CHIMP From The Editor ..................................... 05 A Comment From The Publisher & Chimp Of The Issue ............................... 06 Feature Photographer: Narelle Power The Forecast Calls For Blacknstormy ........... . 08 Lighting Up Her Eyes ................................ Finding That Image: A Guide To Digital Asset Management & The Power of iMatch (Part 1) .................. Photoessay: The Power of Art .................. . Pictures Of The Issue .............................. Review: Bibble ...................................... Looking At Composition: Shape .................. Five In A Lifetime .................................. The Big Day .........................................
Opposite: Global Warming; Cover: Southern Angle Headed Rainforest Dragon
21 26 31 38 42 44 45
the people that helped to shape the issue you hold before you
Leigh D. Stark
Feature Article Writer
Feature Article Writer
Chimp is published online four (4) times a year by DSLR Users.com. All rights reserved. Chimp is a not-for-profit magazine and not only are none of our contributors paid, but any and all money made from advertisers or donations goes into funding events, management, maintenance, and challenges from DSLR Users.com and / or an eventual published form of this magazine. A pocket edition of Chimp is made available for each issue in the form of a re-designed publication for use on PDA’s, phones, and other devices that support the Adobe Acrobat PDF format. The pocket edition, the articles in this issue, and articles from any past issue as well as the issue releases themselves can be found at http://chimp.dslrusers.com. If you have an idea for something you’d like to write for a feature or a review, or maybe if you’ve got a photo-essay you’d like to have in a future issue, email email@example.com with said idea and we’ll try to get you into a future issue. All images in Chimp are owned and copyrighted by the people who have shot them. In the case of articles about selected photographers, said photographer owns the images and all the rights herein relating to said use of the image. If you would like to use said images, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll forward your request on to the said photographer.
FROM THE EDITOR LEIGH D. STARK
I hope no one thought that Chimp would be a one-off sort of thing. If you thought that, well... you were wrong. We’ve had an overwhelming response from people who want to write articles and features on a wide variety of topics, enough so that if I told you some of the ideas that people have said to me that they want to write on, it’d ruin the surprise for future issues. We’ve got a whole bunch of different things going into our magazine that I thought it would be time for a new column as well as something that will hopefully inspire more people to take photos and submit their photographic ideas to Chimp. First up is our “Chimp Of The Issue” column which sits next to the Publisher’s comment at the moment. It will be a constant reminder of what a chimp is, just in case you forget. Already, I’ve run into quite a few photographers who didn’t know what the term “chimp” meant. Well, in case you ever meet someone who doesn’t know what a “chimp” is and it forsome-reason-or-another pops up into conversation, you can whip out a copy of Chimp and point them to the “Chimp Of
The Issue” column. There is a catch, however. The catch is that we need you to send us pictures of people chimping.
As such, the photoessay in this issue is the only solid contribution from me aside from the whole layout and editing side of things.
They could be you, your friends, people you’ve never met, or even animals! All you need to know is that for the column to work, we need you to be pro-active and on the lookout for people chimping.
To be completely honest, we’ve got an incredibly packed line-up in this issue for you to check out and it wouldn’t have happened without the support and contributions of members like Simon Fallon (Manta), Narelle Power (blacknstormy), Andre Joanisse (Radar), Peter Stubbs (Stubbsy), Maya Linnell (Sky), Fraser Young (Ozimax), Matt Kaarma (Matt K.), as well as the countless people who have allowed us permission to use their images and who have contributed in other ways. Thanks guys!
The second thing we’re introducing this issue is the term “photoessay”. Now, a lot of people don’t quite know what a “photoessay” is. A photoessay is an essay told with pictures or photos with the idea being that in looking through the images, you’re being told a story. There doesn’t have to be any narrative nor any quotes, but you can if you wish to use text. It’s all about relating the context of the images to the reader. So, if you have a set of images that you think would make a great photoessay or you’re planning one, send us an email to tell us what’s on your mind because I am completely for putting one or two photoessays in each issue.
We’re already planning a fair amount of stuff for the third issue so if you thought we’d never make it through to the second, you won’t believe what we’re thinking of for the third. For all of the team at Chimp, I’d personally like to wish everyone a Happy Chanukaristmas with loads of Seasons Greetings and I hope you all stay safe and have loads of fun over the holidays and into the new year. Cheers, Leigh :) Stark
A COMMENT FROM THE GARY STARK PUBLISHER Ahh, yes. ‘tis the season and all that. Welcome to the first holiday edition of Chimp, your very favourite photographic e-zine. As I write this, we are just a few days short of Christmas 2006, and what a year it has been. The forum’s membership has doubled in size, we have an e-zine, the e-zine has its own website, the ashes have been returned to their rightful home, and we have the vision of world peace well within our sights. I guess that four out of five isn’t too bad, is it? In all seriousness, you, the forum membership, have much that you should be proud of. Consider, for a moment, your participation in the Fred Hollows Challenge. Through your combined generosity, you have done so much to help so many people: a hearty congratulation to each and every one of you. For the upcoming year, we have some very interesting things planned. Chimp will grow, and get better! The more astute of you will have noticed that the calendar maintains a reference to our first Crema Magazine challenge. There will be
more on this in the very first days of the new year, but it promises to be something very different, including a chance to be published in a real magazine! And if successful, there will be more of them. For Sydney members, we are planning a regular series of PhotoWalks, a visit to the Tramway Museum, plus a couple of other surprises. Members in other states are planning similar events, and dinners as well.
Knowing what a “chimp” is can be a fairly important thing, and part of knowing what they are is learning to spot them. With that said, I’m taking this opportunity to launch our “Chimp Of The Issue” column which will feature an image of someone chimping. This issue, I’ve got a classic shot of last issue’s cover model Matt “Rokkstar” Bonnington and Peter “Stubbsy” Stubbs chimping in the same photo.
