News from Rod Barbee Photography
March 2011 Rod Barbee Photography Newsletter
I'm sure you've heard the saying about March coming in as a lion and going out as a lamb. Or the other way around. Well, it's coming in as a lion in northwest Washington. High winds, power outages, sideways rain. March is a real jerk.
One space left in Palouse Digital Workflow workshop
I've been having some fun lately learning more and more about what Lightroom can do. Right now I'm in the process of redesigning my website by using a Lightroom web module plug-in. By using this plug-in I can create an entire website just from within Lightroom. How cool and convenient is that?
I really love how Lightroom is so flexible and so extensible. Just the other day I downloaded a plug-in that allows Lightroom to catalog non-image files. You know, PDF files, DOC files, MP3 files, etc. This is great! Now I can group licensing agreements and invoices in the same collections as the images that were licensed. For instance, I have several images that are being licensed by a greeting card company. I have all the images in a collection by themselves and now I can have the licensing agreement cataloged in the same collection.
I can also now catalog slide show images along with the music used for a particular slideshow. It's a pretty neat plug in. (If you're interested in this plug in, visit John Ellis' website.)

But I digress. The point is that I've been learning lots and lots about Lightroom. And Victoria Dye has been teaching Lightroom for quite awhile now. And I'm pretty excited about what we can share with you during this workshop (June 15-19). Oh, and we'll be photographing the Palouse too! I'm practically tap-dancing now!
But there's just the one space left. So if you've been thinking of coming along, you might want to grab this spot.
I should add that if there is enough interest, we will add a second workshop directly following this workshop.

ColorChecker Passport software
Ok, so you know I'm all gaga over Lightroom (And I can hear those of you out there who told me I would love it. You were right.) And as you may know, in the Develop Module of Lightroom 3 there is a Calibration Panel. And it's full of preset camera calibrations that Adobe has made for your camera. But every camera is different and colors can be rendered differently from camera to camera, even in the same model line. So if getting the colors correct right out of the camera is important to you (especially if you're doing any product or artwork photography) it can save you a lot of post-processing time if you're particular camera has been calibrated.
You may remember some time back when I wrote about the Adobe DNG Profile Editor? The way it works is that you get yourself a calibrated color chart, photograph it, convert the image to the DNG format, and run the Profile Editor. Then you have to install your profile in the proper folder on your computer. It works and it's free, you just have to purchase the color chart.

But there's an easier way. X-Rite has created the ColorChecker Passport. It's an all-in-one kit with color charts and software. When you install the software, it installs a stand-alone version of the program as well as installing a Lightroom Plugin. So now you can create camera profiles right from Lightroom. If you already have a color chart, you can try the software from X-Rite here.

Costco wrap report
Last month I told you I was going to have some gallery wraps made through Costco. One of your fellow subscribers wrote to me to say he's been using the service and has been getting great results. I have to report the same. I was actually rather pleased with how the colors turned out. The files I used were in the Adobe (1998) RGB color space and the print comes out pretty close to what's on the monitor so I don't have any complaints.
Olympic College Class
For those of you living on the Kitsap peninsula or in the Port Ludlow area, I'll be teaching a basic nature photography class at Olympic College in Bremerton. The course runs from April 27 to May 11. It's on three Wednesday evenings and one Saturday morning.
During this course I cover the basics of exposure (and why pictures sometimes don't come out like you think they should), equipment, and composition. Our Saturday field trip is for you to get some hand's on practice.
Of cookies and critiques
I loves me some chocolate chip cookies. And if I do say so myself, I can make the very best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. They're pretty awesome.
But I'm no baker. I really don't know what I'm doing other than following a recipe with some of my own modifications (guesses, really). I don't know why cookies need salt or baking powder or soda or whatever. The only thing I really know is that they need chocolate chips. That's all that really counts for me. Still, I can make some awesome cookies.
But sometimes things don't go quite right and I really don't know why. The taste is usually still there but the cookies sometimes come out flat and chewy. Sure, I can go on the internet and get some ideas (and I have) and then learn my trial and error. If only I had a professional baker at hand who could take a look (or taste) at my cookies and tell me where I went wrong. That would be the fastest way to learn about my mistakes.

No, this isn't the Rod Barbee Baking Newsletter, but my point about the cookies can apply to anything you're trying to master, be it baking or photography. Having a professional at hand to critique your work and point out where things might have gone wrong and how to fix it in future situations is one of the fastest ways to learn. I see it happen all the time in workshops. After the first critique session my students are already watching out for clutter in foregrounds, or branches intruding from the side of the frame. They're looking to find cleaner backgrounds and trying to simplify compositions. And by the time we get to the third critique session of a workshop everybody is joining in pointing out ways to improve images.
So if you really want to get a jump start on improving your photography, getting your worked critiqued is one of the quickest ways of doing it. And if you want to have a lot of fun at the same time, the workshop environment is the way to go.
So whether you take one of my workshops or a workshop from someone else, you'll find that you're photography will improve, you'll have fun, and you'll make some new friends.
Don't forget to bring some cookies.

Oregon Winery Tour
Ok, I've finally come up with the dates for the 4th annual Wineries of Oregon's Willamette Valley Photo Tour. Or as we like to call it: The Most Funnestest Photo Tour in Forever. (you can tell we've been touring wineries when I pull out "funnestest")
Oh. Anyway, the dates will be October 19-23. A Wednesday through Sunday. This will make getting home much easier than when we ended on Fridays. The traffic heading to Portland is really annoying. Much like our early March weather.
Also, I've lowered the price this year to $600. That way you can buy more wine. Or some awesomely flavored vinegar. Or something.
Anyway, the details are posted here.
Other upcoming workshops
I'll just end by mentioning that Victoria Dye and I still have room in our Arches/Canyonlands Digital Workflow Workshop. This trip is coming up quickly, just next month.
If you've never visited Arches or Canyonlands (or if you want to go back) and if you want to get a good leg up on using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, this is the workshop for you.
Not only will you get to photograph one of our nation's most dramatic landscapes (with us there to help you), you'll learn how to use this premier image editing/managing/outputting program.
As well, we have space in our Blue Ridge Mountains (Shenandoah), June 1-5, workshop. While not a full fledged digital workflow workshop, we will be spending plenty of time (as much time as you want, really) on Lightroom and Photoshop.

Also, there are just two spaces left in my Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls trip May 18-22. This trip is limited to only seven.

March is still out there roaring away. We just had a freak hail storm. Guess I'll get back to working on my new web galleries.


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