Thursday, July 31, 2008

Adobe Lightroom 2.0

It has arrived! Finally! I've been holding off purchasing Lightroom until 2.0 was released. Now, I can finally buy this great piece of software that I've been hearing so much about and try it out! One of the great bonuses about it is that it has an automatic gallery publisher that you can publish to websites with. Now, I can finally push away all of that html code and just use Lightroom. Of course, it has many fantastic things it can do besides this too. You can read more about it on Adobe's website.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Photo Session

It's been a few weeks since I've taken photos of someone other than my husband and dog, and I thought I'd share a few from the session. Thanks guys for your patience!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

f2.8 and beyond

Did I mention that I received my new lens? My dear hubby agreed to let me buy my dream lens, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. Look like a bunch of mumbo jumbo to you? Well, it looks like, and shoots like, sweetness to me! I had to rush out and try it on my four-legged son as soon as it arrived. Love it, love it!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bellies and Babies

What a great seminar! I came away totally inspired and in awe of the wonders of the camera. Sam Puc (pronounced "push") is not only an amazing photographer, but she is also an amazing person. She's the foster parent of 4 (or maybe it was 6) kids and also has 4 kids of her own. AND, she travels around the US for the Bellies and Babies tour to help aspiring photographers like me. The biggest thing that I walked away with was the simplicity of what five variations of five poses could equal after 20 minutes of shooting an infant and parent. And, I loved her lighting set up. Simple and straight-forward yet high impact!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I found a link to this ultra-cool website on MCP Action's blog the other day. Does it bring back memories from the old days? It sure does for me. I loved to sketch on my etch-a-sketch. Click here to start your own artwork.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Photoshop Friday Fun

Do you receive Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Friday newsletter in your inbox each Friday? You don't?!?! Shame on you! You MUST sign up now! It's my favorite email each week. She's a brilliant graphic designer, scrapbooker, all things artsy!

This weeks post was on fonts and included a posting of Jessica's favorite fonts - 27 total. And the best part, 24 of these are free! She includes a sample pic of each font AND a link to where you can download each. So what are you waiting for, go download some great fonts (click here)!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Digital Preservation

I'm sure many of you own a scanner of some sort, but this post is for those of you who do not. I read about this service in Southern Living. Shoe Box Reprints (click here) will scan up to 1,000 photos for you for $49.95. The photos will be converted to JPEG format (on a CD-ROM or DVD), and your original prints are returned to you.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Playing with Light

The Fourth of July is an excellent time to practice those creative exposures. We drove up to a field near where they were having the fireworks display on Friday evening, set up the tripod, and took the following photos. For the fireworks, I used my remote to trigger the shutter, used my 50mm prime lens (sharper of my two lenses), set the ISO to 200, set the aperture to around f/11.0, and set the shutter speed to between 2 seconds and 4 seconds (varied it as I reviewed the photos). The key to these is the tripod and the remote (hands-free means vibration free which means blur free).

After the fireworks, we set up the tripod in the backyard and practiced "writing with light". This involves a tripod, a remote shutter release, and light producing medium. We chose the sparklers we had leftover from the last Fourth of July (red, green, and blue). With the same settings as above (50mm prime lens, ISO to 200, aperture to f/11.0), I then set the shutter speed to Bulb so I could control the exposure and thus the light artwork. You open the shutter right before the artist begins "drawing" and then release (close) the shutter as soon as they finish. We experimented writing fast versus slow to get more "sparks" and brighter areas in the final picture. Enjoy some of artwork!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Printing Houses

MCP Action's post the other day was regarding color management. This is a topic that I have just started reading up on as of two days ago. The land of calibration hardware for your monitor, color space settings, ICC profiles ... it's enough to make your head spin (and wallet empty). This post featured Color Inc Pro Labs and even offered a 50% off your first order discount code. Head on over and check out MCP's blog to get the discount code.

As for the first issue - monitor calibration - there are many devices available for calibrating your monitor to ensure that the colors you see (and pictures you edit) print the way YOU expect them too. The Eye-one display 2 (X-Rite), recommended by WHCC which retails for $249, or Spyder 2 (ColorVision) which has three options or price levels are two frequently recommended products.

The second issue is regarding the color space that you work in Photoshop when editing and saving the photos. Each printing house recommends sRGB from what I've seen (select IEC61966-2.1 in photoshop). Just make sure you check the box to save the color space imbedded in the image for the print house to determine your color space. WHCC suggests
set your target Whitepoint and Gamma curve to 6500k and Gamma 2.2. These, however, are only recommendations, you may find that your viewing environment has warmer lights, in which case you could experiment with a Whitepoint of 5000k.

The last issue is regarding ICC profiles. I really don't know anything about these and still researching this topic at the moment. For all of you graphic designers pro photogs out there, feel free to clue me in!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bellies and Babies

I'm really excited about the upcoming bellies & babies seminar offered by the awesome photographer Sandy Puc. It is being held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville on Wednesday, July 23rd. The trade show is open from 4pm until 5pm with the actual seminar from 5pm till 10:30pm.

I was introduced to Sandy's work at Ed Pierce's Captivated by the Light seminar that I attended in Nashville back in May. She specializes in babies and maternity and does a phenomenal job! She's the owner of Expressions by Sandy Puc in Littleton, Colorado, and hosts this seminar nationwide. Check out her website and some of her awesome work. Another amazing attribute of this photographer is her charitable work. She founded the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep foundation for terminal babies. It's a network of professional photographers who donate their time (any time of the day/night) to travel to a hospital to provide a free photo session for the family and the infant before it passes away (termed Infant Bereavement Photography). The prints are provided free to the families. I wish I had known about this several months ago as a fellow co-worker was unfortunately in this position.

I'm so excited to only be 1 1/2 hours from one of its locations.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I ran across this artist on a friend's website and had to google him. It's a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo Ole. He's a Hawaiian musician who became famously known outside of Hawaii with the release of this song in 1993 on his album "Facing Future". Israel is nicknamed "The Little Giant". What's even more beautiful about this song is that it's just his singing with the ukulele. Check out this video I found on YouTube.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Print to Print

Based upon the post from yesterday, I have been conducting my own print-to-print comparison of the most well known print houses. I've been told bad things about the local drug store printers and Wal-Mart printers. Being the engineer that I am, I've decided to conduct my own photograph analysis.


It's an ongoing process, but I now have 8x10 prints from three print houses for side-by-side comparisons. The same .jpg was provided (no imbedded ICC profiles at this time) to each print house for printing. I've included variables such as paper type, finish type, my quality rating from color saturation, and pricing (including any min buy plus shipping). The results are as follows:

WHCC Kodak Endura Paper Matte highest quality $2.10 ($12min but free shipping)

Shutterfly Fuji Film Paper Glossy lowest quality $3.99 + shipping

*print was bent when arrived in the mail

Wolf Camera Fuji Film Paper Matte high quality $4.99 (in-store pickup)

Mpix Kodak Endura Paper Matte not yet rated