Thursday, July 31, 2008

aperture inspiration - joe buissink

A few weeks ago I posted a few remarks regarding inspiration. "Inspiration - What inspires You" I got some great comments and emails from readers outlining some sites that lift them up. Anytime Adobe pushes out a major update to Lightroom I do my due diligence and take a look at what it's alter ego - Aperture is doing. As I was looking over the aperture site, I watched a few of the story videos apple posts on line and was reminded of one of their first videos. If you read this blog or know me at all, you will know that I am big fan of Joe Buissink. His images are so filled with story and moment that I am completely blown away. When Aperture initially released several years ago he was one of the three photographers who apple approached to do a story video around Aperture.I have kept a copy of the video (which is long gone from apple's website) and I go back and view it from time to time. No matter how down or frustrated I feel the video always pumps me up to go meet with that client or shoot that wedding that I can sense will be nothing but trouble (those are few and far between; however, they do crop up here and there). I wanted to share the video with you - I looked all over and couldn't find it on line. I went ahead and posted the video up on Viddler - not sure if they will let it stay up; however, for now it is there. Take a look at the video - I hope it inspires you like it inspires me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

lightroom 2.0 impressions

After spending a few minutes with Lightroom 2.0 I want to give some of my impressions. Please understand that I have been using Lightroom since early BETA of 1.x. When I began using the application I was working exclusively on a laptop. That means multiple storage locations. I would only keep images on my local drive that I was currently working on. Everything else was archived to a secondary drive. Unfortunatly - Lightroom didn't officially support this feature so the Folders system was a little vague on where your images were being stored. The VERY FIRST thing I noticed when looking at Lightroom 2.0 was the expansion of the folders drop down that now includes Mulit-Drive support.

Now I have the ability to move files between drives for primary storage and archive storage. This is going to be a HUGE life saver for me. Not sure if this will be a big feature to anyone else (Ok, I say that in a little jest because I know others have asked for it or we wouldn't be seeing it here).

I'm not sure how much I am going to use it; however, now you can access collections (including smart collections) from the print tab. I guess this is for people who jump around a lot.

Everyone who tried out the BETA of 2.0 was blown away by localized corrections within the develop tab. With the finalized version Graduated Filters have been added to they bag of tricks within Lightroom. If you shoot landscape or any exterior photos this will be huge!

These are my initial impressions of version 2.0 from the 10 minutes I spend with it yesterday before work. I plan on doing a deep-dive this week and plan on posting something later this week that pulls some of the gems out. Stay tuned - have a great day!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

lightroom 2.0 SWEET!

Today Lightroom 2.0 crossed from being beta to being product! The wait is over. I've downloaded the update (will cost existing Lightroom 1.x owners $99.99 and new owners $299.99) and will begin playing with it today after work. I will try and have some video put together for everyone by the end of the week to walk you through the new software features. For more information check out

refinement and polishing

Camera: Canon 20D 1/25 f/5.6 ISO 800 Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4.0
Some images are simple and effortless while some pose a challenge at every turn. However, sometimes the images that require the most work are formed into quiet masterpieces that take our breath away. This image was defiantly a labor of love.

The couple was placed to hide the sound booth in the balcony which placed a pillar squarely between them - had to be removed. The exit and emergency lights were a distracting eyesore. However, the minute I saw this image I kinda welled up a bit (this is my baby sister). This image strikes a chord for me and so I wanted to refine and polish the image to make it amazing.

My first step was to put together an image map. Any time I dive into an image that needs this amount of work I try to lay out a plan of attack so something does not get overlooked. As I made notes about some of the more obvious changes I noticed some annoying things in the background I had missed on my first pass.

The first thing I tackled was using a layer mask to spot color the flowers. Then I used a combination of layer duplication, masking, and patch tool to remove the pillars and sound booth that is poking it's ugly head out my sister's back. Next I removed the little bulge around the bust that every woman (no matter how skinny) has when they wear a halter ... can't escape physics. The trickiest edit was the pole between James and Rene. I actually took a section of the ceiling opposite the couple, duplicated it onto it's own layer, then moved it into position over their faces. I then used a mask tool to hide the section that was covering them. I am prety happy with the results. The image is refined and polished - and I love it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

wacom 101

Today we take a closer look at the Wacom tablet. A few weeks ago a reader emailed me asking for some introductory information on the Wacom to help spring-load his inertia on the Wacom learning curve. I can't promise anything; however, this tutorial outlines some of the common pitfalls when beginning to use a tablet and goes over proper setup and use for beginners. I hope this helps - enjoy!

wacom 101 material

The end of the video did not encode properly which is why you can hear me talking but can not see the screen. Below are screen shots that illustrate what I am covering.

