Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lightroom 2.2 Released!

Adobe Lightroom 2.2 has been released! You can reach the Download Page Here. The ReadMe File tells us that some fixes have been introduced in the SlideShow module and several bug fixes for the brush and mask development settings. I am downloading the updates and will let you know if I find any issues.

I am curious if this release works better with the current Adobe Flash releases in the Web Gallery module.
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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Windows Fix for Script Errors in Lightroom

Matt at the Turning Gate found a good fix for windows user's that run into script errors when using Lightroom. Joe at the Lightroom Gallery posted it for us. See the Fix Article Here. Thanks guys! ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lunar Conjunction with Venus and Jupiter

Last night we had a rare lunar conjunction with both Venus and Jupiter. As astronomy goes, light from the object you are viewing is the most important next to clear skies. Venus happens to be the brightest object in the sky next to the sun and then the moon. Jupiter is a close second. Thus, last nights lunar conjunction showed essentially the three brightest nighttime objects visible from earth. Here's a photo of this event.

The moon is obvious in the upper left hand corner. Venus is the bright object in the lower middle and Jupiter is the object in the upper middle right. This image was taken with a Leica M-8 using a 90mm Elmarit at f/4.0 and a shutter speed of 1/60 second and ISO 160. This conjunction was visible from North Carolina a 7:11pm.

I understand that in parts of Europe, there was also a lunar occultation, where the Moon eclipsed Venus for some time. Most astrophotography is better done with a telescope and a CCD imaging camera, but the spread of this particular conjunction made it work well with a camera and a long lens. Enjoy!
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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Smart Collection Workflow - 1 Metadata

This article covers the Metadata section of the Smart Collections Workflow and is part of the complete Smart Collection Workflow for Lightroom.

The Metadata is the heart of the information about an image. Metadata is useful to pull later when printing, using a slideshow or publishing to the web. More importantly, Metadata is how you record your copyright. This section of the Smart Collection Workflow deals with making sure the most important Metadata is input into each image in the Current Work.

Each item in the Metadata workflow is covered under a separate heading. Changes to this portion of the workflow will appear as edits. The first rule of each portion of the workflow is that the collection name contains 'Current Work.' This is done to ensure we are looking at only the images we are working on.

No Copyright

This item shows the images with no copyright message. The rule is that the copyright status is not copyrighted. During the import, I use a standard addition of the copyright information into the images. For my workflow, this item should start out with zero images added.

No Creator

In addition to the copyright, I want to know if the creator has not been filled in as it is also an automatic addition. Unfortunately, Lightroom does not yet have the best consistency between checking fields in smart collections. As such, the creator Metadata does not have a choice for 'isEmpty.' Thus, the rule is creator is where is a blank item, no text or spaces input. This shows all images with no creator input in the Metadata.

No Location

Location is another Metadata item without perfect rules created. More importantly, the rule for the Creator doesn't work for the Location. Thus, we had to resort to workaround type two: check to see that the item doesn't contain any vowels. The rule is location doesn't contain a e i o u. I suppose we could try adding each letter of the alphabet as well, but I did not take the time to input that string.

No Label

Label may not be important for your uses, but when publishing images to the Web, Label, Title and Caption can be more important. To check for the Label, the rule is label text contains .

No Title

Similar to the Label, the rule for checking the Title is title contains .

No Caption

The caption is a Metadata item with more standard rules. Thus, the rule for checking the caption is caption is empty.

No Keywords

The more images you add to the library, the more important keyword assignment is. This rule checks to be sure at least one keyword is assigned to each image. The rule is keywords are empty.


There are other Metadata fields that are important to my workflow, especially when using sophisticated web publishing galleries like Lightroom Galleries LRG Complete. However, Lightroom under its current version does not allow a smart collection for every Metadata item. The best solution to this problem is to continue to ask Adobe to add these additional Metdata items, even if they only have simple 'contains' and 'does not contain' rules.

Adding additional rules can be easy by simply creating another smart collection and putting the appropriate numbers in front of the description to sort it.

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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

VMWare: Running in a Window

The advantages of using virtual workstations on a computer outweigh many of the disadvantages. I have been running Lightroom 2.1 now in a virtual machine for over a month with no adverse effect. The virtual machine, however, uses both processors and 2Gb of the 4Gb of machine memory. There is one trick to help keep the speed of the interface up.

The viewing mode of the virtual machine is important. We easily get used to windows around our desktop and the ability to switch between them easily. When using a virtual machine, a window is a resource hog. The machine should be running and the windows should be within the virtual machine.

The best response in the virtual machine is had when the view is set to Full Screen. This is found on the View, Full Screen menu. Using Full Screen there is no part of the host machine visible. This means the computer will not have to spend as much time keeping up with the host and can focus on your virtual machine.

The next tip I will publish is regarding the screen size in a virtual machine. When using VMWare on a laptop, sometimes the docking monitor is square and the laptop screen is wide. I have an easy method to switch between the two resolutions in Windows.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

LRG Advanced User's Guide Updated

This is the first official update to the LRG Complete Advanced User's Guide. Several new items have been added including a chapter on using Digital Image Downloading.

Highlights include:

  • A Chapter on using and testing Digital Image Downloading
  • Using Google GMail directly with SMTP Email
  • Updates and New Worksheets in the Appendix
  • A Color Chart to use with Selecting Colors
  • A modified version of the DID File to allow for the use of PHP Mailer Includes
  • Other maintenance items

Here is the original article on the LRG Complete Advanced User's Guide.

Remember that if you have already purchased one, your link will download this update for free. ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Friday, November 7, 2008

VMWare: Synch with Blackberry at Last!

In my searching the past week I found many articles about how using VMWare and trying to synch a Blackberry using the Blackberry Desktop Manager failed. Many of these articles were 2006 and before - nothing more current. Well, I found the solution and present it here for others that are looking.

The best I can tell is that using any VMWare Workstation before version 6.5.x uses a very different method of attaching USB devices which is not direct. The Blackberry Desktop Manager uses a direct connection for security and other measures.

The good news is that I was successful 'out of the box' with Blackberry Desktop Manager 4.6 (current as of this writing) and VMWare Workstation 6.5.0 Build 118166.

I use Windows XP SP2 to run VMWare Workstation and I am running Windows 2000 with SP4 to run the Blackberry Desktop Manager.

Have at it!
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Frost for Winter

In the southeast we have mild winters compared to the north and cold winters compared to the deep south. The advantage is we get a little bit of both weather patterns. Yesterday we had high humidity at night with temperatures right at the freezing mark. The result was a fantastic opportunity for frost photographs like the one below.

I shot this with my Leica M8 and a 90mm f/2.8 lens on f/4 at 1/90 second, handheld, at the closest focus. The beauty of a rangefinder is the ability to do this. Had I thought in advance, my tripod would have been with me. However, I was bringing our children to school and the tripod was not on my mind.

I took this shot and several dozen more at about 8:30am EST. I found a small water collection basin on a large piece of commercial property nestled in the trees. The sun was warming the air around the water, but not directly as the trees were blocking the sun's direct rays. The combination gave me a fog across the pond and shelter to keep the frost intact.

While you cannot tell here, the frost crystals on all of these shots are intricate and very detailed. The best part of this type of photography is the contrast and grading tones throughout the image. The frost highlights the shape of the leaves and provides extreme detail in an otherwise smooth medium.

Don't miss a chance this winter to get out and find some unique opportunities. Remember that weather can turn an ordinary dull subject into something unique and spectacular. Weather is never the same twice.

Several things I learned here: a) keep the tripod in the trunk, no matter what!, b) I really need that macro lens!


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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

LR2 Bug: Collection Sets and Rejects

In my continuing efforts to create an easily customizable Smart Collection Workflow, I come across some inconsistencies in Lightroom 2 (and 2.1) with what one would expect to happen. I am calling these inconsistencies 'Bugs,' but since extensive documentation on the functionality of Regular and Smart Collections does not exist, I will use inconsistencies for the moment.

This report discusses issues with Collection Sets, Collections and Rejected images. The bottom line is that the rejects marked in a Collection do not move up to the Collection Set level. More importantly, they do not appear to be recorded in such a manner that Smart Collections can pick them up either.

