The Nikon D810: Very Quick First Impressions

Fair pig

Photo bombing at the Indiana State Fair yesterday.

Sue and I spent most of the day yesterday at the Indiana State Fair (hence the photo at the top of the post. If you go this year, be sure to stop by the photo booth at the Soybean Building. I know, all of you on the coasts are thinking right now … “Soybean Building????”). It was a fun day, one spent connecting with our Indiana roots, past and present. It was on the way home that we stopped by Roberts Camera downtown to visit with those always-friendly folks (well, and maybe get a look at the new Nikon D810).

It was a quiet time while we were at the store, and the staff was kind enough to give me a D810 to play with for an extended period of time. Now, they weren’t crazy enough to send me outside the store … but they let me wander around inside taking photos for a good while. I can only give some quick first impressions, but I do shoot with a D800 and can therefore do some comparisons. And, overall, those first impressions are very favorable.

The D810 has a quieter shutter release, just like all the early reviews say. As a practical matter you would wonder, “Who really cares?” But, strangely enough for someone who really didn’t care, it was a very pleasant sound, more pleasing to this shooter’s ear than that of the D800. The difference was quite noticeable. And I liked it. So, if you simply compare things-liked versus what-really-doesn’t-matter, this made for a more enjoyable shooting experience. Very nice, Nikon.

I was in jpeg mode with a medium fast card in the D810. I could hold down the shutter release and just hear it click away. It never did stop (fill up). I didn’t even hear it slow down. In raw mode it also kept on going, but it slowed a bit after what seemed to be a fairly large number of clicks. It’s better in this regard than the D800. Very nice, Nikon.

It felt a bit lighter than the D800. Not super noticeable, but noticeable. The camera felt just right.

It made beautiful images as viewed on the LCD screen (at high magnification). The detail is fantastic. Of course, it also is fantastic on the D800. I didn’t have an earthshaking experience looking at the new images, but they really were nice. I would have to do a side-by-side with the D800 to say the new camera’s images were a lot better. But, trust me, they really did look nice. No one is ever going to complain about image quality with this camera.

The salesperson said the D810 was selling well. People in Indy like it. And they are not coming back with any complaints. At all. He said that hadn’t been the case with the D800 (we all know of the left-side focus problems at least the early D800’s had). This one looks good right out of the box.

The grip is a bit different. I have medium sized hands (a size 9 glove). With my D800 I can reach up and easily turn the on/off switch with my index finger while holding the camera to my eye. On the D810 I had to consciously stretch that finger out to do the same (it didn’t fall naturally into place). I wondered at first if that would be uncomfortable when pressing the shutter release button. It wasn’t. I never once was aware of stretching or missing the mark or any different feeling while shooting around the store. It was a natural experience, just different when first turning the camera on and off.

Okay, like I said, these were very quick first impressions. All the other good stuff that Nikon built into the camera will come in other exhaustive reviews (there are some decent ones on the web already if you do a search). My checking out the new kid on the block was to see if the differences I should have seen or felt were good ones or not. This is an upgrade that felt right yesterday. I can’t justify trading up to a D810. But, boy, is it ever tempting! Very nice, Nikon.

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In Search Of The Perfect Tenderloin: Photos From Worthington, IN

Worthington
Click on the Worthington square for more images.

After extolling the virtues of the tenderloin sandwich Holt’s Café served up last week at the Monroe County Fair, I received a challenge from a friend. That challenge? Try the tenderloin at Route 67 Cafe over in Worthington (in nearby Green County). My friend was sure Route 67 couldn’t be surpassed, and the trip would be worth my while just to sample the cafe’s fried peppers. I was assured that if I liked friend pickles (I do), I would love the fried banana peppers. Sue and I didn’t wait – we drove over to Worthington this past Saturday.

