Lightroom 2; Willmore likes some of the advanced masking tools in CS4 (his book HDR and Beyond in CS4 is available in March).
Regardless of how the cookie crumbles, one can choose either Photomatix or Lightroom and Photoshop to assemble a 32-bit HDR. After converting to a 16-bit tiff file, paths and workflow techniques differ. Doogan shows both CS4 and LR2 working paths. Kelby and Willmore proceed to use Camera Raw sliders for global changes. Then, techniques differ for localized changes. Personally, I prefer nondestructive local adjustment brush changes - either in Lightroom or CS4 - based on Adobe Camera Raw 5.3.

To get this sense of future direction for HDR, Doogan’s videos bring LR2 and CS4 to life. Kelby has six pages in his new Lightroom book describing the process. You can either buy a DVD or take online training to watch Kloskowski's HDR video. You can watch 2 Willmore videos free or buy his upcoming book.
While many people use Photomatix to assemble HDR images, opinions differ about post process Tone Mapping. Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 both depend upon Adobe Camera Raw 5.3 for nondestructive global and local tool packages. CS4 adds the remarkable facility for masking.

Future Directions in HDR…
Now that we have ‘honking’ CS4 subtle adjustment brushes available - a truly remarkable masking tool - it is my anticipation we may see more HDR tutorials which step beyond the ‘Photomatix uber alles (German for over all)’ HDR paradigm. So, I began an advanced Google search for today's viewpoints and projects…
I’ve actually seen a book and several free video examples which preach new paths, similar to our LR2 path proposed in prior workflows. You ask, “What paths…?”

Paths the Pro’s Use…
John Doogan, FNZIPP, Adobe evangelist, and Adobe beta tester, lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. Last night, after watching Eric Jones present a tantalizing Alternatives to HDR workflow at Enchanted Lens Camera Club, I found Doogan’s Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, watched the 80 minute video, and felt like I witnessed a Revolution…
Doogan showed both Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2 performing the same Auto-Align and Auto-Blend steps as well as more refined interactions between LR2 and CS4 in each separate piece of software. Granted he was doing broad brush landscape tone mapping – but, I was able to see far enough into CS4 to know it’s clearly in my future. In effect, he indicated, “While CS4 can do more than the present LR2, some of its steps are clunky compared to the more streamlined LR2.” Then, he showed how LR2 reduced his first cut development and tone mapping time by ~ 30% - so, even though he has CS4, his total time in LR2 now approaches 90%!
For those interested in tone mapping the future thru CS4, I commend Doogan. I would also suggest perhaps you take a careful look at some other free tutorials on Adobe’s eSeminars website.
*John Doogan is a commercial photographer and digital retoucher from Christchurch. He has been using photoshop since the mid 1990s. John is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography, an Adobe Ambassador and a software beta tester for Adobe Photographic software. He has a particular interest in landscape photography, and has won the NZIPP Landscape Photographer of the Year three times.
Scott Kelby, National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) President, discusses HDR from a different view - in Lightroom 2, HDR images can go straight from Lightroom to Photoshop's Merge to HDR feature. The result is a 32-bit file. Choose Image, Mode, 16 Bits per Channel. The HDR conversion dialog appears. Choose Local Adaptation. You've finally started to add the HDR look. Ctrl-Shift-S opens a save dialog box, you name the photo, then save as a tif file.
Now, open the tif in Photoshop which opens the Camera Raw menu. In CS4, development sliders are like Lightroom 2. Now, you're back to familiar ground.
Kelby describes the use of sliders to Tone Map. Now, it's time to get that file back into Lightroom. Click and drag the file into the same folder where your original bracketed photos are stored. In Lightroom's folder panel (Library module) choose Synchronize Folder. The dialog says you're importing one new photo (finished HDR you drug into the folder).
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 book for Digital Photographers, ©2009, Scott Kelby, p. 262-267.
Matt Kloskowski, NAPP Educator, has released an HDR video. It advocates minimal use of Photomatix as a tone mapping tool; rather, Photomatix is great at Assembling the initial file. Matt is great at subtle tool masks and usage in Photoshop. I haven’t seen it, but would like too…
Ben Willmore has 2 free videos with Bert Monroy at Pixel Perfect. The first discusses how Photomatix can leave uneven interpretations from Tone Mapping. The second discusses intricacies of using subtle masks in CS3 to emphasize or de-emphasize more refined aspects of HDR capture. I find this video interesting, simply because it shows a somewhat more limited approach to local tone mapping in HDR.
Part I: http://revision3.com/pixelperfect/hdr/
Part II: http://revision3.com/pixelperfect/hdrpartii/
Willmore shows how he fashioned the Cover for his new book HDR and Beyond in Photoshop CS4…
High dynamic range (HDR) imaging uses multiple exposures of the same scene to create a single image with a huge range of values between light and dark areas of a photograph. It is an extremely popular and ever-growing niche of photography; a search for "HDR" at Flickr results in over 975,000 uploaded images.
In this book by noted photographer and popular digital imaging expert Ben Willmore, you'll learn the best practices for the entire process: from image capture through tone mapping and output. You'll learn how to create stunning HDR images...and you'll go beyond those "basic" techniques to learn exactly how Ben creates his own trademark HDR images, which have a slightly surreal and painterly quality to them. Equally instructive and beautiful, HDR and Beyond will teach and inspire you to create stunning HDR images! Amazon Product Description.