Here is what I did to test it:

1. Create a Collection Set to hold multiple collections: say 'Test Set'
2. Create a Collection within the Collection Set: say 'Test Collection'
3. This is important, put a group of images into the 'Test Collection', but make sure they are the original images, not virtual copies.
4. Mark a few random images as flagged and a few random images as rejected.
5. Mark a few random images with a star rating, the number of stars is irrelevant.

Now, go back and view the parent Collection Set. You will notice that none of the images show a pick flag or a reject flag. However, the star ratings do appear.

EDITED, 11/4/2008:
Now, go back to the Catalog, All Photographs. Notice that the images there also do not show a pick flag or a reject flag. However, the star ratings also appear here. This is by design as Adobe has indicated that flags are specific to a collection. So, the Test Collection flags set will not show up in the Catalog, All Photographs. Nor should any flags set in Catalog, All Photographs show up in the Test Collection.

Now, pick one of the images in the 'Test Collection' and view the metadata. The Copy Name is blank indicating it is the original image file. The rating shows.

Why would this happen? More importantly, this would be counter-intuitive to what I would expect, especially if the star ratings are captured. EDITED 11/4/2008: I would expect all the pick flag information to transfer to the Library and to the Collection Set at the parent level - No, this is by design. I would also expect Smart Collections to be able to pick up on the data.

The result of this bug is that it is difficult to use Smart Collections to analyze a collection of images.

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

New Links

I have been terribly remiss in some of my maintenance here, so please forgive me! I have added two new links to the sidebar under Images & Adobe Lightroom. You may have the links, but I wanted everyone to have quick access to using them when the thought strikes. Here they are.

First, the Lightroom Forums housed at http://www.lightroomforums.net is an outstanding group and if you haven't had a chance to participate, I urge you to take a look.

Second, even with all the tremendous amount of work and efforts put into Adobe Lightroom, bugs still creep in. That is a price we pay for all the functionality of this great program. So, I have also attached a link to the official Adobe Bug Report and Feature (Wish) Request form. This is on Adobe's web site and as far as I know, is the only official reporting location, unless you happen to be on the software development team.

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Smart Collection Workflow - 0 Overview

This article covers the Overview section of the Smart Collections Workflow and is part of the complete Smart Collection Workflow for Lightroom.

The Overview section of the Smart Collection Workflow is labeled at placeholder zero (0) so that it will appear first in the list. The overview contains, as you might expect, collections that give you an overview of your work. More important is the first collection of the group.

Current Work

This first collection is called the Current Work collection and is a normal collection, not a smart collection. The heart of the entire Smart Collection Workflow is with the Current Work collection. Just about every Smart Collection in the Workflow uses the images in the Current Work collection. Thus, a filter in the smart collection is as follows:

Collection contains 'Current Workflow'

To use the Smart Collection Workflow, the Current Work collection must contain images. Once it is populated with images, the remainder of the work flow will populate with results. Don't worry about particulars yet, this is a summary of the Overview section of the work flow. We will discuss how to use the Smart Collection Workflow after we go through each section.

Components of the Overview

The first item to notice is how the numbering system works. The base collection set is labeled: 0 Workflow. Notice how each collection name begins with a number. The reason this occurs is to properly sort the items. With no number at the front, the collections would be sorted alphabetically and not in the correct order.

The next level of Collection Sets starts with 0 and moves forward in 0.1 increments. These are as follows:

0 Current Work
0.1 Edited - All Library
0.2 Flagged - Current
0.3 File Conversions
0.4 Images Taken - All Library
0.5 Current Work Composition

So the next item to notice after the numbering is the description. If the description includes 'All Library' then the entire image library is the scope of the Smart Collection. Thus, the 0.1 Edited collection includes images that have been edited recently through the current week. These are without regard to the Current Work collection and are based on the entire library.

If the collection includes the tag 'Current' then it only applies to the Current Work collection. Thus, the 0.2 Flagged collection shows images in the Current Work collection split by type of flag the image has. If the image is deleted (rejected) or contains no flag and is a member of the Current Work collection, then the image would appear here.

Collection Descriptions

We will discuss each section of collections and a description of the type of information gleaned by the collections. Not all of the Smart Collections are important to the actual work at hand in the Current Work collection. Some are just to give you a feel for how much (or little) work you have accomplished and what the makeup of your library is. The remaining workflow steps after the Overview are more focussed to the work.

0.1 Edited - All Library

As we alluded to above, the edited list of Smart Collections tells us the volume of work that has been done at various time intervals. These intervals are one hour, this day, yesterday and this week. Since the Smart Collection filters the entire image library, you can see how much work you have accomplished over the week.

I also added a new item - Deleted - All Library. The purpose of this collection is to indicate which images in the entire library are marked as rejects and ready for deleting. I use the reject flag to determine which images need to be deleted. Then I use the Lightroom command to delete the rejected images from the disk. This collection prevents me from accidentally deleting other images. I check this collection before I start a workflow session and it should be empty. If not, I verify those images still want to be deleted.

0.2 Flagged - Current

This group of collections lets you see at a glance the status of your images - but only as they relate to the Current Work. Images outside of the Current Work collection are not reviewed.

Thus, as rejects are flagged during the early processing of the working collection, they are segregated here. Any images that are Flagged are shown here as well as images that have no flag (Unflagged). The confusing collection is the one I added - A No Rating collection. The difference between an Unflagged collection and a No Rating collection is the difference between a flag and a star rating. Unflagged collections have no flag and no reject flag assigned. A No Rating collection is one that has no stars for a rating and is not selected as a reject. Thus, even though an image might be flagged, until it receives at least a one star rating it will show up in this collection.

EDIT 11/19/2008:

I have found with the help of some of the folks very close to Lightroom, that flags are specific to a collection and the library. Thus a single image can have different flag status: picked, not flagged and rejected. This is possible when an image is a member of different collections. More importantly, even using two rules in a smart collection: a) collection name contains 'Current Work' and b) pick flag isPicked, the pick flag rule only looks at the library, not the collection returned from the first rule. Thus, for now, 0.2 Flagged - Current does not work.

0.3 File Conversions

This collection shows the group of images that are being worked on and their current file type. If the image is a RAW image it is collected in the first group. A DNG file is recorded in the second type and any files converted to Adobe Photoshop files are listed in the last group - PSD Files. Since I shoot with a Leica M8 that saves images in an Adobe native DNG format, I shouldn't see any RAW files. If I do, I can look to see where they came from. I can also see quickly if I converted any files to Photoshop files. If you use JPEGs or TIFFs, then you can add those smart collections as well.

0.4 Images Taken

Images Shot just sounds poor in writing even though we might say it that way. Images Taken represent the entire library and when the images were taken. Using these smart collections you can get a quick grasp on how many images you have been taking over time. You can add other time frames if your goals are broken down differently.

0.5 Current Work Composition

The composition group indicates the makeup of the Current Work collection. How many are actually virtual images? How many images are the real thing - the original master copy? Finally, how many are black and white (Bnw) virtuals and master copies. In my workflow, I want to know how many have been converted to black and white, or greyscale, and how many actually started that way. You could add two more to show color virtuals and color masters if you wanted to.


The numbering for the Overview is done with sections less than 1.0. At the same time, section numbers within each type are listed as 10, 20, 30 so that they could be moved around without having to be renumbered.

Also, the key collection is the Current Work collection. The Current Work collection drives the remainder of the workflow. We see how the Overview section tells us some information about the group of images we are working on as well as the status of the library as a whole.

Next we will discuss the Metadata section to see what data hasn't been input properly. Stay tuned!

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Smart Collection Workflow - Contents

Simply presenting a file for downloading with a smart collection workflow will not help anyone actually use it. Because smart collections are customizable, I want you to understand each section and how it works. Then you can further customize it for your specific workflow. Here is a list of each section with a link to the corresponding article describing it. Thus, you can use this as instructions for using the Smart Collection Workflow.

NOTE: The download will be added last after all the other articles are written.

NOTE2: This workflow concept was adapted and improved from John Beardsworth's Smart Collection Workflow.

Table of Contents

This represents a start to the Smart Collection Workflow. As Adobe allows a more fully accessed use of the Metadata in Lightroom with Smart Collections, we can add to this workflow.