We had never visited this small Green County town before (about an hour from Bloomington). If you haven’t? Visit soon. It is worth your time. Worthington is a charming (quite) small town, filled with exceptionally friendly people. There are some very fine (and reasonably priced) antique shops on the downtown square (actually, sort of a downtown circle). Some of the older buildings make for fine photos, and we were welcomed to take photos in the antique stores by owner Sherry Vandeventer and her gracious staff. Now, Worthington is not a large town. Don’t be fooled, however, by it’s size; we had a very enjoyable, very fun three hours visiting and shopping. It was a very fine afternoon.

First of all, Route 67 Café is the real deal. Those banana peppers are deep fried in a very light batter, tempura-like. They were extremely flavorful, seasoned just right. They were worth the trip in and of themselves. If you live in the area, make the trip. Order the fried peppers. The café also is an ice cream shoppe. Have a milk shake with those peppers; they will cool off the hotness. And make sure you order up a tenderloin. It is moist, full-flavored and most excellent. Indiana, at least Southern Indiana, considers a tenderloin to be our State Sandwich. You can find them most everywhere – but not each one deserves that state title. Route 67 is a contender. It was a delicious sandwich, worth the trip. But … but, the Worthington tenderloin takes a small backseat to the one at Holt’s. That one may not be perfect, but it is the closest thing to it I have found yet. Folks, we have us a winner.

After eating at Route 67 we toured some of the downtown antique stores. We ended up down the highway just a little bit at The Cupboard, also owned by Sherry Vandeventer. Sue definitely is going back soon with friends for some additional serious shopping. And there is a table at The Cupboard that I have my eye on. We shot color and form and texture where it presented itself, and it was a most fine afternoon. The images I took are to show you some of Worthington’s small town appeal, its charm. As all of us photographers complain of so often, the light was not ideal Saturday afternoon. But the charm of the scenery helped overcome that, and I am booking a return trip in better light for the near future.

I hope you enjoy the short tour. It is designed to give you a bit of a feel for Indiana in the summer. Click here for the photos I liked best. Or just click on the image at the top of this post. And consider your own trip to Worthington. You’ll be glad you did.

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Moose’s NIK Recipe, Matt’s Cloud Replacement Method, And A Kendall Reeves Show.

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Make some time tonight to visit Kendall’s downtown gallery for a great new show.

Okay, most of you who know me already realize I am not Moose Peterson’s biggest fan. But I am not adverse to giving credit where credit is due, and he does make some nice images. One of the absolute necessities in the photo world is the ability to get the look you want from your photos … to more-than-just-a-bit post process. And most of us also believe we don’t have to re-invent the wheel to do so; using filters and presets and plugins to save time and get that certain style is appreciated (and encouraged). To that end, most of you have a copy of NIK’s suite of plugins (they are quite affordable if you do not. And there are trial versions available to show you what you are missing). NIK is one of my go-to programs, and it has been for a long time. The same goes for The Moose.

Moose has a NIK formula that he is willing to share. It is for his landscapes, and he does make some nice landscape prints. And every preset is a jumping off point for whatever you consider to be your style and your exact look. Having an arsenal of weapons, one that includes various presets, is a requirement when you are sitting down to process. We should thank Moose for his willingness to share. Click here for a link to one of Moose’s posts where he has his NIK recipe available for download. You have nothing to lose by trying it, and it may be just what you need to process that one special image. Thank you, Moose.

Then on to Mattie K. (for Kloskowski), one of my favorites. He always has been generous with his expert advice and his presets. Today is no exception, as he is generously passing on a short (seven minute) video on replacing skies for that ultimate special look. It’s not earth-shaking advice, but there is one tip tucked away inside that I found to be incredibly valuable. I won’t give it away, but it is a technique that I find I need on a regular basis. And until now didn’t really have a sure-fire way of utilizing. Some of you may have seen this over on Matt’s site already. If you didn’t, or if you haven’t taken the time to watch the video yet, be sure you do. Click here for that post and follow his simple directions. This is a keeper technique. And thank you again, Matt!

