Monday, October 27, 2008

Lightroom 2

So over the past few days, I've been using Lightroom 2. It manages my photos and allows me to edit them non-destructively. Yes I had to say that emphatically and it even bears repeating. The changes you make in Lightroom are non-destructive. All of your changes are stored in a side-car file. (i.e a separate file that's linked to the original). This file contains all of the "instructions" for the edits you've done. If you aren't happy with them? Hit the reset button. Poof. All gone. Back to square one. You can also go through and selectively undo steps if need be.

I wouldn't call myself a guru yet but what I have seen so far has been impressive. The spot remover is probably my favorite gizmo. Select the tool, size your cursor to the size of the dot and click. Lightroom hunts around for an appropriate spot to match and fills in the blank. Its that easy. I was stumped temporarily when I came across a hair or some kind of fibre in some of my shots. In those cases I just used multiple points.

Black and white conversions are done nicely and you can fine tune them easily. There is a preset to do either high-contrast black & white or low-contrast black & white. From there you can go into the grey scale menu and adjust sliders for 7 different hues (Red, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, and magenta).

Dodging and burning seem more intuitive for me in this program. I don't think its any harder than other programs but the way the controls are setup just seem to work for photography better. e.g. You adjust the exposure by the amount you want and the value is measured in stops.

There is a myriad of options and features I haven't even scratched the surface on such as keywording and ratings. I imagine you can do selective desaturation but I haven't figured out how yet. I also haven't figured out how to export pictures to JPG with any degree of control. I dumped out about 37 Jpgs in high quality full size. I'd like to be able to control the file size and output size as well however.

Overall however, my experience has been favorable and I am certainly contemplating making Lightroom my tool of choice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I am sooooo happy!

Tonight, the Foothills Camera Club showed the results of the Digital Architecture Competition. My image, "Black and White - A Study in Architecture", managed to earn me second place! So not only is it a personal best in DP Challenge it also got me my first blue ribbon. My other image, "Shell Tower" received a score of 21 points. The judges seemed to be pretty tough with a lot of images scoring 15 points and very few above 20.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Calgary Digital Photo Expo 2008

Yesterday I attended the first annual Calgary Digital Photo Expo. I was supposed to volunteer at 3:30 pm at the Foothills Camera Club booth but I came early to look around. As such I was drafted to volunteer early so I didn't quite get to spend as much time at the exhibits that I would have liked. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the whole day.

I managed to talk to Darwin Wiggett briefly during his book signing. We talked a bit about Panther Falls a bit and we agreed that as cool as it is its a dangerous place thats not for everyone. It would certainly not be appropriate for a bus load of tourists.

I was able to take in his first presentation Beyond the Documentary - How to Create Mood and Emotion in Landscape Photography. In the presentation he explains that as hard as we try to document what we see in a landscape we aren't able to. Each photograph we take a snapshot of the reality that we perceive. Using various photographic techniques, we are able to express our vision of what we see in a scene.

I was also able to take in a short presentation on Nikon NX 2.  It was technically supposed to be on workflow but it seemed to me just a plug for the program. Still, it was interesting to hear about other software that I haven't tried out yet.

The rest of the afternoon I helped out, as planned, at the Foothills Camera Club booth. If half the people we talked to show up...well..there will be a lot of new faces in the seats on Tuesday night. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oneexposure -

While I was wandering the forums of DP Challenge, I came across a link to
It sounds like a different photographic community.

From their FAQ

What is Onexposure?

Onexposure is an artsproject and a photo community with a difference. Take the most talented photobloggers of the web and other famous photographers as well as many serious amateurs, select their best work and put it all in one place - there you have Onexposure. Everyone is welcome to contribute, but every photo is screened, which means it has to be approved by an editor before being published. Onexposure is like a constantly evolving high class photo gallery with new art every day. We don't judge over good and bad, or over art, we merely decide if a photo fits into our gallery or not. Like in an arts gallery, you can buy many of the photos as prints and hang them on your wall. Onexposure also offers a premium membership, which includes unlimited image hosting and your own professional homepage with complete control over what photos to display.We created Onexposure because we missed an online collection of only high quality photos, we thought the photo critique was too brief on other sites and we wanted a site that was elegant and easy to navigate. Our mission is to be a source of inspiration and ultimately finding the sublime together, but if the latter doesn't succeed we believe that everyone will develop as photographers and make some friends along the journey.

Fall shots

Autumn is upon us. The leaves are turning colors. The ducks and geese are eating as much as they can in preparation for their flight south. The days are shorter and the nights are cooler. All of this leads me to ask: "Why am I not out there taking pictures?". Actually I have been.