• After Five Years Off, I'm Back

    Yes, it is true! After more than five years offline, Single-Serving Photo has returned!

    It’s been a long road to reach this point. Five years ago, this blog was on the WordPress platform (self-hosted), and fell victim to repeated takeovers by “script kiddie” hackers who enjoyed replacing the entire site with a hideous message of domination, obviously taking advantage of some exploit in WordPress or one of the extensions I used.

    I tired of restoring it from backups every day and trying to track down the issue; I did have a full-time job after all. So I let it go, I stored the backups and I moved on with my life.

    I’ve always wanted to restore access to some of the most popular articles here, and so finally over the past week I have migrated everything over to the Jekyll system, which generates a completely static (and therefore un-hackable) website, which is what you’re reading now.

    I’m not sure yet if I will make new posts here, although I do still consider photography to be among my major hobbies and I am always trying to learn new things, so it’s possible that I will use this forum to share them with all of you. If there are any of you left.

    If you’ve stumbled onto this website by chance, you may like to start by browsing through the Essential Reading page, which contains a selection of reader favorites.

    I have implemented Disqus comments, so please do leave remarks on any posts you find interesting or useful! Also feel free to reach out via Twitter; you can find a link in the site footer.

  • Happy New Year!

    First and foremost, a happy new year to all of you, my lovely readers. Whether you check in now and then or have been a reader for several years, it is solely for you that I do this. Believe me, when I talk to myself I don’t do nearly as much editing.

    Anyway, what better way to ring in the new year and to step back from the commotion of life, if only for a moment, to appreciate the bigger picture than… With a picture? A picture exactly one year in the making, in fact.

    Michael Chrisman, a 31-year-old photographer living in Toronto, set up a small pinhole camera on January 1, 2010, overlooking the city’s skyline. On new year’s eve, he collected it. The developed picture is shown to the right, and I have to say, I love it.

  • "Man on Fire" Light Painting How-To

    "Man on Fire"

    Dennis Calvert shares a really neat light painting technique on his blog that he calls “Man on Fire.” It basically involves creating a darkened silhouette by firing a remote flash behind a subject to overexpose the background behind them, and then “painting” in the silhouetted area with some neat little light wands.

    I’m sure you could do this with subjects other than people and with light wands other than the ones Dennis uses. The result, I think, is pretty spectacular. Because the background is blown out, bits of light trail that go outside of the silhouette area become wispy and look very cool.

    Believe it or not, the image is straight out of the camera, no post-processing or alterations at all.

    Go check out the whole article on Dennis’s blog where you will also find a time-lapse video of the making of the image, which is pretty neat in its own right.

  • Learning About Lens Quality

    MTF at 24mm

    Today on Single-Serving Photo I’m bringing you something a little bit different. Instead of news stories about amazing photographers, press releases about equipment you can’t afford, or overbearing pontifications on the usefulness of HDR as a medium for artistic expression… Drumroll please… Graphs.

    To be more specific, graphs of modulation transfer functions. Dry-sounding? Absolutely! Exciting? I sure hope so!

  • NAPP Presents Retouching Week

    The Photoshop

    You remember the National Association of Photoshop Professionals? NAPP? Their president, Scott Kelby, is like the Photoshop guy, he teaches Photoshop and Lightroom and travels all around the world doing seminars and evangelizing for Adobe (in an indirect way, as a representative of over 30,000 people who use Photoshop professionally). He’s as close to a Photoshop guru as you can realistically get before you become Thomas Knoll or Russell Brown.

    What I’m trying to say here is that you really couldn’t learn Photoshop (or Lightroom) from any better folks than Scott Kelby and his Photoshop crew (Corey Barker, Pete Collins, RC Concepcion, and of course Matt Kloskowski). Normally this type of instruction costs a few bucks or at least a trip somewhere. But not this week.

    This week only, presented in a live format, Scott and his crew (he calls them “The Photoshop Guys”) are doing a series of retouching presentations that you can watch for free. This starts tonight at 6 PM EST. The presentations are, in order:

    • Wedding Retouching (tonight, Dec. 5)
    • Digital Makeup (Dec. 6)
    • The Next Level of Retouching (Dec. 7)
    • LIVE Show - Audience Participation in Q&A (Dec. 8)
    • Tips from the Industry (Dec. 9)

    My understanding is that the fourth presentation is the only time that The Photoshop Guys will take any questions directly from the digital audience, but all five presentations will be streamed live.

    To tune in, just visit “Retouching Week on Photoshop User”:www.photoshopuser.com/retouching-week. It looks like the video and chat feeds are having some problems at the moment, but since the event has not yet started I’m sure the IT screw at Photoshop User will be able to work out all the bugs before it gets underway tonight at 6.

    I don’t know about you guys but I’ll be tuned in!