And for all of you in my neck of the woods. My good friend and expert photographer Kendall Reeves has a new show at his downtown gallery this week. I got a sneak preview today, and it is an exhibit guaranteed to catch your eye and hold your interest. It is part of Downtown Bloomington’s Gallery Walk (the first Friday of every other month). The show opens at 5PM and runs until 8. Please, this is one to see and enjoy. Make some time to visit with Kendall. And tell him ‘hello’ for me.

And it is Friday! (applause fills the air). Make sure to take some time to get out and enjoy one of the last months of summer. Camera in hand

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A Fun Day At The Fair … And Some Positive Feedback

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My entry in the 8×10 Color Class at the Monroe County Fair.

My friend George Connolly has a head the size of a small barrel. That is to say, it is large. Yesterday Sue and I visited the 2014 edition of the Monroe County Fair, and I had a breaded tenderloin sandwich the size of George’s head. And it was delicious! If you live anywhere near Monroe County you just gotta get to the fair before it closes Saturday and grab a tenderloin at Holt’s Café. This sandwich is rich and moist and flavorful and down home. And when they bring it out of the kitchen it looks like a flattened Volkswagen tire that has been deep fried. The regular-sized bun sitting on top looks like a mushroom cap sitting atop a T-bone steak. Please, take my word on this one – go to the fair this week; have a Holt’s Café tenderloin; plan enough time to then go home and take a nap.

The fair was the fair – rich in sights and smells and things to admire and sometimes wonder over (as in, “Why do you suppose they did that?”). I grew up in a 4-H family. The county fair was our week-long vacation right before school began for the year. I exhibited lots of projects for lots of years (the maximum 10, actually). I was a Jr. Leader and an escort for the 4-H Style Show. I took steers and hogs and forestry projects and wildlife projects. You name it and my family had a hand in it. And we enjoyed every minute. Going to the fair each year brings on a flood of memories, sometimes of particular animals I showed but mostly of times spent with friends and family. Our Monroe County Fair is always best spent wandering about with my wife, meeting friends of all ages along the way.

And this year brought some positive feedback in the photography department, this passion of so many of us. I entered three photos in the open class competitions this year – 8×10 Color, Color, and Creative. There is some spirited competition each year, and each year I find more and more images to admire. The creativity has gone up several notches from even a couple of years ago, and the technical excellence of most photos continues to improve. The judge doesn’t hesitate to hand out red ribbons if he or she feels the photo isn’t up to current standards, and those standards continue to climb. And, as with any exhibition, one always hopes for a bit of positive feedback.

I wouldn’t trade the time spent in the field photographing with Sue and with my friends for any awards. The friendship and fellowship and sharing-of-our-faith that goes on is precious time. It is an affirmation of who we are and what we share in life and as humans so very much of the time. And we invest so much emotionally in our work so often that they become images to hover over, guarding them if you will from the critical eyes of others. I guess we become sometimes a bit like the mother hens that we saw so many of today at the Poultry Barn (Poultry, not Pottery, for you city-slickers). So it was nice today to combine those memories and time spent at the fair with Sue with a bit of positive feedback.

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Ogle Lake in beautiful Brown County State Park, very early in an October morning.

My image of Ogle Lake in beautiful Brown County State Park was selected as the champion of the Color Class, and it went on to be the overall photography Grand Champion. And my smaller image was judged the champion of the 8×10 Color Class. My third entry received a blue ribbon in the Creative Class, and, given the strong competition, I was glad for that. I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time I have spent photographing with friends and family for any of the ribbons we receive at the Fair. I appreciate the feedback, however, a sign that sometimes we let it all come together in the click of the shutter. Occasional positive feedback helps take some of the sting out of all those photos I bring home so often from a shooting trip, only to wonder when I begin to review them: “What was I thinking when I took that one!”.

Yesterday was a good day, a day that brought back memories of good times and wonderful people. It reminded me how wonderful this life of ours is when we turn it over to Him and let it be. It summed up so much of who I am and where I come from … and maybe where I am headed. It also featured that tenderloin from Holt’s Café. It was a very good day, indeed.