For now, I do need to thank Leigh for his tireless work in putting Chimp together, to all of the contributors for their efforts, to everyone who has offered suggestions in this endeavour, and of course to all of the forum moderators and key members, for their tireless assistance, and their combined wisdom throughout the year. And finally, neither the forum, nor Chimp, would be what it is, without you, our membership. To all of you, a big thank you, and on behalf of everyone involved with DSLRUsers and Chimp, a very happy, prosperous, and especially, a safe holiday. Let’s see your images, and your questions, as we move into 2007.
If you spot someone chimping, whether it be in a normal sort of way or insane and wacky or even just you chimping to show off, send it to us at chimp.editor@ dslrusers.com where we’ll pick the best picture sent to us and put it in this column!
Chimp is loaded with information in this issue. From our photographer of the issue to the portrait workshop to part one of a guide on digital asset management to a photoessay...
Chimp has something for every digital photographer.
THE FORECAST CALLS
FOR BLACKNSTORMY WRITTEN BY SIMON FALLON
Emerald Spotted Tree Frog
Ordinarily, the words “black” and “stormy” are portents of doom. It’s an irony, therefore, that, for DSLR Users members, the same words tend to conjure much happier perceptions.
It’s been said that it’s not work when you get paid for doing what you love. If that’s true, then Rel and Damian haven’t done a day’s work in the five years I’ve known them.
“BlacknStormy” is the moniker of Narelle Power, aka “Rel”, a photographer rapidly rising through the ranks of our premier shutterbugs due to a prodigious talent, an eye for the unusual and an armourplated positive outlook on life.
Born and bred in Brisbane, Rel has always been a nature freak. From sneaking around the bush exploring to bringing home stray dogs as well as a few that weren’t exactly “stray”. The local possum community know her as a soft touch, as does her local grocer who knows she’ll pay top dollar for the bananas she needs to keep her animal visitors happy and well fed.
Most only get to see her posts and her wonderful images which, in itself, would be enough. But the lucky ones, like me, get to spend much more time with this largerthan-life character who brings education and entertainment to all through her imagery. Narelle and her partner Damian spread their working hours across their duties as part-time officers with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, at Brisbane International Airport, and their wildlife consultancy business DDW Fauna. Passionate about nature, Rel and Damo’s jobs afford them not only the opportunity to escape the urban sprawl and explore our wild places but also to play an active role at the border helping to protect that natural heritage for the benefit of all Australians, including our native species who can’t protect themselves against exotic pests and diseases.
When I asked her to clarify her qualifications for me, I shouldn’t have been at all surprised by the response: “BSc majoring in Entomology, 3/4 PhD, 1/2 Masters perfecting the art of being a drop out; Graduate with honours from the School of Taking the Mickey and Foundation member of ‘What’s wrong with having a big butt?’” Her interest in photography only emerged in the last few years and she’s been pretty active in that field ever since. She’s passionate about our environment and native animals which is pretty obvious when you look at her photography. “I think it is about time that we ‘humans’ realised that we are part of the environment and don’t have any exclusive rights over any other animal on the planet”, she says.
“We don’t have the right to blatantly destroy and defile everything around us. For a supposedly ‘intelligent’ life form, we’re one of the few animals in the world that continually ‘shit’ in our own nests (destroy our environment) and do nothing about it!” When asked what we, as caretakers of the earth, are doing right, she replied “Not that much at the moment. We’re dragging our feet on issues such as climate change due to the possibility it might cost us something, whole scale clearing of native bushland and the associated slaughter of native animals (you don’t have to shoot an animal to kill it), damming of rivers, and the destruction of prime land because we can’t manage our own resources properly!” “But people are starting to see that individuals can make a difference,” she says, going on to say “by protesting against government and industrial initiatives that are essentially environmental vandalism, participating in environmental rehabilitation programs, even little things like installing a water tank and turning off the tap while you brush your teeth. Every little bit makes a difference, and we owe it to the future generations to leave a better world, not one that is on the verge of collapse.” Rel started photography in order to document the animals and habitat in areas that were going to be developed – feeling a responsibility to
Taking out the trash (Trigona carbonaria)
Narelle gets up close and personal with a flower in â€œBlushâ€?
Opposite: Sweet Afternoon Glow; Above: Pied Stilts make some record of areas and animals that were soon to disappear. She and Damo go into proposed development zones to record details on the resident fauna in order to make recommendations on the feasibility of the development. They also recommend areas to be retained during and postdevelopment to leave some kind of refuge for the animals that remain. “Being introduced to this forum (DSLR Users.com) was one of the turning points in my photography,” she says. “I’d only had an SLR for two or three years, and before that only a point and shoot. The forum has taught me everything I’ve learnt.” Rel, while in a league of her own with her natural aptitude for photography, is grateful for the amount of time people put into helping each other. “We are so lucky to have so many amazing people and photographers from so many backgrounds in this community, and even more amazing that everyone is so giving with knowledge and support. It has given me the confidence to know that I can take some good shots, and the ‘hunger’ to keep trying to get
a great shot. To everyone in this community, a heartfelt thankyou. I hope some day to be able to give something back.” Rel’s gear isn’t what some would call an arsenal, but she has enough to get her the images that she wants. As a Nikon D70 user, she’s an avid fan of her Nikon 105 2.8 micro lens, a piece of gear “that gets an absolute hammering”. Rel is also prone to using flash pieces like the SB800 and Lightsphere diffusers which she describes as “beercup and contraceptive cap”. As a result of past experience, she warns that SB600’s do not like to be used when in the middle of a violent storm, with torrential rain. Rel is a big admire of Stephen Dalton. “He’s a photographer from England who takes the most amazing wildlife photos!” she tells me. “A lot of his shots are actually studio setups, but you wouldn’t know it. He also perfected the art of using a laser beam when doing nature photography in the field and has a brilliant shot of a bat (Daubton’s Bat) coming down over a creek at night.” She’s also quite taken with the work of Ansel Adams, a man whom she describes as “someone who really
understood the importance of the environment, and lobbied the American Government for years in order to set aside areas of wilderness as National Parks, preserved for future generations. A great environmentalist, and gifted insightful photographer.” She hopes that sometime someone will learn something from one of her photos. “Either to see the beauty in an insect that they would usually squash or to learn the difference between different species of frogs and their habitats and requirements… nature is beautiful if you just open your eyes and have a look,” she says proudly to me. Thanks to Rel and her stunning images, I think we can confidently say her hope has been realised for a great number of us. Her work has opened new worlds and given the opportunity for her to educate, enlighten and entertain us all along the way. I reckon if the forecast is for plenty more “BlacknStormy” days, let it pour. __________________________
Narelle Power can be found at: http://www.ddwfauna.com.au/
This page & opposite page: Deanna Mushins as shot by Gary Stark
LIGHTING UP HER EYES
WRITTEN BY GARY STARK
On Saturday September 16, a group of about ten Sydney members gathered in the inner Sydney suburb of Balmain to join in our first portraiture workshop. We were very lucky to have the services and cooperation of two very lovely ladies, Dee, a friend of Leigh’s, and Jacinta, a musician friend of mine.
