Migrating From Bridge CS4 to CS5

While Photoshop tends to get most of the press during major upgrades, Bridge users have a few things to be happy about with the CS5 release. The new Export tab, which bundles Photoshop Image Processor-like functionality right into Bridge; the Mini Bridge which bundles Bridge right into Photoshop; new Batch Rename functionality and new Output features, and other tweaks and modifications make Bridge CS5 a welcome upgrade. Unfortunately, as with Photoshop, Adobe has not seen fit to add any migration features for moving Bridge database information into CS5. However, with a few file copies, it appears that you can move the bulk of your important Bridge data to the new version. Read more »

My Favorite New Bridge Feature

Bridge CS3Bridge CS3 offers a lot of important improvements over the Bridge 1.0 that was included in Creative Suite 2. Interface improvements, stacking, comparing, importing, and much much more have all been added, and Bridge remains an excellent cornerstone for a Photoshop Camera Raw driven raw-workflow. I covered most of the the new Bridge features in my Photoshop CS3 First Look book, but Adobe managed to sneak in one or two more before the final release of the software. Here’s one of my favorites.
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Batch Converting DNGs to JPEGs

DNGReader Bill Baum writes in asking if it’s possible to batch convert DNG files to JPEGs. Bill says that several years ago, he converted several thousand images to DNG, but now wants them as JPEGs to ease the process of working with them in Nikon Capture NX, which doesn’t natively read DNG files. Fortunately, if you have Photoshop CS2 or CS3, you can easily use Bridge to batch process DNG conversions into JPEGs, Photoshop files, or TIFFs.

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The Netbook as Photo Accessory – Windows Version

A friend of mine has a very cool portable darkroom. (Because he’s primarily a wet-plate pinhole shooter, he needs to be able to develop plates as soon as he takes them.) As digital photographers, we have things a little easier, of course. If we want to process images in the field, we only have to carry a computer. But, if you’re on an extended trip, heading into the backcountry, or you just like to travel as light as possible, then carrying a computer is not always an option. Fortunately, over the last year or so a new class of tiny, ultralight laptop computers – netbooks – have appeared on the market at extremely reasonable prices. These machines turn out to be ideal photo accessories.

The name “netbook” stems from the idea that, when traveling, most people’s computer needs don’t go beyond network access. Other than web browsing and email, they have few computing chores. If you’re a digital photographer, though, you might want to use a computer as a place to offload images, or to browse the day’s shoot, to begin to organize your shots, apply metadata, or even to start adjusting and editing. Of course, if you have network access, then you may want to be able to upload to web sites, or send images via email.

I have a MacBook that I use for a lot of travel. It’s a great portable digital photography workstation, but at 4.5 pounds it’s a little heavy for some trips, and its size makes it difficult to cram into smaller bags (such as when bicycling or motorcycling).

So, when traveling into the backcountry, or for some international travel, I’ve been taking a Digital Foci FotoSafe (.6 pounds) for offloading images, and a Palm Treo 680 (.3 pounds) with foldable keyboard (.4 pounds) for email, Google maps and for reading RSS feeds. I also usually take either my iPhone or my fifth generation iPod (.3 pounds) with me for media needs. With all of these, I have data backup, email access, limited web functionality and some music playback (okay, not an essential photo tool, but definitely an essential travel tool). However, because my FotoSafe lacks a screen, I have no way to review or edit images.

Wanting something between the weight and bulk of the Macbook, and the bare minimum functionality of my other gizmos, I bought an MSI Wind last December.

With a 10″ screen, mostly full-sized keyboard, 120 gb hard drive 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, built in webcam, 10/100 Ethernet, built in 802.11g wireless, 3 USB ports, and bluetooth, it’s a very full-functioned laptop. Best of all, it weighs only 2.3 pounds and measures roughly 10.25 x 7 x .75″. So, not only is it lighter than my Macbook, but it fits in a much smaller bag.

Obviously, it’s a little larger than my FotoSafe/Treo/iPod arrangement, but it offers far more functionality.

You can order the Wind with an 80, 120, or 160 GB hard drive. I opted for the 160 gb version, and after installing an OS and some photo editing software, I still have more than enough space for offloading images. While I’ve never had any trouble or reliability issues with the FotoSafe, the Wind has the obvious advantage of a screen for reviewing images.