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Smart Collection Workflow

This is an introduction to Smart Collections and is part of the complete Smart Collection Workflow for Lightroom.

With the advent of Smart Collections in Lightroom 2, the web is abound with uses for them. Many of the uses presented are fancy filtering concepts. I ran across a great adaptation of Smart Collections to assist in the everyday workflow in August. Unfortunately, it's taken me until now to modify everything to fit my workflow. Here we discuss the concept of Smart Collections and our adaptation into the Digital Image Workflow.

First, credit goes where credit is due. John Beardsworth posted the original idea for Smart Collection Workflows on his blog in August 2008. This was my starting point. Thanks, John!

Smart Collection Concepts

We won't cover all the details of Smart Collections here, although that is the subject of a future planned post which I'll link here as it gets done. We will cover the concept and a few pitfalls in the most current release of Lightroom.

Smart Collections were designed to provide a group of images based on some predefined forumula or formulas. These forumulas can be based on much, but not all, of the metadata in the images. They can also be based on attributes of the images such as flags, assigned colors, some development characteristics and others.

NOTE: Adobe is hearing from many of us that we would like ALL of the metadata to be searchable for a Smart Collection. As of release 2.1, this is not the case, but we are getting closer, I am sure.

Because several statements can be used to filter out which images belong in a Smart Collection, the ability to create complex formulas exists. In fact, Smart Collections can be created to search within an existing collection or the entire library.

Smart Collections in the Image Workflow

As a result of these complex queries, Smart Collections are a logical choice to use for creating the ultimate Image Workflow. John Beardsworth created the framework for one such Image Workflow. I have adapted that workflow to my needs, adding some additional steps along the way. Further, I adapted his numbering system to be more flexible for others to add steps in their workflow.

The image to the left shows you a sample of the changes I have made. By using 10, 20 , 30 as indexes within each step, you can customize the workflow by inserting your own step or renumbering the parent step without having to change each step it contains. I added dashes in between the number and the step to make them more readable.

I also used the rating system customized to my own taste. For example, if I have an image rated as a 5 star image, then it is one of the 'absolute best' as are other ratings. Using the color labels I also customized the text to the meaning for my color labels. You can change any of these rules to suite your taste.

Finally, I expanded the ISO range. I use a Leica M8 and the ISO ratings are different. I wanted to know which images really need noise reduction and which one's are fine as shot. I can also more quickly tell which images are lower ISO and good quality for enlargements.


Smart Collections add value to your workflow. Keep an eye out here and I'll make the workflow availablle for download.

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

VMWare: Booting From a CD or DVD

There are many cases when you need to boot from a CD or DVD with VMWare Workstation machine. Booting is easy when you have a brand new machine with no operating system. However, when you have a live operating system, how do you keep the machine from booting the OS and skipping the CD Rom? Forcing the CD Rom boot in that case isn't so easy! Here's the trick.

First Things First

Before I tell you the secret, I need to give you a quick blurb on using CD's and DVD's in VMWare Workstation. While it isn't difficult to use an actual CD or DVD by placing it in your CD Rom Drive, there are better ways to use CD's and DVD's with Workstation.

If you are using an Operating System CD or DVD, then my recommendation is to burn an ISO to disk first. An ISO file is simply an image of the CD or DVD. This means you cannot use it on your computer with normal software, but you can use it in place of a CD or DVD drive. Roxio and Sonic both have software packages that burn CD's and make ISO's. I use WinImage which has the added benefit of making images of floppy disks (those really outdated tiny square things you used to put into a disk drive, and yes the really old ones were floppy and not stiff like the more recent ones). There is a trial version available, but I recommend supporting the developer and purchasing one.

Why go to this trouble? Because, you will most likely never get it the way you want the first time around. It's kind of like the old video games. If you loose all your players, you just restart the game - it's too easy. Well, with VMWare Workstation, creating a machine is so easy you can make them until you get one you like. I use a 4gb USB drive to store disk ISO's for Windows and Linux as well as storing my program setup files.

Booting Within a VMWare Machine

Ok, now to the good part. When the bios screen starts on VMWare Workstation, you have to move fast. If you have a slow computer and you can read the bios screen, your PC is too slow to use virtual machines! To select a boot mode, press the ESCAPE key when the bios screen is showing.

However, the first part is to make sure that the window is accepting your key presses! Be sure to click the window or set your machine to accept mouse and key presses when using the keyboard.

Sometimes it takes me two or three attempts to get the key press accepted, so keep trying. Yes, that means you may have to use CTRL-ALT-DEL some more, but be sure you are rebooting your virtual machine and not your PC!

Hope this helps. I have a whole group of articles planned, time is the constraint!
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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Lightroom 2.1 Is Ready!

I have been using the beta version of Lightroom 2.1 for the last month or so with great success. Well, now Lightroom 2.1 is ready for release! You can get the downloads for Windows here and for Macintosh here.

The readme file can be Downloaded here. A few things to note are below.

Formats Not Supported

Formats that are not supported with this update are CMYK Files, Photoshop files WITHOUT the Maximize Compatibility setting (no composite image), REALLY large image files and video files (get video editing software if this one is a problem).

New Feature Highlights

Some memory leaks and folder synching issues have been resolved. The downloadable fix for upgrading keywords in a LR 1.4 Catalog to a LR 2.1 Catalog is included in this release. Some Photoshop integration issues were fixed.

All in all not a huge update, but several important Metadata fixes are included. The beta for Lightroom 2.1 has been stable for me, so I would recommend upgrading when you can.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Virtual Machine List

After getting a few tests and trials to run with VMWare Workstation and ending up with acceptable execution speed, I began to plan the types of machines I needed. This is how my list ended up:

Operating System Machines - Base Class

  • Win2k Base - Windows 2000 with Firefox, Thunderbird, Acrobat, Flash and Spybot
  • Win2k Plus - Win2k Base with Open Office
  • Win2k Enterprise - Win2k Base with SQL and IIS
  • WinXP Base - Windows XP with Firefox, Thunderbird, Acrobat, Flash and Spybot
  • WinXP Plus - WinXP Base with Open Office (or MS Office)
  • Suse Linux Base - Base Suse Linux Install
  • Suse Linux LAMP - Base Suse Linux with Apache, MySQL and PHP


  • Win2k Plus - Finance Programs
  • WinXP Base - Lightroom and Photography
  • Win2k Plus - Writing
  • Win2k Plus - Hobbies
  • Win2k Plus - Visual Studio Programming
  • Suse Linux LAMP - Test Web Site for Publishing

These machines all have varying disk sizes, memory requirements and settings to allow for fast execution. I will address each of these items and the workarounds I discovered in future posts.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

VMWare Workstation

I have been working on ways to create separate machines on my pc using VMWare Workstation. The concept is to create the minimum operating system necessary to run a group of programs related to a specific area or task.


What are the benefits? I see several benefits. First, Microsoft Windows is known for getting corrupted over time with extra items in a registry, failed installs left over, incompatibilities with hardware and other programs as well as an inability to perform testing of new programs without mucking up the existing install. Thus, a separate machine for separate tasks can potentially leave the operating system working quickly and efficiently over a longer period of time.

Second, what about those legacy programs you have, but cannot afford to update or no longer carry updates. I have several financial programs I use that work well in windows 2000 and have not been updated for 32 bit operating systems. I also have some old DOS games (who doesn't?) that I can easily pull up and play for stress release. Finally, I keep visual studio separate from everything else because there are way too many programs loading at startup.

Finally, how about portability? Hardware seems to last less than software. THe proof is here: how many of you are still using some DOS, Windows 98, Windows 2000 or Windows XP programs (Windows Vista is the current operating system)? I know I am. However, I am not using the same laptop I was two years ago, nor the same desktop. It will be nice with the next hardware change to move some of these virtual machines to a new computer and keep working.


How about the pitfalls? There are many, I won't lie to you. First, the operating system can be slower. You have to have good strong processors and as much memory as your system can take. Second, with Windows XP forward, you have to reauthorize your computer if you move a virtual machine around because of the change in hardware. Prior versions of windows do not require this. That said, it is your responsibility to comply with the licensing agreement and only use operating systems you have valid licenses for.