we wished, a high ceiling, and windows for natural light, should we wish to use that as well.
Several participants had expressed a desire to bring their own lighting systems along, so that they might be able to experiment with them, and also gain some experience in the use of this sort of gear. With that being one of the day’s objectives, this was welcomed and encouraged.
This discussion included some thoughts on posing, and hopefully some of my comments regarding such things as attention to detail, like taking a moment to scan, with your eye, the whole of the viewfinder before squeezing the shutter.
I was also fortunate in being able to get a large room for the day: we had plenty of room to place lights wherever
We started the day with a brief discussion on what portraiture is, and what outcomes one might be seeking when shooting a portrait of a person or a group of people.
This sort of technique should permit you to evaluate what you’re about to photograph, and make sure that things such as trees do not seem to
be growing out of the head of your subject, that you haven’t chopping off feet or heads, and that your horizons are level. While these seem like small and obvious details, they’re still frequent and common faults that we see in images on a daily basis. Another important topic covered during this initial part of the session was the need to interact with the subject. Often the people you’re going to shoot will be nervous, and unaccustomed to sitting in front of a camera and posing. Part of your job is to reassure these people and make them feel comfortable and relaxed. There is no one method to ensure that this is addressed. Each person you shoot will be different from the next, and you will probably need to talk with and explore a number
The photographer is the blue arrow in, from left to right, lighting setups 1 & 3 of different topics in order to draw the person out of their shell, and guide them into some relaxed and fun looking images. In this regard I had asked Jacinta, a violinist, to bring a violin along with her to use as a prop during the shoot. While Jacinta was indeed comfortable in front of the group, I am sure that it helped her a great deal to have her violin in her hands. We then moved on to the fun part of the day: making images. Let’s now look at some of the setups we had in place. The first setup was very simple: a single softbox about a meter square - set up just a bit higher than the model’s face. It was located about 2 meters from the model, and slightly offset towards the photographer’s
right. The basic context of this was to try to emulate the diffused light that might come from a south facing window here in Australia - a southlight. The more artistically inclined amongst us might understand the term “northlight”, which is basically a term in use in the northern hemisphere that refers to a north facing window which acts as a light source for, typically, portrait painting. In the northern hemisphere, such a window will provide diffuse light of a very high quality, and the same is true of a south facing window in the southern hemisphere, hence we might use the term southlight. The second setup started out with the same primary light source, but to which we added Phillipb’s slave setup, with a brolly attached. This was pointed mainly towards the background, which at this
time was still the pale blue wall of the room we were in. By adjusting the light in this manner, we introduced some separation between the subject and the background, as well as a bit of rim lighting on the subjects. Setup three was similar, but with the brolly removed from Phillip’s light. It was then lowered and placed directly behind while pointing directly at the back of the subject. This gave us some very dramatic hair lighting effects in some of the images, as well as a very bright rimlight. This can be a great thing to do if your your subject has an afro hairstyle, but even so, it may be a very useful effect. One unintended consequance that we observed was the highlighting of body hair on the shoulders of the model. While often this might not be
Jacinta McPhilarmy using lighting setup three; Next page: Deanna inside lighting setup two
an issue, it can also depend upon the clothing that the model might be wearing: this is probably an expected, but perhaps less than optimal outcome, and it’s therefore something to be aware of. For the fourth setup we used the two light setup that Nikkofan (Lynn) had brought along. This was set up with the primary light source to the photographer’s right and elevated, reflecting off of a gold brolly to impart a bit of warmth. The secondary light was a less powerful unit, set up in a similar manner to the primary, but positioned to the photographer’s left. This was reflecting from a silver brolly. Of particular interest to some might be the fact that we did no real metering on the day, relying upon a visual assessment of the image being displayed in the cameras’ LCD’s as well as an assessment of the histogram, while adjusting lens apertures to
suit. Here, surely, is one area where shooting digital shines: this sort of exposure test is not really practical when using film based techniques. Once a good setting was obtained for each of the lighting setups, no further exposure adjustments were needed as the lighting conditions were, by and large, static. This created an interesting diversion for many of the participants, in that Dee was wearing white, whereas Jacinta was wearing black. If this were being shot using, for instance, in-camera metering on a shot-by-shot basis, we might start to encounter some interesting issues. For instance, the clothing being worn by our models would have had an effect on the exposure settings that your camera would be returning to you.
Darker clothing might cause the camera’s meter to tend to over-exposure as the metering system would not be able to discern any distinction between a scene that has inadequate lighting vs one that contains darker subject matter. The reverse is often true when photographing lighter coloured subjects as well, and these are points that one needs to keep in mind when assessing images that you’re about to make. The day was done through mostly manual metering and then using a predetermined & constant exposure setting for each of the given lighting setups. It is to be hoped that each particpant came away from the day with a better understanding of portraiture, from posing, through lighting, to gain better interaction with the subject.
