|Volume 13, Number 15||29 July 2011|
Welcome to the 311th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We detail our Lion upgrade, try a Lightroom keyboard cover, reveal a secret about piano black finishes and share a few wedding tips. Our Fun column returns with a description of an evening out at Adobe's Photoshop "popup" store.
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Dire circumstances obliged us to acquire a refurbed 13-inch MacBook Pro to get the last issue out to you. Returning to normalcy a week later, we wondered what noble purpose it could possibly continue to serve.
As luck would have it, Apple released Lion last week just as we were engaged in wondering. Why not, we ventured, give it a shot?
We didn't back up the little MacBook Pro first because that would have been, well, redundant. Our working system is a completely different box with its own backups, unaffected by this little project.
So we just did what most people do. We ignored the advice to backup.
The install went smoothly. In fact, we did a little gardening while the installer downloaded. That took longer than necessary because we didn't set the Energy Saver prefs to wake the computer for network access. So it went to sleep on the download.
When the installer had downloaded and launched, we slipped into Finder, selected the installer in our Applications directory and right clicked on it. In the contextual menu that popped up, we found an option to burn a DVD of the installer. So we did that.
You can just return to the App Store, click on Purchases and get another copy. But this is quicker, should we need it again. We'd only have to copy the installer to our Applications folder.
There are more elaborate instructions online (about opening the package and looking for the disk image) but we picked the simple approach. We did the same thing a day later for the App Store download of the free Xcode 4.1 installer, by the way.
The installer predicts how long it will take, but it takes a good deal longer, probably because it can't guess how long it will take to download whatever components it needs. We spent about 45 minutes on that part of the install.
On boot, we did get an error message announcing the Input Method for Spell Catcher (which is on the payroll here) wasn't found but Spell Catcher (http://www.rainmakerinc.com) works fine, so it may just have been a glitch. Subsequent restarts haven't repeated the message.
Java isn't installed by the installer but just as we got through the first boot we were asked if we'd like to install it. CS5Services needs it.
So the trip from Snow Leopard to Lion took a morning. Set aside a morning, afternoon or evening for it.
We had no problem at all with the new, more subtle interface. Missing scroll bars? Fine with us. We even like the new minimal elevator. Scroll direction changed? We never know which direction to go anyway (and there's a preference to restore older behavior if we prefer to have consistent behavior with our older system).
Launchpad, the iOS-like icon-based screen display of your applications, was a breath of fresh air. We have several screens of applications. A simple gesture moves from one page to the other. We like gestures.
There's no organization to the applications, they just fill out the grid. Page after page.
Rather than flip through screens of applications, when we want to launch a specific application, we just call up Alfred (http://help.alfredapp.com) and type the first letter or two of the name and there it is. Alfred is on the payroll, too.
We have been a devotee of Spaces on Snow Leopard (and used a third party utility in Tiger to do the same thing), so we were looking forward to Mission Control. Swipe four fingers upward and get an Expose-like display of everything that's open with your Desktops arrayed along the top of the screen. Drag stuff to them or click on them. Use the Control key combo to go directly to any of them, just as in Spaces.
Fabulous to see this evolve. It really enhances productivity, especially on a small screen. We used to rely on a second monitor (and we do have one attached to our production machine) but swapping Desktops is nicer.
And with Full Screen apps, you don't even have to do that. They're great for composing and editing both words and photos. Funny how a swipe to get to the next one is easier to manage than the Command-Tab routine to show open applications.
Save and Resume? Without a backup disk at the moment, we aren't auto saving but resume, which reloads the last opened window, seems like its been around in certain apps for a while. Nice to have it available generally, although it doesn't seem appropriate in Safari. Because the preference for it is global, an exception list would be handy. Meanwhile this Terminal command turns it off in Safari: defaults write com.apple.Safari NSQuitAlwaysKeepWindows -bool false
Another puzzle was why the user Library folder has been hidden. We think we need to get in there now and then (our mail is there, certain scripts are there) so we unhid it using the Terminal command: chflags nohidden /Users/*/Library
As smooth as the install went, we expected one or another application or plug-in would have a problem with the new operating system. We haven't been through them all yet (there are over 150 on our system) but somehow the problem children always make themselves obvious.
