The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Plug-ins

After finding out how wonderful a plug-in can be and how great the black and white conversion plug-in was -- I had to try the color...

Not long after I posted the last blog I downloaded the trial versions of Color Efex and Viveza from the Nik website. At first I thought I would only want one of them and the download was to try them both out to decide which one would be more beneficial. So guess what -- I found that I had to have them both!

Color Efex Pro 3.0 is a myriad of filters that you will love to have at your fingertips. Even thought I own a graduated neutral density filter -- I have already used the filter provided in this plug-in twice. If this list of filters seems overwhelming -- you have tabs to the left that separates the list into filters used for certain types of photography (portrait, landscape, etc.). The filters all come with sliders that appear on the right side of the screen to give you almost too many options to tweak the photo to get just the look you are after. Also found on the right side of the screen are some of the control points that make the Nik plug ins so cool. You get two control points -- one adds the effect to certain areas of a photo and the other point takes the effect away. I have been playing with black and white photos in Elements for a long time -- using layers and masking out to bring a little color pop into that black and white photo. This plug in allows me to convert the photo to black and white and then by strategically placing the control points to add color back and make sure it stays out of certain parts of my photo. It is easy and fast.

Just as the Silver Efex plug in had the list of popular black and white films to achieve the look of the film type with your digital image -- Color Efex has a list of well-know color films. For those of you lamenting the days of using Fuji Velvia to get the wonderful saturated colors that can make a landscape extra special -- you can get the look of Velvia with one click of a mouse! The film effects feature offers the look of over 30 film types.

OK -- so enough about Color Efex -- let's talk about Viveza. What is this and why would you want it? Viveza gives you the most precise control over light and color in your photo. The control points that are so wonderful in the other plug in products now give you major control over specific colors. The control point allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, red, green, blue, and warmth for the specific color you select by placing the point on the color. After downloading this product to compliment Color Efex -- well -- I like it. I have used Color Efex and then used Viveza on the same photo to tweak the brightness in very specific areas of the photo to get just the look I wanted.

So like I said with Silver Efex Pro -- go to the Nik Software website to view the lesson videos and download the 15-day trial of the plug in to give them a try. The photo with this blog was processed using both Color Efex and Viveza. I used film effects to give this photo the look of Velvia and then used Viveza to highlight even more the sunlight on the leaves in the upper right part of the photo.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nik Plug Ins

I have fallen victim to the world of plug ins. I always thought why would you need all those extras -- I mean really, the photo-editing program does plenty. And besides that -- who has the time or even wants to spend more time at the computer than you have to. Taking the photos is the fun part, right? Right? Well, maybe a plug in or two is not such a bad thing and it can be fun and perhaps help shave some minutes off of editing time.

A few weeks ago I was leafing through a magazine and noticed Nik Silver Efex Pro. OK -- I had to try it. I was kind of put out that their trial period was for only 15 days. I was expecting at least 30 days to try it. But no -- only half that. But even though I thought that was a little light for a trial period -- I was very intrigued and downloaded the trial anyway.

The weirdest thing was that I had to install it three times before it was showing up in the filter section of my Elements program. I don't know if it was me not knowing for sure what I was doing or what. I did the exact same thing all three times. I guess the third time is the charm for sure!

All I can say is if you like black and white -- you will love this plug in. It works with Photoshop, Elements, and Aperture. You get a variety of ways to view your photo while you work on it -- either side by side with the original or it uses a movable line that splits the photo to show before and after. You get views of many black and white styles like push processes, high contrast with a variety of color filters, etc. You have complete control over the brightness, contrast, and structure.

Nik has a feature called U Point -- a control point you place in the photo to give selective control over sections you choose. This feature is also found in other Nik plug ins -- Viveza and Color Efex Pro are on my list of things I have to have soon.

With Silver Efex Pro you can also get the look of 18 of the most popular black and white films. Remember when we used to use film??? And for each film type you can tweak the grain, color sensitivity, and tone curves.

