After a long wait, Apple has finally produced a new Mac Pro workstation. While these machines are no-doubt awesome, they are clearly designed for hard-core video production. They offer not only the fastest processors, but dual GPU graphics cards. The most significant feature of the new Mac Pros is its size. They are very small. Gone are any internal storage or expansion options. There is one internal drive, which is flash-based (SSD). There are no PCIe expansion ports. This machine is tiny, but it means you’ll need to utilize external storage options for your data; either via USB 3 or Thunderbolt (there are no eSATA ports on the new Mac Pro).
Despite delivering what I’m sure is a fantastic machine, I’m not quite ready to drop $3500-$4000 into a new computer and then have to spend additional money to migrate my existing internal drives into external enclosures. My 2010 Mac Pro is a robust machine, and one reason why I got it was its expansion options. I’m able to add PCI cards and more memory into my existing machine. With that in mind, here are a few upgrades I did that significantly improved my overall computing experience using Lightroom and Photoshop. Continue reading Making that older Mac Pro zippy→
When it comes to post-processing your images, we’ve got a ton of tools to work with, both in our RAW editors and in plug-ins. Sometimes, though, I’ll see images that just look completely over-done. Usually this occurs when the photographer sees an effect and cranks it up really high. But the problem is bigger than that. Often, we’ll create images that have regions that look great with a particular effect, but at the expense of other areas. This is what happens when you apply adjustments globally (to the entire image).
The majority of adjustment tools operate globally; contrast, saturation, sharpening, etc. While we need to make global adjustments to set the foundation of our image, some adjustments can wreak havoc when applied globally. A good example is the Clarity slider in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. This slider affects local contrast (textures) and is extremely powerful. It’s also a tool that can quickly get out of hand. While certain features look great with added Clarity, other areas of the image can start to look extra-terrestrial.
The solution for these types of images is to place specific adjustments only where you need them. I like to use the Clarity slider to examine my image for areas that would benefit from its application, but then I’ll add the effect with the brush tool in Lightroom. The same technique applies to Photoshop users, who can use selection masks to add effects subtly to specific areas of their image.
Here’s a short video I made that illustrates the “Think Globally, Act Locally” paradigm for digital photographers.
Although infrared cameras capture little or no visible light, you still produce a color image in your camera. You can get creative with these colors depending on the type of conversion you have and your software. One favorite technique is the “blue-sky” effect. In this post, I’ll explore a couple of ways you can create this effect with different software packages.
I’ve been taking lots of infrared images with my converted Nikon 1 V1 camera. It’s not just because I think infrared is cool, but there is a method to the madness. Any time you get a new piece of gear, whether it’s a lens, camera, or accessory, you need to learn it. That means spending some serious time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your gear. With an infrared camera, I not only need to understand how the camera itself operates, but also how to best process images to get the creative results I desire. Continue reading My Descent into Infrared Photography, Part 3: One Camera, Multiple Looks→