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Those Old Prison Blues: More Reformatory Photos

Ohio entrance

Click on the reformatory entrance to see more photos.

I was able to process a few more photos from our trip last week to the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. I was struck again by the outward beauty of the institution … and by the lingering sense of emptiness and isolation that exists farther inside. A photographer can find images far off and close by. It is a special place to visit. If you ever get the opportunity, don’t pass it up.

Click on this link to view the additional photos. Or just click on the image of the reformatory at the top of this post.

Oh, by the way – my good friend Kendall Reeves is going to be presenting a special show of his reformatory photos at his Downtown Bloomington gallery beginning this Friday night. Kendall is an expert photographer with an artist’s eye. Make time to visit the gallery Friday for a show not to be missed.

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Another Day At The Ohio State Reformatory: Photos

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Click on the prison cells to see more images from the Ohio State Reformatory.

Last Friday was a near-perfect (though long) photo day. My good friend Kendall Reeves and I left early in the morning for a drive over to Mansfield, Ohio. We had arranged for a tour of the Ohio State Reformatory, and we spent part of the morning and all of the afternoon inside … thoroughly armed with cameras and tripods. Then it was a long drive home, all in the same day. Kendall is a wonderful traveling partner in addition to being an expert (and professional) photographer. The fellowship was worth the trip; the time spent at the prison and the photos we came home with were icing on the cake.

I had visited the reformatory with my lovely wife before (and posted on the experience). You can read those earlier posts and find a link to photos from that tour by clicking here. The prison is a marvelous place for photographers. It is filled with images … all you have to do is concentrate on line, form, color and texture. If you ever find the time to make the trip to Mansfield, don’t hesitate. It is the Old Car City of prisons, a high compliment indeed.

I have picked out a few images from our latest trip and posted them to a new gallery. I have a few more photos to process, but everyday life has a way of demanding attention (and time). I hope you enjoy these few while I work on some others. And do give some thought to a trip to Ohio of your own.

Click on this link to view the new gallery. Or you can just click on the photo at the top of this post. And while you are there, take a look at the prison’s previous photos. It is a pretty special place.

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PocketWizard Has Competition … Check Out These Cactus triggers

Cactus V6

PocketWizard made a lot of people happy when they came out with the MiniTT1’s and FlexTT5’s for Nikon and Canon (they allowed great wireless triggering and through-the-lens metering for small flash). They weren’t (and aren’t) cheap, but they work well, and we gain all the benefits and ease of TTL flash power. They were a breakthrough. But they cost some $229 each right now, and you need at least one transmitter device and one receiving device for each flash (hence, the cost goes pretty high pretty quickly). Never fear, however, the cost just came down. Waaaaaay down.

Yesterday I saw over on DP Review that Cactus has just announced a new set of radio triggers, triggers that look to me that they are designed expressly to complete with PocketWizard. And they are doing it for $55 a unit! Yeah, $55 instead of $229! You buy a transmitter for your camera (any hot-shoed camera, apparently); then you buy a receiver for your flash (any flash that matches your camera, apparently). Then you take a shot and Voila! … TTL flash for a total of $110! And what is even more cool is that you can mix-and-max as many flashes as you want, of whatever combination of brands that you want, and get some TTL and some manual (depending on the brands). Or all manual in tiny increments of light, even if the flash doesn’t ordinarily support that kind of measurement. Wow! again. And all for $55 each.

Cactus is not a new name in the wireless trigger game. They have a following, primarily because they simply worked at a low cost (relative to other systems, namely PocketWizard). Now they can play that game and add the feature that a lot of us use regularly – TTL. Check out this link to the original information I saw over on DP Review (so that you know I am not making this up). Then you can check out this link to Cactus, one that lists all the built-in profiles for various flash guns (it’s a pretty impressive list of well-known flashes). Cactus lists the V6 models as available at Adorama and at Midwest Photo Exchange in Columbus, Ohio (both very reputable dealers).

