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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo Apps For Everyone

Apps For Androids And iPhones • The Good Old Digital Days • The Good Old Slide Projector Days

Labels: How-ToColumnTech Tips
At every seminar I give, I ask how many people in my audience hate spending time in front of their computers, and a large percentage typically raises their hands. They want to spend their time outside, exploring nature and natural subjects, seeking the perfect light on a vast landscape or the most evocative expression on an elusive wild creature. There’s no doubt about it, we outdoor photographers get our greatest satisfaction from the capture, from that decisive moment when everything comes together and, with the release of the shutter, we own it.

Is there hope for you if that’s where you want to end your photographic experience? Sure, there is. You’ll continue to enjoy the decisive moment, but at a price. When you abandon your photograph after you’ve captured it, you’ve left it half-born, or perhaps half-developed is a better word. If you want to bring it to its full potential, you need to exercise the control that postprocessing software gives you. And it’s a fact of modern photographic life that your half-finished images will be competing increasingly against those of other photographers who overcome the limits of their photographic equipment by applying the postprocessing tools available to them today. (I’m not talking about graphic artists here, because graphic artists have a different vision, although it’s achieved with some of the same tools photographers use.)

In the shameless self-promotion department, I want to tell you about a new book that my wife Kathy and I have just finished that’s now available for preorders at all the major outlets and our website, and will be internationally released this fall. Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field is a retrospective of my favorite wildlife images and how they were captured. No postprocessing tricks discussed here! I loved working on this book because it took me back into the field, where I (and my wild subjects) experienced the thrill of the photographic experience. Despite all I’ve said above in answer to your question, that’s where I really want to be, too.

The Good Old Slide Projector Days
Q Can you recommend a computer program that will work as smoothly as the old slide projector systems coupled with a dissolve unit?
D. Effron
Via the Internet

A If you had seen one of my seminars in the “good old days” with six slide projectors, three dissolve units and a master controller, all mounted up in a huge rack, not to mention a dozen or so slide trays, you’ll know why I’m very happy with today’s digital systems. There are many software programs that will give you all the benefits of the monster system I once used, with only a laptop computer and a digital projector needed.

In choosing a presentation program, look for a lot of creative and flexible transitions. These will include the smooth dissolves from one image to the next that you remember. But wait, there’s so much more! Some digital presentation software offers effects that emphasize the beauty and flow of your program and/or enhance its educational purposes. For example, the Ken Burns effect allows you to scan across an image, giving the impression of movement. Some programs allow you to display multiple images on screen at one time, and to bring them on and off the screen in whatever sequence, or with whatever type of action, you wish. I’m especially fond of a feature of Microsoft PowerPoint, Photodex ProShow Gold and Boinx FotoMagico that allows me to slowly scroll a panorama across the screen. All major presentation programs make it easy to coordinate music and images.

How do you choose the best presentation software for your work? Experiment with variations that are especially applicable to the effects you’re trying to achieve and compatible with your style. For PC users, I’ve had good success with PowerPoint and ProShow Gold. For Macs, I recommend PowerPoint for Mac, Keynote (Apple), FotoMagico and Animoto.

For information about upcoming seminars and digital-imaging workshops, visit www.georgelepp.com. If you have any tips or questions, address them to: OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER, Dept. TT, George Lepp, 12121 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1200, Los Angeles, CA 90025-1176 or online at www.georgelepp.com.


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