Another Christmas in the bosom of the family; we got all of Jean Bray’s children, their spouses, and her grandchildren together, which we don’t manage often enough, in Calgary. Like many others, I find with every year that passes that the people seem more important, the eating and drinking and so on less; but I got an outstanding present.
Turkey · Let’s not diss the eating and drinking; my brother Rob Bray produced this superb turkey. He explained that getting the dark meat done just right without drying out the light meat is really hard; his solution involves wrapping the bird in foil and using a higher heat. We also experienced the infamous nuclear garlic paste, which is best enjoyed in moderation.
Camera Progress: Flash · That picture is unusual, in that I took it with the camera’s flash but it looks OK. I’ve never come close to mastering flash.
One afternoon my brother Don Bray, a fine photographer, pulled out his camera to take a shot of our baby; he shoots with a Pentax DSLR too and was holding a plain piece of white paper in front of the flash. The picture was great and I turned green with envy. He gave me a little seminar and I tried it and it works! He pointed me at ABetterBounceCard.com, check it out.
Camera Progress: Manual · I got three items from my Amazon wish-list; none of them were bought at Amazon and one was Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. His Web site gets no linkage because it doesn’t seem to work for me in either Camino or Safari, but I heartily recommend the book.
It gave me the courage to run the camera in fully-manual mode, which turns out to be easier than you’d think. Having said that, I’ll probably stick to Pentax’s “SuperProgram” mode, which lets you switch back and forth between aperture and shutter priority instantly. Below, full manual.
Camera Progress: RAW · Back when I got the Pentax, I considered shooting RAW vs. JPEG and ended up with JPEG because I couldn’t see the difference, and downloading the huge RAW files was a pain, and because the tools for loading the RAWs were shaky.
Brother Don to the rescue, once again. One of his Christmas presents was a fast card reader. I’d never seen the point, always plugging my camera into the computer, but I hadn’t realized how fast these puppies can be, gulping cards-full of big RAW shots in seconds.
Finally, he showed me Adobe Camera Raw, a Photoshop plug-in that works fine with Elements and has no trouble with the Pentax’s .NEF files. When I saw him fine-tuning the White Balance, I was hooked.
With the combination of the new flash technique and the RAW wrangling, I got a bunch of pleasing Christmas pictures, but they mostly feature the children whom we don’t publish here. But I cropped the audience out of a picture of Mom reading a bedtime story.
Yeah, there’s not too much to it. But it’s the first time I’ve taken a flash picture of a human being that didn’t make me puke and resort to heavy remedial Photoshopping.
I hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all!