After selecting Wacom Properties from your control panel or System Preferences on the Mac click on the mapping tab as circled above.

To toggel between pen and mouse mode click the buttons circled above. I recommend staying in Pen mode; however, to each his own.

Friday, July 25, 2008

apple personality

Camera: Canon 20D 1/30 f/5.6 ISO 400 Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4

Brian King (BK for short) is one of the most entertaining co-workers I know. He is eager to learn and step up when customers come to call. When it came time to photograph him for his viewpoint committee photo I knew I had to incorporate his favorite thing in the store Apple! BK is a Customer Assistant - translation: he runs around the store and sells wherever he is needed. When not with a customer he is consistently at the Apple table training with our local Apple Sales Consultant Shah. His passion for the product is what I wanted to show in this image. We walked around to the back of our Apple brand wall and set this up. Light is out of frame camera left. I added the spotlight effect in post.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

personal data assistant - for real

I intentionally haven't said anything about the iPhone / iPod Touch 2.0 software. Two reasons:
  1. I didn't want to write something just on first impressions.
  2. I figured everyone would be sick of iPhone/iPod Touch news and reviews.
I have been running the new 2.0 software on my iPod Touch since my sister's wedding a few weeks ago and my experience has been mostly fantastic. I won't go into detail about my frustrations around trying to get the software during the 48 hours after the release ... but it was not fun. Like many others I began downloading apps like a mad man. But wait - I've gotten ahead of myself.

I have been a HUGE PDA user for about 8 years now. I started with a cheap monochrome Compaq IPAQ back in 2000 and have had all the units pictured above since. I also owned a palm for about a week ... but it isn't pictured for a reason. Last year I purchased a Moto Q. I was instantly infatuated with with online data and google maps. However, once I got past the Honeymoon phase the device's limitations began to sink in and frustrate me. I hated how the contacts and callender operated (or didn't operate) and email was just frustrating.

Enter the iPod touch. I purchased the touch about 6 months ago and instantly transfered my .mac (mobile me) email and all my contacts / callendar over to the touch. So many people talk about apps on the the iPhone; however, the bigest feature I have come to love is excange support. Now I am able to aggrigate my corporate Best Buy email and my mobile me email all in one place. Push is nice too. I like apps like twitterific and texas hold 'em; however, those are just something fun - exchange is what I work on every day and it communicates better than any other mobile device I have used in the past. Integrated charts and graphics show up in line and attached PDF, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files are a dream to view.

Apps are buggy. The OS is a little slower - only bugs me a little. I found by limiting the number of apps on the phone the crashes are tollerable. Every day it appears to become more stable and reliable. As predicted - the app store is full of terrible applications. One has to dig to find the quality, but that is true everywhere. But look at the bright side - the world needed a few thousand tip calculator applications any ways .... right? All jokeing aside, I love the 2.0 software. While it isn't perfect - it offers expandability to a great platform that strikes a chord with my use and daily agenda. It would be tough to go back to a Windows mobile device after using the iPod Touch.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

silica to the rescue

I recently became intimatly aquainted with Silica Gell because of stupidity. My wife and I went to the pool and after tossing the towl on the chair I jumped right in. Approximatly 3 seconds after jumping in I realized that my car keys (with built in keyless entry / alarm system) and my USB flash drive were in my pocket. Immediatly I got the keys out of the water, poped open the keyless entry and removed the battery. When I got home a few minutes later I ran both under the faucet to flush out the chemicals from the pool. Enter the salvation for electronics - silica

If you've purchased anything from a jacket to a camera bag over the past 50 years, chances are you have run across Silica Gell packets. Silica is designed to maintain low humidity within it's local surroundings by absorbing moisture. Manufacturers who ship camera bags or clothing place the gel in their product to maintain the integrity of their product during transit from the factory to the warehouse and then to the vendor. Changing temperatures can cause condensation which can lead to mold or discoloration of cloth. Silica was initially developed and used during WWI & WWII to keep shipments of penecilin dry and reduce moisture damage of military equipment.