Perhaps these examples can broaden our horizons. For me, use of Camera Raw 5.3’s tools have both sped up my workflow and provided rich, yet natural appearing fine art. And, it matters little whether it’s Lightroom or Photoshop which acts as my final localized brush Tone Mapping vehicle.
Take a look at a more in-depth Lightroom 2 HDR Tone Mapping workflow here.

Feb 19, 2009

Ancient History

Mt Tayor, HDR, New Mexico

Mt Taylor, New Mexico
©Joe Bridwell
A cloudless morning was offset by cold air rising from Mt Taylor.  Red Rock cliffs provide a contrasting foreground.  Image from 3 shot high dynamic range (HDR) +/-1EV captures, resolved in Photomatix, Tone Mapped in Lightroom 2.

Albuquerque’s Enchanted Lens Camera Club has an eclectic group of photographers who like to shoot various local and regional venues.  Meeting Wednesdays, Tom Kilroy sends an announcement – yesterday, it was Cebolleta, east of Mt. Taylor.  Nine of us met, assembled in a 4 car caravan, and departed  - “Westward HO…”

Ancient One, Cebolleta, New Mexico

Ancient One
©Joe Bridwell
Such trees immediately stir images of ancient Tiwa, Coronado, and the vast regional history.  Panorama from four 3 shot HDR +/-1EV captures, resolved in Photomatix, merged in Photoshop CS3, Tone Mapped in Lightroom 2.

The Cebolleta Land Grant is a private entity, created in 1807, owned by descendents of original Spanish settlers.  Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1849, which ended the Mexican-American War, the United States agreed to honor property rights of land grants, granted to inhabitants by the King of Spain in the 1700's.

Mid-morning light might appear flat to the eye – HDR allows additional tonality to enhance digital captures.

Feb 16, 2009

Bosque Delight

Bosque Serendipity, Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

©Joe Bridwell
Sandhill Cranes seek night’s peace as they land and settle in for dark. Our result is a soft, cloud capped sunset where cranes seem to stand silhouetted in orange bas relief… The Bosque del Apache is world famous for such views.
Nikon D300, 24-105, 105 mm, iso 200, f6.3, 1/50, 1/100, 1/25 ~ 14-bit
We captured 3 HDR raw files three minutes after sunset, then processed in Photomatix and Lightroom 2.

Camera v Eye
Our eye sees much better than a digital camera. We instantly record all nuances in a scene, yet our camera only captures a limited portion of scene. When we automatic exposure bracket, we capture a range of contrasting light which is called high dynamic range HDR. With software, our computer can ‘add’ these images together to produce an approximation of what our eye saw.

Most digital HDR shooters use Photomatix Pro. It adds two images together, then asks you to Tone Map. There are 2 variants; Detail Enhancer (DE) and Tone Compressor (TC).
This is a Magic Hour shot (that hour around dawn and dusk); strong dark foreground and light sky. Of course, its complicated by water’s reflection – but it’s this enclosing reflection which adds so much to the sandhill’s charm.

When one compares histograms, Detail Enhancer gives one HDR histogram profile – this profile is not in concert with the 0EV manual capture histogram from the 1st HDR image. Basically, DE moves the original histogram capture from Shadows to Lights – seeming to blow out the HDR compilation.
Tone Compressor gives a histogram pattern similar to 0EV capture.

HDR Histogram - Photomatix Tone Compressor Histogram

We save the 32 bit TC file as a 16 bit tif for further clarification in Lightroom.

Photomatix provides global controls for changing luminosity, tone, and other parameters. Because subtle light variations can decidedly enhance this HDR image without making it ‘science fiction’ in appearance, we will only take the TC product and more subtly tone map it in Lightroom.

