Friday, April 18, 2014

Lightroom Mobile - The Best Thing Since ...

Adobe has released the long awaited Lightroom Mobile for iPad.  As a professional photographer I utilize Lightroom as my primary tool for post processing of images.  I also utilize my IPad Mini for many tasks both in photography and in my life and leisure.  I try to use my IPad to show my portfolio to friends and customers but have struggled with a good workflow to bring images into the IPad and to have an elegant platform to show my photography.

Lightroom Mobile is a very good version 1.0 effort to bridge the gap between my desktop PC and my IPad.  Installing and utilizing Lightroom Mobile is not quite as simple as downloading an app from the App Store or ITunes.  First, you must have the newest version of Lightroom (version 5.4), Second, you must have an Adobe ID and be a subscriber to Adobe Creative Cloud.

The app is free and is an enhanced benefit to Creative Cloud (CC) members.  I am a subscriber to the Photoshop Photography Program of Creative Cloud (Until May 31, 2014 it is $ 9.99 month at: (https://creative.adobe.com/plans/offer/photoshop+lightroom?promoid=KKVFF).
This is a great deal for any photographer to be able to have the absolutely newest versions of Photoshop and Lightroom.  When you compare the yearly cost of a subscription with the cost of software upgrades every other year (the previous process), it works out to be more cost effective in the long run.

Overall, the look and feel of Lightroom Mobile is very simple and it syncs up very well with the desktop version of Lightroom.  In fact, the synchronization is very fast and almost hidden in the background as you work with the applications.  The overriding concept is that you set up collections in your desktop PC and then you instruct Lightroom Mobile to slurp up all the pictures in any of the collections you have triggered to move to Mobile.

In order to setup the linking of Lightroom and Mobile you have to turn on synchronization in the Identity Plate (in the upper right corner of your desktop Lightroom).






Matt Kloskowski has created a great "getting started" tutorial on Lightroom Mobile.  Check it out by clicking on this URL:   Getting Started on Lightroom Mobile
I have mixed feelings about Lightroom Mobile: first of all it works quite well for me, but because it requires a subscription to Creative Cloud it might not be useful to everyone.  Since I already have a Creative Cloud membership and I focus on Lightroom 5 as my post processing application of choice and it does provide a really slick way to synchronize my Lightroom favorites with my IPad it is a great choice for workflow. 







Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe they will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” See my detailed disclosure at: My Disclosure

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring brings Softball

As many of you know from over the years I photograph high school softball.  This is one of the sporting venues that I really appreciate.  To be able to see these very talented and athletic young women out on the field of play doing a really great job for their teams.  I started out with softball photographing some of the teams that had daughters of friends from work and church.  Now, I just do it because it is a joy to see these women come of age in an athletic endeavor and some go on to get college scholarships to universities and colleges across the nation. 

In this photo from last week Willow Canyon's Lexi Rogers slides into third base with Centennial's Tayler Paradiso defending. Looking at the form of both athletes shows that they are well coached and dedicated to their sport. 
 The batter in this shot is Centennial's Paige Mills, a player I have been photographing since she was a freshman.  She is a pitcher and first baseman for the Coyotes and has signed a letter of intent to attend Utah State University, a Division 1 school in Logan, Utah. 


Centennial's new pitcher if junior Katelyn Foster.







Willow Canyon's talented Sabrina Jimenez is another player I have been photographing over the years.  Sabrina is a senior and team captain.

 The power hitter below is Centennial's Avianna Davis. 





In this photo, Willow Canyon's Lexi Rogers defends second base against Centennials Avianna Davis.















Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe they will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” See my detailed disclosure at: My Disclosure

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Spring Training 2014 - Opening Day

As many of my readers know I photograph many of the Cactus League Spring Training games at Surprise Stadium. The opening day this year was February 27th and I was there. Cactus League games provide baseball fans with a unique intimate view of the teams at the start of each season. With fairly small stadiums and with site lines that are close to the field a fan has the chance to get up close to the "boys of summer".  You can see in the picture below how close the fans are to the field.

I photograph Spring Training both as a sports photographer and a community cheerleader. I love the pre-game festivities with the introductions of local people that help with the games and to showcase some amazing National Anthem talent.  Sharett Miller is shown singing the National Anthem on opening day to the left.
Not to mention the amazing athletes, both young and old, that I get to capture on field. I have just started this season of shooting and will soon have some exhibitions of my photographs at Gifts To Go in the Barnaby Street Shoppes on Bell Road.  

This is an exciting year for both the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals in Spring Training.  The Rangers are perennial pennant winners and the Royals have some young talent that provided needed leadership last year. 
Yu Darvish
My first game shot shows the Ranger's starting pitcher, Yu Darvish winding up for his throw to the plate.  

The game photographs in this post were shot from behind home plate (back of the screen).  This is a unique place to shoot baseball.  By focusing on the player in the field the mesh of the screen is rendered out of focus making it appear that I am shooting through glass or right behind the catcher. Not that I want to take a picture of a 90 mile per hour fast ball heading right for my camera.  
Bruce Chen

The second game picture shows the Royal's Bruce Chen throwing. 

