Saturday 26 May 2007

Looking for a Lightroom Gallery

I must say that over the last month or so has become a really useful resource for those looking for something different to the standard lightroom web galleries.

New flash and HTML galleries have appeared at quite a rate and it is probably the only place in the visible universe where you can find any documentation on how to make your own galleries.

A very well done to all concerned.

Friday 25 May 2007

Improve your photography - the 3 Rs

As here in the UK we head towards a long bank holiday, why not take some time to try and improve your photography using what I call the three Rs:

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

"What are you on about Chris, that's something to do with rubbish isn't it?" I hear you say. Well not necessarily!

Next time you go to take a picture consider every element within the frame and does it need to be there. If in doubt - leave it out.
Also let your eye flick round the edge of the viewfinder looking for elements that are intruding at the very edges, a stray branch could mean the difference between the mediocre and the masterpiece.

Over the Stream
"Reduce" in action

Pay a visit to locations/subjects you have photographed before. Force yourself to find new ways of photographing the scene, different lighting, lenses and time of day can all make a difference. Force yourself to really look for a picture - try to go "beyond the obvious".

Recycle someone else's ideas and make them your own.
Spend some time looking at other peoples shots, consider how you would improve things: How would you do things differently? Would you have taken the shot in the first place? What do you feel about the shot?
Then use what you learn in your own photography.

What ever you learn from the three Rs - Have Fun.

Thursday 24 May 2007

Hay you, hope you are well

Well May has been an absolutely rubbish month for me. At the beginning of the month I was hit by the flu from hell, weeks of feeling completely lethargic meant that updating my blog or playing around with Lightroom just seemed too much like hard work. I'm better now, so I will try to resume normal service and catch up with all the things I promised people I would do.

So here is a quick update on what has been happening in my world:

My confinment left me with a laptop as a companion and I spent most of the time on Ephotozine. In April Ephotozine (Epz) had a major make-over with a new codebase and look, the changeover to the new system was quite a rough ride and to help guide users round the system and deal with the problems raised I was elevated from Photo Locations Editor to the status of moderator...a bit of a poacher turned game-keeper thing I think. If you are not a regular visitor to Epz why not pop over and have a look round the refurbished pad.

Many mails have been flying back and forth between the members of the Painting With Light Society and some very exciting developments are afoot. I can't tell you much at the moment but when we have something to announce you will be sure to see it here.

Over at Chapter Thirteen a group of talented photographers have put together what is starting to become a very exciting and useful site. Why not check it out.

Finally I felt so miserable over the month that only one thing could cheer me up - a new lens! I treated myself to a 300mm f/4 L EF and the x1.4 converter. I only got to use it for the first time on the 22nd May but I am already impressed with the results. It's dead sharp and produces beautiful bokeh and it's white and very long...what more could one want?

Here is one of my first attempts with my new toy:

Smudge 14 Months On - 20D, 300mm f/4 L EF and x1.4 converter
(Click to view large)

Friday 4 May 2007

Martin Jordan is photographer of the month for May

My chosen photographer for May is Martin Jordan. Martin has a great eye for photography and seems to excel at any type of photography he does be it landscapes, portraits, abstracts - whatever.

by Martin Jordan

Why not visit his website today.

Thursday 3 May 2007

Portfolio Update

I have just updated my Portfolio for 2007 with the best pictures for the first quarter of the year.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them, well with the exception of the image below (click the picture for the story).

Grey Day

Wednesday 2 May 2007

Digital Photography Workflow Part 4 (Archiving)

The final part of my workflow is to archive the files so that they are protected from disaster and so that I can find pictures when I need to. So once a month I archive off the previous months working directory to my archiving system.

First I go through the months images using the Breezebrowser Pro slideshow facility and delete out any images I don't want to keep. Sometimes I also find images that missed my attention first time around and they get processed in the usual way.

Next I load the images in to a temporary iView Media Pro catalogue and do some fine level keywording classification. During the load process images already receive a lot of keywording so this process covers things like the names of people in the shot and descriptive words like emotions and colours.

Once the keywording is complete the keywords are written back to the files using the synchronise command in iView.

The months files are copied and created as a new directory on my heard of buffalo. Finally these files are imported into an iView database covering the entire archive.

My Workflow

Tuesday 1 May 2007

Digital Photography Workflow Part 3 (Output)

The next stage in my image processing workflow is to output to my chosen media. the actual process depends on my intended target.

Web Site
I often display my work on websites like Ephotozine to get feedback on my work. To prepare for a web page I do the following in Photoshop.

  • Add a border.
  • Select Image>Mode and convert to 8bits per channel.
  • Use Image>Image Size to reduce the size of the so that maximum height is 800 pixels and the maximum width is 1000 pixels. I ensure that bicubic sharper is selected.
  • Then I convert to SRGB using Edit>Convert to profile.
  • Finally I add an unsharp mask of around 40%, 1 pixel threshold 1.
  • use Save For Web to reduce the final image size to around 200K.

All of this has been recorded as an action in Photoshop so it is actually a matter of clicking and waiting for a few seconds.

My Web Galleries
I will cover part 4 of my workflow (archiving) soon but for the moment trust me when I say it relies on iView Media Pro quite heavily. My web galleries are generated directly from iView.

A catalogue set for the gallery is created and all items selected for the gallery are added to it. Each picture has the comments updated and a title added. The Gallery is then generated and uploaded through Dreamweaver.

For Print output the image is resized to the required output size at 300dpi with bicubic-smoother selected. I then use the professional sharpening toolkit from The Lights Right Studio to sharpen the image with specific settings for ink-jet at 300DPI on matte paper.

Finally the prints are produced on an Epson 2100 printer on to Epson archival matte paper using genuine Epson inks. Prints are left to dry for 24 hours then checked and signed in pencil and mounted using acid free mountboard.

Part 4 covers the final part of the workflow - Archival.

My Workflow