Hello everyone! Welcome to another edition of the Out There Images, Inc. Newsletter. September is here and we are getting ready to send the kids back to school and preparing for all the beautiful Fall photography. I enjoy shooting the Fall colors and always look for interesting compositions of color and shape. As always, I�ll be outside photographing as much as possible during this season.
After a beautiful summer, (with some much needed downtime and R&R) we are ramping up for a very busy autumn workshop schedule. We�ll be leading workshops in Seattle, Washington�s North Cascades, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago and Portland. Yes, it�s going to be fun and we�ll be putting a few airline miles on those frequent flyer cards! I look forward to seeing many of you in the upcoming workshops.
Our eBook on the Nikon Wireless Flash System (www.outthereimages.com/publishing.html) continues to sell very well and I sincerely thank you for your orders and referrals to others. More often than not, we ship the book on the same day you order, so you hardly have to wait for the package to arrive in the mail.
A few weeks back I was leading a workshop in Seattle, WA and one of our participants suggested a great new idea for our newsletters. He suggested that since I�m always encouraging people to �Get Out And Learn!� that why don�t I give monthly assignments that engages readers to try their skills in the real world? I thought his suggestion was excellent, so this month I�ll start with a new �assignment�. The way it will work is that I�ll send out a photographic problem/dilemma and then present my solution (and other�s solutions) in the next month�s newsletter.
Since I sincerely feel that practice is the best way to learn, I�ll be crafting new assignments each month. As you know, Out There Images� tagline is �Get Out And Learn� (GOAL) so I�ll call our monthly photographic adventures �GOAL Assignments�. These assignments will cover photographic technique, flash methods, Photoshop, and other fun topics. Hopefully, you�ll learn something from these exercises, so here goes:
September, 2006 Photographic GOAL Assignment
This month, I�d like you to use three different methods to properly expose a dark foreground subject that is situated in front of a bright background. For example, a person in front of a window, a flower in front of the sunset, a moth in front of a flame, a person in the shade of a tree or an object against a bright cloudy sky. The goal is to expose the subject perfectly.
Those of you who have attended my camera workshops (D200, D70, etc.) already know at least one way to accomplish this (Hint: AE-L button), but there�s more than one way to skin a cat! In these backlit situations, our camera�s metering systems tend to expose for the bright background and make the foreground very dark. So, I want you to come up with three different methods to solve this problem. I have included a sample photo of the �before� situation and will show a number of solutions to the problem next month.
New Product Highlights:
There are three new products that I wanted to bring to your attention:
Light Box System
The first is from a new company called Harbor Digital Design, LLC (www.harbordigitaldesign.com) that manufactures flash diffusion products. I�ve had the opportunity to try out their diffusion boxes myself and I also met with the owner, Michael, a couple weeks ago. I wanted to learn about his design theory and understand exactly how the diffusion dome works.
Harbor Digital Design manufactures a variety of products from a small light diffuser to the complete �Pro Pack�. I tried out the Pro Pack and liked the results very much. It is well-built and should stand up to the rigors of daily use. Additionally, the product is very configurable, complete with a large bounce card, diffusion box, black box, and colored gels. His diffusers fit most flash models such as the Nikon SB-800 and lots of other manufacturer�s flashes too.
Harbor Digital Design is selling the Pro Pack at an introductory price of $99.95 for the month of September �06. Additionally, he is giving Out There Images, Inc. customers an additional 10% off of any order over $25 if they use this code: OTImages. Enter the code at checkout to receive the discount.
Nikon D80 Camera
The second product I want to cover is the new Nikon D80 digital SLR. Lots of people have been writing to ask my opinions on the camera body, so here goes! I think this camera is going to be an awesome camera and I�ll be buying my own as soon as they are available. In fact, I�ve already put my order in with Samy�s Camera (www.samys.com) and should receive it by the end of September. One of the big reasons I want to buy it is because it has many of the same features as my D200 in a body about the size of the D50. There are lots of times when I want a very small camera, but I still don�t want to compromise image quality.
Other features I will enjoy are the 11 area auto focus, iTTL wireless flash capability, large 2.5� LCD monitor. Additionally, the viewfinder is larger than the D70, so I won�t have to squint as much when framing my photographs! It will have the same battery pack as my D200, so I won�t have to carry around a different charger. It will also have provision for a cable release (MC-DC1) and will also support a wireless remote like the ML-L3!
The D80 will be available later this month and I�ll definitely be offering D80 workshops next year all around North America. Once I receive my D80, I�ll be doing a quick review and will post it on our website.
