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Aperture updates to 3.2.3 and Digital Camera Raw Update 3.1

March 14, 2012

If you’re running Aperture, make sure you check your system updates. Today Apple released a small upgrade to version 3.2.3 of Aperture. This update contains “minor fixes”, but also allows deleting of images from PhotoStream. It’s certainly a welcome update bringing some parity between iOS changes to PhotoStream and Aperture.

Image

Also, Apple’s Digital Camera Raw was updated to version 3.1. The new version supports the new Nikon D4 (presumably the D800/800E, although this is not yet confirmed).

Go to your Software Updates to get both…

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OBX Vacation…

August 31, 2011

It’s been a while since we’ve posted anything to the blog, so to re-kick things off I wanted to post a few from our “vacation” last week. If you’ve been in a coma for the last 10 days you’re probably unfamiliar with the words Hurricane Irene. Yeah, after two full days of vacationing with the family, we got word that a mandatory evacuation was declared and we needed to pack up and get out! I didn’t get a chance to shoot very much, but I wanted to share a few I found interesting.

The day before the evacuation we took a ride down to see (and climb) the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This icon of the Outer Banks of North Carolina is a must-have shot if you spend any time in the area. What started as a beautiful sunny day quickly turned overcast as the outer bands of Irene made their way into the area. This three-shot HDR image processed in Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2.0 and Apple’s Aperture shows the ominous skies only a couple days before the storm made landfall.

As the kids and I walked to the entrance to climb 12 stories to the top of the lighthouse, I shot this…

This is a single exposure processed in Aperture and converted to black and white with Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.0. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better black and white conversion package.

On the way back from the lighthouse, Jen spotted one of the smallest buildings on the island. I turned around to take a look and found one of the smallest post office buildings in the United States.

The Salvo Post Office was one of the smallest in the country. Established in 1901, the original post office was destroyed by an arsonist in 1992. This is the replacement building! I love the little plastic mailbox in the foreground. This image was created from five images and processed in HDR Efex Pro.

Although our time in OBX was short, we had a great time and hope to return next year (probably a bit earlier in the season to avoid future storms).

Hurricane Irene caused significant damage all over the East Coast. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the people affected by the storm.

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It is here and it is beautiful…

April 3, 2010

For weeks now, I like many others have waited for April 3rd, 2010.  On this day the UPS man comes down from on high to deliver the latest gadget from Heaven (okay… Cupertino is nice, but maybe not heavenly).  Today Apple delivers the iPad.  Now I’ve been a gadget-guy my entire life.  I love being an early adopter even when it means dealing with version 1.0 “challenges” (I’ve been trained never to say “problems” from my consulting peers) just so I’m able to have the latest and greatest from the gadget world.  Well, today is no different.  An hour or so ago I received my first, of many (more later), iPad.

My iPad

The iPad is an fascinating device and I’m interested to see how the technology world at large will accept this device.  At an entry point of $499, it’s not a no-brainer decision for most.  Of course it depends on your need.  As a photographer, I see this as a must have piece of technology.  Why?  I get to show my work on a beautiful, portable device, to anyone that wants to look.  Remember, everyone we meet is a potential client.  When I’m sitting in a Starbucks with the iPad drinking a Grande Latte waiting for my son’s preschool to let out and someone asks me about the device, I’m going to show them my photography.  When reading a book on the train to visit a client in Philadelphia and someone asks to see the device, I’m going to show them my photography.  In fact, whenever I have the iPad with me and I have the opportunity to show it to someone, I’m going to show them my photography.  I know this works as I’ve been doing it with my iPhone for years.  In Aperture (or iPhoto) I can rate my images.  My portfolio pieces are the only images that get a five star rating.  When I sync my iPhone (now iPad) to my computer, it syncs all my five star images.  I now have an album of all my portfolio pieces.  I can’t tell you how handy this is while teaching a class or meeting a perspective client.  I know that it has intrigued people enough that I’ve gotten new business from it.  Now, I have a screen that blows the iPhone’s screen away (in size anyway).  I’m really excited to start showing the iPad (i.e. my photography) off to anyone that asks.

