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Recent Blogs from Better Photography


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Wacom Intuos Pro Small Pen Tablet

Better Productivity & Workflow

EXPAND YOUR CREATIVITY WITH WACOM’S NEW INTUOS PRO!

A special Wacom/Better Photography Promotion

Is the way you’re currently working slowing you down? Wacom’s Intuos Pro Small is here to help! By Peter Eastway.

Using a pen and tablet system for your photo editing will hugely improve your workflow, your productivity and your creativity, but which one is best for you?

While it might be small, it’s probably exactly the right size for photographers. As you can see in the photo above, the Wacom Intuos Pro Small tablet is around the size of an A4 sheet of paper – or the page of this magazine.

It measures 320x208x12 mm, so it’s very thin on your desk and doesn’t take up much real estate. Plus you can use both your fingers and/or the pen to drive it and there are some buttons and a touch ring as well, which means you can operate your software without a keyboard if you wish.

Creative Tool

The Wacom Intuos Pro Small is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers and while it will happily sit at home or in the studio on your desk, it’s also small enough to take with you on a trip.

The tablet and Wacom Pro Pen 2 give you 8192 levels of pen pressure sensitivity, so the size of your brush can be adjusted simply by changing the pressure with which you press down on the tablet – and this is one of the keys to the Wacom Intuos Pro’s success as a creative tool.

Wacom Desktop Centre

When travelling, or even at your desk at home, there are several controls and features on the Wacom Intuos Pro that canstreamline the way you interact with your software, such as Photoshop.

The Wacom Intuos Pro comes with the Wacom Desktop Centre, a powerful app that (among other things) lets you set up the six ExpressKey™ buttons and the Touch Ring.

These keys can be customised to do different things on a program by program basis. For example, my top ExpressKey™ adds a curves adjustment layer in Photoshop, but it chooses the Selection tool when InDesign is open.

ExpressKeys™

There are six ExpressKey™ buttons on the Wacom Intuos Pro Small.

An ExpressKey™ essentially replaces a single or multiple keystroke on a keyboard. Photoshop, Lightroom and Capture One all offer keyboard shortcuts and these shortcuts can be set to the six ExpressKeys™ on the Wacom Intuos Pro Small. And in Photoshop, you can create actions which are assigned to a keystroke, which in turn can be applied to an ExpressKey™, so this becomes a very powerful productivity tool – you can save lots of time when it’s all set up!

In the Desktop Centre, after selecting the program you’re working with (say Photoshop) and the ExpressKey™ menu, click on the drop down box associated with the ExpressKey™ you want to program and select Keystroke – a further dialog box will allow you to set the keystroke and also to type a description for what it does.

The description is useful, especially in touch mode when it will show up in an on-screen dialog to remind you what each of the keys has been set to do!

Touch Ring

You can also customise the Touch Ring in a similar way, except you might as well choose a tool that will benefit from the ‘ring’ component.

For instance, on the Wacom Intuos Pro Small, setting ‘brush size’ as one of the Touch Ring options makes a lot of sense because you can increase or decrease the brush size by tracing your finger around the ring, one way or the other.

Radial Menu

So far so good, but you might find that you need more controls than there are ExpressKeys™. Instead of using the keyboard, you can set up Wacom’s onscreen panels and radial menus.

For instance, when a radial menu is opened, an eight segment circle appears on screen and by clicking on one of the segments with your pen, you activate the keystroke or action.

The trick is to keep at least one of your ExpressKeys™ free to open a radial menu or one of the panels. Similarly, when you are designing the radial menu or panel, you can leave one of the segments free to open up a second radial menu or another panel. Or you can have different radial menus and panels assigned to different ExpressKeys™ – there are lots of options.

It’s this range of different on-screen menus that is the secret to Wacom’s keyboardless power: you can assign as many different functions as you like to a range of different on-screen menus and take complete control.

All without a keyboard. Or a mouse!

So, without any hesitation, we recommend you replace your mouse with a pen for Photoshop, Lightroom and Capture One (and similar programs). Then, as you become comfortable with the pen, we’re sure you’ll use the TouchRing to change the size of your brushes and it won’t be long before you also find a use for those ExpressKeys™ too!

For more information, visit www.wacom. com/en-au. And to purchase a Wacom Intuos Pro Small, visit the Wacom eStore at buywacom.com.au/, or selected retailers.

