Thursday, April 5, 2012

What I learned this week..

Growing up, my family almost always sat at the dining room table for dinner/supper/the last meal of the day.  Rarely were we ever caught in front of the tv at dinner time.  The tv was turned off and everyone (that was home) came to the table to eat.  The radio was almost always turned off.  There were no elbows allowed on the table (Teh Sister's rule), there was no talking with your mouth full (my rule), no singing (or humming or anything musically related) allowed at the table (Teh Mom's rule), and no reading at the table (Teh Mom's rule).  There might have been other rules, but I've probably blocked them out.  We weren't allowed to eat in our bedrooms either.

Since we had such strict guidelines to follow at dinner, all that was left to do at the table was to talk to each other (which was hard to do with your mouth full of food).  So Teh Mom started this thing where she'd ask us about our day.  It was a series of questions that everyone had to answer.  Everyone.  Even the friend that spend the night, the friend who lived with us for the summer, no one was exempt, including Teh Parents.

The questions were:
1.  What was the best part of your day?
2.  What was the worst part of your day?
3.  What did you learn today?
(this is usually as far as we got)
4.  Something that made you sad today?
I think once or twice we got past 4 questions each.  I don't recall what the other questions were though.

And each person had to answer each questions before we could move on to the next question.  Being skipped wasn't an option.  We waited until you thought of something good that happened to you that day, even if you had the shittiest day ever.

So questions 1 and 2 were the easy questions.  Question 3 was only difficult for Teh Parents who weren't in school having to learn stuff.  Rarely did we get to question 4, but it was usually pretty easy too.

What does any of this have to do with anything?  I'll tell you, Gentle Reader, I'll tell you.

This week, I learned something.  Actually, this week I learned several somethings.  It was pretty awesome.

When I went to Worldwide Jesus Lover's wedding (WwJL) (omg) 2 weeks ago, I felt like I might have been putting the paid for photographer out.  I was there beside her for all the standard shots (except for the ones I was in).  I even let her take my "good angle/spot" a few times.  I took over 350 photos, which isn't a lot, except for the fact that, I was in the wedding.  

I don't consider myself a pro photographer.  I'm often really lucky and wind up at least a few awesome shots.  Often, I try to put some thought into my photography like, is the lighting good on this, do I need a faster shutter speed, etc?  But mostly its acquire target, point, focus, shoot.  Whatever happens, happens.  And I'll take 10 photos of the same thing just to make sure I "got it right".  

I started out shooting flowers.  Which is where my love of macro photography blossomed.  I bought my DSLR with my bonus money from the Navy while I was in GTMO.  Most of my friends in GTMO were actually Public Affairs guys and gals who did the camera/video camera/journalism thing for the Army or Navy, they were trained in the ways of being awesome (as far as I know).  They knew Adobe Suite and Final Cut Pro and whatever else they used to make the media happen on the island.  I had a basic understanding of Final Cut Pro and video cameras from my bachelor's degree, but that knowledge faded quickly.

Way back when, while I was still in college (sooo long ago), Teh BFF needed Adobe Suite for her degree program.  I'd wanted to buy it, but I wasn't interested in paying $600 for it, because even with the student discount, that was about $600 more than I could afford.  Then I had a good idea.  Teh BFF and I could split the cost!  $300 each wasn't nearly as painful as $600.  So, I bought the license from NCSU bookstore and I installed the program on my computer and mailed Teh BFF the discs so she could install it on her computer.  We were badasses with our CS2?  CS3.  I don't even remember now.

I originally got it for the video editing software, but Photoshop was also a pretty common word being tossed around by that point.  I knew Photoshop could do awesome things, but I didn't know how to make it do those awesome things.  The most masterful thing I could do in Photoshop was take away zits, and even that was a long time to learn.  Photoshop just overwhelmed me.  I never tried to learn much about it other than how to use the RAW editor once I got my DSLR.

Well, this week, Gentle Readers, I popped a few of my Adobe cherries.  I learned how to make a graphic to use as my signature for the GEGR forums.  I downloaded Lightroom (as a 30 day trial) and used it to edit most of the photos from WwJL's wedding.  I popped a few photos into Photoshop to do some fancy stuff, like focus the subjects and blur the background.  

Lightroom has been a challenge to learn because, while I've used Photoshop before (at least in minimal ways)...  I've never used Lightroom before now.  But now that I've removed the red eye from over 300 photos, I probably wouldn't have ever gotten through all the photos if I had to use Photoshop.  I would have selected what I thought were the best photos and fixed those and sent a whole bunch of red eyed photos to WwJL and said, "Have fun fixing all your red eyes, Demon!"  (Demon is the new nickname she acquired due to the fact that she was the person with red eye in almost every single photo.  And considering she was the bride, she was in almost every. single. photo.)

So today I learned that with the internet, I can learn Photoshop and Lightroom, with just a few simple google searches.  And to the Adobe elitists who reamed the poor guy who asked how to save his RAW files as JPEGs from Lightroom..  you're all jerks and you don't know anything about being a good friend!  Export is how you save as JPEGs in Lightroom.  Although if you're reading this, you probably a) don't care, or b) already know.

This original image included fly away hairs and bobby pins!  But no more!  

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