News from Rod Barbee Photography
December 2005 Rod Barbee Photography Newsletter
Volume 12
Here I am with winter coming on. Every winter I tell myself that Iím going to get to all those long put off projects. This winter itís supposed to be organizing and keywording my digital images and getting them into stock agencies. So far this month Iíve been battling computer problems instead. Sigh. But I have managed to cross a few things off of my list.
Making a Living Without a Job
As many of you know, I left my cushy job at Boeing nearly six years ago. (Six years!?! Yikes!) Anyway, for any of you out there contemplating making the leap to self-employment, I highly recommend ďMaking a Living Without a JobĒ by Barbara Winter. This book is full of ideas, inspiration, and enthusiasm for anyone who is contemplating becoming, as Barbara puts it, ďjoyfully joblessĒ.

Barbara also publishes a bi-monthly newsletter called "Winning Ways". Every issue is full of ideas, book recommendations, inspiration, and support. Well worth the cost of the subscription.

That DAM Book
I mentioned getting my digital images organized. Well, thanks once again to, Iíve come across something that looks to be very useful for this: The DAM Book. Thatís Digital Asset Management. Managing digital images, to me, is the most frustrating thing about digital photography. I still donít have a solid handle on it and Iím hoping this book will help me out. Iíll let you know what I think.
Creating Panoramas
If youíve ever manually stitched panoramas together iin Photoshop or another program, you know that itís not as easy as it first appears. Even though the Photomerge function in Photoshop does an adequate, and sometimes pretty darn good, job, there are plenty of times where it just doesnít work that well (when you have plenty of blue sky, for instance). Recently I tried Panorama Factory and was impressed with its ease of use and as well as its effectiveness.

One thing I like about it is that it can save your final, stitched photo in a number of file formats, including Photoshopís PSD format. Whatís more, it can leave the image in layers in case the photographer wishes to apply further refinement.

Getting White Balance Just Right
One question I often get during workshops is what the white balance setting on digital cameras should be. For most newer cameras, Auto White Balance often works quite well. But what if you want to be sure you get the white balance just right? This is especially important for those photographers shooting portraits or products.

A great solution is to place a reference card in one of the pictures, and then correct to that card and apply the settings to all the other pictures that were shot in the same light. This is very easy to do if youíre shooting RAW and almost as easy to do if youíre shooting jpg. Up until recently, I would use either a grey card or a piece of white foam core as a reference. That was until I found out about Whibal. Whibal is a set of reference cards constructed out of completely color- neutral material. They make a great reference, are small enough to fit in your camera bag, and best of all, they work great. Be sure to check out the video user's guide on the WhiBal site

Digital Images to Slides
I still use slide projectors for teaching, presentations, and good olí fashioned fade and dissolve slide shows. One big problem with shooting digital is that some of my best new images arenít available for my slide shows. Iíve heard about but until now, Iíve never tried their service. Itís pretty straightforward. Go to and register as a user. Then upload the images you want made into slides. You can send jpg, tiff, or psd files. Their machine will resize your image to 4096x2730 pixels. You can send files straight from your camera or you can upsize them if you wish.

I sent one image sized to 4320 x 2880 (itís what I had for a 12x18 print) and I sent some others at the size that comes out of my Nikon D100 (approx. 3000x2000 pixels). I was impressed with the results. Color was perfect (I used the Adobe RGB (1998) color space) though does not specify a preferred color space. I found these slides to be every bit as good as a high quality dupe, though not as sharp as if the image was originally shot on film. I think this could be dealt with by applying some additional sharpening for this specific output. Iíll have to do some testing.

Puppy update
And of course, I have to keep you up to date on whatís happing with Bailey, our adorable labradoodle. Bailey recently discovered birds. She likes to sit at one of the doors looking out on our backyard and stare at the birds. So far she doesnít seem interested in chasing them. She also got her first taste of snow last week as well as her first beach experience. She wasnít afraid of the water at all and rushed right in after a ball. Hereís a picture of Bailey taken with my Nikon D100 and my (brand new!!) 300mm f/4 AFS lens.
Happy Upcoming Joyous Season
As I don't want to become embroiled in any "War on Christmas", I'll just wish you all a happy end of 2005, whichever way you celebrate it, as well as a great 2006.

With any luck, I'll see some of you out in the field next year, maybe at a workshop or two. Until then, take care. (speaking of workshops, I should be adding a fall color in Vermont workshop (with David Middleton) to the workshops page real soon. I'll let you know)


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Rod Barbee Photography | 172 Robin Lane | Port Ludlow | WA | 98365