Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Masterclass Studio Lighting and Post Production Workshop

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG


Masterclass Studio Lighting and Post Production Workshop – Due to a cancellation a space has become available


Sunday February 3, 2013  –  10am to 4pm
Wednesday February 6, 2013  – 7pm to 10pm


Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Last month, something happened to this blog site while I was away in Scotland….it totally disappeared. Thanks to everyone who got in touch with me to let me know that something was desperately wrong. There was some weird message about a missing wp-config.php file.  I honestly had no idea what happened to it or more importantly even how to fix it. I posted a call for “HELP” on my Facebook page and within hours I had several offers of help and advice on how to get everything back up and running. The good news was that it was going to be an easy fix, I just needed the database name, database username and database password all of which were back in Ottawa. So while I had intended to post some photos from the workshop in Scotland and also some from my assignment in England, it just wasn’t possible. I’ll make up for that with the next several posts!!!

Wacom Tablet or Mouse?

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Maybe I can paint?

Yesterday on Facebook  a friend of mine asked the question “How many friends use a Wacom Tablet for Post Photo work?  What do you think of it and does the Wacom make Post Photo work easier to do than a mouse?”

Some of the answers were:

“Absolutely use a tablet! You’ll wonder how you ever used a mouse before.”

“I have one, but I ended up with my mouse. I have spent so much time with a mouse, I just couldn’t make the transition.”

“I have been using one for years. Love it. Can’t work without it!”

“I have one but I am finding it very very hard to not use the mouse, I have been using it for so long.”

My answer was “A Mouse! I can’t draw a straight line with a pen and my handwriting looks like chicken chicken scratch! However I really good using a mouse.” Now while I don’t use a tablet, I know many people who do use them and they swear by it. If I were to use a tablet, I would probably just swear at that it.

That got me thinking about my attempts at drawing and painting with paper, pens, pencils, paints etc. My experience with that medium has been pretty much a complete disaster, going all the way back to elementary school. I have always been able to see in my mind what I wanted to create, but my eye-hand coordination just wouldn’t co-operate.  I have always wanted to be able to paint and draw, and you know what now with my mouse and Photoshop, I can!


So what do you use for Post Photo work : Wacom Tablet or Mouse?



Here are some of the comments from my Facebook friends.

Steph K: “ Yeah, buy one :-)”

Andrew K: “ Wacom tablet by far! After using a tablet a mouse feels like you are using a brick!”

Rob S: “ You don’t have to give up the mouse though. Tablet on the left, mouse on the right, keyboard in the middle. :)”

Rich G: “ I am right handed so I use tablet on right but honestly after a few weeks a mouse will feel like you are cheating poorly on your hand! You will regret grabbing the mouse.. I have an original Intuos 9×12 purchased in 2002 or so…I hardly use it now due to the fact I have little real estate for it at my new house. I think it’s time for a 5 Medium, not only that but my arm gets tired from having to move so much on the 9×12. Got to check and see if the older pads can be mapped smaller, large would be good for dual monitors with mapping 50% of the pad to each screen.”

Andrew K: “ Just ordered the Intous5 Medium. Have always used the Medium size. Tried out the Small but felt too restrictive.”

Steph K: “I have the small Intuos5 and LOVE it!! I had a Intuos4 Medium previously. BTW LOVE LOVE LOVE the hand gestures that you can set up…….. very cool.”

David L: “I just started using a Wacom bamboo capture pen/touch and I love it. My workflow has been sped up and I find myself switching to touch and have gotten rid of my mouse all together. Getting my tablet was the best thing I did. I will eventually upgrade to the intuos as I didn’t have the money which is why I got the capture. The capture is great but you don’t have as many options as you do with the upper end Wacom’s. Having a few more preset button would be nice.”

Roger W: “Using an Intuous 4 wireless – great!”

Stan K:  “Tablet -it’s faster and more precise- for Photoshop manipulations and heavy edits. -Mouse-for adjustments in Lightroom .”

Gilles V: “I love my Cintiq 12″, great for detail work.”

David P: “ I use both: the tablet (Intuous2, 6×8) for anything where I’m using a brush (e.g. masking, dodging/burning, etc.); for pretty much everything else I use the mouse.”

Barry F: “I tried to comment on the blog but got blocked. I’m in the tried to but can’t draw a straight line camp. So I have one but use the mouse. Not as well as you but I’m working on it.”

Garry Black:  “Barry all the comments on the blog have to be moderated, or else there is a ton of SPAM comments. So when you post a comment, it won’t show up for a little while.If you are using a mouse the size/shape is important, I spent ages trying many different styles before settling on a Logitech MX700, which has now been discontinued.”

Sheila R: “I love the tracPad, have barely touched a mouse since it came out. I use Intuos4wireless when editing.”

Tom B: “ I’m the same with the mouse. I’m just used to it.”

Barry T: “I just adjust my hand to fit – I did find it’s like driving (years ago) my race car, you have to look where you want to go not where you are.”


