Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creating a panoramic image using Photomerge

Large printed panoramic images are amazing. The days of spending hours manually blending and combing your photos are over. Photomerge is a powerful tool available in Photoshop CS4 that will do just as advertised, merge your photos together in a matter of seconds. This tutorial posted by Jay Kinhorn on Layers Magazine gives a great overview on how to use the action and get the best result. I really like his tip about zooming in and making sure your seams do not have any soft spots or aberrations, those are very apparent when printed large.

Photoshop CS4 Photomerge

In the new CS4, there are some minor improvements to the Photomerge function, including the new collage option. Jay Kinghorn goes over the different ways of bringing your images into photomerge, the layout options, and some quick tips for creating better quality panoramas.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tempe Festival of the Arts this weekend

If it is spring time in Arizona that can only mean one thing, festivals. The 32nd annual Spring Tempe Festival of the Arts will be held this weekend off of Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. Starting at 6 pm tonight, they will shut down Mill Avenue and the artists will start setting up their booths for the event. Admission is free, and the event is even dog friendly. The weather promises to be beautiful this weekend. Bring the whole family down to view and buy some original art!

SPRING FESTIVAL 2009 March 27-29/ 10am to Dusk

The Tempe Festival of the Arts consistently ranks among the Top 20 art festivals in the nation by Sunshine Artist and has received the Pinnacle Award from the International Festival and Events Association. The spring and fall events each attract nearly 250,000 visitors to the Mill Avenue District over the course of a 3-day weekend.

Quality artists are fundamental to the success of the event. Each year, the Festival receives more than 1,000 applications from artists across the country. From these applicants, a jury comprised of members of the local art community selects the top artisans in each category to participate in the Festival. During the Festival, a new jury then selects the best overall artist and the top artist in each category.

Participants are separated into 18 different artistic categories for judging, ranging from woodwork to photography to ceramics and even wearable art. More than 400 artist booths line Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets presenting unique, and hand-made artwork that offers visitors a distinctive shopping experience.

Friday, March 20, 2009

How to hang a picture frame

For many hanging picture frames can be a frustrating and daunting task. There are several methods to achieve the look you would like for your decor. This one posted on Instructables takes in to consideration the average eye level of most viewers, and then uses that magical number 66" from the floor to find the sweet spot on where to hang your nail. There is some other math involved too, but we will let them explain.
Hang a Picture Frame

Here is my method for measuring and hanging framed pictures. Your art will end up at the correct viewing height and will be even with other frames in the room, even if they are different sizes. This is my own preferred method; there are others, like some folks will hang pictures with the tops or bottoms at the same height; others so that the middles are all level. My method places the two-thirds point uniformly at eye level, which I think looks best....

step 6 Make a sketch

On a piece of paper make a diagram (this helps me). Make these calculations:
Take frame height ( H ), divide by three. This is ( E )
Measured down from the top of the frame, ( E ) is going to end up being eye level ( L, or 66" ), two thirds up the frame.
The difference between the 66 inch mark and where the hanger will go is ( D ).
Picture hanger is placed at ( X ).

So we have:
H divided by 3 = E ( Thirds )
E minus V = D ( Difference between wire and top third point )
66 plus D = X ( Eye level plus difference is where the hanger goes )
V corresponds to X ( The wire hangs on the hanger. Duh. )

It gets easier when you've done it once or twice.
(Tell me if I've made this stupidly complicated.)
Check out the link to see all of the steps. You will be hanging pictures like a pro in no time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

8 steps to a better computer workspace

Our friend Scott Condray of Visualville offers some sage advice on the best way to set up your system for optimum viewing and color correcting conditions, as well as some tips that can help increase your computer speed. Scott has spent years teaching Photoshop classes, calibrating workstations, and creating printer profiles for output. Suffice it to say, he knows his stuff.
8 Easy Things You Can Do To Improve Your Workplace & Workflow

Making improvements to your “workplace” also improves your "workflow".

The following will improve the quality of the product you produce and make your life a little easier at the same time.

1. Always have your monitor desktop set to a neutral color. Preferably a medium gray. Screen Savers don’t really “save” your monitor. If you are concerned about extending the usable life of your monitor simply turn it off when you are not using it.

2. Consistent subdued lighting in your workplace is a must. Avoid strong directional light whether artificial or natural.