I placed the wet electronics in a sealable plastic bag and filled the bag with as many silica packets as I could find. I let the keys sit for two days in the bag and when I removed them - THEY WORKED GOOD AS NEW! The Silica actualy reches in and abzorbs the moisture from the components. If you shoot in humid enviroments toss some Silica in your camera bag and any condensation will be absorbed. When I shoot in the winter and I come inside - I dump tons of silica packets in my bag as soon as I come in the door. After filling my bag I zip it up and leave it by the door. No matter which way you slice it - moisture kills electronics. Silica is dirt cheap (in most cases free). If you don't have any you can purchase packets of Silica at most hobby / craft stores. Silica Gell just might save your electronics!

Monday, July 21, 2008

late posts ... [yawn]

I know I have been posting later in the day the past week and a half - I am going to try to get things up earlier by post-dating the entry so every morning it auto-posts. My schedule has litterally turned upside down and flipped inside out. I appreciate the patience and continued readership. As always - if there are any comments, questions, or requests for post material please let me know. I have a reader requested post coming this Thursday on setting up the Wacom tablet from scratch. Have a wonderful evening - I will see you all later!

SIDE NOTE: I have started playing with twitter - you can follow me at


We tweak and tweak and tweak settings and preferences in Photoshop - here is a quick watch on how to selectively restore some of Photoshop's default settings.

Friday, July 18, 2008

take time for silly

Camera: Canon 20D 1/60 f/11 ISO 400 Lens: Canon 18-55mm

I sat with a prospective client today who made me realize how overly serious I take myself. As I looked over the sample content I had prepared I realized a few things:
  1. I didn't take the time to ask over the phone some basic information about what the client wanted. I was suprised by a few questions that I could have answered better had I taken the time to find out a little more about the couple prior to the meeting.
  2. All the images I prepared were formals and posed shots. I did not deliver any candid images to the couple.
This image illustrates one of the million fun moments enjoyed at a wedding by the bride and her bridesmaids. We were standing in a very cramped spiral staircase with a very high ceiling that was throwing my lighting off like crazy. Once I got the bridesmaids positioned in their "basic" positions I told them to just chat for a sec while I tweaked the lighting. This is a shot that I captured by happenstance. The bride was poking fun at one of the groomsmen and we (me included) were all rolling on the floor. Let's remember to laugh and pass on the fun moments to our clients ... after all that is what they want to remember and ultimately what they are paying you for. Enjoy!


(spoiler free)

Every once in a while a movie comes along that achieves something. Genre aside, preference aside - it is something that is pure story and pure cinema. The Dark Knight grips you. It gets down deep inside you and grips you. A good story is what it is. It stands on it's own. The Dark Knight is epic story. Not to be confused with a feel-good action adventure film this movie is to be approached as weighty content that will grip your senses and batter your emotions from top to bottom, from beginning to end. The bar has been raised, the standard set.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

let there be FIREWIRE!!!!

Huge news this week - Data Robotics Inc. announced the second revision of it's popular redundant storage device the drobo. Engadget posted a mini-review comparing the two units so you can check that out. I talked a little about the drobo in my backup post and dedicated an entire post to it last October around image security. The first version used USB 2.0 which made it a phenominal backup solution but a poor solution for primary storage because of the limited USB speed.

Most users I have talked to have a primary drive on their system and backup to the drobo. With the addition of Firewire 800 the device is fast enough to be your primary storage drive. If you are looking for a reliable data security solution that doesn't require a lot of management or technical knowledge like a RAID this is worth checking out. I am a bit OCD about data security because I have known far too many people who have lost data because of drive failure. If you have data you don't want to lose I would consider a solution like the drobo.

note: In the interest of full disclosure I want to let everyone know that Data Robotics Inc does not pay me or sponsor me. I have a drobo hat they gave me for free for taking a survey but no cash. I recomend the product because I see a clear benefit to the device.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

inspiration - what inspires you

Over the past few days I have found myself reflecting on inspiration. What inspires me? What pushes me to try new things? What enables me to become more than I am? The more I think about it - the more I am sure I have no idea. Initially I tried to narrow it down - what circumstances tend to cause my inspiration? Is there a photograph or photographer that always strikes a chord with my inner soul ... possibly. I love the work of David Ziser, Scott Kelby, Joe Bussink, this list goes on and on; however, while most of their work humbles me and inspires me can I say that all of it does? I am reading Joe McNalley's book "The Moment it Clicks" and am quickly beginning to appreciate being inspired by the moment - being aware of what is around you and feeding off of the potential ingredients that could make up a master image. All too often I find myself geting wraped up in gear and technology - I think the art of crafting images gets left behind. How many hours do I spend watching tech reviews and reading about new cameras instead of picking one up and making some images? I'm going to have to think on this some more about this...

