New: WordPress and Photography

I’ve begun a new blog about using WordPress to create photography sites.

I’ve been a professional photographer for 20 years; and a programmer for 15.   The purpose of this site is to publish what I’ve learned about using WordPress to display and sell photography.

The best themes for photographers.  The best plugins.  And just about everything you need to know about using self-hosted WordPress for Photographers.

I’m going to assume that you really don’t know what the heck WordPress is.  You’ve seen it mentioned all over the place.  Your friends have suggested that you use it to write a blog.  Or to do your photography portfolio.  But you aren’t exactly sure how to get started.  If you are way beyond that – just skip ahead.

Even if you plan to hire a WordPress designer, at least the very basic stuff should be helpful to know if you are being ripped off or not.  You should be able to make an informed decision about how to proceed with your web presence.

Visit WordPress and Photography to follow along.


Saga continues

Somebody up there must like me.

As I was settled into the idea of the mini a few things happened. All at once. Two large orders worth about 4k arrived

One order has potential to be worth substantially more.

At the same time I continued researching the minis. Two aspects were problematic. First was the speed of the internal drive: 5400 and the other was the memory limit : 4 gb. I’d really like at least 8 gb.

There are ways around the drive issue with a fast 800 external. But I think I can now afford a tower.

Also I want to be able to put fast internal drives in. In short I’ve got a lot of work coming in again and looking at the pros again.


PC to Mac, software costs

This is the transcript with Adobe chat.  I’ve changed the support person’s name to protect the innocent.

* * *

DAVE BECKERMAN: I am moving from a PC to a Mac.  Can you tell me what the cost would be for the native mac version of these programs? Dreamweaver (CS3), Photoshop (CS3), Lightroom (2.6 – current version).  Is this something that you can answer?

Rick : Hello! Welcome to Adobe Customer Service.
DAVE BECKERMAN: Hi. Is this a subject that you can answer?

Rick : Hi Dave.
Rick: Please allow me a moment to review your request.
Rick: Dave, since you are changing the platform to MAC, you can do it only do it for the latest version that it your  Lightroom.
DAVE BECKERMAN: What would I have to do for PS and Dreamweaver? You can see the versions I have in the store. What would the upgrade cost?

Rick: So you can request for cross platform but you will not be able to come back for previous platform again.
DAVE BECKERMAN: Yes. I don’t want the previous platform.

Rick: Sure  Dave, you can upgrade Dreamweaver and Photoshop CS3.
Rick: For upgrading cost please allow me a moment while I check on this information for you.
Thanks. I’ll wait.

Rick: Thank you for waiting. One moment please.
Rick: I’ll be right with you.

Rick: Dave for upgrading, the cost of Dreamweaver would be US$199 and for Photoshop CS3 would be US$349 .
Rick: For further details please contact our Adobe sales team. Adobe sales team will further assist you.
DAVE BECKERMAN: Thanks. How to contact Adobe Sales team?

Rick: Dave, you can connect our Adobe sales team through phone support. Please feel free to contact them.
DAVE BECKERMAN: Okay — thanks.

Rick: Sorry for the wait. Please do stay online.

Rick : I will provide you with the contact number. Adobe sales team contact number is 800-585-0774 (Monday to Friday 5:00 AM – 7:00 PM (Pacific time))
Rick: Is there anything else I can help you with?
DAVE BECKERMAN: Nope. You’ve answered all my questions.

Rick: You are welcome. It’s my pleasure to help you. Thank you for contacting Adobe.  Goodbye!

* * *

Now, I know there are several ways to use PC software with the Macs.  Choices range from dual-boot, with Windows installed (boot camp)

Parallels and VMWare Fusion.  Again you would need a licensed copy of Windows installed, but with these guys you can switch back and forth between the two OS’s without rebooting.

But – and here’s my real question – can a virtual version of Photoshop (we’re not talking notepad here) really be as fast as the native version on a slightly underpowered mini (for example) or even on the top of the line.  Also, if I’m moving to the mac, wouldn’t it be nice to be using software with the UI for the mac… I mean, for the important programs, go all the way.  There may be some utilities that I use once in a while where it would be nice to simply switch back and forth between OS’s… and it might be useful in the beginning when I’m moving files around from the old to the new system…  But I will have to do a bit more research in terms of running Photoshop in virtual mode.  Dreamweaver should be fine.  It’s pretty lightweight.  and Lightroom I can get the conversion for free.  So it’s really about Photoshop, which honestly, I don’t even use that much.  At least not these days.