3. Use neutral colors in the workplace. No bright yellow, (red, blue, green, etc.), colored walls. They may look cool but will definitely impact your ability to accurately color adjust images.

4. Wear neutral colored clothing when processing images. Your clothes reflect color onto your monitor screen.

5. Use monitor hoods. Monitor hoods block directional light and help improve the consistent subdued light environment mentioned in step two. In a perfect world, a monitor hood would come with every monitor.

6. Always view your print outputs in the same viewing area. This area should be as close as possible to your monitor. What is the correct light source for your viewing area? In a perfect world you would view your print outputs under the same light source they will be displayed under. Obviously that isn't practical.

A good all around color temperature for a viewing source is 5000 degrees Kelvin. There are several manufacturers who make lamps in this color temperature.

7. If you don’t do anything else on this list, CALIBRATE YOUR MONITOR! Adjusting Images using an uncalibrated monitor is like shooting a film camera without knowing what kind of film you’ve loaded.

As the old Chinese Proverb warns, “ If you don’t know where you're going any road will take you there.”

You can purchase a very accurate Calibration System (Hardware and Software) for about $250. It will pay for itself very quickly.

8. Work on the most powerful workstation you can afford. A powerful computer, properly configured, is the heart of any successful digital workflow.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Interview with Art Holeman Part 2

We last left off in our discussion with Art as he was beginning to tell us more about the Through Each Other's Eyes organization and his experiences on this most recent trip to Mexico.

MI: How important is it to have the right translator and guide? Or did you get by with common sense and lots of smiles?

"Before my trips I purchased some CD's for language which taught me key phrases. I learned enough to get me in hot water pretty quick." he jokes. "The native people are very understanding and courteous. If you show them that you are trying to communicate in their own language, that goes a long way. Communication in Japan was not difficult at all. Many people spoke fluent or basic English and we were able to come to an understanding. In Mexico we were fortunate to have excellent guides that spoke English and could translate for us."

MI: What made the experience unique?

"The unique thing is that everyone tells you don't go down there (to Mexico) because it is dangerous. What you have to understand is that it is their country, with their own way of doing things. I found this myth to simply not be true. You can get in to trouble anywhere." Art adds, "The foods were unbelievable!"

MI: What cameras and lenses did you use for the trip?

"I brought two camera bodies; a Canon 5D and a Canon 20D, and two lenses; a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm for increased range. I also brought a Lensbaby," but admits "Every time I bring one on an exchange the local photographer would want to keep it. There is now one in Japan and one in Mexico, and I need to order a new one for myself."

MI: Was there a particular shot that you captured that you felt really connected to?

"I got one that I shot the very first day. I saw these horse trainers running back and forth exercising their horses. Everything was dusty and the trainer was riding a white horse. As soon as I took the shot, the guide told us no to take images of the horse trainers. I later found out that there is apparently a lot of competition between the horse trainers for their races, and they do not want their methods to be exposed. It still remains one of my favorite shots from the trip." Art goes on to say, "I try to go in to an exchange with an open mind and not have a preconceived concept of the end product. I try to let it flow and let the locations and people speak to me. Otherwise, I would end up ignoring a lot of what surrounds me."

We would like to thank Art for taking time to meet with us for this interview. Look for a show of Art and Colleen's Mexico images coming up in September of 2009. When the specifics of the show are announced we will post them here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Christine Taft at Earth Gallery

Earth Gallery is located in Old Town Cottonwood in Northern Arizona off of Historic Route 89A. The Old Town Association of Cottonwood is holding a Second Saturday Art & Antique Walk every 2nd Saturday of the month, starting this weekend. Christine Taft has been asked to display her work at the Earth Gallery for the on-going event. We printed some gorgeous Metallic prints of her award winning images available for purchase at the gallery.

The art walk starts this weekend March 14th from 1-8 pm. Come and play!

The Art District in Old Town features art in all mediums, from antiques and galleries to artisan breads and fine food fusions.

From 1-8pm, come stroll the sidewalks and enjoy our beautiful climate, incredible food choices, large array of shopping options and Old West atmosphere of Historic 89A, as you meander through the wonderful spectrum of galleries and shops. Chances are good that music will be playing and the sun will be shining.