Right off the bat, we missed iSync and InstantShot, which we regularly use in Snow Leopard.
We use iSync to copy our address book and calendar to a Motorola Razr which has the "magical" ability to actually complete calls on the AT&T network.
The Lion install actually deletes iSync from your disk. Rather rude behavior. But all you have to do is copy it back. We had a copy on our working machine (lacking a backup of our Snow Leopard install). Our phone profile was already in ~/Library/Phones from a past Migration Assistant session. Works fine.
InstantShot, our preferred screen capture utility (which we use for our product reviews), only records black JPEGs now. We found an alternative that works a little differently but pretty well: Captur (http://cambhlumbulunk.blogspot.com/2011/03/captur-simple-screencapture-interface.html).
We have experienced one crash. That was using the brand new iCorrect EditLab Pro 6.0 for Macintosh. PictoColor has just released v6.0.1 to address the problem.
That's a pretty small price to pay for progress. We'd like to wisely promise we won't update our production box to Lion before 10.7.2 comes out, but in our case, the advantages are compelling and the problems nearly non-existent.
Your hit list, however, may be much longer. When we upgraded to Snow Leopard last year, we eliminated all our PowerPC applications, including Eudora, which we replaced with Postbox (http://www.postbox-inc.com). So we were ready for a Lion without Rosetta.
Some printers and scanners rely on drivers with PowerPC code, though. As well as some versions of older image editing software.
VueScan is one alternative for scanners. But so is Image Capture. Turn on your scanner, launch Image Capture and see if it finds your scanner. Shawn notes he had to update his Canon network scanner driver for Lion.
Printers can sometimes be reinstalled either with a generic CUPS driver (you'll see it when you press the plus button to add a printer) or a generic Postscript driver (if it's a Postscript laser printer).
We gave up on font management (Snow Leopard seemed to do fine with our collection) but Suitcase Fusion 3 has just been updated (http://www.extensis.com/en/support/updates/SF3-14-0-6.jsp) for Lion.
And since we aren't yet backing up the little box, we weren't affected by the lack of support for the DHCAST128 protocol on our NAS. That requires a firmware upgrade on your NAS device (or this little trick: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4700). NetGear, for example, has an update for its popular ReadyNAS devices. SMB replaces Samba, too.
If you get stuck behind one of these eight balls, there is an interesting approach we read about that allows you to have your Lion cake and eat Snow Leopard too. Install VirtualBox and load Snow Leopard on it to run your PowerPC and discontinued Apple applications.
Adobe has published a list of known issues with its products on Lion (http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/905/cpsid_90508.html#main_Photoshop). But as Tom Hogarty told us at the Photoshop & You event last Friday, Lightroom runs fine on Lion. And our other key CS5 apps don't have any problem either.
We were surprised to see the Kodak AiO whose firmware we had so much trouble with during our review printed just fine after the update.
We were also surprised to find our antique Kensington StudioMouse works just as well on Lion as it did on Snow Leopard (without MouseWorks 3.0). Although, to be honest, it's more fun using gestures on the trackpad than using a mouse.
In fact, to be perfectly honest, we're avoiding the mouse and learning to use just the trackpad. Scrolling hooked us. It is far less trouble to scroll with the trackpad than the mouse scroll wheel -- and we still recall how happy we were to discover that scroll wheel. Now we've started tapping instead of clicking and two-finger tapping instead of right clicking. We've learned to drag with three fingers and haven't really looked back.
Oddly, going back to our old behavior on Snow Leopard is a bit disappointing.
Actually mastering the new features of Lion has been something of a trial, however. There's nothing quite like documentation when it comes to that and there's precious little of that. So we've been scouring the Web for how-to advice on things as small using the trackpad to drag and drop. And as big as deciding when to use Full Screen mode instead of Mission Control.
In the few days since the install, we've hardly had time to try everything we regularly use, but it's been a pretty smooth transition.
For further procrastination, we can recommend Robert Mohns' review on Macintouch (http://www.macintouch.com/specialreports/lion/review.html) and John Siracusa's review on Ars Technica (http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2011/07/mac-os-x-10-7.ars).
ONE MORE THING
While we're chatting, we should divulge that the 13-inch MacBook also gave us an opportunity to evaluate (at length) the glass screen. We normally work with an anti-glare screen, which we find just perfect.
