Wednesday 4th April 2012 – Clubnight


Tonight was Darren’s turn to take us a trip around Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 which we recently purchased.

He loaded up a small diverse selection of his photographs and demonstrated to us the basic steps from importing RAW files into the Library catalogue, through the various Library view modes and then on to the export stage which essentially converts your RAW file into JPG, Tiff or PSD formats.    When in the Develop module, Darren used a recent photo of little Eva taken in the studio where there were some shadows below her eyes and eyebrows, to show how the Adjustment Brush can be used for local lightening or darkening of the skin.  The colours of the pupils of the eyes were adjusted also using this tool.  Adobe recently substantially reduced the price of Lightroom 3 and subsequently Lightroom 4.  The upgrade is now available for around £60.  Available in both PC and Mac versions, it is highly recommended for those who shoot in RAW. Continue reading

Wednesday 22nd February 2012 – Clubnight


One of my objectives tonight was to show Angus and others how to clean the camera sensor.   Some of Angus’ photos displayed a large dust bunny in the frame.

Whilst doing the cleaning I explained the process with those present.

The extent of dust spotting can be determined by setting the camera to F16 or above and focus to manual.  Now take a photo of clear blue sky or a plain white surface.   Zooming in all the way on the finished image on the LCD screen and methodically inspecting the whole surface will reveal the extent of spotting.   Remember that dust spots at the top of the frame are actually at the bottom of the sensor.

Firstly, I explained that whilst most modern DSLRs have a special sensor vibration system built in which operates at either startup and/or shutdown, this doesn’t always remove persistent dust. Continue reading

Friday 5th August 2011 – Clubnight


John had requested me by email if I would help clean his “mucky sensor” this evening.   He arrived with a Nikon and although I had forgotten to bring my magnifying loupe, we started on the task.  Firstly, the mirror showed a slight layer of dust buildup so I opted to use the Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly brush which generates static in the bristles by periodic spinning.  A couple of gentle swipes outwards, and it looked clear.

Cleaning of the mirror or the underside of the prism (to remove dust which is visible in the viewfinder) is a very delicate operation and is fraught with the danger of scratching the coating, to be seen forever.  John operated the command to raise the mirror to expose the sensor and first line of attack was using the Rocket blower with the camera inverted.  I asked him to reattach the lens, set to f22 and manual focus and go outside and take a photo of cloud or blue sky to help show up the location of dust spots.  By magnifying the resulting photo and/or viewing on the computer any spots will be revealed.  There were still some spots so we tried the Butterfly brush then finally the Pec-Pad with a spot of Eclipse cleaning fluid.  One careful light wipe should normally be enough.   Another photo and mission accomplished.

Meanwhile Jack arrived with a memory stick with his AV for the national competition called “All that Glisters”.   His final version was warmly commended and was really refined especially with Jack’s refined voice-over.  Well done Jack.   We couldn’t let him away without seeing again his famous work, “Droppy”.

Alli, Harry, Trevor also submitted photos on a stick for appraisal.

By request I showed a couple of my old AVs, A Taste of Venice and especially for Christine, Barcelona 2007.

I mentioned that the new season programme was almost ready for publication, meanwhile I will publish in this blog, the finalised dates for Competitions and NIPA Rounds.

Tomorrow was the last scheduled summer outing to Argory and Ardress House, both National Trust properties.   Hope the weather holds.

Feedback and comments in this blog would be appreciated.

Friday 1st July 2011 – Clubnight


Once again, we had a good turnout.

Kevin brought his Nikon in for a more rigorous sensor clean.  Last weeks effort with the Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly couldn’t remove the crud on the sensor, so I brought along my illuminate Loupe magnifier , some Eclipse sensor cleaning fluid and pec-pads.  Unfortunately I forgot my tiny spatula to wrap the pec-pad around.   After a bit of head scratching I cut out a custom sized spatula from some offcuts of mounting board and wrapped the pec-pad around that.  Just two little drops on the pad are needed.

Kevin took off the lens and from the Nikon menu, operated the mirror lockup. A word of warning here.  Don’t embark on this process without a fully charged battery.

A steady single light wipe with minimal pressure was all that was needed.   Too much fluid and the sensor would be soaked.   Being alcohol based, it soon evaporated.  A quick look in the Loupe and it was like new.   Camera was then switched off and lens refitted.  Job done.

As usual a number of memory sticks appeared on the computer desk containing photographs for critique.   It was good to see a new member, Mike, submitting some of his.

A reminder was given about the arrangement for Saturday’s outing to Benburb with Sean Barden.   I overlooked Eddies request to demonstrate the Vibrance control in Camera Raw, and he had buzzed off home early so it will have to wait until Wednesday.