Also, disk space needs increase with the use of Virtual Machines. You have repetitive updates and installs to keep up with. This takes time.


My personal feeling is that taking the time to setup an operating system, be it Windows 2000, Windows 98 or Windows XP, with all the specific tweaks I like, and then cloning that machine for different tasks takes less time than worrying about having to reinstall with the next hardware change.

I believe backing up individual machines and knowing that it will work on any hardware platform that I can get VMWare Workstation on, is a lower risk than keeping cd's made from a backup software that becomes obsolete.

Going Foward

I will be posting a series of articles on using VMWare Workstation for this type of individual application. The focus of these articles will all be on creating separate machines on one pc for performing various related tasks. To find these articles, use the VMWARE tag on the list to the right.

Feel free to leave comments!
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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Excellent Backup Questions for Lightroom

Backups continue to be a widely written about topic. One of the issues with this is that all backups are treated the same. In fact, some backups are important and some may not be so important. Here we discuss these finer points and try to apply the old 80/20 rule.

Foray from Film into Digital

As I continue to get pushed along the sweeping current into digital and out of film, new issues emerge that I haven't had to deal with. Backups are the main issue.

With film, I scan the negatives, and then import into Lightroom. I discard any of the rejects or images that I don't assign a single star. I don't worry about backing the digital files files up of the rejects, because I have negatives that can always be re-scanned. I do backup the 'good' images that are left, but only to easily recover them without having to re-scan. The thinking here is that if I reject it, I probably won't need it, but if I decide I do, then I'll scan it again. In all likelihood, even after re-scanning a reject negative I'll still decide not to use it.

Digital Only - Applying a Film Technique

Several sites have posted recent articles on determining whether some backups are worth keeping. I stumbled across one at Inside Lightroom which talks about Why Do We Backup So Much? and it talks about backing up rejects - why or why not.

One of the 'Eurekas' that I had while reading this post was to apply my film technique to digital imaging backups with respect to rejected images. As I said above, I use the negatives as a backup for rejects because I can always rescan them and the life of a properly developed negative is substantial. As a footnote, I have negatives that are 30 years old that look the same as the day I developed them.

Application for Digital Images

So how does this apply to digital rejected images? I'll give you an overview and then list the steps I perform. First, remember that DVD's and CD's don't really have a long lifespan. They are prone to scratches, defects in the surface and degrading over time. However, they can still read even after being exposed to a magnetic field and they are cheap storage. Thus, I backup rejects on DVD as they are identified from importing into Lightroom.

That's not the entire process, however. I use two storage drawers for DVD's. The first is where I place the newly copied rejected images - Reject Backups. Then, I wait. Yes, you read the idea correctly, I wait. Should I ever need one of those rejected images, I go back to the DVD. If it is still readable, then I import the image back into Lightroom and move the DVD to the second drawer - Acessed Rejects. If the DVD doesn't read, I discard it. This gives me a simple backup which, like the negative, will degrade over time and eventually be useless. But, chances are I'll never need it anyway.

Using this technique still has one more problem - storage space. Eventually, the first drawer - Reject Backups - will get full. When that happens, I will discard the oldest DVD in the drawer. This limits my space requirements to one drawer of DVD's. Also, discarding the oldest DVD shouldn't be a problem, because I haven't ever used it or it would have been placed in drawer two.

If ever drawer two - Accessed Rejects - were to fill up, then I would again discard the oldest one. The image that was accessed is now in the main catalog and should be part of the regular backup process.

Sound Familiar?

Does all this sound familiar? If you were like my family growing up and had at least one parent that was a 'pack-rat', then you would most likely have followed this same procedure with boxed up stuff stored in a closet. Our family regularly found boxes that hadn't been opened since the last time we moved. That made it time to discard the box!

Reject Workflow Steps

This is part of my Image Rating and Selection Workflow.

  • Import images into Lightroom
  • Identify rejects
  • Identify all images greater than or equal to one star
  • Filter for the last download all images that are a) rejects or b) no star rating
  • Copy these images to CD / DVD
  • Delete images from Lightroom Catalog and Hard Drive
  • Follow remaining main catalog backup steps


It always seems to boil down to time, cost and benefit. There is little chance that you will need a rejected image ever in the future. To protect that little chance you don't want to spend a lot of money and time, but maybe a little money and time is ok. This workflow for rejected images takes little time to make a single CD or DVD and those medium are still relatively cheap. The lifespan of the backup is limited, but should protect you for long enough to determine whether you will ever really use the image. The workflow is safe because you do have a chance to get the rejected image back and use it again. Finally, the workflow takes up limited space through a routine to get rid of the oldest rejected images - again a low cost use. The space needs vary by how many images you file as rejects and how often you shoot. You can set a drawer size customized to your usage levels.


I had been giving it more thought and the Inside Lightroom article seemed to help me get an answer.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Translations for LRG Complete Basic User's Guide

We have a good group of international folks using Lightroom Galleries LRG Complete for Adobe Lightroom. If anyone would like to volunteer to translate the Basic User's Guide that comes with the Web Gallery then read on.

I would be happy to work with anyone wanting to translate the Basic User's Guide to another language for LRG Complete. I use a program called Help & Manual by EC Software. It allows me to produce high quality PDF files as well as help files and web sites, all from one document.

The good news about Help & Manual is not only the publishing flexibility, but they also designed a superior translation method. I can send a simple file with the English text to someone. They can edit it in Help & Manual and translate the English to another language. Then they can return that file to me and I can publish it with pictures, table of contents and all! As more changes are made, new sections are synchronized to the foreign language file and then the translation for the new sections can be added. It's extremely easy to keep all the changes properly synched.

Now for the bad news. The best way to be sure everything is kept intact and synched is to use Help & Manual, which costs some money.

If you are interested, take a look at Help & Manual and see if you are still interested. You can contact me from my web page at Outdoor Images Fine Art. Be sure to leave me a valid email address!

Thanks for considering contributing to the work.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

LRG Complete Advanced User's Guide is Here!

Thank you to everyone who has been patient while we write the Advanced User's Guide for the LRG Complete Web Gallery that plugs into Adobe Lightroom. This Advanced Guide has been in the making for over four months during the development of LRG Complete and the writing of the Basic User's Guide. With over 300 pages, this Advanced Guide covers a lot of material.

First, I want you to know that we have made a decision that LRG Complete and the accompanying Basic User's Guide have been and will remain free. That has been the concept from the start.

Below is a list of the contents in the Advanced User's Guide. With all of the additional time and experimenting to develop these techniques and How To's we have set a price for the Advanced User's Guide of $24.99. This gives you a lifetime download link so that you get every new edition for free, for life. In addition, we use Vibralogix LinkLokIPN for PayPal to provide you with this Advanced User's Guide. Know that 1/2 of the proceeds will go to Lightroom Galleries to support Joe's work on LRG Complete.

To purchase this guide, use the Buy Now button on the side bar. You will be taken to PayPal where you will receive an instant email containing a download link. Let me know if you have any problems.

The Advanced User's Guide is in the same type of PDF format that the Basic User's Guide is. The PDF can be printed and is formatted for 8 1/2 x 11 paper. The index has been totally redone to allow for main and subtopics. This makes finding information in the index MUCH easier!

Now for a partial list of what's included. The table of contents is 6 pages long, so this is only some of what is included.

  • The same Installation and Setup information to help you get ready
  • Information on how to setup a test web site before you go live
  • How to determine if PHP is properly installed on your web site, including a test page you can create and upload to your web site
  • Best Practices Workflows to keep your use of LRG Complete efficient
  • Other items like conventions, definitions, etc.