We've used the glass screen in a handful of locations already and, for the most part, it's a non-issue. There is a difference in contrast and blacks, as has been previously reported. And we find that a little tiring compared to the restful anti-glare screen. But we aren't surprised that Apple thought no one would mind losing the anti-glare option.
At least until we tried the glass screen in the library recently. That was more like an office environment, with fluorescent overhead lighting. We had to cock the screen at an awkward upright angle to avoid distracting reflections.
In software development there really aren't any "conclusions," just versions. This version of the Macintosh operating system is among the smoothest upgrades we've performed but we're using new hardware and up-to-date software. Still, considering the complexities, we're impressed.
From our chair as a user, we find ourselves enjoying Lion even more than Snow Leopard. If learning gestures makes us feel like we are learning to use a mouse all over again, we nevertheless enjoy a great deal more power at our fingertips.
So we're glad we didn't have to wait to enjoy this. We're having a roaring good time.
Among the jobs we would not want to labor in, Keyboard Command Designer stands out as a particularly frustrating one.
To begin with, all the good ones are taken by the operating system. And by the time you're ready to roll up your sleeves, prior versions have established a mishmash of precedents. And your job is to expand all this with some sense of order. Or, at least, a good explanation.
Talk about a thankless task.
So it's no wonder all those very efficient keyboard commands remain mostly unused, even though they're in plain sight. We send our mouse off on one expedition or another to find the command we need, pulling down menus randomly, flying some out, clicking on palettes, singing along in our favorite profanities.
But there are two solutions to this problem. And one of them isn't memory aids.
The expensive solution, which we tested in an earlier version, is a dedicated keypad like the Kubota (http://kubotaimagetools.com) and RPG (http://www.rpgkeys.com) keyboards for Lightroom and Photoshop. They'll run you $350 to $1,000. We found they do improve your productivity. We haven't tested the latest Kubota yet but it promises even more efficiency with user defined keys. We're kind of waiting for the economy to recover.
The inexpensive solution (and we're only talking $40 here, sometimes less) is a keyboard cover. This is just a membrane of some sort that's been printed with keyboard legends specific to one piece of software.
Over the last two weeks, we've been using a KB Cover (http://www.kbcovers.com) for Lightroom, which was only recently announced. They torture themselves with keyboards for dozens (it seems) of applications for Macintosh keyboards. They just can't get enough of this stuff, apparently. They admit as much, "We are continually designing new keyboard covers for popular applications, cool designs and new colors."
And they're so easy to swap (you just lay the thing over your keyboard and it falls right into place) that having a few is no issue.
The blister pack gave a hint of the genius behind this product. The back is perforated so you can just rip it open with your bare hands. No scissors, no garden shears, no table saw. Just your bare hands.
The label on the front tells the story:
- The silicone cover is molded to fit "perfectly" over the keyboard. Ours fit just fine although it doesn't exactly sit perfectly flat, at least at first. Which did not bother us.
- It has over 70 keyboard shortcuts printed on it (not to mention tactile clues for the home row). There are 78 keys on our keyboard and they all have legends, so KB is only taking credit for keys that do something (not modifiers like Shift or Control).
- It's washable, which you can't really say for your keyboard despite the dishwater stories in circulation. Ian Cohen, whose PR firm got us a cover to test, explained, "Can be hand-washed with plain hand soap/dish soap with luke warm water. No fancy detergents or alcohol. No machine wash."
- And, just to top it off, it has clear areas for LEDs. Our keyboard has a green LED on the Caps Lock key and we can see it just fine. In fact, our keyboard lights up in the dark (such is its mistrust of us) and the sides of the molded key cap covers let that light through.
Light gets through, sure, but what about heat? It occurred to us that our little overworked laptop might be counting on those gaps around the keys to vent the heat its innards generates.
Ian testified, "I've been using the Sibelius version of the cover for over a year, with my Macbook Pro (black keys) and never noticed a change or increase in the frequency of the fan coming on while I am using it."
We can't really disagree. In the weeks we've been using it, it hasn't seemed to affect heat dissipation. But it's summer in San Francisco and we are pretty careful about dissipating any heat at all.
