Archive for October, 2008

Issues with PhotoShop CS4

With the announcement of Photoshop CS4 I did what I always do,  I immediately logged on to NAPP got my discount code and ordered the Web Premium version of the software. Having been a user since version 3 I have enjoyed the lower upgrade price for years and been able to stay on the bleeding edge of this graphics giant. This year, the upgrade price was steep. Despite owning the CS3 Extended version, the upgrade was this time was $600 for the upgrade you would expect some fantastic new features. I waited like an anxious six year old on Christmas eve for the software to arrive.

Finally, on October 28th I had my hands on CS4. I ran to my home office and installed the software. I immediately launched the 64bit version for Windows XP64 and immediately I was disappointed. Now, let me step back, just to be fair to the fine folks at Adobe. (Because I am a VERY loyal fan of their products). When the CS4 Announcement came out, I looked all over the web site for 64bit news. I had read rumors of fantastic speed gains and better operational power in this version. I did notice that as I looked very little information with regard to this version was out there. The warning bells should have rung then, but they didn’t. I still wanted to order the new software.

The WinXP 64 edition was important to me largely because I have a REAL powerful DELL Precision 670 work station. This baby is a Dual, Dual Core Xenon system with 16GB of memory, 3TB of attached storage and dual 24″ monitors. While DELL’s web site claims this system will run Vista, I found out the hard way (like most everyone else on the planet) that it doesn’t. This is due to a lack of driver support for this machine followed by no intent on DELL’s part to create Vista drivers. So, DELL’s customer support (which was excellent by the way) recommends Windows XP64 for this box, so that’s what I run. Photoshop CS4/64 will address more memory and this is the single best way to optimize its performance.

So, now with Photoshop CS4/64 in hand I installed all of my filters and added my actions. Upon launch of the product I noticed that none of my components or filters where present. Naturally, I expected the software to be compatible with my 32 bit filters and actions (much like in vista how 64 bit apps that make use of 32 bit modules or extensions still function). This is not the case. When I referred to the Adobe CS4 Help file online it states that 32 bit filters aren’t supported and users will have to upgrade to 64 bit versions to use the filters. (Great!… more money for upgrades.. and that’s “when” they become available. You would have figured this would be in the product upgrade information somewhere right..? if it is… I didn’t find it…anywhere). Then, I read on in the same help file and find this nifty little tid-bit in a Knowledgebase Article (found here).

Note: Although 64-bit Photoshop CS4 was not thoroughly tested under Windows XP64, and therefore is not supported, it should run.

I wanted to absolutely scream. The company touts its 64 bit performance, claimes it works in both XP64 and Vista64 but they didn’t even bother to test it under WinXP 64? (I cant make stuff like this up, follow the link for yourself). Seriously, I appreciate the honesty, but I would have LOVED for someone to state “Hey all you WinXP 64 users, umm… we didn’t test it, so don’t plan on using this as its not really supported.” This is FRUSTRATING, I have the software but cant use any of my plug-ins without waiting on upgrades and spending more money and then “hope” that it will work in the OS I want to run it in.

Also taken from the KB article:
Third party plug-insThird party plug-ins written for 32-bit versions of Windows will not work when you run the 64-bit version of Photoshop. If you need to use plug-ins that haven’t been updated, run the 32-bit version of Photoshop. When you are done using the plug-ins, close the 32-bit version, and run the 64-bit version. Contact the plug-in manufacturer for information about any updates.

The main reason I was hip to CS4 (shy of the clearly COOL new features) was the immediate boost in productivity and speed I was going to get by running a 64bit native version. Now, not only do I have to default to CS4 32bit, but if I need the memory I can switch between the two. You would think they could have made a launch button in n CS4 or detected you were running on a 64bit OS and made a more graceful way of switching between the too..? I mean even Switcher (from the old Apple Mac Days (think Mac 512 Enhanced)) had a better means of switching apps than, load big drawing or image, work on it, then shut down, load massive app again and then load massive image/drawing again…? What kind of workflow is that..??


So now I load up CS4 32bit Photoshop, I look under filters and yes all my filters and plug-ins are there. I then go to file open and everything is grayed out..? I literally cant open anything. If I do a [CTRL+N] I can get a “new” dialog to appear. Then, if I go back into the FILE menu everything is there. A bug in active menus..? I haven’t seen a UI defect like this since InstallShield 5..? it doesn’t do this in the 64bit version, yet it consistently does this in CS4 32bit. (more than likely this is a Graphics driver issue).

