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Messages - Mayo

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Tech / PS Elements 6 and OSX 10.5.6?
« on: March 09, 2010, 02:31:29 PM »
If you want Really Simple image editing there is Lightzone. I just bumped into it the other day so I haven't had a chance to play around with it yet...

Tech / PS Elements 6 and OSX 10.5.6?
« on: March 08, 2010, 04:13:54 PM »
Here is the sentence in paragraph 2 that got me going:

But let's let the poster/user decide if a recommendation suits their needs.

Etc., etc...

For some strange reason I thought that the OP might be open to considering an alternative since he was going to have to upgrade anyway. So I suggested taking a look-see at NX2 because a lot of folks don't even know that it exists, much less that it is a very powerful image editing program.

RAW conversion is 1% of its capabilities... If all you need is a RAW convertor for Nikon's proprietary NEF format then there is a free Nikon app for that. NX2 works with NEF, JPEG and TIFF files and it is a non-destructive image editor.  From Nikon's Web Site:

"NX 2 easy-to-use software lets you make intuitive photo enhancements which are immediately visible on your monitor. Simply place the Control Point on the area that you want to edit and U Point Technology will analyze color elements such as hue, saturation and brightness, as well as recognize similar areas where an edit would best be applied. This technology powers the entire Capture NX 2 series of Control Points: Color Control Points, the all-new Selection Control Points, White/Black/Neutral Control Points and Red-Eye Control Points. With Capture NX 2, there’s no need to deal with selection tools, layers or lengthy training."

I have found that to be true. I have used Photoshop since version 4 so I have a bit of experience using the software...  whistling.gif

A benefit for Nikon users is that NX2 seems to do the best job converting RAW/NEF files. And unlike any other RAW convertor that I know of, NX2 retains all the Nikon in-camera settings when it opens a NEF file. That can be a significant time-saver for someone who has dialed-in their camera settings. Changing the camera settings is a one-click operation in NX2.

The actual developer of NX2 is Nik, probably best know for Color Efex Pro and other stand-alone and plugin software.  The closest thing to NX2 is Nik's Viveza program. If I remember correctly NX2 is less expensive than Viveza.

Me? I like things to be easy on my Macs. Taking the Path of Least Resistance that meets my goal(s) is my guiding principle when it come to software. Some programs are so darned difficult to learn and use I have sometimes felt like the best use of the software CD/DVD was as a Frisbee, except Frisbees fly a lot better because of their rounded edges...

With an exceptionally generous two month demo period it's a no-brainer to give it a try if you are the least bit interested in seeing how it actually works.

Tech / PS Elements 6 and OSX 10.5.6?
« on: March 05, 2010, 09:37:48 PM »
No Jim, I wasn't being a Smart Ass: you can accomplish editing steps in NX2 without using layers and masks that would require them in Photoshop. And yes, I did mean "borders," not frames... As for "CMYK"... Maybe I get the letter order wrong at times, but at least I include the correct four letters!

I consider Photoshop to really be a graphic design program since it is much more software than many, if not most photographers need. If you require the graphic design elements of PS, then you need them. If your primary use for PS is image editing, then NX2 is worth considering. At around $125 it is around 1/5 the price of CS4, last time I checked anyway...

Granted, for many long-time Photoshop users wrapping their minds around the NX2 paradigm is not easy to do... Adobe has a lock on many people when it comes to thinking how things should be DONE, by which I mean to say it should be done The ADOBE WAY. I've never found Photoshop to be particularly intuitive to use, or easy to master. The Nik "Control Point" technology, on the other hand, is easy to learn and use in a relatively short period of time.

Finally, I'm not sure what you meant to say in the beginning of paragraph two of your post, since I am physically unable to hold-down Beacher and force him/her to try NX2 because we live 600 miles apart. And even if we lived in the same town I doubt that I would be able to do so, even if I wanted to... I merely offer my Two Cents and make it easy to give the software a try. Sheesh, now I'm wondering why I even bother...

In the immortal words of Gilda Radner: Never Mind...

Tech / PS Elements 6 and OSX 10.5.6?
« on: March 05, 2010, 05:07:38 PM »
If you don't have your heart set on Elements I suggest giving Nikon Capture NX2 a try. It is nearly as powerful as CS4 and IMO much easier to use. Layers and masks? Never Heard Of 'Em! Nikon Capture NX 2 After the Shoot is an excellent guide to the software.

A 60-day free demo and manual can be downloaded here.

I haven't touched Photoshop since I got NX2.  If you don't need CMYK pre-press, frames or text insertion capabilities NX2 is worth a look.

Tech / Solved: Epson scanner and Image Capture puzzle
« on: March 05, 2010, 03:10:16 PM »
Good Ol' Epson driver updates!  

In my experience they have been problematic for years:

1. A downloaded update won't install no matter what you do.
2. An update screws-up things royally. Good luck getting things back to the way they were...
3. Epson declines to support relatively recent hardware when the Mac OS is updated. Or the driver upgrades take forever to arrive, while Windows folks generally don't have to wait as long. When the Mac upgrades do arrive, see items 1 and 2 above...