I think this is a pretty big deal, given the dual popularity of small flash guns and of TTL metering. This isn’t a promise of devices-in-the-pipeline or to be announced later. These are items available now; items that promise to give PocketWizard a real headache. If you have ever thought about buying any of the Mimi’s or the Flex5’s but held off because of price, think no more. Check out the Cactus deals and dig out those speedlights. You have very little to lose.

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Buy My Website … Only $1,532

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The internet is an incredible resource … for just about anything. There is a whole lot of needed and useful information out there. And there is even more not-quite-so needed and not-quite-so useful. But it has become our source of so very much information to so very many of us. And a place of entertainment for even more. And a generator of income for quite a few more. So, last night I sort of combined all three (television not only bores me most of the time, it scares me even more often). I have been posting on this website for some four years now (thanks to all you faithful readers!). And that content and name recognition adds up to value (who would have thunk it?). So here is your chance to buy an up-and-running website, a turn-key operation. I researched the value of my site and found it to be worth a whopping $1,532! Or best offer … whichever comes first.

There are sites that analyze other websites for value. I guess that goes along with finding our needed and useful information. And it always is fun to sneak a peak at what others earn … and now what other websites are worth (the entertainment part). And then there is the income generation – buy my site and I get rich (well, maybe not quite what many of you would consider rich). What a wonderful world we live in!

Is my website one worth more than yours? Or Scott Kelby’s? Or how about Coca Cola’s? Well, how about Google? Well, not maybe quite as much as Google (estimated value a cool $3 billion). How about the weather.com? (a very hot $35.4 million). Okay, photography sites, the ones we all check regularly: Scott Kelby an impressive $70,711 (man, he is kicking me all over the web). Bill Fortney could rake in a neat $3,733 (he is worth a lot more than that in my mind). Matt Kloskowski over on his landscape site is valued at $19,340 (way to go, Matt). Noted photographer and instructor Rick Sammon goes for about $16,428, fashion shooter Lindsay Adler commands some $10,144, and our good friends at DP Review are valued at $4,970,390. Wow! Oh, and that Coca Cola site? A mere $234,319 (I would have guessed more).

Okay, just a bit of fun for today. But it all is sort of interesting. If you have a site you particularly like or are interested in, you can check their worth and some associated rankings over at Site Price (click here for a link to them). And if you have your own site give it a try to see what you may be worth. It may surprise you. And us.

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2014 Grunwald Gallery Show: Still Have Time

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I posted recently about the Bloomington Photography Club’s 2014 annual juried show. If you found time to attend, especially the opening reception with its delicious refreshments, you know that it did not disappoint. If you have yet to see the exhibit over on the IU campus, let me urge you to do so. You will enjoy the show.

There is room in the gallery for somewhere around 90 images. The three judges only selected 80 for hanging this time around. That made for a few hurt feelings from club members who did not have photos selected for the exhibit. That certainly is understandable – you work so hard and try so hard to capture a photo that you are proud of (and emotionally invested in). Then someone doesn’t agree on that one particular day of the judging, and all that work and pride goes unappreciated by anyone but yourself. It hurts a bit (actually, sometimes a lot). And it is a club show, not a museum; why not include as many works by club members as possible?

Then there is the judges’ perspectives and their charge to find the best images turned in, those worthy of being exhibited. If they felt only 80 photos were of a quality high enough to meet the judges’ standards, don’t they have a responsibility to only go with that lower number? Should they fill the space or should they put together a show of only a certain quality (subjective as that always must be)? There is a discussion to be had here, with both points-of-view worthy of consideration.

I felt that the past two years had seen a slight diminution of quality in the annual show. Last year I commented in these pages that there were some snapshot-type images that weren’t of the same quality as the rest of the exhibit. That is not true this time around. There was a quality of subject and color and form and vision that held up throughout the entire collection. I am no art expert, but I spoke with David and Martha Moore of our noted local gallery, Pictura. It was their considered opinion that quality reigned this year. And esteemed local professional Kendall Reeves felt the overall quality of the show was better this year than last (and Kendall sees a lot of work throughout the year). Favorable comments were heard so often this year that I am confident in stating that this is an exhibit worth your time and effort to take it all in. The judges were spot on in the photos they did select.

