David B. Brooks Blog

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Aug 28, 2010 0 comments

If the bulk of what is written and read is considered, one would have to think having just the right, even the best, camera and lenses is the secret to making good photographs. But although some of the mail I receive from my Digital Help column does involve shooting hardware, most of it is spread over other issues like printers, scanners, and software, as well as a bit about computers used for photo processing. However, the stumbling block that gets in the way for many trying to find a way to make better photographs are limitations of perceptual experience and understanding.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Jan 26, 2009 1 comments

I was at least subliminally aware of LG Electronics between 2 and 3 year ago when I searched through their LCD Display offerings and decided to purchase one of their Flatron L2000C 20 inch displays. At that time in America LG Electronics was a barely known brand name, but has gotten more cache in the last year or so, but mostly for cell phones and TV’s, and little awareness in the LCD display market for computers. Since I purchased my 20 inch LGE display I have acquired two more different brands and tested and reported on several more, including LaCie and Eizo, both of which are familiar brands only in the niche pro-graphics market.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Jan 03, 2011 4 comments

The holiday season this time provided me with some time to concentrate on personal photographs that have been on my mind, but only as ideas. This year I have not had any article projects pending or new products to investigate, so once in a very long time I am doing my own thing. And that has been digging out old film images and making new scans. The goal is to approach the image in ways that correct for weaknesses and frustrations in what the photo was as a film image. Primarily it is much more than just physically scanning the film, but rethinking the image, applying a different sensitivity to what it is, and hopefully producing something both different and the same, but better than the picture I first saw in the viewfinder, and then as an image on film. The final step in this process is to make a test print to see if my on-screen editing actually results in a print that matches my expectations.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Apr 24, 2009 0 comments

I don’t think my town is all that much different from a lot of places in America today. Not that many years ago there were three locally owned and operated camera stores, and today there are none. The only local selection of camera’s and photo gear is Walmart has to sell. Yet in the current economic situation the pundits and politicians talk about small business as the source of jobs and economic recovery, while I see ever more empty commercial spaces where another locally owned and operated business has disappeared; and the businesses that remain are big-box stores and corporate fast food, drug and office and home supply outlets. Maybe they (McDonalds and Best Buy) are a part of the businesses the media and Congress’ count as being “small”.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Aug 05, 2009 0 comments

As I have written before, my holy grail is an affordable LCD display that supports digital photographic editing and printing. I just recently discovered one that has some essential attributes, and even bought one, and LGE L227WGT. A reader just commented he purchased a display he is pleased with that was quite affordable, an AOC Verfino 22 inch with LED backlight (http://us.aoc.com/lcd_monitors/v22). But even the added new feature of LED backlight, which has distinct advantages, still leaves the basic problems that can cause “prints too dark”, as well as the added expense costing as much or more than the LCD, a colorimeter and software to calibrate and profile the display.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 11, 2008 0 comments

It has always been my nature to find what works for me regardless of whether most everyone else is doing something different. Since 1975 I have purchased and driven Saab cars almost exclusively, and still drive a Saab. When I was a freelancer in the 60's my colleagues used Nikons and I preferred the Topcon 35mm SLR camera system. And if I were not already very invested in another brand I think I'd probably choose and buy a Sigma digital camera. Not just to be different than the herd, but the technology and thinking Sigma employs I believe has positive image quality performance advantages.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Apr 03, 2010 0 comments

Today was the first one that the Apple iPad was delivered to customers. That was interesting considering there were long lines at every Apple store of people who had pre-ordered an iPad. They could just as well stayed home and their new iPad would have been delivered to them. So why stand in-line? There were also reams of commentary in my news gathering this morning, mostly vacant observations of course. But there was one telling insight of the fact unlike computers which are used to work and create stuff, the iPad is designed as a consumer of stuff. My computers are used mostly to do research, process and edit images and write articles and blogs. But I must admit I just bought another iMac, this time to replace my cable box to download entertainment, and that is consumption.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments

From my experience from a lifetime of photography I have learned better than a new lens, or camera, any gadget or gizmo the best resource for getting better pictures and enjoying making photographs is information, understanding the tools I already have and how they work. The only way to get out of a camera all that it can reproduce is to know how it works, the only sure and easy way to control the photographic process to reproduce the images that you imagine and hope for is to understand how the photographic process functions.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 23, 2010 0 comments

I just received one of many statements from photographers that the current digital technology is complex and confusing, so it’s hard to understand. I could assume from that many think digital follows what analog film photography established. But that also assumes that the photographic process was understood as it has been for over a century, but sadly both assumptions are mixed up by many mythical and fantastic ideas and beliefs that have confused many if not most for as long as the 50 some years I’ve been a photographer. And it has not been helped by an industry and technology that now uses terms like resolution, which on film meant how fine the detail was resolved sharply, to its digital meaning that defines the size of an image in pixels.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Mar 30, 2009 0 comments

Yes, I am biased in my perspective on what works best for digital photographers. But what is bias other in my case of having acquired a lot of experience with computers and digital photography doing it every day now for almost a quarter of a century. Some of that experience has been good, some not so and on that basis I have formed some opinions of what might be a better choice among all those that are out there. And, I believe it is because of this very bias due to experience readers look to me for advice, besides the fact what I do and have done for all these years is try out all kinds of new hardware and software to find out how it works and if it is worth having.

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David B. Brooks Posted: Jun 02, 2011 54 comments

First of all, what does a computer do? In our world today the word compute |kəmˈpyoōt| means to make a calculation, especially using a computer: modern circuitry can compute faster than any chess player. So is a photographic image made by a calculation of number values? Yes, to some extent with a digital camera. But graphics, an image on-screen was a side effect of computing, a part of the in and out communication with a computer. It was not what the computer did but how it communicated its answers after the question were typed into a computer with a keyboard. A monitor was just a convenient way to make a computer respond so its output could be read by human eyes.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Jul 12, 2009 1 comments

As happens every so often, I was taken to task for presumably denigrating an individual’s photo activities by my use of the term “snapshot’ in reference to the on-line services that provide inexpensive printing from JPEG files. Although there can be considerable crossover between snapshots and photographs, the pictures serious photo enthusiasts refer to, in my perspective of things, is not a value or status distinction.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 08, 2008 0 comments

On October 14 Apple announced new MacBook notebook models. One of the performance features was for both ends of the model spectrum, new more powerful and robust video processing chips, something that photographers using laptops in the field should welcome. But hidden and overshadowed in these MacBook announcements was an entirely new Apple LCD display that is configured specifically to complement these new MacBooks.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Feb 28, 2010 0 comments

In the last issue of Shutterbug I reported on Adobe Photoshop Elements 8, and this week Adobe is celebrating their 20th anniversary of Photoshop. Usually when I have a product report like Elements 8 in an issue it results in some questions in my e-mail box. This time most were whether Elements 8 has any more 16-bit file support than previous versions. The answer is that Adobe for now considers 16-bit support professional and so the user should have Photoshop CS 4 which does offer that and much more. Are there any other options? Yes, fortunately we still have many competing manufacturers making many products like automobiles, so we are not stuck with one choice of what to drive.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Dec 01, 2008 0 comments

I would guess the casual consumer when confronted with images displayed on computer screens probably assumes there is some color standard involved that regulates what red, blue or yellow should look like that governs the manufacture of these displays. But that is an incorrect assumption as all color reproduction devices are what the industry calls “device independent”. In other words it is a “free market” and a maker of display screens, as well as printers and scanners, in fact any device that reproduces color information, is not held to any standard in terms of the observed color reproduced as the result to the specific RGB computer data sent to or received from the device.

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