I purchased the original Epson Stylus Photo inkjet printer Way Back in 1997. It was state of-the-art and reliable even though it cost a rather princely sum of $500+. Unfortunately, it's been downhill for Epson since then and I gave up on the company a number of years ago... I do own an Epson Perfection 1260 scanner that was given to me by a friend a couple of years ago. Image Capture works fine for my purposes. When the scanner goes belly-up or ceases to meet my needs I'll buy another scanner... but you can be certain that it won't be an Epson.

Tech / What is a photograph?
« on: March 03, 2010, 12:57:10 PM »
World Press Photo Contest Winner Disqualified For Removing A Foot...

The photographer violated the contest rules by altering the image content.

Tech / New MacHeist nanoBundle
« on: March 03, 2010, 12:16:25 PM »
There are inexpensive third-party RW templates that are quite nice and professional in appearance. They can be purchased individually and bundled. The RW Web site has links to template developer Web sites.

Tech / What is a photograph?
« on: March 01, 2010, 03:27:35 PM »
Well said.

To carry the analogy a bit further: Adam's photographic style is classical, while photojournalism is more akin to jazz. And war photojournalism is rock n' roll...

Tech / What is a photograph?
« on: March 01, 2010, 12:46:21 PM »
In my mind this really much ado about nothing...

Photography has never been about creating a strict interpretation of reality. A photograph may be interpreted by some as being closer to “reality” than a painting, but it is still an interpretive creation. The fact that a photograph is created (not “taken,” a term that has never made any sense to me...) by a human being implies that a particular point of view influenced the photograph from the start: the angle of view, exposure settings, lens filtration, etc..

Photography has always relied on a variety of technical processes and manipulations to make the imagery possible. The choices that a photographer makes is analogous to an artist deciding whether to use oil, watercolor or another technique to produce an artwork on canvas, paper or some other medium. A photo made without the benefit of film choice, filtration and knowledgeable manipulation during development and printing/reproduction fits my definition of “artless.” The tools and terminology may have changed in the digital age, but similar decisions and manipulations are still being made. We may have more options available and it might be easier to produce photographs that have been substantially manipulated, but the essence of photography remains pretty much the same as it as always been.

I have to laugh when some people hold up Ansel Adams’ works as being the essence of “pure photography,” with little or no manipulation of the final image. In fact Adams’ work was highly “manipulated” right from the start, up to and including the final print.

Adams developed the well-known “Zone System” in order to effectively deal with the inherent limitations of film, developing and printing. He would carefully expose a single sheet of film and then individually develop the negative to enhance the tonal range of the negative. He would then manipulate the final print by giving more or less exposure to printing paper and “dodging” and “burning” during the print making process.

Adams was able to produce such beautiful prints in part because he typically shot using large-format cameras using film as large as 8x10 inches. Film that large can capture detail and a tonal range that is simply impossible to attain when using 35mm film and the relatively small sensors found in current DSLRs.

Most if not all of Adams’ most famous images would look terrible without the active involvement of the photographer in each stage of the process; a so-called “straight print” from a typical Adams negative would not look very good at all. And most people do not realize that Adams’ prints of his well known images often changed during his long career depending on Adams’ mood and his changing interpretation of his original visualization of the final print.

Most of us are familiar with Adam’s most famous image “Moonrise, Hernandez, NM, 1941.” The image we usually see on postcards and posters has very high contrast with bright-white headstones in a cemetery backed by an almost pitch-black sky. It is a very dramatic photograph. But there are other prints of the same image that Adams made that are not nearly as dramatic. The sky is gray, not black; you could say that it is a more “realistic” representation of what Adams saw the day he made the original exposure and, at least in the beginning of his work with the image, it is presumably how Adams originally visualized the final print. But over time Adams’ interpretation changed to become the iconic print we know and love. (Or perhaps Adams’ discovered that print buyers preferred the more dramatic version and so he abandoned the delicate tonality of the earlier prints.)

At any rate, all versions of “Moonrise” tend to command high prices at art auctions. In December 2009 one of the early subtle prints sold for $306,000. Another version of “Moonrise” sold at the same auction for $48,000. Keep in mind that sale prices for “Moonrise” prints are dependent on the condition and size of the print; Adam’s made some very large prints of “Moonrise” and those tend to command the highest prices. I didn’t bother to find out the specifics of the two prints auctioned in 2009.

I’d like to mention that while Adams’ reputation was built upon his consummate darkroom skills and he is mainly known for large-format black and white prints, for many years he was a paid consultant of the Polaroid Corporation and he loved to make images using a SX-70 camera. I think that Adams would be diving into digital imaging with great enthusiasm if he was alive today.

So here we are in 2010... And we are still manipulating photographic images, but now we have software tools to aid us. Whereas in the not-so-distant past a photographer might employ a split neutral-density filter in order to compress the dynamic range of a scene that otherwise exceeds the capability of film to record, he/she can elect to make multiple exposures and use software to combine them to create an image with a tonal range beyond the capability of a digital camera sensor. Using a filter is still an option and they can be useful, but the software solution is generally going to offer a greater tonal range because the filters are limited in that regard. And expensive too: my set of top of-the-line ND grad filters cost around $400 when I purchased them years ago...

