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  • Monthly Archives November 2008

    Today in the U.S. we celebrate one of our most popular holidays; "Thanksgiving," which is a day for giving thanks for the blessings in our lives. This is a day we usually spend at home surrounded by family, and we enjoy two key Thanksgiving day traditions: a huge Thanksgiving day turkey dinner (an example of which is shown above), and lots of American football on TV (there are three NFL games today!). Thanksgiving also signals the beginning of the Holiday season here (with tomorrow, the day after Thanksgiving, being the #1 shopping day of the year). I truly lead a charmed life, and I have so many blessings and so much to be thankful for, but today I want to focus my thanks around this blog, which has become a part of my daily life. I am so grateful to everyone here on the…

    [ From the Editor: “A lot of folks are really serious about printing, and a lot of those people use Epson printers, (myself included), which is why Epson puts on this big tour every year called the Epson Print Academy, where a group of instructors teach people how to get better prints. Andrew, Jeff, Greg, Mac and JP are together out on the road right now and we thought it might be kinda cool for each instructor to give you their take on what their job is on the tour, and what they’re going to teach, so that way if it comes near you, you can check them out. So here, in their own words, is what the tour is all about. I listed their upcoming cities at the end of this, my first-ever group blog post]. -Scott

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    Andrew Rodney
    I do warm-up for the band, starting the morning with 30 minutes of non-lethal color management fundamentals. Its lays a foundation for much of what we’ll present the rest of the day using Photoshop, soft proofing and printing. My goal is to get people comfortable with color spaces, working spaces, the gamut possibilities of our capture and output devices. Since we cover Lightroom and Camera Raw, its important for the audience to understand the implications of what color space they select from the beginning of the capture process. I tried to keep it fun and math free; there’s a really cool optical illusion in the presentation.

    I also do a session on printing using Photoshop and the Epson drivers in OS X and Windows. The various paper settings and profile names are decoded in this presentation. We dismiss the old ideas about resolution and printing. Printing should be easier, and here are a few pitfalls to look out which I discuss. Throughout the rest of the Print Academy, there’s a 7900 printer being used to output some amazing photography. The audience gets to see the processes presented from start to finish.

    Our group has so many talented photographers who discuss the aesthetics and the art of photography and fine art print making. I speak from the opposite, left side of the brain hemisphere,the geek end of the imaging process. Its a great mix of talents and personalities on stage that make this such a fun, educational and well rounded event.

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    Jeff Schewe
    As long as I’ve been in photography (which seems like a really, really long time now) my main purpose as a photographer is to produce a final print. While I was a commercial/advertising photographer, the “print” was the final halftone reproduction, but now it’s the final inkjet print. However, the task of producing a technically excellent print really comes down to having a technically excellent capture that has been optimized for printing.

    As a user of both Lightroom and Camera Raw/Photoshop/Bridge, (I’m coauthor of Real World Camera Raw these days) I’m often at a quandary about what tools to use when and for what purpose. From the standpoint of dealing with mass amounts of raw captures, I find Lightroom to be uniquely suited for that task. The power of the parametric editing in Lightroom allows me to do the vast majority of the image adjustments right in Lightroom. Lightroom also has a optimal print output capability (and even has output sharpening based on PixelGenius’ and Bruce Fraser’s output sharpening from PhotoKit Sharpener). But, for substantial image retouching, compositing or low level pixel editing, the image will still need to be round-tripped into Photoshop. Photoshop also has another function that Lightroom is currently missing and that’s Soft Proofing.

    To truly optimize and image prior to printing, you really must soft proof it using the output profile of the printer paper combination you’ll be printing to. But merely soft proofing for color is not enough. You must also soft proof for the final dynamic range of the print and that means using the “make your image look like crap” button in Photoshop. This is the Display Options (On-Screen) for simulating paper color and black ink inside the Customize Proof Condition dialog in Photoshop. By using both the color profile and the Display Option, you get a really accurate prediction of the look, color and dynamic range of your final print.

    I realize many people don’t like (or don’t understand) Photoshop’s soft proofing, but it’s a valuable tool when you know how to use it to save both time and money (ink and paper in particular) and to optimize your image prior to the final print. Clearly, not everything can be soft proofed to a really high degree of accuracy (things like image detail and sharpening come to mind as well as paper texture) but from the standpoint of tone and color, Photoshop is really pretty darn good.

    I also take the opportunity while in Photoshop to do any and all retouching (beyond spot healing) that needs to be done at a pixel editing level. Once I get the image tweaked and ready for printing, I save the image and Lightroom will automatically add the edited image to the catalog. From there I take advantage of Lightroom’s considerable improvements in making and using print templates for error free printing. Lightroom and Photoshop should both be equal in terms of print quality, it’s in the printing workflow where Lightroom really outshines Photoshop.

