Farace jumps for joy in front of my Canon EOS D60 digital
camera with 22-55mm EF zoom using Adorama's Pro
Optic Fisheye lens that attaches to the front of any
camera lens with a Series 7 adapter.
If you want the rainbow,
you gotta put up with the rain." --Dolly Parton
I've often written
about the interesting photo ops "right in your own backyard,"
but yesterday, near the end of a thunderstorm--while the sun was
shining but rain was still falling--Mary called me to look at a
rainbow. I grabbed my Canon EOS D60 with EF 22-55mm zoom lens but it
wasn't wide enough, so Mary suggested attaching Adorama's
Pro Optic Fisheye lens (see article in Shutterbug, November 2002) and
I was able to capture the rainbow's origin and destination in
a single frame. Initially, Mary held the umbrella while I tried to keep
the D60 dry but after we moved into the front yard, I asked her to pose
for a few photographs "under the rainbow" that we'll
both treasure. These are hardly works of art and would never hang in
either of the two art galleries I owned, but they capture memories of
a particularly fun, if wet, Sunday afternoon.
Konica's Inkjet Paper QP Professional Photo Glossy
delivers rich tones and vibrant colors on the thickest,
heaviest paper on the market and the finished results on
papers look just like a smooth lab-produced print, making
them ideal for promotional purposes such as this zed card.
Paper Me Over
If you look in the back of this magazine, you'll see all kinds of
ink jet papers that are available for your printing and viewing pleasure,
but the big decision is always: which one to use? One of the more interesting
and least heralded (at least so far) are the wonderfully brilliant and
heavy papers from Konica (www.konica.com).
Konica's Inkjet Paper QP Professional Photo Glossy paper delivers
rich tones and vibrant colors on the thickest, heaviest media on the market
and the finished results on the microporous surface papers look just like
a smooth lab-produced print. At 73ÞF and 55 percent humidity, it's
bone dry within 5 sec.
The QP Professional papers have an RC base just like a "real"
photographic color print and all papers in the family have a whiteness
factor of 101 percent Brightness and 96 percent Opacity. How long will
prints last? Konica's official statement is that "image quality
can be maintained for several years in a cool, dark place."
In addition to Professional Photo Glossy, Konica offers QP Professional
Photo 2-sided Glossy for use as post cards, invitations, and greeting
cards. Konica's silky ink jet paper, Premium Photo Silky, has a
textured surface that's less sensitive to fingerprint marks. QP
Premium Self Adhesive has the same quality as Konica's heavyweight
glossy ink jet paper, but with an adhesive back. Then there's Multi
Project Photo Paper, which is a matte-coated photo paper that's
useful for business applications but because of the smooth surface also
makes great contact sheets for digital camera files.
With new memory card types being introduced every other
week, or so it seems, having a multi-format reader such
as the Belkin Universal Serial Bus 8-in-1 Media Reader &
Writer means you have most of your digital media bases covered.
Plug-In Of The Month
This month's winner is a suite of plug-ins from Denmark. Mac OS
versions of the PowerRetouche (www.powerretouche.com)
photo editing Photoshop compatible plug-ins are now available and support
more image modes and are faster and more memory efficient than the current
Windows versions. PowerRetouche plug-ins were designed by Jan Esmann,
a Danish artist, who wanted to bring the same level of control to digital
images provided by a traditional darkroom and include some unique capabilities,
such as radial density correction and combining several operations in
a single control panel. Exposure correction, for example, combines levels,
curves, brightness, and saturation operations in one intuitive interface.
Here's a look at components of the PowerRetouche suite:
· Sharpness Editor: Includes three sharpening methods that
Esmann calls an "optically true blur." Two of the sharpening
methods won't damage images like Unsharp Mask can and feature options
to sharpen edges only or restrict sharpening to certain brightness values
or certain hues.
· Noise Corrector: This plug-in offers five methods for subduing
image noise with options for preserving detail and retaining sharp focus.
· Lens Corrector: Corrects lens distortion from wide angle
or telephoto lenses and includes a special option for converting panoramic
lens images into conventional views.