As a touch typist, I wondered if the less slick, somewhat clammy (they call it 'soft') touch of the silicone cover would bother me. It does. A little. But not enough to adjust my medications. It's more a comfort to know I won't have to wash my keyboard because I can wash my keyboard cover.
What about closing the top on it? No problem, really. We've always been in the habit of covering the keyboard to keep the screen clean. But now we can uncover it and keep it clean. Either way.
And, finally, what about obscuring backlit keyboards? Well, no getting around that. You can see the key outline but not the legend. But what good would the overlay do you in the dark anyway? Just slip it off.
GETTING TO WORK
So what's it like to use one?
We had a few shoots to import into Lightroom. A number of the images were taken under inhospitable conditions (very little light, Plexiglas, etc.) so we knew a tweak or three would be required.
Our usual modus operandi is to mouse around for the command we need. It leaves our left hand free to scratch our head as we wonder what we were thinking when we shot that one.
But this time we told ourselves to look down at the keyboard instead of up at the menu bar. Not a big adjustment really. As a touch typist, we look down at the keyboard all the time, marveling at how our fingers seem to know where to go even when our mind doesn't.
What a wealth of riches, we thought. Why, there's the Develop module right on the D key. And G gets you to Grid mode.
And Tab toggles the side panels. Once you know that, you don't mind hiding them because you know how to get them right back. And on our little screen, that was a big benefit.
The keys to decrease and increase thumbnail size were almost more fun than using the slider. Pretty retro of us (the steps are in fixed sizes after all) but we couldn't resist. And it does get the job done.
Ratings practically get a row of their own. We didn't really want to rate anything, just edit a few, so we could ignore the whole row.
And those were just the white legends. They sit prominently along with the usual key cap legend on each key.
But some key caps have red legends. And some have blue legends, too. And there are even a few green ones. The blue ones remind you to use the modifiers Shift and Command. The green ones remind you to use Option and Command. The red ones echo the red Command keys, which is how you get to those commands.
The color coordination for key chords works very well. In no time, you get it. That's something you can't say for the menu bar.
So, were we more productive using the keys than we were using just the mouse. Yes. We hunt around a lot for the commands to copy and paste edits but there they were right on the keyboard. No hunting required.
And it was a bit more fun, as if the application had become more usable. Did we really do more or did it just seem like it? Hard to say, but we seemed to finish earlier.
Which is how we got this review done so quickly.
At http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Among the highlights since the last issue:
- Reviewed: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX7V (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/HX7V/HX7VA.HTM)
- Reviewed: Sony TX10 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/TX10/TX10A.HTM). What gave us pause was our trouble with the touchscreen, which is not good when that's the camera's main interface.
- Reviewed: Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG Summilux (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1439/cat/68)
- Reviewed: Nikon S9100 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CPS9100/CPS9100A.HTM)
You may be wondering how to clean that mirror-like piano black finish on your printer or scanner. You may have been wondering long enough for a pile of dust to have accumulated. Congratulate yourself. You have not waited in vain.
We've dusted lots of devices finished in piano black plastic but we've never done it very well.
The ostrich feather duster was a big mistake but so was the flamingo pink pseudo feather duster that sits loudly in the corner of the bunker to remind us it's never too soon to dust.
They leave scratches. Small hairline scratches. That kill the effect.
Even our old cotton shop cloth, softened from harsh (now banned) chemicals and many washings, is too rough for the things. We still get those small hairline scratches.
It's gotten so bad, we've begun wondering about spray painting the thing, wet sanding it and lacquering it to restore the finish.
So the other day we were looking over a couple of new Canon printers when we gasped, startling Nicole, the young woman about to run through the lineup for us.
"Are you OK?" she asked, concerned.
"Well, yes," we caught our breath. "Yes, we are."
"Are you sure?"
"Never better. It was the matte finish on the new printer," we tried to explain. You can see it yourself in the news story (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1311696550.html).
"Oh, do you like it?"
"I very much do," we confessed -- and then told her about our feather dusters and cotton cloths.
That was when she took pity on us, brought over a chair and told us to sit down. She was going to reveal the secret to keeping a piano black plastic finish scratch free, she said.
We sat, our notebook open, our gel pen pointed to a new page.
"A lens cloth," she said.
"A lens cloth!"
We could hardly believe it.
