Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This is typically my gear for hiking and photos.  Let me know if you have questions.

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Defense of Flickr

There has been a building storm of web chatter about the decline of Flickr lately.  I think it's overdone and while I have a list of gripes about Flickr, which I'll tell you about, I don't think Flickr's days are numbered just yet.  Competition is good and frankly Flickr has been a little laaaazy for years.
500px, Tumblr, and Color are getting the buzz lately but are they really better than Flickr?  500px shows some promise and it looks nice, but has gaps. Tumblr?.... I'm not sure I have knowingly seen anyone's pictures other than my own...I've certainly never meandered through the site looking  for random photos. Color.. Really?   $40m in funding for that?  Repeat..Really?   What are the odds that anyone around me are going to be on that app and that I would want them to see my pics.  No thanks.
So why do do I still like Flickr: 

Volume of Photos:  I still like Flickr as they have the widest user base which allows me to search for specific things or even locations.  I always get good results in search.  As a photographer hunting for locations often, Flickr is really good about showing me other pictures done at the same site.  

Community:  Flickr still has a good sense of community for me.  People often tag and or send their photos to specific groups which brings out views and comments for a niche group.  I like to collect custom pocket knives and Flickr has several groups oriented towards that.  It was even easy for me to create and administer my own groups.  

Easy of upload:  Very simple here.  Flickr gives you lots of flexibility in uploading.  Flickr has a mac/windows desktop client, they have their own mobile apps, even for the iPhone and they have an open API where developers can write their own upload software, desktop, ipad, mobile.  Its all there.  On top of that if I don't want to tag or rename anything I can do that to.  Most importantly they have several methods to upload and synch directly from Adobe Lightroom, this single factor blows it for many competitors.  

Mobile:  I feel they have it!  There are multiple Flickr mobile apps available.  FlickStackr is one of my favorites.

What I would like to see more of or where they need to fill in gaps.

Social abilities:  They are just starting to introduce links to Twitter, blogs, Facebook, need more more more.  I would like to see the contacts turned into more social abilities.  Flickr should also just give me the direct link to my picture if I want it.

Navigation:  This drives my crazy.. For everything you want to do on Flickr  its alway one more button or link away from what it needs to be.  Arggh.  The website is very slow to use.  I also want the ability to see many more pictures on screen at one time, similar to what is done in the FlickStackr application.  I also want the ability to have my own organized Flickr home page or gallery.  Not the current state of collections or sets.  I may want to choose some images to always be the ones that people first see, not my last upload.

Keep at it Flickr and stay motivated.  I think you are Yahoo's biggest asset.  

My site:  

Photos During a Hike

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Glamour Edit - How To

Basical Glamour Edit / How-To:

1) Image capture in RAw
2) import to adobe lightoom
3) Focus on image quality corrections:
a) Correct for exposure and coloring (exposure slider, curvers, brightness, shadows, highlights)
b) Enable profile corrections for your lens that you used.
c) Tilt / Crop the photo to make it straight.
d) Reduce the noise in the photo if necessary.
4) Blemish Correction:
a) Remove skin blemishes, color patches, scars, etc with the spot remover tool.
b) Remove excess moles if that is what you want to do.
5) If you want to spend more time on the photo and get that last 10% out of the images, select edit in photoshop.
6) Edit in photoshop essentially repeating the above with emphasis on the following:
a) Eye whiteness
b) Lip and pupil color enhancement
c) Hair color
d) Large skin blemishes that were not in spot form.
7) Try a couple of creative things to see if they enhance the image such as black and white.
8) Sharpen and save.

MOre detail here: http://creativeoutletimages.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hungarian Chicken

This looks kind of gross to me, but it was so good. I travelled for several hours from Arhus, Denmark to Budapest. I arrived later in the evening and walked around forever trying to find a place to eat by myself. All I could sell myself on trying was a this empty, old restaurant, in which the menu looked okay from outside. It was this big hall with tall wooden booths and it was ultra dark. This was the best dish though! Spicy with paprika and amazing chicken.

Twitter Help for Photographers Dipping into Social Media

I have to admit I'm an internet early adopter.  I jump on any new technology, new website, anything that peaks my interest.  Social networks that I've been on have come and gone already, but I've always been a little put off by Twitter.  It seemed so linear and non-visual to me.  Imagine 100 cell phones thrown in the air and trying to read all the text messages on them, why would I want to do that.. 

