Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Workshops, workshops, upgrades

Did you miss me? Believe it or not, I’ve been too busy with other photo stuff to blog. OK, and with work and life in general... anyway, I’m back.

So first, let me tell you about the Kelby workshop I attended last Friday.

Photoshop CS5 for Photographers, presented by Ben Willmore from NAPP (Kelby Training)


• it was at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where parking is at a premium, it took almost 2 hours to drive there (and the same amount of time homeward bound).

• They ran out of coffee. THEY RAN OUT OF COFFEE. When we got there, all they had was de-caf. They brought in more coffee for the morning break and promptly ran out again, never to replenish it.

• No food facilities there. I knew that and brought my own lunch, but a lot of people didn’t.

• I think Ben was wearing the same hat he wore 2 years ago.

• The seminar was really directed toward photographers as billed. Unlike the Corey Barker session last year which had limited application for anyone but graphic artists. That said, that’s what they said it was going to be.

• There’s lots of neat stuff in CS5 and Ben knows how to pass that info along.

• By the end of the session, I could already see how to improve my workflow

• There weren’t really any vendors there selling stuff, so I made it out with my wallet intact.

You need to be practiced in Photoshop to get something out of the seminar. There was an evaluation form we filled out, with a check box asking if you thought you were a novice, intermediate or expert at Photoshop. I selected "intermediate" but in hindsight, I've sold myself short. I've actually used and are familiar with pretty well all of the techniques Ben showed us, with the possible exception of "Puppet Warping". I left the seminar wondering how much I had really gotten out of it, but I realized that I did get two things: validation that I was on the right track, and some insights into ways to improve my workflow.

Ben did not spend any time on Photoshop basics. That's what I meant above: it's not a grass roots course, so if you're not comfortable in Photoshop, you'll be frustrated because you won't know how to achieve the results that Ben did. He did spend a lot of time on Adobe Camera Raw, which he uses from within Bridge but it's the same as the engine in Lightroom.

The focus was on the new stuff in CS5 — the HDR engine, content-aware fill, fine selection, lens correction and yes, puppet warping.

If you really want to get up to speed in Photoshop CS5, buy Scott Kelby's book. It's well worth it and as I said a hundred times already, so is a NAPP membership. Click the link at right.

Upgrading to Lightroom 3

That was time consuming. Why? Because I didn't listen to Jim in the first place. My images were scattered all over the place — on 4 different hard drives, in various places. Before I did the upgrade, I reorganized my images and this time I listened to Jim and did the shuffling all from within Lightroom. I now have my master photo archive on a 2Tb external drive (the drive letter is "M". I think I'll call it "Mother"). The LR catalog itself is on the internal drive in the desktop and there's a backup on Mother. Most of the photos themselves are backed up on my other external drive but I still need to reorganize that.

I'm not going to talk much about LR3 here and now: let me get used to it first. Import and Export are different and I had to rebuild things, there are a few neat and sneaky new things like lens corrections and one really really neat thing called tethered shooting which I'll save for another day.

Suffice it to say that the upgrade was lengthy and had to be thought out well, and it ain't over. I still have to figure out how to replicate the settings I've created on the laptop.

I’m off to another workshop

I decided that since I hadn't had a vacation this summer (there are those who may argue that my whole life up here in the Highlands is one big vacation...), I deserved one. So when Rob Stimpson sent a reminder out about the Gales of November workshop up in Wawa, I jumped at it. I’m going, next week. So is Dr. Ron – I convinced him to come too! Go to the website to check it out, and don’t be jealous...

I haven't taken a lot of pictures. So without further ado... these are 3 images from a rainy Sunday afternoon walk. One of these days I'm going to try to publish images just the way they came out of the camera. Well, maybe not today...

Pine Sentries
In some places, pine trees grow in straight lines. I had added some (white) post-crop vignetting to this image, but on second thought, didn't like it and removed it.
The rain produces saturated colours. So does pixel processing in CS5, Topaz and LR3! I did an HDR of the same image and it's not as crisp as this one is.

Late Autumn field.
Across the road behind my house. Some painting effects.

I bought a new toy. It should be waiting for me at my mailbox when I get there tomorrow. I'm not going to tell you what it is, I'll save that for next time... stay tuned!