Back in The Studio

Camera: Canon 20D 1/50 f/5.6 Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 w/wide-angle attachment
Light: 580 EX II full power behind couple triggered by Quantum feeXwire

It is great to be back home. I love hitting the road ... but let's face it nothin' feels like home. Ashley and I had so much fun celebrating with my sister on her wedding day and it is great to finally have a brother in the family! I want to say thank you to Meagan Dennis for assisting me with lights and acting as a second shooter during the ceremony - I seriously could not have done it without you. Now that we are back home it is time to get back into the swing of things. I wanted to share one of my favorite images from the wedding. My sister was in her element and lovin' every bit of her special day.

remove technoloy

Today we take a look at removing those pesky distractions. I'm talking about technology in Church sanctuary's. Lets face it - screens, mic jacks, projectors, sound booths, etc don't exactly say elegant and glamorous wedding. Removing distracting technology can be quite a task for any photographer within post production. One thing that we should all take away from this is that a few moments of re composition can mean the difference between hours of retouching and a few minutes of retouching. Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

thankyou details

Camera: 20D 1/60 f/4.0 ISO 200 Lens: 70-200 f/4.0 USM IS L

One thing I always try to focus on when photographing a wedding are the details. Details spark memories and remind us of moments. You see a favor like this and you remember going to the vendor with your mom or maid of honor and all the planning and craziness of the wedding. I consider detail shots like these to be anchor points throughout a photo album. All too often we sorta run and gun through a wedding and miss the little details that will make all the difference in the end.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Camera: Canon 20D 1/60 f/5.6 Lens: 18-55mm f 3.5-5.6

People love photographing their pets. Let's face it - they make good subjects. They are generally well behaved. You tell them to sit and they sit. You tell them to stay and they stay. You get precious expressions by making squeekie noises with your lips. Oh, and they work for belly rubs. Anyways - I am on the road and missing my dog so I thought I would pull a photo of Sasha out of the archives. Enjoy!

more than utility

Ok, so I am not a huge browser snob. I use Safari because that is what came on my Mac. I keep Firefox around for the few financial sites that don't care for Safari. Based on a friends recommendation I checked out Firefox 3. Version 3 retains all the Firefox goodness like plug-in support and browser enhancements to mold and fit the browser to meet your needs. There are a lot of little things that make the browser tip top. The first thing I noticed was the speed. This thing flys. Same connection, same settings, same websites - a ton faster. Refined formatting makes the browser so slick. Take the address window for example:
The use of color breaks up the list of sites into a usable list. Also, adding the website's avitar/icon is a visual marker I resonate with. To the right of some of the addresses listed you will find a blue star - those are the sites that reside in your favorite places AKA bookmarks (sorry, grew up using AOL). I greatly rely on password managers to keep all my junk straight online. Firefox has hit the nail on the head with the implimentation of the password manager in verion 3. On most other browsers (and previous versions of Firefox) you enter a username and a password combo, click submit, then a popup window asks you if you would like the program to remember the password for that site. After you click the box it loads the page normally. Here is the problem. What happens if/when you type the password or username in wrong. Now you have to fish through the list sites within the password manager. BIG PAIN IN THE BUTT! How cool would it be if you could see if your password was correct before committing to retaining it within the browser? I think it would be very cool and Firefox agrees.

A dropdown box appears after entering a username and password. However, instead of holding the page load until completion of the dropdown box - the web page continues to load as usual. This means that I can type a password and wait to see if it is correct before adding it to my password manager. Seems like something so obvious and simple ... seems like everyone would do it that way.

I have only been using the browser for a few days; however, it is quickly wooing me away from Safari as my browser of choice. Blogger integrates better with it aswell so that is a plus as well. It's free - so if you haven't taken it for a test drive go check it out - I think you will enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

handle with care - memory card best practice

I got a lot of great responses and feedback around yesterday's post on choosing a memory card. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the reliability portion of the post and expand the discussion a bit more. The big question of the hour is - why do memory card's lock up? Why do I get a card error (or CRD Err if you are on canon)? In order to understand the issue at hand - a little background information is needed...