A really cool part of this is that you get to select the look you want for your photo and then click "brush" at the bottom of the window to return to Photoshop or Elements. This will allow you to brush the black and white effect into the original images only where you want it. If you want the whole photo transformed to the black and white version -- you simply click "OK." If you change your mind and do not want the black and white effect -- click "cancel."

The Nik website has great tutorial videos to show you just what this nifty little add on can do for you. This link will get you to the overview of the product. To view the videos -- click on the 'lessons' tab. Here you will also find the link to download the 15-day trial.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Latest Issue of Moonshine

I just received an email to let me know that the latest issue of Moonshine, a magazine of the southern arts is available online (& free) in its entirety at

Thanks Robin -- it looks like a great issue! The following is from Robin's email:

These days and nights, the winds of culture, politics, and everything else seem to change at the drop of the hat. So what do artists do in such unpredictable times? Sometimes change can be an unforeseen catalyst, whipping up all sorts of artistic delights --- Writings, music, paintings, photography... perhaps, by the light of the moon. Take a moment to find some inspiration in the work of Southern writers & artists.

Jasmine Rizer's lively serial, "Keeping it in the Family" concludes; Part 1 is available at "Keeping it in the Family"; Karen Hennessee finds the maroon while Brenda Basham reflects on the Greatest Romantic Story ; Sandra Jones Cropsey answers, Who's there? , while McCabe Coolidge continues his series, Seven Questions with this question: How did your Robin die? Thoughtful poetry from Brenda L Basham (Images) , Russell Lee Hale I (a pair: I Know Not, The Mask; The Mask ), John S Moon (Lonely Soldier) , Sandy Vanderbleek (he) and a collection of Haikus by Gilbert Head.

Studio views features Sandra Babb's essay on Politely Painting the Preacher Lady; Despina Panagakos Yeargin thinks vibrant and funky painter, Jeffrey Callaham is in Love -- check out her interview and his work to see for yourself! Photographer Frank Hamrick reflects on the goodness of growing your food and finds inspiring subjects for photography, too. Hannah Leatherbury's audio interview (a podcast) with fiber sculpture artist Justine Dennis delves into this quirky artist's mind. Allen Bell and Hannah Leatherbury also encourage you to Steal this Idea! (courtesy of the Southern Arts Federation).

robin fay continues to explore Creativity (pt. 6 in a series, focusing on the role of artists in society) while Rachel Anders explores the art and music in her neighborhood in The Arts in Iredell County. Hannah Leatherbury shares colleague Allen Bell's interviews with participants in the Southern Circuit Tour, a tour of independent films, in Southern Circuit Tour, interview with filmmaker, Jed Riffe and Southern Circuit Tour interviews with filmmaker, Muhammad Naqvi ; both are podcasts with Muhammad Naqvi's article including a video clip of the trailer for his film Shame. Regular contributor Brenda Basham reflects on Psychological Ponderings: Quality Equality; while Dorothy Birch offers us some tips for Stoking Your Creative Fires This Fall. as well as some colorful seasonal photos.

Donna Rosser aka the Barefoot Photographer shares her Fall Photo Opportunities and enchanting photographs with us.

Book reviews for October are Enclosure by Andy Goldsworthy reviewed by Andrew Shupling, a book of work by ephemeral artist, Andy Goldsworthy, who works with items in nature, such as rocks, leaves, snow, and even the rain as it falls on the ground;

Three Shadows reviewed by Andrew Shupling, a graphic novel by Cyril Pedrosa (a former Disney illustrator) and Dali & I: The Surreal Story by Stan Lauryssens reviewed by Heather Kline, an interesting insight into both the contemporary art market and the creation of the DalĂ­ persona. Music matters features a review of Down the Road I'll Go, by Curt Bouterse, "fret-less oldtime music"; while Hannah Leatherbury talks with Reuben Hoch of the Chassidic Jazz Project, a group who fills voids in both the Jazz and World music genres. (courtesy of the Southern Arts Federation).

Check in with a Short Girl comix, book reviews, work from the Southerncreativity gallery (@ Flickr), art announcements & calls for entries.

