The Digital Basics File by Arthur Morris
The Digital Basics File is a downloadable eBook PDF (1.6 MB) - updates are included as chapters further develop! This file was last updated in April 2017.
The DBF was created so that folks with no digital experience can be optimizing their images exactly as Arthur does within minutes; just print the file, open an image in Photoshop, and follow the script. It’s that simple. Arthur’s approach to Photoshop is a direct one: because there are so many images to process, the choice is to make the images look as good as possible in the shortest amount of time and the DBF teaches you to do just that.
The Digital Basics File Covers:
- Advantages of digital photography
- Compact flash cards and re-formatting
- Downloading images to your laptop
- File management, including creating folders and sub-folders
- Filing systems used at Birds As Art)
- Viewing and editing images in Breezebrowser (two methods for editing quickly)
- Digital workflow including opening Breezebrowser images automatically in Photoshop
- Converting images from raw to tiff in Breezebrowser
- Cropping and cloning
- Levels and Hue/Saturation adjustments in layers
- Correcting a colorcast
- Saving images
- Sharpening images
- Saving for web use
- Sizing horizontal and vertical images in one step
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Excerpt from the updated Digital Basics File
When using flash to photograph birds, the eyes are often rendered quite funky—Red-eye and steel eye (an odd-looking silvery crescent on the eye) were common when using flash with film, but with digital (which is more sensitive to flash than film was), the effects are both wider ranging and even more detrimental to the image. When examining a flashed bird's eye at high magnification, unnatural highlights and lightened and artificially colored (usually purplish) pupils are often revealed. Most folks simply ignore these problems but the fix takes only minutes...
The techniques that Arthur uses to repair flash-damaged eyes are detailed in the "Digital Eye Doctor" section of the Digital Basics File update. Also included in this section are detailed instructions on selectively sharpening the eye or eyes of a bird.
From Arthur Morris
Updated Jan. 2009 I have now completed the second draft of the Digital Basics file (11,405 words) that will become a chapter in The Art of Bird Photography II. New topics covered include Understanding Histograms (if you own a digital camera and do not know how to read a histogram and adjust your exposure to create the ideal histogram, you are missing out on digital's greatest plus... Many of the digital photographers that I run into on IPTs have no clue as to interpret a histogram, at least until they leave!), expanded rewritten sections on Breezebrowser and Converting Raw Images, A Quickie Levels/Color Balance Trick (from Lewis Kemper as relayed by Ellen Anon), and detailed instructions on how to use Actions and Batch Processing to save hours and hours of work. (Heck, before I learned to use Batch Processing it took me 80 hours to prepare my first Digital Slide program. Now I can do the whole thing in less than an hour thanks to Actions and Batches.
Digital Basics File
I learned the basics of digital by helping a friend who had just bought a Canon EOS D-60. Even with this head-start, I can remember being terribly frustrated by having to learn simple tasks like downloading and converting images, managing files, and optimizing images in Photoshop. Along the way, I learned by asking those more knowledgeable than I: Tim Grey, Juan Pons, Gregory Georges, Matt Haggadorn, and E.J. Peiker among others.
I should have mentioned that I know of no other source where the info needed to get started in digital photography is presented so simply and clearly—and in one place to boot! I've always said that teaching long division to fourth graders who are three years behind helps one to realize the importance of explaining things clearly in step-by-step fashion.
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