When a modern DSLR captures a photo a series of processes is unleashed when the shutter release is depressed. The data goes on quite a journey before it reaches the memory card. First the sensor captures the raw data. Then the data is moved to the camera's processor where any noise reduction, sharpening, or color correction takes place. If you shoot RAW this still happens; however, the tumbnail image of the photo is the only thing that gets this processing (hence the fact that it is a RAW file). The image is then moved to the buffer where it waits in line until the memory card can accept the file. Ok, so in this journey the image is moved 3 times. Any time data is coppied there is a chance that this data can be corrupted (basically just means that a 1 gets recorded as a 0 or vicea versa). This generally doesn't happen in camera because the relationship between the sensor, processor, and buffer are all painstakingly calibrated at the factory by your manufacturer. The variable is the mempory card. Most corrupted data happens when the camera transferes the photo from it's internal system to the memory storage system. Since this is where most of the problems occure is there anything we can do? Unfortunatly, there is nothing you can do to 100% eliminate the problem; however, there are several things you can do to reduce the possibility of an error.
  1. ALLWAYS formatt your memory card in the camera. Formatting your memory card on the computer can give probimatic results. Cameras use a VERY SPECIFIC fileing system. Because their firmware is designed to do one specific task, the camera doesn't have the ability to flex or adapt if you move things around. Don't confuse your camera, this raises the risk of a card error
  2. ALLWAYS formatt. Never, Never, Never preform an "erase all" within the playback menu. This leaves scattered table data on the card that can interfere with the camera's numbering and fileing system. Formatting completely resets the card so it is clean. preforming an "efase all" is a shure way to find a card error
  3. NEVER open the memory card door while the camera is writeing a file. If the camera is unable to completely write a file to the flash memory the drive table takes a beating. Not a good idea
  4. Monitor the preformance of you card. Lexar makes a utility (Image Rescue)that ships free with their Pro cards that will tell you what the operating capacity of the drive is. I have an old 512 MB card that registeres 476MB. As soon as you see the size of the drive go down it is time to toss it. Or at least give it to someone you don't like ;-) When flash drive's loose their elasticity they stop holding data. I wouldn't want my memory card to stop holding data at a wedding YIKES! Once the drive starts to lose data it will continue to expanentially drop data - not only drastically increases the posability of a card error, it also means your photo may not actually save.
  5. Talk to your camera manufacturer to see what card they reccomend. More specifically, ask them if there is a card they don't recommend. For example, Canon has publicaly stated that LEXAR cards are problamatic in some situations. READ HERE
  6. Take care of your card physically. Don't leave the card in static prone areas (your pocket). Don't wash cards, don't allow them to get wet... feel like I am getting into an area of common sense here.
If you take care of your memory card and make sure you format as perscribed above you shouldn't ever have any problems. If you do, SanDisk and Lexar both ship recovery software that can recover images from a locked card as long as it has not been written over (works 99.99% of the time. I have never ran into a card that it didn't work on). A few extra dollars at the time of purchase goes a long way if you end up with a problem down the road.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

destination - stillwater

My baby sister is getting married this week so I find myself recovering from a 12 hour road trip that started around 5:00 am (EST) in Louisville, Kentucky and ended around 6:00 pm (CST) in the small town of Stillwater, Oklahoma. The week promises to be filled with fun, excitement, emotions and a little stress eating. It is hard for me to believe that my little sister (who to my recollection should still be like 14 years old - man time will fly by in the blink of an eye) is getting married this week. I am blogging from my laptop this week which means I don't have quite the resources I normally draw from; however, I think I have some exciting content planed out for the blog this week. As always, please feel free to shoot me any questions through the comments or shoot me an email. I will be busy throughout the mid part of the day; however, I will be setting asside a chunk of time in the morning and in the evening for blogging duties.

