The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Programs, Podcasts, and more...

The new year has started well for me.  On January 1, I received an email from the North American Nature Photography Association telling me that one of my photos I had submitted was being showcased on their website for the day.  This is the second time they have showcased one of my photos.  I have received
any emails from people interested in the classes and I hear that the workshop scheduled for the 18th at the National Archives has quite a few people registered.  The Fayette Photo Club had the first meeting of 2008 last night and many familiar faces were there – plus a newbie.  It was a great meeting!


Sunday I bought a new laptop.  The old laptop was making me a little nervous.  I need it for a presentation coming up and it has been going so slow, not shutting down properly, and well – I just was afraid I would show up to do the program and the computer would crash!  The new laptop has Vista.  So far, I have no problems with it.  Yesterday I used it to edit a photo – got what I wanted – saved it to my jump drive.  I then carried the jump drive to the office, plugged it in the desktop, and printed the photo.  I don't kn ow for sure – but I think since my printer is old – well – it may not be Vista friendly.  The new laptop has a good size hard drive, even though that was not as important to me since I have also purchased a new portable hard drive.  The feature I really wanted was the working memory – this one has 2GB.  My old laptop only has 512, which is the reason it chugs along so slowly these days. 


I have also added some new software.  I purchased Photoshop Elements 6 when it first came out.  Now I am learning it and liking it.  Inside the box were other offers (of course there were!).  One of the offers that caught my attention was for Essentials 2.  This add on (or plug in as they call it) for Photoshop Elements has four features.  One feature, "Make It Better" seems like an "auto fix" to me.  I looked at it yesterday and really did not care for the "better" version of my photo.  "Cut It Out" is one I have not used, along with "Frame It."  They do just what they sound like – "cut it out" gets rid of the back ground in your photo and "frame it" adds frames to the photo file.  The feature that caught my eye and really pushed me to order this program is "Enlarge It."  I used this feature yesterday and love it!  Last November, I sent photos in to the jury for the Southeastern Flower Show.  One of my photos was accepted in the contest.  They sent back to me specifics on matting and framing – which is why I was at the frame shop yesterday.  The proof I had submitted was 8x10 but I wanted to put a larger size of that photo in the show.  I did not know how large I could go with that photo without getting distortion in the print.  Up until yesterday, I had only printed this photo as 8x10 or smaller.  When I printed it at 11x14 it looked okay – but I could see some tiny places where it was starting to *pixel out on me (yes – this is my new phrase, I invented it – "pixel out" see below).  This was when I got out the laptop and loaded the photo on with the new programs.   Enlarge It allows you to increase the size of a photo up to 400%.  This does not mean every photo can be increased that much – but it will bump up the size to fit your needs.  My very slightly, pixely-looking 11x14 became a very sharp and great-looking 12x16 – I mean it looked GREAT!  This was as large as I wanted to go with it .  The specifications for framing said nothing over 30"x30" – and I was planning on putting a 4-inch mat around the photo, plus the frame – so I think I am just under the limit.  I am very pleased with this program if I only use this one feature.  This will come in very handy when I am working with old family photos and would like to make them much larger.  It is also a plus to have when you want to crop out just a part of a photo – this gives you a smaller file, of course, than the whole, original, large file.  You could then use this feature to bump up the crop to the same size as the original file – or even take it larger.  Here is a link to the website:  When you purchase Elements 6, there is a coupon for Essentials 2 in the box to save $20 off the price.  Since I love this Enlarge It so much – the Genuine Fractals 5 program is looking verrrrry interesting to me.  Hmmm, increasing the size of your original by 1000%!!!


OK – enough about the program……How about podcasts?  My favorite photography podcast of all time is Brooks Jensen's Lenswork - on photography and the creative process.  This is the same Brooks Jensen and Lenswork that is the wonderful magazine of black and white images.  The magazine is wonderful – each issue highlights three photographers and their work.  Here is the link to the Lenswork website:  Even if you don't have an iPod or other mp3 type of device, you can listen to  podcasts on your computer.  I download mine through iTunes and do put them on my iPod.  If you don't have an iPod – you can still have an iTunes account – for free!  The podcasts are free!  They are short – most not over 5 minutes and very enlightening.  Although the magazine is purely B&W – the podcasts cover many subjects and really make you think.


Oh – and did I mention I have a Wacom Intuos3 on the way to my door?  More on this when I get it and figure out how to use it….



*pixel out – when you push a digital photo just a little too far and it look like it.

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