FINDING THAT IMAGE
A GUIDE TO DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT & THE POWER OF IMATCH (PART 1) WRITTEN BY PETER STUBBS
Digital Asset Management Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a fancy term for something we all do or should be doing. Essentially DAM is about having a searchable centralised repository of your images and an accompanying database of information such as keywords and shooting data. Why DAM? The answer is simple. Imagine you want to send your mother that picture you took of your cousin Mary playing with her faithful dog Fido when you were on that seaside holiday in Brighton. You know you have the shot somewhere, but finding it is ALWAYS the issue and you need it FAST. I bet you
start dredging back through all those old folders or CDs browsing the thumbnails and trying to decide if the coloured smudge in that 2cm square of pixels is Mary and Fido. If you’re lucky you might even find it days or weeks after you needed it. With a properly organised DAM solution you’d instead search for family, dog and Brighton and quickly see all shots you took in Brighton that had family members and dogs in the image. Bingo, there it is TWO shots of Mary with Fido. And they are on your August 2004 CD of images. No sooner found than you’ve emailed it off to your mother who is yet again impressed by your
superb organisational skills Sound like a fantasy? Take too much time? Cost too much money? It doesn’t have to be any of these and with the right tools and a small amount of effort, it’s pretty easy to make DAM the centrepiece of your image processing workflow. I’m going to show you one affordable way to do so using the iMatch program available from Photools.com for less than the cost of a lens filter. You can even try it out for free for 30 days to see if it works for you. And sorry Mac users: the program is Windows only.
How iMatch can help iMatch is at its core an image database program. Here is a simple description of how I use it in my workflow: • I Import my newly taken images from my storage card • I point iMatch at the images • iMatch then reads through the files, creates thumbnails, reads the EXIF data from the file and stores all of this information in its own database • Next I tell iMatch to display the new images one by one in a full screen slideshow • As I move through the images, I tag the ones worth keeping. • Once I’m done, it takes two mouse clicks and I’m looking at a subset of only those images I tagged. • I select all of these images and tell iMatch to create a new folder and copy the images to that location • Now I’m ready to start post processing the images • As I complete the PP on each image, I save the results back to the same directory. • iMatch will detect the additional files when they are saved and add them to the catalog too. But it’s smart. It treats all THREE as one object so if you move one it moves all three, automatically. In fact you can tell it to show you all three images in its thumbnail views or collapse them and just show the jpeg version. Now that’s nice. If you store data in Adobe XMP sidecar files it even sees that as part of this “image object”
and moves the sidecar files with the images too. Same goes for things like Canon .THM files. iMatch categories iMatch uses categories to track key words associated with your images to make finding them easier. So you might have a category called A and under that category all A categories (i.e. Australia) Some of those may also have other sub-categories under them (for example New South Wales, Victoria, etc) and this can go as deep as you want it to ending up with something like the structure shown on the right. You associate your images with whatever categories make sense to you. (i.e. your dog might be pets or family). You can even get iMatch to automatically create categories for you based on an EXIF category which will group images automatically by their EXIF data so you can find all images taken with a particular lens. iMatch properties Properties are a bit like categories, but with two important differences: • A property has a name AND an associated value. For instance, a property of Caption may have a value of “Aunt Mary at the beach” • Because a property has a value, you can enter that value manually or you can map it to an EXIF or an IPTC field. I have found it best to use iMatch categories for EXIF
data and iMatch properties for IPTC details and for other data not normally found embedded in the image eg I have a Caption and an image Quality property Note: I’ll be discussing IPTC mapping of your data in part two of this article next issue. The interface This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive discussion of all interface features as there are just simply way too many to cover in one sitting (you’d probably nod off half way through). Rather, I’m focussing on those features useful for DAM activities. Part two of this article will look at some of the other features of the
Peter Stubbs’ imatch layout showing categories, thumbnails and image data product including the ability to script the program and extend it’s functionality. Setting things up There are a few steps to creating a usable database for DAM and I’ll cover them here. iMatch has it’s own database that holds all the image data you want to work with. It keeps EXIF and/or IPTC information in the database as well as giving you the option to add your own data too. So your categories and image keywords (the words that helps you find cousin Mary with that damn dog) and any other data you want to
associate with your images are also in that database. By using it’s own database iMatch can have very fast searching with low storage overhead (the database will be between 3% and 6% of the total size of your images). Additionally you can tell iMatch to write your changes back to the image itself. This gives you the best of both worlds: fast search and retrieval via a custom database but with all your DAM data also stored within the image itself. If iMatch goes out of business
tomorrow you don’t lose any of that DAM info you’ve laboured over: all you need do is use another DAM program to import the data from the EXIF, IPTC or XMP data files associated with the image. And since EXIF, IPTC and XMP are publicly known data formats, that’s a very viable option. The important thing is that before you add any images you need to have a good idea of how you want to manage them. Now I know this whole idea makes even the most dedicated photographer’s
Photools.com’s iMatch follows the mechanics of a “wizard” whereby setting up your database is as easy as following the steps. The example to the left shows Step 9 in the creation of the DAM database as demonstrated below.
