Digital Innovations

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Sep 19, 2014 0 comments
Like most photographers I occasionally become equipment obsessed, but sometimes even the smallest tool, something as simple and useful as a new LensPen, can make creating new images a little easier. I’ve often said that the most important piece of equipment is the one between a photographer’s ears, but creating images also requires tools. Choosing the right tool or accessory may not make the difference between a good photograph and a bad one, but may make the difference in whether or not you even try to capture it.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Aug 26, 2014 0 comments
The most important tip I would like to share about travel photography is never buy a new camera or lens before traveling to Bhutan or even Carhenge. The next most essential travel photography secret is that using your equipment has to be instinctive; when a photo op presents itself you may only have a few seconds to get a shot. There’s no time to think about what menu to use or how to turn on continuous AF, or what exposure mode you’re in. Using your camera has to be instinctive; you should see—or even anticipate—then click the shutter. It’ll make travel more fun, too.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Jul 11, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
I received similar advice from my own father on my 17th birthday that ultimately put me on the path to a career—not a job—in photography. The photograph here was made by my friend Danny when we climbed the 897 stairs inside the Washington Monument. Inside the classy vinyl camera bag slung over my shoulder is a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye that my parents gave me for a birthday present. I modified the camera to accept close-up and yellow filters that an uncle gave me as a gift. Even then I was interested in enhancing images, and I had no idea what that might hold, but I was fascinated by computers (and robots) back then as well.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: May 09, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
Aside from how to pronounce my name, the main question readers ask is about the workflow I use to process image files. I find it’s convenient to work with two desktop computers, often at the same time, with a laptop computer used on the road and for testing new software. A Mac Pro handles my daily work with an iMac tasked for e-mail and research but also as a live backup when problems occur with computer number one. The iMac also runs Microsoft Windows 7 using Apple’s Boot Camp. Since my laptop is used for experimentation, and that’s where you’ll find the latest OS and imaging software, I don’t store anything critical on it.
Joe Farace Posted: Apr 07, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 1 comments
New & Updated Photoshop Actions
Remember the ASCII-art dot-matrix photos that were popular in the 1980s? PanosFX’s free ASCII-art action recreates the effect by producing images pieced together from ASCII characters. The set contains five actions that let you produce not only the classic ASCII-art effect but four modern variations as well, including Gray, Color, Color tiles, and Color tubes. The free Paperworks actions were created by Pit Hermann and let you make papercraft projects. His Pencil Stand actions let you produce (surprise) pencil stands with your photos printed on them. There’s also a set of Advent Calendar actions and Panos Efstathiadis has bundled his Paper Cube actions that let you make paper cubes with images printed on them. Mac OS and Windows versions work with Photoshop CS4 and later as well as Photoshop Elements 11 or later.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Mar 17, 2014 0 comments
Many people think they need to travel far from home to make photographs when, chances are, if they took the time to look around they would discover that photo ops are right around the corner. That’s where self-assignments come in: for the past 30 years mine has been making images that I can walk to from my front door—like the tiny flower in my front yard I captured this afternoon. It wasn’t made for any commercial purpose and is just a way for me to appreciate and document the small things of daily life that many people take for granted. It’s personal projects like this that help us all stretch our talent, skill, and imagination. You can think of it is as a form of digital meditation.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Feb 11, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 1 comments
Not too long ago there was an online discussion about what inspires people to create new images. For me, new things are what inspire me. It can be a new lens, a new accessory, or maybe just a new place to make photographs. Here are some new tools for your inspiration along with a few ways to make old things reinspire you.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Jan 28, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 2013 0 comments
Instead of visions of sugarplums, it’s visions of gadgets, gizmos, and software dancing through digital photographers’ heads during the holiday time. Presented for your approval is a group of fun, clever, and affordable tools that will put a smile on your face when opening holiday gifts and make imaging in 2014 more exciting.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Dec 04, 2013 Published: Oct 01, 2013 0 comments
On October 2, 1950, the first Peanuts comic strip appeared in a daily newspaper. As a lifelong Peanuts fan and Snoopy collector it’s fitting that this month’s column is my 2100th published magazine article and I’d like to thank the best editorial team I’ve ever worked with—Shutterbug’s Editorial Director George Schaub and Managing Editor Andrea Keister—without whom none of this would be possible. I would also like to thank all of those readers who have hung in there with me for all these years. You are the reason I do this.
Joe Farace Posted: Oct 04, 2013 Published: Sep 01, 2013 3 comments
As I write this controversy is swirling over Adobe Systems abandoning Creative Suite to focus on Creative Cloud. Even if this is solved by the time you read this, there will come a time when you’ll have to face a decision about whether or not to upgrade your software. There are two different schools of thought on software upgrades: one approach suggests that if a program is working, why spend money to upgrade? The reason behind this philosophy is that sometimes upgrades create more problems than they solve. A second viewpoint is to always upgrade to the latest version—no matter what. The thinking is that since change is inevitable that you should upgrade to the newer version to minimize or eliminate future problems. How Adobe has handled Camera Raw over the past few Photoshop upgrades is a testament to that theory. Over the years I’ve changed from an upgrade-regardless person to a more cautious approach. I may prefer to have the latest version of everything being used on a daily basis but now will wait weeks (months, years?) all the while listening to the drumbeat of grumbles from early adopters. That’s why I’m waiting to see what happens with Adobe’s new policy.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Sep 03, 2013 Published: Aug 01, 2013 1 comments
Alien Skin Software’s Exposure 5 is powerful monochrome conversion software that lets you produce accurate film simulations while adding a range of creative effects. Wrapped up in a redesigned and easy-to-use interface, Exposure 5 can also be launched as a stand-alone application, which can be useful in a workflow that doesn’t support plug-ins. This latest version includes controls for emulating color or black and white so you don’t have to switch between modes or, as in previous versions, separate plug-ins. It’s all one happy family.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Aug 09, 2013 Published: Jul 01, 2013 37 comments
All You really need to take a picture is a camera and a lens, but if you decide what you really want to do is make a photograph, a few extra tools come in handy. Any one of the imaging tools in this month’s column will make creating a photograph or making a portrait easier and, in some cases, better than they would be otherwise. For the pro or aspiring professional anything that increases productivity by streamlining workflow while improving the quality of the product delivered to the client translates into making money too, not just photographs.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Aug 02, 2013 Published: Jun 01, 2013 0 comments
“Where ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1.5 tons.”—Popular Mechanics, March 1949

