Technical: Canon G11, 1/320 sec, f4.5, focal length 30.5

A little Photoshop can go a long way. I’ve other shots of this fish with more rich brown coloring. But it appears this guy is really black and white. Even for fish it’s the eye. There’s a little catch light and it looks more appealing. This is a big fat fish with little fins and I figured it couldn’t swim fast. Wrong. It’s faster than me. I did a little zoom. The problem with zooming is finding and keeping your subject in the image frame.



Technical: Nikon D90, 1/125 sec, f3.5, focal length 18

I like this portrait Susan shot of her grand daughter. The lighting is sweet. There is enough blurring of the background to make it pleasing. Yeah, it could be tweaked a bit. But mostly this is fine. It’s good as a horizontal image. I might crop/zoom closer. But the trade off is to loose the doll. I think it’s an important element. It’s something to think about. What to include or exclude? This is the decision of what the photographer sees to be important to their image. Again, I would encourage experimenting in the camera. Take a couple more images rather than think that you can compensate in Photoshop.

Lovey Dovey

Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1/100 sec, f3.5, focal length 60

David sent this in, a portrait of his beloved birds. It’s an interesting composition. The upside down view is distinct. So why don’t I love this more? The colors could pop a little more. And I might try a different cropping. Since it’s the upside down pose that’s interesting, maybe a vertical crop with less of the bodies. Just concentrate on the eyes and head. It would be stronger graphically. Here’s an instance in which I would go ahead, edit, and enhance in Photoshop.

Image Framed

Technical: Canon DSLR

Jennifer has purchased her first DSLR and has taken some lessons. Her work will be presented over the next few days. She was concerned about mastering all the classroom information. Mostly, it’s about mileage. The more you use your camera, the more you will learn to use techniques that are important to getting the image you want. A DSLR doesn’t make you a better photographer but it helps to control the conditions in which you get the image you have visualized. So, good luck, kid. Obviously this was an image processed in a photo edit program. The flowers are well done. In each quadrant there is a center of interest, which binds the image. To me this is cutsey, but I don’t mind that Jennifer made this.


Technical: Canon G11, 1/1000 sec, f4, focal length 6.1mm

Susan sent this shot and had already post processed with a vignette. I like this better than the original shot. She was unhappy about the pole. Photoshop and a bit of time can make about anything disappear. To me it’s too much work. I don’t object to the pole myself. And in the viewfinder if you find a pole, move the kids or the camera, or both. It’s been a while since I took an image thinking, “Oh, I’ll just fix it in Photoshop later.” I tend to move camera and subject and save a lot of editing time. Sometimes you can’t always do that, but it helps to think before you press the shutter.

Color Balance Underwater

Technical: Canon G11, 1/400 sec, f2.8, focal length 6.1

Color correction will get you only so far. I know that the real color is orange red. So I color corrected in Photoshop. It’s a bit contrasty and oversaturated. By the way this pair of fish protect the coral in the background. They actually swim at you when you swim too close. On the technical side, I let the camera stay in auto mode for exposure and ISO. I also shot in wide angle. I held the camera in hand without using the viewfinder or LCD (street photography technique). You get a lot of misses. This is partly because there is a lag from the time you press the shutter and when the image is taken. It’s all in the timing. Composition is simply swimming as close to the fish as you can and fire before they swim off. Drifting into place with your hand out in front and camera turned toward the fish works most of the time. Everything, diver and fish, is moving simultaneously. So far my percentage of good shots is low.

Underwater Photography

Clam, color corrected

Technical: Canon G11, 1/60 sec, f4, focal length 6.1

Underwater photography is a work in progress for me. There is equipment and there is technique. And then there is light. As you go deeper the reds are lost first. Finally all is blue green. This is hardly appealing. I have tried to photograph while snorkeling.

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“Worth the Price of Admission” Slide Scanning

Nikon Scan Software


David (Sack)

I just want to be sure that you have my greatest thanks for tipping me off to Vuescan. In follow up to your kind suggestion at my blog, I trialed the software and then purchased it. It is twice as fast as the Nikon software. What a great find. I had heard of the software but was hesitant to try it. Your help on this is beyond words. It is as they would say in the USA, “Better than sliced bread.” Thanks again. I will blog post my thanks to you as well in the coming days. http://www.saturn-films.co.uk/

As the saying goes, I am sometimes slow to learn and then “lightbulb!!”

