The House Of Red Neon

red neon joe grossinger advertising restaurant

I have been meaning to photograph this striking Chinese restaurant for months now. Every time I drive east on I-10 at night I see it just south of the freeway. This image is a 9-image HDR I created using a Nikon D90 camera with my favorite walk-around lens, the 18-200mm Nikkor ISO was 400. When photographing for HDR I like to be in aperture priority so that the depth of field does not change with the different exposures. I set the D90 to bracket 3 images at 2 f-stops apart. After those 3 images were taken I set the exposure compensation to -2 stops and then finally to plus 2 stops. That gave me a total of 9 images for a range of 18 f-stops. Using a steady tripod is an absolute must for this kind of photography. I use the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro with the Manfrotto 804RC2 head. For general photography, not using extremely heavy lenses, this is an excellent combination in price/performance. I also use this combination with the Sony A350 and Tamron 200-500mm lens with total satisfaction.

I always photograh with the camera set to RAW file mode. I process the RAW files using DXO Labs Optics Pro 6. DXO, which  does the heavy grunt work with the images and saves them in JPG format. I generally only work with JPG files and save the RAW files as my negatives. This procedure saves me an enormous amount of time and effort.

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grossinger photography red neon

This is a single image photo taken around the same time using the same equipment with the aperture set on 7.1 and .62 second shutter speed.

Click on image for a better view

Which picture is “better” comes down to a matter of personal taste. Lila likes the single exposure because in her words “it’s cleaner”, while I like the HDR for the tonal range. Lila has a valid point because in the second image many of the distracting elements such as cars and handicapped parking signs are subdued and hidden.

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Photoshop CS5 HDR Sampler

Photoshop CS5 HDR

click on image for a full view

I just finished playing around with PS CS5’s merge to hdr pro mode.
For this test I chose 3 images I took some time ago with my Sony R1. I never could get a decent HDR image out of the three images because of terrible ghosting. Someone once told me to use a tripod if I’m going to do HDR, but someone else told me I have a hard head. No, I usually do not use a tripod and the above picture is proof of that.
The new merge to hdr pro mode has a cute little button called “Remove Ghosts” with this picture being the result of that.

Click on image for a full view
Wowsers! This is way too easy.
When doing a merge to hdr in PS CS5 you have several presets that are pretty cool. Here is the monochromatic artistic mode.
Click on image for a better view
Personally, I think this rocks and I don’t even like B&W for the most part.
This is just a short demonstration of what the new Merge to HDR Pro feature can do for you.
In my humble opinion I believe that the best photo editing software just got much better.
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Angel In Antelope Canyon

Angel In Antelope Canyon

click on image to better see the angel
I can honestly say that the worst frustration in using Photoshop has always been selecting parts of an image. From early on I simply avoided trying to make selections of images that had hair, tree branches and leaves, grass and other complicated items. That pretty much meant I did not do any kind of photo editing that demanded selecting parts of an image.
Now comes the new improved, bigger and better Photosop CS5 with a selection process so quick and easy, even I can do it.
I watched the early blurbs showing how easy it was to use content-aware edit, puppet warp, much better noise reduction using camera raw and improved HDR. I still have not figured out why I would use puppet warp but when the time comes I’m sure I won’t have any problems using it.
The early releases demonstrated the ease with which one could do these really cool operations, so I immediately dove into a project I’ve been wanting to do for ages.
I have always had a fantasy of hiring a Navajo girl dressed in full Indian costume, standing in one of the light beams in Antelope Canyon. I’ve been wanting to do that for ages. I even called a couple of the tour agencies in Page but was told that due to tribal laws, rules and so on the model would cost hundreds of dollars for this kind of photo shoot. Then there was the extra cost of reserving exclusive access to the canyon, so on and so on. Reluctantly I scrapped that notion.
Along comes CS5 with the reputed easy selection process and since I just returned from Antelope Canyon, that notion came back to bug me.
I watched the advertising videos but they did not show half the steps in the selection process. So I signed up for the Scott Kelby training for $25 bucks a month. I signed up for the monthly plan because I want the flexibility of not using the service from time to time. Let me tell you, judging from this one lesson alone, the service is more than worth the price. I am over 60 and my eyes are not the best. One of the things I have eliminated is trying to work out of a book and use the computer at the same time, so this online training with excellent video solves the problem for me.
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It pays to stick with quality companies

It pays to stick with quality companies

I recently purchased a label printer from Amazon.Com. The thing was DOA (dead on arrival).

Amazon has a link right on the order information for returning merchandise. I clicked the link, provided the information they asked for and received by overnight delivery a perfectly functional label printer.

Amazon also sent me a pre-paid address label. All I had to do is repackage the defective printer and send it back, post paid.

Now that is quality service! A real class act.

I received my Photoshop 5 disk yesterday. I bought it from Amazon.com because it’s a lot cheaper than ordering it from Adobe. A LOT cheaper.

Well, when I entered the serial number it liked the one for CS 5 but since this was an upgrade, I was also asked for the serial number of my CS 3 package.

However, it did not like it no matter how I entered the numbers.

So I called Adobe’s help desk. Ten minutes later I was up and running.

Another quality act and reason for me to stick with Adobe Photoshop.

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More on Photoshop CS5

Adobe Photoshop CS5

By tomorrow every one and his uncle will be experts with CS5, so let me just say that it works as advertised.
Let me tell you what I really like so far.

All of my plugins and actions migrated from CS3 with no hassles and work as before.
Content Aware Editing – It’s magic! Power lines, antennas, beer cans vanish at the click of a key! It works as advertised. This new feature alone is reason enough to upgrade. I have removed powerlines, gas meters and other distracting elements with ease.

Selections – MAGIC! You can do selections that were impossible previously. Its amazing.

Camera RAW – Camera RAW goes way beyond anyting previous. The noise reduction is excellent.
I did some tests and while Camera RAW is great for noise reduction, I believe my Noiseware by Imogenomic is better because it’s more convenient. I am not going to start shooting in RAW mode but it is nice to know it’s there.
Camera RAW will no doubt serve you experts in RAW very well.
I’m sticking with JPEG.
Another really cool upgrade is HDR

Click on image for a larger view
This photo was shot under those spiral energy savers at ISO 5000. I did the noise reduction in Camera RAW. Yeah, I’m impressed. I will have to run some comparative test with my favorite noise buster “Noiseware” by Imagenomic. I don’t do a lot of high ISO shooting, so this is not as important as say color temperature compensation.

Yes, I’m going to purchase CS5 – no question about it.

Please use the provided links for your shopping. Stay safe and have a fun time with your camera.
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It’s here! It’s here! CS5 is here!

Adobe Photoshop CS5 is here!

Download your free Adobe Photoshop demo today!

I just did and will be busy checking it out.

Please use the provided links for your shopping. Stay safe and have a fun time with your camera.
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