Thursday, February 28, 2013

Always look on the dark side of life

If you want proof that life is perverse, take the results of a recent study published by the American Psychological Association.  The paper (PDF link), "Psychology and Aging --  Forecasting Life Satisfaction Across Adulthood: Benefits of Seeing a Dark Future?" says that optimistic older adults face a greater risk of disabilities and death.

According to lead author, Frieder R. Lang, PhD, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.
"Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions."
Because a darker outlook on the future is often more realistic, older adults' predictions of their future satisfaction may be more accurate, according to the study. In contrast, the youngest group had the sunniest outlook while the middle-aged adults made the most accurate predictions, but became more pessimistic over time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

More StewArt

As long as I could work an image of Stewart Hall without telephone poles, wires, people and vehicles, I may as well take the building back in time.

Here it is, circa 1913.  That's the ghost of MountainLair Future lurking on the left.  This is rendered in the Antique Plate I pre-set of Silver Efex Pro 2.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The photoshop CS6 book for digital photographers

The Adobe Photoshop CS6 book (for digital photographers) by Scott Kelby has been a worthwhile treat for me.  I like it's step-by-step cookbook approach to showing me all the ways that I can improve my pictures.  Having just cracked it, it's already inspired me to rework an older photo, removing chromatic aberration, dodging and burning, fixing the sky, and removing unwanted features.

Here's an old picture of Stewart Hall that I took in November 2009, using the EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens on my old Canon Rebel XSi. Because of the image size in this picture, you're not going to notice the chromatic aberration where the building meets the sky, but trust me, it's there.  Notice the telephone pole in the center with wires stretching away to the right of the building.  There's also a guy pushing a lawnmower to the right of the pole. 

Below is the same picture after I applied a few techniques from Kelby's book: 
  • Fixing Chromatic Aberrations -- Chapter 3,
  • Removing Stuff Using Content-Aware Fill -- Chapter 8 (goodbye telephone pole, wires and lawnmower dude),
  • Automatically Fixing Lens Problems -- Chapter 3,
  • Fixing Skies (and other stuff) with the Graduated Filter -- Chapter 4,
  • Dodging, Burning, and Adjusting Individual Areas of Your Photo -- Chapter 4,
  • Photo Toning Effects -- Chapter 9, where I added a warmer autumn cast to the color palette

Admittedly, I already knew how to do some of these tricks.  However, it was great to have the book to remind me of these techniques as well as showing me better ways of doing them.

I see more good things to come as I make my way through this book.