Friday, February 17, 2012

My "New" Favorite Toy And It's Not Even For My Camera

First things first, the Eye-Fi Connect X2 card was introduced almost two years ago.  So, it's not exactly new on the market.  It's not even new to me.  I bought it sometime last year, probably about nine months ago.  Why did I buy it?  To use Eye-Fi's Direct Mode with my wife's camera going to the iPAD.  Why am I blowing the horn about it now?  Because it works, finally.  When I first got it I spent about a week fiddling with it, trying to get it to work.  After throwing up my hands, I called Eye-Fi tech support.  They were as patient and helpful as could be, but we still couldn't get it to work.  Something was missing.  Last week I had a couple minutes to kill and picked up the camera again, still with the Eye-Fi card in it.  It works fine as a straight memory card, so why not use it.  I watched a couple YouTube views and one from F-Stoppers and decided to have another run at it.  A couple videos talked about an update for the Eye-Fi Center that sits on the computer and a firmware update for the card itself.  I downloaded and installed both.  Played the F-Stoppers, stopping the video at each step, following the instructions and going on to the next step.  Once I completed all the steps, TADA, still nothing.  To find out what the key to getting it working was, hit the "Read More".
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Calling Out The Photoshop Guys

I am a Photoshop Guys fanboy.  I hang on every word from Scott, Matt, Dave, Corey, RC and , occasionally, Pete (the jury's still out on him).  I read their blogs, I watch Photoshop User TV, and D-Town, and Killer Tips, and Planet Photoshop.  I buy their books, I subscribe to Kelby Training.  I spend enough to pay somebody's salary (or least it seems like it).  But, make a suggestion for a twist they put on the web by leaving a comment and the comment never gets posted.  Lately I've offered alternate ways to accomplish the topic of discussion posted by Corey Barker, Larry Becker and Matt Kloskowski.  In each case the suggestions never saw the light of day.  The latest one happened the other day.  Matt said he doesn't use the "Make a second copy to:" feature in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 (or 4 Beta) because, according to Matt, "Basically, it just stores them in a folder named "Imported on...".  The "comment" I made wasn't rude, didn't deride, was written as a humble suggestion from a fan, and, as I said, never made it past the screeners.  I'd be willing to bet Matt doesn't review the comments that come in, but whoever does isn't doing Matt or those who are his faithful followers a service by censoring helpful comments.  To find out what Matt missed in making his statement that "Make a second copy to:" doesn't fit his needs, hit the "Read More".
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Friday, February 10, 2012

Crop, Crop Again And Then Crop Some More In Photoshop CS5

There's a couple ways today's image could have been made.  One would be to zoom in closer, turn the camera to vertical, take three or four shots and stitch a panorama.  The advantage to this method is greater detail.  You're zoomed in, so the leaves on the trees become a larger piece to each of the images.  If you're using Adobe Photoshop CS5 (or CS4), or Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 (or 9) you have excellent stitching ability.  It's basically a pushbutton function.  You just say, take this, this and this image.  Click on Auto and let CS5 do all the hard work.  Aligning the images, blending the details and smoothing out any color differences.  If there's any vignetting, CS5 will take care of that.  If there's tonal changes from the left image to the right image (as in a wide sweep that takes in a large arc of the sky) CS5 will figure out the optimum balance across the scene.  But, that's not how today's image was done.  It's an "old fashioned" pano.  It's one shot that had too much information.  Other than showing where the water was going, the bottom portion of the original added nothing to the interest in the image.  The top suffered from the same malady.  Once you know there are trees in the shot, you really don't have to show the tops.  Up at the tree tops the sky was pretty bland, so why include it.  The human mind can figure out that somewhere the trees stop.  You don't have to hit a person over the head and point that out.  In the "as taken" image the stream was dead center.  Booorrring.  So the image was cropped in from the right.  There was nothing wrong with the right side, it's just that it didn't "help" the image.  Once the image was hacked down to its current size it got a new twist on an old workflow.  TO fine out what's changed, hit the "Read More"

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Treading Lightly With Photoshop CS5

What you see on the left side of today's image is a finished product.  What's on the right side is a "work in progress" using about twenty Layers in Adobe Photoshop CS5.  On the right I've gone back through the image and made most of the Blend Modes Normal.  Except where you see the very black and very white shading marks.  Those Layers had to be left in Overlay [or Soft Light] Blend Mode to be able to "see through" the Layer to show how it was done.  The first thing to say is that I didn't do all the touching up and then, at the end, changed all the Blend Modes.  The Blend Modes and the Opacity of each little tweak were made as the adjustments were applied.  I know I wouldn't, and I'm pretty sure no one else would either, be able to "predict" what would happen if all the Blend Modes and Opacity changes were made as a final step.  Now, it's not like the young lady looked terrible before I started to play with the image.  I just felt opening things up a little and creating better definition would "improve" the shot.  To find out what all those marks mean, hit the "Read More".
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