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Lab Notes Blog

Bill Gates & the Digital Lady (Me)

April 18, 2014

Tags: Bill Gates, Photography, Sally Wiener Grotta

by Sally Wiener Grotta

Way back in the day, when most people had never heard of or seen a digital camera, I stopped Bill Gates in the halls of Comdex in Atlanta, and asked him if I could take his picture without film. He smiled and said, that's okay, I'll wait until you load. Paul Allen who was with Bill leaned over to him and explained what I was holding in my hands (one of the very first Kodak DCS cameras -- a 200). They both laughed, and I took my pictures of him. For the rest of the week, whenever Bill saw me, he called me "the Digital Lady."

Sometime between then and now, he has obviously gotten more skittish about cameras. Here's a story from Dan Rosenbaum.

"Bill Gates was awarded a patent recently for a device that detects cameras near you and keeps them from taking a clear picture of you. Used to be that only The Shadow has the power to cloud men's minds."

Finding the Right Solution to Save & Protect Your Photos & Image Files

March 28, 2014

Tags: Photography, Security, Backup, Archive, Arts & Letters Show

We chatted with Patrick Corrigan, the author of "Data Protection for Photographers" (Rocky Nook), about backing up and archiving image files and other data. Here's the recording of that Arts & Letters Show.

Adobe Lightroom 5 Beta: Available Free to the Public

April 15, 2013

Tags: Adobe Lightroom, Software, Photography, Imaging software, Lightroom, Photo editing, Adobe

Lightroom 5's Radial Filter
If you aren’t using Adobe Lightroom for your photo editing, you’re probably working too hard to get high quality results. Sally’s workflow for her fine art exhibition photos starts with Lightroom, where she does most of her photo editing; she uses Photoshop very little these days, and primarily for compositing/collaging or to add artistic typography.

Since its introduction in 2007, every new version of Lightroom has added invaluable new features and improved functionality that has made photography so much easier (and potentially more creative). Lightroom 5 appears to be living up to this tradition. We say appears, because we haven’t yet tested it, though the demo Adobe gave us looked very promising.

Among the 50 or so new features and improvements, they highlighted:

  • Spot Healing Brush improvements

  • New Radial filter

  • Smart previews

Adobe is marketing the improved Spot Healing Brush as an “advanced healing brush,” which may prove to be initially confusing. No, it isn’t Photoshop’s Healing Brush, because the new underlying algorithms are based on working with RAW data rather than Photoshop’s rendered images. First of all, it’s a true brush. Instead of being (more…)

Sculpting With Shadow & Light; Learn to Control and Create the Light that Defines Photography

April 14, 2013

Tags: Photography, Class, Master Class, Sally Wiener Grotta, Lighting, Studio, Education

Sally has announced her next Photography Master Class. Limited to only 6 students, and held in her studio (which is generally not open to the public), the class will focus on using light -- ambient, available and studio lights -- to create your personal photographic vision.

 A Live Model Shoot Here's an article on the class: on PMDA's website

For more details about the class, including price and how to sign up, go to the Master Class section of her American Hands website.

Lighting a Still Life Setup

Computer Outlook Radio Show Announces Daniel Grotta & Sally Wiener Grotta Will Be Regular Commentators

March 22, 2012

Tags: Computer Outlook, Audio, Radio, Pixel Hall Press, Photography, ePublishing, John Iasiuolo, DigitalBenchmarks, Lab


During Daniel Grotta's and Sally Wiener Grotta' inaugural guest appearance on the Computer Outlook Radio Show this week , host John Iasiuolo announced that the Grottas will be regular commentators on the show. Daniel and Sally will report on a variety of subjects, including:
(more…)

PMDA's Portraits of Love Seeks Photographers

August 29, 2011

Tags: Photography, Charity

Rarely do we post press releases raw. Our purpose is to analyze products, services & trends, not just repeat what others say. But this morning, we received one that is meaningful, so here are the basics...

"Portraits of Love is a project coordinated yearly by the PhotoImaging Manufacturers & Distributors Association (PMDA) and offers families of deployed military personnel free portraits for the holiday season. Portraits of Love offers professional photographers and portrait studios an opportunity to use their talents and resources to show their appreciation for our military personnel serving abroad. (more…)

Finger Photo Editing
by Sally Wiener Grotta

June 23, 2011

Tags: iPad, Nik software, Color management, Silver Efex Pro, Photography, Photo editing, Spyder

Image processed in Snapseed, using combination of B&W with other filters
I’m up in the air. Literally. However, today, as I traverse the continent thousands of miles above the ground, I am no longer disconnected from my photo editing or software reviewing, thanks to my iPad. In fact, on this trip to Silicon Valley for various meetings and a photo industry conference (6Sight), I can finally catch up on testing various iPad apps that have been on my ToDo list, but had been relegated to the bottom, because of exhibits, lectures, photo shoots, grant applications and consulting projects that had much more imperative deadlines.

First on my airbound list is Snapseed , from Nik Software ($4.99). I’ve long been (more…)

Returning to My Roots
by Sally Wiener Grotta

April 27, 2011

Tags: Photography, Phase One, Digital Camera, Camera, American Hands, Navajo, Hopi

In the olden days, preparing for a photo shoot involved spending a fortune on yellow or green boxes of film.

Film, I'm sure you've heard of the stuff. No, it isn't just a myth. We really did have to stop after 12 or 24 or 36 pictures, to remove the cassette or paper-backed roll, find some way (more…)

Should Pentax Bring the 645d to the US Market?
by Sally Wiener Grotta

July 23, 2010

Tags: Photography, Pentax, Camera, Digital cameras, 645, Infrared, Steve Rosenbaum, Sally's entries, Image sensor, Optics, Resolution, Megapixels, iPhone, DSLR, Medium format, HP Designjet Z3200

Our friend Steve Rosenbaum creates some amazing infrared images using his iPhone. In terms of artistry, composition and impact, they are as good as many IR pictures we’ve seen. All he does is hold a filter up in front of the camera’s lens. But that simple technical fact doesn’t take into (more…)

Upcoming Webinar: Xrite ColorChecker Passport for Easy White Balance

April 7, 2010

Tags: Color management, xrite, White Balance, Photography, ColorChecker Passport, Adobe Lightroom


A while ago, we wrote about the Xrite ColorChecker Passport, which does a rather nice job of providing a point of reference for white balance in all kinds of shooting situations. The Passport works so easily that it has become a staple in Sally’s camera bag, and (more…)

Choosing the Right Photo Paper

February 26, 2010

Tags: Printing Basics, Paper, Photography, Pro Photography


Our article on choosing the right photo paper is online at Computer Shopper.

“Not all photo paper is the same. Using the right kind of paper can make all the difference in printing, displaying, and preserving your photos....”

Read the full article.