I think that the issue of image manipulation is germane to the topic at hand only when we are talking about photojournalism, which purports to be a literal representation of reality. While the photographer’s point of view will necessarily influence the accuracy and meaning of an image, it is assumed that nothing has been added or subtracted from the image so it is as close to representing “reality” as humanly possible.

The Associated Press requires that submitted images be JPEGs that were created “in camera” presumably because they are less likely to have been altered in Photoshop or another image editing program. Working with JPEGs also speeds-up image editing and uploading to AP. (The time-constraints associated with getting work to image brokers like AP can be daunting indeed. I worked for AP for years prior to the advent of the Digital Age and I would not like to deal with the hyper-speed deadlines faced by current AP photographers…) I personally don’t see the logic since RAW image files have significant advantages over JPEGs and I prefer to shoot all my images in RAW. And JPEGs can also be manipulated albeit with somewhat limited options compared to RAW. It is easy to create JPEGs from RAW files (or shoot both simultaneously…) but it is impossible to recreate a RAW file from a JPEG. I think that the AP requirement is more for PR value than “photographic reality” value.

But PJ images and others supposedly presenting “reality” have been faked since photography was invented. Famed Civil War photographer Matthew Brady repositioned battlefield corpses to improve the composition of his images. Edward S. Curtis, who created many iconic images of Native Americans, was known to dress-up and pose his subjects in order to enhance the image of the “noble savages” he helped mythologize for the dominant white culture that had tried to exterminate them in the first place. And 20th century photographer Robert Capa is suspected of having staged his famous image of a Spanish partisan at the instant of his death :,8...1912110,00.html.

So it goes… When it comes to photography we have to depend to some degree on the integrity of the craftsperson/artist, just like we do with any artistic medium. In the case of photographic contests/exhibitions I think that photographers should indicate when the image has been so substantially altered that the viewer may make an incorrect assumption about the veracity of the image. Image manipulation that misleads the viewer intentionally or unintentionally is what we should be concerned about. Editing that otherwise alters the image or removes distracting elements that are not intrinsic to the subject matter should be left up to the discretion of the photographer.

Finally, whether a photograph is “art” is obviously up to the individual viewer. Some images are art and others are crap, with the vast majority somewhere between the two extremes. I have looked at paintings and art installations in major galleries and museums; much of the work seemed to be “art” to me, but occasionally I come across something that amazes me that a curator deemed it worthy of exhibition.

A pile of garbage strewn on the floor of the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2004 comes to mind… I was impressed by the audacity of the “artist” (I use the term very loosely) while one of my companions was so enraged that he wanted to find and punch-out the curator. Instead of doing that he and I retired to a nearby outdoor cafe while our wives finished touring the museum. I have no idea what the intention of the “garbage artist” was, but I thank him/her for getting me out of that building and into the Paris sunshine with a drink in my hand.

2009 / Email, subscription notices from TS not being received
« on: September 14, 2009, 09:50:07 PM »
I haven't received email notifications for a number of days and I'm not with Rogers/Yahoo...

If anyone is interested in a new Web hosting service I highly recommend EngineHosting.

2009 / SpamSieve updated
« on: September 13, 2009, 01:23:21 AM »
My Web host server-based spam and virus filtering has worked great since Day One. I can also modify my domain/account whitelists and blacklists but I haven't had the need to do so...

All I can say is that I have never missed anything that I expected to receive, and I haven't received anything that I didn't want to get.


2009 / For Those Of Us Who Are Still Using AppleTalk Printers...
« on: September 12, 2009, 06:56:59 PM »
That's great to hear. I was beginning to regret selling my iBook... But I would hate to hang onto a PPC Mac just to be able to use a perfectly good printer.

I deleted my previous post after I realized that you (Bruce) had already visited and posted to the forum that I had quoted in the post...

Fiddling with the DIP switch has helped a number of folks get various printers working in Snow Leopard, along with selecting the proper printer driver.

I'm really glad that I waited to upgrade, and the printer issue is only part of it... If I remember correctly I didn't upgrade to Leopard until 10.5.3; I may do the same regarding SL.

2009 / For Those Of Us Who Are Still Using AppleTalk Printers...
« on: September 11, 2009, 10:59:36 PM »
Never mind...

2009 / Camera for iChat
« on: September 10, 2009, 07:09:40 PM »
$29 for an iSight??? You got a Great Deal. I sold mine a year ago to a friend for $125 (the same price I paid for it new...) and that was a bargain compared to what they were going for on eBay.

The original iSight cameras seem to be the best webcams; if you can find one for a decent price it will probably hold its value.

2009 / SpamSieve updated
« on: September 10, 2009, 02:22:56 PM »
I bought SpamSieve but I have never used it... My Web hosting service does such an excellent job filtering my email that I haven't received a single spam message in well over a year. (And I am Very Careful when it comes to my email addresses.)

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