Day 60-Some thoughts after 60 days

It has been 60 days since I started my project 365—or as it is this year, a project 366. After these 60 days I have realized some thing that I would like to share with you.

One, finding subjects and ideas are hard to come by. I went into this project knowing that it was not a walk in the park, but now I really can tell you that it takes some dedication and at times the realization that not every photo is or can be great. With that, I also am realizing that this project is more of a discovery of my style and vision, more than it is of making great pictures every day. Also with this, I work full time and am a father of two little boys, which really limits my time to go out and shoot.

Second, RAW rules! I know RAW files have more information in them than say a JPG file, but I have really learned to appreciate the latitude they give in adjusting a photo. With this comes another issue—storage. RAW files from my camera are approximately 25 mb in size. This means an average day of shooting 20-30 photos yields 500 to 750 mb of photos per day.

Third, my computer is starting to show its age. I use Adobe Lightroom to manage my shots an occasionally Adobe Photoshop to make edits. For the most part my computer, an Apple Macbook Pro from 2007 has been great, but when the horsepower is needed for a panoramic or HDR tone mapped shot, one image can take upwards of 30 minutes to an hour to process. Part of the time is due to me processing 3-8 Raw files, which I understand. Today, I ran a panoramic of 7 RAW photos through my works Mac and that only took about 3 minutes total.

Fourth, Your equipment is better than you are . . . most of the time. My camera is an 18 megapixel Canon T1i. I use one of two lenses: 18-55 mm f3.5-5.6 efs and a Tokina 50-135 mm f2.8. The Tokina set me back a bit when I purchased it, but I can say that I love the quality. Even with this lens, I tend to shoot my shots with the standard 18-55 mm lens that came with my camera. I on several occasions have surprised myself at how clean and tack sharp the standard lens can be.

Fifth, I have fallen in love with black and white . . . again (don’t get me wrong, I do like color too). I may be dating myself, but I shot with Kodak Tri-X for years before I went to a digital camera. I even rolled my own canisters and did all of my processing and printing in a lab. There is nothing like the smell of Dektol and fixer in the morning! I love the mood of black and white. I can visualize for the most part what will and will not look good in black and white. Along with black and white, I also love the look of wide angle shots and short depth of field. There is nothing like a shot that focuses your eye on a subject through the use of a shallow depth of field.

Sixth and last, your comments and messages are important to me not only for encouragement, but also for critiques. I am an artist by trade and can take a critique. Please note, that my skin is not super thick but I can take some critique.

Thank you for all the follows and likes. It really does help me continue in the project!



Project 365-Day 48

Into the Blue

“Into the Blue”

Today I was able to take a great class hosted by Kelby Training on Photoshop. The class was at the Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. This is a shot of Wells street looking west which runs under a portion of the convention center. Just be happy I didn’t take any pictures of the Anime Milwaukee conference that was going on in another portion of the convention center.

Fotoshop by Adobé

Below is a great video making the rounds on the net these days. Very funny and well done also. More truth than some would like to admit to, but it is reality. I like to say that yesterday’s wet darkroom is today—Photoshop. Enjoy Fotoshop by Adobé and thanks to Jesse Rosten for producing this little ad!

Project 365-Day 30

The Pour

“The Pour”

Today I tried the beer in a glass shot. From what I have known for some time is backlighting is key. On this shot, there was a light behind the glass on the right just off frame and one on the side of the glass on the left. With very little touch-up in Adobe Lightroom here is the final shot. A couple things I am still wishing for are a third light, more wattage, and some fizz tablets that would have made more head on the beer.

Project 365-Day 29



Today I am practicing lighting techniques using DIY lighting that I made from Home Depot. This is my first try of what I assume will be many subjects using my new lighting, which in all cost about $24 for two lights. (This particular shot is a one light setup with a reflector)

Below is the “behind the scenes” setup of the shot. I will make a post soon of how and what I purchased for lights. One thing to note is that the only way to adjust the power of these lights is the distance from the subject. I shot this and all test shots tethered to my laptop in manual mode with manual focus.


Project 365-Day 28



This is my first real attempt at a food shot. This was all done using natural light from a window and a roll of white paper.I tethered my camera to my computer via USB and then set the shot up and used the Lightroom 3 tethering feature to adjust the shot. Not bad for A first, but I wish I had some lights! Time to save up. I am accepting donations if anyone is interested!

Navigate Photoshop from your iOS Device

Today I downloaded the Adobe Nav app for my Apple iPad and was like a little boy in a candy store once again. Even though my coworker said that this app must have been designed by a guy due to its resemblance to a remote control, it has already proven useful for me on several occasions.

As a designer that works in Adobe Photoshop constantly, I am always looking for faster and more convenient ways to improve my workflow. This app allows me to customize and then use my most often used tools from the toolbar, switch viewing modes and look through, as well as activate different documents that are in the background. Yes, one can argue that a true Photoshop pro should know all the shortcuts, but the clear and colorful interface becomes your shortcuts. It is like having a second; or in my case third monitor that is a touch screen. The Adobe Nav app is $1.99 which is a fair price, but I feel it should just come as free since you need to have bought Photoshop CS 5 or newer which is already a chunk of change in itself. Aside from all the customization, the app program works using WiFi which is connected to your version 12.0.4 or newer Photoshop.

Adobe Nav app for Photoshop and iOS devices

My wish for this app would be that it allows you to use it for the other Adobe applications such as Illustrator and InDesign where once again, a toolbar is used very regularly as part of the design process. It seems like a natural idea to me, but who am I but a user?

Adobe also came out with several other mobile apps that sync with Photoshop in one way or another. These apps are Adobe Eazel and Adobe Color Lava. Eazel allows you to paint on the iPad and then once finished, send it to Photoshop for more work, while the Color Lava is a color mixing tool that integrates into Photoshop’s color pallets. It also allows you to mix colors much like a painter does and then save your colors in groups like Adobe Kuler does on the desktop. Once again, Adobe charges for these tools as well, which I again think should be free as they almost need to interface with Photoshop to be useful. My one wish is that they would come out with an Adobe Bridge file browser for the iPad.

Get more information on Adobe Nav here.

Mobile apps overview information here