The Digital Photo Guy

Monday Morning Tip – 3/30/09

by on Mar.29, 2009, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips

This is the first Monday Morning Tip to be published strictly via blog. I sent out my usual MMT e-mail but only included a short synopsis of today’s MMT. To read the full MMT, you are directed to the MMT page on the Tips & News page where you’ll need a password to access all the MMTs. Not all MMTs have been uploaded because it’s so labor intensive but, when I get them all uploaded, there should be over 80 short articles covering various aspects of digital photography.

Today’s MMT discusses how to make a “Poor Man’s Macro Lens” by connecting two inexpensive lenses in reverse. I cover the details including what lenses to use and how to connect them. There are also examples of macros created with this setup. In future MMTs, I’ll cover other low-cost ways to get into the exciting world of macro photography. I’ll also tell you which methods to avoid and why.

To get the password, you must be registered on this site. It’s also helpful to set up an RSS feed so you know as soon as I post new information. The easiest way to set up an RSS feed is to create a My Yahoo! or Google account and click on the RSS link on my home page. You can also use the RSS feed to collect information from other sites that offer RSS. The advantage to you is that you don’t have to check your favorite sites daily or hourly. Whenever new information is posted, you’ll be notified.

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Two New Workshops Posted

by on Mar.24, 2009, under Photo Editing, Schedule

We have a busy schedule in April. Along with the Photoshop Elements webcast class that starts on March 25 and goes through April, we’ve also added a Wild Animal Park “Hands-On” Photoshoot on Saturday, April 4 and a Butterfly Macro Workshop on Thursday, April 16.

This is probably the last WAP “Hands-On” Photoshoot until October because it gets too warm and too crowded during the summer.

The Butterfly Jungle exhibit at WAP runs from April 4 through 26 and offers some of the best opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with these colorful flying flowers.

Check out these workshops on the Workshops page.

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Palomar Annouces Summer 2009 Venture Classes

by on Mar.24, 2009, under Photo Editing, Schedule, Webcast

For the Summer 2009 session, Palomar is offering 3 classes taught by The Digital Photo Guy. On June 9th and 11th, you can register for Digital SLR for New dSLR Owners. This is a webcast class that runs from 7:30PM until 9:00PM each night. In those 3 hours, I will cover all the knobs, dials, switches and menus on your dSLR, explaing what, they do, how to adjust them and why you want to adjust them. All you need is a PC or Mac connected via high-speed Internet with a standard web browser (MS IE, FireFox, Safari) and speakers. The only thing you’ll miss are the drive to campus, parking challenges, ool white industrial restrooms and chairs designed for 19 year old butts. This class is a prerequisite for the next class.

On July 25th from 8AM until 11AM, we’ll put into action what we learned in the previous class with Digital SLR “Hands-On” Photoshoot. We’ll meet at a local park where we can photograph kids’ sports, critters, landscapes, statues and macros. This is where we practice using all the different knobs, dials, switches and menus so you can capture the correct exposure everytime. This is where we begin to understand composure. And, this is where we learn how to break the rules to make better photos.

We’ll wrap up the summer with Photo Editing for Digital Photographers on August 5th and 6th using Adobe Photoshop Elements to enhance and edit our photos. Half the fun, flexibility and power of digital photography is post-processing, using an editing program to improve photos. Webcast is particularly well suited to learning Photoshop Elements because you work on your own PC or Mac at home. You’re not using a strange computer at the school’s computer lab that’s set up differently from yours. This class runs from 7:30PM until 9:00PM each night and starts with basics that you can immediately apply to your photos and ends with more advanced techniques for photo repair and restoration. Photoshop Elements is the most widely used photo editing program for amateurs. At just $99 ($69 at Costco), it has about 80% of the capability of its big brother, Adobe Photoshop CS4 which retails for $650.

Palomar College is one of the premier community colleges in California. One characteristic that makes Palomar stand out is their willingness to be creative and innovative when other schools are still stuck in the 19th century. An example of this 21st century mindset is the webcast classes offered through Venture, a department of Palomar’s Workforce and Community Development program.

Palomar was the first San Diego county community college to offer The Digital Photo Guy webcasts as an alternative to 19th century classrooms. Using webcast technology, Lee Otsubo, The Digital Photo Guy, can teach literally anyone from anywhere a high-speed Internet connection is available. These are not your grandpa’s computer-based training sessions. These are live multimedia presentations with PowerPoint slides, video, audio and real-time interaction.