    That’s pretty much my role at the Epson Print Academy, teaching people how to optimize images for printing–particularly on these new UltraChrome HDR printers like he 7900 that travels with us to each city. At this stage in my career, the thought of going back down into my darkroom with stinky chemicals and long hours rocking trays just isn’t very attractive. The fine art print output I can get these days from the 7900 far exceeds the technical aspects and quality of the traditional darkroom by such a margin, I’ll never have to face tray rocking again.

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    Greg Gorman
    My session happens just before lunch and just before your brain feels as if it is going to explode from the generous technical information shared by my colleagues. Being a photographer first and foremost and certainly long before the age of digital, I spend half of

    ...not just one single person, but a collection of photographers, artists, and instructors who will present my first special guest "Group Blog." But this just isn't any group of guest bloggers; I'm honored to be able to host: John Paul Caponigro Greg Gorman Mac Holbert Andrew Rodney Jeff Schewe I honestly can't wait to see what they have in store, and I hope you'll join me here tomorrow to see what they have planned for the first-ever "Group Special Guest Blog!" This is too cool! :)

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    As promised, here’s a breakdown of a new Lightroom 2 workflow I tried out during my vacation trip to Turkey, Greece, and Egypt.

    When I’m on vacation, I take two types of shots:

    1. Regular travel photos, where we’re posed in front of a monument, and I shoot the quaint restaurant we ate at, and all the standard tourist stuff that chronicles your vacation, and would make a great travel slideshow to show friends back home.
    2. Shots that just appeal to me as a photographer, which don’t always show a place like most people would expect. For example, I could shoot for a week in Paris and not have a single shot of the Eiffel tower; an act which would make most wives bludgeon their husbands upon return from their trip.

    I always make a printed photo book of each trip when I return (once you start making printed photo books—you’ll always want one for each trip), but since I knew I would be shooting a lot of arty travel shots as well (my wife’s term) travel shots, I wanted to make a second book of just that stuff (which is the layout you saw here on the blog last week). So, I’m making two different books, which is what got me wanting to try a slightly different workflow.

    DISCLAIMER: Just so you know; I tried out something new here, so there will be things in this workflow that are very different from my standard workflow which is detailed in my Lightroom 2 book. You know that up front, so you’re not allowed to post any comments that include the phrase, “…but in your book you said to…..”

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    Step One: Creating a New Catalog
    I figured I’d start fresh by creating a new empty Lightroom catalog on my laptop, especially since I was going merge this catalog with my main Lightroom catalog (on my main photo workstation) when I got home. So, in Lightroom I went under the File menu and choose New Catalog. I named it “Turkey Greece Egypt” and up came a completely empty new Lightroom window.

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    Step Two: Creating My Initial Collection Sets
    I knew which cities and countries I’d be visiting, so I created a Collection Set (kind of like a folder of collections) right up front for each city and country (you create Collection Sets by clicking on the little plus (+) sign at the top right corner of the Collections panel, then choose Collection Set from the pop-up menu).

    Step Three: Importing and Sorting
    At the end of each day, I would come back to the room and download my photos onto Two OWC On-The-Go drives (they’re 160GB each). One set goes on a drive named “Main Drive” and I have Lightroom automatically back-up a 2nd set to a drive named “Back-up Drive.” So, our first stop was Istanbul, so I imported the first days photos, and quickly went through and flagged any photos as “Rejects” that were just too awful to store on the drive.

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    Then, I quickly went through and made collections sorted by where the photos were taken that day (as seen above). This step isn’t entirely necessary, but I just like to be able to click and jump right to particular set of photos from an area, so I usually organize my days like this.

    Now, my wife and I sat down in front of Lightroom; I double-clicked on the first photo to

    I mentioned on Friday I had a shoot this weekend, and this was it----one of the most famous college football rivalries; The Ohio State Buckeyes vs. the Michigan Wolverines. I flew up to Columbus, Ohio on Friday night (with my brother Jeff who came along to hang with me), and when we woke up Saturday morning (game day) it was 17° (-8°C) Brrrrrrr! Luckily by game time it was up to a toasty 32° (0°C), but I was dressed really warm and the cold wasn't a factor----in fact---it was a blast!!!! It was the most crowded sideline I've ever shot on, and I had to jockey for position all day long, which made it one of the most challenging football shoots. I shot with two bodies; my Nikon D3 was my main rig, with my Nikon 200-400mm f/4 lens (mounted on a Gitzo carbon…

    Howdy folks; here's what's up as we head into the weekend: I had some questions yesterday about the font I used as the header for my shots from my trip (where I wrote, "Istanbul, Greece, and Cairo" and it's shown again above). The font is P22 Cezanne Regular, by the font developer P22 (here's the link to it on MyFonts.com). On the heels of releasing my 3rd annual 2008 Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide, the blog "Camera 47" put together a terrific gift guide of their own of "20 Photography Gifts under $100" and I gotta tell ya---there's some really great stuff on their list (and lots of ideal stocking stuffers). Here's the link (definitely worth checking out). Jeff Revell (from PhotoWalkPro.com) did a nice piece recently called "The No Memory Card Gotcha," and he used photos of both Canon and Nikon cameras in the…

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