Advanced Shell Features
  • a discussion on search engine optimization and integration of SEO with LRG Complete
  • how to use and setup site traffic tools like Google Analytics and StatCounter
  • Setting up CoolIris
  • Exhaustive use of the MP3 player
  • Various ways to use the Adobe Identity Plate
  • Over half a dozen ways to setup the Heading of your web site with examples
  • Hiding the Site Name and Description the proper way
  • HTML in the Shell
  • Creative modes of Navigation
  • Many, many ways of using the Side Menu including adding pages, sorting properly to leave room for later expansion and pages to use for E-Commerce

Advance Page Features
  • Hyperlinks, Underlines, Blockquotes, Paragraphs: all in the Body Text
  • A new way to use the Adobe Watermark
  • Adding multiple lines and special HTML in Image Captions and Titles
  • Slideshows and Image Positioning
  • Sorting Image Order for Pages
  • Creative Pages
  • Advanced password usage

Advanced Gallery Features
  • Many of the same HTML tags that are used in Pages work in Galleries
  • The best methods of using galleries for additional navigation: Image Links
  • E-Commerce galleries that show customers your Order Process: an Example
  • Linking Images to Pages: over 10 pages on Image Links for Pages and Galleries
  • Creative use of Image Frames
  • Using Free Downloads to your advantage

NOTE: Digital Image Downloading will be in the next version of the Advanced User's Guide, which you will receive a link to if you purchase this version. We are using the setup of our web site to create a hands on guide for using Digital Image Downloading. Already we have had to insert some custom code for SMTP emailing with DID, but the update will show you how.

Advanced Contact Pages
  • The importance of Emails
  • How to setup professional email messages and their content
  • How to use SMTP email with LRG Complete

Example Web Sites
  • many non-photography examples of E-Commerce web sites

A whole new troubleshooting section sorted by Web Gallery type was included in this Guide. All of the known issues and troubleshooting items we have uncovered over time are added here with solutions should the be available.

An appendix with over 20 worksheets and planning tools to help you create a cohesive web site for use with LRG Complete. See all the settings necessary as you plan each page and keep an overview of how your site will work. These worksheets and planning tools include items like:

  • Site Information Worksheet
  • Base Site Structure Worksheet
  • Gallery Structure Worksheet
  • Store Structure Worksheet
  • Web Site Category Planning Tool
  • Contact Email Planning Tool
  • About Me Planning Tool
  • About My Product Planning Tool
  • Blank Page Planning Tool
  • Blank Gallery Planning Tool
  • Gallery With Page Links Planning Tool
  • Text Identity Worksheet
  • Web Site Color Planning Tool
  • Mail.php Settings Worksheet
  • Google Checkout Shipping Worksheet
  • PayPal Shipping Worksheet
  • Google Checkout Tax Worksheet
  • PayPal Tax Worksheet

Note that the Shipping and Tax worksheets include both US and International rates.

This guide is not only how to use LRG Complete, but how to setup a sucessful web site using LRG Complete and Adobe Lightroom.

Thank you again for all your support of our efforts! We will be working to continue to develop high quality user's guides and web galleries for use with Lightroom!
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

LRG Complete Advanced User's Guide on the Way!

I am making the final edits to the Advanced User's Guide for LRG Complete and trying to reduce the 20 megabyte file size. This Advanced Guide contains many examples and screen shots, so the filesize is large.

I promised to have it by September 30th and it looks like it will be out this week, so I'm sorry for a few days delay.

As a sneak preview, you already saw the chapter on setting up CoolIris to work with LRG Complete. Some other topics include tips on setting up test site, seven different ways to setup the Site Name and Description, several step by step examples on using Image Links in your Galleries and five different ways to setup your Image Titles and Captions. There is also 11+ pages on setting up emails and an effective email system.

A new feature I added to the Advanced User's Guide was an appendix that contains over 20 worksheets and planning aids to help you design an effective web site with LRG Complete. Using this Advanced Guide along with the Basic User's Guide and the LRG Complete Web Gallery, you will be able to create a custom web site that can be easily maintained through Adobe Lightroom.

Keep watching for the first edition this week!
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

EYE7: Frame Recap

This article is part of my series on the study of 'The Photographer's Eye' by Micheal Freeman.

This concludes the Frames section of our study on Visualization. We will complete another exercise to pull all of these concepts together and then beginning with the next article move into Design Basics. This will include topics such as Contrast, Balance, Dynamic Tension, Rhythm, Patterns, Textures, Perspective and Visual Weight.

Wrap Up Exercises

We have discussed the different sizes of the Frame and how that impacts what can be shown in an image. We also discussed the beginnings of placing a subject within that Frame before we moved on to three ways to divide the Frame. The first was Linear Division which kept things balanced and simple, but gave us a method for beginning to move the subject around the Frame.

Then we moved on to the Golden Ratio which artists have used for centuries to create paintings which are hanging in world wide art galleries. Finally, we took the concept of the Golden Ratio and further divided the Frame using a mathematical series. Each of these methods provides a way to proportionalize the subject matter into a fixed Frame size.

As a wrap-up exercise for dividing the Frame, try out your newly developed instincts. Find three subjects that remain fairly still. People can be used, but try people sitting, standing or lying down. Moving people will add a new level of challenge to this exercise and if you are up to that challenge, give it a second go around. For now, try fairly stationary subjects.

For each subject, bring a countdown timer with an alarm. Get your photography gear ready with film or digital cards. Take light meter readings and set your exposure values. For this exercise we will use only one lens, unless you are using a zoom lens in which case you can zoom throughout the work.

When you are ready, start your timer with a two minute countdown. Take two minutes without taking a single shot. Study the subject from various angles. Notice the background, the lighting and the other objects. When the two minutes are completed, set the timer for one more minute. Take photographs for a minute. Take as many as you can, but try to take between 15 and 20 images. Don't think, just shoot. Do this for all three subjects and then study your images, but not until all three subjects have been completed.

Study images for use of the Linear division, Golden Ratio and Fibonacci divisions. Print out one or two from each division type for each image. Overlay the division on the image using a colored pen or pencil and a ruler. Make notes and file in your scrapbook.

If you don't have any that follow the divisions, repeat the process and spend your two minutes studying the image with the three divisions in mind. Use your tranparencies as a visual que for your brain, but avoid holding them up to use to frame the subjects.

The key for this exercise is beginning to shoot these divisions without using a visual aid. Try to shoot by instinctive measures rather than using a cropping tool. Let your brain crop the image.

As we go through the remaining articles, build upon what you are learning and see if your divisions become more instinctive. The only way this will happen is to practice shooing spontaneously and then studying the results to see of you got the divisions worked out. Simply shooting more volume without critical review will not help.

Other People's Opinions

Now is also the time to begin soliciting opinions of others. Family and friends are ok, but only if they flat out tell you they don't like some of your images. Family and friend tendencies are to be much nicer to your images than you deserve. Try using some collegues and other photographers or members of your local photography club.

You can post comments here with links to your images and invite others to review them as well.

Happy shooting! We will begin the next series in a week or so.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

EYE6: Geometric Series and Framing

This article is part of my series on the study of 'The Photographer's Eye' by Micheal Freeman.

In the last article we discussed the Golden Rule and it's application in dividing a Frame. We found that such a division gave us both a point to place smaller objects on a large background and a four panel division to place larger objects. The whole point of the Golden Rule was an aide in placing the subject.


Another such division aide is the Geometric Series. A Geometric Series is a list of numbers in which each number in the series has the same ratio from the previous number to the next number. For example, start with the number 1 and add 3 each time. Our series is 1, 4, 7, 10, 13 ... If you were to graph this series of numbers, you would end up with a curve, not a straight line. Hence, this is where the name Geometric Series comes from.

The most common form of a Geometric Series is the Fibonacci Series. Instead of picking a constant number, the series adds the previous two numbers together and that result becomes the next number in the series. I.e., 1, (1 + 0 = 1) 1, (1 + 1 = 2) 2, (1 + 2 = 3) 3, (2 + 3 = 5) 5, (3 + 5 = 8) 8 ... The progression is much faster than the previous example. Also notice that the first two numbers are the same: 1. This is because of the value zero.

Using to Divide a Frame

Now that we see a formula that is used for calculating a Geometric Series, how do we use that to divide a frame? Obviously, this is arbitrary, so we need to define a measurement to apply to the numbers in the series. Let's start simple and get more complicated. Take 1 unit as 1/10th of the size of the frame, square. Thus 1 = 1/10th x 1/10th of the frame.

Then, after having a unit established, we add the first couple of numbers in the series: 1, 1, 2.

Finally, after filling the frame through the sixth number in the series, we get a division like the following:

If you look at the final division of the Frame, you can begin to see the seashell spiral that is commonly associated with the Fibonacci Series. This is also known as the Golden Spiral.


