All posts by Todd

Lightroom 4.1 released

Well, I fired up LR 4 today to make a quick print of 2-5×7’s for someone and got the pop-up notice that 4.1 has been released. 

Here is a link to fixes and updates.  I won’t bother with typing them in all over as Adobe has a nice page themselves.

However here is a list of new things added:

  • The ability to process HDR TIFF files.  (16, 24 or 32-bit TIFF files)  This can be useful if you have merged multiple exposures into a single 32-bit image using Photoshop’s HDR Pro.  Using the new basic panel controls can be a very effective and straightforward method of achieving an overall balance across the tonal range.
  • Additional Color Fringing corrections to help address chromatic aberration.  Click here to learn more
  • Save photobooks created in the Book Module as JPEG files
  • Publishing photos to Adobe Revel is now accessible via a Publish plugin

One interesting note however is that 4.1 is over twice the size of what 4.0 was to install in the first place!  I know they added some new features – but that’s pretty unusual for a 4.1 patch to be that big.  So – looking over the list above – may be the larger file size is due to adding in support for working with HDR files.  I’m still working on some of my sunrise and sunset pics from the Caribbean – so it might be interesting to compare these new features to what I’ve normally done with Photomatix’s HDR Pro.

Installing the upgrade to Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium

Well, I took the plunge – bought the CS 5.5 upgrade to Web Premium and then just this morning I got online with an Adobe tech chat window and got my free promo for CS6 Design and Web Premium.  (They said an email would be sent out for all of those with the free upgrade from CS 5.5 by May 25th – but I haven’t seen it).  I’ve finished with the 4.5GB download and am now doing the install.  Interesting that it didn’t ask about removing the older suite.  I will probably just have to take care of that manually. 

The download was pretty quick using the download manager and didn’t have any problems.  It’s set to take 9.1GB in the install – which is eating up the last bit of free space on my 160GB boot OCZ SSD drive.  Most definitely will have to remove the old suite as I don’t have room for both of them on my SSD.  I could put the install on one of my other spinning drives – but I want the speed of the SSD when doing anything with the Creative Suite.  I just wish the 512GB SSD’s were affordable enough.  I can barely get by with the 160GB OCZ for booting my Windows 7 64bit along with all of the installed programs.

I’m excited about seeing all of the new features and by now also having InDesign for the those occasional projects.

I’ll post more after the upgrade is done and I get to see how things are running with the new suite.

New Canon SX260 HS Compact MegaZoom

Well, I have a trip coming up that I was debating on whether or not to take my entire Canon bag of tricks or just leave it home and go for the quick and dirty.  I’ve had a “backup” pocket camera for the last 3 years which is a Canon PowerShot A720 IS which has a 6x Optical zoom and 8.0 MP sensor.  It’s not a super duper camera – but it was small enough to fit in a pocket and get some decent daylight pics plus keep people disinterested in trying to make my property theirs.  Well, I wanted to get something a little more updated – so I shopped a bit and found Canon’s new SX260 HS which has a 20x optical zoom in a small pocket size format.  It also has a 12.1 MP sensor which is also an improvement from my A720.

These types of cameras are great for travel when the focus isn’t necessarily grabbing great shots.  I wish all of my travel was for photography – but unfortunately – I do have other responsibilities that aren’t always based around what I can see through my viewfinder.  So trips to Washington, D.C. and other places – a small camera is much more preferable than breaking out my Canon 50D with my “L” lens attached.  It’s a bit conspicious along the streets of big cities at night after the conference or seminar is over. 

Anyway – I picked up this camera to take with me on an upcoming vacation to help me decide whether or not I should take my complete package and worry about it getting stolen, lost or otherwise any unhappy occurrences befalling it.  Kind of funny to pack all of this money into a camera system and then get worried about taking it somewhere. 

I’ve been doing some test shots to show off the zoom and some of the other features it has in this new little piece of gadgetry.

Full wide angle - 25mm
Full zoom 500mm

No – this isn’t my car…..

Here is one more set – full wide angle to start with and then nice and tight zoom all the way in.

Full wide angle - 25mm
Full 500mm zoom


As you can see – not a bad reach for really small camera.  The lens’ speed isn’t great though – so plan for any long zooms to be in full daylight or you’ll be disappointed.

  • 12.1 MP High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5 Image Processor
  • 20x Optical Zoom, 25mm Wide-Angle lens, and Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1080 Full HD video in stereo sound with a dedicated movie button
  • Smart AUTO with 58 predefined shooting situations with new FACE ID, High-Speed Burst HQ for continuous capture at a maximum of 10 frames
  • GPS tracker to record image locations on a map via Canon’s software
  • Technical Details

    • Brand Name: Canon
    • Model: 5900B001
    • Optical Sensor Resolution: 12.1 MP
    • Optical Sensor Technology: CMOS
    • Optical zoom: 20 x
    • Display Size: 3.0 inches
    • Width: 5.40 inches

I’ll post some of the better pics that turn out after I return from my trip.  They should be a bit more exciting than shots in the parking lot!

