[apologies for lack of links – written from train to Sheffield on which internet is not too reliable (i.e. non-existent.) Google is your friend]
It’s been a productive journey so far. I’ve removed the yellow testicle from my patchwork jeans, after it was pointed out to me that it could also be mistaken for a urine stain. I’ve replaced it with some elephants, sewn on whilst listening to the latest episode of This Week in Photography (TWIP). I’m loving it, and I can feel myself progressing up the same learning curve as I did when I started listening to MacBreak Weekly last year. Before I started listening to TWIP I didn’t fully appreciate the flexibility offered by RAW, I never thought about my camera’s ISO settings, I was lax in my use of tags, and also assumed that when it came to megapixels, more = better (not necessarily true. To get more megapixels, the original sensor is simply divided up into smaller pixels, thus increasing the number of them but actually decreasing the overall surface area available for actively sensing the light due to there being more space given over to necessary gaps between the individual pixels).
It’s been a great couple of weeks for digital photographers, first with the release of Apple’s Aperture 2, and then shortly afterwards Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 2 (Beta). Personally, I’m a Lightroom user, and I tell you, this new version is just lovely, I am so excited by it. Finally, we have completely non-destructive local editing, a real breakthrough.
(Local editing carried out in Photoshop on Jpegs etc actually changes the original image, meaning that if at a later date you want to undo what you’ve done in the past, you can’t. Also, you will get progressive deterioration of the quality of your image with every edit carried out. The beauty of working with RAW files is that the original data as seen by the camera sensor is never touched; changes are simply recorded in the form of meta data that is bolted on to the image. When you subsequently open the image, the computer refers to that meta data to see how it should interpret and display the original image. Until now, when it came to editing RAW files in Lightroom it was only possible to make changes to an entire image, such as increase exposure or contrast. Now, with local editing, we can apply such changes to specific areas of an image, thus, for example, shots which have a well-exposed foreground but a blow-out sky are no longer necessarily write-offs).
Both Aperture and Lightroom are available as 30-day trials – if you enjoy photography and have a camera that can shoot in RAW, you may want to give them a try. (As for which one to go for, it’s a matter of personal taste. Note that the Lightroom 2 is a REAL Beta version, and you may not be able to use that library once the Beta expires in August, so it’s just for playing, so you may want to download Lightroom 1.3 instead).
People who shoot in Jpeg haven’t missed out either, as last week Adobe launched Photoshop Express – the online version of Photoshop. It’s pretty good, a great example of the kind of slick online apps we’re likely to see a lot more of in the next few years. It’s works beautifully with Facebook albums (it had mine loaded in seconds), and will shortly be able to interact with Flickr too.
And now you can take photos in the past! Earlier today I watched David Pogue’s video report on the new Casio digital camera: it can shoot up to 60 frames a second – and will even take photos in the past if you happen to press the shutter just a bit too late! It sounds like science fiction, but it ain’t.
With these developments, and other cameras like Nikon’s D3 being released, it really is a tremendously exciting time to be getting into digital photography. The best thing however is that even the cheapest digital cameras are now capable of capturing great shots, meaning that anyone who wants to partake, can.
Anyway, the train is now approaching Derby where I catch a bus for Sheffield. Time for me to gather my stuff, and make the final leg of my journey to university, the last time I do so as a student.