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March 2006 Archives

March 1, 2006

Painter tips from Karen Sperling

200603bc_sperlingdetail Seeing Stars

A quick way to add a special painterly touch to your photos and paintings with Corel Painter IX is to paint in stars using the F-X category’s Fairy Dust variant. You can just pick a color and paint, but for a more interesting result, add the stars in varying intensities by adjusting the Resaturation and Bleed sliders.

With some color already in the background, I chose the Fairy Dust variant, and I turned Resaturation down and Bleed up in the Property Bar and painted some strokes, creating very subtle stars. Then I raised Resaturation and lowered Bleed slightly and painted again, which brought in the stars with more color. I proceeded to raise Resaturation, lower Bleed and paint until I had varying degrees of stars.

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March 2, 2006

Apple Aperture

The rookie: Can Apple's innovative approach to workflow software overcome its flaws?

By Andrew Rodney

(Editor's note: This is a more extensive version of the review that ran in the March 2006 issue of
Professional Photographer magazine.)

For years, photographers have had excellent software tools for manipulating and retouching their images, yet few products that fully addressed the agonizingly slow process of editing and processing RAW files from a typical photo shoot. With nothing more than a loupe and a light table, the task of editing and sorting thousands of 35mm slides is relatively fast process. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case when editing thousands of RAW digital camera files. Recognizing this, Apple Computer announced, with great fanfare, its first software product designed for professional photographers; Aperture. Apple’s Web site declares, "Designed from the ground up for professional photographers, Aperture provides everything you need for after the shoot, delivering the first all-in-one post-production tool for photographers."

By design, Aperture attempts to wear many hats, showing its greatest promise handling a process that, for lack of a better term has been called “image ingestion.” Ingestion is the process of moving digital images from camera to computer, examining and organizing them (sorting and ranking) with the ultimate goal of producing an edited set of hero photographs. At this point, adding metadata, such as copyright information and keywords would be applied.

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Gitzo’s Mountaineer Reporter Carbon Fiber Tripod

200603bc_gitzotripod Is It Really 6X Better?

By Joe Farace

Any tripod can be a three-legged friend that has the simple job of holding your camera steady. How it accomplishes that task is a matter of personal preference, design, and price. A good tripod has basic requirements: It must be sturdy enough to support your camera yet light enough for you to be willing to take it along and use it! The Gitzo Mountaineer Reporter is part of a new family of Carbon 6X tripods that reduces overall weight by up to 17%.

All Carbon 6X tripods and monopods use a six-crossed multilayer tube that’s 30 percent lighter without sacrificing strength and stability. Part of the weight reduction of Gitzo’s 6X tripod legs comes from making the standard 1.5mm carbon fiber tube thinner. Using a six-layer construction, Gitzo proclaims the tubes now are 1mm thick but are equally as strong and as stable as their 1.5mm three-layer carbon fiber tubes. Mountaineer 6X tripods are constructed using a screw thread and adhesive dual jointing technology called Hybrid Interconnecting System (HIS) for increased ruggedness and durability. In real world use, the Mountaineer Reporter held up as well as, if not better than, metal or other carbon fiber tripods I’ve used, and having to schlep less weight around is a plus.

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Alien Skin Exposure

200603bc_expboxshot_1 Recreate the look of the films you loved

By Wendell Benedetti

Alien Skin Software advertises its latest Photoshop plug-in, Exposure, as bringing the look and feel of film to digital photography. As "the closest thing to film since film," it's supposed to make digital images look like they were shot on film. That impressive claim piqued my curiosity. I had to have a look.

Installation on a Windows XP configured imaging workstation went without a hitch and the 48-page instruction manual more than adequately covered the program's features with colorful illustrations. Everything worked as advertised, but it didn't take long to discover that Exposure offers a lot more than film simulation.

200603bc_expscreen1aExposure actually does three different things. Using pre-configured tools it simulates black-and-white and color film stock as well as an assortment of darkroom/studio effects. It also offers an array of powerful image optimization tools. First and foremost, though, Exposure simulates specific film stocks. That's its primary, unique purpose. Its secondary features are simply a bonus.

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March 3, 2006

Aperture 1.1 Update

Apple has announced an upcoming upgrade to Aperture that the company says will resolve many of the issues revealed in reviews of the first release. Aperture 1.1—the first Universal version of Aperture—offers increased computer and camera compatibility. The upgrade allows photographers to run Aperture on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macintosh computers, including MacBook Pro. Developed in consultation with pro photographers, Aperture 1.1 is scheduled for release in March. Current owners of Aperture 1.0 can upgrade via Software Update. Aperture 1.1 will be available for $499.

Performance and feature enhancements to the new version include improved RAW image quality, RAW fine tuning controls, noise compensation for high ISO or long exposures, a built-in color meter to sample the pixel values anywhere in an image and display them in RGB, LAB, or CMYK, and the Export Versions command will now include a “Fit Within (Inches)” option and allow you to specify a resolution in dots-per-inch.

Visit Apple's Aperture 1.1 Update page for more information.

March 8, 2006

Obituary: Gordon Parks, 93

Photographer, filmmaker, composer and writer Gordon Parks died at his home in Manhattan on March 7.  He was 93.

200603bc_gordonparksParks' work as the first African-American staff photographer for Life magazine brought his photography to the world, but he expressed his vision in many ways, writing novels, poetry, memoirs, music and screenplays.

Among his countless awards and accolades, Professional Photographers of America presented Parks with the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. He is shown here receiving the award from PPA's current President-elect Jack Reznicki. 

"Gordon Parks was always an inspiration to me since high school when I read his autobiography, 'The Learning Tree.' To me it's a must-read for any photography student or any student of our American history and the American experience," said Reznicki.