And in my last shot of the post I show the Royal's All Star (2012), Billy Butler getting his first hit of the season off of Darvish.  The fast shutter speed (1,000/sec at f/6.3) freezes the ball in mid air.
Billy Butler


Safe at 2nd base











As the Spring Training season progresses I will highlight more of my baseball visions from different shooting angles.

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe they will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” See my detailed disclosure at: My Disclosure

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Epson r3000 printer maintenance

For those of you that have been reading my blog for years you know that I have an Epson Stylus Photo R3000 inkjet printer and I just love it.  The prints that I have made with this pro style printer are absolutely stunning.  While its main limitation is associated with its 13" width, the print quality is identical to the larger format Epson line of printers that use the K3 style of inks with Vivid Magenta. 


I purchased my printer in September of 2011 and have enjoyed years of trouble-free, although pricey, printing.  Then a couple of weeks ago the printer started leaving streaks of ink on the printed pages (showing up initially when printing DVD covers).  I started to research the problem and was startled to find out that the ink streaks are a planned obsolescence feature of this line and other lower end printers of the Epson ink jet printers.  By this I mean that the engineers of Epson have built in a problem that is acting like a ticking time bomb inside the printers.  As you normally print over the years the printer uses more ink that goes on the paper to clean the heads of the printer.  This "waste ink" is deposited on a series of thin foam pads secreted below the print heads and eventually these pad fill up with ink sludge and cause the problem that I am describing.  The feature (problem?) is described by Epson at the following link: Epson Waste Ink Pads.

What I did not experience is the anticipated "lock up" of the printer when those ink pads are deemed to be full.  The brilliant designers calculate when your prints would be unusable and freeze your printer only to be released by sending it in to an authorized maintenance center for a costly clean up and replacement of the used ink pads.  And "no" to your question if you can purchase the ink pads for your own DIY maintenance.

There are lots of blog posts and YouTube videos showing some solutions to my new problem and I decided to perform some of that DIY maintenance on my own knowing that I might damage my printer and then have to send it in to an authorized center anyway.  The first thing that I did was to start trying to get rid of the ink that was causing my immediate problem.  My research on Google was frustrating in trying to find exactly where those "illusive" ink pads were in my printer and whether I had access to them to try to clean up the ink.  I stumbled on this information when I opened the cover to the printer and noticed the line of small, thin foam pads directly below the print head.


As I opened the top cover of the printer I looked at the bottom of the channel that the print head slides as it is printing.  The grey foam strip with the holes (highlighted in red on the image to the left) is part of the ink pad that was soaked with ink when I first saw it.  I donned rubber gloves and commandeered Q-Tips, toothpicks and a couple of pliers and gently starting pulling up the foam.  The larger square on the left side was a separate piece and I placed it in a solution of Windex (the original version but I went cheap and got a store brand with ammonia and isopropyl alcohol.  This solution immediately dissolved the ink and I then rinsed it in distilled water and let it dry.  It was messy and smelly so use in a ventilated area!  This picture was taken after I cleaned the foam and after I did ONE head cleaning.  I was amazed at how much ink was used in a head cleaning and wondered why the foam had not filled up sooner.  It already had a glob of ink where the printer head dumped ink on to the foam on the left side. 

Next, I gently pulled up the remaining strip.  This strip had little fingers of foam sticking down into holes in the carriage and I was real lucky that it did not come apart.  I then soaked that strip in my solution and rinsed with distilled water and let dry.  At some point I had to move the print head out of the way and I had to turn on the power to the unit and just when the print head started to initialize at startup I pulled the power plug off the back of the unit.  That made the print head free to slide along the carriage out of way of my foam harvesting.  I used Q-Tips to clean the carriage under the foam and used toothpicks to smash those little foam fingers into the holes to secure the foam strip to the carriage.


Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe they will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” See my detailed disclosure at: My Disclosure

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Introducing Stylized Custom Portraits

Introducing Stylized Custom Portraits.  I am now offering a new photography product that features a loved ones image surrounded by layers of unique and personalized objects of life. 

In the example on the right the daughter of friends in Santa Barbara had recently graduated from Pepperdine University and had a lifelong interest in music.   By surrounding the subject with those symbols of her life and other graphic elements an art product was created that could be produced on canvas or printed on photographic paper and framed for parents or grandparents.

Another example below shows another daughter transported into a setting reminiscent of a European village.

The whimsical butterflies in the background add to the popular grunge effect making another product suitable for gifting to parents, siblings or other relatives. 

The artistic renderings can be created from custom photo shoots or can be created from a favorite photo or snapshot supplied by the client.  The pricing of the product will depend on the source of the main subject and on the medium it is printed for publication.

For instance, I can create the main photograph during a studio photo shoot or a location environmental portrait or a candid shot taken at an event.  I can also utilize a high quality photograph supplied by the client or parent.  I can also scan snapshots into the computer in order to create a high quality jpeg.

I then take the core photograph and add other photos or graphical elements into layers in Photoshop® and Corel Painter® in order to blend those layers into a final product. See the following post to learn about the technique I use to create these images. 

Contact me at randyjacksonimages@cox.net to receive a quote for your Stylized Custom Portrait.  




Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe they will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” See my detailed disclosure at: My Disclosure