10% OFF For Better Photography Readers. Use this coupon code in the Wacom eStore BETTERPHOTO10

Snap Happy TV On Channel 10 - Featuring Wacom

I'm famous! :>) What a laugh! Someone did a Google search on my name recently and said I came up as a TV Personality - which is perhaps overly polite! However, I am featuring in each of the new Snap Happy Photography Show episodes which will be aired in Australia this November and December and I am using my Wacom Mobile Studio Pro.

My role is to talk post-production and how you can use Lightroom and Photoshop to process your files. The director Tim Robinson and I (along with Tony Hewitt who also features in the series) spent a couple of days over in Middlehurst, New Zealand shooting my segments and using the amazing landscape as our material. Being television, the tips and tricks are a little shorter and sweeter than my Lightroom Atelier, for instance, but it gets the message out there: post-production is fun and it's an integral part of creative photography.

Episode 1 premieres on the 3 November on 10 BOLD at 12:30 pm. "In the first episode, Maddie Sloane travels to Bruny Island to meet up with a group of amazing photographers. She chats with Ian van der Wolde about long exposure photography and the challenge that adverse weather presents. Darran Leal takes us on another World Photo Adventure, this time to Patagonia in Argentina. Peter Eastway brings us a new series of post-production tips, from a high mountain sheep station in New Zealand. We get a behind the scenes look into the production of photo books with Momento. And we find out what makes Camera Electronic more than just a camera shop."

Here are the links to the various promotional videos:

Snap Happy Overview: https://youtu.be/6urXbBaSQVU

Episode 01: https://youtu.be/oI0b_Hduqiw

Episode 02: https://youtu.be/tzoQe--I5Rc

Episode 03: https://youtu.be/_Gm5yzBeKNw

Episode 04: https://youtu.be/j3YSojb5_rI

Episode 05: https://youtu.be/ktpQbh-R-Cw

Episode 06: Not yet available

So, sit yourself down on Sunday 3 November at 12:30 and enjoy the show.

You can also click through to the Snap Happy TV website for some of their special offers - including my Lightroom Atelier video course which has a $40 discount offer (from $129 down to $89 - use the coupon code SNAP). Visit http://www.snaphappytv.com/

Catching Up With Bolivia

Mountain Range, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Phase One A-Series, IQ4 150MP back, 180mm Alpagon, f11 @ 1/250 exposure, ISO 50, exposure averaging.

I'm watching Ignacio and the six photographers who accompanied us to Bolivia last month uploading some amazing photographs, so I thought I'd better step up to the mark.

This image is taken using the new exposure averaging feature on the Phase One IQ4 digital backs. It can work like a neutral density filter, except it takes tens or hundreds of exposures, one after the other, and 'averages' the results into a single raw file. This means that white clouds crossing a blue sky over a period of 15 or 30 seconds might be exposed 500 times and the resulting 'average' creates a blur, just like an ND filter. The parts of the subject that don't move remain tack sharp. Olympus has a similar system for some of its cameras.

However, keeping the camera completely still for the 15 seconds (or five minutes etc) was challenging up on the Bolivian Altiplano. On some days, it was a challenge enough just to stand up, let alone put a camera on a tripod. This shot was taken in the early morning before the winds came up, whereas other shots I took later in the day using the same technique are a little blurred: you can see the camera shake in the file and nothing is as sharp as it should be. Of course, this doesn't matter for the blurred water or clouds, but it's certainly an issue for the mountains!

This is why I take a standard back-up shot as well. Whether I'm using an ND filter or the new exposure averaging feature, my first shot is at a faster shutter speed like 1/250 second, so I know I have an image that is tack sharp. If the long exposure is then slightly blurred due to camera shake, I can merge the two images together in Photoshop using layers and end up with the best of both worlds - a tack sharp mountain with nicely blurred clouds.

Now, who was I talking to the other day who hates the fairy-floss effect of blurred clouds? Well, it doesn't matter anyway - I like it!

Oh, and if you're interested in a little video I put together on our trip, here's the Youtube link: https://youtu.be/1F7rsOlbwkU - or Google search Youtube, Eastway, Bolivia. I've had a few comments from Bolivian viewers unimpressed by my choice of music, so I'm on the lookout for some pan pipes instead!

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