"No, it's true," she insisted. "They're so soft they don't scratch the plastic."
So there you have it. Of all the things we learned in that briefing, this is the one we will never forget. You either, we bet.
We found ourselves on the Great Lawn under a blue sky with the heat barely dropping at five in the afternoon and an aisle seat in the second row for our nephew's wedding to the woman of his dreams.
Perfection all around.
We didn't want to blow it by taking lousy wedding pictures. And we certainly didn't want to make the wedding photographer's job any harder than it already is.
So as we took our seat, we looked around for the pro and observed what she and her assistant were doing. And we made a point not to do that.
So tip number one is don't compete with the pro.
As we turned around to watch the wedding party walk across the Great Lawn to the Pergola where the ceremony would be performed, we observed tip number two. That would be stay in your seat.
The lovely lady behind us had decided to fire out into the aisle to get perfectly framed shots of the oncoming bridal party. Since she was obscuring only our view, there was no diplomacy in complaining.
But the shot really wasn't worth it. Better to take it from your seat using the crowd to frame the image. It gives it some perspective (like those landscapes with a few people in them so you can appreciate how large the natural wonders are).
And, just to make the point sharper, it's less rude to those behind you who may be world famous sharpshooters with awesome karma that can come around to take embarrassing photos of you at the reception.
Now that you know what to avoid and where to be (even if you don't have a great seat), there's a tip I think any pro would be happy to send us a check to mention.
Turn off your focus assist lamp.
This gets rid of those orange and red spots on the main subjects in other people's photos that have to be healing brushed away. And it's entirely unnecessary in good light. Focus will be found. Or just set the camera on infinity. You aren't close enough to need to focus.
And if your camera beeps when it finds focus, please turn it off. Nobody came to hear electronic signals. They came to be transported, to celebrate the beginning of a new story, to remember their own, to love and be loved -- not to be annoyed by camera beeps and car alarms.
And while you're changing settings, make sure the flash is off (and ISO up, if necessary).
That's all stuff you can do (and test) before the show starts.
But our final tip is for the heat of the action. We hadn't realized how important it was until the next day when, back at the ranch, we took a look at our catch.
This isn't something you want to do for the whole ceremony. The first kiss, for example, is always more romantic as a still than as video. And the exchange of rings, which is usually awkward, does better as a still than video.
But if you take a moment to scan the program while you're waiting for the show to begin, you might discover the couple has highlighted some part of the program. A reading not by St. Paul, for example. Or, as it was in this case, a poem with special meaning to the bride.
And, of course, there's always the vows. Those tension-filled, repeat-after-me, what's-your-name-again vows. Just remember they require heavy editing afterwards (lose the officiant's prompt).
With everyone snapping away for the perfect still, your video will capture the whole moment. And without focus assist lamps, beeps or flash.
Tools like Adobe Premiere Elements (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/E9/E9.HTM) or iMovie can stabilize the video after capture, allowing you to fade in to cover a late start and fade into the next segment very easily.
Which is exactly what we need to do right now, if you'll excuse us <g>.
Visit the Imaging Resource discussion forums at http://www.photo-forums.com to find out what people are saying about the latest digicams, hard-to-find accessories, friendly suppliers, clever techniques, you name it! Recent hot topics include:
Read about the Sony Alpha NEX-5 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eeb022b
Visit the Olympus Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6f783
Read about the Lensbaby Sweet 35 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eeb359e/0
Read about Nikon lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=5
Visit the Beginners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b2
SAN FRANCISCO -- Adobe took over 550 Sutter here a week ago, turning it into a "popup" (or temporary) Photoshop store for a couple of weeks. Adobe calls the operation "Photoshop & You" (http://www.photoshop.com/events/550sutter) and you (as in you) are invited.
At the revamped gallery space Adobe has been conducting hands-on training (http://www.photoshop.com/events/550sutter/calendar) with Russell Brown and Scott Kelby, among others, and demos of Photoshop, Elements and Lightroom until August 6. There have also been several photo walks already, including one for cellphones only with John Nack.
The site is also a store, though, offering Photoshop gear for sale, as well as a special 15 percent discount on Adobe software. The net proceeds from those go directly to Adobe Youth Voices (http://youthvoices.adobe.com), the company's multimedia initiative for middle school and high school kids.