memory quantity

I get this question all the time - what size memory card should I buy? Is there such a thing as too big? Does the brand make a difference? All solid - perfectly legitimate questions. When addressing this question it is important to be mindful of a few issues: convenience, stability, performance and cost:
  • Convenience: There is no way to get around it. It is decidedly inconvenient to keep up with multiple memory cards. If I am traveling I want to minimize what goes in my camera bag as much as is possible. When walking around Disney, Busch Gardens, or any other theme park it is always easier to take less. From a convenience standpoint one would want the biggest reliable memory card available. This brings us to the second thought ...
  • Stability: A memory card that does not work does not do anyone any good (except possibly the memory card shop that gets to sell you an overpriced memory card on location because yours crapped out). Reliability and stability are probably the most important thing to consider. When an individual's home is burning there are three things they go in after: 1) People 2) Pets 3) Photos. Hate to break it to you - that plasma on the wall that you spend 4 grand on ... not going in after it. The kitchen you spend gobs of money re-modeling is now worthless. Photos are the most important non-biological possession we have. They are irreplaceable and as such are invaluable. Your memory card MUST be reliable or there really is little point in taking the photos in the first place.
  • Performance: As mega pixels continue to reproduce like bunnies - photos are taking up more and more space (notice I was careful not to imply that the quality is going up - that's another blog topic altogether). More space means that each photo is bigger which will slow down the picture taking process. Memory cards have evolved over the years and one facet of that evolution is speed. Whenever purchasing a memory card there should be a speed rating on the box. If there isn't anything referencing the speed - chances are it is a slower memory card. My recommendation is to spend a little more (in most cases $5.00 - $10.00 more) on a memory card that will keep up with your shiny new 24 mega pixel camera. A slower memory card will manifest itself through delay between shots, shutter lag also referred to as a "laggy" camera.
  • Cost: Every photographic choice we make is ultimately restricted by our means. There are memory cards that are simply too expensive for a reasonable person to afford. Sure - you can get a 64GB card online but do you want to drop more than $600.00 on a memory card? Fortunately, most memory cards available in consumer retailers like Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, etc offer great sales on fast cards. I frequently see 4 GB Ultra II memory cards on sale for 24.99.
Considering all of this I have a few reccomendations. First, wether you use both of them or not - get two memory cards. If one gets lost or stops working you will be glad you did. Electronics retails frequently sell two - pack memory cards or put single cards on such a good sale both cost less than one would normally cost. Seccond, find out how big an average file on your camera will be. This information is easily avaible online at DCResouce and DPReview within their camera reviews. Divide 1,000 by the photo size and that will tell you how many images per gig you can expect. For example shooting Large JPEG files on the Nikon D300 produces a 5.8 MB file. You could expect approximatly 172 images on a 1 GB card. Figure out how many images you will want to take at any given time - double it and then buy two. Translation: if you think you will need to take about 400 images (2.5 GB of data), double the data (5.0 GB of data). This would place us between a 4GB and an 8GB card. Whichever you decide - buy two. Third, if you are shooting Canon - steer clear of Lexar cards - I have heard too many horror stories to not mention that. If you are using anyting else Lexar is great. For some reason they don't get along with Canon. Fifth: If you can afford it - buy a pro card. SanDisk and Lexar both bundle recovery software with their pro serries cards. The software comes in handy if you ever accidentally format a card or one locks up on you. The software is generally $30.00 - $40.00 so it is worth the upgrade if you can swing it. If you card breaks down on you - you will thank me later. Finally: Be resonable. If you don't need a 16GB card stick with smaller cards. Each memory card (no matter how big) is broken into 512MB sections. If an image spans two sections there is a greater risk of corrupting the card. The larger the card the more sections that make up the card which exponentally increases the risk. The risk is small (especially if you care for your card as you should - tomorrow's post) but it is still there. I primaraly use 4GB and 8GB cards to store my data. I am comfortable with the stability of the size and the price is one I can handle. As you look at memory card purchases - or evaluate your current cards in your camera bag consider convenience, stability, performance and cost.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hands On LumaPix FotoFusion

Took a few minutes to walk through some of the cool stuff I have been discovering within LumaPix FotoFusion. I go over some cool features that have totally blown me away. Enjoy

Saturday, July 5, 2008

just for practice

Camera:  Canon 5D 1/60 f/4 ISO 50  Lens: 24-105 f/4 L IS USM  Light:  Canon 580 EX TTLII 

