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Archive for the ‘Digital Photography Tutorials’ Category

Photoshop World Orlando

April 7th, 2008 No comments

I’ve just returned from a Photoshop World Conference(PSW) in Orlando, Florida. The conference four days of fast-paced Photoshop training. NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) produces two excellent conferences every year; one on the West Coast and one on the East Coast. For those readers who have never attended PSW, I’ll recap my trip to give you an idea of what it’s like. Read more…

How to Back Up Your Personal Computer

February 12th, 2008 No comments

ImageIngesterPro Workflow Diagram

Marc Rochkind has posted a wonderful article titled How to Back Up Your Personal Computer. I feel this is a must read for everyone who uses a computer. I’ve heard way too many stories of people losing all of their data for one reason or another. Very few users have bullet proof backup strategies, because it is more complex than most users know.

Marc is also the developer behind three very useful programs for managing image files: ImageIngester, Image Verifier, ImageReporter and SpanBurner. I’m using ImageIngester Pro and ImageVerifier, which together will cost you only $40. ImageIngester is saving us a ton of time processing files and Image Verifier is finding corruption in some of my early image files.
Marc is also very active on The DAM Forum which is Peter Krogh’s very educational Digital Asset Management forum.

It’s a shame to make a wonderful digital image and lose it. The pictures that I’ve missed or lost for one reason or another haunt me, so I have a healthy fear for the safety of every image I make. They say, “there are two kind of computer users, those who have lost data and those who WILL loose data.” At this point it’s probably more like those who have lost data and those who will loose data again, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Please post some comments on interesting ways you’ve lost data: Our most recent loss of data was from opening tiff files using Adobe Camera Raw(ACR) then saving them after adjustments. ACR opened these 17Megapixel files in 2.8Megapixel size, then we saved over the large files. We had to start over from the RAW files; two days of work down the drain.

Noise Averaging

February 1st, 2008 6 comments

There are several very effective methods for reducing and even eliminating digital sensor noise. I’ve been testing and utilizing these methods with some astonishing results. The image quality I’m producing at 3200 ISO is equivalent to, if not better than 100 ISO.

The techniques I’m using do require multiple images that align precisely. This usually means a tripod and static subject are required; however I do sometimes shoot hand-held “bursts” of images. Photoshop CS3 has excellent aligning technology that comes into play here, as these images must be aligned precisely. When shooting aligned image sets; use manual focus and a fixed aperture. Even slight changes degraded image alignment.

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Spherical Quicktime VR

January 19th, 2008 No comments

I’ve helped several photographers get started making Quicktime VR panos. The learning curve is steep, but it’s really not that complicated. This 10 minute movie on creating a spherical Quicktime VR is a great place to start. Photoshop CS3 has very sophisticated stitching, aligning, and blending tools, which makes it very easy to create panos. The movie shows the use of a nodal point tripod and Panotools (PTGui for Windows or PTMac) . This is the classic way of creating a pano and important lessons can be learned, however nodal point tripods and specialized stitching software are no longer necessary for simple panos. Photoshop CS3 has PhotoMerge, Auto-Align Layers, and Auto-Blend Layers. These Photoshop tools do an amazing job of stitching and blending images that do not precisely match. Enjoy the movie and feel free to post some VR links and comments.

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January 2nd, 2008 2 comments

An important part of photography technology these days is the media on which you store and access your images. Although some photographers are diehard DVD burners, I primarily archive my images on hard drives. I only use DVD’s for delivery; everything else is on hard drives in triplicate. I do get a lot of questions about hard drives, so I’ll answer them in this thorough post on hard drive technologies.

Solid-State drives are definitely the future. On a Solid-State drive Flash memory is used instead of, or in addition to a spinning disc. There are some hybrid 2.5” notebook drives coming on the market that have built-in flash memory. There are also notebooks being developed that run off of flash memory instead of a spinning hard drive. Vista has a feature called Ready Drive that allows the use of flash memory to speed up the system. The windows OS caches lots of data on the flash memory and accesses it from there instead of from a slower spinning drive. This also saves some battery life. I’m testing an Express 54 Card reader with a compact flash card set up with Ready Drive on my M-Tech laptop.

Hard drive technology seems to be out pacing file size. Moore’s Law so far appears to still be in effect for drives, but not file size. I don’t fill up a new drive as fast as I used to. I’m more likely to be replacing them for faster drives before they fill up.

Drive speed hasn’t dramatically increased in the way other components have. An old IDE ATA 100 drive from 1995 isn’t really that much slower than today’s top drives and a 1995 SCSI drive isn’t that much slower than today’s top Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives. There have been plenty of great improvements but amazingly speed just hasn’t been that huge. It may not be physically feasible to have rpm speeds faster than 15k and still be reliable enough to work for at least 3-4 years. This is where solid state flash drives may have an advantage in the future.

Storage space doesn’t cost what it used to, so we need to change the way we think about purchasing it. Traditionally it was wise to only purchase as much space as you needed for a short time. I don’t see it that way when it’s only $0.20 per gigabyte. It’s best to buy more than enough space to last 3-4 years. The time it takes to migrate your data to a bigger drive is more valuable than the cost of the drive as this can be time consuming and stressful. You do want to replace those drives after 4-5 years of use because they wear out over time.

Read more…

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