Retail is $349.  I picked this up quite a bit cheaper.  Here is a link to the camera on Amazon.


Adobe CS6 and upgrade path from CS5

So – it seems that there are some changes once again to how Adobe is setting up their new Creative Suite release.  I’ve been a CS Web Premium user for several years now dating back to CS3.  Every two years when the new suite is released, I dutifully pick up the new version.  I don’t always get use of all the software titles in the package – but it varies and sometimes last minute it’s great to have the other titles to get something done and out the door that would have to be outsourced otherwise.  I never know when one of my clients might need something that might only be available in one of the other titles besides the favorite Photoshop and Lightroom.

But Adobe has done something interesting with the CS6 release.  They’ve now combined CS Web Premium and CS Design Premium.  They’ve also changed some of the software titles available and on top of that they’ve increased the price of the upgrade.  What??  It seems that Adobe Contribute is on a quick downward spiral as it’s been left out of all CS suites now.  I never got around to building my mega-website with Dreamweaver and Contribute.  Now it looks like that will soon be a thing of the past.  But some other interesting pieces also came out of researching pricing and upgrade paths.  Adobe made available that anyone purchasing an upgrade to CS5.5 after March would be able to get a free upgrade to CS6 equivalent product suite.  $749 is the upgrade price from CS5 Web Premium to CS6 Web and Design Premium on the site.  Well the upgrade to CS 5.5 from CS5 was $349.  That seems like a no-brainer.  Upgrade to CS 5.5 and then get the free upgrade to CS6 and save $400.

Another interesting twist is the Creative Cloud.  That is a subscription base on a monthly basis that entitles you to the entire software list of what is basically the “Master Collection”.  Existing CS users can get a monthly discount for the first year – no word if it can be extended past the first year.  The discount for CS users is $29.99/month versus the $49.99/month for everyone else.  Mmh – so that means I can get the entire software line up from Adobe for $360 for the first year.  Tempting.  I’ve always wanted to get my hands on Adobe Premiere for some serious video editing capabilities.  But the 2nd year – if they don’t let you keep the discount – it goes to $600/year.  Ouch.  I like to think that my CS upgrades every 24 months get split out over the two years to be about $300/year.  But if going to the Creative Cloud gets me into a scenaraio that access to the software titles ends up being $600/year – I just don’t think I have that much use for ALL of the software all the time.  That gets really expensive.  There is nothing forcing me to upgrade from CS5.  I could stay on this version for years if I want to.  It won’t stop working.  Sure there will be upgrades and new features – but going with the Creative Cloud seems to be a bit of a gamble and where I am really just a part-time Pro-Am photographer and not doing this full-time – I think I’ll just wait to see how this new pricing strategy goes in the market and how well it gets accepted.  For me – the route is the CS5.5 upgrade and the later free upgrade to CS6.  I’m looking forward actually to picking up InDesign as I’ve done some work in it in the past and made some decent money with it – so I was ok with the fact that Contribute is gone for now and I pick up InDesign with the new combination of the suites.  I just hope the upgrade to CS7 at some time in the future doesn’t still come at the higher $749 price as that is hard to swallow every two years.  I might have to start leap-frogging versions if that happens.

Software titles included with CS6 Web and Design Premium:

  • Photoshop CS6 Extended
  • Illustrator CS6
  • InDesign CS6
  • Dreamweaver CS6
  • Flash Professional CS6
  • Fireworks CS6
  • Acrobat X Pro
  • Bridge CS6
  • Media Encoder CS6

Lightroom 4 Before and After (backslash key)

I am still making it through the entire episode.  Matt has an awesome way of teaching Lightroom.  Backslash key – before and after!  Man – how am I supposed to remember all of the keyboard shortcuts?

Here is the link to his podcast.

Episode Summary 

Ever since I first started using the new sliders in the Basic panel in Lightroom 4, I was hooked. So I started out to record a video on how I use them but realized I use them in different ways for different photos. Then I realized, there were more things I wanted to do to this photo. Before I knew it, I had a full before and after video using Photoshop and all. You gotta love it when your video starts taking over right? 🙂 Anyway, my main goal here is to show you the Basic panel sliders in Lightroom 4 and just how powerful moving 4-5 sliders can be for your photo. In fact, you’ll see that most of the work is done before we ever leave Lightroom to Photoshop. I hope you enjoy!