Lightroom 2
Lightroom 2 allows local brush control on restoring the resulting HDR image to what our memory saw by eye.
We begin by making Virtual Copies of our HDR tif file (Ctrl-‘) – to allow future growth. Each change we wish to make in Lightroom becomes its own slightly improved baby; for me, my mind changes over time and software improves over time, so this is a good workflow.
With our Tone Compressed file, we change exposure then added clarity and virbance using Lightroom sliders in the 1st copy. Copy 2 allows us to make Medium Contrast using Tone Curves. Copy 3 lets us work with graduated filters. Copy 4 lets us try to reduce bird motion caused by the time difference in taking individual HDR images using the local adjustment brush. This last step is like burning in the shadows left when birds move their heads in search of food. Copy 5 lets us sharpen the result.

Final Image
After we complete Lightroom's Develop module steps, we return to the Library Module and Export the ‘final’ image as both a DNG and jpg file. Meanwhile, our Catalog contains all history changes for each copy. Both files are placed in a laptop portable Catalog we used for this particular project development.

We developed this HDR workflow approach based on knowledge of how histograms reflect the reality of capture, what different global tone mapping tools might or might not do, and the marvelous precision attained with new local, nondestructive brush tools in Lightroom. We executed our local Tone Mapping changes on a Wacom Pen Tablet using current upwardly mobile software tools – which we expect to only improve.

Feb 11, 2009


I found myself enjoying the challenges this image required of the photographer as well as the inevitably gorgeous changes light makes with varying assistance of magnificent Yosemite foregrounds.

And I realized, once again, blogrolls are an essential element on creating a good blog. William Neill mentioned new blogs he liked. As I am want to do, I checked them out and found that superb Yosemite image. I am thinking about similar shoots involving moonrise and moonset in a regional setting of surreal, other-world dimensions like Mars (The Bisti) – adding another complication to the long list of demanding photography requirements for outstanding images.

A blogroll is simply a website which contains a list of blogs which interest the blogger. Blogger (Google’s free blog service) provides an ability to name the blogroll, sort its applicability as to when the blog was published, and just how long ago that was. In effect, it provides a quick assessment tool for surfing the ever expanging blogosphere…
We find Google’s Blogger has really facilitated this function. Simply find a blog you like, copy the browser address to the clipboard, open Blogger in Draft, select the proper gadget (Blogroll), and add that blog to an ever changing list.

Huzzah, Google, Frye, and Neill – its already a good day…

Feb 10, 2009

Dawn’s Cacophony

Bosque Dawn, Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

Dawn’s Cacophony
©Joe Bridwell

Stillness of dawn’s breaking light
captures elusive radiance…
Birds explode in brilliant flight
rapid thrust of swift wing
and cacophony of quack…
Punctuating dawn’s ascendant light
as genial, elusive silhouettes…

Nikon D300, 0649, 24-130 @ 63 mm, 1/100, f 5.6, iso 200

Dual Explosions…
The dark, pre-dawn drive to Bosque del Apache’s first pond near the Flight Deck did not seem particularly auspicious. Yes, some clouds were on the horizon. Yes, birds chose to be very near shore, spiritually tantalizing avid digital photographers.
But would all those birds wait until the sun was just right ~ before exploding into flight during the renowned Flyout? And, would now somber clouds reflect light in a paean of golden ecstasy – a second, magnificently embracing explosion?
Anyone who is an aficionado of Magic Hour, that potentially tumultuous hour around dawn and dusk, knows chance plays such a big role in what the camera can capture. Yet, this morning, Chance simply sat on our shoulders like an inspiring Muse.

Wildlife Photography – Friends of the Bosque, Feb. 7, 2009
We were here for Friends of the Bosque’s February Wildlife Photography Workshop - led by Jerry Goffe. Some 35 bird enthusiasts from New Mexico and Texas had come to experience Jerry’s deep, natural enthusiasm for the Bosque, all things bird, and his truly irrepressible, infectious humor. With co-instructors, Jerry welcomed these participants who hit the cold pre-dawn dirt then simply became enchanted.
Early morning shoots, a 2 hour working session before lunch, an afternoon shooting a raptor (hope I am right – don’t know bird lingo), another, shorter session before dusk, then the final dusk shoot.
Lots of interesting people, different viewpoints, coalescing spirits, desire to learn new things… a well versed teacher, and, of course, dem awesome boids…

Don’t Try Any More Poetry…
The first time I saw Jerry at the Bosque, he was telling someone, “For me, this place is spiritual…!”
I can only hope Dawn’s Cacophony meets Jerry’s meritorious standard…

Feb 4, 2009

CD Covers

Painted Hand Ruin, Hovenweep, Four Corners, Colorado

Painted Hand Ruin
©Joe Bridwell
Some of our Four Corners heritage springs from Ancient Anasazi habitations. The inset is Painted Hand ruin in sw Colorado. Anasazi inhabited the area from 700-1300 AD. Often, their protective towers sat atop a canyon wall, giving wide view.