You do not have to live in or near San Diego County to register for a webcast class. All you need is a PC or Mac connected via high-speed Internet. Go to the Palomar Venture registration site today and sign up for a class with The Digital Photo Guy. (Summer 2009 classes not yet posted)

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Photo Restoration Webcast

by on Mar.24, 2009, under Articles, Photo Editing, Webcast

On Saturday, March 21, I presented a Photoshop Elements retouching presentation to the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego via webcast. The group was meeting at UC San Diego while I was at Joshu Tree National Park leading a spring wildflower workshop.

I showed how the following photo from the 1950s or 60s can be quickly and easily restored with a few basic tips and tricks. Click the thumbnails to see the BEFORE and AFTER photos.

levels-colorsharpenstraighten   restored

I then applied virtually the same techniques to another photo and demonstrated how these steps can be used to restore ALL faded, skewed, poorly taken photos.

The next photo was more challenging because of its age and damage. I didn’t fix the entire photo because, as I explained to the audience, much of this is just tedious and time-consuming. The only reasons one would have for spending time on restoring such a photo would be 1) it’s a labor of love involving a photo of a loved one or, 2) you’re getting paid gobs of money.

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Here, I demonstrated making a copy of the right eye, flipping it over to match the left eye, moving the catchlight to the correct side and “nudging” the pupil to the right to match the right eye. I also used a gaussian blur to smooth and repair the skin on her left cheek.

You can see a recording of the presentation here. If the audio and video get out of sync (narrative and cursor don’t match), click on the progress bar along the top and drag it back back a few seconds.

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Yee-hah! RSS Made Even Easier!

by on Mar.18, 2009, under Website

Another major milestone in making my website easier to use and maintain. The bottom line benefit to you, the reader, is that I can spend more time writing useful and fun things for you instead of futzing around with techie, geekie things.

In a previous post, I explained what RSS does for you and how to subscribe to my blog via RSS. At that time, I had to use a manual subscription process because the automated system wasn’t working quite right. Well citizen, it’s now fully automated. Sure, you’ll still have to make a few decisions like where you want the articles to show up but, for the most part, it’s a matter of clicking the RSS icon on my Home page and selecting the RSS reader you use.

rssIn the top right corner of my Home page, you’ll find an RSS icon like you see to the left. Clicking on that icon will bring up a page with the latest articles and a dialog box in the upper right corner that looks like the image below.

rss_choices

If you don’t see this, click the link that says, “Show All Subscriber Options” and that will bring up the Subscribe Now! box. Notice that 2 of the choices are My Yahoo! and Google. Since most people already have Yahoo! or Google accounts by virtue of having an e-mail account with them, this is probably the path of least resistance. If you use Microsoft Outlook, you can drop down the menu titled (Choose Your Reader) and select Newsgator for Outlook. For this, you need to download and install Newsgator Inbox

Now that you’ve successfully subscribed to my feed, add My Yahoo! or Google Reader to your favorites and check for new posts whenever you like. Any site that displays an RSS icon can be added as a subscription. Let’s assume that, along with photography, you have an interest in gardening, drag racing, military history and pregnant toads. You can add all these sites to your reader as long as they offer RSS feeds. Think of RSS as a way to create a custom newspaper. Only the news that interests you will be displayed.

But, I Want It Automagically!

What if you’re waiting with bated breath for every pearl of wisdom that flies off my keyboard? (I wish!) Seriously, what if you want to know the moment new material is posted? That’s pretty easy.

On My Yahoo!, you’ll find a set of 3 icons along the top right of each feed, as shown below.

yahoo1

Click the center icon that looks like a gear and select Alerts and then click Add an Alert. That will give you options for being notified via e-mail, Yahoo! IM or a text message to your cell phone. I use e-mail to my Yahoo! account but if you use IM or text message to your cell phone, consider yourself promoted to full blown Geek or Geekess.

The point to all this is that you’re automatically notified when a blog is updated. You can set up different schedules for different blogs. On my blog, you might want to know as soon as new material is posted. On other blogs, you can set it to notify you once per day.

Repairing the RSS link on my site was made possible by Amin, a really, really smart guy who publishes a blog for WordPress users titled Tips and Tricks. If you’re considering your own WordPress blog, you should check out Amin’s blog.

Please try setting up your RSS reader because I’m going to drop my e-mail newsletter as soon as most people have switched over.

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