Archive for May, 2009

A good online video tutorial by Martin Evening on tweaking black and white conversions in Lightroom. I really liked his book on Photoshop and he’s got a newer one out for Lightroom 2.

Video is Here on LightroomNews site.

Further tweaks to your grayscale conversion are always possible with your Grayscale Mixer, but additional adjustments can be done using the Camera Calibration panel. Great examples of how this can work in the online video. There are a lot of presets online but knowing how to tweak or create your own is even better.


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Style, panache, color! I never thought that Pantone chips would find their way onto sneakers.

Pantone has cracked open their vault to allow SeaVees to manufacture and embody 60’s retro sneakers in Pantone match colors. SeaVees is a specialist in casual style footwear from the 1960’s. It’s being touted as the Pantone Collection. Circa 1963.

They even left the pms designation in the product designation. Sheesh, they ditched that when that acronym for women’s troubles dominated colloquialisms too much. I’ll take a pair of the pms 391 green without the cramps, please. Limited run production.

Have a look at the palette if you’re designing with retro feel and taste. It’s more than just using fonts that emulate that era. Color should complement.

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In reviewing many of my images from the motorcycle shoot, I had decisions to make. I’m positive that many a photographer goes through the same process. You can’t break the rules if you don’t know what they are. Here are three images that I’ve selected that I’ve tweaked in post processing.

I chuckle when the “straight up” types ask why would you choose to cut off heads?

headless ridersIn this case, I like the rhythm or multiplicity without personae being shown. It’s asymmetrical with the negative space on left forming a triangle that opposes the content balance with the bikers on the upper right triangle. There’s a strong diagonal across the frame.

rule of thirdsThis one does follow the Rule of Thirds and has leading lines in it, but I’ve skewed the tonal range to plug up the blacks quite a bit. It’s an obvious distortion in color for the skin tones as well. If you plan on messing, I feel it should have an obvious flair to it. You’re not covering up a mistake. It doesn’t make a bad image good, but a good image better. You should use a good image to begin the process. Not a sow’s ear to turn into a silk purse. Poorly exposed images fall apart in post processing.

Symmetry centeredOh no! A subject centered right in the middle of the frame. Bad, bad, bad. However, there’s also rhythm in the slight arc of the headlights of the bikes despite me blowing them out with the use of shallow depth of field to isolate the primary subject. There’s also that triangle dynamic (I don’t use the Rule of Thirds, btw) that I favor in most of my compositions. It’s accentuated by a vignette.

There’s good reason to strive to get images technically right and distort later. It’s not just what the photographer saw but how they viewed and presented it to the audience. Less than perfect? Maybe, but that relies on your interpretation.

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There’s nothing like standing in the rain taking photos of moving targets like motorcyclists on a less than stellar weather day. I put the Aqua Tech raincoat on the D700 and stood there to face 1300 motorcycles bearing down on me because there was no rain date set and the Ride must go on. I also shot my D300 with a different lens. A fundraiser for the military and Marine Law Enforcement organizations. The Freedom Ride 2009.

The D700 was up to the task to stop the motion cold. Most of the images were taken at shutter speeds of 1000 and up at ISO 800 on the D700. I used ISO 400 on the D300. There was no sun in sight so flat with little contrast. I was more concerned about timing and making sure that all was in focus and no blur. Nikon’s recent releases of their D300, D3, D700 and D3x all sport the new Multi-CAM 3500DX 51 point autofocus system.


I did shoot in continuous burst mode but rarely fired off the 7 frames per second with the grip on the D700. I used dead on capture and also panned for some shots. The predictive autofocus mode is not present in Nikon’s newer cameras as a mode, it’s actually part of the new autofocus system. This was used for when a subject was moving toward you to predict where the focus point would need to be. Panning laterally is something different.


All I can say is that it works if you use it correctly. If you shoot motion, the higher ISOs for clean shots at the higher shutter speeds and newer autofocus system is a real winning combination.


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Jeffrey Friedl has some incredible plug ins for Lightroom export in batches. I began using a few of them last year. You can post process your images in the Develop Module and do a direct export to:

Zenfolio, SmugMug, Flickr, Picasa Web and Facebook.


This is an incredible time saver if you have the need to batch upload. Instead of an export to disk (on a folder on your hard drive), you upload the images right into Facebook, SmugMug or Flickr. Those are the plug ins that I’ve used. Jeffrey works like crazy to keep them updated. He has recently added a donationware registration (1 cent)  for them, so this is a tacit deal for extending the functionality of Lightroom by a third party developer. I will be giving the newer SmugMug one a whirl next week. If all goes well, he’ll certainly get my donation and of course, it will be more than one cent.

You will need to authenticate your log in to SmugMug, but you can set up a gallery in advance or do it later when you use the plug in to export. You can also choose from an existing gallery that you’ve already created if you are uploading in more than one session.

There’s also a Metadata Wrangler that you’ll see on the link I’ve posted. Selectively strip your metadata upon export. If you have customized your own LR presets or bought them, maybe there is reason to strip this out. There’s also a geocoding plug in that allows you to geoencode your images from within Lightroom.

The plug ins are for Lightroom version 2.0

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My speedlights consume a lot of battery power. I thought that I would show you what I normally do before a shoot. Charge batteries! AA NiMh, CR123, EN-EL4a, EN-EL3e, Quantum Turbo 2X2.

5 Speedlights = 24 batteries for one round. Double that because you should always have a backup set = 48 AA batteries. I have a thirst for Eneloops because they hold their charge for months with very little drain. Alkaline batteries do not recycle as quickly and you can’t recharge them. If you’re using a Nikon SB800, you really should be using the 5th external battery. It can gain you 1.5—2 secs. recycle time between flashes and extend battery use = more shots in the session . The newer Nikon SB900 (4 AA battery load) doesn’t need the 5th battery and has improved the recycle time. It is one of the advantages of newer technology in place.

I buy my batteries from Thomas Distributing. Since I am battery hungry so often, I use an 8 banger to charge them up quicker. This is the latest model from Maha. It’s great because you can also soft (quick) charge batteries or you go with a full charge/conditioning. That probably should be done overnight since it takes hours.

I also have a battery tester. It’s the  ZTS Precision battery tester. It allows you to see how much charge is left in a battery. Great to see when you need a recharge and far more accurate than the $X. Radio Shack tester.

_charging5768My countertop is flooded!

If you’re really feeling geeky, you can stop by Battery University.

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I have a business type photoshoot coming up this Friday. It’s very conservative depictions. The client and I were discussing attire, makeup etc. I had emailed a few suggestions. May as well post here on my blog. Since I am detail oriented, the list could be longer, but I didn’t want to make it overwhelming.

No sleeveless or low cut tops/dresses.
Simple jewelry (large necklaces or earrings can cause unwanted reflections)
No makeup is probably best since we are hiring a makeup artist. She is makeup only, not hair stylist. Bring your own brush to the shoot for touch ups.
Light or clear nail polish. Decals on nails might look fine in person but don’t look so good in photos.
bring two shirts and two ties
Men should polish shoes.
Good grooming is important.
Make sure no missing buttons on clothing and it’s pressed.
Please pay attention to nails. Simple manicure. Sometimes this will show up in the shots if hands are shown.
No busy or large patterns.

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