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Happy Thursday everybody!

First, it’s Thursday, and it’s time for an embarrassing photo or two from my massive archive of embarrassing imagery. I debated about posting this one, not because I apparently had only one single “look” back in the mid-80s (the thrift store sports coat with the sleeves rolled up, a white shirt with a skinny tie, jeans and sneakers), but because it was taken on top of New York City’s World Trade Center. The Trade Center is a very emotional symbol for us Americans (it was even emotional for me when I saw it again), but this photo, taken by my brother Jeff, is also a part of the visual history of my life, and  so I thought I would run it in memory of a wonderful day spent in one of my favorite cities, and as a tribute to 9/11 and to New Yorkers everywhere (my folks were raised in NYC).

If you look at the photo, you’ll notice I’m sporting a very cool ‘film shooters” accessory—a camera strap that holds film canisters, whose contents eventually made their way into my Pentax SLR. You can also see my shopping back with goodies from the NBC Studios tour we took earlier that day.

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This 2nd photo (above) was taken later that same day, also by Jeff, in front of One Liberty Plaza; the headquarters of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (I was working for Merrill at the time as a Financial Consultant). I’ve really got to come up with a new look; it’s been 20-something years and all that’s changed is I don’t roll my sleeves up, I’ve lost the tie and traded my white shirt for a black one.

Before we get to the news: let’s throw up our “rock hands” for Scott Diussa’s kick-butt blog post yesterday. I was going to give him the award for the longest special guest blog post, but instead I’m going to give him the award for the “Longest special guest post that I couldn’t stop reading” award. What an amazing life Scott has led, and the range of what he’s done in the world of photography is inspirational just on its own. Thanks Scott for a really wonderful read, and some classic images (plus, I’m a sucker for the dueling guitars). ;-)  Now, onto the news:

  • RC’s Got Everybody Talking (Arguing) about HDR
    RC Concepcion did an excellent post over at Layers Magazine, called “Why does HDR bring out the best/worst in you as a photographer” and it’s getting more and more people talking about it every day (even though he wrote the post a few weeks ago). As you might expect, people are on both sides of the HDR fence, and it has started some pretty lively debate (and that’s being kind). Here’s the link to join in the fun.
  • Photoshop Curves vs. Levels Use
  • Matt, Dave and I had lunch together today (yes, we do everything together), and we somehow started talking about a topic I discussed here back on March 6th (here’s that link) about The Diminishing use of Curves in Photoshop for color correction (thanks to Camera Raw). I ran a reader poll then asking how your use of Curves has changed, and 60% of you indicated that you either use Curves somewhat less to a lot less and 21% said you don’t use Curves at all (that means 81% either use it less, or not at all).

    None of the three of us were surprised at those results, but what did surprise us was that all three of us are now using Levels more and more when we need a quick contrast tweek. Why Levels and not Curves? We all agreed—it’s just so quick and easy. So, I’m curious; do you find yourself using Levels more today than you did two years ago, or are you using Curves to create contrast instead?

  • Topaz offers NAPP members a 25% discount on any plug-ins
    Larry Becker saw my review of Topaz Adjust last week, and he comes by my desk today to tell me that NAPP members now get a 25% discount on any plug-ins they order from Topaz (not just Adjust). If you’re a NAPP member, click here to get the discount code.
  • McNally’s One-Day Lighting Seminar is going to sell out!
    I just saw the figures today on the sign-ups for Joe McNally’s new one-day location lighting workshop that we’re producing (at Kelby Training), and although it’s more than a month and a half away (July 31st in San Francisco), it’s already outpacing our upcoming Lightroom and Photoshop seminars in New York, Chicago and a half dozen other cities we’re going to. In short; it looks like it’s going to sell out in advance, so if you want to go, I’d go sign up right now (here’s the link).
  • Quote of the week
    “I’m lucky if I get to spend more than 20% of my work-time actually photographing.

    –PAUL BURWELL
    (here’s the link to read the story).
  • Some Thursday Photographic Inspiration
    I ran across the site of photographer Greg Sims, and I have to say; I love this guy’s look. He does have a very HDR-style look that he goes in and out of, so there’s a lot of post in his shots and although not everybody digs that, I think he’s got a nice marriage of great photography and great post production. Got a minute? Check him out right here. I also found architectural photographer Melissa Castro, and she had some images I was really drawn to (I particularly love her intro page shot, but she’s got some other real gems in her portfolio as well). I love her clean graphic style, and if you’ve got a minute, give her stuff a quick look, too.

That’s it for today folks. Have a really great day, and I’ll see ya tomorrow! :)