"Best wide angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the `ah-ha.'"--Ernst
One of my favorite tools for capturing different-looking travel images is digital
infrared photography and e-mails from Shutterbug readers show many of you are
interested in IR capture, too. If that describes you, take a look at the League
of Creative Infrared Photographers (www.irleague.com)
that was founded by Rick Sammon and Deborah Sandidge. This non-profit organization
was established this year to promote the joy, excitement, and creativity of
infrared photography from in camera capture to enhancing images in the digital
darkroom. By way of full disclosure, I'm the League's technical
director and invite IR photographers from around the world to share their photographs
with other creative image-makers.
Plug-In Of The Month
ArtStudioPro Volume 2 includes an Oil Painting filter that automatically turns
your photograph into painted brush strokes. After choosing an effect, you can
give your image definition and dimension by enhancing it with one of the support
filters. You can experiment by mixing different mediums for a customized style
or choose Presets for instant results. The Oil Painting filter paints using
different colors with strokes characterized by indistinct outlines and small
brush strokes. The Oil Pastel filter offers two distinct looks: The "dry"
form produces results similar to pastel chalks. By increasing the same sliders
you'll get Oil Pastel's "wet" form, which mimics a heavy
buildup of color smoothed with a moistened brush. Chalk produces a smooth, dry
texture with bright, concentrated color and Charcoal offers a deep black hue,
smooth marks, and uniform texture. Charcoal doesn't always have to be
black; the color picker permits color changes to create the look of different
media. Wanna have fun? Use the Finger Painting filter that creates the look
of getting your hands into the paint and moving it around. This effect can be
used on the entire image or as a tool for creating backgrounds.
© 2005, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved
new line of Crucial Solid State Drives (SSDs) should appeal to professional
photographers because they are more durable, require less power, and offer better
performance than traditional hard disks. Crucial SSDs have no spin-up time,
seek time, or rotational latency, resulting in faster system boot and load times.
The lightweight (2.9 oz) drives are available in a 2.5" drive enclosure
with an SATA interface in 32GB and 64GB capacities, which is kind of small capacity
for even laptop applications, but resistance to high shock levels (1500G/0.5msec)
and vibration (20-2000Hz) seem to make them a natural for that application.
Lexar's Crucial SK01 External 2.5" Drive Storage Kit allows users
to enjoy SSD technology in their desktop computer or as a portable storage device
that can be connected via the ubiquitous USB port. The kit includes a 2.5"
USB 2.0 external enclosure, 3.5" SATA 3GB/s hot-swappable drive bay, and
a 5.25" drive bay bracket. The drives have a five-year limited warranty.
Is this the future of hard drives? I think so.
SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 (www.shortcutinc.com)
is an all-round raw converter developed specifically for enthusiasts and professional
photographers. The software offers professional color management, including
ICC profiles alongside functions such as white balance, contrast, sharpness,
saturation, lens correction, image perspective and cropping, output, and printing.
Adobe's extended RGB color space is also supported. The program is compatible
with raw formats from more than 120 cameras and runs on Mac OS and Windows computers
and also works with JPEG and TIFF files from any source. New features in Developer
Studio Version 3.0 include an improved development engine with high graduation
sequencing for smooth highlight recovery and controls for noise and highlight.
The color space settings have changed to include nonlinear processing components
of output gamma and tonal curve levels. You can download a free trial version
of SILKYPIX and give it a try.
© 2007, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved
The Return Of The Jedi
As Adobe (www.adobe.com)
Photoshop has grown into the digital imaging equivalent of Jabba the Hutt, Photoshop
Elements has quietly been mastering the power of The Force and has turned into
the best image-enhancement software available for the money. For less than $100
you get access to many of the most usable tools found in Photoshop, including
compatible plug-ins. While the Windows version of Photoshop Elements 6 has been
available for sometime, the Mac OS version is now available for those who think
that Apple's iPhoto is nice but just want to do more.
Photoshop Elements 6 has a very Lightroom interface with clean, uncluttered
screens and tabs providing access to the program's capabilities. Enhancements
include an improved Conversion tool that converts color images into nuanced
black and whites. Elements 6 includes new features based on Adobe's proprietary
Photomerge technology that let you combine the best facial expressions and body
language from a series of shots to create a single, perfect group shot.
The new Quick Selection tool reduces a time-consuming select-and-adjust task
to a single click. The three Edit modes are geared toward users with different
experience levels. A Guided Edit mode even walks you through the steps of improving
a photo. Elements 6 offers customizable layouts, allowing you to produce scrapbook
pages, photo books, greeting cards, and burn to CD/DVD. Sharing options include
ordering prints, creating personal online albums for sharing photo creations
on the web, printing photos into real US postage stamps, and showcasing on a
CEIVA (www.ceiva.com) digital
photo frame. Adobe's Photoshop Elements 6 runs on Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5),
as well as previous versions of Mac OS X starting with 10.4.8.
© 2006, Mary Farace, All Rights Reserved