Wood / July 6, 2011 / Comment on this

Woodworking

I took a class–with Heidi–at the Maryland Woodworkers Club; the Fundamentals of Woodworking class. I grew up with a father who did a bit of construction/roofing here and there, and the obligatory shop classes and boy scout projects. But I was long overdue for a refresher course.

I’d been to the shop once before and it tends to be full of extremely enthusiastic people, who border on a little weird. You know… the kind of people I like. The instructor was friendly from the start. Don’t mistake him for cute though; his inner hard-ass made several appearances. But that’s all the better in a teacher.

They walk you through basic concepts and most of the equipment in the shop, via some minor class time and the construction of a desktop bookshelf. Having done all those obligatory shop classes and such as a kid, I was still surprised how well everything actually came out. I attribute it to real teaching by a skilled practitioner, and not someone just walking you through a syllabus.

I had fun. I got reacquainted with numerous tools and methods. I built a book case. And I worked well with Heidi. It was a very good weekend. And I’m going back for a furniture class in a couple weeks.

Woodworking

progress / August 20, 2009 / Comment on this

I get a lot of benefit out of continually learning how to use my tools better. Today’s example:
I recently watched some tutorials by photographers using Lightroom. Picked up a few things I didn’t know. And because of it, discovered a few other variations that were even better. I knew this stuff in Photoshop, from back in college. But — as is the point — Lightroom has a much better interface for doing it.
Here’s the original RAW photo, from the recent shoot with Lea. Blown out, yadda yadda yadda. Won’t bother going into why it is this way… but it just is. A lot of missing details, though you could tell it was a beautiful look.
IMG_4443-4.jpg
Thankfully, by shooting in RAW format, you preserve a lot of information that would have been lost in a JPEG. I lowered the exposure, and recovered a lot of detail. Still a bit light, but much better. Really pushed it, though. To the point where the boundary on the face between the light and dark has gone slightly yellow. But still a stunning woman.
IMG_4443-3.jpg
After watching the Lightroom videos, I have been moving away from strictly relying on the exposure/black/fill sliders for color correction, and relying more heavily on various features of the Curves. It gives me much greater control over individual light levels in the photo. Transitions are much smoother. More details are preserved. And as I said, the interface to do all this is very intuitive.
I think this last photo is the best so far.
IMG_4443-Edit.jpg
This — of course — is also why I tend to be so reluctant to pursue photography professionally. While I often think “These are some great photos”, somewhere down the line, I almost always look back and think “gawd… I am SO much better than I was when I did THAT!”.
EDIT:
Okay… this is what happens when you don’t proof on multiple monitors. New version, without the gray. (Thanks, Jenny)
IMG_4443-Edit-2.jpg