The show will be up all week. Take some time … no, make some time to go see it. You’ll be glad you did.

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A July Visit To Story In Brown County: Photos

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Click on the old gas pump to see more photos from Story.

It was a glorious weekend here in Indiana, weather that just demanded being outside with a camera in hand. We still are tweaking our plans for our His Light workshop this October in nearby (and beautiful) Brown County, so we made another visit to Story (one of the locations definitely on our itinerary). Story changes a bit each time we visit; partly surrounded by Brown County State Park, it is greatly influenced by the seasons. Summer finds the grounds filled with flowers and colors and texture. We strolled the grounds at our leisure, enjoying the warmth and slow pace of the July day. And when you visit with a lightweight and fun-to-shoot Fuji X-T1, the day becomes a joy.

I added a few photos to the collection of Story images that are slowly building up. These show the summer colors of the grounds, the relaxed and casual feel of this landmark property. If you are joining us this October you won’t find these flowers, and the grounds will have changed just a bit. But Story still will be a great place to visit and a fun place to explore. Camera in hand.

Click on the photo at the top of this post to see more images, or you always can just click here.

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Bloomington Photo Club Opening Reception Tonight

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Big night for members of the Bloomington Photography Club … it’s the opening reception for their 2014 juried exhibit at the Grunwald Gallery on the IU campus (it’s in the Fine Arts Building). If you live anywhere in our area, come on out for complimentary refreshments and a great showing of some outstanding photos. The reception runs from 6-8 PM, and IU Parking Enforcement is not ticketing vehicles on the circle or parked in the Jordan Avenue parking garage. It’s always a good time, and this also is a nice way to show some support for local artists (including photographers from all our surrounding counties). There will be some 90+ images on display. Hope to see you there.

And … if you decide on an evening of art and photography, stop by the John Waldron Art Center in downtown Bloomington. Kendall Reeves and I have an ongoing exhibit of automobile-themed images on display. The show is getting good reviews; make some time to see it for yourself.

It promises to be a glorious summer weekend here in our part of the country. I hope it is the same for you. But, no matter what comes your way, take some time to get outdoors. Camera in hand.

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Nikon Capture NX-D: Very First Impressions

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The working portion of NX-D. It was pretty easy to figure out … so far.

If you don’t shoot Nikon at all and/or if you don’t have any Nikon raw files, then, as we used to say in the police department, “Move along, folks. Nothing for you to see here.” This is a bit about the raw file converter/processor that Nikon released yesterday, now named NX-D. There are some sites with information that I will direct you to; there is a download page (because you should at least have a copy for yourself); and I will give you my first impressions. But, first, let me just say, “Thank you, Nikon.”

I say, “Thank you” because the software is FREE. That’s right … FREE! And not a whole lot of camera companies are giving much away for free these days. In fact, mostly the opposite is true. Companies seem to be charging a premium for their products, especially given the ever-shrinking consumer market. So it is really nice to have a gift from Nikon. That is also in part why I urge you to download a copy for yourself. This is not a come-on, nor a trial offer. You download the software, and it is yours free-and-clear to keep and use as you see fit. Free of charge! Click here for Nikon’s download page and take advantage of this generous offer.

Then I want to direct you to DP Review from yesterday. I knew the release was coming, but I forgot the actual date. So I want to give them a shout out for reminding all of us. And for re-publishing the original press release from Nikon (it sort of gives you a glimpse into what they are thinking). Click here to visit them if you want to check out that press release and another connection to the Nikon download site.