Every second Saturday there will be events to stir your artistic soul, and a new show at each gallery, every month, whose work you can newly appreciate.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Go West exhibit at Tucson Airport

If you happen to find yourself with some time to spare at the Tucson Airport there is more for you to do than just read a magazine while you are waiting for your flight. James Cowlin along with photographer Tom Kiefer currently have an exhibit at the airport gallery entitled Go West: One Road, Two Visions. Both artists tell the a story of the West from very different viewpoints. While Jim focuses on vast sweeping iconic Western landscapes, Tom concentrates how man altered and changed these locations.

The show is on display through the end of March 2009. If you won't be flying out of Tucson during that time you can still 'visit' the exhibit on line. We were happy to lend a hand by printing Jim's Historic Route 89 images used for the exhibit.
As story tellers with cameras, Tom Kiefer and I may seem to be worlds apart. The paradoxical juxtaposition you see in this exhibition should not hide the passion we each bring to our work and the commitment to truth and beauty as we see it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Through Each Other's Eyes show this weekend

Another event taking place this weekend is a show from the Through Each Other's Eyes organization. The latest show features four photographers from two countries. Dennis Scully and Maurice Sartirana traveled to Japan in a culture exchange with two Japanese photographers Haruhiko Shimauchi and Noriyoshi Kanda. Their resulting images will be on display this weekend at the Historic Southwest Cotton Company Building. The show will be part of the First Friday events as well as a reception with the artists on Saturday night. We were honored that they selected us to do some Metallic printing for the show.

The Historic Southwest Cotton Co. Bldg. is located at 605 E. Grant St. in downtown Phoenix. The March 6th First Friday event starts at 6 pm, and the artist reception on Saturday March 7th is from 5-8 pm. Hope to see you there!

The 16th exchange between photographers in Phoenix and Himeji, sister cities since 1976, began with the visit of Haruhiko Shimauchi and Noriyoshi Kanda to Arizona in February, 2008. Hosted by TEOE Photographers Dennis Scully and Maurice Sartirana, their shooting schedule included Super Bowl activities at West Gate, a Chocolate festival and fire cadet training in Glendale.

Sartirana and Scully will complete the exchange by traveling to Japan.
The participants stay at each other's homes while traveling abroad, making the experience a rich cultural exchange that was about far more than making pictures. Each photographer will feature 20 prints in the resulting exhibit, presenting images of how two cultures perceive one another.
The pictures of Dennis and Maurice seen here were taken during their trip to Japan in 2008.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"3" Artshow at Jordre Studio

This Friday is shaping up to be a big night for art in Phoenix. As usual, the first Friday of every month is part of the First Friday art walks in the downtown galleries. March is also the 20th anniversary of Art Detour, a two day event with thousands of attendees experiencing hundreds of artists’ work in more than 100 galleries and studios. Both events are brought to you by the non-profit volunteer organization Artlink.

There are several shows scheduled on Friday and continuing in to Saturday. Some of which we were able to play a part in by helping the artists produce their work, one of them being 3 at the Jordre Studio. It is a collaborative show of three artists; Jennie Ignaszewski, Tyson Crosbie, and Kyle Jordre. We worked with both Tyson and Kyle for the show.

Tyson will be debuting the second edition of his annual series of fine art photographs, Phoenix 21. On Thursday March 5th from 6-8pm there is also a chance for you to preview the work before it is open to the public on Friday. It is a great opportunity to interact with the artists and see the work up close and personal.
Group Show highlights talents of three artists during Art Detour

Simply titled, "3," this year during Artlink's Art Detour Jordre Studio will be hosting a show of three diverse artists, Jennie Ignaszewski, Tyson Crosbie and Kyle Jordre (owner of Jordre Studio). The opening reception is being held on March 6, 2009 during First Friday, 6PM-10PM. The studio will also be open during regular Detour hours, Saturday, March 7, 10AM - 6PM; Sunday, March 8, noon - 6PM.

Documenting urban beauty - as each is committed to and loves the Valley/Phoenix urban environment. Jennie has lived here longest and has created many images of the community and the local population; Tyson is deeply embedded in the social networking arena and is the creator of #pfn (phoenix friday nights) a group that you can find on twitter/facebook; and Kyle's studio is in the heart of the Grand Avenue arts district and he is active in the Grand Ave. merchants association. Each of these valley artists is committed to our downtown community and through their work, they document urban beauty quite uniquely.