eyes glaze over so I’ve made it easy and I’ll include my recommendations for the setup. I’ve even created an empty database with everything already done for you that you can find on the Chimp website to download and start importing your images immediately. Perfect for those of us who are time challenged. Thumbnail size This is one of the most important decisions to make. iMatch has three thumbnail views which I call small, medium and large (they have much fancier terms). You choose the large size and iMatch chooses the other two. I recommend a thumbnail size of 300 pixels, but you can have anything between 80 and 6000 pixels. You also choose a thumbnail
image quality similar to how JPEG compression is rated of between 0 and 100 percent, with 100 being the best. I’ve found 70% works well. The larger the thumbnail size and the higher the quality the bigger your iMatch database will be. Database location Nothing special for this except for one caveat: this should be a different location to where your images are stored and is even better if it’s on a different hard disk. Categories and properties This is something that can be done at any time, but you can also create your categories and properties automatically when you create your database using a file provided by someone who’s already done all the legwork for you (that would be me!). So if you want to start with my categories and properties download the Presets archive
(which will be made available at the Chimp website), unzip it and place it’s contents in C:\Program Files\photools. com\IMatch\Presets. Creating the DAM database Armed with the above info you can now go ahead and create your iMatch database. Here are the steps: 1. Start iMatch 2. Choose New from the Database menu 3. The New Database Wizard dialog opens. Click Next 4. Unless you want to password protect your database click Next to skip the password step 5. Now you’re at the Database location and thumbnail options dialog. Click Browse at the top of the dialog, choose a folder location for your iMatch database, enter a name for the database and then click the Save button. 6. You’re back at the location and thumbnails dialog. Click Change Thumbnail Options
7. Choose a thumbnail size that suits you. I recommend 300 with a thumbnail quality of 70 percent. Leave “Always use embedded preview” unticked then click the OK button. 8. You’re yet again back at the location and thumbnails dialog. Click Next to go to New Database Options 9. Leave the checkboxes in their default state and, provided you downloaded my presets, choose Stubbsy Categories and Stubbsy Properties respectively from the two drop downs. 10. Click Finish and iMatch will create the empty database 11. You’ll then be shown the “Add or update folders” wizard. Since we’ve set everything up we’ll proceed and import some images (finally!). 12. Click the Browse button, navigate to the top level folder containing your images and then click OK 13. This sees you back at the “Add or update folders”
wizard with the default options already ticked for you. 14. Click Next. You will now specify what image file types you want imported. The default of “All” is usually fine so just click Next 15. In the Advanced Options dialog click Next 16. In the “Ready to go” dialog, tick “Save these settings as default” and click finish 17. Sit back and wait for your images to be imported or, if there are a lot of images, go have a drink of your favourite beverage That’s it for part 1 of the article. In the next issue of Chimp will be the concluding part where I’ll cover topics like image culling, captioning, categorisation and searching. We’ll also look at how iMatch seamlessly works with images stored offline on cd or dvd. And to round things out I’ll show you how to use iMatch to prepare your images for the web.
For the sample image shown here iMatch took the final post processed file, resized it, added a white border and a caption from iMatch property information, and then saved it as a downsampled JPEG ready for web uploading. Given the complexity of this program I’ve also created a forum topic for discussion of this article. The topic can be found at DSLR Users.com in the Chimp section. __________________________
Concept art from the first page of this article has been made available by Photools.com for press purposes. At the time of writing, iMatch was priced at $59.95 US for a single user license. Photools.com iMatch exists in a 30-day evaluation version which you can download from the iMatch site. Photools.com iMatch can be found at: http://www.photools.com/
THE POWER OF ART A PHOTOESSAY BY LEIGH D. STARK
Pictures are the life-force of photography. Every issue, the panel of Chimp writers selects six different photographers and showcases one of their images.
Keith McGaughran firsty Sydney, Australia
Steve Morrow Sydney, Australia
Arran Schlosberg spaz Sydney, Australia
Geoff Yates Geoff Sydney, Australia
Andrew Griffiths agriffiths Melbourne, Australia
Heath Bennett Heath Bennett Morisset, Australia
Review: Digital Workflow with Bibble starting from a position where you don’t have all the original data at your fingertips.
By André Joanisse You have been shooting all day, walking around Sydney getting the early morning light at the Opera House, candids at Circular Key, sight-seeing on a harbour cruise and you finish with some night shots of the Harbour Bridge. You have 100’s of photos to process and the last thing you want to do is sit in front of your computer for hours on end processing each and every image. It was a good thing that a few months back, you decided to set up a digital workflow for yourself. Now you have a repeatable workflow that allows you to process your photos quickly and get the most of your images. You also converted to shooting in RAW format instead of jpeg. Having the RAW files gives you the equivalent of a film negative: you have all of the information that the camera captured for that image. If you were using Jpeg, the camera applies various processing steps like sharpening, saturation, and “lossy” compression. Sure you can work on the Jpeg’s later but already you’re
Bibble is a RAW processor that gives you a fast and efficient digital workflow. There are many others, like ACR, Rawshooter, Nikon Capture, DxO, and Aperture just to name a few. However Bibble is one of the fastest on the market and supports RAW files from the widest selection of camera manufacturers. When a new camera gets released, they are usually one of the first RAW processors to offer support for it. Features Bibble does more then just convert your raw files to Jpeg, Tiff, or DNG (Adobe Digital Negative). Some of its features are: • Heal and Patch Tools: Bibble allows you to do healing and cloning within your RAW workflow. Now you can get rid of those dust bunnies quickly and easily. • Image Correction with “Perfectly Clear™” by Athentech: Tick this box and it does an overall correction on your image. • Noise reduction with Noise Ninja • Batch queues • Easy to use with a customisable graphical user interface (GUI) • Lens correction tool and vignette control
• Photoshop plugin to allow all of the Bibble processing power from Photoshop (Pro version) • Made for Windows, Mac, and Linux As well as having all of the other features you would expect out of a digital imaging program such as exposure, white balance, saturation, sharpening, curves, crop, rotate, etc… Depending on what and how you shoot, some of the features available will be more useful to you. The ones that I tend to use a lot are: • Exposure adjustment to make the exposure just right • Sharpening • Black and white plug-in • Perfectly Clear™: I tend to give this one a try to see the results. Granted that it does not work all the time, but when it does, it saves a lot of time. • Batch queues can be very useful when you are working on images that are similar and you want to copy your settings to all of those images Versions Bibble comes in two different versions: Pro and Lite. The extras you get for Bibble Pro include: • Advanced versions of the copy and paste command that are fully customisable based on settings • Work Queues: these allow you to group sets of images
The customisable graphical user-interface of Bibble as seen on a Mac. together without having to move them around on your disk. • Fully multithreaded so that when you start sending items to batch queues, you won’t notice much speed degradation. • IPTC captioning support • Tethered shooting: be aware that for this, Bibble relies on drivers supplied by the camera manufacturer. As a result, tethered shooting doesn’t work for Linux due to a lack of camera drivers. • Advanced Noise Ninja support: If you have the full version of Noise Ninja you then get access to the full set of noise reduction features right in Bibble and you don’t need to start up the Noise Ninja program separately. • Licenses are good for multiple platforms: the Bibble Lite license gives you the right to run the
software on one platform. The Bibble Pro license can be used on multiple platforms. For me, my Pro license allows me to run on Mac OS X for my desktop and Linux for my notebook. Cost The cost for Bibble Lite is $69USD whereas Bibble Pro is $129USD. Upgrades are free when in the same version series, i.e. purchase V4.3 and all upgrades up to the current version, 4.9 (as of time of writing) are and have been free. They offer a reduced upgrade fee when you move up to a major version. Currently if you get V4.9 you will get a free upgrade to V5.x. Trial verions of both Lite and Pro for any platform are available for download and are good for 14 days.
