Archive for April, 2009

In order to be fair, I’m going to post a link to Nikon’s Capture NX2 lessons since I already posted a link to some Lightroom tutorials. Sibling rivalry—must play fair. If your budget has burst with gear acquisition, choose CaptureNX2.2 with Photoshop or Lightroom with Photoshop. I know it’s a hard decision. I happen to own Photoshop already so I freely admit to being a software pig. I don’t use Photoshop Elements so I can’t reasonably say that might be a solution combination for you.

Nikon’s Capture NX2 lessons Here

If you’re in flux about how Capture NX2 stacks up to Lightroom, I can’t advocate one over the other because I use both and for different reasons in the tool sets and features. The learning curve is steeper with Capture NX2’s interface.

What I can say is that Capture NX2 is not enough for post processing of great complexity. There will be things that you can only do in Photoshop. Major cloning and other moves are best left up to Photoshop. If I plan to move a billboard in an image or make a hip thinner, I’m certainly not going to attempt that in NX2 or Lightroom. However, the color renditions for Nikon shooters are very true without much additional tweaking in conversions of RAW files. Lightroom color profiles don’t quite match up and you’d need to tweak and save as a preset. Nikon View NX that acts like a front end gallery, but it’s a separate application—unlike Lightroom where one application serves both purposes to edit and organize digital assets. If you’re not sure what’s the latest, here’s the

chart for latest Nikon software with accompanying download links

Capture NX2 did get bundled with a lot of Nikon’s camera body releases last year. Curious and confused? You can give it a spin for free. There’s a 60 day trial version.

There’s even a flickr Nikon Capture NX users group. if you’re on flickr.

If you’re not one to learn on your own, there are online classes taught by Jason Odell here

Now you have no excuse to not run out and buy/learn three applications no?


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Who ever expected that English 101 would have impact today? Bloggers have taken to their keyboards and mobile devices in massive numbers. Everyone has something to say. I think the English majors have the edge here. Photographers, designers and artists are blogging too, ya know.

I’ve decided to subscribe to the Dictionary.com Word a Day to brush up on my English. It’s easier than sleeping with my dictionary on the night stand. LOL, I actually used to do this because learning is a lifelong quest—my father was a teacher. I love vocabulary but being in visual businesses for so many years has made me rusty in the authoring department. Dictionary.com is in my Bookmarks toolbar to prevent me from looking like a complete babbling idiot. Literacy is suffering with mobile texting. U and 4 et al, but your blog is more permanent than texting. At least you hope so.

The geek in me loves gadgets so yes, I have an iPod Touch. There’s a new application (March 2009) for Dictionary.com for it! For those of you fluent with your iPhone, you won’t be left out. It’s free.


If redundancy is plaguing you, the Thesaurus.com is also included along with Word of the Day. Maybe you can change your habit of reading the back of the cereal box at breakfast.

Sorry, no dissection of speedlights or images today. Just a tip to improve your blog. Better than just pimping pix in vanity displays despite a picture being worth a thousand words or being mute. Sooner or later, you’ll want to write something. Invidious?

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I was shopping for a friend who wanted to buy Adobe Lightroom since his trial version had run out. I’m not married to my software and also use Capture NX2 as well as Photoshop CS4 for my post processing.

Peachpit Press has an online reference guide. It’s not a tutorial but a good explanation of functions/methodology.


I was also prone to doing some housekeeping in my LR catalog. I changed a folder name in Nikon View NX and when I went back to LR, oops. I couldn’t use the same method. Maybe I should stick to LR for my digital asset management. I think it’s stronger. You should use LR functions within the application to rename and move your images and not in the Finder level (Mac) or you’ll end up with all those question marks when LR goes looking for the images and then you’re stuck with relocating to help LR find them, etc. I am in the process of keywording thousands of images on nine hard drives, but like my folders to contain date and short description of the shoot. I fumbled along when LR was coming out of beta so I have work to do.

Since many Mac users are not used to that “right click” on the mouse like PC users are (one button mouse double clicks are more common in the Mac realm) or maybe you’re using a digital tablet and stylus, it’s not readily apparent that you access some things via the contextual menu drop downs by holding down the Control key to get what you want.

