Monday, November 25, 2013

Wow. It's hard to stay motivated!

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. I love living up here in the Haliburton Highlands, but there are certain times of year that are better than others, and this isn't one of them. A neighbour and I were talking and we're of the same mind: November and March are the worst months.

Right now It's damp and cold. The ground is muddy and monochromatic. The songbirds are gone and the only creatures that are stirring are the people getting ready for the winter. Actually, there's a skiff of white snow on the ground, the lake is active in the wind and although it's created an interesting rime of ice where water has splashed up on the land, and it could be photogenic, everything is too grey to be interesting, and anyway, I'm chilled and don't feel like going out.

My neighbour said he prefers November to March/April because "I have the winter to look forward to"! Fascinating. You'd think it would be the other way around. But he's right: winter is a magical time up here in the Highlands. I know that those of you in other climes (and especially those in the Big Smoke we call Toronto) think we're crazy, but that's your problem.

Still, I can't wait for those crisp white days. And I created a book a couple of years ago to celebrate Winter in the Highlands, there's a link at right to Blurb where you can see the book and enjoy it.

Several projects on the go

I'm working on my next book. I have about a week to get it off to Blurb to take advantage of their huge Black Friday sale (30% off!). Being the procrastinator that I am, I don't know if I'll make it. My big hangup is to create a theme and select images that work well together. I've segregated about 250 images so far, maybe I have TWO books to create!

The Haliburton Highlands Camera Club is taking a lot of my attention right now. We're a couple of weeks away from the inaugural meeting (Wednesday, December 11 at 7pm in Minden, see the website for details). I hope that's going to work out — it will if enough people come forward to help out. I can't do it alone.

I also have an eBook in the works. As regular readers know, I've been writing a weekly photography column for the Haliburton County Living (Weekender) newspaper for almost half a year now, without skipping a beat. Off-topic, it's hard to come up with new material now. As I write this, I have two days to come up with something for next week's column and I'm a little brain dead. Anyway, the column is mostly tips for novice and intermediate photographers, and I want to consolidate them into an eBook.

So I'm busy, but it's hard to stay motivated in the ever-shortening days of November.

D610 vs. D800

Hmmm. I wrote earlier that I'm waiting for Nikon to contact me with the news that a refurbished D800 is available and I have a promise of a swap for my D610 when it is. But I've not been proactively going after them about it because, well, I like the D610!

I used to like the D600 until the dust measles became untenable. So the D610 is the same camera without that problem. It's pretty well everything I need... so if Nikon calls, I'll have to decide.

Black Friday Deals

There are some HUGE deals out there. All of them end on December 2, though, so no procrastinating, hear?

ADOBE

The biggest one is from Adobe. ANYONE can get in on the Photographer's package from now until December 2, regardless of whether they've been Adobe customers in the past. Here's the deal: you get Photoshop CC – that's the FULL Photoshop program – and Lightroom 5, both for the amazing price of $9.99 (US + Taxes) per month. You need to sign up for at least one year – that's a $120 commitment – and they have categorically stated that the price will not jump up after the year (although they give themselves a legal out...).

Considering that Photoshop used to be a $700 product, and that the regular price for Photoshop CC ALONE is $20/month, and that they're throwing in Lightroom which is a $150 product, this is an amazing deal. Go to www.adobe.com to take advantage of it but don't wait!

By the way, Students and Teachers can get the entire Creative Cloud suite – ALL of the programs, not just Photoshop and Lightroom – for $19.95/month but just until November 29th. Same link, don't delay!

TOPAZ

Topaz is offering their entire collection – a $379 value – for $199 if you sign up in the period November 28 – December 2. That's all 14 Topaz products, complete. I'm a big proponent of Topaz products. I've used Adjust for quite a while now, and more recently Clarity and Clear and InFocus and Star and Detail... I love their products.

You have to wait until November 28th to pull the trigger. Click on this link or the one at right,  and you need to enter the promo code blackfriday2013 at checkout.

FACZEN

Yep, that's me. I've got THREE deals going on. Both of them are valid between now and Christmas. Oh, all right, until the end of 2013. Happy?

Deal #1: Any fine art print that I have in stock: $25 plus a flat rate $5 for shipping unless you pick it up. I have to compile a list of what's in stock, but almost all of the images in my Smugmug gallery are available, subject to prior sale. These make superb Christmas gifts! And pretty well any image is also available as an 8x12 or 8x10 lustre print for $5. On top of that, we can make any image into a folding Christmas card, 3/$10. You need to contact me for particulars!

Deal #2: A two-day DSLR workshop for $100. And it could be 1 on 1! Where else can you get personalized instruction for under $10/hour? Prices are going up in 2014 so don't delay! Again, contact me for particulars and check the website for details!

Deal #3: This one's only good until December 2. My eBook, "Take Better Pictures in a Winter Wonderland" absolutely FREE. eMail me for the link.



If I hear of any other hot deals I'll send them out on my newsletter. If you're not yet subscribed, click the link at the top right corner of this blog. (or this one!)

Some images

Not a lot to show you this week. I've been busy getting my tooth pulled and other nasty stuff so I haven't shot a lot. I was cold the other day, and it was miserable out, so I stayed in and set up the light tent to play a little.


This is the battery that came with my D610. In the light tent, illuminated by a bounce flash, on a flexible plastic surface. A little Lightroom, a little Photoshop, some Topaz and VoilĂ !  




The original is the one on the left. It's Cranberry Juice. I decided it should be a 1977 Robert Mondavi Select Cabernet Sauvignon. It was more difficult than it looks, to get the colour and density right, plus if you look carefully, the glass was slightly tilted so the liquid surface wasn't level! I used "Puppet Warp" to fix it.  


While I was at it, I decided since I didn't have any Abelour A'bunadh Cask Strength single malt left, and since you can't get it in Canada,  I needed to make some. Believe it or not, this is THE SAME CRANBERRY JUICE! Ah, Photoshop!

My neighbour Jack dropped by to talk about the Adobe deal and learn a little about Photoshop, so I obliged him. I needed to find a picture to use as a demo, so I opened the abandoned gas station shot from Coboconk that I posted last week. At one point he said, "how about adding the sun to that picture", so I did. A really, really easy process if you know Photoshop!


I ended up liking this much better than last week's! This will be available as a large format art print, on Epson Cold Press matte paper. Talk to me if you want a museum-quality archival art print for someone you love! 





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