Beckerman Wall from Ken

wall of beckermans

With all the pain I’m going through right now with dead computers, what a nice pick-me-up to have Ken R. send me this jpg of my collection in his house.  Almost nobody thinks to do that.  He’s been buying them for a few years now… and rather than just getting the “scenics” he actually has bought photographs of people, some of which I don’t even have on the site anymore since no one bought them. (Old man in the upper right hand corner – which is very sad – hasn’t been on the site for years.  And I see the Tom Joad shot with Henry Fonda, lower left hand corner; also long gone from the store.)

Dead laptop part 2

I’ve transfered my photo business to a $350 netbook I bought last year.

60,000 images on the peripherals. It’s running lighttoom and i’m installing PS.

This is the bottom of the barrel.

But i’m getting orders out and it gives me a breather to research the switch to mac.

Of course after PS was installed I couldn’t get the guy to boot up. Stops at the welcome screen. Trying to get it into safe mode now.

” composed and sent from my iPhone”

HDR (Black and White)


The best thing (for me) that came out of the hdr experiments, was the tonemapping tool in Photomatix. I have created a monochrome preset that seems to work very well for converting raw images to b&w. The shot above is an old one – done with the Rebel something or other in 2004. If I were making corrections in Lightroom, there would be a bunch of gradients, and other techniques for dodge / burning areas.

This comes straight out of the tonemapping program. Yes, you could then use it as a starting point and fine-tune this and that in Lightroom or Photoshop. But essentially, the tonemapping (and I did two prints for customers today using it) gives this excellent control over both overall contrast and tonality, as well as “micro” areas of the image.

You can setup presets to give different effects depending on the source image and what you want to do with it.

* * *


Original “flat” version “zeroed out”


Default Settings in Tonemap (Photomatix)

Let me try this again because I wasn’t clear about the whole workflow to do this shot.

1. In Lightroom, I have a preset. It sets the curve to linear. It zeros out all the attributes. And it uses the calibration that I like, which is faithful. This produces a very flat image. Next to no contrast. Nothing dropping off the edges of the histogram.

2. Then I created a preset for this type of input image in Tonemapping. It brings up different areas at different contrast levels etc. I call it Monochrome 1. I have two other presets, one for images that are coming in too contrasty, and one for images that are just too flat. But I am not fusing three images together, though the preset will work as well with them. And I am not creating two virtual images. It is one image.

The problem that I have with multiple images is that if anything is moving – tree branches, ducks, etc. the result is not pleasing to me, i.e. not the normal blur you get from using one image. On the other hand – if the initial scene really is contrasty, and nothing much is moving, or your shutter speed is fast enough, then fine – combine them and then tonemap them.

Here are the tonemapping settings for this monochrome image.


I’m not saying that this will work for all images, or that I will always use it as is, but it is a good start for both my 5d raw images that I want to go to monochrome with, and my 40D and whatever the early Rebel was called. The idea is to try and give the tonemapping program all the data you can. You may be able to make all the changes you need with tonemapping, or it may be an intermediate step and you’ll import it back into Lightroom or Photoshop. But the point is, it surprised me how well the program works for dealing with both flat, and high contrast images. And of course – it’s another reason why you always want to shoot raw if you care about what you’re shooting. It’s just that you never know what piece of software is in the pipeline, or how a new converter may be able to pull more detail from the highlights than your current one.

Anyway, I don’t mean to do a commercial for Photomatix. I haven’t compared it with other programs as it works. And you can download it and like most software try it for free. Tonemapping is just one part of the program. Obviously the main parts are for creating HDR images.

Rainy Day Women #1


Warning – many rainy day shots coming up.  Today is second day, and it was cold, miserable – and excellent shooting weather.  I believe there’s one more day of deluge.  And already I have four or five good images from mother natures amusement ride.  I say that because the wind on the avenues must have been around 60 m.p.h.  I was hoping to get a shot with maybe 8 umbrellas all blowing apart at the same time.  I think I have one with 5 going at the same time.  For me – this is great fun, and what will always get me out of my laboratory.


My greatest dream of all, is to have a tornado moving slowly down fifth avenue.  Maybe it touches down around 59th street, and skips around until it gets to Grand Central Station.  I was sent home from school in – maybe the second grade – and still remember how much fun it was holding on from one Bronx lamp post to the next so as not to get blown away.  When I think back on it – it’s funny that parents weren’t called to come and get us.  They just let us out and we somehow managed (most of us) to make it back home.

I may do this in sequence – first one umbrella, then two etc.

Near subway entrance, 3rd / 86th


Sorry – don’t know why I decided to do this one in sepia. Just works for me.

I have a few more that I like… Last time I put up a post with images of the day was when the Pope was in town.  The current pope.  Rain and the pope.  What do they have in common.