And Nikon guru (and Indiana University alum) Thom Hogan has some very timely observations about NX-D. In synopsis, to quote Thom: “… the operant question now is whether or not you want to install Capture NX-D and use it for anything. My answer might surprise you: yes, you do.” Thom can be pretty hard on Nikon at times, and he always calls ‘em as he sees ‘em. So, when his overall recommendation is grab yourself a copy of NX-D there is little reason not to at least try it out. The link to his reasoning (and to his complaints) is to be had by clicking here. As he points out, the software may not be perfect. As he points out, the software still gives you raw conversions that no one has ever complained about. Check out his well-reasoned thoughts and observations. He knows more about this than I do.

Then there is me – the first-time Capture NX user. I didn’t use the old converter that replaced this one. I can’t compare this version and it’s features or ease-of-use to what you had before. So far, so good. I get the luxury of starting from scratch and not worry about old habits or old work flows; sort of a clean slate. I have been using Lightroom and Photoshop as raw converters for my Nikon files for a long time, however. I know the result from those profiles and from manipulating their sliders. And I have been satisfied. But I gotta tell you … I see a different look, not earthshaking, but different, in the results I got last night from NX-D. The results seemed cleaner to me, tighter some how. I didn’t have much trouble figuring out what all the sliders do or where different features are located. The Adobe products have more bells and whistles, but NX claims only to do that one job of converting raw files as far as I can tell. And it does that job pretty darn well. If you like Nikon jpegs, and if you have only used Photoshop or Lightroom in the past, I think you may be drawn to this new software for your initial processing of your raw files. Then you just go back to whatever other programs you might use to finish your images, just like usual.

Now, I only used the converter on a few images (I already had sat through an entire day on the computer with Joel Grimes, so I was ready to move about a bit). But I liked what I saw enough to give it a lot more chances. And did I mention that the program is FREE? If you shoot Nikon check out what they are offering us. And if you like it? Give them a shout and say, “Thanks.” They probably need the love. And we could use a few more complimentary items from a whole lot more people.

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Joel Grimes (A Photo Hero) Live Today And Tomorrow

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A portrait I did some time back of my friend Paul Post in the style of Joel Grimes.

Joel Grimes has a look to his images that has captivated me (and thousands upon thousands of others) for some time now. He is the creator of this style, and it is so captivating that it has been used as inspiration by those same many thousands. If you are not familiar with his work, click here now and prepare to be dazzled by what you see. He is a master at what he does.

I have sung the praises of Creative Live for some time now, also. They produce online workshops that range from a day to three or so. And the instructors they line up include some incredibly talented photographers (think Lindsay Adler and Sue Bryce for starters). If their schedule and yours line up you are free to attend the workshops (live) for free, simply by signing up for an equally free account. If the time frames don’t match so well you can purchase the workshop videos to watch and study and learn from at your leisure. My only knock so far has been that the prices have seemed a bit on the high side (at least for my training budget). But they periodically run specials, so if something catches your eye you can just wait and save a bit. If you never have checked out their site, take a moment to do so by clicking on this link. They really do offer some great instruction on a regular basis.

Yesterday was the kick-off over on Creative Live for a three-day workshop taught by none other than the aforementioned Joel Grimes. I cleared my calendar and sat in. And was I ever glad I did! The instruction featured tips and tricks and career insights and live shoots and a complete retouch/composite in the Joel Grimes style. Wow! is the best description I can come up with. And all this for free! The great news is that this workshop runs for two more days (July 15th and 16th from noon to seven PM EST). Today is more of the same from Joel – lecturing, shooting, retouching and compositing. You see it all in real time, watching him figure out real life situations, the same as you are forced to do on your shoots. He has an easygoing, informative style of teaching that makes the day go by quickly. And the amount of information he is able to pass on is more than impressive. It was a day well-spent for me (and I am sure lots and lots of others).

You know where I am going to be today and what I am going to be doing. Consider joining me by going to the Creative Live site and signing up for a free account. I guarantee you that the day will result in you becoming a better shooter, more sure of yourself and more skilled in Photoshop. Thank you, Creative Live!