Sure, there are a number of other reason this device will change my work-life.  I do a great deal of technology consulting and this device is a fantastic way to keep in touch with email, log on to client computers remotely, browse the web, etc.  For my photography business, this will be a part of my higher end wedding package.  I’m going to include a custom engraved (assuming Apple starts doing this) iPad with some of my wedding packages loaded with all of the proofs and final images selected by the bride and groom.  Talk about a high-tech wedding album!  There are some other things I’m working on too, but you’ll have to wait for that.

Well, back to my iPad.  I haven’t had much time to play with many of the features yet so it’s going to be a fun day.  Let me know your thoughts about the iPad or any other technology that is making a difference in your photography in the comments section.

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Yeah, it has been a while…

January 12, 2010

Happy New Year, everyone!  2009 was a crazy year personally and one I’m glad is in the rear view mirror.  For me, I’m looking ahead to build upon the fantastic successes we’ve had at Robert Trueman Photography.  To all the brides, grooms, families and children Jen and I had the pleasure of photographing over the last year – THANK YOU!  We’re looking forward to another great year doing what we love.

To start off the year we’re pleased to offer a significant discount on our wedding collections.  From now until February 14th (yeah, Valentine’s Day) anyone booking a wedding will receive 15% off the price of one of our wedding collections.  While I recognize a general discount on our services isn’t exactly a new idea (maybe not even a good one!), I think the current economic condition is affecting everyone and a little help certainly can’t hurt.  We’ll give it a try and see how we do.  Please, help us spread the word and let your friends and family know about us, our products and services and how they can contact us (right here at www.RobertTruemanPhotography.com!).  The biggest compliment we can receive is your recommendation.  It means a lot to us and we thank you for spreading the word.

For the blog, I’m hoping to continue to show some of our work, talk about various topics regarding photography and provide a little insight into our lives at RTP.  I love seeing how many of you tune in to read what I have to say.  It’s a little scary!  I’m hoping to continue building interest in the blog and create some good feedback and conversation.

Thanks for a great 2009!  Stay tuned as we have a lot of stuff happening in 2010!

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Breaking news – Nikon D300s announcement…

July 30, 2009

I guess this really shocks no one.  Nikon releases the D300s.  It’s basically a D300 with 720p movie mode.  Interestingly, it has dual card slots for CF and SD cards.  Also annouced, the D3000, and upgrades to the fabulous 70-200 and 18-200 lenses.

Interesting stuff, but nothing that Earth shattering.  I’m not sure how I personally feel about movie modes being added to SLR cameras.  I’ve never been interested in video,  but that could change with some of these new cameras.  It’s certainly intriguing to use an SLR with fantastic Nikon lenses on the D300s and/or D90.

Thoughts?

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Site revisions launched and Topaz Fusion Express…

July 14, 2009

Well, it’s done.  The revisions to the website have been published.  I really wanted to update more of the style, but I needed to get this finished for the upcoming wedding season.  I can’t really talk about weddings to clients if my website doesn’t reflect them.  Take a look and let me know what you think.  I’m sure I’ll tweak it over the next few days, but I like what’s there.  As they say in golf (not me, I was always in the rough), “That’ll play!”

Topaz Labs has a great set of inexpensive Photoshop plug ins allowing you to get crazy with adjusting the image (Topaz Adjust), reduce noise (DeNoise), etc.  They recently released Topaz Fusion Express allowing you to use these Photoshop plug ins with Aperture.  Yep!  It’s really cool.  Just right click on your image in Aperture and select Edit…  Topaz Fusion is in the list of editing tools.  Select it and you’ll be prompted for the Topaz plug in you’re looking for.  When done editing, you’re dropped back in to Aperture with a new version of the file.  Pretty slick.

I think the Adjust tool is the most interesting.  With it you can create wild adjustments to your images giving them an unreal look.  I’ve just started playing with it so don’t criticize my images too much! :)  Here’s a quick example:

Beach shot

Topaz Adjusted shot

For the second shot, I just went wild with exposure adjustments and noise reduction.  I also cranked up on the detail tab.  It’s interesting, but some of their sample images are much nicer.  I’ll keep learning the tool and post something again after I get some practice.

The Topaz Fusion tool is free and there’s a 15% off coupon for their Topaz Suite.  Use coupon code “NEWFUSION” at checkout.  I’d love to see some images so feel free to leave links in the comments below.

