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  • Category Archives Reviews

    I don't normally do book reviews, because I don't think it's right for me, a Photoshop and photography book author, to publicly criticize another author's Photoshop or photography instruction book. It just ain't right. Luckily, with this book I don't have to (which is why I'm making an exception and doing a book review). I just got a copy of "Footprint Travel Photography" by Steve Davey (published by FootPrintBooks), and I have to tell you, I'm very impressed. Here are seven things I love about this book: The author is a great travel photographer, and this book is loaded with this beautiful images. It's got a nice, clean layout that makes you want to read the book It's broken down into short, digestible one, two, and four page sections on a particular topic or idea. The author writes in a very conversational style, and…

    OK, today in Part 2 we're looking at the Post Processing I did to yesterday's image, and for that I used the new Lucis Art Pro plug-in (which I'm going to mini-review in this same post). DISCLAIMER: If you hate the Dave Hill look, or you're tired of it, or whatever...do me a favor---just skip this post. The reason I did the post in the first place is that this is the #1 most-requested technique I get from readers, and I thought I'd give it a whirl. Obviously, this was a huge mistake on my part, because apparently it just mostly made people mad at me (I don't know why it always has to come to this---it's just a Photoshop technique for goodness sakes). But since I did part one and promised to show the post-processing, I feel like I should finish it, so…

    I had a lot of questions and comments from the MacBook Pro review I posted last week, so I thought I'd address a few of them of them here. Q. Why don't you just use a mouse? A. The reason I have a MacBook Pro at all, is because of travel (as I said in the review; I have a MacPro at home, which is my main machine for doing photography, retouching, and editing). You can't easily use a mouse on a plane, or in a taxi, or in the airport, or in all the places I bought a MacBook Pro for in the first place, like where I'm sitting writing this right now, where my "laptop" is in my lap. Q. How can anyone seriously use Photoshop with a trackpad? A. I've been doing it for years now, and  while I'm not a…

    macbookpro.jpg

    There are things I absolutely love about my new 15″ Apple MacBook Pro (photo above courtesy of Apple), but at least 40 to 50 times a day, I want to have a friend fling it high into the air so I can use it for skeet shooting practice.

    Now, before I dig into this review too far, part of the problem seems to be an Apple thing, but part of the problem may be something Adobe can fix in Photoshop CS4, because it’s there where the problem is most prevalent, and it’s there where I find myself stringing together somewhat colorful phrases I would not normally assemble.
    My Worry
    My main concern about the MacBook Pro was that the glossy glass screen would be too glossy for accurately editing photos in Photoshop.

    My First Impression
    I was pleasantly surprised at how great photos look on its crisp glossy screen. In fact, it’s so luscious, I think it makes the photos look better than they really look. Also, I was concerned about reflections, and while it is more reflective, and I keep thinking that’s going to be a problem; so far, it really hasn’t been. Surprisingly, the only time I really notice the reflections is when it dims the screen. Then, I’m much more aware of them.

    The Reality
    I’m still worried. Because it makes photos look so darn good, I only want people to see my photos on a glossy MacBook Pro glass screen, but of course, that’s not going to happen, as they’ll be viewed on the Web on whatever computer they have, and of course, they’ll be viewed in print. I’ve only had my MacBook Pro a few days, so I haven’t had a chance to do any serious printing in-house on my Epsons, and just last night I sent my first lab print to MPIX.com, so I have no idea how my on-screen color correction and edits will relate to my final images in print or on the Web. So, while I’m pleasantly surprised at how nice the screen looks, I’ll have to wait and see how the Photoshop editing process plays out. I will update you on this as soon as I know.

    —-

    My Worry
    I know that one of the key features in Photoshop CS4 is the new hardware accelerated graphics and that now Photoshop hands off a lot of processing directly to the graphics card, and while I could see a difference in my old MacBook Pro, I was wondering if the new NVIDIA graphics card in the new MacBook Pros would really make that big a difference.

    My First Impression
    It’s way better than I expected. So much so, that it actually changes your Photoshop experience. I’ve never felt like Photoshop has moved faster than it does with the new NVIDIA cards. It’s crazy fast, and zooming, moving, rotating views, etc. is just amazingly, crazily, wonderfully fast.

    The Reality
    My first impression was correct. So much so, that I’m going to install an NVIDIA graphics card in my MacPro tower at home, which is the machine I do most of my serious photo work on.

