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Hi Everybody. It’s Thursday and that spells trouble, as I unveil my most embarrassing photo ever. This was me, just three years ago, tipping the scales at 315 lbs. The shot was taken in Paris where I was accepting an award for being the world’s largest, I mean, best-selling author of computer books that year.

Below is a shot of me now (taken at this past Boston Photoshop World, where I’m posed with my friends Corey Barker, Terry White, and RC Concepcion), after losing over 100 lbs. on a strict diet (I tell people it was a low calorie, low carb, low taste, low fun diet).

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Anyway, it took a long while, but I’ve kept it off for nearly two years now, and I feel dramatically better, and after having my yearly physical this past week, I was in such great health that I told my staff that if I suddenly show up dead, they better start a murder investigation, because it won’t be from natural causes. ;-)

Anyway, the diet thing is on-going and I plan to lose a little more (I’ve actually lost 8 more pounds since the photo above was taken), but I’m glad my “Jabba The Hutt” stage is behind me, and now it’s time for some news:

Thanks to Jon-Paul Douglas
Just a quick word of thanks to Jon-Paul for his excellent blog post yesterday. Having such a varied line-up of guest bloggers really expands the range of this blog, and I’m very grateful to have artists like Jon-Paul sharing their thoughts, ideas, and images with my readers.

More on Lenses on D-Town TV
Part 2 of our 4-part series on lenses will go live today on D-Town TV (Episode 17) and we pick up right where we left off last week. Here’s the link to watch it online.

My Take on the New Wacom Intuos 4 Tablets
My buddy, famous Landscape photographer Bill Fortney says that he’s gotten to a point in his career where the quality of light is so important, that he’ll look for great light first, and then once he finds it, then he’ll find something to shoot. I’ve gotten to a similar point in my photo retouching, but I just realized it the other day when I had to retouch a photo, and I was working at a machine that didn’t have a Wacom tablet attached. I really needed to have the image retouched right then, but I would rather wait until I could get to a machine with one of the new tablets, then even attempt to retouch it with a mouse. I now have the new Intuos 4 Tablet at my office, at my secondary office at our photo studio, and one at my house, and if I’m not at one of those three places—I’m not retouching anything. I’ve had a tablet for years, and I used to pull it out for serious retouching tasks, but since the Intous 4 tablet came out, I now use them all the time, and yes—the 4 made that big a difference. Also, I now carry the tablet with me on the road (Note to any camera bag manufacturer: I’ve got some great ideas on how to design a camera bag that would accomodate a laptop, an Intous 4 tablet, and all your camera gear. I’d totally endorse it, so give me a shout if you’re interested).

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Great Book on Black & White in Photoshop & Lightroom
Last week I came across a book I hadn’t seen before on creating Black & White images in Photoshop and Lightroom, and so I took the book home for a quick look, and I really liked it (I’m a sucker for black and white—especially black t-shirts–wink, wink). Anyway, what first caught my eye were the great images in the book, and while I was admiring the images and flipping through the book, it finally dawned on me that one of the co-authors of the book was none other than Adobe’s own Senior Photoshop product manager, Bryan O’Neil Hughes. I don’t know how I missed that (and I later found out that the book isn’t brand new, even though it was new to me). Anyway, Bryan is a really great guy, a great photographer, and now he’s got a really great book (co-authored with photographer Leslie Alsheimer). The book is called “Black & White in Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom” and here’s the link to it on Barnes & Noble.com, and Amazon.com.

That’s it for today folks. Check back tomorrow for a first-look at some new technology for taking your existing studio gear out on location. Have a great Thursday everybody!