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November 19, 2007 meeting notes:

We started the November Graphics meeting with a quick review of the photos submitted thus far for a possible brochure promoting Corpus Christi. That recent assignment is from the DigiCam SIG and there are many favorite shots-- too many for a brochure, but not for an online Powerpoint or Adobe Reader presentation. We have a good many observant and creative photographers in our group. All of us use some form of software on photos to fix contrast, sharpness, shadow or highlight detail, color cast, or size to prepare our work for others to see.

One thing I have wanted to learn was how to easily place wording on pictures for the group's educational benefit: How was the photo taken and with what camera settings? Ben Luna raised this need and began showing us the details of his photo genius with other members following. I asked Patty to show us how she does it. She uses Microsoft Powerpoint with a template she simply fills in for each photo with camera settings in a lefthand block and relevant info on conditions in a righthand "Notes" block. Since many do not own Powerpoint, Patty next demonstrated how to use Irfanview, a free photo viewer (now yer talkin'!) that allows the addition of information to the photo. I was pleased to learn that it could be done at all with the free program, albeit a crude hit-or-miss method. In Del Mar's Advertising class, you would be taught to make your final photo adjustments in Photoshop, then import into Adobe "Illfrustrator" (my spelling) for final wording additions in that draw program (talk about hit-or-miss). Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop, Elements and most photo programs allow the addition of text to photos, but adding white border in which to write on your "canvas", that's the area showing on a slide, is a bit trickier.

Since the addition of information must either go to the side or overlay on top of a photo, I have suggested that a separate all-text slide be made. This is especially for any similarly shot group of pictures to allow for a flow of photos-only. Another issue is the size of the photo must be reduced substantially to show both at once. Without info attached on the photo or in a separate slide, the benefit of learning from each other is lost if the photographer cannot remember a photo's camera settings. A digression while we are on the topic. We may all include different information in our text, but I think the type of camera should be included because it affects how large of an area is in focus. The "DSLR" cameras have larger sensors and should be noted especially if the photographer also shoots with a compact. All others can be designated "small sensor" to explain why an f/2.8 photo has almost everything in focus. That aperture setting would otherwise have nice blur for background and foreground.

After Patty did her demonstration, I plugged in my Art Attax tower computer and showed some photos I took at the Jacobs' backyard in Rockport just before the Nov. meeting. I picked a pair of orange trumpet-type flowers to show how to do an easy work of art. The Photoshop filter I used gives a sometimes psychedelic color effect with gray outlines. What? You didn't come to our meeting to find out how? Ohh, that's too baaaad!

If your Christmas isn't getting bezier and bezier, and you are up to meeting this month, we have a space reserved just for you and though its the week before Christmas, we have traditionally met the third Monday of December, the 17th this time. We hope to see you there as we boldly go into graphic worlds where no manupulation has gone before. See you in the Retama Room at the Central Library on Comanche at 7pm.

Christmas blessings,
Bruce Switalla

P.S. Camera shopping? If you are up to doing some reading and getting your eyes sore staring at photos critically (ask D.B. Kline), you can educate yourself about cameras starting at I have found friendly folks share about their experiences in the various forums and I read about techniques and deals on everything photo related and some graphics related subjects. For example, the site's new Canon 40D DSLR review charts reveal it does not yield a 50% decrease in already low noise as their advertising promised. My bubble burst. Oh well, there's always next year's models!

Photo Caption: Orange trumpet-type flowers with a standard Photoshop CS filter added. No plants were harmed in the adjusting of this photo.



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