Lightroom 4

I just got a copy of the new Lightroom 4 for Windows in and upgraded my catalog.  Right now my catalog is sitting around 100k images.  The catalog update went well and wasn’t a problem.  I’ve not had too much time to go through the Develop module yet to see all the new changes.  I’ve been watching some of the podcasts from PhotoshopUserTV and learning about the new features.  It has support now for video which is nice as well as overall enhancements in several areas.

Comments on’s prizefight between Asus and Apple

I thought I’d share some of my comments – that I never make – you can see this is my first post on’s site.  But the review got me thinking – or rather their “prizefight”.

I’ve owned just about every tech out there on both sides. It’s a curse and fun all at the same time. We’ve got iDevices all over the house and I run a Droid Razr – 2.3.6 – Android. As a full-time techie – I appreciate the simple interface to the iDevices for others. My wife and kids can all run them easily. But to me it’s a glorious icon manager. I’ve had original Asus Transformer, Acer iconia Tab and now I own the new ipad. Why? It’s the best production tablet out. But trust me – I’m hankering for the new Transformer with 1920×1200 WIDESCREEN resolution. I’m sick of Asus production problems and getting to market. I was on so many waiting lists back around Christmas and January for the Prime that my head-spun. I finally backed out entirely and was content to wait for the new TF700T or whatever it’s called. However I knew I would struggle with my patience as Asus will most likely struggle ONCE AGAIN to deliver as they have on both Transformer releases. Anyone remember June of 2011 for the original? Ugh. It’s maddening. I have a lot of use for tablets and their apps (multimedia, news, email, product comparisons, and yes, I watch video).

I do think Apple’s market is better – but with patience I can find an app equivalent in Android/Google play and sometimes better apps (Wi-Fi Analyzer anyone??) This is a hard comparison. My plan is to sell the iPad and get the new Transformer or Galaxy or whatever company actually brings a decent android to market. Resell value is off the charts on the iPads so I’m not worried. But I want more than just an icon manager. interactive widgets, CNN mobile, calendar, facebook – and the list goes on of what I can run on my home screens and NEVER open an app to see the content I need. If iOS ever gets a decent option to setup just even one homescreen with widgets – it would be a leap ahead. Notifications are blah and the same to me on both platforms. But when people see MyZine (Asus App) or any of the news apps in widget mode on my home screens – they are impressed. May be one day Asus will launch a product that they have inventory for! For now the iPad is the best one out (can’t stand the 4:3 when I watch video) but everyone will benefit from the increased competition. I’m a part time landscape photographer and I’ve loaded several photo albums on the screen and they look outstanding. Retina does play nicely on some things and others it doesn’t look diff than my bro’s iPad 2. 2048×1536 resolution is great – but doesn’t get engaged in as many places as it should. Plus – make it widescreen apple – you make me grit my teeth when I a see the mass of black bands top and bottom….grr.


Quick post on my new Apple iPad (Retina Display)

Well, I wanted to take a quick second and comment on my new iPad.  

Call it what you want – the iPad3, the new iPad, or iPad 3rd Generation.  

Anyway – I swallowed the pill and plunged in – not because I’m a fanboy – but because it has the best screen hands down of any tablet out there.  2048 x 1536 is awesome!  I quickly picked several picture albums from different galleries and loaded them up.  Ok – they were already exported so it made it easy and they were at 1680 pixels on the long side – but still.  Ok, yes, I know it’s still 4:3 aspect ratio and that is really so CRT of Apple to keep that aspect ratio….but boy do the pics look good!  Now I want to go in and specifically do some exports from Lightroom with that pixel set and compare with 72dpi  which was typical for screen presentations – but also bump it up to Apple’s reported Retina dpi for the new iPad which is 264 ppi – pixels per inch…I know I am comparing dpi to ppi – but let’s keep it simple.

I’m thinking I’ll put on a watermark or picture title so I can know for sure which picture and details I’m looking at in order to compare.  What a slick way to show off some of my favorite pictures in my gallery!  The better color saturation of the tablet and the high ppi of the Retina display is really great.  Too bad it’s not a widescreen.  I may still have to seriously consider the upcoming Asus Transformer TF700T with the 1920 x 1200 resolution when it comes out this summer.


Learning about refine edge

Corey Barker has a great tutorial in this Video Podcast from PhotoshopUserTV.

I was pretty impressed on what he was able to do with a simple picture of a yellow tree.  I would love to see the zoomed up closeup of where he cloned it over.

Here is the episode summary:

Corey shows viewers how to use refine edge to do image retouching. Pete has a tutorial on using the path tool to create graphic elements like backgrounds. Dave shares some techniques to help make a repeating pattern appear seamless.