If you would like to receive moonshine in its entirety via email, please drop us a line at Subject: Subscribe

Feedback? Comments? Want to contribute (or add art events)? Please drop us a line at

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Genealogy Fair & Pie Contest

The National Archives, Southeast Region is having a Fall Genealogy Fair and Pie Contest October 18 from 9 am to 4 pm. The facility is located at 5780 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, GA.

A few weeks ago I received an email from my friend at the National Archives asking me if I would come give a short presentation on restoring and preserving old family photos. Of course I would love to! So I am! I will be presenting from 2 to 3 pm. There are many very interesting presentations throughout the day.

In addition to my talk about preserving your old photos – Christine Wiseman from the Georgia Archives will tell you how to care for your family archives. Just what are family archives? Well, old family bibles, letters, deeds, certificates, etc. Just about anything paper you want to keep and preserve for future generations. Christine will discuss storage materials and techniques.

Kevin Kuharic from historic Oakland Cemetery will be on hand to discuss cemetery preservation. He will also talk about the damage (and repairs) from the tornado that went through Atlanta and Oakland last spring.

In addition to these interesting programs – you will learn all you need to know about searching for information at the archives and using many new online features. If you are thinking about getting started searching for your roots or have been doing it for a while, this is a great place to spend a Saturday to ask as many questions as you can think of and get some great tips.

Registration for this event is $20 and includes lunch provided by Honeybaked Ham! Oh and I forgot the best part – you can bring a pie (dig out a good old family recipe) to share and enter in the contest. At 3 pm ribbons and prizes will be awarded.

For more information and to get the registration form – click on this link

About year ago I wrote a blog about the National Archives and what an interesting place it is to visit. If you haven’t read it – here is a handy link to find it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sams Lake

A few days ago I visited the Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary. It is finally completed!

The land was donated to the Southern Conservation Land Trust by the Sams family. The City of Atlanta was involved in this project to mitigate construction of the new runway at Hartsfield Airport. It seems like a lot of money was spent and it took a long time. The project was started in 2004 but a series of tropical storms washed it out -- literally. I am glad the space is here and it is so close to me.

I do have to admit that I am a little disappointed. After visiting the wetlands center in Clayton County – I had hoped that this space would be similar to that. A looping pathway would have made all the difference. Five million dollars was spent to get a half-mile mulch path, a few bat houses, a couple observation decks, and a gravel parking lot. Most of the lay of the land was not changed (from what I can see) – perhaps the pond areas were sculpted a little and some large rocks were placed to create the low-level dams to create pool areas across the property. From what I understand there will be more trees planted later this year – willows.

But – hey – why should I complain? It is a nice spot to go take photos and it is so darn close to me it makes it very easy!

I have been there before – after the last attempt at “building” the wetlands. I have seen egrets and hawks. The place was fine before anyone did anything. I think the developers realized that and changed their plans to fall in line with what nature was doing on its own.

Last week I watched a blue heron fly by. The big activity seemed to be butterflies and some frogs. About this time last year, there were pink masses of blooming meadow beauty there. I don’t see them now. It may be a little bit early. There is some goldenrod around. I saw a notice that there was a bird watching activity there this morning. I do hope there are events there to draw people to find it.
The sanctuary is located on Old Senoia Road in Fayetteville, between Harp and Redwine. If you turn onto Old Senoia near the rec. department ball fields (on Redwine) you will drive to the three-way stop at Hawn Road and continue through it. On your left, just past a couple homes you see a gravel drive -- skip this one (the gate there is always locked) and take the second gravel entrance. You have found it! It is open from dawn to dusk daily and there is no fee. If you do go there – and like it a lot – you might consider making a donation to The Southern Conservation Land Trust.

Of course I took some photos. I have been playing around with a new bit of software – a blog on it will come soon. The photo on the blog was taken in color and then manipulated with the software to give it an aged appearance. This is one of the bat boxes at Sams Lake. The photo was taken with one of my ancient Nikon lenses using the converter ring to adapt the lens to my new Canon camera.

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