This is a very special photo to me for several reasons.  First, it reminds me that the practice photos can be better than the real ones - Bernal and I were just talking while I snapped off some practice photos to calibrate the camera and the off camera flash (which I didn't end up using for any other photos for the rest of the wedding).  Secondly, it is one of the first off camera flash portraits I ever tried to pull off.  The flash is off to camera right on a tripod shooting through a tri-grip Lastolite panel.  I was using my 580 EX II to trigger an original 580EX using the IR canon wireless system.  I had absolutely NO CLUE what I was doing - hence this is just about the only off camera flash photo that came out.  This was one of those dumb luck photos that I shouldn't have gotten - the rest of the off camera photos I attempted are trash.  I got home and this is the photo that encouraged me.  It got me excited about the possibilities.  A week and a half later I signed up for the Ziser Master Class.  Stretch yourself.  Push your ability with things you are not comfortable with - it may not come out ... actually, it probably won't come out.  If you never change anything everything will always stay the same.  The definition of madness is never changing anything anything and expecting things to change.  I hope this image inspires you to go out and try something new with your images.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I was wrong

image courtesy of Nikon USA

Ok, so here is the deal - I am usually all about some camera rumors.  So I don't know if I am just feeling beat-up by the lack of any fruition on the Canon 5D Mk II rumors ... not bitter ... but I totally denounced the possibility of the now announced Nikon D700.  Last week I was chatting with my local ASC (Apple Sales Consultant) Shah Hussain who is totally a Shutterbug - I just got to know him but I can tell we will hit it off - and He mentioned the Nikon D700 and I totally blew it off.  I didn't see a business model - I was like that camera doesn't make sense - it will cannibalize the D300 sales AND the D3 sales.  Why would I want a D3 if the D700 does all this.  Anyways - long story short - I wanted to publicly let everyone know that I was wrong.  Not just a little wrong but SUPERIORLY WRONG!!!  The camera is a beast and It has me gazing sadly at my empty wallet - for I wish I could make it mine!

foto fusion - too cool for albums

It is always an interesting judge of character when someone tells you about a product they believe is light years beyond what you happen to be using. Sometimes they get argumentative and sometimes they act superior and smug. A few months ago while sitting in the David Ziser Master Class (I think they kick off another one this week) David threw a question out to the class - "Who in the class is producing albums for their clients?" About half the class raised their hands. Then he asked, "What are you using to build them?" Several people offered up some suggestions and why they were their favorite. I added InDesign to the mix because that's how I roll. After the class had spent about 10 minutes talking about the software they use - feeling so proud and happy in our decisions, David unloaded LumaPix on the class. HOLY COW! I will be doing a video demo in the next two weeks because a typed review isn't sufficient. I instantly fell in love with the program while at the class. However, I just sat down last night to put together an album with the program and was totaly blown away.
Initally there is a learning curve - but unlike Adobe products the learning curve is ... "oh it's that simple ... I was trying to make it more complicated." The frist 10-15 minutes I sat in front of the program I was thrashing like crazy and geting nowhere. Where's this pannel and how do you adjust this color - there's no swatches pallet?!?!?!? Moving from InDesign to LumaPix is like telling a Stock Car drive he can go just as fast while sitting on a moped. I had to force myself to stop and sorta fall into the interface. The program is very discoverable - but if you are not careful you can miss the HUGE functionality in the simplicity.

See the little box in the top right corner? Yeah, that's the ENTIRE TOOL SET! If you want to effect the photo - click on the center area of the square and it brings up that adjustment tool. If you want to effect the border click on the border. If you want to effect the shadow ... you guessed it - click on the shadow.

One of the bigest time-savers in the program is the ability to split frames! I don't know how many hours I have spent in InDesign trying to make even frames with even pixel spacing. You simply draw a new picture frame to the size you want - then tell LumaPix how many pictures you want that frame to be split into - and BOOM! It is all done. Drop your photos in and you are good. Click on the banner at the top of this post to link to their website and check out some of their material. I will be producing a video review/tutorial for next week so you guys can see how I am using the program. If you make wedding albums - this program will be your saving grace. Oh, I should mention - it is a Windows only program. If you want to run it on a Mac Parallels, VM Ware or BootCamp are your only options - but I have seen it run on David's MacBook Pro in Parallels and it ran fine so you should be good to go there.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

no more shadow

Today we take a look at how to remove that annoying under the eye shadow that shows up in so many photos. It is SOOOO easy and takes very little time - you just have to whip the clone stamp tool into a blending mode that works for you rather than against you. Take a look and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Crazy Day No Post Tuesday

Sorry for missing the post today. I had some issues geting a client
web gallery to upload. Just not enough hours in the day to get it all
done this time. I will beback first thing tomorrow morning with two
posts: 1) Video tutorial that should have been up today and 2) A
normal post per standard Wednesday. Have a great evening - see you