Posted by: David Vernon | September 5, 2008

Friday Wraps

Illinois Canyon 2¶I’ve seen numerous photoblogs work their way into a different theme for every day of the week. I’m not sure I’m totally down with that direction but for now one day a week wouldn’t hurt. Maybe it’s just a cheat to condense a couple things into one post to get me outta the office sooner.

Photoshop World is going on right now in Las Vegas. This big get-together is a true “Come to Jesus” meeting for ALL things Photoshop and attracts a lot of top shooters, instructors, and groupies (I’d be a groupie). Now interestingly, Adobe – which makes Photoshop – is getting ready to announce yet ANOTHER upgrade to their premier product. Coming down the pike – at least in announcement form – is Photoshop CS4. But a little preview came today at PS World and at least one feature was leaked by wedding shooter David Ziser. This tech has been around before but it looks like it will finally make it into the product itself.

Now here’s the interesting twist on Photoshop. I recently upgraded from the ancient PS version 7 to the full-fledged CS3. A great piece of software – but honestly I only use about 20% of its available functionality. But still – never thought I would go another route. And then Adobe introduced LightRoom – and especially version 2.0. And suddenly a lot of shooters are saying that LR is enough. More then enough. Think of LR as a real powerful front-end to Photoshop with about 20% of the functionality of Photoshop where it counts. And it’s really the 20% that most photographers need. I’m going to pick up a copy and test it out – but all of my reading indicates that I won’t need to run to PS very often. And that’s okay. And if you know someone in education – you can pick up LR with an educational discount for only $99. (Heck – CS3 Extended was only $299 the same way – a $400 savings). If not – it goes for $299 – but it maybe the only post-processing engine you need. I’ll speak out more as I learn more.

¶One thing I want this blog to represent is a place to get answers to questions for people in the community who are new to photography. When we have new students at the Art Guild, we often get the same questions. One topic that is always popular is one for folks moving from a point-and-shoot to a Digital SLR (DSLR). The question that comes up is what camera should I buy? Should I buy Canon? Nikon? Something else? And my generic answer to that right now is: Yes. Period. If you like one brand for whatever reason – buy that brand. If you don’t care – it doesn’t really matter. I’ve had the privilege to shoot high-end Canon and Nikon – and a lot of Pentax film cameras – in my day. They all work. They all work well. You almost certainly can’t go wrong. So don’t sweat the brand too much – make sure the camera has the features you want and fits within the niche/pricepoint that you also want. Got questions along those lines – I’ll answer ’em.

¶Another thing that often comes up in class are questions about travel photography – but more specifically what to I take with me from a gear perspective without really weighing myself down. And really what lens do I need. Photographer Chas Elliot writes an insightful article on what works best for him and I think he hits a home run. He basically boils it down to two lens and one body when he goes. The lenses: an all-in-one 11:1 or higher zoom (like my beloved Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 VRII AF-S etc.) and a superb low-light performing prime (like the Nikon 28 f/2.8 or the Nikon 35 f/2.0). This is enough to cover your bases in a lot of directions. My dad, who just took his Nikon D40 through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, did it all with his 18-70 f/3.5-4.5 kit lens. There were times where he wished he had other options. As we discussed it on his return, the subject of lens rentals came up. How many of you have thought of that as an option? If you haven’t – you should. I’ve used one rental company numerous times – They’re priced fairly, ship quickly, provide insurance, and work well. And if you’re going somewhere for a week – or two – why not try it out. The images you can come back with will probably offset the prices of a lens or two for a week or two. There are other reputable renters out there – but this is not a bad place to start.

Some things to think about on a Friday afternoon.

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