Photoshop Workflow Setups book
The third product I want to cover is a new book I�ve been reading, titled Photoshop Workflow Setups by Eddie Tapp. As you know, I�m always encouraging you to keep learning and I do the same myself. Even though I teach a variety of Photoshop Workshops here at Out There Images, I�m continually looking for ways to speed up my digital workflow. Eddie Tapp�s new book shows numerous ways to do just that and he has dedicated this book to helping folks organize their Photoshop workspace so it is efficient and quick.
His book is less focused on Photoshop techniques and much more focused on setting up Photoshop so that it works better for your needs. For example, he has an entire chapter just on customizing keyboard shortcuts and menus. Other chapters include setting up pallets, arranging your workspace, and setting important preferences. In each chapter, Eddie outlines the Photoshop default settings and then explains how you might want to change them to increase your performance.
In the Tools chapter, he explains each of the tools and then shows how to change the default preferences so that they better suit your use. As you know, there are a million and one brushes you can select for the painting tools. He explains how the different brush settings affect the tool�s usability. The book is well laid out and easy to understand. It is in full-color and provides ample illustrations to help you follow the text.
Photoshop Workflow Setups is published by O�Reilly and can be purchased from their website (www.oreilly.com) or from other book retailers for $29.99 USD.
Digital Tidbits: Nikon Capture NX Adjustments
This month�s digital tidbits column is dedicated to showing off Nikon�s new Image editing software called Nikon Capture NX. I have been leading workshops over this last year on Nikon�s previous software, Nikon Capture 4.4. The new NX software is a vast improvement over their older software and it is totally changing the way that I edit my images.
Most folks who attend my workshops know that I work very hard to try to get the photograph as close to perfect as possible in the camera. I make money when I�m taking pictures and I lose money when I�m plunked down in front of my computer �fixing� images. If I had my way, I�d never have to process another photo again. My dream may come true some day, but until then, I still have to process quite a few of my images later in the computer. Most of the time, my computer work is limited to a little bit of tone enhancement (curves) and then sharpening for printing.
I, along with most other people, enjoy being creative and Nikon Capture NX allows me to be creative in a fast way. So, what is it about Nikon Capture that has me all excited? It is a new photo editing method called �U Point Technology.� It is simple, yet profound in its approach to working on images.
The concept behind the approach is that you simply click on the region of the photo you want to work on, and then the software gives you a myriad of options for affecting that region. For example, in the example photos I show of the sunset over a mountain ridge, I wasn�t happy with the way my D2X rendered the colors of the scene. I remember being in the moment and thinking about how blue the sky was and how much I liked the colors of the clouds. When I returned to my computer, I was disappointed to find that the colors weren�t as vibrant as I remembered.
So, I fired up Capture NX and used two control points to work on the image. The first control point was on the blue sky on the left. I simply clicked on the sky and then adjusted the size of the area I wanted to work on. You do this with a simple slider bar. Next, I changed the hue so that the sky was a little bit more blue. Finally, I bumped up the saturation a little bit. For the second control point, I clicked on the clouds on the right side of the photo and simply adjusted the saturation to better match my memory of the real scene.
The motorcycle photo was taken in Winthrop, WA and I was struck by the perfect placement of the bike next to an old Dance Hall building. I framed the shot tightly, exposing so that the blue sky was nice and saturated. When I was back at my computer, editing my photos I really liked the image, but thought that it could be improved by lightening the motorcycle a little bit. So, I fired up Capture NX and placed a control point directly on the Harley. I modified the diameter of the circle until I was happy with the size, and then changed the �B� slider to increase brightness a little bit. This helped bring out a little bit of the shadow detail in the bike as well as a subtle amount in the shadows of the building.
Fundamentally, Nikon�s new software is a very powerful RAW (NEF) processing program, but it also works extremely well for JPEGs and TIFFs. I�ve used it on all these file formats with excellent results. If you are a Canon or Sony shooter, then you might even consider Capture NX for use on your JPEGs.
I am finding that Capture NX is totally changing the way I approach my picture processing. In the past, I would head into Photoshop and try to select certain regions of the image to modify. However, even the best selection tools take time to master and implement, and I�d frequently find myself settling for something I didn�t really want. Now with Capture NX, it is as simple as clicking on the region of the photo I want to �fix� and then fixing it. Nothing complicated, just a simple approach. Now, with a click, I get what I want. What could be better?
Nikon Capture NX can be purchased from most camera stores or downloaded from www.capturenx.com. If you already own Capture 4.4, then you can just purchase the upgrade to NX.
