April 12, 2018

Advancements In Digital Photography

Every now and then I’ll be roaming around the Internet and randomly clicking on things that catch my attention and a few days ago something caught mine that I just had to check out. Like a lot of other photographers I use the Internet as a tool for all sorts of things, such as checking out new products or reviews or just looking for new creative photo ideas from various photographers. The video I came across was from The Camera Store TV website and originally aired back in October 2015. The reason it caught my eye was because the man doing the video was talking about my first DSLR camera, the original Canon 300D Digital Rebel. He was describing how far digital cameras have advanced and how far the prices have come down since they were first introduced to the general public. Think about it, these days some cell phones can shoot 4k video and shoot images over 15 MP. Isn’t it amazing how far the digital technology has come? 

When I purchased my Canon Digital Rebel in 2003 I had already been shooting digital for about three years and had been using Photoshop for two years (version 6.0). My first digital camera wasn’t the Rebel, it was actually a Panasonic PV-SD4090 SuperDisk PalmCam and shot at 1.3MP. It was released in 2000 and it actually recorded images on a 3 ¼ floppy disk that slid into the side of the camera and cost about $2000. Although it had an optical as well as a digital zoom lens, you couldn’t change lenses like the SLR’s camera I was used to. I probably would have kept shooting with it for a while longer but it could only hold about 12 shots on a disk (even at 1.3 MP) and you needed Windows ME to run it which was getting phased out by Microsoft for numerous reasons. Fortunately for me I was already converting all my files to DNG format or I would not even be able to open them these days. 

Panasonic SuperDisk
I remember there were sneak press releases in November 2002 announcing the soon to be released Digital Rebel. The Canon Rebel was going to be the first consumer priced digital camera designed to get people interested in DSLR cameras and it boasted a 6.3MP sensor and could shoot at a lightning fast 2.5 frames a second. That sounds like a joke now, but at that time it was fantastic. Before the Rebel would finally be released, Canon would first introduce the semi-pro EOS 10D in February of 2003. The EOS 10D was priced at $1999 (body only) but the Digital Rebel was scheduled going to be offered at $999 (body only) but would also be offered as a kit with an 18-55mm lens that featured Canon’s new EF-S lens system for around $1199

The 300D Digital Rebel was finally released in August of 2013 and because people were so anxious to get them Canon couldn't keep up with the demand. Believe it or not, you had to be put on a waiting list to get one for yourself. For me it was definitely worth the wait because now not only could I change lenses but I could record my images in Camera RAW.  It would be about two years before I was shooting totally in Camera RAW. It was pretty easy switching over to the Rebel because my main camera was a Canon AE1 film SLR and all the functions were the same except I now I was shooting on a CF card and I had a LCD to preview my shots. I kept photographing families and events, and actually shot a few weddings totally in JPEG mode and my customers were very happy with the images. To check out the video click  Canon 300D Digital Rebel.

I hope this post brought back memories of your first digital camera. As always, remember to keep shooting and have some fun!

March 14, 2018

The Flash Book by Scott Kelby

Most of you know that there are a number of books out there today that you can purchase that say they will help you get better at using your speedlights. Unfortunately, a lot of them are just a little bit too technical for most of us (especially when we are first starting out) and they’ll get put on a bookshelf shortly after people purchase them.  Do you have any of these books?  I know I’m guilty of buying a few of these when I first started using flash.  Because I really didn’t understand all of the lingo at the time I didn’t get too much practical knowledge from them. I really wish the Flash Book had come out 20 years ago; it could have saved me years of trial and error!

The Flash Book by Scott Kelby is a very easy to read book and the instructions outlined in it are simple to follow.  Scott has written over 50 books so he definitely knows what he’s talking about. As always, the lessons are straight-forward and laid out in a one or two page style with plenty of detailed info and photos showing the results. He also adds a little bit of his own humor so they don’t get too techy.
This book is very helpful for anyone starting to use flash and even for some of you that have been using flash for some time now. The book is loaded with tons of useful tips and techniques (over 200 pages) that will help beginners get up to speed quickly and finally break their fear of flash photography and get more comfortable with their speedlights.  

The cover says “How to fall hopelessly in love with your flash…” and I don’t know if that will happen for you or not? But I do know this, if you use this book as a study guide, you’ll find yourself getting better shots more consistently and that’s the name of the game!

February 15, 2018

Saving Time In Photoshop With Shortcut Keys

I’m just guessing this but if you’ve been using just about any Adobe product for a while, such as Photoshop or Lightroom, then you are probably using  (or at least know of) a few shortcut keys by now…. right? 

Shortcut keys are nice because they can save tons of time when you are working in the digital darkroom, but speed isn’t the only advantage. If you are making a selection and you use a shortcut, your pointer doesn’t move when you toggle between tools! Think about it, this alone could give you much more control when you’re working on your image.

Luckily, over 90% of these shortcuts haven’t changed in many years so we really don’t have to keep learning new ones over and over again.  Most Photoshop users know that if you float your mouse over any tool on the toolbar a pop-up box will tell you the tool’s name and the shortcut command, and if you pull down one of the drop-down menus, the ones that have shortcuts are listed there also. If you are a Cloud subscriber you’ve probably noticed that if you hover over a tool on the toolbar menu these days you not only get the shortcut key but you also get a little video of the tool in use in a pop-up box!  Nice huh?

I’ve been using Photoshop for over 18 years now so I’ve got most of my most frequently used shortcuts committed to memory, but I also have a list of other shortcuts I don’t use as frequently printed up and hanging up close to my PC so I can just glance at them when I need them. This is also the way I started learning shortcut keys, I printed up a list of the ones I used most and when I had them memorized I added new ones.  Easy right?

A lot of Photoshop users know that you are also able to reassign Shortcut keys if you’d like.  Just go up to Edit drop-down menu and scroll down to Keyboard Shortcuts or use the shortcut (Shift+ Alt+Cmd+K ).  Some of the Shortcut keys that Adobe assigns are for tools or menu items that most of us will never use, so if I want to add a shortcut that’s already pre-assigned to a tool or menu item, I can turn off that shortcut and use it for something else. If you use Photoshop quite a bit, shortcuts could save you a lot of time in your editing workflow.  I’ve included two links below where you can find more info on Shortcuts.  One is from Adobe and one is from Popular Photography magazine. I hope you find this article helpful.
As always, remember to keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography