News from Rod Barbee Photography
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March 2012 Rod Barbee Photography Newsletter
Greetings
Well. It's snowing as I write this on the day before Leap Day. And yesterday we needed to mow the lawn. In February. And the last time we needed to mow the lawn was late November. Usually we're done mowing by mid to late September and don't have to mow again until around April. This is weird and makes me wonder how wildflowers are going to be this summer. Or if we'll have a summer like we had last year (or, rather, nearly had). Anyway, the snowfall is pretty to watch.
Olympic workshop limited time offer
 
My annual Olympic National Park workshop is coming up in July. My workshops typically run from Wednesday night to Sunday morning, but since there's just so much ground to cover in Olympic, this year's trip is a Tuesday night to Sunday morning affair. A whole extra day for mountains or wildflowers or forests or the coast. Not to mention the awesome lavender farm.
I'll be leading this trip with my friend Kim Hoshal, a professional photographer and workshop leader from near Sedona, AZ. Not only will we be helping you in the field with flower close ups (or maybe even Banana slug close ups) or hyperfocal focusing for wide angle landscapes, we'll be spending time in the classroom on photo lectures and digital workflow stuff. You know, Lightroom, Photoshop, HDR. All those goodies.
The listed price for this workshop is $825 but if you can manage to sign up before the end of March, the price is $750.

All the information on the workshop is on my Olympic workshop page. And don't forget to check out the links at the top of every workshop page. They lead to pages that cover how to sign up, what to expect, and payment policies.

My new book
 
A couple of weeks ago I received my new book, "Oregon Coast Memories," in the mail and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The designer and printers really make me look good.
This book is sort of a travelogue of the Oregon Coast. As my brother described it: "It has pictures people wish they'd would have taken on their vacation." Which is kinda cool because that's the whole point of the "Memory Book" series.
Iceland: two spaces remaining
 
As of this writing there are only two spaces left in my August 13-22 Iceland photo tour. This promises to be a fantastic trip. Not only will we be visiting costal villages, but we'll be seeing some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. And since we'll be able to get into the highlands, we'll be able to see and photograph volcanic and geothermal areas. Don't miss out on one of the world's most diverse and interesting landscapes.
Palouse workshops
 
Washington's Palouse area has long been a favorite destination for photographers. Whether you're interested in graphic landscapes, barns, a gigantic waterfall, hay fever, or rural characters, the Palouse has something for everybody. (And to add to that, there's a great Bavarian breakfast place in Pullman.)
This year, Victoria Dye and I are doing a two part workshop. The first part is simply photographing the Palouse. We'll still take time out for classroom and critiques, but the main goal is capturing the Palouse.
The second workshop (or part 2) is all about digital workflow using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. By the time this workshop happens we'll no doubt be using Lightroom 4, but if you're still using Lightroom 3, have no worries. We'll also demonstrate some of the Nik Software that both of us are using, like HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, and Viveza 2.
Speaking of Nik Software, did you know you can get a 15% discount on any individual product by using my discount code. It's true! Use the code RBARBEE during checkout.
Take one or both workshops. There's a discount if you take both. See the workshop pages for all the details.
Recycling CDs and DVDs
 
What do you do with your old cds and dvds? Recently I bought a blu-ray burner for my PC. I'd been burning DVDs for a secondary image backup, but after awhile, all those DVDs start taking up a lot of space, especially in a safety deposit box. Using Blu-ray discs, I was able to replace 70 dvd backup discs with 14 blu-ray discs.
But what to do with all those leftover DVDs? Up until now I would usually take a utility knife to them, making several cuts across bottom side of the dvd. This makes them unreadable. After that I'd toss them in the trash. But that doesn't seem right so I searched the internet for "cd and dvd recycling" and came across the CD Recycling Center of America. This organization has partnered with sites all over the country to recycle old cds and dvds. The site closest to me is Ability First, a non-profit organization serving children and adults with disabilities. So not only can I be environmentally conscious by recycling discs rather than adding them to the landfill, I can help out an organization doing good work for those less fortunate.

But before you send discs out for recycling, you probably want to make them unreadable, right? I mean, you don't want discs full of your full resolution images just floating around out there.
One way to make the discs unreadable is to use a utility knife like I describe above. I'm pretty sure that sooner or later I'll lose something important by doing that. There are machines that will either shred or otherwise make discs unreadable. They seem to run around $50. Or you can get the Compact Disc Eraser.
I picked mine up on Amazon for something like $15.

18% Gray Matter on framing, Nikon D800 and more
 
Been thinking of getting one of the new Nikon D800 cameras? There are two flavors, you know. The D800 and the D800E. In their latest podcast Jack and Bob outline the differences and why you might want to choose one over the other.
The D800 has a 36 megapixel (36mp!) sensor. Now that's going to create some huge files. More importantly, however, this high of a resolution sensor could create more problems than it solves. What I mean by this is that a sensor of such high resolution will easily reveal the flaws in your lenses. So if you're using a third party, consumer 18-200mm f/4 - f/6.3 lightweight zoom lens, you're going to more than likely see all of its flaws in 16-bit glory. Or is that gory? These cameras will require quality lenses; otherwise, what's the point?

You'll spend around $3000 on a D800 (a little more on the D800E), but if you don't have the quality lenses already, you can plan on spending another couple of grand. If you want the quality that the camera is capable of producing, that is. I've already decided that I hate these cameras. I hate them because I want them. Well, not both of them. That would be silly.
Jack and Bob also have an interesting discussion with the professional framer Jack uses about mounting and framing your images.
Go on over to their website to listen, or download the podcast on iTunes.

Colormunki
 
A couple of months back I got an email from a client wondering about monitor calibration and what I use. As I've had my calibration system for a long time (and sort of had to "cheat" to get a Windows 7 driver for it) I wasn't really up on what was currently available. So I took a look. I had heard good things about X-Rite's ColorMunki so I got online and had a peek. I also viewed a webinar about it.
From what I could see, it looked really easy to use, and would calibrate both monitors and projectors. And it was getting great reviews. Plus it's got monkey (well, munki) in its name!
I hadn't been pleased at all with the projector calibration results I had been getting with an older Spyder2Pro and I wanted to get a calibration system that was more compatible with Windows 7, so I went ahead and bought the Colormunki Display. There are other versions that will also profile your printer, but I don't need that capability.

Installation was pretty easy and running the calibration was straight forward and quick. My old system seemed to take about five minutes or more to calibrate a monitor. With the Colormunki, that time was considerably reduced. One neat feature it the ambient light monitor. If you keep the Colormunki plugged in, it will measure the ambient light and change your monitor's brightness level automatically if the room light levels change. That's pretty cool.
I run two monitors on my desktop system and calibrating each was easy. And the software knows which is which when the machine boots up. I will say that my second monitor looks a whole lot better now than it did before when I was using my old Monaco system.
As far as the quality of the calibration goes, everything looks good. I've sent out pictures to be printed based on what they look like on the monitor and the prints have come back looking great.
If you're looking for a monitor calibrating solution, I don't think you can go wrong with the ColorMunki. And the price is pretty reasonable as well. You can get them at B&H or Amazon or just about anywhere photo and electronics are sold.

Dogs. Just dogs.
 
And finally, I got to dog sit last Saturday. My brother and his partner dropped their dog off for a couple of hours so I took Opie the Vizsla and Bailey the Labradoodle for a walk in the woods. They had a blast. But they're hard to photograph, especially with my Canon G11, which isn't nearly as responsive as my Nikon D300. Just trying to get those two to hold still for a couple of seconds was challenge enough, but to get them looking in the right direction at the same time. Not. Going. To. Happen.
So this picture is actually a composite of two different pictures, one taken right after the other. In one picture, Bailey is looking in the direction I want but Opie had his head down chewing a stick. In the next, Opie is looking up but Bailey is looking away. But thanks to the magic of Photoshop, I can make the picture I really wanted. Or close to it anyway. I haven't bothered cloning out sticks and stuff. And I probably won't. Just wanted an excuse to post this picture.
 

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