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March 10, 2006

Lighting Technique: Make the best of a bright day

200603bc_alyson Why one photographer loves the sun

By Steve Bedell, M.Photog.Cr.

For years, photographers have extolled the virtues of taking portraits on overcast days or during the magic time that occurs near the beginning and end of every day. On cloudy days, the contrast range is reduced, allowing you to capture detail throughout the image, from the brightest area to the deepest shadow. Near sunset, you also get a reduced contrast range, with the added benefit of directional lighting, a wonderful bonus. And while I won't argue that the first and last light of the day offers perhaps the best lighting conditions, I can tell you that I actually prefer sunny days to cloudy ones when shooting. Let me 'splain.

Caption (above right): Sun bouncing off a yellow building across the street created my main light for this image, with trees also blocking overhead light. Open sky behind her also creates a little kicker light on her hair.  This is one of my favorite shooting situations. Model: Alyson Perreault

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Documentary photographer Steve Simon captures "The Republicans"

In the summer of 2004, armed with cameras and press credentials, Canadian photojournalist Steve Simon moved in and out of Madison Square Garden, capturing the essence of the 2004 Republican Convention. The arrangement of his images in "The Republicans" (Charta, $35.00) delivers an outstanding visual narrative of iconic opposites and shrewd observations, a recording of an unprecedented moment in American politics, power structure and media predominance.

"I knew this would be both an important political convention and an ironic portrait of the Republican Party against the interesting choice of New York City as its backdrop," said Simon. "With 15,000 accredited media covering 5,000 Republican delegates, I understood how powerful the media's role would be in presenting the convention to Americans and to the world. That's why I elected to focus my cameras not only on the delegates inside and the protesters outside, but on the media participants themselves."

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March 20, 2006

Hahnemuhle FineArt announces FineArt Pearl

200603bc_fineartpearl In response to the growing demand for a superior fiber-based digital fine art media with the look and feel of a traditional darkroom photo paper, the Hahnemuhle Mill has introduced the newest member of its digital FineArt media collection.

As with all Hahnemuhle papers, FineArt Pearl has been developed to the highest standards using only the finest raw materials and manufacturing techniques. FineArt Pearl 285gsm is a triple coated, lignin free, 100% alpha-cellulose paper. The result is a surface that is remarkably similar to a traditional silver gelatin double-weight photo paper. In a side-by side comparison to similar papers from competitors, Hahnemuhle FineArt Pearl proved to be significantly superior in D-Max, white point and surface structure.

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Music in the air

In the March issue of Professional Photographer, we ran an article called "Music in the air" with answers to the questions professional photographers have about making sure they have proper license to use music with their client CDs and DVDs. In the article we mentioned The Slideshow Company, which works with a stable of artists to develop music to accompany slideshows of family portraits, weddings and high school senior portraits. However, we failed to print the Web address for the company. It is http://www.theslideshowcompany.net.

Collaging Workshop April 24-26; Corel Painter Retreat May 9-11

Karen Sperling is pleased to present a Collaging Workshop taught by digital media artist Laurence Gartel, April 24-26. Laurence will cover both the art concepts and Photoshop/Painter tools he uses in his collages as a renowned commissioned illustrator of annual reports, consumer ads and movie posters. These concepts and tools are easily translated into creating unique collaged portraits. Photographers will learn how to think outside the box and to create truly one-of-a-kind masterpiece collaged portraits with images representing a subject's personal hobbies, interests, loved ones, friends, pets, etc.

The Artistry Corel Painter Retreat gives attendees the opportunity to learn to turn photos into paintings and to add painterly details to photos in Corel Painter. Instructor Karen Sperling wrote the original Painter manuals, in addition to several Painter books, and has taught and demostrated Painter since the program's debut 15 years ago. Karen teaches not only the Painter steps, but also the art concepts that photographers and hobbyists need to know to create paintings in Corel Painter.

Continue reading "Collaging Workshop April 24-26; Corel Painter Retreat May 9-11" »

March 21, 2006

Gear: Neal Clipper puts his money into speed and efficiency

In the March issue of Professional Photographer magazine we ran an article entitled "A favor they will keep" about Neal Clipper's techniques for making clients happy with onsite printing. Here is the list of equipment he uses in his workflow.

CAMERA: Nikon D2X digital SLR
PRINTER: Mitsubishi CP9550DW dye-sublimation roll printer. “I use two of these
units, which can produce a 5x7 dye-sub print in about 23 seconds,” says Clipper.
“I route images with bigger groups to one printer and smaller groups to the other,
alternating them to keep things moving.”
COMPUTER: Sony VAIO notebook with a high-speed processor. “The key is the
amount of time it takes to get the picture from the computer to the printer,” says
Clipper. “The faster the processor, the faster you can print and move on. Also, get a
unit with lots of USB ports; if you use two printers, you’ll need extra ports.”
WIRELESS TRANSMITTER: Nikon WT-2. Clipper’s photographers often transmit
the images directly to the computer for printing.
MEMORY CARDS: Lexar CompactFlash Cards with a Lexar CF 32-bit CardBus
adapter. “I recommend using a lot of smaller cards rather than big cards with a ton of
information on each,” says Clipper. “Then you don’t get behind in your processing
waiting for the cards to download.”
SOFTWARE: ACDSee Pro Photo Manager. Clipper’s teams use this brand new app
for image sorting, manipulating, renaming and resizing.
LIGHTS: Portable lighting units powered by Dyna-Lite XL packs, modified by
Westcott Halo soft boxes
BACKGROUND: Backgrounds by David Maheu

About March 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in March 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2006 is the previous archive.

April 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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