News from Rod Barbee Photography
December 2006 Rod Barbee Photography Newsletter
Well, it's been wet and cold and windy and cold and snowy and cold and dark and cold. In some ways an atypical, typical northwest autumn. Actually, it's a lot more like winter.

We had several days where no one in their right mind would want to be out on the road. I was stuck inside for the most part and that's a good thing since I needed to finish up my book.

Our recent Arctic Blast
For those of you not living in the Pacific Northwest, you may have heard about our recent snowfall (or as the local news calls it ďMega Blizzard 2006Ē). Though I was pretty busy finishing up my latest book, Bailey and I did make time for some romping. We had a blast. She loves chasing, chewing, chomping, tossing, and pouncing on the stuff. For my part, I enjoyed throwing it at her, rolling her in it, and chasing her through it.
Got Sharpening?
I just finished reading a book that takes much of the mystery from the mysterious subject of image sharpening. Why do you need to sharpen? When should you do it? What do all those settings mean and what numbers should you use? Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2 by Bruce Fraser answers all those questions and presents the reader with not just sharpening techniques but a whole workflow approach to sharpening. This is not a beginnerís book and the author assumes that the reader already has some familiarity and competence with Photoshop. Besides teaching techniques, Fraser also shows you how to write your own sharpening action routines. (Bruce Fraser has also written several Real World books, including the excellent Real World Camera Raw). For more information, click on the image of the book above.

I really enjoyed this book, but then again I can be a techno geek from time to time. If youíd like to use the methods in the book but donít want to spend the time writing up your own action sets, you can buy a whole suite of sharpening tools from Pixel Genius ( a group that Fraser is part of) called PK Sharpener. This set of automations allow the user to choose options like type of image source (high res digital camera, positive film, etc), type of image (wide edges, narrow edges, etc) and output (240 dpi inkjet on glossy paper, for instance). PK Sharpener runs about $100 but I found it well worth the money, especially since you can call up the routines in actions and use those actions to batch many images at once (something I took advantage of just recently for hundreds of images). If youíre interested in giving PK Sharpener a try, you can get a fully functional trial version by clicking the link below. (I have no affiliation with Pixel Genius, I'm just passing along something I'm happy with)

Luminosity Masks
Once again, thanks to, Iíve come across something worthy of passing on. Tony Kuyper has created a fantastic tutorial on generating and using luminosity masks in Photoshop. For any of you who ever need to make changes to just a part of an image (and who hasnít), these masks make it a lot easier and a lot more effective. For those not familiar with the term, a Luminosity Mask is a selection based upon the brightness values in an image. This selection is then loaded onto a layer mask where it becomes the actual mask.

This is definitely not a beginnerís technique, but if youíre familiar with layers, layer masks, and to some extent, channels, you should have no problem following along. Check out Tonyís tutorial on his website below.

Wildlife photo sessions
The January Winter Wildlife special workshop that I'm leading at Triple "D" is sold out. They are taking names for a waiting list or you can call to check on the availability of other dates. Call Jay or Kathleen at 406-755-9653.

Don Mammoser and I still have some room left for our Triple "D" Utah trip this April 15-17. As of now, we have four spaces available. We may be able to add to our group if there's a demand, but the total group size will be no more than 12.

Boy, am I glad that's over with
From the department of "I'll never do that again" (though I probably will), I've just sent my next book, "The Photographer's Guide to Puget Sound and Northwest Washington" off to the publisher. Oh my, what a pile of work that was.

This is the first book I've done on my own and at times I didn't think I would meet the deadline. But I managed somehow and I'm glad it's done. Now I can get on to some other projects. Like that bathroom remodel my wife's been hinting at. The book is scheduled for a spring release, though I don't know if spring means March or June. We'll see. And I'll be sure to make an announcement when the book is available.

See ya next year
OK, that's it for 2006 (unless something pops up between now and the end of the year). It sure has gone by fast. Guess that's what happens when you've got a deadline you're not sure you'll meet.

I hope you all have a great holiday. Go buy yourself something fun.


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