    —-

    My Worry
    Since the new MacBook Pros don’t come with a mouse button, I was afraid it would be weird not having something to click, and it would take me a long time to get used to it. Instead, the whole trackpad is a mouse button (well, most of it anyway), so wherever you are, you can just click.

    My First Impression
    Wow, you don’t really need a mouse button. I started working with it immediately, because your hand sits right where it always did, and when you want to click, you just click with your thumb like you always did. After five minutes, you don’t even think about it again.

    The Reality
    I was wrong. The trackpad is killing me, and is the main culprit behind all my MacBook Pro Pain. Apple will have to fix part of it (and if the reports I’m reading online are correct, they’ve already begun a fix), but Adobe will probably have to fix the other part.

    The problem is a combination of the new trackpad finger gestures, which let you control navigation and rotation within Photoshop much in the way you work with photos on an iPhone (you can flick images around, you can pinch to zoom in, etc.. It’s actually a very cool intuitive idea). Here’s the problem; my thumb rests on the trackpad where it always rests—right where the click button used to be. But if it moves upward even 1/16 of a inch (which it often does), then the trackpad thinks I want to rotate the canvas view in Photoshop, and so it turns my canvas to a 45° angle. Sometimes, it just starts tilting my canvas back and forth while I’m trying to work. Sometimes it not only rotates my canvas, it zooms me out to less than a 1% view of my image. So, 40 to 50 times a day (maybe more), I have to go and reset my Canvas to normal, and then zoom back out to fit in view. It is driving me crazy to the point that I now find myself making finger gestures to my new Mac.

    I went to the Trackpad preferences, hoping there was a way to turn off the “rotate my screen wildly and zoom in and out at random” feature, but sadly, there was not (see the capture below).

    trackpad.jpg

    I’ve pretty much turned off whatever I can in the preferences above, and yet, still I rotate. Here’s a quick video of how this affects my day.

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/qOFNCB_u_aY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

    Now, this problem happens to a lesser extent in my Web Browser and in my Mac Mail application, where suddenly my text zooms in, or gets really tiny. It doesn’t bother me as much there, but that’s probably because it doesn’t rotate my view, eh?

    rapidstrap.jpg

    When I was hosting my Dunedin, Florida PhotoWalk (as part of the worldwide photowalk), I saw a photographer in my group, a very nice guy named David Rogers, using the handiest camera strap I’ve seen in while. It’s called the Rapid R-Strap, and while I thought it was ideal for shooting in situations like a photowalk, I’m going to order one tonight for use with my 2nd camera when I’m shooting sports.

    After talking with David about it, he offered to do a full review of it for the blog, and so, here you have it; the complete review from photographer David Rogers (Thanks David!).

    Review: Rapid R-Strap from BlackRapid
    The Worldwide PhotoWalk seemed a perfect opportunity for me to test the R-Strap from BlackRapid, Inc. I’m not the kind of person that likes to wear a tie let alone a 6lb. swinging weight around my neck so when I found out about this strap and the fact that it came with a 30-day return policy I felt I couldn’t lose. If I didn’t like it I’d send it back and be no worse off.

    It aint going back! The simplicity of the design alone has you saying “why didn’t I think of that.” Truth is, much like the automatic kitty litter box, you probably did think of it but never did anything about it.

    How it works:
    The R-Strap is worn over one shoulder (my left) and crosses the body like a car seat belt or messenger bag. It attaches to the camera via the tripod socket on a large lens setup or the camera body when using smaller lenses. The camera is now hanging upside down at your side or just above your right butt cheek. In one very smooth motion you grab the camera with your right hand and swing it forward and away from your body up to your eye. Shoot!, then lower it back to your side and continue about your day.

    [ed. Here’s a quick video from the manufacturer showing the R-Strap in action]:

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/14Q1IxI_Opw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

    The greatest feature of this setup is the fact that your hands are free and your

    If you're not familiar with any of the "P-series," (technically Epson calls these "Multimedia Viewers" because they play videos and music), they're part portable hard drive for safely backing up your memory cards on location, part photo-viewer with a big bright screen, and part in-the-field laptop replacement, because you can create collections, do slideshows with a music background; you can sort and rate your images on them, and a half dozen other things in a size so small you can fit it in your camera bag. I've been using these "P's" since there was a P-2000 and I take one on every location shoot without fail, as it's become an important part of my workflow. Anyway, I got to play around with the P-7000 quite a bit this past week, and I wanted to give you a quick review on what's new, and why…

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