A number of things have swayed me a little more towards Twitter.  The first, which is probably less ideal for many people, is that I really enjoy Twitter on the iPad.  Some of the reader apps like Flipboard assemble Twitter messages into a magazine style.  Images and links within the Twitter app are built out for you.  

Secondly my better understanding of "#" and "@" tags within a Twitter message has helped increase my followers and visibility on Twitter.  This is turn drives people back to this site.  A hash tag "#" is basically a way to "tag" different interests or topics.   Its a way of categorizing messages by topic.   This is how you see trends in Twitter.  Example:  "I think #photography in #California is awesome!".  Categories or tags created in that posting are photography and California.

The "@" tag is something I was confusing with the "#" tag at first, but the "@" is method to basically send your twitter post to a specific user.  Example "I think @creativeoutleth rocks".  I would receive that message in my stream.

Once I started using these items properly I noticed a bump up in my followers.  Followers mean more eyeballs on your work.

Play around with it and let me know how your doing!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Adobe Lightroom Tip #1 – Where is my missing thumbnail zoom slider?

This one is a personal frustration point with Lightroom that seems to happen every 6 months or so.  When in the library mode the lower bar that allows you zoom the size of your thumbnails disappears.  This same bar also has the functinality to sort thumbnails by capture time, file type, etc.
Fix = Go to the “view” menu and then do “show toolbar”.   Such an easy fix for a point of frustration.
You can also zoom the thumbnails by hitting “+” and “-” on the keyboard.
Adobe version number currently used for this posting = 3.4

Double Ti Locks - How did I shoot it?

How did I do it?

1) Setup a tripod.
2) Set the camera to manual settings and locked iso.
3) Place the knife on a flat dark surface (a speaker here)
4) Take the first picture.
5) Turn the knife over and move it to a different spot.
6) Take another picture with exactly the same camera, zoom, and tripod settings.
7) Upload to Lightroom.
8) Correct for croping, exposure, normal corrections.
9) Export as layers to Photoshop
10) Set the top layer to a layer mask
11) Select a paint brush and the black color.
12) Paint in the other knife to reveal it.
13) Save and your done!

Canon 5d Mark 2, 85mm 1.2l, Transcend CF card, manfrotto tripod.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What to shoot?

All of us photographers have run into it but I'm hitting it pretty hard right now. What I'm I referring to? Finding subject matter to shoot. I live in an amazing area that has a number of photo opportunities, but I have this thing about slogging through traffic to shoot something like a bridge, downtown, a park whatever... when I can easily look it up and likely see it already done on Flickr. It wouldn't be my own of course, but could I really do something that much different? Maybe... Hopefully. A saw a photographers portfolio online lately and he was doing this amazing long exposure work with nd filters. Sites we have seen before but just done in a new way. In this case expensive filters. That inspired me.

I've resorted to learning different photography and photoshop tricks, optimizing my lightroom install, learning how to do my own prints to at least stay involved with shooting until I get some better locations ideas. It's been fun and I've got some new ideas for more product photography.

Well the weather is getting better and my online social exposure is getting bigger... I'm sure I'm going to be shooting a lot more soon.

Stay tuned

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Canon 85MM f1 2l II - Review

Canon 85MM f1 2l II
An absolutely amazing lens.

- Picture quality is top notch
-Sharpness amazing
-Colors are amazing
-Focus speed and accuracy not bad but not the fastest.


-Guess.. Expensive
-Little bit heavy
-Slow to manually focus due to the computer controlling focus, even in manual.
-You have to extra careful with the exposed glass on the back.
-You have to relatively far away to focus on something.  Its more than arm length.  This was a surprise.

Adobe Lightroom 3.4 Performance

I'm loving the new features of Lightroom 3.2 and greater, but I'm really struggling with the performance.
1)  Don't leave lightroom open on your computer for very long.  Shut it down and restart it when you need to pickup work again.
2)  Do clear out your image cache every once in a while.
3)  Usually smaller catalogs when you can, but I have to say I don't like this one.

Light beams - is it Tron? No

I was playing with long exposures last night on my 5d Mark2 and my 85mm f1.2l + a Surefire E1B flashlight.

Basically I setup the camera on a Manfrotto tripod for 20-30 second exposures.  I think walked in front of the camera, turned the flashlight on and pretended it was a lightsaber.  Yes I'm almost for 40.  But I had fun doing it.

I appled a simple lightroom preset and did some cropping.  That's it!  I believe they also call this painting by light.

Light beams by Creative Outlet Images Photography