Certainly, one would not have the time to create such a division and frame a photograph when working in photojournalism and street photography. But the speed which one shoots an image does not determine whether this type of Frame division is applicable. The more global point is the concept of a smaller portion of the subject offset near the same point as the Golden Rule creates. This would be in the area of the two number 1 boxes or divisions. Then as the subject and background blend together, try to create a uniform feeling of moving down, out and around. Leave the larger portions of the subject or the background to fill the second half of the Frame, or block 8.

Practicing with still life gives you the opportunity to train your eye to use this complex, mathematical formula in your frame. This is the most challenging portion our series on Visualization and if you don't quite understand the math, that is ok. The feeling of the division, the flowing movement that the Geometric Series gives when applied to the Frame is what we are after, not the calculation of a Fibonacci Series.


As we did in the last article, take a clear overhead sheet or a page protector and draw out the proportions of your camera Frame. Divide the Frame into a Fibonacci series by starting in the reverse, with number 8 as half the image. Then move backwards through to the two number 1 blocks.

Drawing this on a clear sheet will not only give you an overlay to view with your Eyes, but also an easy method of flipping the division and using the mirrored image with the number 8 block on the right instead of the left.

Using this tool, find four subjects and take at least three photographs of each one. In the photographs try to implement the Divisions you created. Use people, buildings, clouds, trees, objects of any kind to fill in your Frame divisions.

Print the images and make notes of how successful you were. Take a ruler and a colored pen or pencil and draw the Fibonacci Series directly on the photograph. When finished, place these in your scrapbook with the others.

Repeating this exercise over and over with the Golden Ratio exercise and the Linear Divisions exercise will train your eye to begin seeing in this manner.

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blackberry 8830 Shortcuts

Ok, so this doesn't have much to do with photography, but since I rely so much on my cell phone, I wanted to be sure that I kept this information should I need it again. Here, then, are a few shortcuts that I have found on the web for the Blackberry 8830.


Pressing the ALT + RIGHT SHIFT + DELETE keys simultaneously will peform a reboot. Even though you shouldn't need this very often, it does help if you are having connection or application problems. I have to confess, compared to my former Palm Pilot (which I used from the very first model through the Palm 700) had to be rebooted at least once a week. The 8830 I have been using for three months has only needed rebooted twice. I think this is why I forget the shortcut! (see this post).

Viewing the Log

Pressing the ALT + L + G + L + G keys will show the application / device log. This is helpful to see any errors that might be cropping up. While the information isn't as detailed as you might think, it gives the application and the date which can help you get to a solution. (see this post).

Other Shortcuts

I will update this section with more shortcuts as I find them useful. For now, here is a post that lists more shortcuts for the Blackberry devices.


Since memory leaks are the primary items that cause a need for a reboot, I'll share with you a program that I have found useful. Memory Up is not only a memory report tool that shows you used and available memory, but it also can do a memory defrag. A defrag can get back some of that lost memory. The trial works great and gives you a chance to see the full version. I found the price reasonable for getting such a handy program.

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lightroom 2.0 Keyword Upgrade Issue

It just goes to show how busy we sometimes become that we can miss important news about our favorite software - Adobe Lightroom 2.0. I spent such a large amount of time working on the Beta Test that when 2.0 came out I purchased, installed and went on.

Well, there's a knowledgebase article about some problems updating from Lightroom 1.x to 2.0 regarding keywords. The issue is below, taken directly from Adobe's web site:

When you update your catalog to Photoshop Lightroom 2, the Include On Export keyword tag option is not selected, so if you export your photos from Photoshop Lightroom 2, your keywords are not exported with your photos.

They have a fix that isn't hard to install and use and the fix is a one time application. Take a look at their knowledge base article number kb405074 for a complete description.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

First Impressions: Leica M8 and Adobe Lightroom

I have been a film photographer for over 20 years, shooting with Leicas the last two years. Because really good lenses (the foundation of a great image) are so expensive, then the natural progression for me from film into digital was with a Leica M8. I still love film and will use it equally as much as digital depending on the shooting conditions.

However, I have taken some of my first images with an M8 and imported them into Lightroom 2.0. Here I'll share with you some initial thoughts and few interesting tidbits I discovered on the web.

First, I'll tell you that I am NOT comparing the M8 to any of the Cannon and Nikon DSLR's. My presumption here is that you are interested in the M8. This is not a review, but more of a hands on experience. However, I am comparing this to using images from Leica DLUX3 which is one of only a couple of pocket cameras that produce a RAW image file. Remember, we're talking file size, not quality of lens or components.

Yes, if any of you are familiar with the DLux3, the save speed on the camera is slow. The other issue I have noticed is a slight red shift in certain landscape photography, most noticeably high contrast images such as snow. However, shooting landscapes I typically have a moment longer to wait and Lightroom does a great job of shifting the red back into alignment. I use the DLux3 to see what the resulting images look like before committing some to film. The point is the resulting RAW file sizes and the transfer speed to my Lightroom catalog.

Native DNG

The first thing I noticed about the M8 was that it saves images in a native DNG format. I understand that Adobe initially created two methods of creating a DNG and Leica being one of the first, picked up a slightly different method than is used more commonly today. In fact, for the really scientific minded, there is a great article posted on The Riddle of the M8 DNG File. But be warned it is technical!

Here's the key. The M8 is saving the images directly as a DNG file whereas the DLux3 was saving as a RAW file. The result is the M8 immediately has smaller filesizes. If you can convert these in Lightroom, what is the big deal? ANSWER: the speed of SD cards and USB connections is realtively slow compared to memory and CPU speeds. So, if we start with a smaller file size, uploading into a Lightroom catalog is exponentially faster. In the case of the DLux3, RAW images were about 30mb (10 mega pixel camera x 3 channels, R, G, B). The M8 produces the same 10 mega pixel image, but by saving the image as a DNG file, the size is only 10mb. Thus, the upload speed to Lightroom from an M8 card is 1/3 that of the DLux3 card.

Even Smaller Filesize

Previously, with the DLux3, I would import into Lightroom and convert the RAW image to a DNG format to save filespace. I was already waiting awhile to import the 30mb image files, so a little longer to convert the file was fine with me and the smaller file size in the catalog made reading the file in Lightroom faster too. So what about the M8?

As it turns out, the main difference in the M8 DNG format and the Lightroom DNG format (remember, Adobe created two methods for the DNG early on), is that the M8 stores a lookup table in the DNG file. See the Riddle article above for more on the lookup table. The result is that the M8 DNG file can be FURTHER compressed while it's being imported.

Using the Lightroom import, convert the DNG files from the SD Card to, yes it's redundant sounding, a DNG file. The resulting new DNG files in the Lightroom catalog can vary in size from 3.5mb to 5mb depending on the range of tones and colors in the image. In fact, I took a photo of the moon with a 90mm Elmarit at f/4.0 and 1/1000 of second.

Because of all the black around the image, this DNG converted to 3.2mb. Astounding considering the beginning RAW data was over 30mb!

There are a few considerations, however. In terms of Lightroom and Photoshop CS3, no problems. I am sure there are other imaging software packages that also have no problem. After all, the resulting DNG file is an Adobe DNG image file. However, the Capture One LE software that came with the M8 will no longer read the DNG file. It was designed to read the M8 DNG file with the added lookup table. Since I don't use that software, I don't mind.

If you use Capture One (or C1 as it can be called), there are reports that using the software key that came with the M8 will also allow registration of Capture One 4, which is said to read the converted DNG file from the M8. I haven't tried this, so I don't know.

Importing Workflow Tip

I have long read posts about how slow some digital cameras are at importing images into Lightroom. The DLux3 is certainly one of those cameras. However, since the beginning of my digital photography work, I have always taken the memory card out of the camera and performed my imports through a card reader. Why? Because technology consistently changes and typically it becomes faster. SD cards become faster (100mhz vs 133mhz). USB ports become faster (1.1 vs 2.0). All the while, our digital camera guts remain the same. So by removing the card from the camera and using the latest card readers, the fastest file transfer times can take place. You will not have to rely on the interface built into the camera by the manufacturer, which, by the way, may be an older technology for compatibility purposes.