Now that I can get a image open I decided to try something real simple so, I go to crop and image. When I draw a bounding box there is no screen. I check the opacity of the screen and its set. So I move the slider over a bit to make it more opaque and the screen S L O W L Y appears. Now, please keep in mind this is the regular 32bit version, not the 64bit that they said MAY work. (it should also be noted that CS3 works like a champ.. no issues). So now, I am beyond miffed and moving towards PO’d at a rapid rate. (hey while I am at it, why dont we add in the about box a 32bit and 64bit designator rather than have to check for loaded filters..?)

So in a nutshell, I am REAL disappointed with CS4 so far. During the course of this, I also found out that the GPU acceleration isn’t supported in WindowsXP 64 either. So I am really SOL on multiple levels. I would love to write about all the new features in CS4 but I cant seem to get the Windows 32 bit version to work right, and while the 64bit version does indeed run, I cant use my normal workflow tools with it. Now its time to take my rant to the Adobe support forums looking for some help. I know it’s out there and I know I am not the only one having these issues. So, as soon as I get the software to a point where it is usable, I will write more about its usability and new functionality as it applies to digital photography.

More later….


A quick visit to nVidia to get a new driver for my video card fixed the Menu and crop display issue above. It’s odd that it worked fine in the 64bit version without the new driver. Having installed the new driver while the UI works as expected now, it is slower than Christmas to get the screen to to update. It takes 3 seconds for the UI to draw the crop screen and 5 seconds to clear it if you cancel the command. I turned in a support ticket with Adobe and I will update again once I hear back.


FOCUS – Texas Tech Football Composition

October 22, 2008 1 comment

On Sept 6, 2008 I had the opportunity to photograph the AP Poll #7 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders as they played the University of Nevada Reno in a non conference game. I used to shoot for TTU when I was in college. Knowing they dont send staff photographers to the away games I volunteered since I was attending. The game was great, and I have to admit I had a great time. The school used my photos in the Sept 8th and 9th edition of The Daily Toreador and on their web site. Special thanks to Darrel Thomas of TTU Student Media Services for getting me the field pass and publishing my photos.

I call this shot “FOCUS” its a statement about the zone athletes get in when they are in the middle of a game and 100% focused on their performance. The crowd fades, the noise fades and all that is left is you, the field, the ball and the other players.



Little House on the….

This is a new addition online. I took this shot on my trip to Reno. This house is a 120 year old ranch in Northern WA (so the sign said). The textures are what drew me to the home. Another chance to shoot wide and get some really nice tones and texture. CLICK HERE to see a lager view of this image
Little house on the .....

Little house on the .....

Let me know what  you think. As always, comments are sincerely appreciated



A small chance of rain..? who are they trying to kid..??

October 15, 2008 2 comments
George Washington Bridge - Seattle WA

George Washington Bridge - Seattle WA

The weather in Seattle stinks 99.95% of the time. It was so bad this year that the locals created a new name for the month of June. We called it “Juneuary,” in honor of the fact that it was still 60 degrees and RAINING in early June. Summer…. What summer. Oh yeah, we had a week or two where that big bright glowing thing in the sky came out, but it didn’t last long. In fact, I doubt it ever dried up the supersaturated lawns in most neighborhoods. While I am on the topic, it’s hard to imagine why people in the Pacific Northwest like being outdoors so darn much..??? I mean seriously, the weather here REALLY SUCKS most of the time. I grew up in the desert of West Texas. I don’t think in the 22 years I lived in Texas I saw as much rain as I did last week. It’s amazing. Yet, pretty much everyone here likes to go hike in 40 degree weather with rain gear. Anyway, bored out of my mind I was on the quest for something to shoot. The weather had stunk for quite sometime (did I mention it rains here..?) and when you work fulltime and it rains fulltime getting out to shoot anything is hard.

(Just as a side note, the Port of Seattle doesn’t exist because it’s a real Port of entry. It exists so the animals have a place to run and board the ark when they think the rain wont stop).

My prayers were answered on this fine day when the shot of the George Washington Bridge was captured. After making many promises and removing the straight pin from my first wife’s voodoo doll I was rewarded with a 30 min break in the normal deluge of water and allowed to get this shot. The heavy dark clouds loomed over head and gave a really nice dark feel to the shot. Of course being in Seattle, I am not real sure what other look you can capture but you are good to go if you want DARK AND GLOOMY. This shot was the result. While I can’t say the weather was severe, it did stink. I know the theme is severe weather, but 10 months of rain to me is severe. Oh and before I forget. The dark clouds over the bridge, you see them there…? Did you notice the grey stuff over those..? That’s not clear sky OH NOOOO that’s another layer of clouds. It’s like a giant Oreo of crappy weather. The lighter clouds are like the cream filling in a giant cookie of BLAH weather. I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up that it was actually clear or… “Partly Cloudy” that’s like saying a nuclear explosion is “Kinda” hot.