Our next Photoshop workshops will be in Seattle during September 7th – 9th. These workshops are a great way to learn Photoshop while using practical, real world examples that photographers face each day. We have three levels of Photoshop instruction � Photoshop I, II, and III. Take them one at a time or take them as a group of two or more and get a 10% discount. Go here for more information: www.outthereimages.com/photoshop_workshop.html (Note: If you can�t make the Seattle/Portland workshops, then you might check out our Nikonians Photoshop workshops around the country at www.greaterphoto.com.)
Our next Digital Workflow workshop is scheduled for September 14th in Seattle, WA. This workshop covers topics that every digital photographer struggles with: questions such as how to manage those thousands of digital photos, how to profile and calibrate your system and how to automate your workflow so you don’t spend so much time at your computer. This workshop provides great “nuts and bolts” tutorials in a hands-on environment to make sure you learn the topics. We�ll be using programs such as iView Media Pro, Photoshop Bridge/Browser and many other programs to manage our digital assets. I guarantee you’ll enjoy this day of learning. Go here for more details: www.outthereimages.com/D70_workshop.html
Portrait Photography Workshops
If you are interested in learning how to take great portraits, this two-day workshop is for you. We�ll spend a lot of time covering lighting arrangements, gear choices, posing methods and portrait technique. Our Portrait workshops this year are scheduled for 9/15 – 9/16 in Seattle, 11/10 – 11/11 in Portland, 11/17 – 11/18 in Seattle. Go here for more details: www.outthereimages.com/portrait_workshop.html
Nikon D70 Workshops
We have D70 workshops still scheduled for New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Chicago in the months of October and November. After that, we�re done until 2007 for these workshops. Updated schedules and course outlines are posted here: www.outthereimages.com/D70_workshop.html
The Art of Travel Workshops
Want to learn how to take great travel photos? Attend the Art of Travel Workshop this September. Our premier Art of Travel workshop will be located in Mazama, Washington in the North Cascades from September 21st – 24th, 2006. Our focus will be on creating stunning travel photos in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We’ll be staying at the beautiful Mazama Country Inn (www.mazamacountryinn.com/index.htm) and will divide our time between classroom study and outdoor photography field sessions. We�ll cover digital workflow, field photography techniques, printing methods, and much, much more. Go here for more details: www.outthereimages.com/travel_workshop.html
Our 2006 Nikonians workshops are more popular than ever. We just finished up the Seattle and Vancouver, BC workshops in July and are looking forward to the Autumn workshops in New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Chicago. Sign up now while there is still space available because many have already sold out. We’ll be offering four different workshops in major cities throughout the USA. To sign up for a workshop, follow this link: www.greaterphoto.com. Our workshop offerings will be:
– Photoshop for Photographers
– Nikon Capture NX
– Nikon D70
– iTTL Flash system.
The dates and cities will be:
Oct 5-8 New York
Oct 12-15 Philadelphia
Oct 19-22 Washington DC (at Penn Camera)
Nov 2-5 Chicago area
Nikon D200 Workshops
We�ll have many more D200 workshops scheduled for 2007. This new digital camera from Nikon is a fantastic professional system. Its image quality is superb and it has an unparalleled feature set for the price. Nikon has truly hit a home run with the D200. Come to our workshop to learn all the important features so you can optimize its performance to your shooting style. Follow this link for more information: www.outthereimages.com/D200_workshop.html
Nikon iTTL Flash Workshops
If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to get your flash photography to look natural, then you need to attend this workshop. We spend all day learning the ins and outs of the Nikon’s SB600 and SB800 flashes. You’ll never again have to struggle with these flashes. More info at: www.outthereimages.com/ittl_workshop.html
Nikon’s flagship cameras are marvels of engineering and capable of amazing results. We have created these two-day workshops to cater to those of you looking for professional level instruction on these incredible cameras. Learn how to use the outstanding white balance capabilities, multiple exposures, in-camera photo overlays and its lightning fast autofocus system during this feature packed two-day event. More info is posted here: www.outthereimages.com/D2_workshop.html.
Each month, more and more of you are signing up for private workshops. These have become very popular and are an affordable way for you to learn specifically what you want to learn in a one-on-one environment. During these sessions, we are able to work specifically on your own photographic needs and at your own pace. Available topics are Studio Lighting, Nature Photography, Wedding photography, Photoshop, color management, digital workflow, flash photography, portraiture, etc. Many of our customers have requested specific topics and we have tailored our private tutoring to their needs. Call (360) 750-1103 or email ([email protected]) if you have questions about this option.
I appreciate your enthusiastic emails and am always encouraged by your excitement for digital photography. Keep shooting and get out every day to photograph. The only way to improve is through regular practice!
Out There Images – “Get Out And Learn!”
PO Box 1966
Gig Harbor, WA 98335