My answer to folder mysteries was here.

I also found the deal on Lightroom software for $222.95 for my friend. It was advertised as a 3 day sale. It may be time delimited, I don’t know if it will be extended so look at the date of this post.


All is well for what is a rainy day here.

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I’ve been doing some macro shooting. This is outside my normal type shooting since I normally take pix of people and not things. It’s been an enjoyable break and a chance to do something different.

I thought I’d mix things up a little by shooting different backgrounds and not plain isolated on white ones. The asparagus image is available as commercial stock on istockphoto.com. It’s free to join. You purchase blocks of credits to make your purchases.

Asparagus Spear

The background is derived from hanging some of those cheap Hawaiian leis in the background. I found them in the Dollar Store for a buck.


The image with the blue background pattern is the result of using a gobo. A gobo is photographic term for a “go between” where you place something between the light source and the subject.

Begonia Buds

What did I use? LOL, a plastic dish mat that normally lines your sink bottom. I stuck it up with clear tape on the window adjacent to the shooting area.

It made a nice pattern when the light passed through it at an angle. I took a few fast snapshots for my blog.

Dish matblue sweep pattern

So, maybe it’s time to get creative with “found” objects around your work area. 🙂

All images were shot with the Tamron SP AF90 Di 1:1 Macro lens. Both speedlights and natural light were used. I’m not a big fan of third party lenses and normally stick to Nikon, but this is one sweet lens for the price. It’s sharp as a tack and well worth the money. There is a rebate on it until April 30, 2009.

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That new Wacom Intuos4 looks quite wicked.

If you can’t afford one at the moment, looks like CreativePro.com is giving one away (medium size) this week in their weekly


April 13—April 26 2009

I believe you need to sign into your CreativePro account or sign on as a new member to enter the contest. CreativePro has all kinds of great articles for both designers and photographers. Perfect if you’re a hybrid or single discipline in one of these two areas.

LOL. I had to log in but needed a new password so I could enter since I had forgotten my password. I’ve been a member for 9 years and 31 weeks. Yikes. 🙂 I’ve got an Intuos3 but the new one would sure be nice. I wear out my tablets. This is my third. I’ve had one since the Apple desktop bus hookin. Of course it’s the USB port now.

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Filter Forge is offering a discount of 30% on their new plug in for Photoshop. Looks like they are crowdsourcing like so many content creators are doing. This is interesting since istockphoto.com began the revolution with microstock years ago. They used crowdsourcing as a business model.

Filter Forge

Their library of user generated content.


You won’t be able to generate over 3000 X 3000 pixels unless you go into the Pro edition $199. Basic Edition with 30% discount is $69.—USD to access the library of other user generated filters. If you want to make your own or modify others, Standard Edition is $139. Free trial version download available.

HDRI Lighting is used to generate high dynamic range images. Whew. 16 bit and 32 bit support. Resolution independent. Looks like low res 72 ppi filters have grown up!

Please read FF Terms of Service regarding usage as well as stock outlets if you plan on profiting from presets or user generated content. Copyright should be respected and understood.

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If you’re an illustrator or use the pen tool in your work electronically, you can make a statement in a tee shirt. There are t-shirts on Cafe Press being offered by Creative Techs with the pen tool proudly displayed. Bold and graphic and well… they make me smile!


These were a result from their free Photoshop webinars offered online (Love the Pen Tool in Photoshop coverage of the Pen Tool). They are winding down their free 10 week webinars on Photoshop. Here are the remaining four classes.

Apr 9: Using Brushes
Apr 16: Retouching
April 23: Color Correction pt1
April 29: Color Correction pt2

Looks like Color Correction is so big that it’s broken into two parts. I wouldn’t count on my camera to know what was right. Correcting color is a must if you’re offering your work for sale to clients. People have expectations of a professional product both in photography and design. What happens in software on the back end is just as important as gear and the other components of image making.

Sign up for the CreativeTechs free webinars


If you missed the earlier ones, $50 buys you all the sessions with a pdf. The real deal.

There’s also a free webinar coming up in May on Adobe InDesign!

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