My digital Lightroom work is not only faster now with the M8, but also takes less disk space. Remember that my film work is all scanned with a Nikon negative scanner. This results in 40mb TIFF files which can be slow to work with. The next tests I'll run will deal with the noise in the M8 images under the new 2.0 firmware. I'll compare mostly night shots with bright contrasting lights to look for dark shadows containing little noise. I'll also develop some noise files for the M8 that can be used with NeatImage which is the noise reduction software I have used. ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Leica Releases M8 Firmware 2.0

Today, Leica released a new firmware version 2.0 for the M8 digital body. This new firmware release provides support for larger size SDHC cards, up to 32Gb. Leica still recommends Extreme III and Professional versions made by Lexar and SanDisk as being the most compatible. Whichever cards you use, it is nice to break the 2mb barrier!

Leica also says that an addition is made for an AUTO-ISO setting allowing for options with maximum ISO values and minimum shutter speeds.

Finally, Leica makes it clear that after updating to firmware version 2.0, you CANNOT go backwards to a previous version!

I have downloaded the firmware and I will test it over the next few days to let you know if I find anything of concern. You can get the firmware from the Leica web site or Visit the Download Center for the M8 here.

EDITED: changed 32mb to 32Gb.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

LRGC User's Guide - Minor Updates

The Lightroom Galleries Complete User's Guide has some minor updates as a result of emails from you! Take a look at the links to the right or the link above and you can download another copy.

Notice that the revision numbers correspond to the LRG Complete Web Gallery version number and a letter. The higher the letter, the more recent the revision.

The Advanced User's Guide is still on pace for release the end of September! Thanks for the emails and thank you for the suggestions and corrections! ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lightroom Galleries Announces Changeable Fonts

If you haven't been keeping up with Joe at Lightroom Galleries, you need to take a look. Joe has created a phenomenal Adobe Lightroom Web Gallery that has revolutionized the ability for someone to create a photography presence on the internet - and offer their images for sale using PayPal or Google Checkout. Now, Lightroom Galleries has a new announcement about LRG Complete and one that I have been waiting for.

Lightroom Galleries has announced Changable Fonts will be added to LRG Complete. Up until now only one font was available for use with LRG Complete. Truthfully, there are so many different items that can be customized with this Web Gallery that you can overlook the inclusion of only having one font choice. In fact, by the time you sit down and really plan a web site, you realize you can create a unique look and feel with everything that is already included.

Changeable Fonts will only add to the arsenal of individualizing your own web site. Joe indicated that he is on track with keeping file sizes down so that load times of the Web Gallery remain tolerable. With the amount of time and effort put into this Web Gallery, please consider making a donation through the PayPal button on Joe's web site.

Thank you, Joe!
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Windows XP: Hibernating Taking a Long Time

On my laptop I have been running Microsoft Windows XP, or sometimes known as WinXP. I use Service Pack 2 and havent' had any show stopping problems. However, at one point my laptop would hibernate in about 20 seconds or less. To determine if that is fast, you have know my equipment: a dual core 2.2mhz pentium and 4gb of ram. The problem is that somewhere along the way hibernation began to take 5 to 10 minutes (yes, minutes). I never really bothered to time it in full because it took so awfully long. After about 2 years of on and off searching, I found the soloution! First, I'll tell you what I tried.

Network Maps

I looked at the network maps I had setup for access to network disk drives. I had not only a Buffalo TeraStation Pro which I had mapped various drives, but also a SonicWall TZ170 firewall and router. Since I used the router's VPN service to connect to work, I thought maybe the mapped drives to the servers at work, through the VPN caused a slow hibernate.

Why would I think that network connections would slow down hibernating? Well, I know that networking can cause delays. Anyone that has tried to browse the network places through Windows experiences delays in refreshing available computers and connections. I figured maybe through the hibernate process went to check each drive and had to page through a network service to get there.

My logic was flawwed in that removing all VPN and networked drives did not speed up the hibernation process. Failure number one and one step closing to the solution.


I understand that bluetooth incorporated into some motherboards or through other hardware modules can cause delays when periodically looking for devices. I don't use bluetooth very often with my laptop. I occasionally would synch my palm pilot or blackberry through bluetooth if I didn't have my cord with me, but not often.

Another failure as disabling bluetooth in the bios had no effect in the length of time to hibernate.

SQL Services and Pervasive SQL

Now I thought I was being brilliant again by looking at SQL services and similar database drivers. SQL is a very robust service and I had the full development edition on my laptop because I was doing Visual Studio programming at the time. I figured an enterprise level of SQL may have fairly intense routines going on behind the scenes to be sure that database integrity was kept during a shutdown or hibernation.

I even went so far as to remove SQL from my computer. The same was true for Pervasive SQL which I used to operate the Timberline Accounting System.

Once again, I failed and the hibernation process took an extremely long time.

Power Program Updates

Having a laptop and having a Dell Lattitude laptop which was a business class, gave me access to a download area where I could keep my operating system drivers for the laptop up to date. Using the Dell web sites I downloaded and ran patches on the Power system and other operating system items.

Guess what? Correct! No effect on the hibernation speed.


I can now say, similar to Thomas Edison, I now know many ways NOT to speed up Windows XP hibernation, but I did find one way that works!

Through an accidental re-post in a very obscure forum, I found an answer. Keep in mind that I had googled all sorts of phrases related to long hibernation times and never had I realy gotten an answer. In this case I did get an answer.

The post mentioned that removing the ability in Windows XP to provide write-caching to the hard drive in your computer can cause extremely long hibernate times. The testing for this solution was to enable write-caching for the disk drive on my laptop. As the post suggested, after I rebotted from making the adjusstment, the laptop hibernated in 15 to 20 seconds.

How incredibly strange! I know that I was writing 4gb of memory to the hard drive and that takes a minute, but how can it go from SOOOO slow to SOOOO fast? Even with caching, the full amount of data must be written. I can only assume that Microsoft performs hibernating at some base hardware level with no caching of any kind. Write, fetch, write, fetch and that this process is very slow.

Write Caching Dangers

Without trying to go into all the details, write-caching can be dangerous. Sudden power outages can cause a few operating system files to be left open potentially rendering your computer un-bootable. That is the very reason I disabled the Write Caching to begin with.

I have decided, since most of my photoraphy data is on outside disk drives and I back up my data and catalog regularly, that I am willing to take the chance on write-caching for my laptop. On my desktop, there is no reason. I can shutdown and bootup easily as there is not battery and it has a much faster processor (dual core 3.4mhz pentiums).

Just so you know, I purposely did not show you how to enable the Write-Caching on your Windows XP operating system. I still think it is a dangerous feature and wouldn't recommend using it. I would hope Microsoft will fix this issue and take advantage of caching for purposes of hibernation regardless of the operating system's settings. However, I don't want responsibility for your data and there is plenty of information on the internet to allow you to enable write caching.


For my work, hibernation can be important for the portability of my laptop. Thus, I am taking the risk of using write caching to enable quick hibernation. The choice is completely yours. At least now you know why it is taking so long to hibernate and you can make an informed decision.

Good luck!

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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lightroom Tip#19: Precise Control Over Vignettes

Vignettes are not new to Lightroom as a lens correction. However, as a post-crop item meant to actually add a Vignette, the feature is new in Lightroom 2. While it takes some getting used to, the Vignette can produce some outstanding results. There have been several posts and a variety of presets available on the web to accomplish this. So how do you easily create the Vignette you want? Let's take a look.

First, you have to know that the default settings are all in the middle. This means, no Vignette is present in an image being developed in Lightroom. The Vignette panel is at the bottom of the Develop module and has settings such as: Amount, Midpoint, Roundness and Feather.

Take a look at an example image we will work with. It's not an oustanding image for Vignettes. However, it is a good image to work with because the contrast, brightness and texture are all consistent throughout the image, as a brick wall on a fort should be! This image has no Vignette applied.

Now for the first step in this Vignette workflow we need to setup the ability to easily see the Vignette. Determining exactly where the Vignette will stop is difficult at best because it fades into the rest of the picture. Sure, the edges are darker, but where does the Vignette really end?

