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December, 2006 meeting notes:

Happy, Prosperous New Year!

One of the selling points in a recent article about the new Adobe photo software called Lightroom is that it allows tethered use. What that means is you can connect your camera to your computer with the cable that comes with your camera for downloading photos, and use it with Lightroom also. This allows sophistocated adjustments more quickly and shows photogs & clients immediate results.

This gave me an idea. I spent the next few days (doing little else) figuring out just how to do that with software you should already have in your original camera box. "Tethered-camera software in use should really pack 'em in for December's meeting", I thought. Two new guests from the Corpus Christi Camera Club were present as I dutifully set up two wireless flashes and tethered my Canon 20D to the awaiting desktop machine. Since I got the one missing file to instantly show at home a photo I shot, I figured I was all set. I packed up and left. At H2U, I started up the latest version of Canon's Pro software and it says its still missing the "do_da" file. Well, I'm glad I didn't bet my money on de bobtail nag! The Canon Solution CD with missing file was, you guessed it, at home. I'm now in deep "do_do". My unchanging computing goal of "Just Work!" had not been met.

After two attempts to find this on my computer, we went on to photo enhancements in Photoshop. All was not lost in our demonstration as I had explained some steps and reasoning behind the flash setup. The DigiCam SIG is going to explore light for part of 2007 and I wish to dovetail with that theme as much as reasonable as it relates to graphics software. Photoshop was something our guests had been waiting for anyway, after reading our newsletter.

Some photos we manipulated included the Christmas concert at St. Batholomew's Church in 2005. Featured far left was none other than much-beloved, previous Graphics SIG leader Jack Hord. His choir was in different light than the congregation and instrumentalists. Often churches and other interiors will use combinations of flourescent, tungsten (incandescent), and sunlight. This was at night, but a simple color balance could not be achieved with the two remaining light sources. My solution was to place marching ants around the congregation (so to speak), feather that selection 5 pixels, and use the curves until we had consistent color. A better solution is to use layers, find a monochrome object in one lighting area to color correct, then in another layer find another monchrome object for the remaining lighting and use a mask with soft brush to blend. I'm not there yet folks!

I found a good example for using the raw power (literally) of Adobe Camera Raw too. An ISO 3200 photo taken on a quincienera shoot was used. Bridesmaids equivalents were lined up and still too dark. Lightening a high ISO photo always exaggerates noise in the shadows, but the usual green and red "chroma" noise did not show up with our projector, just the graininess, called luminance noise. That noise-type was quelled with the slider, but always to the detriment of some detail. So I used it conservatively. They just had to "believe me" about the color noise getting zapped with the next slider. Details were further brought out after opening in Photoshop, conservatively using Levels then Highlights/Shadows. A final tiny adjustment with the Exposure sliders, gave the usual 3D effect to the final screen shot, but also wreaks havoc with the histogram, causing ugly peaks and valleys. The peaks and valleys are evidence you could get something like a paint-by-numbers look to your prints if you let it get out of hand, especially in clear skies. Histogram valleys mean that there are entire shades of color missing in the photo.

For further reading on Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop CS2, Sharpening, and Color Management (2nd ed.), I recommend the latest Real World series college-level books by the late Bruce Fraser. He passed away Saturday, Dec. 16 and was a sizeable graphics community's expert. We'll see you this month, but not at H2U as our generous hosts have stopped their lease. Stay tuned as we will likely have a place by the time you read this.

  - Bruce Switalla
 


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