Monday

Wild weather doesn't dent this DC celebration

The day that Jena & Kirk got married, the remnants of a big tropical storm passed through the Washington area. All morning the torrents came down, and many of the photography plans that we’d hoped for — riding in a horse-drawn coach around the National Mall, shooting pictures at the monuments — had to be called off. But it turned out that the rain moved on through by the time the wedding party moved from St. Peter’s on Capitol Hill over to the Ronald Reagan Building, and we were able to make a few photos outside of the wedding party.


Those highly-polished floors at St.Peter’s made for some interesting compositions during the ceremony. This really is a stunning church that you should visit if you’re in the area sometime.







The reception was held in the Pavillion Room on the second floor of the Reagan Building (also called the International Trade Center.)






A larger edit of images from the wedding can be seen on my website here.

Mounting RadioPoppers right on top of your camera

Reader Steve Lee has come up with what looks like a nice way to mount a RadioPopper Transmitter right on top of your camera.


As you've realized by now if you've bought these amazing little devices, they don't have any sort of shoe-mounting mechanism if you want to use your camera's built-in flash to cue the transmitter. So, unless you were attaching it to a flash that's already in your camera's hot shoe or you're using an SU-800 to trigger your flashes, your options weren't very good.

Steve makes these babies in his garage, and is going to be taking orders for them. As this is truly a cottage industry, he says he's going to make about 20 at a time and then fill orders once he's reached that threshold. I don't have one, because I've got an SU-800 and don't really use the pop-up flash as a trigger.


You can ask questions, place orders or find out more by emailing Steve at this address:

taikosteve1955-radiopopperpropper@yahoo.com

It looks like he's taking a piece of acrylic or plastic and molding it so that it will fit in your hot shoe and then give enough clearance for the pop-up flash to work when it's fully sprung. Clever.

Friday

Using Camera Profile Presets in Lightroom 2

Matt Kloskowski recently posted two good videos over at LightroomKillerTips.com about how to use the new Camera Raw Profiles that Adobe has created to work with Lightroom 2. They're worth watching.



When Adobe first put out these profiles, I installed them but didn't really have much of a clue about what they did. Now, after watching Matt's first video on the subject I've made my own presets for them and find that I use them all the time.

Basically, the profiles are designed to emulate what you might see if you opened up your RAW or DNG files in Nikon or Canon's raw processing programs like Capture NX. What threw me at first was that they have names that don't really tell me anything about them. They're called things like "D2X Mode 1 Beta 1" and since I've never owned a D2X I figured they just weren't for me.

But it turns out this is just the crazy way that Adobe named them, probably because they're named that way in Capture NX. Here, in a nutshell, is how to take advantage of these puppies..

First, download and install them. That's quick and easy, and is explained handily at http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/DNG_Profiles.

Next, pick a photo that you've shot with a Nikon if you're using the Nikon profiles or something that you've shot with a Canon if you're using the Canon profiles, and then jump in to the DEVELOP module. It's not necessary to make any toning adjustments, though it also won't hurt you if you do.

On the right-hand panel, scroll all the way down to "Camera Calibration" (or just hit CMD-7 if you're on a Mac) and then click on the "Profile" drop-down menu. There, if you've installed things correctly, you'll see the options for the different profiles.

Select one with your mouse and see what it does to your photo. In some cases it may show you a dramatically different image. BUT, you won't see any change in the various Hue and Saturation sliders in the Calibration panel.

Now, if you had to scroll down to that panel and test out each one of those pull-down menu options every time you worked with a photo, that would get mighty old in a hurry. So here's the secret: make presets of each one of them.

Select one of the profiles, and for the moment don't worry about whether it makes your picture look good or bad. Then create a new preset by clicking on the little "+" sign (or by using the keyboard shortcut "CMD-SHIFT-N.") When the "New Develop Preset" window appears, the fastest way to create is to uncheck all the options, and then just click on the "Calibration" button. Then give it a name that makes sense to you. Something like, "Camera D2X Mode 1 Beta 1." Do this for each profile option. Trust me, it's worth it.

The beauty of this is that you can then use your Navigator panel and the Preset panel to get a quick preview of what the camera profile will do to your image without having to actually apply it to the image. When you hover your mouse over any preset, the navigator window shows you what your photo will look like IF you decide to then click to apply the preset. That little gem is one of the beee-yootiful things about Lightroom that I love. And though I never used the navigator window when I first started using the program, once I learned that I started using it all the time. Saves me loads of trial and error. And I find that the profiles often give me a better baseline image to start with once I do get in to serious toning, which improves the quality of the images I give to clients.