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2014 Monroe County Fair Photography Rules

My good friend Curt White (and talented photographer Curt White, I must add) sent us an email outlining the regulations for entering your photos in the Monroe County Fair this year. I still have been unable to ferret out that information, but super-sleuth Curt has. Thank you, Curt!

I believe everything I posted yesterday is still current … except that photo entries will be accepted at the fairgrounds on Wednesday, July 23rd, between the hours of three and seven PM (I think I had those wrong). Entries must be picked up on Sunday, August 3rd, between the hours of one to three PM only. And for those who are considering framing options other than what we think of as traditional – you may mount your photos on foamboard or Gatorboard and have them professionally laminated for any of the classes other than the Color Salon category and the Black and White Salon category. Then use a frame around that if you want to try something a bit different (I spoke with Nola Donley, the Superintendent and she confirmed that last bit for me).

So there you have it, straight from Curt and Nola. Give some thought to entering this year. It’s fun; it’s friendly; and it’s definitely Indiana in the summer.

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Two Bloomington-Area Photo Exhibits … Plus It Is Fair Time In Indiana


Drop by the John Waldron Art Center this month for a show by Kendall Reeves and myself.

If you live anywhere in the Bloomington area there are two worthy photo exhibits for you to take in. One is ongoing as we speak, and the other has an opening reception this Friday. Both are worth your time, in my humble opinion. Plus, if you live anywhere in Monroe County you have another chance to show off your photos – this time at the Monroe County Fair.

This Friday, July 18 features the opening reception for the Bloomington Photography Club’s annual Grunwald Gallery show. This is the club’s premier photo exhibit, held in the Grunwald Gallery (formerly the School of Fine Arts Gallery) in the Fine Arts Building on the beautiful Indiana University campus. The reception will run from 6-8 PM and feature some 90 images from club members. The show is juried each year by a distinguished panel of three judges, all experienced in the art field. Competition to be in the show is stiff, and you are sure to be rewarded with some visual treats (and some culinary ones, as well. There will be refreshments provided by the club, and beverages will be for sale by the university). I spoke with noted professional photographer Kendall Reeves last week, and he commented on the photos he had seen (many of them will have been printed at his studio). His opinion was that this was the best set of images he has seen in several years. That compliment was echoed by club member Curt White who was at the judging and saw the not-as-yet-framed photos en mass. He was of the same opinion as Kendall – the competition this year was outstanding.

IU Parking Enforcement has advised the club that parking on the Fine Arts circle and in the Jordan Street parking garage will be free of charge after 6 PM. Club members put their best foot forward with this show, and you should place it on your calendar if at all possible. And if you can’t attend Friday? The exhibit will be up through July 28th for your convenience.

Currently on display at the downtown John Waldron Arts Center is a retrospective of images by Kendall and myself from Georgia’s now-famous Old Car City. We are featuring photos either not exhibited previously or re-printed in different formats. The opening reception was this past Friday, and the show received good reviews. There are three other exhibitors in the building, so come on out and spend some time taking in a variety of art. Our exhibit runs through July 26th, so you have plenty of time to drop by.

And it is Fair time once again in the Hoosier State. The Monroe County Fair will run from July 26-August 2nd. I believe that Open Class photography entries will have to be delivered to the fairgrounds on Wednesday afternoon, July 23rd between 3-6 PM. I write ‘believe’ because I have searched high and low for the 2014 Fair Handbook without success. I do know, however, that rules for photo entries have not changed from last year. If you need a reminder of those guidelines, you can click here for one of my older entries regarding the Fair. This is a fun, friendly way to show off your images to friends and family members. Why not go through your photos (those taken after last year’s Fair closing) and add to the excitement of an annual (and looked forward to) event?

Summer in Indiana can be hot and sticky. July certainly seems to be the month for that. But it also highlights much of our heritage and our enjoyment of the arts. Come on out and see what is going on here in our community this month. You’ll be glad you did.

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