Look and Feel One of the nicest things about Bibble’s GUI is that you can make it look the way you want. The layout of where windows are, size, docked or floating tools... it’s all up to you. On my Mac where I have two screens, I have the main window in front of me and the tools are floating on the left hand screen. That way I maximise the space for the photo. On my Linux notebook, I don’t keep as much as it is a small screen. I usually start off with the file browser and thumbnails. Once I start working on the photo -- with one keystroke -- I can toggle the browser and turn the thumbnails off so that I have just the photo and the adjustment panel.
As you work on the images, you can send them off to the batch queues and continue on to the next. Bibble comes with a number of queues already defined such as 16-bit TIFF, 8-bit TIFF, JPEG full size, etc. You can also easily define your own. I have one that I have defined that saves the images in the TIFF format, moves them to a new folder and then passes the image to Gimp for further processing. The program you use to do further processing is easily defined so you can use Photoshop, Gimp, Paint Shop Pro... you name it. Bibble is really designed to speed up your workflow and its GUI achieves this. One thing to note about Bibble is that it is a non-destructive edit process. Your original RAW files are never modified so you can always start up again if you really mess a photo up. Bibble just keeps a small file that contains the image settings for that image.
Control panels from Bibble. Thatâ€™s also a very nice feature of Bibble: every command is usually associated with a keystroke. Once you know a few, you can navigate through the GUI pretty quickly without using the mouse as much. As I said, I have Bibble loaded
on an iMac and on a Linux notebook. I have also loaded it up on Windows and the user interface pretty well looks exactly the same regardless of platform. There are a few minor differences but you should still manage to get around without a problem.
Documentation and Support The documentation for Bibble is easy to understand. If you have used a different RAW processor, you should have no problems finding your way around Bibble. To take full advantage of the software, you will have to delve into the manual and find out how batch queues can be customised, or what are the quick access keys for various commands. Bibblelabs has even recently started putting out some online videos on their website
Before and after: an image of a Labrador taken through the Bibble workflow. in the Learning section. They include topics like Getting Started, Basic Tools, Advanced Workflow, & Heal and Patch Introduction. They are well worth watching. The Bibblelabs forums are also a very useful resource. A number of very knowledgeable users frequent the forums and the developers are always there to answer questions and fix problems. I have seen problems reported one day and having a fix or workaround available the next day. We are also starting to see some third-party support available in the form of plug-ins. Up till recently, the third-party plug-ins came supplied with Bibble. I have a couple of these new plugins that I have purchased which include a more extensive sharpening tool that gives more options & control and a
tool to add a copyright mark on the photos. These integrate very easily in Bibble and can be a part of your batch processes which can be very nice. Some of these plugins are free while others -- if you want their features -- you will have to buy. The ones I got were $10USD each. Finally, Bibble supports cameras from all the major manufacturers and some not so major. Their lens correction data supports over 300 lenses. Final Word Since moving to Bibble, I havenâ€™t looked back. It does all that I need it to do and more. It has allowed me to speed up my workflow enormously. These days, I rarely have to get into Gimp or Photoshop to do extra editing. I certainly donâ€™t bother with JPEG in the camera.
With the Bibble batch queues, I can easily and quickly do a full batch conversion of all the images that I want in the JPEG format. Having my originals in RAW format give me that extra safeguard to correct exposure, white-balance, etc easily and quickly. I would highly recommend that you look at and try out Bibble to improve your digital workflow. __________________________
At the time of writing this, Bibble Lite is $69 USD & Bibble Pro is $129 USD. Bibble can be found at: http://www.bibblelabs.com/
LOOKING AT COMPOSITION S
In this edition I am going to talk about Shape, how you need to understand its influence on your imagery and how you can control it.
By Matt Kaarma In the first edition of Chimp, I wrote about some aspects of composition and spoke about the importance of being aware of the edges of your frame, or image space. This is an area often neglected. In this edition I will talk about the main elements of composition and then focus on one of these. The main, or most important elements of composition are: 1. Shape 2. Form 3. Lines 4. Tones 5. Balance 6. Scale 7. Perspective I understand that the above list is not inclusive and some folk are going to say “Hey! What about symmetry, depth of field, point of view, image size, paper type, etc!” Yes, all of these things could be included but let us get to grips with the basics first.
Shape is the element that gives us an understanding of what we are looking at. We recognise most objects by their shape, but shape alone does not give us the full picture. Imagine a large circular shape off in the distance. We have no way of knowing whether if it is a disc cut from a thin sheet of material or a sphere unless we are given further clues. Normally those clues are added by the position of shadows and the direction of the light, which can indicate the form of the object. When thinking about shape, I like to imagine shapes that are common and hence uninteresting, for example, a circle. Think about how I can present this differently. I will return to this in a moment and suggest some ways in which you can control shape. Firstly, there are two elements to shape that you need to be aware of. The shape of the object (or the subject)
and the negative space. The negative space is the space or the air surrounding your subject. When I was studying art we were set a project where we had to draw a group of wooden chairs which were thrown into a heap in the middle of the room. We were not allowed to draw the chairs, but rather, the empty spaces around them. By concentrating on the spaces around the legs and rails, the chairs miraculously drew themselves. This was my first lesson in the power of negative space. Sculptors are exceedingly skilled at exploiting or creating interesting negative spaces. Look at the images on the next page and see if you can force yourself to see only the negative space. The rule is if the negative space is strong then the images’ shape is strong. The second image is what you should be seeing. If you concentrate on the black part of the image you’ll begin to see the power of negative shapes.
