Friday, May 25, 2012

New Software

As most know I am not a fan of Adobe software. I have used Paint Shop Pro since it was shareware many, many years ago. Even though I own versions X3 and X4 I still X2. When I installed X3 it just seemed to be more trouble to set up all the custom settings that I had in X2. I didn’t give it much of a chance. It is still installed and I do occasionally use it but X2 is still my primary imaging software—well except for Nikon Capture NX2 which I use for eighty percent of my post processing. I purchased X4 but I never installed it.
Some months ago I became aware that Nik had Color Efex Pro available as a plug in for Capture NX2. Someone posted a link to a 30 day trial download and I gave it a shot. I loved it but before I decided to purchase it Nik discontinued selling it for Capture. I was really hacked because now all the files that I manipulated no longer work. I have considered purchasing Elements or Lightroom just so that I would have access to CEP—neither were ideas that I liked. I am trying to teach Alcy Elements and I hate the program and we had a demo of Lightroom at the club a couple of weeks ago—I would rather give up photography first. I really do not like Adobe software. Anyway, a few days ago a friend gave me a copy of Rangerfinder which had a review of PSP X4 Ultimate. It was a pretty favorable review and what makes Untimate different from the X4 that I already own is that it includes CEP. I checked the site and I could purchase it for under $50 as an upgrade—I did. List price is $70 or $80 but if you watch, it is frequently on sale. I got a copy for Alcy for $60. That compares to Elements (without CEP) at $80 or Lightroom at $260 and then an additional $180 to add CEP to either one (don’t tell me that Adobe hasn’t created a cottage industry designed to rip off their customers.) You know me, I’m cheap!

My flies from Capture still do not work but at least I have a fun program.

Of course I have to admit that I am a little strange. I loudly denigrate using actions. I think it is cheating and most often the results are less than stellar. I also said that I would upchuck if I ever had to look at another sunset photograph and yet I make photographs of sunsets and here I sit at the computer using actions and am as happy as a lark. Go figure.

I’m working on the current Journal and wanted a “vintage” photo of the 1860 Prairie Home at George Ranch for the book so it was my first project.

I imagine that the most use I will get from CEP is on the model shoots. So most of what I am playing with are from the Photoshoots of Houston models group. I am about the only photographer in the group that doesn’t do actions so maybe I will fit in a little better. I also tried the Object Extractor—removing Caesar and Melody from studio shots and placing them in different backgrounds. Works amazingly well and very easy.


  1. love the vintage one and also the second one. really don't like the ones of the young man (content) although it is good work, as always. the model shots are nice work too, although i personally don't care for model (staged people) photography.

  2. Jan, thank you. On the house all I actually achieved from the action was the rounded corners. The coloration I could have done in any software and most of the effect comes from adding a couple of textures after applying the action.

    I agree with you on the "posed" photos. The photographs I enjoy most at the model shoots are more like candids. On the second one I just asked Abby to walk along at the edge of the water and I took photographs as she strolled. Since I enjoy people photography the nice thing about the model group is that you have someone available that really wants to be in front of a camera. So even when I do have to settle for posed I feel ahead of the game. LOL

    BTW: the shots of the kids at the zoo on your blog are absolutely beautiful. Your skills as a pepole photographer really are evident in your Indonesian photographs.

  3. thank you, Gary. as you know, people photography is somewhat tricky because there are so many different aspects to it, not the least of which is whether or not the subject knows they are being photographed or whether or not the subject wishes to be photographed. i'm afraid i missed many, many opportunities for excellent shots (content) simply because i didn't have the courage to raise my camera to my face and shoot while they were looking at me. it was often a split second call about whether i was willing to be perceived as rude or making a further spectacle of myself (my presence was spectacle enough) or getting the shot i wanted. most of the time i erred on the side of not being obnoxious (and not getting the shot i really wanted).