We visited the venue opening night when Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty graciously gave us the grand tour.
We asked Hogarty how he managed to sneak away just after Lion was launched. He told us he had just been working on a Lightroom Journal post to let people know it works, go get it. "We had our sights on that for a while," he admitted. In fact, we'd launched Lightroom on Lion just a few hours before and were glad to see it running smoothly.
There are about five distinct rooms in the space. The entrance greets you with the big red ampersand from the "Photoshop & You" event name. There's clothing, mugs and other gear along the east wall and a couple of display cases of cameras sharing the west wall with some big video screens showing off some gorgeous work. One of the display cases has digital cameras, another has film cameras of various vintages. Just a representative, but interesting, sample.
Up a short hallway hung with large prints by Zalman Stern, one of the Camera Raw engineers, is a corner devoted to Dr. Brown, who once again redefined the concept of appropriate attire. He was overseeing his "laser-shirt-printing-lab-thing" that can handle five registrations per hour. You pay a small fee to make a poster, T-shirt or laser etching.
We wondered if it was a good idea to corner Russell Brown like that. Or even possible. He was hopping all over the place.
The hallway that links the two wings of the gallery was graced by Bert Monroy's epic Times Square Photoshop image (http://www.bertmonroy.com/timessquare/timessquare.html). Not to mention Monroy himself, who happily answered questions about the epic work.
"The first thing people ask," he confided, "is what kind of camera I used to take the shot."
But it's not a photo. It's a photo-realistic painting.
The 5x25-foot transparency was printed on Epson DisplayTrans Backlight Media on an Epson Stylus Pro 118800 printer from a 6.52-GB file of three thousand individual Photoshop and Illustrator files arranged in over 500,000 layers that took four years to create.
The detailed figures on the street are portraits of over 100 recognizable imaging celebrities, all of whom appear twice in the painting. Monroy appears as well, with his back to the viewer (and his hair not yet gray), while his daughter, son and his girlfriend are the three most prominent portraits. While Monroy painted a younger version of himself prominently driving a cab, he also put his son in the driver's seat of a cab -- just to give him a job, we suspect.
You can spend hours enjoying the detail in the image (like the scene depicted on the LCD of a digicam in the crowd) or recognizing some old event poster in one of the kiosks. But we pushed on.
In the other wing there was a wall of iPads, each of which sported a gallery of images itself. It was fun to interactively swipe through them or just launch a slide show.
Hogarty told us they're looking at an iPad interface to Lightroom, much as Photoshop's proof of concept Naz app. There's a wealth of opportunities for developers, he noted. "We put things out there," he said referring to the Lightroom software development kit, and a number of folks have done very well with plug-ins and other add-ons.
Across the room was a 3D auto-stereoscopic display from Alioscopy (http://www.alioscopyusa.com) that, combined with the champagne, tested our sense of balance. A slide show of 3D images by Martin Haeusler (http://www.martinhaeusler.com) played on it continuously. It really was a little unnerving. Wouldn't want to watch Modern Family on the thing.
Winston Hendrickson, vice president of Digital Imaging Products for Adobe, gave a short but gracious speech, toasting not just Photoshop but what all the Photoshop artists have done with it, too.
We bumped into Photoshop Product Manager Brian O'Neil Hughes just after that. He told us the company would like to do a few more of these. One in New York, certainly, but also in London and Paris. It's a great way to meet the customer, he said.
But it's a big project to put on a show like this. The company had to do everything from wiring the old gallery space for computers to painting the walls.
There were a few stations where you could sit down and try out Elements, Photoshop and Lightroom but the interesting thing about the exhibition was that it was more about what you can produce with Photoshop than how the Photoshop family of products works. It was more about the art than the brush. Like any gallery, for that matter.
That made it something of an inspirational evening. One we would have been sorry to see come to an end except we knew it would stretch out until August 6. If you're in the neighborhood, it's worth a visit.
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RE: DxO Optics Pro Workflow
Greetings from the land of 100-degree temperatures and no rain (Houston Texas)!
Your review of this software impressed me so much that I immediately ordered it. I expect delivery in the next couple of days.
