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If I Were Rich, Here Is My Rig

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What a day of announcements on Tuesday. If I were a rich man, I'd have an entire new post-production rig. Here's what's tempting me.

Apple created the new MacBook Pro 15" that's carved out of a solid piece of aluminum. Reports are that it's super sturdy and a testament to machine engineering. It supports a 15-LED display. I have one of those on my 17" MacBook Pro, and I can tell you they are great for photographers. They warm up instantly so you can get right to color-managed image editing.

The configuration I'd want for the 15" MacBook Pro would include 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GBs Ram (that comes standard), and the 250GB Serial ATA hard drive that spins at 7200 RPM. Price: $2,749 US.

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Along with the new MacBook Pro, Apple released the 24" LED Cinema Display that incorporates the same cool LED technology plus has a built-in iSight camera, speakers, and integrated MagSafe connector for charging your laptop while you have it connected to the monitor. Price: $899 US.

Don't forget Aperture 2, preinstalled. When you buy the MacBook Pro, you can get Aperture 2 (Apple's pro level photo management software) installed on the hard drive for $199 US. I'd definitely include this.

Then, at 9pm last night, Adobe announced that is was now shipping Photoshop CS4. This is the application that I've been raving about for the last few weeks. It performs smoothly with new features such as fluid canvas rotation, OpenGL zooming, new adjustment panel, improved Bridge, amazing ACR, and much more.

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You can upgrade to Photoshop CS4 for $199 US. Along with Aperture, CS4 rounds out the photographer's workbench providing you with everything you would need.

So bottom line price for the whole she-bang? A mere $4,046 US. But what a set up! I better get to work and line up a few more jobs.

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Photoshop CS4 Screencast 1 Posted

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I've just posted the first screencast in a series of eight focusing on building a photography workflow with Photoshop CS4. These videos will run once a week for the next couple months.

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Join Me in New York for PhotoPlus Expo

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I'll be on the East Coast during October 23-25 for PhotoPlus Expo, spending plenty of time on the Expo floor in the O'Reilly Media booth. In addition to chatting with visitors in the booth, I'll be leading talks on Photoshop CS4 for Photographers and Photo Management (DAM).

I'm also on the PhotoPlus faculty, teaching Five Ways to Work More Efficiently in Photoshop (Friday) and Aperture Best Practices (Saturday). You can find all the details on the PhotoPlus Conference Schedule page.

Whether you come to class or just stop by the O'Reilly booth for a visit, I hope to see you next week in New York.


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The The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers is available for preorder. Learn more about it here.


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With the release of Photoshop CS4 just around the corner, my CS4 guide for photographers is ready for preorder right now. That means you should receive the book as soon as the software is released by Adobe.

There are two scenarios where I think you would want to preorder The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers. The first is if you're going to upgrade and want to start taking advantage of the new features and workflow options that were designed just for shooters. The Photoshop CS4 Companion focuses on the use of this application for photographers only. This enables you to cut to the chase and become proficient quickly.

The other scenario is if you're contemplating upgrading to CS4, but want to know if it's a good investment for you. The Photoshop CS4 Companion is available on Amazon for only $16.49 US. That's a small investing compared to buying Photoshop, and I'm confident that the book will help you make the right decision for you.

I look at this CS4 release as a complete workflow for photographers. That's why I dedicate complete chapters to each of the important tools. Photo Downloader gets one chapter, Bridge is one chapter, Adobe Camera Raw is so incredible that I dedicated two chapters to it, Photoshop also gets two chapters, plus there's a chapter that focuses on printing with Photoshop. The chapters are designed to take you through the workflow in the right sequence, similar to what Lightroom does with the modules.

What's interesting to me, is that you probably need Photoshop anyway. Its great new features such a the innovative merging technologies and the new "best practices" non-destructive editing tools are a blessing for any shooter. And, on top of that, you get an entire workflow that spans from upload to output. This is a very complete package, and I cover it step by step in this 208 page guide that fits nicely in your laptop bag. Oh, and the Photoshop CS4 Companion is for both Mac and Windows users.

You can learn more about this by listening to my podcast titled, Top Ten Photoshop CS4 Features. You'll hear why I'm so excited about this release, and why I just had to write The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers.


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ShoZu Connects Smart Phone Shooters

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I was chatting-up the value of smart phone cameras the other day, then luckily ran across an interesting application for smart phone shooters called ShoZu.

ShoZu connects your mobile phone to online sites such as flickr, YouTube, facebook, Blogger, and even photoshop.com. You can upload your images, access feeds from friends, reply to comments, add descriptions, geo-tag and more. There are versions for BlackBerry, iPhone, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and many more.

The iPhone version I tried was free, and I think the others are too. It's an interesting application for those who like to interact online via their phone.


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Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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If you'd like to take time to focus on your photography this weekend, then consider joining me in Santa Rosa, CA for "How I Did It" - A Short Course in High-Impact Photography.

Many high-impact photos are a combination of opportunity and technique. In this workshop, I'll show you examples of compelling photographs and explain how they were captured. By the end of the day, you will have learned many of the secrets that top shooters use to distinguish their photos from others.

You can register online, or call Santa Rosa Junior College at 707-527-4372.


Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

What's in Your Pocket?

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I was reading a story on PDN this morning titled Smart Phones for Smart Photographers that discussed how today's mobile devices have a variety of tools that are helpful for shooters -- including their built in cameras.

I had one of those "smart phone moments" this weekend while I was moving out of a storage unit (finally!) on Saturday morning. It had rained that evening, but the sky was beginning to clear. As I sat there in my VW van ready to take the first load to the house, I saw this interesting composition. I didn't have a "real" camera with me, so I pulled out my iPhone and composed this shot through the van windshield.

That night, tired from a day of moving, I pulled out my iPhone and took a peek at the images. I like the juxtaposition of sky in asphalt. It's a fun shot that I'm glad I have.

Ah, smart phones. You gotta love em! What's in your pocket? Let us know by posting a comment below.


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Bogen is hosting a webinar titled, Selling Your Products Online? Learn How to Shoot Products that Sell Themselves on Friday, Oct. 3 in the afternoon. Led by Mark Astmann and Christopher Abbiss, Lastolite Product Managers, they will discuss the Cubelite –- a quick portable lighting system perfect for taking web images, along with other lighting options and tips to achieve great images with a digital point and shoot camera. They will also demonstrate positioning and placing light on your products, along with white balancing your camera to eliminate unwanted colors to your images.

The only catch is that you must have a valid United States address and a valid email address upon registration. But it does sound kind of fun.


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If you've ever wondered if Photoshop's Smart Objects are something you should be using, you might want to listen in on this conversation with Deke McClelland. I interviewed him at Photoshop World in Orlando, and wanted to hear why he thinks Smart Objects are worth learning.

Deke does a terrific job of providing an overview to this nondestructive function in Photoshop. It's a good listen if you want to get up to speed in less than 20 minutes.


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Not Quite Getting the Sigma DP2

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I've been reading up on the just-announced Sigma DP2 compact camera, and I have to say, I don't quite get it. I do understand that it uses the same 14 megapixel (2,652×1,768×3 layers) direct image sensor as the SD14 and DP1, which is huge for a compact. But the lens is a prime only at 24.2mm (equal to 43mm on a full frame sensor) with a maximum aperture of f/2.8.

Now, I love prime lenses as much as the next guy, but this day in age, why would I spend hundreds of dollars on a camera with only a 43mm lens? And at f/2.8 to boot? If it's going to be a single-focal length only, doesn't it at least have to be fast?

I understand the potential for great image quality here with the large Foveon sensor and shooting in Raw mode. And quite possibly I'm just a little more frugal than the target market for this camera. So, if you have a compelling argument to spend big dollars on this machine, I'd like you to post a comment saying why.


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