The above quotation makes you wonder about the nature of predictions because a common fallacy is in believing that technology is always going to move in a straight line and not branch out to form a paradigm shift. Or sometimes people, as in the quoted magazine, just didn’t know what was going on in the rest of the world. Bell Labs’ John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for research on semiconductors and discovery of the transistor effect in 1947. Yet even today vacuum tubes are not dead and there is a booming if small market in analog audio components. And in our neck of the woods, witness Harman’s announcement of building a factory to make 35mm film cassettes. It might just be too soon to start chiseling film’s tombstone—or not.

Joe Farace Posted: Jun 25, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 1 comments
While it may not be nice to fool Mother Nature, photographers have been doing just that since Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths photographed the “Cottingley Fairies” in 1917, but a lot has changed since then and we’re now more skeptical of images that appear “shopped.” (Portrait photographers engaged in retouching even before Mathew Brady opened his New York studio in 1844.) To me, part of the fun of photography is enhancing reality, creating images that could be true or might be true in a parallel Fringe-like universe. That’s one of the reasons I like shooting digital infrared images because photography, for me, is all about having fun and if you happen to play a harmless—emphasis on harmless—photographic April Fool’s prank on someone, let’s hope it’s accepted in the spirit of the day.
Filed under
Joe Farace Posted: Apr 05, 2013 Published: Mar 01, 2013 0 comments
While some people believe the proverb below is really a curse, what’s often overlooked is that it’s part of three such phrases that includes “May you come to the attention of those in authority” and concludes with “May you find what you are looking for.” There is no doubt that we’re living in interesting times, photographically speaking. The paradigm shift that replaced film with silicon continues while spiraling off in different directions with SLRs delivering more megapixels and image quality than the Honda Accord-priced medium format digital backs of a few years ago and small chip interchangeable-lens mirrorless cameras that are more powerful than early digital SLRs. As the point-and-shoot market implodes, being replaced by ever-more competent smartphones, the paradigm shift doesn’t show any signs of abating, but as I’ve said here before, it’s not the tool that makes the image, it’s the photographer.

Pages

X
Enter your Shutterbug username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading