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March 17, 2008 Graphics SIG Notes
We met in our upstairs Board Room again at the Central Library where we studied the Orton Effect and I delved into worlds little known... like Layers.  Too bad the steps given do not give much explanation, but at least it gave me step-by-step instruction. I am now graphically emboldened "to go where no plan has gone before." Star Trek intro, remember?
Speaking of worlds little known, did anyone have their camera out at 3 am last Wednesday morning (Mar. 19)??? Too bad cause I did. Not. They say you could've seen a star explosion 7.5 billion light years away and be the all-time Guinness World Record holder for most distant eyesight. Also here:  One wonders if it had happened the following Saturday night if it would be credited with the UFO sightings getting news coverage in Corpus Christi.
Oh yeah, now to the meeting. The Orton Effect link demonstrated a nice result on a flower that was the main subject. But our use of an already yellow-saturated flower did not produce anything exciting. A more distant landscape photo with a distant leafless tree and two tombstones in the foreground and field of flowers did make a nice improvement to the scene, however. Your mileage may vary.
I do recommend you plan your flower-shooting sooner than later. Our carpool was dying to get into the Rockport Cemetery... which was full (of wildflowers ;-)) by the second week of March. I learned that tripods I don't really need at midday, must go to near-ground-level to be useful, that large foldable shades just catch the wind and hinder photography, that composition is still key to great shots, especially in that wind. You add to the list!
Next, I bravely tried the Ben Luna-recommended High Dynamic Range software trial, Photomatix Pro. The small program loaded in half a minute, and experienced users present guided me through. I used a photo series I took of the Big Tree in Rockport. The result looked like something I want to tweak at home.  Too much contrast on the wall can affect the intended benefits of the compression of highlight and shadow detail which this method brings out. Fast processors and lotsa RAM are a plus with these oversized files. Thanks to all my helpers.
We ended the meeting encouraging everyone to try both software techniques with their wildflower assignment from our sister DigiCam SIG.  I sent a few folks the link for the free Virtual Photographer, by OptikVerve, which works as a plug-in for photo programs, including Photoshop & Paint Shop Pro. It is intended to imitate the effect you get if using various types of film. You know, film, that stuff photographers used to use last century that enabled your parents to capture your mug and various other activites of your childhood we won't discuss here. Try it, too, on your flowers and bring us your results!  Here's that link:  Be sure to click the gray button for instructions.
See you Monday March 21, the week after the DigiCam SIG,
Bruce Switalla, Graphics SIG 



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