Focus on the negative space in the second image that makes up the shape of the first. Here is the useful bit: anything you do to make the shapes or negative space in your image stronger will normally result in a more interesting photograph. So you might be asking yourself “how do I change the shape of my subject?” Well, for a start, if you are photographing people in a normal fashion, get them angular. Imagine the typical tourist shot of someone standing in the middle of the frame, their hands by their side and a mountain in the background. Boring to tears and makes me nearly puke with distain. Find a log or a large rock and get the subject to put one leg up, one arm resting on the knee, one hand on their hip in a cocky stance, tilt the head… and the hat… get closer, put them off centre… and voila! You have introduced some stronger shapes, angles and negatives space. You have improved your photography.
If you are photographing a static subject, a building or vehicle or a boat, do a walk around and examine the shape as it changes. Change your point of view: get higher or lower. Go wherever you have to in order to find the POV that gives you the strongest shape. That is where you most probably will get your most interesting shot. From my last article on composition, use the edges of your frame, fill the frame and exploit your subjects’ shape. That is one small step in becoming a better photographer. Look at the strong shapes in some of the better the images found on the DSLR Users.com. They are not there by accident. It’s also a good idea to keep the edges of strong shapes away from the borders of your picture. They can bleed out of the image space and weaken your composition. Shape is a compositional element and one that every photographer should be aware of.
By being aware of it, you’ll go some way towards controlling it, or, at the very least, having an influence over it. Never approach your subject and accept what you see without attempting to improve or exploit the shapes that are presented to you. Use them! Here’s a great exercise to go through: Find an object and take two photographs of it. Make one photograph one where you think you have captured the strongest shape possible and the other where you think that you have captured the weakest or most unenergetic shape possible. Exercises like this are an invaluable tool for developing your eye and your skill as a photographer. Did you ever wonder why a photograph of a very pregnant woman was so beautiful to look at? Shape.
By Fraser Young It was one of those days. “Five in a lifetime” days. Maybe three in a lifetime. Sometimes on the north coast of New South Wales we have days that are, weatherly speaking, perfect. They are fairly rare, with a slight cooling breeze, crystal clear air, a few clouds, and are 21-23 Celsius. No office. That’s right, a day off; a pubic holiday... just a 24 hour period to enjoy creation. This day was one of those special days. I can only remember a few other days like it. One was a day spent in the drizzle in Rome: talk about meandering through history. Piazzas, the Colosseum, ruins, the Vatican, and fashion. Coffee, Italian food, nuns by the hundred... the day had everything. Rome was just as they said it was: enchanting, frenetic and crazy. Another of those five in a lifetime days was spent wandering through London. It was to be one solitary day to see all of London. Impossible? Maybe, but I
was going to give it a shake. Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, St Martin in the field’s church, the Livingstone exhibition, Hyde Park, Buckingham palace, Madame Tusseau’s, Harrod’s and the British Museum... all in one day! As I sat exhausted on the train from Liverpool Street station en-route to Essex, I thought of that huge day and all the wonders I had enjoyed therein. This leads me to I think my best day ever that I can remember. It was September 1st, 2004. I left Christchurch early in the morning and headed towards Mt Cook National Park. After stopping in Ashburton for coffee and a polarizing filter for my trusty Sony F707 camera, I happened across Lake Tekapo. The first day of spring was astonishing. The air was so clean you could… well, I’m not sure what you can do with air as clean as that which encompasses the south island of New Zealand, so I did the logical thing: I breathed it in and enjoyed every cubic millilitre of it. The sunshine after the cold winter was spirit lifting. The virginal snow clinging to every mountain shimmered – it had been a very good season. The roads were almost deserted, except for the reasonably
LIFETIME constant stream of hired campervans. The coffee all day long was good; the tucker tasty and the locals friendly. The quaint “Church of the Good Shepherd” is world famous for a reason. The view from the pulpit window is breathtaking. I was blessed enough to chance upon a traditional wedding. Sneaking into a group of camera wielding guests, I tried to look as photographically competent as I could. Who cared anyway? I started snapping some candids of the happy couple with snow capped mountains as a backdrop. Leaving the church I walked to Lake Tekapo’s edge and snapped away at scenery so transfixing that even a good photo cannot accurately do justice to it. The day was pristine, the water was still, and even the wedding party co-operated and came by on horse and buggy, allowing me to take a few more candids. The scenery at Mt Cook was just as amazing: perfect sunshine with a crystal atmosphere. I chatted to a professional hiking guide near the Tasman glacier and even he stated that the day was one in a thousand. I was there. I’d used up one of my “five in a lifetime” days. It was usage well spent.
THE BIG DAY By Maya Linnell The big day had finally arrived. I’d researched the camera market locally, statewide, on the internet and even overseas before settling on a local Nikon dealer just 50 kilometres from home. After checking their stock levels and confirming the price tag a week ago, I was just an hour away from pulling out the cash to pay a D70s twin lens kit: my first professional camera. I’d been using an original D70 for the past 18 months at work, and was impressed with the user-friendly design, the feel of the camera in my hands and the quality of photos I was producing. The throng of D70 admirers didn’t hurt either! “Ohhhh, what a lovely camera! Is it yours?” many would coo. “You wouldn’t find that at Kmart. Do you want to swap?” others asked, eagerly proffering their own ‘point and shoot’ models on the odd chance I had taken temporary leave of my senses.
While I never agreed to the swap, I was always quick to agree on the quality of the camera, pointing out its many features to my captivated audience, before explaining that unfortunately it wasn’t mine: it belonged to the newspaper I worked for. I decided this couldn’t go on any longer. I simply had to buy my own camera. I had been conditioned towards Nikon from a young age. Dad had always been a Nikon man during his freelance photojournalism days, and after being spoilt with high quality cameras at work, there was no way I could ever settle for an instamatic digital camera. My scrimping and saving was boosted by this year’s tax return, and I began hunting for the best deal. The twin lens kit seemed the best value for money, so I tentatively reserved a package and was ready to pay for it when an industrial sized spanner was thrown in the works: the release of the D80. Although many Nikon fanatics had probably known about the new model months ago, I had been so absorbed in my quest for a D70 that the D80 had completely slipped under my radar.
