Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Adobe Lightroom V1.0 - finally here

Lightroom banner

I have been using Adobe Lightroom since about September last year. There have been several beta version upgrades and now we finally have version 1.0 ready and shipping.

Lightroom is great. A refreshing change in the way we deal with our growing libraries of digital images. The program is built for digital photographers and is designed with efficient workflow as a central priority.

It is a great organisational tool utilising a library database which references images in their physical location and saves sets of organisational and processing instructions in the database without altering the image.

The RAW processing gives beatiful results which can be exported for print, slideshow, email, and web all from the RAW file. No need for duplicate files for different purposes. Versions and stacks are a welcome addition from B4.

The organisational features are also very nice. You can import images in a folder structure that mimics your physical hard drive storage. You can also place images in 'virtual' collections...an image can be in several different collections without having to duplicate the file.

My speil here is quite brief and just touches on some of my favourite things about Lightroom... read more in the links listed below.

My Favourite tips:
1. Drag images to LR library to import.
2. alt-double click on image moves you from develop to grid view and back.
3. Auto advance with ratings and picks (Caps Lock on)
4. Export to the watched folder so that your images are auto imported to a sortbox.
5. Ctrl click within a library panel to get unions of sets of images. Ctrl click across panels to get intersections.
6. Export to PS droplet to batch apply actions.
7. Click folder path at left lower screen for drop down list of recent 'locations' in the library
8. When entering new keyword: type keyword>parent to maintain heirarchy.
9. ctrl-alt-arrow to move back and forth from recent views.
10. To update folder contents: rt click>show in explorer. Then drag the folder from windows onto LR window and all new images will be imported.

Resources: All extremely useful...

Adobe Official LR site
- has some good introductory videos. This is where to get your free 30day trial download.
Lightroom News
Lightroom Extra - a great site from Sid Jervis. Lots of tips, free presents, user customisations and other goodies. Has a great FAQ for newbies - essential reading for making the transition from B4.
Sean McCormack's LR Blog. Similar content to Lightroom news.
Adobe User Forum
Digital Outback Photo - LR review. - nice overview.
Foto Espresso - Lightroom edition. - more detailed article in this excellent free online magazine.
Video Tutorials Michael Tapes. Another good set of tutorials. Michael Tapes was the front man for RawShooter and carries on his excellent teaching with LR.

More stuff: (added 22/2/07)

Inside Lightroom - O'Reilly Digital Media - has a great blog. good stuff about workflow here.
Custom metadata viewer for LR by Jeffrey Friedl
regex.info/blog/2007-02-20/386 more info on the viewer. Works well.
Inside Lightroom - free develop presents. non that I really like so far but will see what offerings they come up with.

Update: 5/4/07

Feature Wish List
1. Auto watched folders.
2. Larger keyword sets - or checkboxes next to keywords heirarchy for quick keywording
3. Vignette tool for cropped images
4. Improved performance.
5. Allow same name file with different extension in same folder.
6. Turn off view of subfolder images when a folder is selected.
7. Separate Keywording module.
8. Allow editing of EXIF
9. Brighter colours for labels
10. Better noise control and sharpening. (like RSP)
11. Scroll within panels.
12. Get filters off the filmstrip
13. Allow quick collection marker to be displayed without being clickable.
14. Allow export queue.
15. Print to file. Especially for contact sheets.
16. Save place in library when deleting from loupe.
17. Easier renaming. Double click on name.
18. Stacks across folders.
19. Better search with And/Or selections
20. Smart collections.
21. Burn Slideshow to DVD with music that can be played on DVD player.
22. Allow undo delete.
24. Search for keyword synonyms.
25. Export synonyms and other keyword information when keyword list is exported.
26. Allow editing in Adobe 1998 colour space.
27. Print lightening.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Surfer's Dream

Surfer's Dream, originally uploaded by Kev.yong.

This photo is from an epic surf trip to the Philippines. It's a photo of my mate Simon who shared some perfect waves with me during our 3 week adventure.

The surf break is just out of town from a place called Baler on the east coast of Luzon Island. Quite a remote spot. No other surfers. Every morning we would make the hour long trip to the mangrove.

The walk through the mangrove was surreal...no wind, the water like warm mercury, surrounded by mountains, tiny swells pushing through to the shore behind us... the magrove twigs bent over and then flicked upright in rows like a mexican wave as each wave passed.

I had the slide printed. The slide is lost. All I have left is the print. This is a scan of the print converted to black and white. I have a whole stash of slides and prints to scan from my travels around the world... more to come when I get organised.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

City Beach - Game On

Game On, originally uploaded by Kev.yong.

One of my favourite shots - dug it up from the archives.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What lens to buy?

A frequent question from those starting out in photography. "What lens should I get? Which is the best lens? "

Read this thread from the Fred Miranda forums. Sums up the answer perfectly.

Basically, there is no best lens. The lens you choose depends on what you want to shoot and what you feel your current gear cannot provide you. As you explore various styles of photography, you will need specific lenses to get specific qualities in your images. Unfortunately, you can spend a lot of cash doing this. Beware!

For a lot of people, their SLR is really a big point and shoot with a nice sensor. Good for holiday pics and snaps of friends etc. A good zoom is ideal for these photographers, but while a zoom is flexible, there are many compromises. There is no lens that does everything.

Zooms have smaller appertures - means slower shutter speeds and reduced ability to create nice out of focus areas with shallow depth of field.
Zooms are not as sharp as primes, and have lower overall image quality (flare, chromatic abberation, distortion).
Zooms can't focus as close as primes - especially macro lenses.
Zooms can't tilt and shift.

So start with a zoom. Figure out if you can live with the compromises. If not, then find a lens which can do what you feel is missing in your zoom. When you start out, don't try to build a kit that will do everything. You'll probably get it wrong because you need experience to know what you need - everyone shoots differently and you need to get stuff that suits your style.

Enough rambling from me. Get out, shoot, have fun.