That’s it for now!

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A day with Joe McNally…

July 8, 2009

I recently had the fantastic opportunity to take a one day lighting workshop with Joe McNally in Dobbs Ferry, NY.  If you don’t know the name Joe McNally you need to check out his work, books and blog.  Joe, as he insists on being called, is a master of lighting from small, on-camera flashes to huge studio strobes.  During his career he’s shot for Life, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Fortune and many others.  He shot the first all digital spread for National Geographic – a 32-page cover story titled, The Future of Flight” in December 2003.  His list of awards and accomplishments is long, but he remains one of the most approachable people I’ve met.  He’s funny, smart, talented and extremely good at teaching his craft.  Man crush?  You bet! :)

The day started with introductions to his staff, the models and a couple industry folks followed up with a presentation on his work and a couple good stories.  Without a doubt, Joe is a storyteller and he’s got a million of them!  In fact, The Moment It Clicks, his award-winning, coffee-table/classroom text book is full of them.  The day would be filled with photographing the various models using different types of lighting.  In each case we are shown Joe’s technique for starting with simple one or two lights and building up to more complex lighting.  Each photographer would have the opportunity to shoot the set.

Much of the day used small flash units like the Nikon SB-800 and 900s.  Using various light-modifiers (umbrellas, shoot-throughs, snoots, etc.) we built up the shot.  It’s interesting to see how easy (well, Joe made it seem easy!) it was to get fantastic results from these little units.  I’ve done a bit of work with them myself and have been pleased with the results.

What was really exciting was getting exposure to the big stuff.  Joe’s “bible”, as he calls it, are the Elinchrom Ranger sets.  These powerful lights in combination with various modifiers are extremely versatile for both in studio and on location shooting.  I’d never shot with these before so I had to step up to the plate.  It was surprisingly easy to control the amount of light coming from the Rangers as they have very precise controls for varying the amount in 1/10th f-stop increments.  We were using the Skyport system which replaced the cords going from the camera to the strobes.  Very sweet.  And the light?  You decide…

Elinchrom Rangers

The next set was another Ranger setup, but using a giant octo box and white seamless background.  The large light source provided by the octo bathes the subject in a beautiful, soft light.  When you need something done, it’s hard to screw up with a giant octo!

Dancer under Ranger and Octo

Normally with this type of background, I’d remove the darker area at the bottom of the frame.  In this case, I kind of liked the way it provided a reference for her jumping in the air.  Either way, I loved this type of setup.  I’m planning on doing a lot more of this type of photography in the home studio with my SB units and smaller studio lights.  I like the look of the seamless paper.

After more instruction I teamed up with a couple other photographers, a couple SB units a model, Natalia, and set out to make some interesting shots in the old building where the studio was located.  There was an old elevator in the basement that looked fantastic.  After a near-death experience when Natalia leaned on the controls of this old elevator making it rise a few feet (I’m terrified of elevators… yeah, go ahead and laugh!), we took a few shots.  Lighting here was provided by two off camera SB units.

Natalia in the elevator

Here, I let a little shadow creep into her eyes giving it a little darker feeling…

Natalia

Of course, during one of the breaks I found Lauren standing by the windows and couldn’t resist a couple of natural light shots…

Lauren

The rest of the day was Joe working his magic in different lighting situations.  I’d have loved to shoot more, but the time crunch prevented us from shooting using the lighting equipment.  I took a number of shots of the action, but none that used the set lights.

Unfortunately, the photographer (not me) failed to focus his camera on us, but I still wanted to post this final image of the day.

Joe and Me

If you ever get the chance to work with Joe, don’t pass up the opportunity.  It was well worth it!

I’m currently looking to continue this type of lighting study in my home studio.  I’m looking for male or female models that are willing to do TFP/TFCD work.  If you’re willing to spend some time together, I think we’ll both benefit from the images.  Drop me a note at Rob@RobertTruemanPhotography.com.

On another front, the website updates have stalled.  I really want to give the site a new look, but haven’t found anything I like more than what’s currently up.  I’ll probably keep it the same for now and just get more portraits up and expand the galleries sections.  I also need to add the wedding pages.  Fall wedding season is going to be packed!  I’m booking up fast so if you’re interested give me a shout.

Thanks for looking!

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