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Archive for March, 2012

A very Special Bear


Today I decided to take a few studio photos of a vase of tulips that are currently sitting on our coffee table and then I noticed a very special bear looking at me.

A Very Special Bear

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This article on my other blog might be of interest to anyone who likes (or hates) group portrait sessions!

Unfortunately I screwed up the reblog so click here to see the post.

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Well today saw the arrival of Adobe Lightroom Version 4, which having tried the beta, I have eagerly been waiting for.

The new version has a number of new features not least of which is the integrated ‘Book’ module. This new module allows you to design photo books right in Lightroom using a large number of predesigned templates, unfortunately for now there is no ability to create your own. You can modify the size of apertures (make them smaller, not larger) while laying out a page and you can zoom an image in and out, so there is a bit of control but not much.

The book module is integrated directly to Blurb though you can also produce a PDF from the laid out book. I would imagine that over time we will see other publishers being made available. I’m a little surprised that since there is such tight integration to Blurb that the template editor available in the desktop version of Booksmart has not been incorporated, let’s hope that this is something that will be addressed in the not too distant future. I think it should be said that this is a long overdue feature which still has a long way to go. Even a simple thing such as putting the book title and author on the spine is not simple, in Booksmart these are 2 separate fields, in Lightroom it’s one field so if you want the title to be left aligned and the author right aligned you need lots of ‘tabs’ in-between, not the smartest implementation in the world!

There is now also a map module which allows photos to be geotagged and displayed on a Google map, useful for cameras that have built-in GPS. You can drag photos on to a location and GPS coordinates will be put into the metadata of the image, if you want specific location information, such as the city/country, you still need to put this in manually. Just a little word of caution here, I have experienced a little bug when moving off the map module, it would not let me, just kept coming up with an error box. Luckily on restarting Lightroom everything worked fine.

I do like the way the the develop module as be improved, there are still 6 tone sliders but the way they work have been altered allowing for much greater tonal control over the image. The screen grabs below show the new and old panel after an auto tone has been carried out on identical images.

The auto tone function has also been fine tuned to coincide with the other changes and as the two images below show, there is certainly a big difference in the processing. With careful adjustment of the sliders it is now possible to get very good results from less than perfectly exposed images and for there to be little loss of detail.

Lightroom V4

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Lightroom V3

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From what I’ve seen so far of the product I think that it is well worth the upgrade. There is still room for improvement but I’m sure that will come in time. As far as I’m concerned it’s still the best of the bunch and I’ve tried a number of them including Aperture, iView and a number of lesser know ones too.

 

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Flyball


Last sunday was very bright and beautiful day. I woke up rather earlier than I should have, stretch, yawned, had a quick look around and then jumped onto the bed in-between mum and dad.

They didn’t even stir, so I lay there quietly for ever such a long time, must have been at least 30 seconds, if not 40! I patted mum with my paw, nothing but a groan, so I jumped down picked up one of my very squeaky toys and played with it for a while, still nothing but the odd “Poppy be quite”. They finally decided to get up after I jumped up again, this time with the squeaky toy in their ears.

Once we’d had breakfast mummy said “Does Poppy want to go to flyball?”, the flyball thing sounded quite good, but then I had to get in the car and I don’t like the car. I don’t know why I don’t like it as most of the time when I go in the car I go somewhere nice, I just don’t like it. So once they’d put my harness and lead on I just ran and sat on the stairs and made them come and get me, reluctantly I eventually gave in and jumped in the back of the car thing.

We drove over to Maidenhead, that’s where the flyball training takes place, and when we got there daddy took me round the park to play ball till it was our turn to train. The team trains first and then it’s the beginners like me, I’ve only been doing it since November and this was the first time I’d been to training since the week before Christmas.

I was just a bit excited as I sat with mummy to watch the preparations, not that I was showing it, of course!

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There didn’t appear to be many beginners this week so it looked like there would be lots of opportunity for me to have a go, I just so excited that I can’t wait to get started. Come on lets get on with it, come on…!

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I can remember exactly what I have to do, I can, honestly. Let me see now:

First I run from the other end

Jump over the jumps

Grab the ball at the other end

Jump back over the jumps

And all in as short a time as possible, that’s it right?

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Penny, that’s the lady that runs the flyball team, decided that everybody needed a refresher so she started making us all run just from the start, I think she was worried that some of the other dogs couldn’t remember the rules, I think she was probably right. So the first couple of runs were just me running after mummy, well she had to do it as well, maybe it was the owners that couldn’t remember the rules, maybe that’s why we had to do the refresher?

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See I knew what to do, easy peasy, but I think mum got it slightly wrong when we did the next run cos she decided to run off outside the jumps, good job I didn’t follow her example or I would have got it wrong too.

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Must be my turn again, yes, yes come on let me go again.

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Luckily Penny decided that we knew what we were doing so she let us get on with the proper training, I just couldn’t wait to get going, I stood ready at the end of the jumps looking down towards the ball the Penny was holding straining against mummies grip ready to dash for the ball.

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I was off like a rocket the second I felt her let go of me, straight over the first jump, flying over the second, only two more to go and then I can get the ball.

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That’s it, I’ve got it, quick turn and back over the jumps to where mummy’s waiting for me, must be quick, very quick.

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Wow that was fun, now for a quick slip of water, might as well wash the ball too I guess, I like wet tennis balls.

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Now let’s get on and do it all again please.

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Well we only did a couple more of those individual runs and then Penny decided that we could have a go at the relay. I really like the relay. There are four of us in a team and as one of us is coming back with the ball the next one starts to run up for the next ball, it’s really exciting.

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That’s me, well my bum anyway although the other collie looks quite a lot like me!

I must admit that I was quite content to sit down for a quick rest occasionally as it is quite hard work at the end of the day.

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As practice finished Penny asked mummy if I wanted to compete, well of course I got her to say yes, otherwise what’s the point of all this training? So Penny said that I can join the team, wow I’m on the team, can’t wait for the next session!

Oh, sorry you want to know the name of the team? It’s the Berkshire Bandits Flyball team of course.

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Bright Start to the Weekend


Tulips

Bright and colourful, a reminder that spring is on the way, even when they’re indoors.

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They stand stiff, tall and closed to start and then open for all the world to see.

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I did say colourful, but even in monochrome, soft and gentle to behold.

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