The Wind has a built-in SD card reader, which is a really nice addition. I usually shoot on CompactFlash, which means I still need to carry a card reader.

As a computer, the Wind works great for almost everything I need to do in the field. Obviously, email and web browsing are much easier with a real keyboard and large screen, so it’s a nice replacement for either my Treo or iPhone. Having built-in Wifi and Ethernet networking gives me lots of options for getting online. I can also tether to either the Treo or the iPhone, and get online connectivity through those, albeit slow, devices.

While the 1.6 GHz Atom processor is not the speediest CPU out there, it’s fine for most of the image editing tasks I’d want to do in the field. With its small screen, I’m not going to get into a lot of serious color correction and editing anyway (this was also true for my MacBook). But, for reviewing images, and performing some initial edits, or for organizing and keyword tagging, the Wind is perfectly adequate. I’ve been running CS4 on it and performance is perfectly acceptable.

The only hitch is with Photoshop Camera Raw. Because of the limited vertical screen dimension on the Wind, the entire Camera Raw dialog box cannot be displayed, which means you don’t have access to the Save Image, Open Image, Cancel or Done buttons.

So far, I’ve found two workarounds: you can just press Return, which opens the image, or you can install Adobe Photoshop Lightroom which also runs Camera Raw, but manages to fit onto the Wind’s screen. If you don’t usually use Lightroom, working all of this into your regular workflow when you get back home can require some extra steps.

Of course, you can still preview your raw images in Bridge, so having access to Camera Raw in the field may not be a critical need.

The Wind’s screen is bright and clear, and has a nice matte finish, and overall build-quality of the machine is fine. It feels plasticy, but this is also why it weighs so little. Most importantly, it only costs $350. In fact, if you look around, you might find it as low as $300. This becomes another upside when compared to a more expensive laptop. If you drop it in a river, it’s cheap to replace.

If you’ve been considering a photo viewer with a screen, such as the Epson P-series viewers, then you should definitely look at the Wind. It’s cheaper, weighs about the same, has a bigger screen, packs the same storage, and is a full-fledged computer.

The Wind comes with Windows XP pre-installed. As a Mac user, I wanted to run the Mac OS on the machine, so I’ve been using the Wind as a Mac-based machine. You can read about that here.

I’ve been very pleased with this little computer, and heartily recommend it to any traveling shooter, who doesn’t want to carry a larger, heavier laptop.

The Netbook as Photo Accessory – Mac Version

I love my aluminum MacBook. While I used a MacBook Pro for years, the smaller MacBook is a little easier to carry, and it never feels like it flexes or bends under its own weight, as the MacBook Pro sometimes did. However, it’s still just big enough that packing it in a bicycle or motorcycle bag is problematic, and it’s heavy enough that for backcountry or extended travel, it’s a bit of a load. What’s more, a lot of times it’s overkill. Usually all I need in the field is a place to dump images, and perhaps some email access. Over the last year or so a new class of tiny, ultralight laptop computers – netbooks – have appeared on the market at extremely reasonable prices. These machines turn out to be ideal photo accessories. Of course, Apple doesn’t make such a product, but there are now quite a few netbooks that can be hacked to run the Macintosh OS, allowing you to make something that Apple doesn’t: a tiny, very portable Macintosh.

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The Mac Netbook Revisited

With Apple’s announcement of the iPad, there’s a lot of talk lately about the “death of the netbook.” But for the photographer, a netbook is still a much better alternative to any other portable option. Smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a typical laptop, a netbook provides plenty of storage for offloading images, but can run the same software that you use on your everyday computer. In addition to replacing your digital wallet-type device, having a real keyboard and connectivity options make netbooks capable terminals for the traveling photographer. If you’re a Mac user, though, you won’t find any netbook options from Apple. However, it’s now easier than ever to hack certain netbooks to run the latest version of Snow Leopard.

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Portable Printing with the Polaroid PoGo Printer

I just spent the last week motorcycling from San Francisco to Oklahoma, (to teach at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute) camping and motelling along the way. As is usual on a motorcycle, I tried to stay on the smallest roads possible, and so ended up in some fairly interesting locations. I was probably supposed to be blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking my exploits as I went, (Karaoke night in Roswell, NM will definitely make you believe in alien visitations) but to be honest, one of the nice things about such a trip is to be out of the media bubble, not engaging in it further. So rather than trying to provide heavy coverage of my trip, I decided to simply enjoy myself. But also, I have a penchant for mail – the physical kind made from crushed wood pulp. Sitting in a forest or remote desert at night, writing letters and postcards, is a pretty nice way to spend an evening, but just because I’m using analog communications doesn’t mean I have to scrimp on imagery. Thanks to the amazing Polaroid PoGo printer, I was able to print images in the middle of nowhere!