· White Balance Corrector: It's based on optical parameters
to correct the color of the light in an image. You can manually select
Kodak-Wratten filters (or European KB20-KR20) for correcting daylight/incandescent
light, while an Auto mode calibrates any filter color from the image itself,
ideal for working under mixed light sources or neon.
· Exposure Editor: Correct exposure (under or over) in the
entire image or target corrections to any range of shadows, mid tones,
· Contrast Editor: Full control over all aspects and variations
of contrast: mid tone preservation, range expansion, hardness/softness,
gamma, color separation, and brightness.
· Saturation Editor: Alters saturation while preserving the
exact hue and all the original image's color and brightness relationships.
· Density Corrector: Corrects uneven radial exposures from
most lenses in digicams, zooms, wide angle lenses, or mid-range SLR cameras
(corrects darkening toward the edges and corners or too bright central
· Transparency Tool: Edit transparency in layers with great
accuracy. Useful for correction layers, masks, or cutouts.
· Toned Prints Converter: Converts any image to give the
appearance of a traditional toned print. It includes presets to emulate
Sepia, Kallitype, VanDyke, Silver Gelatin, Platinum, Palladium, Silver,
and Cyanotype. (Cool, huh?)
All of the PowerRetouche plug-ins support 8 and 16-bit RGB and 8 and 16-bit
CMYK, and 8 and 16-bit Grayscale is also supported. A few support LAB,
duotone, and multilayer files. The full filter pack costs $159 US, with
individual plug-ins varying from $32-$54 each.
It wasn't a dark and stormy night, but dark clouds
and rain showers caused me to move my Canon EOS D60's
ISO setting to 800. PowerRetouche plug-ins are ideal for
conditions like this where you need to color correct and
minimize image noise to get the best possible image made
under the worst possible lighting and color balance conditions.
Baby You Can Read My Card
Belkin Corporation (www.belkin.com)
who makes the coolest most useful computer accessories on the market offers
a Universal Serial Bus 8-in-1 Media Reader & Writer with an estimated
street price of $44.95. Not only does it have a tiny footprint to save
space, but its lightweight, vertical design has four rubbery feet that
grip my desktop instead of sliding all over the place like other card
readers do. The Belkin USB 8-in-1 Media Reader & Writer works with
CompactFlash I and II, IBM Microdrive, (the soon to be extinct) SmartMedia,
Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, and MagicGate (see sidebar)
memory media. It lets digital photographers transfer, edit, and store
their files at transfer speeds up to 12Mbps and draws power through the
computer's USB port. It features two slots that work with eight
different media types for simple drag-and-drop file transfer for efficient
file management and backup. Unlike most card readers, Belkin includes
some software, in this case, Ulead's Photo Express photo editor
(Windows), which lets you share photos via e-mail, the web, or print.
Photo Explorer is included for Mac OS computers, for capturing, viewing,
and editing images along with COOL 360, and can transform photo sequences
into 360Þ or panoramic images.
When working with a Danish plug-in, such as PowerRetouche,
you can really get the "colour" correct on this
brace of Austin Healey roadsters photographed with a Canon
Holy Format Batman, Not
Yes, boys and girls, just when you though it was safe to buy a new memory
card reader out comes yet another new format. That's one of the
advantages of using a multi-format reader like the Belkin USB 8-in-1 Media
Reader & Writer; it reads eight different formats including MagicGate.
Sounding like something from Lord of the Rings, MagicGate Memory Stick
media lets users access copy protected music or other copyrighted data
(e.g., your pix). The standard (purple) Memory Stick media does not have
copy protection technology and records, transfers, and plays back non-copy
protected content, such as presentations, documents, pictures, video clips,
voice, and unsecure MP3 music files. MagicGate Memory Stick technology
works with OpenMG music management software providing a key that communicates
that the content can be recorded to a secure location. MagicGate Memory
Stick media will increase capacity from the currently available maximum
128MB to 256MB, 512MB, and up to 1GB between 2002 and 2003. Memory Stick
media developers are working on producing up to 20MB/second transfer speeds