Peachpit Press is now shipping my latest book, Lightroom 3 Visual QuickStart Guide. A new blog/companion site can be found here with lots of info, including sample content, the table of contents, and lots of tips.
Master photo printer Ctein has a wonderful essay on the death Tuesday of Jim Marshall, whose photos of rock'n roll and jazz musicians are embedded into our collective pysche:
"And that's all he wrote. Possibly the most generous and irritating man I've ever worked with. I'd be surprised if I ever meet anyone more generous. I sure as hell hope I never meet anyone more irritating. Alkie, druggie, abusive, and open-hearted. An exhausting combination. "
Amid all the great books about digital shooting, there's precious little about what's probably the most common—and daunting—issue: how best to weed down the flood of images. This wonderfully detailed post by Carl Weese over at The Online Photographer wrestles that beast to the ground:
The trouble with a dense forest of captures is how to find the best trees. There's also the issue of "what was I really trying to do with this shoot?" That question may not apply to conceptual artists who start with an idea and set up a shot for the camera, but for any photographer who likes to work by going out into the world just looking for the unexpected, the unedited take can be completely confusing. The whole collection is overwhelming so the trick is to slice it into manageable chunks.
While Lightroom is a terrific, powerful tool, how-tos like this one really help in the day-to-day work of staying atop your personal flood of images.
If you need help deciding whether to jump on the March-only discount price for Lightroom 2 VQS, you might want to read this sample chapter. Taken from Chapter Four, it highlights one of Lightroom's best features: The Library module. The Library module is what gives Lightroom an edge over its more well-known cousin, Photoshop, and it's where you'll do most of your organizing and reviewing of images.
Lightroom 2.3 and Camera Raw 5.3 are now available for download.
In addition to added support for a few newer cameras (the Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30), there have been lots of little tweaks to Lightroom overall. Nothing major, but all signs of Adobe's continued dedication to keep Lightroom the best tool around for digital photographers. Adobe's installation PDF has the details.
Gristmill's Gar Lipow on what to call the global climate shifts driven by rising carbon dioxide levels:
What about the term 'global warming'?…Scientists don't like it because it describes only one result of the disaster we are creating. On the plus side, it is a known 'brand,' and most people know it is not a good thing. On the minus side, the flaw that most climate scientists dislike also makes it vulnerable to delayers who use every snowy day as an excuse to exclaim, 'ha ha! Where is your global warming now?'
What about Amory Lovins' term 'global weirding'? Accurate and a good crack, but I think it would be a mistake to make a joke the primary term for a topic of serious discussion. 'Climate disruption' is better. It's both accurate and a description with a negative connotation. But I think it has too many syllables for maximum emotional punch. 'Climate chaos' carries almost the same connotation, but to me comes across as a stronger term.
Photographer Ctein is talking about judging individual cameras amid a sea of performance stats but his words ring true across the board:
Exceptions are not the norm (that's why we call them exceptions) but they're ubiquitous.
It resonates with something psychologist Steven Pinker notes in his New York Times primer on genetics and personality in which he tries to tease out which is which and why we can't yet:
Even in the simplest organisms, genes are not turned on and off like clockwork but are subject to a lot of random noise, which is why genetically identical fruit flies bred in controlled laboratory conditions can end up with unpredictable differences in their anatomy. This genetic roulette must be even more significant in an organism as complex as a human, and it tells us that the two traditional shapers of a person, nature and nurture, must be augmented by a third one, brute chance.
Full piece worth a read in the Jan. 11 New York Timesmagazine.