orchardparkway.wordpress.com Donna made a comment on April 14 on about slide scanning. I followed up a prior post with a new illustrated description of my setup. I have been a long time reader of photo.net and have read descriptions of scanning and woes of matching software and hardware. Nikon film scanners have been discontinued. Nikon has stopped supporting their scan software. And with the new advent of Mac OS X Lion, the old software doesn’t work because it’s a Power PC conversion program. In a nutshell, my scanner shouldn’t work with my Mac. Well, it does work. I’ve been afraid to change anything. Everytime you mess around, it’s days and days of agony until you have an efficient workflow established again. If you have read this far then you know that scanning film/slides is about getting the orginal image digitized so that it matches reasonably on the computer screen. This opens a whole big “can of worms.” You’re matching aging film media with software tranlators, photoediting programs, and LCD monitors. Depending on your OCD personality, this can truly be a great big headache.

I have heard of third party scan software like Silverfast and Vuescan, but because Nikon Scan software works so far, I have been deathly afraid to change what works. I also read at: Photo.net

The photo enthusiasts have a forum for digital darkroom and have been trading tips on scanning. The problems they discuss have kept me reticent to try anything new if what I have is working. Gee, did I say that already?

Parenthetically, for years, I have gone to bed mulling a computer problem that seems in unsolvable. I wake in the morning with new ideas that often work. Now science is saying that we continue to process problems while asleep. Imagine that!

The big experiment: I downloaded a free copy of the software at: hamrick.com

It’s a free trial with watermarks until you buy the software. I scanned in a Macbeth color chart. I can honestly say it worked in a few minutes. I use a Nikon Coolscan 5000 with an SF210 batch feeder. This is important because I’m about half way done scanning/editing more than 100, 000 slides, about 3070 rolls. Nuts! You bet!

The software even recognizes the batch feeder. The color scan is accurate enough compared to the original … so far. And it’s fast!! I’m now scanning at about a slide a minute with the software set to ignore dust and scratches. My old computer was between 3-5 minutes a scan. My Macbook Pro is scanning at less than 1 minute right now. At this rate there is a chance that my slide scanning project will actually be complete in this decade maybe even this year. So thanks again to David and to Donna. Their suggestions and comments have made a real difference for me.

The examples here are of slides that would challenge the software and scanner. You can see the sunset is a matter of taste. And fog is always hard. Depending on the settings there is still work in Photoshop to make final editing decisions.

Nikon Scan

Vuescan, not quite, but acceptable

Nikon Scan

Vuescan, different look

Baby, Beer, and Chips

My friend Alex asked me to manipulate two pictures to combine them into a single image. Nothing is real anymore. I’m pretty much a down and dirty Photoshop user. No layers or any such thing for me. Clone stamp tool is the way to go.

  1. Color balance the baby to roughly the same as the chair. Use levels. The baby is too blue.
  2. Size down the baby. Image size and % down by 10% each try till you get the proportionate size.
  3. Clone stamp. I start at the head and add in the rough body. Make the stamp smaller for the edges.
  4. Use the erase tool to sharpen the borders. Or use the brush tool to blend the transition.
  5. Done. The baby is a bit proportionally large for the chair but the effect is what Alex wanted.

Alex put it into a Powerpoint presentation. I spent about 10 minutes. No problem. No babies were harmed in the making of this picture. Nothing you see is real anymore.


Technical: Kodak Ektachrome slide

Here’s a trick that I promised to post for Donna. Ordinarily I discard my imperfect shots. I have too many that are good. Here, my daughter wouldn’t have appreciated being cast aside. So to salvage the image, I used a trick that I read somewhere and managed to remember because it’s short and sweet. It will help. It won’t necessarily save you. But it will salvage an otherwise lost image. It really works when you least expect to get anything back. So to my wife who would have discarded this image in an instant, here’s why I save everything. (She’s probably right to some degree, but she won’t be reading this post.)


The original is degraded by flare. It may have been inadvertent exposure of the film as the camera back was opened. I’m using Photoshop. Select all. Copy all. Go and make a new layer. Then choose the layer mode as multiply. Paste. The new layer will effect the picture as in multiply. You can repeat. You can tone down by lowering the opacity.

Level adjust, color balance

I used levels and did some color correction. Then I multiplied again. For the purposes of the exercise, I did not make any adjustment to opacity. Last, I used the levels to adjust color once more. It’s quick and dirty. You could spend a lot more time and get things better. The multiply layers is a good standby to help salvage a mistake in exposure.

Second multiply

Level adjust, color balance