Operating as a plug-in for Lightroom, Aperture, or as a stand-alone workspace, Perfect Layers from onOne Software distills down and codifies the often-complex task of working in Layers to a fairly simple task, offering various Blend modes, composite shortcuts and tools that might otherwise pose a steep learning curve. You can use numerous source files, including Raw, TIFF, and JPEG formats, and scale and move the various layers as required. In short, Perfect Layers poses an effective tool for those who have wanted to work in Layers out of Aperture and Lightroom and opens up new doors to image creation.
The onOne workspace contains toolbars on the left and modifications and working options on the right, #1. Once you have selected an image or images from an organizer such as the Library in Lightroom, they load as separate Layers in the center screen. You choose the images to be used by selecting them from the Library or Browser, then going to File>Plug-In Extras>Perfect Layers. Here’s the selection process shown in Lightroom 3, #2.
I grew up in a black-and-white photographic world. Sure there was color and plenty of it, but what attracted my eye were the black-and-white pictorials in Life magazine, black-and-white movies like The Third Man and the film noir B-flicks, and the amazing work that came out of the FSA and that of Weston, Evans, and Siskind. When I began photography “seriously” I couldn’t imagine shooting in color, except for the rent-paying jobs, or not being the one who processed and printed my own work.
Backing up images while on the road makes sense; having a backup drive that can take the rigors of the road seems to make even more sense. That’s the idea behind the ioSafe Rugged Portable USB 3.0, available in various configurations, including SSD (Solid State Drive) and HDD (Hard Disk Drive), capacities, and aluminum or titanium covers. Regardless of the enclosure, the unit is dubbed shockproof (drops from 20 feet with the SSD and titanium enclosure with the optional “skin”), waterproof (submersible up to 10 feet for three days in aluminum, or 30 feet in titanium), and dustproof even in sandstorms, and even during ice storms for 24 hours. And, you’re also covered if you happen to drop it into a barrel of oil (up to 12 feet for an hour) or climb above 15,000 feet (aluminum) or 30,000 feet (titanium). To back up their guarantees the company includes a one-year replacement and one-time data recovery guarantee (up to $5000 on the data side).
This story began with the discovery of a few old rolls of C-22 126 format film in a drawer coinciding with some information that came in from the folks at Film Rescue. The idea of finding the formula for and mixing C-22 chemistry was not appealing, and while I could have probably gotten an image using Dektol, inexperience with processing old color films and fear of losing whatever was on the film prompted me to contact the company. I’m glad I did.
First off, the staff of Shutterbug wishes the very best for you and yours during the coming year. We thank you for your continued support, ideas and images, and look forward to another great year in 2012.
The Leica X1 ($1,995) is a fixed focal length, non-interchangeable lens compact with a fast f/2.8 lens and 12.9MP CMOS APS-C sensor. Introduced over a year ago in silver and recently in black, it keeps apace with firmware upgrades, the most recent of which is claimed improvement of JPEG quality and enhanced AF speed in low light.
There comes a point in your photographic life when you might consider making money with your camera. It might be a life’s goal from the start, and you put the time into assisting, attending workshops, and even taking formal lessons or enrolling in a school dedicated to the craft. But more often than not it’s something that occurs to you along the way, something that sticks in the back of your mind as you lay awake at night. You consider it because of your love and dedication to making photographs, and your feeling that making a living with something you love to do would be a good way to go through life. But the question remains—just how do you get started, how do you make the transition or the first step?
On-board image processors have become more powerful and diverse in their functions, and cameras like the Ricoh GR Digital IV ($649) offer more than just point and shoot still and video recording. Indeed, the Ricoh seems designed to appeal to those who would rather have their special effects in hand than take the time to apply them later. But the camera offers more than just tricks, though there are plenty of those, and its portability, ease of use and flexibility might appeal to those who want to go beyond cell phone snapshots and effects. Its fast, fixed focus lens, aperture- and shutter-priority exposure modes and a host of Scene modes that go beyond the norm make it a fascinating study in the state of photography today.
It’s hard to beat the beautiful quality of “natural” light. As I write this I am looking out my studio window at dusk, right when the rays of the setting sun backlight the magnolia leaves swaying in the wind, and there are thousands of facets of illumination that move together as one. Yet, photographers face the fact that light is not always so kind and gentle, and that subjects do not sway in the wind to add grace to the moment, and that there are some times when you have to make the shot when the light is just plain lousy, or the weather, setup, and subject make it an indoors occasion in small rooms lacking any kind of pleasing, or even ambient light worth shooting in.
There’s no question that glossy and satin or pearl-type surfaces give an image more “pop,” but on the other hand you might want to use a matte surface to enhance the look and feel of certain images that rely less on pop than a quieter mood. It could be boiled down to a simple rule of thumb: for rich, high-saturation images you might use a glossy or semigloss; for more subtle colors it might be better to use a matte or satin. In the black-and-white realm it’s more of a toss-up but I think the same general rule applies. For example, for architectural images of adobe or stucco wall buildings I use matte; for glass and steel skyscrapers I choose glossy. Notice that I always modify the recommendations with “might”: if you really get into papers for printing you’ll make your own judgments. But there’s no denying that surface decisions play a role in overall effectiveness of the image.