Carol N: “ I could not live without my Wacom! For detail-editing work, and for building photo-composites. As I can spend hours doing work of that perfectionist nature, I cannot imagine using a mouse… when I do my hand takes a beating! Some folks get a tablet that is too big… I have a huge one in one location and a smaller one in another… the big one is great for motions like drawing. For photo-retouching the small one is just fine… somewhat mores scrolling, that`s all.”

Barry T: “ Carol what is smaller in inches?”

Carol N: “ my smaller tablet = working area 6.5 x 8.8.25 inches. Large one is twice as big (at least 14 W), good for larger arm movements.”



NIK – Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
NIK Black Friday Sale

Use Coupon code GBLACK for NIK Black Friday Sale

 I just received an email from NIK Software letting me know about the Black Friday Sale that starts tomorrow and runs through Monday.

Use Coupon Code GBLACK at checkout for savings.

  • 20% off individual Nik Software products
  • $100 off Complete Collection for Lightroom and Aperture
  • $200 of Complete Collection Ultimate Edition

Dates and time:      11/23/11 at 9am PST to 11/28/11 12 am PST

NIK Color Efex Pro 4

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

I just received an email from NIK Software pre announcing the release of the next version of Color Pro Efex.  I remember when I upgraded from version 2 to 3, I was blown away with the improvements then. Now looking at the New Features of version 4, I can’t wait to get it!!!!

You can pre-order it now, use coupon code GBLACK at checkout for a 15% off Discount.

Powerhouse Computer

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Yesterday I received my new Dell computer. It’s an XPS 8300 with an Intel i7-2600, @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB  SDRAM, Dual 2TB Hard Drives, 1GB Video card. If you are not sure what all of that means, the sales rep’s description says it all -” Wow, this is a powerhouse computer”. He probably gets paid to say that when customers spend a lot of money.  Don’t ask me which is better a PC or a MAC,  probably the the best PC that you can buy is an iMac.

Now, I am working on transferring the files, deactivating programs on the old computer, installing programs on the new computer (trying to find all of the serial numbers), getting everything set-up just right, preferences, accounts,  and learning the new operation system. This is going to take me a while!

Why Is It?

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Why is it that some simple computer tasks can develop into a real nightmare! Last week I discovered that some of the Emails that people were sending to me were being returned as “User Unknown”, others ended up somewhere in cyberspace and a lot of others were being delivered to my Inbox. Recently on average I’ve been receiving 20 – 30 Emails per day (not including SPAM) which seemed about normal. When I’m home I try to answer most of them immediately or at worst within a week. So I was quite shocked to find out from one person that they had sent me 4 Emails over the last 2 months and I hadn’t received even one of them.

I contacted my Internet service provider and at first they didn’t think there was a problem – Well isn’t that a surprise! After insisting that there was a problem, they agreed to move my Email account to a different server. All I had to do was change the settings in Outlook to the new Incoming and Outgoing mail names. Seems simple enough, after all I’ve set up many Email accounts in the past. That wasn’t to be the case this time, now I wasn’t receiving any Emails nor could I send any. Fortunately I have another service provider so I could send and receive Emails on that account. The short version of this story, is that after a dozen Emails, Live Chat and 3 phone calls, my Email is finally working and suffice it to say I hadn’t made a mistake. When I launched Outlook and everything was working properly, I immediately received 683 Emails, but the 4 from the person who had alerted me to the problem weren’t there. I have no idea how many others are off in cyberspace, probably killed off by now by some filtering system somewhere. Of the ones that I did receive the oldest was from over a year, February, 2008. All I can say, is that there must be a lot of people out there that must think I’m a pretty rude (fill in the blank) person for not answering their Email. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll try to answer the ones that I’ve just received.

So if you’ve written to me in the past year and haven’t heard back, that’s why.

New Computer

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

This week I received a new desktop computer, although “desktop” isn’t exactly the word I would give to describe it. It’s physical size is actually 23″x23″x9″ and weighs about 35lbs, it’s HUGE! I normally replace my computers about every 3 years, and monitors every 5 years.

 This one is a Dell XPS 720 with a Intel Dual Core Processor (3.0 GHz, 4GB SDRAM, 2 Hard Drives 250GB and 160GB, 256MB Video Card running on Windows XP). I’ve used Dell XPS computers for the past 10 years, and would highly recommend them to anyone. Over the years I have had a few problems with the computers (components) and Dell has always resolved these problems quickly. This fall I purchased a Vostro 1500 laptop from them and I’ve also purchased my LaCie 500GB External Hard Drives from them (they have them on sale quite often).

The downside to getting a new computer is setting it up. Not the physical setting up of it but rather loading and installing all the software, entering serial numbers, setting preferences, transferring of files and this is usually the time when I try to reorganize all of those files. Every time I get a new computer, I can count on it taking me about 3 days to get everything set up and running just right. I don’t know if it’s just me or does everyone takes that long?

Now I can get back to work, processing my backlog of images.