Monday, November 21, 2011

A New Look!

I've had the same header picture up on my blog for a few years now, and I decided it was time for a change. The original "Canoe in the Mist" image was shot in the fall of 2007. The new picture draws from a consistent palette of colours that I really like. The original shot was of a milkweed pod in a meadow near my house, but I replaced the plant with me (narcissistic, aren't I?)! I hope you like it.

So: on to some "stuff".

NAPP is giving some good deals. But they all happen on Monday, November 28th which is supposedly Cyber-Monday (what do we know in Canada? That's like our "Boxing Day", I hear!). They have 30% off stuff, but for me, the biggie is the extra 6 months membership with a renewal or a new membership. And I was about to expire! If you go to the NAPP site, please use the link at the right so I get my 'brownie points'.

If you don't know NAPP (The National Association of Photoshop Professionals), they're a huge resource for those of us who spend time at our computers making our images look pretty. And they're our advocates against the seemingly unfair policies of Big Business — take the latest one from Adobe where many of us won't be able to get upgrade pricing when CS6 comes out... details on these and other stories after these words about your dirty clothes!

The quote from the last post comes from an ancient George Carlin routine, mid 1960's. The character was "Al Sleet, the hippy-dippy weather man". He said, "...Russia and the United States are at war, missiles have been fired by both sides. Details on these and other stories after this word about your dirty clothes." He was a funny guy.

If you're not a member, click this link to find out more about NAPP. If you are a member, click it to renew, but wait 'till Monday to save some big bux! Go to this page to see the codes you need to use to get your discounts.

What else? Oh yeah,

The Alien Carrot Mystery

I got a lot of feedback from the last post. Some people suggested that someone was baiting deer. Another person thought it was an attempt to outfox the "carrot marketing board". Someone else thinks Santa has lost his reindeer and is trying to get them back. Or that my neighbours have a secret bunny farm in their basement and got a year's supply of food... but I got a bit more insight yesterday when I visited the Carrot Pile again. Here's what the pile looks like, in context:


See? In a meadow, in the middle of nowhere.

And here was my clue: a new addition to the site:


A "Carrot-Cam". I think this camera is fired by a motion sensor, which probably means I'm on Candid Carrot! But why? I stand by my original premise: they're trying to capture photos of the aliens!

Topaz Adjust 5

I've been using Topaz Adjust 4 for some time. Version 5 just came out and for registered users, it's a FREE upgrade and it's a real step forward! For new users, there's a discounted price of $35 until end of November (Code: "ADJUSTME") and then $50 after that. Topaz makes some phenomenal products and if you use Photoshop or Lightroom you really want to have their plug-ins. It's cheap, and upgrades are FREE! Click here to go to the Topaz site to see what they've got.

Here's a picture I worked on yesterday. It uses some of the new features in Topaz Adjust 5, but I also used Nik HDR Efex to produce the original HDR image, and Nik Color Efex for the vignette.


This was also taken yesterday, up in the carrot field

I'll be doing some analysis and some how-to's about Adjust 5 in my Tech blog, but not today! Give me a few days and come back. There are some things I haven't figured out yet. But go get your copy before the special offer expires!

One last picture for today


The Gull River at Norland. This is NOT an HDR. It is exactly as it looked when I shot it. It's a 2-shot pano with the wide angle and covers close to 180°. It's a huge wide image and I could probably print it 3 meters wide.
For the record, I did try an HDR but I didn't like the artifacts I got. Merged automatically in Photoshop CS5. I did tweak this with Topaz Adjust 5 and I removed some dust spots, but that's all.

Oh yeah, dust spots!

I almost forgot. I had some very persistent dust spots despite my best efforts to remove them. Mark (from RHCC) told me about a great place in Toronto to get my sensor cleaned, so I went there on Friday. Great experience!

For the record, Nikon wants $80 to clean the sensor, but more importantly, they want to keep your camera for up to 2 weeks! Not me. These people apparently do the service work for a large retailer who shall remain un-named, but their name starts with "H"... they're an authorized Canon service shop but they do all brands. They're located at Steeles/Keele. I brought in the camera around 11:30 and picked it up 2 hours later. $60. If you're in Toronto, give them a try: Sun Camera Service, 2150 Steeles W, 905 669 6355, info@suncameraservice.ca. www.suncameraservice.ca, Nick. Tell him I sent you.

Apparently my mirror bay was full of dust as well, every shutter actuation released a cloud. I really should be more careful.

Next time!

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