To figure out the boundaries of a fading Vignette, first move the Feather slider all the way to the left. This turns off all the feathering. Then move the Amount slider all the way to the left (for dark Vignettes) or the right (for light Vignettes). The image below has a dark Vignette started, so the Amount slider was moved all the way to the left.

Notice how easy it is already to see where the Vignette will be applied. The Vignette will be faded from the edges of the image to the edge of the black section. The remainder of the image, the part you can see clearly now, will remain untouched. Now we have a chance to adjust the Vignette pattern before we apply it. Move the Midpoint slider and the Roundness sliders until you achieve the pattern you want to use.

The Midpoint was increased to move the Vignette in some more towards the middle. The Roundness was increased to large number in order to change the shape of the Vignette into a circle. These settings are purely the preference of the artist.

When you have the Vignette pattern established according to your vision, turn the feathering back on. Slowly move the slider up until you acheive the level of Vignetting you desired. Notice how the effect works in the final image below.

Also notice how the shape of the Vignette resembles the pattern we created. However, it remains difficult to see exactly where the Vignette ends. We can tell that there is no Vignetting in the center, but where does it really stop?

The final settings are shown to the right. Turning the Feathering adjustment all the way off makes viewing the Vignette pattern so much easier and the effect can be easily fine tuned. To edit a Vignette, simply turn off the Feathering (after you see what value you used) and adjust the other settings. For example, you could change the amount some or the shape and size. Then increase the Feathering again until you reach your previous value or find another value you prefer.

It really is that easy to get some great Vignettes!
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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Monday, September 1, 2008

LRGC 3.0 - Sample Chapter - CoolIris (PicLens)

In an effort to show everyone the amount of work and attention to detail that I am putting into the Advanced User's Guide for LRG Complete 3.0, released by Lightroom Galleries, I have uploaded a sample section of the chapter entitled Advanced Shell Features. This section details how to use CoolIris in conjunction with your Web Galleries. Get the Sample Section on CoolIris here.

Adobe Lightroom continues to make advances and so does Lightroom Galleries. The now released LRG Complete 3.0 provides a tool with Lightroom that can help you produce an extremely customized web site either for viewing or selling photography. The Advanced User's Guide will delve into many choices and options that may not be readily apparent or are complex to setup.

Keep an eye out as I will release another section the middle of September in anticipation of being finished by month end! ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

LRGC 3.0 Advanced User's Guide Update

I am working hard on the Advanced User's Guide. Right now with work so busy and school starting for the kids, I had to slow just a little bit. However, here are some of the topics that will be covered.

There is a full section on some more advanced features such as the MP3 player. However, this guide is more than just a list of settings. The Advanced Guide will consist mostly of examples showing many different ways to setup LRG Complete. For example, did you know there are many, many ways you can setup the heading in the Shell? Did you know that you can customize almost anything presented on your web site? I don't want to give away the secrets just yet, but there is much that you can do under the hood of this incredible web site generation tool.

The Advanced User's Guide will also include tips for planning the creation of your web site and many planning aids and forms to get you started on your own web site or modify one already created.

The plan is still to have it finished by the end of September. Keep watching!
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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

EYE5: The Golden Ratio

This article is part of my series on the study of 'The Photographer's Eye' by Micheal Freeman.

What is the Golden Ratio? The answer is 1.618... No, this is not the answer to the question 'What is the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything?' which is 42. If you haven't read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, then don't worry, read on.

History of The Golden Rule

The golden ratio appears frequently in the study of mathematics and more specifically, geometry. The ancient Greeks began studying this ratio because of it's tie to mathematics. The Greeks have given the credit for the discovery to Pythagoras who is most frequently known for developing the Pythagorean Theorem, or a^2 + b^2 = c^2.

Euclid was the first to record the Golden Rule. Euclid said, in his series of books called the 'Elements',
A straight line is said to have been cut in extreme and mean ratio when, as the whole line is to the greater segment, so is the greater to the less.


What Euclid is saying is that when the ratio of the total length of any line to a certain portion of that line is the same as the ratio of the two segments of the line to each other, then you have a division equal to the Golden Rule. In mathematical formula terms, if you have a line divided into a and b like the following from the Wikpedia Article on the Golden Rule,

then, (a + b)/a is the same as a/b. If you solve this equation, you end up with a number that is approximately 1.618.


The application of this 'magical' number can be used by first understanding the ratio in terms of frame size. Recall we said that a 24mm x 36mm film negative is in the ratio of 1.5 to 1.0, or close to The Golden Rule. If we have a negative that is 20mm high, then the application of the golden rule would say we want a width of 20mm x 1.618, or 32.4mm. This would provide an image Frame that applies the Golden Rule.

Unfortunately, the size of most films and digital imagers does not follow the Golden Rule. How do we use the Golden Rule in photography? We divide the frame.

Dividing the frame into sections was the topic we began in the last essay and is the topic we continue here. First, we will round the Golden Rule to 1.6 for the remainder of our work, because we can more easily estimate sizes.

By taking a Frame size and dividing the width and height into the Golden Rule, you can find four points, one in each quadrant of the frame, that translates to these locations.

Does this mean the Subject of an image should reside at that point? It can, especially if the subject is very small in relation to the remainder of the image. For example, a small desert plant could be placed in one of the four locations with sand encompassing the rest of the image.

What if the Subject is large? Then we have another choice. Instead of placing the Subject at one of the four points, use the point to create a rectangle within the Frame.

Then, place a larger subject within the smaller Frame. Obviously, since there are four points within a Frame that correspond to the Golden Rule, there are four rectangles within the Frame that also correspond to the Golden Rule. An example of using this concept would include an image of a dock at the beach in the evening. The dock could be placed in one of the two bottom divisions with the ocean and sky filling the remaining areas.

Multiple Divisions

A concept that we will further explore as we move on is multiple divisions. Frequently our images do not have such simple subjects and backgrounds and they may include multiple subjects. A more advanced method of applying the Golden Rule is to take a divided Frame, like in the example shown above, and further divide the remaining areas into new Golden Rule areas. This can be done several times, although the more divisions, the more complex the image and the more time involved in placing the camera to record the image.

Multiple divisions are increasingly more complex and really only lend themselves to still images where the proper time can be taken divide the image on the Frame. In addition, practicing a simple Golden Rule division for awhile will help make multiple divisions easier. I.e., practice makes perfect.


For this essay, take four sheets of paper and draw a Frame size that fits your photography equipment. If you have multiple Frame sizes available, pick one and stick with it. If you have access to transparency sheets, they will work better as you can view a subject through your sheet.

After creating the Frame, divide each Frame into the Golden Rule and, using a different color than the Frame color, draw the two intersecting lines. Use a ruler and be as precise as you can. Using the same different color, mark the point of intersection with a round dot you can see at arms length. You should end up with a Frame marked similar to the images above.

Take these four sheets and find at least four different subjects, preferably two small and two larger subjects. For each subject, hold up each frame in turn to the subject. Place the smaller subjects at the points of intersection and the larger subjects in the largest division. Study these through the drawn frames.

Then, shoot each subject in the four locations through your camera, placing them in the proper location as best as you can. Print each of the sixteen images and study and make notes about the different placements. Divide each image on paper, using a ruler and a marker, into the Golden Rule. Alternatively, you can take more transparency material and scale down a frame size to the printed size. Then you can overlay the Golden Rule on each image while taking notes.

Added Challenge

As and added challenge, repeat the exercise using the same subjects as the previous exercise. Compare the locations of these subjects between simple linear divisions and the Golden Rule. Which ones seem to represent the subject the best? the most pleasing?

Also, if you wish, try making Frames on transparencies with multiple levels of division. Shoot several complex images trying to place multiple subjects in these divisions.


Using these sheets as a guide, your eye will become accustomed to where the points lie in the Frame. This takes time to develop but will be well worth your time, especially if you shoot candid street shots. Fast paced photography does not give you the luxury of measuring and setting up a photo opportunity. They are there and then gone.

Take these transparencies with you and use them with still images before lifting your camera. See where the placement would be. When finished, print out the image and see how well you cropped the subject within the division.

Viewing, shooting the image, printing and reviewing after the fact will train your eye to reach the Golden Rule without thinking. Good luck!
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Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.