Melaine: Wow....ok...I love my Olympus C-2100 UZ and in most situations the Bogen Monopod with Ball head goes along for the ride. The ball head has to be one of the best inventions pertaining to tripods and monopods. Infinite possibilities for composition are easily available using a monopod with a ball head.As for editing soft ware... my first love is Adobe... photoshop....and Elements, their newest consumer priced version. It has a nifty "Save For Web" feature that makes saving an image into a quality jpeg file a snap. One thing I miss with Elements is that they left out the curves adjustment tool... usually adjusting levels is all it takes to make an image snap... but sometimes you still need to move over to the curves option.I prefer Ulead PhotoImpact for adding frames.... it is the easiest one I know of. I love corel's photo software for adding a soft fade around the subject... but that's all I ever use it for.One thing I forgot to mention about Adobe's new Elements is the neat print package options it has... makes printing several pictures on one page very easy...
BOB:All my photo editing and manipulation is done with PS 5. Bought 6.0 upgrade, but can't seem to get it to load. The 3 areas that I find myself using more and more, are: 1) The Pantone Duo, Tri, and Quad tones, on black and whites. I think the subject matter will dictate whether to give the image a warm sepia tone or a cool blue or gray tone. They make an ordinary B&W, look infinitely better. When I find a tone that I like, I rename it for the pic I used it on, so I can remember it easier, when looking at the whole file of them. 2) The "Grain" filter which can give a very interesting feel to certain types of photos .....worth experimenting with more. 3) The "Rendering/Lighting" filter. For adding artistic touches to simple subjects the combinations available in this section is amazing. If part of your photo is overexposed, for instance, you can merely put that area in the darkened shadowy area and light the rest of the frame normally. The other program that I'm getting a lot of use from, after running the photo through PS, is Microsoft PhotoDraw, which has some very excellent tools, for enlarging the background behind the photo, without enlarging the photo itself, plus good designer fonts that allow you to curve them, etc. You could almost use this program instead of PS, but then what would you do with all the time you spent, learning PS. Last, but not least....just received my Epson 2000 and it makes all my shots look a 100% better. I'll probably go broke on the paper and ink, but what a way to go.
GREG: It's a long list - weight bearing exercise during my semi - senior years is accomplished by toting around upwards to 5 lenses - when I'm nuts and a few rolls of Provia 100F mainly. Recently - shooting macros and sunset, has narrowed the list - anyone wanna buy a 500mm F4.5 - weighs only about 11 pounds - but it's a great one for herons. I don't think I'd buy a large lens again, but I might change my mind in a month and get hot about shooting wildlife again - or the moon. I generally carry two bodies - an Nikon F100 and an N80. I can't tell you how great a combination that is - the ability to pop either camera on to my tripod in an instant (via quick release) makes things easier. I suppose I carry too much, but I have learned the lenses over the past couple of years and seem to remember what I see through each. I carry a Bogen Tracker Tripod and a pistol grip head and a few filters - polarizes, 81A - stuff like that. Image editing - Photoshop 6.01 - just now learning color management - and recently bought a colorimeter and Profiler RGB so that my prints will look something like I see on my screen. It's resolved a lot of problems to figure out my monitor was set way to high in temperature making everything much too blue. Using color spaces consistently across my scanning, viewing and printing has made things a lot more complicated and easier. I have a Nikon LS2000 slide scanner and an Epson 1280 printer which I consider as much a part of what I do as the camera. I am beginning to find that the critiques and comments I get on the web can mislead me into thinking an image works - and get many surprises when I print. With the new calibration equipment, I feel like I'm starting over - seeing colors in a different ways as if I had just been shown how to use the darkroom. I am confused and happy all at once.
Steve: Ahhh, let me see. I guess we are talking about THIS week. Currently I use a Velbon Carmagne carbon tripod, Swiss Arca II ball head, and an Olympus E-10. I use Photoshop 6.0.1 and print with an Epson 1270. My computer is an old 500mhz PC with 512 meg of ram (I throw around very large files). I started out 10 years ago using U-Lead PhotoStyler software - the first PC software available to the general public (for under $10,000). Then I changed to Photoshop 1.0a - a new beginning. Ten years ago I had a 256 PC, 8 megs of ram and worked in 256 colors. Even so, Popular Photography, in December of 1994, published two of these digital images (done with PhotoStyler 1 1/2 years earlier). We have come a long ways! It used to take me all NIGHT to render some changes to an image. Imagine. But I was totally enthralled by the magic of it all. I still am.
Photoshop is very much like a Stradivaris violin. It can play scales, a simple tune, or the most beautiful music you have ever heard. It all depends on the player. As an instrument it has no limits. It IS the ultimate art photographers dream. I suggest to one and all - take the time to learn it well. Forget the filters. They are first grade stuff. Tackle layers, masking, selective color enhancements, levels, curves, history brush, etc. Figure 2-3 hours a day for a year. Then you will set yourself free.
Although other software programs, like Paint Shop Pro, are equally creative, none handle large files (20-100 meg) like Photoshop. In fact, almost all choke and die with a 50 meg file. Very disappointing when you are "on a roll".
As for the Olympus E-10, it is a FUN 4 meg SLR camera. Back to the basics - one camera, one lens - and learn it well.
Helyn: It took me a while to get over to Photoshop I was at ease with Paint Shop Pro...but as you said Steve, it does not handle large files and we need large files to produce quality prints. It is a strong learning curve...but well worth it. Steve could you tell us more about color management within the Photoshop program?
Well, Helyn, here is the official explanation - file:///C|/PROGRAM FILES/ADOBE/PHOTOSHOP 6.0/Help/Help.htm. This explanation, however is close to pamphlet size (many pages long).
This is not a simple subject. However, bringing it down to the very basics it means this. Adjust your scanner, monitor, and printer so they all see the same color gamut. If you print your own stuff this is fairly simple. First calibrate your monitor. Adobe provides you with a simple program to do this with. Use it once and then forget it. Then calibrate your printer so that what you print looks exactly like what you see on your monitor. Of course this is impossible but try to get as close as possible. Most printers offer software that allows a great deal of tweaking. (A McBeth color chart really helps in this regard.) This might take many prints to accomplish. Lastly, calibrate your scanner so that your scan looks like the slide. Again, a very difficult thing to do. It takes a lot of time with the scanning software.
In Photoshop use Preferences and go to Color Settings. I use sRGB. This works well with RGB (red, green, blue) monitors. Should you be exporting to CMYK for your local 4 color press, use the U.S. Web Coated setting for CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Set gray gamma to 2.2 and Dot gain to 20%. I believe Mac users should use a gamma of 1.8. This gives you a pretty average working space. By the way, this is the default setting for Photoshop. Remember, most home printers, even though they use CMYK inks, print from a sRGB file. Do NOT export your pictures to CMYK for your ink jet printer.
The bottom line is, my prints look more like my slides than most custom houses can produce. What a pleasure that is! (And it didn't happen in a couple of days.) Simple in concept, difficult to produce. But it can be done, and done very well, even with inexpensive equipment. Another learning curve. But no different than learning to make a perfect print in the darkroom. (A feat most amateur darkroomers never achieve.)
Helyn: I would like to thank all of you for sharing with us and have found it interesting. See you in 2 weeks for another discussion!
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