At present, I use iPhoto for cataloging my images and for simple editing. When I need more editing power, I reach out to Photoshop Elements 9, then return to iPhoto. I generally just shoot JPEGs rather than Raw, but I plan to shoot more raw in the future -- perhaps exclusively, to maximize the benefits of Optics Pro.
Do you have a workflow recommendation? It looks to me like I could either run all photos through Optics Pro and then import to iPhoto or just specify Optics Pro for editing in place of Elements.
I own Lightroom, but don't use it much because it appears to me that I should have only one catalog and at present that is iPhoto. I do have a number of iPhoto libraries, which I manage with iPhoto Library Manager.
I'd like to settle on one workflow and stick to it. Can you offer any advice? It would be much appreciated. You guys are my most trusted source of information and recommendations.
-- Bob Mathews(We didn't escape the heat wave, either, Bob, passing through Detroit last week. Your workflow should keep you cooking, we think. Set your iPhoto external editor to either Elements or Optics Pro, whichever you use more frequently. Or import your Optics Pro JPEGs into iPhoto and use Elements for further edits. Using one catalog application makes a lot of sense (because you only have to master one tool) but having multiple catalogs isn't much more work. As long as you can find stuff, it's working. You don't have to use Lightroom as a catalog to take advantage of its comprehensive tools for managing any photo project. We often just use it as a project manager. Anyway, it sounds like you've nailed this down pretty well already. But we're here if you run into any glitches.-- Editor)
RE: CanoScan 9000F
I read and very much appreciated your May 2010 review of the Canon CanoScan 9000F. I still have a question however. I used the Epson 4990 for some time until the upper lamp gave out and then upgraded to the V700. I immediate ran into a strange difficulty.
I have in addition to many 135mm slides taken going back top the late '50s, thousands of slides taken with the Hasselblad in the superslide format. These are 2x2 cardboard holders with the inside film area being 1.5x1.5.
The V700 now comes with a holder that will not accommodate anything but a 135mm slide format. Although I have many of the old 120 slides already scanned I was hoping to get better and higher res scans from the V700. I tried using the old film holder from the 4990 but the focussing plane is different and the slide a blurred and out of focus.
Epson tech support basically doesn't understand the problem they have created by trying to make things easier and they have simply told me that the medium format mounted slides can't be accommodated. They could with the old 4690 and 4990 but no longer with the V700.
My question is if I decide that the only solution is to buy the CanoScan 9000f just for the 120 medium format slides, will the scan quality at say 4800 DPI be equal to the V700?
-- Robert Garfias(Yes, the Epson 135m slide holder actually masks the film area, so even though the mounts fit, you can't scan the whole 1.5x1.5 image area. You can 1) make your own holder (see the recent article in the newsletter archive) or 2) modify the Epson holder (by cutting out the plastic indents to expose the whole film area). -- Editor)
RE: Scanning Cross-Processed Slides
I have a question about scanning color negatives:
I understand the importance of setting the right film profile. SilverFast, for example, lets you pick from a list of more than 100 available film profiles. Here's my question: How important is it to have this option available when you're scanning cross-processed slides (i.e. slides developed as negative film)?
-- Gert van Rooy(Slide scanning relies on the positive film profile you create when you profile the scanner (you did that, right?). Negative film needs a bit more help with curves to transform the accurately profiled values that are scanned. But NegaFix doesn't have a profile for cross-processed film so you have to build your own curves to handle it. Here's what Lasersoft advises: http://forum.silverfast.com/cross-process-film-t7002.html -- Editor)
RE: Help Going Pro
Thank you for all your newsletters. I'm mailing with the hope of getting more help becoming a professional photographer. As an amateur just starting out, I believe your insight and guidance will help in perfecting this chosen art of mine. Thank you for your understanding and hoping to read more from you.
-- Moses Okon Sam(Thanks for writing, Moses. You raise an interesting question (how to become a pro). The newsletter addresses issues pros face (and our Letters section is full of feedback from pros). But over the years, we've been amused to see how often our Beginners Flash articles have solicited lively feedback from pros. We think this says a lot about the task of becoming a pro. In short, it says you are never very far away from the fundamentals of photography. To the extent you have a grasp of these, you command the image. Lacking that grasp, your camera determines what your image looks like, not you. But in another sense, there are a lot of new services and approaches for the pro that we try to cover in the newsletter, too. After all, being a pro means, at root, getting paid for your work. And we're sensitive to new opportunities for that. So stay tuned! -- Editor)
RE: More on Yosemite
It appears from your Yosemite articles that you may not have visited the high country. If that is the case, you missed about half the beauty of Yosemite and you have something to look forward to during your next trip. Like Glacier Point and Tenaya Lake on the Tioga Pass road.