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Is the 13″ Macbook Air A Good Laptop for the Digital Photographer?

I travel a lot, and when on the road I typically carry several cameras, a computer, my Kindle, all the associated chargers, cords, extra hard drives and other accoutrements necessary to move my digital world with me. If there’s any room left over, I also consider taking clothes and those other secondary items. Needless to say, my bag’s heavy, so I’m constantly looking for ways to lighten it. For the past couple of years I’ve been carrying a 13″ Macbook, which has been a great computer, and fully capable of everything I need for months-long excursions. But it was very difficult not to note the new 13″ Macbook Air upon its release. More specifically, to note that it weighs 1.5 pounds less than my 13″ Macbook. What wasn’t obvious was whether it was enough computer to handle a digital photo workflow. So I bought one. Here’s how it stacks up. Read more »

Book Support – Complete Digital Photography, 7th Edition

Follow the links below to download companion files for the 7th edition of Complete Digital Photography.

NOTE: The current version of Complete Digital Photography is the 9th edition; you can find the support page for it here. The 8th edition support page is here. If you’re looking for links to 6th edition tutorial files, many of them are identical to the ones on this page.

If you are having problems when trying to download any of the files listed below, try right-clicking on the link and choosing Download Linked File from the pop-up. That should save the file to your Downloads folder.

Chapter 6

Shutter Speed Movie

Chapter 9

Camera Position.pdf
Cropping Tutorial Images.zip
Cropping Tutorial.mov
Cropping Tutorial.pdf
Focal Length and DOF.pdf

Chapter 12

Infrared Photography.pdf

Chapter 13

Bridge Tutorial.zip

Chapter 14

chrom ab trouble.tif
crop me.jpg
Lens Distortion.pdf
perspective correx.tif
sensor dust.tif
Straighten Me.jpg

Chapter 15

Real World Levels.jpg
Interactive Curves.mov

Chapter 16

saturation buildings.tif
Fall tree.jpg

Chapter 17

Highlight Recovery.mov
basic raw adjustments.CR2

Chapter 18

initial building.jpg
tree with mask.psd
Advanced Masking.pdf

Chapter 19

cloud original.psd
cloud finished.psd
big sky.tif
Selective Edits in Camera Raw.pdf

Chapter 20

black and white tree.tiff
fig 20.14 – see for yourself.psd

Chapter 21

bad white balance.tif
Cloning Tutorial.mov
Color Correction.mov
Palace of Fine Arts 1.jpg
Palace of Fine Arts 2.jpg
Palace of Fine Arts 3.jpg
Smart Object.CR2.zip
Smart Object.xmp
stop sign.jpg
Smart Objects.pdf
final dog.psd

Chapter 23

Selective Sharpening.pdf
Inkjet Printer’s Buyer’s Guide.pdf
Soft Proofing.pdf

Chapter 24

Choosing a Digital Camera.pdf

Managing your photo library: pruning old growth

At the end of October, 2019, my photo library contained approximately 60,000 images, mostly taken over the past 20 years. (Of those, nearly 40% are from the past five years.) Comparing the size of my library with those of friends of mine, I’m about average, but still, 60,000 is a big number, and managing that many photos can be a bit intimidating. I once topped out at 80,000 photos, but about six years ago I came up with an exercise — pruning a single year’s worth of photos — that has helped me get my library better organized and more efficient. As a photo-management tool, I felt it was worth sharing here.

The editing conundrum

I tend to do the majority of my editing — culling, sorting and post-processing — on my most recent photos. For example, out of a shoot where I end up with 600-800 images, I’ll quickly get that to upwards of 50 selects, and I will then spend most of my time working on those photos. The rest soon get lost into the archives. It’s not that they’re unimportant, but they aren’t compelling to me at the moment, and as such, they end up disappearing. As time goes on, and I take more photos, it becomes harder to find key photos from the past (at least those non-portfolio photos), or to even know what I might have hidden that is of some value.

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