Could such ruins help create a provocative CD cover and generate an appealing, marketing tool from a memorable Anasazi ruin?
Here is an original Anasazi tower near sunset. With some masking in Photoshop CS3, we simply created a circle with the elliptical marquee, clipped the ruin by making a white circular mask shaped like a CD, then used an arc to impose various semi-circular embossed texts to advertise workshop particulars.
Now, having ignored HDR during capture, I decided to enhance this capture using Lightroom. Two opposing dark-to-light gradients modified outer boundaries on nne and ssw azimuths, creating filters roughly parallel to the ruin's broken edge. The left gradient also sharpened and enhanced mid-tone clarity of the ruin. In effect, this choice of gradients focuses the viewer’s eye along the ruin's jagged edge, thence upward to our Lightroom 2 Workflow title in an upcoming Workshop. Then the eye can finally ascertain other information, should the viewer desire to explore farther.
An image like this, a CD Stomper, CDs, CD Cases, and Matte White Labels – and you’re prepared to supply Workshop CDs… or perhaps you prefer another way to get to a similar goal!

Feb 3, 2009

Odds & Ends…

In today’s financial strains, blogging photographers are seeking and defining optimism…
James Duncan Davidson has an interesting piece – An Opportunity and Obligation.
Alain Briot considers Audiences and Best Sellers.
David Ziser lists ways to Don’t Stumble, Fumble, or Fall
And, I would imagine you are finding your own sources of faith, as well!

For you HDR buffs…
HDRSoft is continually improving it popular software. With a new tie-in back to Lightroom, it just released PP 3.1.3 beta 5.
If you are used to LR passing information back after external processing, as it clearly does with CS3/CS4 or want the same in other often used in your digital processing, then this release is also good news.

What if you’re quickly trying to produce lots of images for an event using Lightroom?
Syl Arena usually suggests cogent ideas.  In Managing Event Photography with Lightroom, Syl offers a workflow designed to both speed production and consider client needs.  With Library work panels, Syl shows how to really speed your processing.
This is the class of workflow which makes it easy for amateur and professional.

Since many of us rely on Adobe Camera Raw (knowingly or otherwise)…
Jeff Schewe has just updated the renowned Fraser-Schewe series on ACR with CS4.
I’ve been following this series since CS2 – it’s the grease behind Lightroom and CS4.

And, finally, Adobe Lightroom User to User Forums reports user concerns about LR2.3RC…
My present sense of user concerns suggests memory leak is not such a large problem in the new 2.3 version. Granted, there are other issues, some of it simply because Lightroom can either have a steep learning curve or because some particular feature is still a bit klunky.
This forum is a good area for learning; some of the heavy weights occasionally chime in with real nuggets.

Feb 2, 2009

Mama was a Painter…

Ship Rock, Four Corners, New Mexico

Bob Hope's theme song was Thanks for the Memories...
for me, memories of her painting involve an easel, a canvas, a palette filled with oils, and something she decided to paint.  My walls are adorned with her charcoal, watercolor, pastel, and oil paintings.
For a long time, I didn't think of myself as a painter.  Then I became a photographer.  Slowly, I began to delve into Adobe Photoshop; when I had become proficient with brushes in CS3, I still didn't realize that perhaps, just perhaps, I was a painter.
But with advent of Lightroom 2, with local Adjustment Brush and Auto Masking, I had begun to change.  I was using the brush, I was making subtle adjustments to color, texture, and sharpness; perhaps I was becoming a fine art painter!
With recent, careful capture of an HDR image at Shiprock, these ideas began to congeal as a digital photographer who captured a superb image, then with always improving brushes, finally started to paint ever so subtle changes / enhancements into the beauty of an evocative landscape.
One day I began to think of matting which might also enhance an image.  Camera club judges had harshly criticized straightforward black and white mats using the same inner mat color.  Black and white mats... they seemed like old charcoal paintings.

I began to think, "What about an outer gradient mat which softens colors in the picture and an inner mat with stronger picture colors ~ but opposing gradient?"  Using image colors, the inner mat might become a small, enhanced focus point.  Again with image colors, the outer mat emulates the softness of a watercolor or pastel.  Together, perhaps they represent fine art paintings.

Dare I suggest that combination of superb fine art 'paintings' and color conscious mats actually does represent an advancement from just digital into fine art photography...