Sunday, March 25, 2012

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

I spent the afternoon at The Illinois Holocaust Museum with my wife and had a "private tour" with a great volunteer named Roz. She explained the history of what had happened during those terrible years during the Holocaust.

I believe everyone needs to go to this museum to learn what happened, but also so that through education, something like the Holocaust will never happen again. Go visit:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Million Dollar Quartet - Apollo Theater - Chicago

I had a great time tonight at the show "Million Dollar Quartet" at the Apollo Theater in Chicago.

My wife, daughter and I sat in the front row, stage left.  We were literally within a couple of feet of the stage.  I think this may have been the closest I've been to the stage of a play.  The stage at the Apollo Theater isn't raised... it's floor level, so it almost felt like we were sitting on the stage!

The music was great!  Obviously, the songs were all "standards" that we all know from Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.  The actors did a great job imitating the legendary singers and they played their own instruments too.

The Apollo Theater is a very intimate setting. It is right next to the EL tracks so entering the theater, we were greeted by the noisy trains.  But surprisingly, inside the theater, we didn't notice the train noise.

It was fun to watch the show and spend time with my family.  Highly recommended!

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta Announced Today

Adobe has announced today the arrival of their new Photoshop CS6 Beta. This usually means the final version of CS6 is just around the corner. Not sure how many months this will be, but I doubt it will be within a month. They usually get feedback back from Beta users first and fix any bugs before the final release comes out. But be aware... it's coming.

If you have not yet purchased your copy of Photoshop CS5, you might want to wait. But how long is anybody's guess. Here are some highlights of what is being changed:

Also, system requirements are tougher too. While it will still support XP for PC users, you need to be sure the video RAM on your video card has at least 512MB of RAM or better. Obviously, the faster your machine the better.

For Mac users, 32-Bit operating systems will not be supported. You'll need a 64-bit operating system to run this new version of Photoshop.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fishing - Government Pier - Waukegan Harbor


After a year away from pier fishing off Government Pier at Waukegan Harbor in Waukegan, IL, I finally got a chance to head out this morning.

I arrived around 5:30 AM this morning and there wasn't a soul to be seen out there!  But later, others started showing up.  I fished for about 2 hours and decided to leave.  It was great just getting back outside after spending the whole winter indoors, even though I didn't catch anything.  Really, I was more interested in seeing how well my Lumix DMC-LX5 camera would do taking photos out there!

These images were taken in RAW on Manual shooting mode and then processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.0.  As expected the camera did well as long as no bright light source was aimed directly at the lens.  When the sun finally came out, I tried shooting directly towards the lighthouse, but the lens flare was just too great to get any good photos.  I find this to be the biggest drawback to this camera's lens.  Other than that, the camera does a great job for such a small and compact camera!

I always shoot this camera in RAW format because the images come out so much better.  I post process all my images in Lightroom anyway, so why not shoot it in RAW?

To see what I see when out there, check out the video... also taken with the Lumix DMC-LX5.

I look forward to getting back out again in the near future!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lightroom 4 is Shipping!

Lightroom 4 is now shipping!

I received my copy yesterday and installed it.  It's easy to figure out if you are familiar with Lightroom 3 already.  A couple of new modules have been added: a Book module and a Map module.  This should make laying out Photobooks really easy.  The new map module works with Google Earth so that you can easily find where your photos were taken, provided you have implemented a GPS with your camera.

Overall, Lightroom 4 seems to add a more powerful processing engine.  Controls seem able to make wider swings when the sliders are moved.  This should allow for some heavy duty modifications to fix images.  But because the new processing engine is more capable, computer system requirements are now more stringent too.  For Windows users, XP is no longer supported.  You need either Windows Vista or Windows 7 on your computer.  And for MAC users, your OS must be 10.6.8 (64-bit) or higher.

The nicest part though is that Adobe has drastically reduced the price of this software!  It is now available for only $159.  The academic discount version is only $79!!  Because I want my students to learn how to fix their images, I've dropped my training on Lightroom to $125.  And for continuing education students, it's available for only $60 for a two hour session.  We'll concentrate only on the Library and Develop modules during that time... the two modules that will likely be the most used.  And, for a limited time, I have the training at an even lower price!  Contact me for that!