-- Stan Kukawka(You're right, Stan, the high country was not on our itinerary (although we did fly over it returning from Detroit). A weekend was not enough time, really, and Memorial Day weekend meant leaving the car in the parking lot. But, as we show in the book (http://www.mikepasini.com/yosemite/ebook.php), that still leaves a lot of gorgeous scenes to shoot. And while those sites are all easily accessible, we do want to mention they are not without danger. Six people have lost their lives since our excursion this year, albeit not on the valley floor. So take care if you're going there this year. -- Editor)
Canon (http://www.usa.canon.com) has announced the launch of two Pixma photo printers, the $149.99 MG5320 Wireless Photo All-In-One and the $99.99 iP4920 Photo Inkjet Printer models with significant upgrades to Easy-PhotoPrint EX and Full HD Movie Print software.
Lytro (http://blog.lytro.com/) has announced Coco Rocha is the first high fashion model to be photographed with a Lytro light field camera.
CRU-DataPort/WiebeTech (http://www.cru-dataport.com/products/ToughTech-Duo-QR.php) has launched the ToughTech Duo portable RAID system in a mini footprint (3.5x6.26x1.34") housing two 2.5-inch drives or solid state drives that write the same information in real-time to both drives.
Phase One (http://www.phaseone.com/global/PODAS-Workshops/weston-park.aspx) has announced its first Phase One Digital Artist Series fashion and portrait photography workshop will be held at the luxurious manor house, Weston Park, UK in September. Workshops participants get to use a Phase One IQ series camera for the course.
Rangefinder Publishing has announced three photo contests in the categories of Wedding (http://www.rangefinderweddingcontest.com), Digital Imaging and People (http://pixdigitalimagingcontest.com) and Places and Things (http://www.yourbestshotcompetition.com).
Cotton Carrier (http://www.cottoncarrier.com) has announced its Steady Shot camera stabilizer made from anodized, machined 6061 aluminium with stainless steel fittings and designed to mount on the Cotton Carrier Camera Vest via the Lexan receptacle. The device will ship in August, the company said.
DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite (http://www.experiencednc.com) is partnering with The Ansel Adams Gallery (http://www.anseladams.com) to offer photography classes and workshops led by Yosemite landscape photographers, including Alan Ross, former photography assistant to Ansel Adams, and Charles Cramer, who has been teaching Ansel Adams Gallery workshops since 1987. Half-day classes are $95 per person and multi-day workshops range from $600 to $1,350.
ACD (http://www.acdsee.com) has released ACDSee Pro for Mac 1.9 with Lion compatibility, interface improvements for category management, file copying by date and time in the Batch workflow tool and the ability to save Batch workflow tool steps.
After releasing iCorrect EditLab Pro Plug-in 6.0 for Macintosh just before Lion's release, PictoColor (http://www.pictocolor.com) has quickly updated the plug-in to work with Mac OS 10.7.
Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) has released Photoshop Elements 9 Editor (without the Organizer available in the full version (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003YGMEAQ/?tag=theimagingres-20) available at the same price) in the Mac App Store.
The American Society of Media Photographers has published a social media tutorial (http://asmp.org/tutorials/social-media-tutorial.html) for photographers.
The Daily Mail has unearthed some color photos (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016667/Colour-pictures-revealed-London-blitz-Nazi-bombers-World-War-II.html) of the London blitz by Nazi bombers.
The $65 Gerber Steady multitool (http://www.gizmag.com/gerber-steady-tripod-multitool/19324), which includes a tripod along with 12 other tools, won't ship until next year.
Fourandsix Technologies (http://www.fourandsix.com/photo-tampering-history) highlights Photo Tampering throughout History.
Dr. Anthony Bannon, director of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, has announced he will be retiring on July 31, 2012. He has held the position since 1996, and his 15-year tenure makes him the longest-standing director in the history of the museum.
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Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher