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iView Media Pro

iView Multimedia has released an update to its flagship digital asset management program, iView MediaPro. In today's press release, iView says that it's increased performance for both Mac and Windows versions. This is heartening, since this is the first update to the popular application since the Microsoft acquisition. Many had feared that Microsoft would eliminate Mac support for the product. This release is a good sign for Mac users of iView Media Pro.

Download iView MediaPro 3.1.2 at www.iview-multimedia.com/downloads/index.php. This update is free for registered users of MediaPro 3.x. This update works best with the latest version of QuickTime (7.1.3) from Apple, which is strongly recommended to both Windows and Macintosh users.

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Epson R2400

One of the biggest challenges in digital photography is producing clean, accurate prints using your desktop printer. How do you tackle color management, screen calibration, printing resolution, and all the other variables that befuddles most photographers between capture and output?

Fortunately for us, Ben Long has published a four part printing tutorial on creativepro.com. In this series, Ben covers:

  • Part 1: Selecting a photo printer.
  • Part 2: Color management, soft proofing, make your first print.
  • Part 3: Paper profiling.
  • Part 4: Paper profiles, RIPs.

This is a series I highly recommend.

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Sea Turtle Rising for Air

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I had been hoping all week to visit a sea turtle underwater, and I finally got my chance while snorkeling at Kahekili Beach Park in Maui. I spotted this guy resting beneath a rock ledge about 20 feet down. I knew that turtles generally come up for air a couple times an hour, so I just hung out to see what would happen. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later he headed for the surface. I gave him lots of space so he could go where he wanted, but photographed his ascent and decent.

I have all sorts of great shots in this series, but this is one of my favorites. He looks graceful, and the feeling of weightlessness is really communicated here. After he caught his breath, he went back to his spot under the reef.

One quick note about sea turtles. If you're lucky enough to visit one while snorkeling, please give them lots of space. And what ever you do, don't touch.

One final shot from Maui, then back to regular business. I'm including this wonderful congregation of fish from a Black Rock dive because it just felt so good to be swimming with them. Hope you enjoy it. See you back in Northern California for my next post.

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Moray Eel in Maui

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As I continue to work with the Canon SD700 and the WP-DC5 underwater housing in West Maui, I'm getting more comfortable with the rig each day. The only glitch I had today was some fogging on the inside of the housing after a short session of above-water shooting. So I had to swim back to shore, take the camera out of the housing, defog, then return for a second tour of snorkeling.

I'd also recommend the optional weights that you can get for the housing. I noticed that I wasn't staying submerged as long as I would have liked on my free dives. Part of what was working against me was the WP-DC5 housing that is buoyant by design. The optional weights help counter that. And when you're trying to stay under during a dive, every little bit helps.

The top image is a Moray Eel I caught relocating from one rocky area to another. I had to shoot fast to catch him, and the SD700 was very responsive. The bottom shot of the Rectangular Triggerfish is from above also. I really like the clown-like face, complete with blue lips, that is displayed on the top of this beautiful fish.

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What better place to test the Canon SD700 IS with its $160 underwater housing than in Maui? I caught an early morning Catamaran to the reserve at Molokini and spent the next 3 hours snorkling in beautiful 74 degree water that had about 20 feet of visibility, if not more.

I was very impressed with how easily I could work the controls on the WP-DC5 housing. I used the "underwater" selection from the scene modes and fired away. I could use Canon's bright 2.5" LCD to frame the shots about half the time, depending on the angle of the light from above. Sometimes, the glare and reflection off the housing would wash out the LCD, and I'd just have to guess while lining up a shot. Some of those guesses, however, turned out great.

I also shot topside with the SD700 still in the housing. Those images also turned out well, with no detectable degradation from the camera being inside the housing. This makes the SD700/WP-DC5 combo useful for all sorts of inclement weather, not just underwater.

The housing is rated to 130 feet. I never dove beyond 20 feet, so I can't vouch for the housing's depth rating beyond that. My only complaint was that my right thumb once changed the scene mode from "underwater" to "movie" without me knowing until many minutes later. The dial is positioned where I normally rest my thumb while pressing the shutter button.

Other than that interesting movie digression, I was very satisfied with the results. The shot included here was captured near the reef in Turtle Town, not far from Molokini.

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David Shough Takes the Lensbaby Challenge

David Shough Photo

"I've been following and enjoying your podcasts, and you are usually right on the money with your advice and observations," said David Shough.

"But I have to disagree with you regarding the Lensbaby lenses. It's an awesome tool... I use it nearly every shoot (studio, product, and weddings). The reason a lockable Lensbaby is so appealing is that is lets you shoot with long exposures, as well as giving you a way to get repeatable studio shots. At less than $300, it's a steal. I'll be getting one soon."

Well, David, I'd say you rose to the Lensbaby challenge admirably. This shot of a bride's ring is quite powerful. And now I can say that I've seen a great shot made with a Lensbaby. Well done!

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Lensbabies 3G Now with Locks... But Why?

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I was just reading about the new Lensbabies 3G that have mechanisms allowing the user to lock the devices in any position. They look a bit like a lunar landing module, don't they? The locking device does seems like a nice convenience, but I certainly won't be rushing out to buy one.

Why? Have you ever noticed that you see people using Lensbabies to take bunches of pictures, but that you rarely see the results? This certainly has been my observation. Yes, it does look fun to use. But how many useable pictures do you really get? Especially when you consider that Lensbabies 3G cost $270 US. That's a hefty chunk of change.

So here's what I'm thinking. If you have a great shot captured with a Lensbaby, send it to me. I'll take the best of the bunch and post it as a grab shot. I'd like to be proven wrong about this. But as things stand now, I see them more as expensive toys rather than creative tools. What do you think?

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Aperture 1.5 Ups the Ante

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Bang bang! First Adobe shoots out Lightroom Beta 4, then Apple drops the Aperture 1.5 bomb. I would say that Apple has surprised a lot of people with new functions such as Flexible Library Management (managed library or reference files), XMP sidecar files for exported images, and luminance-based sharpening.

There are lots of little goodies too, such as drag and drop Jpegs out of your Aperture library, Apple Remote capability for Aperture presentations, iPod syncing, iLife integration, and third-party plug-ins. Hmmm, maybe those aren't so little after all. And the really good news is that this update is free to current Aperture owners, and should be available via Software Update on Friday.

You might want to read Ben Long's First Look at Aperture 1.5 on CreativePro.com. He's spent some time with the app and has a good feel for its features and performance.

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Lightroom Beta 4 is Worth the Download

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Adobe announced the release of Lightroom Beta 4 today at Photokina. This version is a substantial update for both Windows and Mac users. I've been testing various builds of Beta 4 on a Mac since the Iceland Lightroom Adventure, and I can tell you from experience, that it's worth the download.

Of all the new features, and there are plenty, take a look at the Develop module in Beta 4. New tools such as Fill Light are some of the most photography-friendly and useful image processing controls I've ever used. I really like refining my pictures with Develop in Lightroom.

One word of caution however... Lightroom is still under development itself. And the team has been very candid about the fact that things will change between the betas and final release. So don't get too married to features, and keep in mind that work you do in the beta version may not carry over to the final release -- Beta 4 included. This is for testing and enjoyment only.

That being said, whether you're on Mac or Windows, Beta 4 is a substantial move forward for Lightroom. You might want to take a look at it.

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Drool Factor: The Seitz 6x17 Digital

Seitz 6x17 Digital

This one is just for the dreaming of it... a high resolution 6x17 (160 million pixels - 7,500 x 21,250 resolution) digital camera that records shots in just one second. Impossible? No says Seitz, the maker of this amazing device.

The image sensor was developed by DALSA Corporation exclusively for Seitz. It has very high sensitivity and broad ISO range: 500-10,000, high image quality thanks to 48-bit color depth, low noise, high dynamic range, DALSA anti-blooming feature, Seitz image optimization algorythms, and you have the freedom to use your own raw-conversion workflow. It accepts world-class Schneider or Rodenstock large format lenses (on Seitz lens board) or Linhof Technorama, Fuji and other large format lenses (on adaptor plates). Bottom line, you get a gigantic digital panorama at nearly the speed of many "regular" digital cameras.

The price? It's big too. The Seitz 6x17 Digital will set you back 28,900 Euros (that's about $36,800 American). Oh my...

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