At first I accepted the news begrudgingly, considering the D80 a speed bump in the middle of a perfectly planned, smooth journey. I told myself there would always be a newer model on the market, a better lens and a camera with higher capabilities. I tried to weigh up the pros and cons, told myself to stick with the camera I knew, to stay within my budget, and reassured myself that I would never be enlarging shots to the proportion where I’d need all 10 megapixels. I reasoned that the new model probably had the same lightweight body and twisting and turning lens as the D50, which felt foreign in my hands after the sleek 18-70mm lens of the D70. But as much as I tried to deny it, I found myself falling deeper under the spell of the D80, and with it my original plans unraveled. “So what if we don’t get the extra 70-200mm lens? We probably wouldn’t use it much anyway,” I told my boyfriend Jason, who had been keen to photograph airplanes and eagles with the D70 twin lens kit. Without even handling the new model, my feelings
The “beautiful but high-maintenance and accident-prone cocker spaniel,” shot on the D80. towards the D80 had transformed from disdain to lust. My growing interest in the camera reminded me of an article I read last year, where the author described her husband’s love of new and expensive things as ‘shiny’. From my taste in brand name cosmetics (where I’d think to myself why-oh-why couldn’t I settle for the supermarket variety instead of the expensive designer brands) to pedigree dogs (the pitfalls of a beautiful but highmaintenance and accidentprone cocker spaniel), I guess I could be considered a ‘shiny’ consumer. I placed a deposit on the camera at an Adelaide store in
mid-September, and was told it would probably arrive in the first week of October. The salesperson explained they had already pre-sold around 20 of the D80’s, sight unseen, and if I wasn’t happy with the camera when it arrived, I could get my money back. So I waited. And waited. And as the waiting game continued, my needs became more urgent. I needed the camera and I needed it now. I regularly called the Nikon stockists in Adelaide to see if they had any updates on the arrival of their next shipment, but alas, no news. To bide my time, I devoured the internet reviews, downloaded the user manual
and spent my lunch hour online, posting my thoughts on the DSLR Users website – a place where I could indulge my camera-centric thoughts – and searched for any news on the supply. The release of the new model coincided with a new Nikon era: the establishment of Nikon Australia. But their arrival didn’t seem to speed things up. If anything, it was cited as one of the reasons behind the sluggish arrival of D80. Keen to have the camera for my New Zealand holiday in November, I started to weigh up my options. I called Downtown Duty Free to see if they planned to stock the camera. Although they
didn’t have the D80 on their system, they were happy to offer me a D70s for $1299 with an 18-200mm Tamron lens. As the holiday drew closer and no word on the D80, I considered resorting to my original plan, and was even researching the Tamron lens when the call came through.
Nothing was sacred once that battery was charged and the memory card inserted. The dog and the cat became my models, unwittingly posing as I eagerly snapped away.
Yes, the camera had been located, but not in the city store where I had paid my deposit three weeks earlier. Instead, another Nikon enthusiast had sighted a D80 in the shop window of a small Mt Gambier photography store, just 30 minutes from home.
I jumped out of bed at 6.30am the following morning to capture the beauty of the morning dew, practiced macro shots on the rose garden, used the action setting to capture Jason as he dashed away from the paparazzi-like attention, and visited a nearby farm to capture a rural setting.
‘Surely they must have been mistaken,’ I thought as I started calling every camera shop in the nearby city. The first shop assistant asked what brand a D80 was, so I knew I had a cold lead there. Feeling a little silly, I called the second shop in the yellow pages and explained the situation. “Um, I’m not sure if I’ve got the right shop or not, but do you happen to have the latest Nikon in your front window?” I asked. I’d struck gold!
Keen to test the capabilities of the 10 megapixels, I shot the first 500 photos in raw. However, I scaled down my grand plans when I saw my laptop, which was only 18months-old, choke on the huge amount of memory required. I downgraded the quality options from RAW/NEF to JPEG Normal, and from the image size from large to the medium (5.6 megapixel).
The store-owner proudly bragged that his was the only D80 “in captivity” in South Australia. It was enough to get my pulse racing, and I drove the 100km round-trip the very next morning to play with the object of my desire. I was happy to stretch $50 above the city price just to have the camera in my hot little hands, so after a quick
call to the city supplier for a deposit refund, I proudly took ownership of my first Nikon.
Although it has a lighter body than the D70, the camera feels a similar weight because of the larger lens. The bigger monitor is a nice treat, as is the ability to really zoom into photos during playback mode. The multi-selector button works in an opposite direction to the D70, so instead of pushing up or down to look at the next picture, I am forever changing the photo info option. The delete button is on the upper left side of the camera body rather than
being easily accessible with the right thumb Normally a dud in the post processing department, I have embraced the in-camera photo editing program, which allows me to easily alter the pictures, cropping until my heart is content, and transforming photos with bad colour combinations into masterpieces with the black & white or sepia modes. The D-lighting option is great at lighting dark situations post-event, although it can detract from the picture’s quality in some situations. All in all, I give the D80 two thumbs up. I am writing this article just days before we fly out to New Zealand, and I am satisfied in my decision to buy local because the big brand camera store still hasn’t got any D80 cameras and kit lenses in stock. The fellow Nikon enthusiast who tipped me off about the Mt Gambier stock is kicking himself for passing up the opportunity, and my boss at the newspaper is now one of the hopefuls on the D80 waiting list, eager to have the camera for his own personal use. And now that my D80 desire has been consummated, I feel a sense of contentment & pride in my new possession, as well as a sense of relief that my slight obsession is over. Now, where did I put those camera bag and lens brochures…
The second issue of Chimp, a magazine for photographers. Whether you're a pro or an amateur looking to pick up some tips, this magazine is w...