As always comments and feedback are greatly appreciated. If you have an extra umbrella or boots that would be good as well.

And now.. A note about the subject:

Seattle’s George Washington Memorial Bridge, commonly known as the Aurora Bridge, The nearly 3,000-foot, steel cantilever structure spans Lake Union between the Fremont and Queen Anne neighborhoods.

This shot shows maybe 1/8th of the total structure. Had I stood out there longer to get the whole thing the rain spirits would have been angered with me and I would have gotten soaked. Shortly after I got back in the car drops started hitting my windshield. After reviewing the shots I took in my viewfinder I promptly let Mother Nature know she was number ONE in my book and went home to dry off for another day.

Yes, as soon as I got home, I put the pin back in the voodoo doll. I know that sounds terrible, but geeze a guy can only get so many simple pleasures in life and the therapeutic value of stabbing that doll… wait… I digress and have gotten off topic.

Hope you enjoy the shot.

This shot is on the JPG Magazine web site in the severe weather theme. If you get over that way, please leave a comment there or better yet, vote for the shot. Here is a link to the shot on JPG Magazine

Taken…literally from the (hip) pocket

So there is a story with this ODD picture (there is always a story isn’t there..?). I was flying from Seattle to of all places, Sand Point Idaho for a business meeting. That meant I had to fly a puddle jumper airplane and was taking off real early in the morning (something I don’t do… mornings that is… Hey I am in the software business for a reason). Anyway, while making an early morning, no coffee, zombie march out to the puddle jumper I noticed the sunrise over the wing of the plane looked neat so I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a shot. (why not, $600 phone with a crummy 2mp camera, it should work… right..??) Satisfied with the shot I took with the pathetic iPhone camera (looked good on a 3 inch screen), I stuck my phone back in my pocket. Apparently on the way back to my pocket I snapped this shot. It was 100% unintentional. I didn’t even realize I had taken it until I got home. The thing that fascinated me about this shot was the three distinct lines that are virtually parallel to each other. Serendipity..? or just dumb luck. Either way, it was a shot that worked for this theme and was taken not only from my hip but from my hip by accident and kinda looked neat in a terrible 2mp kinda way.

I had to blow this up in Photoshop to even be able to upload it to the site. I did an Unsharpen Mask to attempt to bring some detail into the image and did a levels and curves adjustment. Beyond that, its exactly as it was taken on the way into my pocket early this September.

The clarity in the image isn’t great, the colors stink (even when balanced in PS) but I can honestly say without a doubt that not only was this shot taken literally 100% from my hip, it was also a complete accident, which is why I uploaded it for this theme.

VOTE for this shot !!!
Why you ask…? In the name of irony and/or sarcasm at the very least. Let me explain. After all the images I have uploaded as well as all the patiently waiting and hoping for votes and publication its only fitting that a completely unintentional shot like this be the one that gets picked for publication. I mean seriously, why would I even bother with a painted log when I have sunsets and majestic mountains that could be considered..? Why… well because Murphy is a family member and if there was ever a shot of mine that would get picked I can almost guaranty it would be the one I hate the most or the one that I didn’t put a seconds worth of thought or effort into… (pssst… this is that image). So, in this election year, cast your vote for the shot that isn’t even a happy accident… just an accident. This is “Incidental art” at its best… a la 2 mega pixel iPhone.

Special Note to APPLE COMPUTER
Hey Steve, love the phone, but the camera stinks. In fact its SOOOO bad that every ounce of Photoshop CS3 couldn’t make this image look better. So on the 3rd generation of this phone give us Photographers something we can actually use if we are caught without our daily gear. While you’re at it, how about a lens that’s not the size of a pin head 🙂



Literally from the pocket (or the hip)

Literally from the pocket (or the hip)


Links to more images

Today I received an email from my web site contact form where a visitor asked if I have more samples of my work on-line that are visible. (since the site is still under construction not all of my sample galleries are complete). I thought I would share the links here in case others may way to take a look at my other work.

I currently publish select images on SmugMug and JPG Mag as well as the The galleries on SmugMug are organized by moth and easy to the different images month to month. JPG features images that are potential candidates for publication in the magazine if chosen.

The link to SmugMug is:
The Link to JPG Mag is:

If you frequent either site, please check out my other images and feel free to leave comments and feedback. As I take new images that I think have a broad appeal, I will ad them to the blog with a link back to the site where more images can be found.

Also, soon to come. PhotoShop CS3 and CS4 Tips, Techniques and work flow process for Digital Photographers.