Open Season on Work Related Matters

So, I don’t usually talk about work on the public stage (Blog, Twitter, etc). A few things have changed recently (which I won’t be talking about right away), and so I’ve decided to make my professional life a tad bit more open but in the spirit of informing and to entertain.

The idea is going to be, talk about what I do, and explain my experiences, what I’ve learned and what I’d do differently. Since I have such a wide range of things I do, hopefully some of this will be interesting to you.

Lightroom 2

I recently acquired Lightroom 2 for my photo workflow. I’ve been using Lightroom 1 for a few years and it’s been a blast using it on my PowerMac G5. However, it was a bit slow and it was slowing up my workflow. Lightroom 2 has tremendously sped up the processing of my photos (perceptually twice as fast). Before I was waiting on the computer, now I can mostly just work and not have to sit there while the computer processes the changes I just asked for.

The sharpening tool is much more improved and the adjustments seem to work more as I think they should. LR 2 also gives you the ability to manage multiple catalogs on different hard drives. Having an external hard drive, this makes it extremely convenient for me to have catalogs for various purposes.

 

My favorite part about the new Lightroom has to be the dual monitor support. Now I can edit my photos on my LCD monitor (that’s actually calibrated) and have a listing of the photos (grid view for example) or other parts of the application on the other monitor to give me the maximum space for the photo while I edit it. The secondary items on the second monitor disappear when the program loses focus, so it quickly gets out of your way when you want to switch applications for a bit.

The photos above are from a soccer game I shot today. White shirts are really hard to shoot since they tend to get blown out. Lightroom has a “Recovery” adjustment that allows you to get back a lot of detail from the white, blown out areas in your photo. Likewise, there’s a “Fill Light” adjustment that recovers black areas that have been clipped. Clipping happens when multiple shades of the same color get interpreted as the same shade and you lose that detail. If you shoot your photos in RAW, most of the situations where you encounter clipping (from under or over exposure) are recoverable. Some images just can’t be salvaged, but Lightroom has been able to help me out on a number of occasions.

To help with blowing out white shirts in a soccer game (or where ever you happen to be), set your exposure compensation down a step or two. This will under expose your photos slightly but it’ll keep your whites from getting blown out and you can raise the levels on the other areas to lighten those up without affecting the brighter areas that are prone to clipping. This also gives you the bonus of gaining a faster shutter speed as the camera doesn’t need as much light to take the shot–a great thing when shooting sports! You can also raise the ISO up to 200 or 400 (if you have a digital camera that will let you do that), but then it starts becoming noisy and grainy. Just take a few shots before the event and see if you’re getting an appropriate shutter speed with the available lighting conditions at various f-stops.

Revisions

So a few things are getting revised all across the board, such as the blog, website and life, but won’t be obvious until much much later on. I’ll keep you all posted on changes being made here, in life and out “there.” I hope you like change!