• 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!

  • Controlling Lightroom with Physical Knobs

    Using Lightroom is a joy compared to Photoshop. But it isn’t a joy compared to, for example, cheesecake. It’s definitely nice to be able to adjust nearly every aspect of an image with convenient sliders, to have all of the settings right in front of you without having to open lots of dialog boxes. At the same time, though, your mouse hand can get pretty tired, and that never happens with cheesecake, now does it?

    Never fear, there is finally a solution. Well, the beginning of a solution. A solution in the early stages of beta testing, but a solution nonetheless, and it doesn’t involve uninstalling Lightroom and eating more cheesecake. Although you are welcome to eat more cheesecake anyway if that’s your thing.