It seems like I am changing my website every six months, that’s because I am! Having been a graphic designer for some of the biggest blue chip companies in the world you quickly learn how to design quickly, in budget and on time.
I already knew the framework (or wire frame as it’s called in the business) so that part was planned very quickly. I knew it had to keep to a familiar template as my October 08 design; big bold images, a flash gallery and informative. The biggest difference this time round was I wanted to put more of my personality on it. This is a double edge sword; as with any personalization there will be some who like it and some who don’t but I came to a realization that anyone can pick up a SLR camera and call themselves a photographer but without the right kind of experience and personality then he or she won’t be any good.
Photographers capture memorable moments and since I am a film buff I used movies as a source for unforgettable quotes. You will see them scattered around the website, as I think of more appropriate quotes I’ll be putting them on.
Anyway, enough waffling, have a look by going to www.powpowpictures.com
Every six months I get a Design itch, it’s a voice at the back of my mind that says I need a new look and feel to my website. It is a voice that is persistent until I take one broad look at my current design and say “ENOUGH!”. So last night even though I was tired from the sports court, I chugged a glass of coke for a sugar rush and started designing. In between everything else like editing photos, answering emails, updating clients and invoicing I do like to get back to my Design habits when I am properly fired up.
The layout is done, I’m just tweaking. Tweaking is where new designers can get into trouble; they are forever fine tuning and not delivering. I’ve given myself until middle of next week to finish the design, code the template and push out 10 (ish) pages. A tall order perhaps but a necessary task.
A privilege of being a Photographer is I have some time during the day to experiment and learn a bit more about my trade. So after a quick meeting in town I met with my friend Kelly for a coffee and went to some locations around our town to see what we could capture.
One truly bizarre moment was when an Eastern European woman insisted we took photos of her and that she was going to call the Police! We did not point the camera anywhere near her direction, and since we were in a public place we have every right to photographer whatever we want. She gave me a mini lecture about us breaking some law which she clearly knew nothing about and storm off to supposedly find a Police officer, however she quickly returned again (we hadn’t moved at that point) and lectured us again about photographer her! By this time I didn’t appreciate her attitude and false accusations and wished her good luck, she stormed off again. We moved on a few feet down the alley way, and we noticed her storming back to where we were, I shouted “Hello! We’re still here, any luck with finding the Police?”. She ignored us, and I have a funny anecdote! :-)
I wanted to go out this evening, but I have a foot injury. So I took this opportunity to do something creative in my garden. I shoot with my D300 and a simple 18-70mm F3.5-4.5 but it’s encouraging to know I could have achieve the same thing with my D40x which is currently out on loan.
I enjoy working with the simple lenses more because I have to work a bit harder to achieve a better result. I knew while I was shooting that I would need to do some exposure boosting within Lightroom, but nothing was really popping out until I looked at the contrast between the paving slabs and the gravel; I like the results even if they are abstract.
Whilst stumbling, I found a technique that gave photos that Sin City look so I tried it on a few photos with mixed results. It’s something I will try again, it is very easy to do however the type of photo and lighting contrast makes a difference, also facial close ups seem to work better.
This has nothing to do with photography, but I couldn’t resist posting this up. I just love the forced perspective these signs give to the car drivers. The idea has been used numerous times on sporting fields like rugby, cricket and American Footbal but I applaud Melbourne (Australia) for applying it in their city.
Whatever you may think of Disney, the do know how to make good toys and without doubt this one is going to be one for rich kids and grown ups. This is the “Ultimate” edition and should not be confused with the smaller, but still impressive, version which will probably priced around £50 ($100).
I’ll get one statement out of the way first; Mac’s are better, faster, more efficient and more stable than any XP or VIsta machine I’ve ever used, and I’ve been through at least 50+ computers in my Design Career.
My central workhorse is my Mac Pro Desktop. It is by far the most powerful computer I’ve ever owned. The specs are as follows:
But this means nothing to most people, ultimately users will want to know how fast applications run so I have given short summaries. As the week progresses I will be writing more about these applications in more detail.
Considered by 99% of the Graphic Design community as one of the cornerstone applications in their arsenal. Quite often power users will push Photoshop to the limits by opening complex files with huge amounts of layers, or large photos big enough to print huge posters with.
Photoshop & Mac Pro
I can give you real world bench marks here. For me though, my endorsement comes from the speed of the interface. There is no lag when opening files. I can manipulate layers and history without any noticeable delay. The speed of which the Mac Pro allows me to pan, zoom, twist, rotate and all the rest is just phenomenal. I am a power user without a doubt; almost every session with Photoshop I have multiple files open because I like to flick between them. The Mac Pro just takes care of all that work for me. Photoshop is a resource hungry piece of software, it practically cripples most Windows based computers out there and I don’t mean just by benchmarks; those kind of tests do not give real world speed as you open, manipulate & save 5 to 6 large files at the same time. The Mac Pro does not hinder productivity at all.
- Fast handling of large files (my Mac Pro has 7GB of RAM)
- Opening multiple files does cause substantial loss of speed
- Efficient memory handling. I can open 4-5 complex 30 layer files and I can still outrun my XP machine.
- Quick disk accessing; essential when opening & closing files, loading plug-ins, brushes and searching for projects
- Fast workflow with the OSX system (searching with Spotlight) and seamless integration with other Adobe applications especially with Lightroom.
- Powerful harmony between hardware (Mac Pro), Operating system (OSX) & application (Photoshop) allows more creativity and less waiting and administration
- NO random disk accessing or disruptive pauses while the hard drives are reading/writing the scratch files.
- When compared to Vista or XP, there are no negatives that are noteworthy.
Lightroom is THE staple software I use to file, organize and adjust the photos in mass quantities. The rating and filtering system allows me to check photos very quickly. A real world example is I can go through 400 photos, whittle it down to the best 30 photos, make advance adjustments (exposure, white balance etc) and cropped in under an hour! Even Photoshop cannot let me do that so quickly.
Lightroom & Mac Pro
I have a small confession to make. Until recently I thought my Mac Pro was struggling using Lightroom. All of my photos are contained on 2 x 250gb in a Raid 0 configuration so I thought it should be just blindingly quick but there were slight moments of pause when going though some folders that contained well over 1000 photos. Because I shoot in RAW mode the files are enormous but even so I believed my Mac Pro should be INSTANT! It wasn’t until I tried Lightroom on a XP machine that I realised just how hard the Mac Pro is working. XP really struggled and sometimes would just freeze for several seconds; to me “several seconds” might as well be a lifetime but I demand the best from the tools that I use. In comparison the Mac Pro would only hesitate for fractions of seconds as Lightroom builds thumbnails on the fly.
- Well organized workflow. The process from import, filing, sorting, adjusting and output is just perfection!
- Clean interface. No clutter or unnecessary menus.
- Logical keyboard shortcuts. Saves huge amounts of time when working with thousands of images.
- Development mode is simply genius. The level of control is nothing new, but it’s logical layout and speed at which changes happen is wonderful.
- Far easier to use than Apple’s Aperture which is cumbersome in comparison. Aperture has a awkward importing system and changing workflow stages (from thumbnails to adjustments) is confusing.
- Processing thumbnails can take a few seconds to update when changing thumbnail sizes which I do quite often