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Paint.NET 3 is a free “Photoshop Lite”

Paint.NET (version 3.05, Windows only, released March 29th 2007) is shaping up to be a great photo editing application. Version 3 is available in eight languages and has a slew of great features including: layers, tabbed interface, shape drawing tools, gradient tools, magic wand, clone stamp, blurring, sharpening, effects, brightness, contrast, curves, levels, and a lot more.

Paint.NET 3.05

The Paint.NET guys modestly call this a replacement for MS Paint. This baby blew MS Paint out of the water about two major versions ago. One of the best features is that it is free and open source and being actively worked on by a dedicated team.

If you’re in the market for a photo editing application you could do a lot worse than try Paint.NET.

Vertical Viewpoints

Sadly, many photographers take only horizontal pictures. They always lift their cameras and shoot. Their pictures are all landscape views, pictures that are wider than they are tall.

These photographers are missing some great opportunities.

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Getting the exposure right

One of the most common problems people have when taking photos is that part of the photo (usually the part that they want to see) is too dark or too bright. For example, when taking a photograph of a friend in front of the sunset, the sunset will show perfectly but the friend is a dark, unrecognizable blob. The problem is that the range of brightness in the scene is too much for your camera to record. So it has to “decide” which parts of the photo it wants to keep (the sunset, in this case) and which parts aren’t as important. And it often gets it wrong.

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Does the camera change the way we behave?

Clip from This American Life (Showtime)

The clip above relates the story of a group of school children who pretend to film a schoolmate being beaten up rather than help him. Sure, young kids will do that sort of thing. But it reminded me of the story of Chinese pothole photographer Liu Tao, tabloid photography in general, and exploitive photo journalism.

Sadly, I think a lot of people today are more likely to take pictures first and help second. Now that cameras are ubiquitous the problem is worse than ever. Is it the camera changing the way people behave or is bad human behavior just finding a new outlet? Probably a little of both.

Too Many Tripods to Choose From?

I was browsing through nikonian.org a few weeks back and found a great offering for folks like me, who want to upgrade from a rickety tripod to a more stable one. As soon as I began looking, I felt the strong urge to take a nap; I was overwhelmed by the number of choices.

Help arrived in the form of James Geib’s “Tripod Comparison Spreadsheet,” a compilation that lists more than 100 tripods and their specifications. The chart arrives as an Excel spreadsheet and lists makes and models, prices, maximum load, tripod weight, maximum and minimum heights, as well as folded heights. What makes this particularly useful is that the columns can be sorted. If price is your deciding factor, sort by price. However, if maximum load really matters, you can sort that way.

To get a copy, write to James_Geib (at) yahoo (dot) com. My copy arrived quickly and was automatically updated after the author found an error.

Original forum post at Nikonians.org

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