A burst of inspiration

posted in: Photography, Software | 0
Wave breaking on breakwater.

I could see the occasional wave splashing high in the air as it hit the breakwater and I took a few steps toward it as the photographer in me said, “There’s something happening over there – move yourself!”

The problem of course with trying to photograph an event that happens quickly, infrequently, and inconsistently is, how to get the shot? How to press the shutter at what Henri Cartier-Bresson termed the, “Decisive Moment?” 

Well, these days we’re fortunate not to have to take dozens of shots in the hope you’ve timed it correctly because we have “burst” mode.

On the iPhone, burst mode means keeping your finger pressed down on the shutter release until the event is finished. Don’t forget to hold the camera steady, or, better yet, use a tripod or other means of support.

The two photos shown here were the result of about 70 photos being taken in burst mode – Bresson would probably be horrified.

I stood at the end of the breakwater, and waited for a big wave. As the water swelled and looked promising, I pressed the shutter and held the phone steady. I saw the splash through the viewfinder and finally released the shutter. It seemed to last about three or four seconds and I had 35 shots when it was over.

Ocean wave breaking.

When reviewing the results on the iPhone, a single image is shown to represent the burst and at the top of the screen there’s a message that says, “Burst (35 (or some such number) images). Below the image is the word “Select.” Tap select and the entire sequence of shots is revealed. You can then swipe side to side through the shots and tap the ones you wish to keep. Those tapped images get a check mark and when you tap “Done,” the software asks, “Would you like to keep all the photos or only the checked ones?” Tap “Keep only the favorites” and you’re left with one or two good shots that you’ll be happy to show people.

The World of Tuts

posted in: Software | 1
Play button.

Adobe Creative Cloud, which came into being in October 2011, uses a software subscription method which means you purchase and download the products over the Internet. Because of this instant method of updating the software, you always have the latest version available. 

I said in an earlier posting that there were 23 different software packages available in the CC version, but the ones I use most are Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Bridge, InDesign, and, to a lesser extent, Dreamweaver.

For sure there are alternatives to Adobe products that are cheaper, and some are even free. But if you want the always new, Rolls-Royce of graphics-based software, Adobe is where you belong. Here’s where you can find the latest prices.

Presently  Adobe allows for either a monthly or annual subscription of either individual products or the entire suite of software.  We at webclearly found that we wanted so many of their offerings that it wasn’t cost effective to cherry pick so we get the whole package. We’ve purchased them for several years now so we’ve had a lot of opportunity to learn the ins and outs of several of their products and we are happy.

Probably the software with the most features, and therefore the one that takes the longest to learn, is Photoshop. Of course, it’s best to start off simple – try manipulating an image or two of your own: crop, resize, save – these are the basics and what you should look to accomplish first. There are tutorials on YouTube for these manipulations, heck there are tutorials on how to open Photoshop and set up the workspace, everything you’ll ever need to learn can be found via a search engine. However, if you live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area there is an alternative: your local library.

The public libraries of Washington, D.C., Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Prince William County, all offer free access to Lynda.com where you can find tutorials for Photoshop – and so much more. Lynda.com is reason enough to get a library card.

If you still want to go the Google route, just enter Beginning Photoshop tutorials and you’ll find literally millions of results for you to peruse. The ones I come back to include:

Dansky (https://www.youtube.com/user/ForeverDansky) nice, measured tone, explains at a reasonable pace;

Unmesh Dinda (https://www.youtube.com/channel/unmesh) the opposite of Dansky, excited, fast talking, interesting use of English, strangely compelling;

Anthony Morganti (https://www.youtube.com/user/AnthonyMorganti), Goes into lots of detail at a steady pace (some would say slow) covers many types of software and puts out more videos than anyone else I subscribe to; and Helen Bradley (https://www.youtube.com/channel/helenbradley), very pleasant voice, explains complicated procedures in a simple manner, and, like the other people I just listed, she also covers Lightroom and Illustrator. 

There are other YouTube creators that I see sometimes but the list above contains my go to people to explain everything Photoshop and it’s less formidable than ploughing through Google search results.

My experience with YouTube tutorials (and I’ve seen a LOT) is it’s really a matter of finding a presenter who goes at a speed that suits you, teaches at your level, and whose accent and presentation style you can live with. There are lots of YouTube presenters out there and the accents and style range from transfixing to fingernails on the chalkboard.

Do you have a favorite?

Adobe is a Building Material

posted in: Adobe | 1

Adobe houses.Trying to master the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of applications is a full time project for probably the rest of your life. This is the suite that has Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Dreamweaver and 19 more! You may not live long enough to just learn Photoshop. Even after you think you know something, you have to use that knowledge frequently (like, every day) or you’re going to forget it.

There are hundreds if not thousands of tutorials out there to help you along your path, but it you don’t take copious notes as you learn this stuff you’re going to be continually searching the Internet (how do I make an image show through text?).

Not to confuse you, but I’m going to explain a few things I’ve learned along the way that I found useful. I’ll also mention some good tutorials I’ve found.

I probably won’t do much with Dreamweaver because, well, who uses Dreamweaver any more? But Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom? I’ll be all over them.